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The Wheel of Time: Jane Farstrider Herself (Book Spoilers)


Ran
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And we continue.

This episode is a very odd duck.

Spoiler

The material with Stepin was good in isolation, but at the same time it's an awful lot of time given over to telling this very specific thing now when they could have spent all of that time further fleshing out our main characters and their stories. Judkins clearly felt they were hamstrung by cutting the show to 8 episodes, only to then willfully go in on this original side-story.

They seem to have gone out of their way to invent a lot of ritual culture that isn't apparent in the books, and I think probably also to the detriment of the show's pacing. Do we really need two minutes of a Warder grief ritual? Or the idea of people making idols of the Forsaken to try and ward them away... so weird.

Loial looked absolutely terrible in the stills I saw, and he's not great live, but it's better. I think if they had made his hair much darker, it would have been better, it looks too artificial with its current color. Hammed Animashaun's does a fine job with the performance, though, and felt like how I remember Loial to be -- a little Entish, an obvious inspiration for Jordan. And it was rather welcome to actually hear some Jordan dialog here. . Though as Wert remarks, the whole thing about children in Tar Valon throwing things at him just seemed like something they shouldn't have kept when originally it was about Caemlyn in the book. Why can't Tar Valon, this cosmpolitan city of ... 50,000, by the looks of it? Heh ... not be okay with the Ogier whoo built its buildings and visit to do renovations and such? Let kids throw stuff at him elsewhere on the show.

The whole Valda thing was just a mess. It makes no sense to leave a possible channeler alone until nightfall(!) to get up to her devilry. And no, no it does not explain whatsoever how he was able to capture and kill Aes Sedai. I doubt they all politely sat down in chairs with their hands bound before he leapt out and says, "Aha! Nobody expects the White Cloak Inqusition! Our three chief weapons are surprise, plot contrivance, and fanatical devotion to the Light.... And authorial hand-waving-- Our four chief weapons..." And Egwene promising to come back in her next life to kill him is just... weird? They've inserted so much religious stuff. People don't think that way in WoT, for the most part. (Also... I'm sorry, but Marcus Rutherford did not sell at all that Perrin was going growly. He moved and looked like a shambolic zombie. It's not a great acting choice.)

Lovely job turning Nynaeve's story about her first time channeling into a story 100% about Egwene being so strong and spirited. :P Nynaeve is too emo for my tastes on this show, she really isn't much of a firecracker.

I just don't know about this show. It's not very well-written on a dialog level and seemingly on a structural level. I feel like it's the product of very heavy compromises.

All in all, after having read each episode improves on the previous, I felt this one was a step back. Felt very unfocused and not justifying all the structural changes they made to streamline it for television.

 

 

Edited by Ran
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@Ran

I think I've come to accept that Judkins and company are not interested in adapting The Wheel of Time; rather they want to write their own story using elements of The Wheel of Time.

They will mostly do their own thing and follow a very general outline of what you get in the books, with occasional references and call outs to details of the books. The inconsistencies are building up, though. In addition to the problems you pointed out:

Spoiler

Once again, how do Mat and Rand afford an inn? Have they just been graverobbing over their travels?

Also, Valda straight up asked Egwene if she can channel. Why didn't he do the same with Moiraine?

On another note, it will be interesting to see how events pan out with the Amyrlin arriving in Tar Valon. Are they going to reveal to Rand he is the DR before the company heads off to the Blight? I can't see book Amyrlin knowingly letting the DR travel the Ways to go into the Blight on a rumor of trouble. Will this be Moiraine openly defying her?

We'll see.

 

 

Edited by IFR
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I thought this was a fairly decent episode but at the same time you could definitely feel the budget pinching and Judkins begging for some of that Lord of the Rings money. We're very low on Aes Sedai right now, and the cut between the Nynaeve + Liandrin scene and then Loial arriving at the inn with her was especially jarring, it feels obvious that some kind of continuity scene got cut there for time, money, or both. Loial looks acceptable and the actor's performance for him was actually really good, capturing the spirit of the character well.

I liked the little scene with the forsaken statues because it was a neat way to drop some lore without it just being flat out exposition and while I agree that for a show with so little time too much of it was spent with Steppin I did find that subplot pretty affecting and it does tie in to later book stuff with Moiraine's death and Lan.

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While I agree that it felt like a lot of time was spent on Stepin, It did a lot of setting up the doomed aspect of the relationship of Lan & Nyneave. Honestly, this first season has to really sell that relationship because they are so rarely together in later books. To be honest, in the books it was there basically because Jordan said so, not because it was shown - you chose to buy in or not.

As for the money thing with Rand and Mat, yeah, sketchy. I am choosing to believe they sold their stolen horses at some point and that's where their coin came from. Mat is a horse trader, after all :p

Someone in the last thread asked if the show was going to combine Liandrin and Elaida. Personally, I think Liandrin could be combined with Alviarin pretty well with how they are building up her Tower influence.

I don't think Moiraine will defy Siuan by taking them all along the ways, but I do think she will have to sneak them out of the Tower, because I find it much less likely that the Aes Sedai will let Nyneave and Egwene out of their sight. They need to identify the DR still, so I think they (M&S) will probably decide the Eye of the World is the best way to figure that out.

Speaking of - I loved how last ep Nyneave called Liandrin a snake, and then this episode, Liandrin tempted Nyneave into the garden with the promise of fruit. 

Overall this episode was ok. There were some things I liked, felt slow at times and I was surprised at how the ending snuck up on me because it felt like nothing had really happened.

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On the money situation, they wouldn't have specifically had Rand and Mat mention the expense of the inn if they hadn't thought about it at all. It might be a causality of editing cuts and we won't get it explained, but that's not what you do if you want to make sure the audience doesn't look at this thing.

1 hour ago, IFR said:

@Ran

I think I've come to accept that Judkins and company are not interested in adapting The Wheel of Time; rather they want to write their own story using elements of The Wheel of Time.

Apologies for jumping on this but I've snapped at other people in other threads for this before and I'm going to do it again. Can people not just accept they have a different take on a story and characters to someone else without claiming bad faith on the part of the showrunners. It's fucking rude and arrogant.

Whether you agree with his take or not, there is nothing from out of the show that suggests he isn't passionate about what he sees the story to be and a fair bit that says he is. Criticise his reading comprehension if you like (and I'll still think you're being an arrogant dick, but I won't jump on it like this), but suggesting it's a cynical grab is really unfair.

And maybe in this case I'm being overly sensitive because I think you're all smoking crack with some of these criticisms and he's got a decent sense of the characters. In particular I'm baffled by the suggestion Nyn is dramatically off base and not at all volatile, she's looked pissed off in a very substantial percentage of her screen time to me and is just being strategic with how she uses it.

But that sensitivity isn't why this criticism pisses me off, I'd be saying this without that component.

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12 minutes ago, karaddin said:

And maybe in this case I'm being overly sensitive

I think you should have left it there rather than suggesting people are smoking drugs. You're defending Judkins by saying he has a different take and then being rude about other people having the temerity to have a different take on the show than you do.

Speaking of different takes, the writer of this episode followed Dave Hill in offering some GoT energy stuff with Liandrin's thing about "little girls".

The whole idea that the world is largely ruled by men in the Westlands is probably one of the biggest changes they've done to the setting, by the by.

Edited by Ran
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37 minutes ago, Gertrude said:

Overall this episode was ok. There were some things I liked, felt slow at times and I was surprised at how the ending snuck up on me because it felt like nothing had really happened.

Complete agreement with your review, especially this last part. As the credits rolled, my wife and I looked at each other and both said, "That's it?"

Re: Loial - he was both better and worse than I feared. The actor did a great job with what he was given. HIs voice, and mannerisms were great. Definite kudos to Animashaun for projecting through the mask.

The design? Well, I commented last thread (or the one before, there are no beginnings in the threads of the wheel) that the Trollocs were a goofy concept that I was surprised translated to the screen. The Ogier are a goofy concept that has not translated so well. The wig, the teeth, the prosthetics, any of it. The book descriptions never "looked" right in my head. Of course, the book covers did Loial no favors either. It is what is is. I'll get used to it.

Nice to see the Karaethon Cycle was given screen time. Jain Farstrider too, though that book was thicker than I thought it'd be. All books in Jordan's world must be door stopper tomes. Confirmed. :lol:

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50 minutes ago, Gertrude said:

While I agree that it felt like a lot of time was spent on Stepin, It did a lot of setting up the doomed aspect of the relationship of Lan & Nyneave. Honestly, this first season has to really sell that relationship because they are so rarely together in later books. To be honest, in the books it was there basically because Jordan said so, not because it was shown - you chose to buy in or not.

I'm not sure when the two aren't together up until the big moment. But I agree that it set up that aspect well, especially putting a seed of worry in the audience's mind for what may happen to Lan.

A sign of the progressiveness of the show as compared to the books is that Stepin was given a choice. Alanna offered to take him vs the books where an Aes Sedai would bond a grieving Warder without hesitation because it's for his own good.

Edited by Corvinus85
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13 minutes ago, Myrddin said:

The book descriptions never "looked" right in my head.

The one depiction I've liked is by this fan artist, Ken Walker -- see here for an example, or here. I think the hair being done that way would have helped. I'm not sure why they read "shaggy" and went super-curly with it. Here is Walker's portrait of Loial, as well.

  

8 minutes ago, Corvinus85 said:

an Aes Sedai would bond a grieving Warder without hesitation because it's for his own good.

The whole thing in ACoS is that Egwene thinks Lan was a jerk for allowing Myrelle to bond him... and then she (and Siuan, and Nisao as well) are entirely dismayed when they learn he wasn't even asked. Jordan's notes also note that the success rate is so bad -- that the Warder ends up dying anyways -- that most sisters would definitly hesitate simply because the risk was that they'd be left with the emotional pain caused by losing the warder.

 

Edited by Ran
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Decent episode overall but a few thing grates:

The Whitecloaks still look ridicolous in their silly uniforms and they are impossible to take seriously. Also, I can't believe a large band of Whitecloaks operate in the open within spitting distance from Aes Sedai HQ.

The Egwene/Perrin/Tinker-arc does nothing for me. I think due to the Tinkers seeming oh so earnest about everything. Maybe it works in the books but on screen they are insufferable. Whoever is guilty of writing all the Tinker dialogue should be sent to remedial class.

Even though I thought the time spent with the Warders were well executed, it was a lot of time. I thought Lan would be a supporting character based on the first few episodes but maybe I am mistaken in that belief and he plays a much more central role?

I can't speak to book Nynaeve but I like the character in the show.

Still none the wiser about Rand or Mat, especially the former. Blank slate, pretty much, five episodes into an eight episode season. Miss Thom.

Would like to see more of Aes Sedai politics. And I'd like them to make it grown-up and not too simple and rushed.

Loial? Blimey.

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40 minutes ago, karaddin said:

 

Apologies for jumping on this but I've snapped at other people in other threads for this before and I'm going to do it again. Can people not just accept they have a different take on a story and characters to someone else without claiming bad faith on the part of the showrunners. It's fucking rude and arrogant.

Whether you agree with his take or not, there is nothing from out of the show that suggests he isn't passionate about what he sees the story to be and a fair bit that says he is. Criticise his reading comprehension if you like (and I'll still think you're being an arrogant dick, but I won't jump on it like this), but suggesting it's a cynical grab is really unfair.

And maybe in this case I'm being overly sensitive because I think you're all smoking crack with some of these criticisms and he's got a decent sense of the characters. 

So much this. Even though I've never read the books the level of nit picking is insane. It's really interesting and well made, if it's a bit different to the books who gives a shit. 

On a separate note can anybody just turn into a witch when they are a bit pissed off? 

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17 minutes ago, Corvinus85 said:

What do you mean? Are you talking about Egwene channeling?

Yeah. Her and the other girl with the healing. No indication previously they have any magic then all of a sudden they get upset and they are witches. 

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2 minutes ago, BigFatCoward said:

Yeah. Her and the other girl with the healing. No indication previously they have any magic then all of a sudden they get upset and they are witches. 

Moiraine guides Egwene in episode 2, so she was aware she could, and she lights the fire in episode 3. Nothing surprising there.

Nynaeve is a bit more of a shock, especially considering the raw power, but Moiraine again explains in episode 2 that the whole "listening to the wind" deal is just another name for using the One Power. 

Raw emotions can bring out the ability for someone who has the spark of channeling.

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12 minutes ago, BigFatCoward said:

Yeah. Her and the other girl with the healing. No indication previously they have any magic then all of a sudden they get upset and they are witches. 

Well, Moiraine does show Egwene that she can use the One Power, doesn't she? And she says that things like Listening to the Wind are all just different names for the same power. And who said Egwene would have the ability to Listen to the Wind? Nynaeve, so it was pretty clear she could do it, too. 

I'm definitely talking from a book reader perspective. Entirely possible they didn't make this clear enough for viewers not familiar with the material. 

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36 minutes ago, BigFatCoward said:

So much this. Even though I've never read the books the level of nit picking is insane. It's really interesting and well made, if it's a bit different to the books who gives a shit. 

Once again I'll say that I'm glad for those who are really enjoying the show.

I nitpick on these threads because while I've found a way to get some entertainment from the experience, I personally do not consider the show to be very good at all. It's often almost comically bad.

I don't know. It seems like people are celebrating that the show isn't a complete dumpster fire. On the reddit forums, people are proudly announcing that the series is finally certified fresh on rottentomatoes, or that it has improved to a 7.5 on imdb. By these metrics, this is the bare minimum of the show not being awful.

For me, it's not that there are changes that is the problem. I wish they would have changed some things. I wish they had given Ogiers a radically different design, for instance - anything that would make them stand out enough to be identifiable, but without looking goofy on the profound level.

No, it's not the changes that are the problem. It is that this version of Wheel of Time, in my opinion, is one of a dozen CW shows that can't be taken seriously, that has nothing substantial to contribute and really is just a vague, inoffensive experience that is to be quickly forgotten when ended.

The books were way better, and it's a pity that the show we got is just a shadow of that. And I say that, regardless of how much Judkins and company love the original material (and I do believe they are absolute fans).

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Just watched episode 5 before going to work and I think I'm done. :(

RJ must be turning in his grave. This is such a loose adaptation that it bears very, very little resemblance to the source material. It's like production is not even trying to respect the author's vision.

Bad writing, clunky dialogue, so-so acting, atrocious pace, cheap-ass CGI.

And Loial? Fuck me, I've seen better on Sesame Street when I was a kid.

I mean, they cut what lots of people believe to be important, then rush through things that deserve more time, and then spend the bulk of an entire episode (out of only 8) focusing on the grief of a Warder who's not even important in the greater scheme of things.

I really have no faith in Judkins and co. at this point. . .

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I really liked episode 4 which changed a lot of stuff from the books but did it very well for the most part, and worked really well on its own too. Episode 5 was a major disappointment. Frankly, I couldn't care less about the Stepin drama which took most of its duration. The show has so little time to spend even on the main characters yet here they wasted most of an episode on a tertiary character to established a lore point which could have been done in two minutes just as effectively. And the ending scene was just laughable to me, so over the top.

Rand and Mat somehow made to Tar Valon on their own without any problems but they are staying at a supposedly expensive inn (how are they paying for it?) instead of going to the White Tower for some silly reasons.

But the worst thing was the Whitecloak plotline which made no sense whatsoever. A notorious killer of Aes Sedai is hanging out with a tiny group of his buddies just outside of Tar Valon and doesn't seem to fear any reprisal from the White Tower. He captures someone he suspects of being a channeller and just dares her to blow him to pieces. Just WTF was this nonsense...And the dialogue in this scene was hilariously bad.

Edited by David Selig
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On a different note, the White Tower animated  video wasn't too interesting, but the video on creating the cultures through costumes actually was as they previewed their various cultural inspirations for different regions. Including the fact that they're already thinking of the Seanchan.

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