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Wheel of Time: The 2nd Turning (Book Spoilers Inclusive)


SpaceChampion
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It's worth noting that RJ's original outline for Wheel of Time was far more heavy metal than what we got, with much more sex, death, maiming and adult material. He whittled that down under pressure from his publisher. I always got the impression that RJ was a little bit frustrated that he had to do that whilst George could fulfil his vision with less impediment.

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I second those that the writing is the biggest downfall of WoT season 1.  Across any medium and time, that if you have series that makes less sense the more you think about it, then it starts to suck.  And while the WoT book series is very flawed, it is pretty carefully crafted and thought out, and in the places where Jordan did have some errors, people have pointed them out so they could be corrected in an adaptation.

Now, you are going to have to make changes to a WoT adaptation; that is a given.  But when the climax of season 1 is a mix of things that only make sense if you read the books, and things that make no sense whether you read the books or not, it's pretty disappointing.  I really wanted to like this series, and I am totally fine with them making changes (even big ones!) to make it work on screen.  But the changes they made were not good, and the final product was just a mediocre mess. 

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22 hours ago, Ran said:

The funny thing is, Sanderson believes that Jordan started to focus more on the politics and intrigue in WoT because of A Game of Thrones.

That doesn't sound right. By the end of book six we've progressed to Cairheinin nobles killing their rivals, and working with the Aes Sedai allied to Elaida to take over once Rand is kidnapped. You can debate the quality of the plotting compared to GoT, maybe, but not which came first. 

21 hours ago, Myrddin said:

Truly, I think there is little comparison between the two "games". Jordan's is a way of life for nobles to gain favor and influence by giving and reading into subtle signals, while Martin's is much more end-goal oriented: Gain power through whatever means necessary. Political intrigue both, but played very differently. I enjoy both for how they playout in the stories. I just don't see much overlap.  

No I don't think that's the case, it's more that the main players of the Game in WoT don't just have plot armor, but have unique magical gifts that let them undercut the typical political playbooks of their opponents. 

Imagine GoT if Bran could already use his powers, Arya was already a trained assassin, and so on. It just changed the dynamic. WoT had some politicking between people playing at the same level, and that always came across better than the Game of Houses stuff, because the nobility is a laughable joke to the main characters, and so their very real attempts at power grabbing don't read as existential, like they do in GoT, because when you can just burn your opponent to a crisp and not even breathe harder from the effort, it's hard to make the stakes feel real.

Jordan somehow compounded this with Elayne by having her get a sign that she'd live through anything and deliver her babies. 

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As for adopting WoT, I disagree that the books are somehow inherently hard to adapt. As is, without changes? No. But the core story is plenty adaptable for live action.

The problem with the Judkins adaptation is that not only does it not stick to the books, it doesn't make internal sense either. It failed to find it's own voice, and didn't imitate the voice of the books enough. 

I'd have been much more on board with a more ballsy departure from the source text, that still kept some core characters and themes while pruning a lot else. Call it a different turning of the Wheel. But then make sure your story is internally consistent. 

 

Edited by fionwe1987
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Both the Cairhienin and Andoran Game of Houses were thought out by Jordan from early on, even if the text is light on them.

We get information early on how Morgase won the Lion Throne and that she married Galad's father to further secure the throne.

We see that after the Aiel War, House Damodred lost its royal position, which tells us that unlike in Westeros, noble houses in various nations are quick to rise up against the monarchy and depose them. Then when King Galdrian is murdered, it sparked an instant civil war instead of having a smooth transition of power to his heir. Because again, Cairhienin are less inclined to allow someone unworthy to inherit the throne. Inheritance of the family name is one thing, inheritance of a throne is another in their eyes. (And sure, some of this was ta'veren influence)

Edited by Corvinus85
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Some politics related things things were added later on. My pet theory is that Andor being an elective monarchy is a retcon added around Book 8 to make the Elayne plotline more complicated. In the first 6 books there was no indication that Andor is an elective monarchy.

But the politics of WoT have always been quite ruthless. In Book 2 people were getting assassinated in Cairhien left and right. IN Book 4 we see the Tairen nobles also assassinating each other pretty regularly. The Seanchan power games were always shown as extremely brutal. Even in Andor, the country where the nobles are presented in the most positive light, kidnapping, assassination and even torturing your political opponents is seen as a pretty commonly occuring part of the fight for power. There is even a mention in WH that the 10 year old Elayne was taught by her mother how to account for these things when making decisions because it's a normal part of the politics there. And Cairhien and Tear are much more brutal.

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Agreed, re. the ruthlessness of the politics in WoT. I think it's just that given the PoVs we get, the brutality of the politics is always at a bit of a remove, except when we're in Elaida's head, or Graendal's. And those scenes generally do work better, and would make for very good TV, in the hands of a competent writing team. 

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5 hours ago, David Selig said:

Some politics related things things were added later on. My pet theory is that Andor being an elective monarchy is a retcon added around Book 8 to make the Elayne plotline more complicated. In the first 6 books there was no indication that Andor is an elective monarchy.

Andor doesn't have an elective monarchy except for when the line of succession isn't clear. Otherwise, the oldest daughter inherits the throne. The one who can prove the clearest line of descent from the original queen is technically the one to take the throne, but yeah in practice that means a lot of politicking by gaining enough support from among the great houses. The Elayne plotline was mainly that her challengers were a bunch of scummy nobles that had been influenced by Rahvin while he had control, while the rest of the great houses had become openly distrusting of everyone due to all the chaos that ensued both as a result of Rahvin's rule and Rand's takeover afterwards.

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Andor always has elective monarchy de jure. It's just that the tradition is for the Daughter-heir to be elected to be the next queen. But the noble voters (the High Seats of the most powerful Houses) are under no obligation to elect her. Not even Elayne considered her opponents and their supporters among the elector High Seats to be traitors, it's seen as completely acceptable for them to support another claimant. Dyelin says straight out if the Daughter-heir is "fool or incompetent, cruel or greedy", that's a good cause for changing the House on the Lion Throne.

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27 minutes ago, Corvinus85 said:

Andor doesn't have an elective monarchy except for when the line of succession isn't clear. Otherwise, the oldest daughter inherits the throne. The one who can prove the clearest line of descent from the original queen is technically the one to take the throne, but yeah in practice that means a lot of politicking by gaining enough support from among the great houses. The Elayne plotline was mainly that her challengers were a bunch of scummy nobles that had been influenced by Rahvin while he had control, while the rest of the great houses had become openly distrusting of everyone due to all the chaos that ensued both as a result of Rahvin's rule and Rand's takeover afterwards.

A lot of it is the repercussions of Rahvin Compelling Morgase. Its a pretty good exploration of consequences from "magical" actions, actually. Rahvin took a hammer to some foundational power structures in Andor. Morgase started out weak, and over time stabilized her position, in part by rewarding her closest supporters with favors and increased power. Rahvin flipped that, which is why Elayne didn't have the assumption of support from the same base of power her mom had. That's why it became a formal War of Succession. 

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On 8/12/2022 at 1:36 AM, IFR said:

There can be some compromise. Books 1-3 range from 250k-300k words. Game of Thrones is 300k words and with 10 episodes a fairly faithful adaptation was made. 

Books 4-6 are 350k-400k words, so 15-33% longer. On the flip side, they are far more descriptive, and it is about this point that a lot of filler finds its way into the series. I bet these could be adapted pretty faithfully at 10 episodes per book, maybe even less.

Books 7-10 have excessive filler and are very plodding and meandering in the descriptions. These four books could probably be adapted in 10-13 episodes total. Maybe less.

Book 11 could probably be done in 8 episodes (again, even though relative to many of the previous books it has momentum, it's still a fairly slow book). Books 12-14 could probably be done in 18-20 episodes total.

So what is that? 101 episodes max? About 10 seasons of 10 episodes each. That's asking a lot of a live action series, but HBO likely would have been happy to see Game of Thrones to go on for 10 seasons. Of course, Game of Thrones had much greater talent behind it than The Wheel of Time show, and was much more popular.

But conceptually at least Wheel of Time could have been faithfully done as a live action show.

Wheel of Time probably would have been more suited to an animated adaptation though. So many elements that come off as incredibly silly in live action (the magic, Ogres and other creatures, etc.) would not look out of place animated. If Amazon had any artistic courage at all, this would be the approach they would have taken. 

Sadly, that is not the case. Instead we have to watch Judkins and his fellow writers embarrass themselves with this grosteque "interpretation". I like these free papers about The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer since it is also about human struggles. Certainly there was no need to go the extreme that the writers did and in abridging the story create a show that is almost entirely original material.

In solidarity with you, my aunt is a stage manager and told me the same secret. Everything consists of shortening the episodes by removing the book's detailed description. Moreover, series are often customized by stage directors.

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One area where the show can easily improve over the books in the second season is developing the friendship between Elayne and Egwene. In the books they decide to be BFF five minutes after they meet after some of the weakest dialogue Jordan ever wrote. More scenes of their life as novices will be nice too, in the books we never really see them being taught anything in the Tower.

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51 minutes ago, David Selig said:

One area where the show can easily improve over the books in the second season is developing the friendship between Elayne and Egwene. In the books they decide to be BFF five minutes after they meet after some of the weakest dialogue Jordan ever wrote. More scenes of their life as novices will be nice too, in the books we never really see them being taught anything in the Tower.

They'll have to change something - part of that five minutes is because they've both got connections to Rand, and show-Elayne hasn't met him yet.

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