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The Wheel of Time: The Thread Reborn (Book Spoilers)


A True Kaniggit
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It may be the case that the Aes Sedai in the show do not know as much as they do in the books.  Saidin and saidar apparently exist as separate halves of the Source, but what if the Aes Sedai have forgotten that?  That would align with Rafe's comments from the reddit AMA as well as the ambiguity in the show so far.  They don't know the prophesies very well either.  Perhaps they don't know that the Dragon is tied to LTT's soul specifically, and they think the Pattern creates a new soul as a channelling super-ta'ver'en, male or female.  I think we'll find the Aes Sedai are wrong about something.

The One Power and the themes of the novels are about duality and balance, not conflicting binaries.  Dualities sometimes seem to be treated in philosophical texts as if they are binaries, and that seems absurd to me.  On/off is not duality.  Light / dark is not a duality either.  Binaries are zero-sum, dualities are non-zero sum.

Gender is not a binary but a duality.  But there are plenty of other dualities, so what if the whole saidin / saidar thing is not about gender?  The material / immaterial duality, the objective / subjective duality, the synthetic / analytic duality, the mind / body duality...   It's plausible to me to make the saidin / saidar duality to be something other than gender.  Chaos / order? 

I don't know what they have chosen but Tel'aran'rhiod exists as a place where you can interact with your mind but your body can suffer the effects.  You can enter it bodily and your mind can suffer for it too.  It wouldn't be surprising it is about mind / body or chaos / order, or even coercion / cooperation.

I don't think RJ actually cared that the duality he was writing about had to be about gender.  Gender seemed more like a proxy for all other dualities anyway. Centering gender in WOT doesn't seem particularly important to me, because the story isn't ultimately about that.

Edited by SpaceChampion
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5 hours ago, Maia said:

If you remove the IMHO unpleasant idea that souls have intrinsic gender and that there are channeling and non-channeling souls, which is only used to set up a highly pointless side-plot in the books, then who the Dragon was won't necessarily determine who he could be.

It is pretty easy for me to understand why Egwene was set up as a ta'veren and a Dragon candidate - so that she won't be seen by the viewers  as a side character to the boys main characters, like a lot of book readership saw her and Nynaeve. And so that people wouldn't assume that whenever she disagrees with the boys she is wrong, because they are the will of the Pattern made incarnate and how dare she, which ditto. And let's be honest - despite Egwene's ambition, adaptability and fierce desire to learn, her meteoric rise within a year or so still doesn't come across as wholly plausible and opens her to the accusations of Mary Sueism. If each book covered  at least as much time as TEoTW, then sure, it might have been somewhat believable, but as it turned out - nope. 

First, it is pretty weird for me to think that people can reincarnate into the opposite sex. Like we would have thousands of men in women's bodies and vice versa? That is just too weird for a fantasy series. 

And we need to take into account that the dragon Isn t a position like the avatar. It is always the same soul. 

Second, she doesn't need to be a dragon candidate to be ta'veren. She can also be the will of the pattern without people thinking that she could be the dragon. 

5 hours ago, Maia said:

A female Dragon could have used it if linked with a man? Particularly if you throw out Jordan's sexist 1:1 linking rule of a man having to be in control, which wasn't even present in the early books, IIRC. Ditto Callandor,  in the books very few people knew that it was a male sa'angreal before Rand took it, and in the early books one of the Forsaken hinted at the possibility of gender-neutral sa'angreal existing. And only the strongest ta'veren ever could hope to succeed at said repair.

And before you say how taint-facilitated access to LTT's memories was crucial for Rand's success - sure, but there Mat's example for how a strong ta'veren could gain the required knowledge without the taint.

BTW, did we actually learn in the books what the Eye of the World was  intended for? I don't remember any canonical explanation. My head-canon used to be that it provided Rand with a bit of extra resistance to the taint. A vaccination, so to speak. Oh, and did the books mention anywhere that having an unconscious seep-through from their former lives was typical for the male characters, or was it just the case for Rand? It would have made a lot of sense if it was somewhat common.

Once again, it would be pretty weird for moiraine to be looking for the dragon instead of capturing one male chaneler and gathering a group of her friends to help her use the saidin in the eye of the world. 

There is so much that has to be adapted in order to make sense that moraine thinks that the dragon could be female and so little gained that the change is just stupid. 

It would be much smarter for moiraine to just say that the 4 of them are ta'vereen and therefore the dark one wants them. So they have to escape. Then with time we discover why they are special. It would be a much better story. 

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I though the first episode was terrible, but the other two was a vast improvement, so I'm interested if it will keep improving. The costuming feels all over the place though, the Whitecloaks look ridiculous, Rosamund Pike's wig if kinda iffy and Thom Merrilin dresses like he's from a different century than everyone else.

I don't like the changes the made to Perrin and I'm not really feeling his actor yet. The other Two River kids are fine though, with Mat being the high point.

The show did succeed in getting that Manetheren song stuck in my head though.

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18 minutes ago, divica said:

First, it is pretty weird for me to think that people can reincarnate into the opposite sex. Like we would have thousands of men in women's bodies and vice versa? That is just too weird for a fantasy series.

Are there not many, many thousands in the non-fantasy world?

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As someone who has never read the books and thought the trailer looked absolute dogshite. I quite liked it.

If they had got rid of about 8-10 awfully delivered/written lines of dialogue it would have been really good. 

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53 minutes ago, Which Tyler said:

Are there not many, many thousands in the non-fantasy world?

About a hundred million in the Westlands alone, likely more than that in Seanchan.

Quote

And we need to take into account that the dragon Isn t a position like the avatar. It is always the same soul. 

Eh? The Avatar is the same soul. Korra is literally the reincarnation of Aang who is the reincarnation of Kyoshi (and all the rest). Past Avatars can appear as different incarnations to talk to current Avatars, but they are the same being, regardless of their biological sex.

Edited by Werthead
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1 hour ago, divica said:

First, it is pretty weird for me to think that people can reincarnate into the opposite sex.

 

Why would it be weird to imagine souls as genderless? IMHO it is far weirder that they should be gendered and segregated for the presence or absence of the channeling ability from the moment of Creation and until the Wheel stops turning. Unlike Jordan, the show isn't going to endlessly harp on how completely alien and incompehensible men and women are to each other, which was his sole justification for gendered souls.

 

1 hour ago, divica said:

. And we need to take into account that the dragon Isn t a position like the avatar. It is always the same soul. 

If you are talking about the excellent show "Avatar: The Last Airbender", then it has an avatar soul that reincarnates as both men and women. Which is what I thought was the case in WoT until Aran'gar and Jordan's confirmation in an interview that that was the general order of things in WoT and not just something that was due to non-standard DO-assisted  revival.

 

1 hour ago, divica said:

Second, she doesn't need to be a dragon candidate to be ta'veren.

True, but Dragon-candidates immediately come across as potentially more important characters. Particularly since they didn't even explain what  ta'veren actually means. And it is not quite as straighforward an explanation as "a potential savior".

 

1 hour ago, divica said:

Once again, it would be pretty weird for moiraine to be looking for the dragon instead of capturing one male chaneler and gathering a group of her friends to help her use the saidin in the eye of the world. 

Not sure what you are talking about - do you think that a random male channeler could have made it to the Eye and used it? I mean, it isn't like male Aiel channelers don't go to the Blight somewhat regularly - so what, any one of them should have been able to do so? The Dragon is the most powerful ta'veren ever, which ideally should help them to know what to do and to succeed at doing it, against all odds. Moiraine and her hypothetical  "group(?) of friends" couldn't be that.

In the end, Rand needed female channelers to accomplish what he did - why is it so difficult to imagine a female Dragon working with a man to the same end? 

Personally, I don't see that all that much needs to be adapted. The Dragon Reborn breaking the world prophecies didn't come true via taint madness in the series, after all, just Rand's massive ta'veren influence. Arthur Hawkwing, a non-channeler certainly broke the world just as badly. Wouldn't people be afraid of a woman, if she had the same effect on civilization as Hawkwing did? Sure, a male Dragon is even worse because he _could_  go mad and destroy with the One Power too - which will result in additional angst from everybody when he is revealed to be Rand.

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Actually the prophecy is that the Dragon will go mad, and the breaking of the world is not referring to political and military upheavals but literal fracturing of the face of the earth... Again.

The reason they're so afraid of the dragon is because these are not hypothetical concerns. They happened before, are prophesized to happen again. In fact, this is one of the few concrete understandings of the Age of Legends; that it ended because of a man that was driven mad by the taint upon saidin.

Is it really that hard to accept that the show runners prioritized a lazy mystery gimmick over story cohesion? 

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14 minutes ago, Babblebauble said:

Actually the prophecy is that the Dragon will go mad, and the breaking of the world is not referring to political and military upheavals but literal fracturing of the face of the earth... Again.

Actually there is nothing in the prophecies that says the Dragon will go mad and that he will "literally fracture the face of the earth". Which makes sense, since the latter never happen.

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In the history of ideas, at least, the notion that humans souls are genderless and can be incarnated in differently gendered bodies is common for those religions/cultures that operate with reincarnation - gender is, after all, closely tied to sexuality, not normally an attribute of the soul. Although it should be mentioned that it has often been paired with the notion that being incarnated as a woman is a punishment or "step down" from incarnation as a man.

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In my re-watch of episode 3 I noticed that the leather vest the dead Aiel had was decorated with the pattern of a tree. Nice detail.

I wonder where they filmed the Caralain grass scenes. Do either of the two European countries where they primarily filmed have expansive, barren lands like that? Though I supposed most of the landscape was digitally added later.

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Well that was a much better episode. The world finally feels big and I take back my comment about cultural diversity.

Spoiler

It had the best opening, so far, with Logain winning against the Ghealdanin king, but then converting him to his cause, and showing us his madness.

I wish the show could do have done better with Logain's army, which was really a few score of ragtag guys. But I thought the action was pretty strong. As with Lan and Moiraine, the show has done a good job showing the bond between Aes Sedai and Warder and formulating it as a tight partnership. I liked the camp fire talk with all the Warders and Nynaeve.

Show don't tell - we see Logain is strong, but then there is that interesting discussion where Moiraine and Lan are comparing him with the only one of the youngsters they knew could channel, Egwene. And Moiraine wasn't sure who was the stronger. And then fucking Nynaeve channels with so much raw power that Logain himself thinks, shit I was wrong about me. What a scene!

In the previous episode I thought the meeting between Perrin and Egwene with the Tuatha'an was awkwardly done, but that part was improved, too. The discussions about the Way of the Leaf were solid, especially Ila's story about her daughter.

Rand and Mat had less room to develop, but their part was just as interesting. Mat slowly falling to the dagger's corruption, Rand and the dream, and of course the Fade at the end. That fight was great. The Fade was a 100 times scarier in this scene than the Fade surrounded by Trollocs screaming its head off. The quick movements, using the shadows for cover. Yes, yes, and yes! 

Nice Easter egg with the Birgitte doll.

 

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Yeah this episode was a real step up in intensity and quality IMO. The writing was generally pretty good, I especially loved the opening scene. Álvaro Morte was great.

Spoiler

Some interesting comments on power levels here, they definitely seem to have evened out the playing field in that regards.

On a somewhat nitpicky book note the way they handle shielding seems really weird? Like each of them individually was holding half a shield on him, sorta? And then when the despairing warder launched himself it seemed like his weapons acted as a conduit through it somehow? Especially with them introducing the concept of linking anyway for the impromptu gentling at the end it felt like they deliberately held back linking just to create this drama situation where shielding Logain was tiring them out.

Nynaeve's moment at the end was epic, but wow is she ever going to regret healing Liandrin in the long run!

The writing seems to be finding its footing a bit, I didn't feel any of the early clunky lines, and they did a lot to develop the various characters and their relationships.

"Like a raging sun" - this was an epic scene and as a huge Nynaeve fan I love it, but one thing I realised is that the show establishes that men and women can't see each other's channelling so what I believe Logain actually sees there is a ta'veren aura around Nynaeve with his Talent from the books, and this is an homage to the scene where Logain sees Rand from a mile away in Caemlyn and laughs in Eye of the World.

Edit to add some later thoughts.

Edited by Poobah
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18 minutes ago, Poobah said:

 

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"Like a raging sun" - this was an epic scene and as a huge Nynaeve fan I love it, but one thing I realised is that the show establishes that men and women can't see each other's channelling so what I believe Logain actually sees there is a ta'veren aura around Nynaeve with his Talent from the books, and this is an homage to the scene where Logain sees Rand from a mile away in Caemlyn and laughs in Eye of the World.

Spoiler

That may be, but in one of the trailers we've seen Logain laughing while he's in the cage. Another option could be that her channeling manifested itself visually for all to see, like lightning or fire balls, but instead it was a blazing, healing light.

The show still doesn't quite tell you who sees the channeling, and who doesn't. I am curious what non-book readers think about this. 

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Well, those last 5 minutes were EPIC. 

Spoiler

Moiraine's confrontation with Logain was everything "pinprickle of candlelight against the raging sun" was amazing. I love how Moiraine stands and just tells him that he is nothing :D BTW, am I the only one who remembered poor Loras Tyrell? :D

I am not sure about Alvaro, but he destroyed the last scene. When he saw Nyn and that look in his eyes. I would have preferred someone like Ben Barnes in Logain's shoes but nonetheless, he's great.

Lan is less moody than in the books, but we see him in more natural environment. Loved how he responded to her "Proud" as to what they are. And then he walked to Moiraine which shows us real depth of their bond. It is not sexual and it is not meant to be and I find that amazing because it can easily have different vibe. But Rosamund and Daniel did that marvelously. 

Nice conversation between Ila and Perrin was really nice. I think the entire change of killing wife is starting to pay off.

The ending was perfect, both Nyn and the stilling. Absolutely epic. Liked the link, with every new thing, the channeling doesn't seem so generic. 

The only problem are some dramatic pauses. Boy, sometimes it feels like they need a minute to remember what they are going to say.

Things are getting better. I really liked this one.

 

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Spoiler

Huge continuity error -- that whole "four" vs "five" thing has come back to bite them hard on the ass. Why the hell did they leave that Mat scene? If they had cut that, we wouldn't know anything was amiss.

And they really have fiddled with the power levels. Logain is one step below Rand in Jordan's charts, and both of them are essentially above the top female channelers. 

Have to say I could not believe what they've done with Lan and Nynaeve's relationship, revealing all this stuff about Malkier far too early and then having her know this precise bit of Old Tongue from her childhood. What, did Eldrene open a portal through time and send her daughter through it before melting Manetheren and the trolloc army into glass? 

Dave Hill channeling big "Who has the best story" energy into Thom's line about gleemen and the most dangerous man being the one who knows the past.

Very good opening, though, and cool castle location. Morte is a good actor with some real gravitas (never seen him in anything else), and while I am not impressed with "Battle Ajah" tactical acumen the sequence was all right. 

 

 

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Much more pleased with this episode, as well. 

Interesting, what they're doing with Liandrin, as well. If they make her a more compelling villain than in the books, and they're already well on their way to doing so, I'll be impressed.

About continuity:

Spoiler

I'm pretty sure it isn't an error. They mention five again, and Mat even wonders about it, because the audience is supposed to think Nynaeve is now a major candidate, especially because of Logain seeing her power and being impressed, and referencing Moiraine's line about candle vs. raging sun (which was an echo of her line about Nynaeve vs. Egwene/Elayne, in the books.

They've downgraded Logain a tad, One Power strength wise, but that's fine with me. His being a step above Nynaeve's level is almost completely irrelevant to the books.  Nynaeve being very strong is, on thr other hand, fairly important to want happens in the story.

 

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1 hour ago, fionwe1987 said:

They mention five again

Spoiler

Mat does in this episode, claiming Moiraine said it. That is the scene I’m complaining about, since Moiraine never does. They made the line four,  not five, in the first episode.

 

ETA: Okay, strike that. It was Dana who said it. Now I recall that. Still seems pretty clear that this is all awkward continuity because of whatever changes they made to that line in the first episode.

 

Edited by Ran
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  • Ran changed the title to The Wheel of Time: The Thread Reborn (Book Spoilers)

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