Wheel of Time adaption - authenticity of casting and character action and general thoughts

SilentRoamer

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Hello guys,

Not sure if a thread on this exists already (I couldn't find one) - if it does feel free to direct me there or to merge.

So I recently watched Wheel of Time Season 1 on Amazon Prime, I actually quite enjoyed it. Although I was really bemused at some of the casting choices and storyline changes:

Racial Variety in the Two Rivers makes no sense.

So the Two Rivers has a notably diverse cast: with a variety of people looking like a modern urban city population. I found this really disconnecting because a major plot point in the novel is that Rand stood out from everybody else. There is (in the novel) a clear distinction between the nations - however if the Two Rivers (a village isolated for thousands of years and full of the old Manatheren bloodlines) is so diverse then surely the other nations will also be. I feel this is going to mean that the distinct "flavours" between the nations are going to be lessened, the Cairheinan, the Ara Domani, the Seafolk, The Seanchan - all of these are distinctly different from each other. Its clearly stated that Rand is much more pale than the rest of the Two Rivers folk, along with being a lot taller and also ginger, so I always imagined the Two Rivers folk to be similar to either Nynaeve or Egwene in the show - with Rand being an obvious standout. The changing of Padan Fains race makes complete sense because he is a travelling peddler. This isnt a complaint on any particular race being represented, just that they should all be the same with the exception of Rand, Nynaeve and probably Padan Fain (because the village has been isolated pretty much for over a thousand Years. Theres also plenty of variety to come if they show the nations of Randland.

Casting Choices - Good and Bad

Rand - I think they did a great job with Rand, he looks how I imagined and also how he is depicted in the cover art.

Lan - I like the casting choice for Lan, he looks brooding and has the Asian aesthetic complete with Hidori that I really like. The only thing for me is they give him too many lines and not enough places to just be menacing.

Morraine - Great casting choice because Rosamund Pike is a great actress - would be better if she was a little bit smaller and of course an "ageless" face is difficult to find but I think she is a great choice.

Matt - I think they did a great job with Matt so I hope his replacement is also good, he captured Matts rogueish charm and anti hero elements well.

Perrin - Ok so Perrin should be bigger, much bigger. I really don't like the casting choice here, nothing against the actor he just doesnt fit my view on Perrin, he is nowhere near big enough. Perrin is an absolute beast of a man in the novels, this guy is just reasonably big.

Egwene - Ok so Egwene really grew on me in the show, the actress did a fantastic job, however she is not as attractive as Egwene is described in the books, but beauty is subjective and as the actress is doing a great job I think this is a good cast.

Nynaeve - Absolutely great casting choice, she has fire in her belly just like Nynaeve.

Min - Again a really good choice, exactly what I imagined.

Trollocs - I love what they did with the Trollocs, they look absolutely savage and bestial.

Plot Points
Male or Female Dragon - This struck me as a really stupid plot point, the Dragon was always going to be male, it didnt even make real sense that the dragon might be female otherwise what is the point of the Red Ajah? Seems like it was put here for other reasons than story.

Suian and lesbian relationship - This is really out of context here, its hinted in New Spring that Siuan and Morraine were once lovers or "pillow friends" but at this point this just makes things really confusing and doesnt sit properly with the motivations. Again I feel this was put here for reasons other than the sake of the story.

New Warders - I really liked the introduction of the New Warders and their relationship, completely made sense with what we know about Warders, this was an addition that I think benefitted the story - although I wasnt impressed with the show of emotion from Lan. Lan does not cry in front of people, in fact one of the interesting juxtapositions in the story is how we know what he is feeling though Morraines bonding, but he shows nothing of it.

Loial Dead - Ok so they faked his death, not sure why it seemed pretty stupid.

Shadar Logoth - Where is Mordeth?

Eye of the World - Where is the Nyn and where is the bowl of untainted Saidin?

Anyway overall I did really enjoy the show, just a couple of niggles above. Interesting to hear other peoples thoughts on the show, please keep things respectful and civil. Mods - If I have broken any rules on things not allowed to discuss then please let me know and I apologise in advance. I intend this thread to be related to the authenticity of casting compared with the books and general differences. I do not want to descend into a political discussion as I have seen on other forums.

The wheel weaves as the wheel wills! :)
 

Christine Wheelwright

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I've never read the books but took a look at the series. I found it bland and uninteresting. Awfulness of dialogue particularly stood out. Characters were generally unconvincing. Storyline cliched (chosen one, monsters, magic, quest/journey). Not much else to say about it really.
 

SilentRoamer

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@Christine Wheelwright Yeah the books are the same, they're pretty polarising. As the earliest Epic Fantasy I read they have a special place for me.

I cant believe I forgot to mention this, giving Perrin a wife just to kill her off for Perrins character development was an awful way to show Perrins issues with his anger (a key focus in the books). Could have just as easily have had him be involved in saving Matts family while also going into a Berserker rage with his hammers and just smashing a load of Trollocs up! Instead they just put a wife in for no other reason than to kill her off and develop Perrins character, I thought this was pretty cheap and lazy. I also really dislike that show Perrin has feelings for Egwene.
 

BAYLOR

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I thought the books started off brilliantly but, I have up on the series after book 4.

Ive seen clips odf this series , not really impressed .
 

Judderman

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I enjoyed the first two episodes. Overall follows the book well and includes some good actors. The scenic landscapes they shot in are stunning. The visual effects are a little mediocre, possibly low budget but adequate. I suppose the fantasy effects budget was saved for the Ring of Power series.
The racial mix is at odds with the books, and such as the isolated feeling of the Two Rivers community, but it diversification is a big deal these days.
So far very watchable, but not sure it will be good enough to keep viewing figures high to justify seven seasons. Seems the premiere had a very big viewer share, but it steadily declined through the season.
 

Judderman

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The first six episodes get a thumbs up. It reminds me why I delved into the books. Also makes me look forward to season 2 already as I loved book 2 - The Great Hunt. I recall the first book being more of a standard fantasy story while it blossomed more in the second.
Some of the conversations can go on a little long, and I don't think the discussions on the colours/groups of the Aei Sedai are particularly riveting. That was also an issue with the books. But repetitive issues like constant braid pulling of some of the characters are cut out so in some ways the tv series is better than the first book. The show is being carried somewhat by Rosamund Pike. But there is just enough action and intrigue to keep it very entertaining overall.

Seems there is little interest on the series here, which is a bit surprising considering how big the Wheel of Time book series was.

Although LOTR Rings of Power will have a bigger budget I will be very pleasantly surprised if the story is better than this one.
 

Judderman

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Overall I am thoroughly impressed by the first season of Wheel of Time. The season finale was excellent. If you like the books you will likely enjoy this a lot.
 

Brian G Turner

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Racial Variety in the Two Rivers makes no sense.
So the Two Rivers has a notably diverse cast: with a variety of people looking like a modern urban city population. I found this really disconnecting because a major plot point in the novel is that Rand stood out from everybody else
I'm really enjoying the diversity, and it makes more sense to me for a white red-head male to stand out - as opposed to the books where Rand was effectively a 6ft black guy living among 5ft white people, and no one noticed a difference! :) I sometimes wonder if Terry Pratchett's Corporal Carrot - the giant of a man raised by dwarves, who thinks he's a dwarf - is a play on this.
 

svalbard

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A first for me in that the show is better than the books.

I'm really enjoying the diversity, and it makes more sense to me for a white red-head male to stand out - as opposed to the books where Rand was effectively a 6ft black guy living among 5ft white people, and no one noticed a difference! :) I sometimes wonder if Terry Pratchett's Corporal Carrot - the giant of a man raised by dwarves, who thinks he's a dwarf - is a play on this.
Was Rand black in the books? Not that is matters if he was. I was fairly bored by the whole thing by the time they got to the Aiel Waste(rip off of Fremen anyone).
 

Stephen Palmer

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I've watched all of series 1, and the first two episodes of series 2. I didn't much care for the first series; it was just about watchable and at the time there wasn't anything else on. The first two episodes of the new second series however are so bad me and Nicci have decided not to watch any more. Just terrible. Confusing plots, poor dialogue, endless clichés... Really grim. Also, it seemed to me that the acting in the new series is worse. Especially the dark haired wizard lady and her samurai style aide. And the red blond woman. Aaaargh! Also... cultural appropriation? If not, it's right on the line.
When the books came out, they were recognised as a particularly blatant Tolkien rip-off. Well, you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear...
 

Bren G

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I've never read the books but took a look at the series. I found it bland and uninteresting. Awfulness of dialogue particularly stood out. Characters were generally unconvincing. Storyline cliched (chosen one, monsters, magic, quest/journey). Not much else to say about it really.
I'm with you @Christine Wheelwright 100%. I have read the series at least 3x over the years and was so looking forward to this. Very poor writing and character development. I gave up four episodes in but I should've trusted my gut after the first 15 minutes and abandon it. So sad.
 

Brian G Turner

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A few more episodes in and we're still enjoying this. Loving some of the lines in this, and finding the TV show so much more interesting than when I originally read the first book. Either something didn't come through to me from the writing, or the producers have really upped everything to make it more clear.

And I love, love, love the diversity in this - it makes the story look really global. As opposed to be just a group of provincials moving among other provincials, as fantasy can inevitably appear if not careful.
 

SilentRoamer

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@Brian G Turner I think this second season is a lot stronger than the first. Ive put some of my issues with the show aside - I suppose these are my issues as a purist. I want the characters to match my head canon - or at the very least their description in the books.

I disagree with you @Brian G Turner about the way the diversity is being presented is a positive, in that I want to see diversity between the individual racia and cultural groups, not within each individual culture. I think Jordan went to great efforts to ensure racial and cultural differences between the people in his world. However it's a moot point at this stage and not one I am going to let affect my enjoyment of the show - im also not completely closed off to the idea that other areas of the world were much more racially diverse within their own cultures. Except I wouldn't apply this to two groups of people - the Aiel and the Two Rivers folk, mostly due to their extreme isolation. But again, its not something I want to get hung up on - but to give en example, the GoT films shot in Morroco all to me appear a much stronger cohesive people because of the way they filmed it (using local extras).

So I think this second season is much stronger, even though it deviates more. Here are some of my thoughts:

Positives
- I think combining Asmodean teaching into Logain is a clever way to do things.
- I am impressed with the brutality of the Seanchan (well you get what I mean) and I really like those A'dam designs.
- I think Egwene has been phenomenal, at this point she is a stand out from the show for me, the Seanchan episode her acting was fantastic.
- The new Matt I have barely noticed him being a new Matt. No complaints so far.
- Lenfear has been great so far, her intentions are ambiguous and her motives are her own. Her and Ishy have always been my favourites.

Negatives
- Lanfear being basically immortal, I get it is probably to show the Dark Lord of the Grave and power over souls and might be a setup to introduce Balefire, but I really really didn't like it.
- Perrin - I don't like how they are showing his power, or how the show is associating the Wolves with the Dark. I'll be honest, I don't like the actor, he always appears startled and I don't think he is as good as much of the rest of the cast.

Overall though the second season has left me much more excited to see each new episode and the changes appear to be in order to expedite the story.
 

SilentRoamer

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I'm really enjoying the diversity, and it makes more sense to me for a white red-head male to stand out - as opposed to the books where Rand was effectively a 6ft black guy living among 5ft white people, and no one noticed a difference! :) I sometimes wonder if Terry Pratchett's Corporal Carrot - the giant of a man raised by dwarves, who thinks he's a dwarf - is a play on this.

Its funny how everyone thinks hes Aiel as soon as he leaves the Two Rivers. :LOL:

I imagine the AoL would have been racially diverse because of the ease of travel and I will be totally honest I have no idea what happens to a racially diverse world if suddenly the entire world is upheaved and all forms of instant world travel are replaced by horses for the next 3.5k years. (No more cars or planes, no more Skimming or Travelling, and no more of the Ways which was the predominant form of transport during the AoL). I mean the WoT world is fundamentally different as well - I'm pretty sure Robert Jordan stated that the Sun in Randland will never burn out because of the cyclical nature of the Wheel. :LOL:
 
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SilentRoamer

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A first for me in that the show is better than the books.


Was Rand black in the books? Not that is matters if he was. I was fairly bored by the whole thing by the time they got to the Aiel Waste(rip off of Fremen anyone).

No Rand wasn't black. Rand was descendant of an Aiel father and a Wetlander mother. He was significantly taller than the other Two Rivers folk, singificantly lighter skinned and also red headed. The rest of the Two Rivers folk are darker skinned, with brown hair and eyes being predominant. Rand stands out like a sore thumb from the rest of the villagers because he is physically so different (Tam finding him and bringing him back to Emonds Fields which has been isolated for thousands of years since the fall of manatheren and seen very little migration because of its location in the misty mountains.

Its great to see people enjoying Wheel of Time even if it is in a different medium! :)
 

Brian G Turner

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He was significantly taller than the other Two Rivers folk, singificantly lighter skinned and also red headed.
Ah, my bad - for some reason I'd thought he'd been described in the books as "swarthy" with the rest of the Two Rivers folks being default white Europeans, and described as smaller as well.
 

SilentRoamer

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Ah, my bad - for some reason I'd thought he'd been described in the books as "swarthy" with the rest of the Two Rivers folks being default white Europeans, and described as smaller as well.

No worries. Yeah its quite odd when you consider that the Aiel who live in the most inhospitable desert in the world are pale gingers.

Yeah the Two Rivers folk are generally darker than Rand, in the series I think Egwene is the closest match to how they are described. You are right in that the Two Rivers folk (who are Andoran even if they don't really recognise their rule) are based on the Europeans (more specifically the English) in terms of culture.

Theres some really interesting real world influences in the culture which Jordan has expounded on - it was ont of the things I always loved about the series.

The Shienar and Malkieri draw from Japanese culture, as just one example of many. Wheel of Time world is varied and interesting.
 

Brian G Turner

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Really enjoyed Season 2, and ended up reading up on wotseries.com to see what had changed from the books.

I have to admit, I'm really surprised - I read book one years ago and remember not thinking much of it, but the TV series has really brought it to life something wonderful, especially the characters, so I can really see myself going back to revisit this series.
 

BAYLOR

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Really enjoyed Season 2, and ended up reading up on wotseries.com to see what had changed from the books.

I have to admit, I'm really surprised - I read book one years ago and remember not thinking much of it, but the TV series has really brought it to life something wonderful, especially the characters, so I can really see myself going back to revisit this series.
I wonder if ti will ever come out on dvd.
 

Swank

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So the Two Rivers has a notably diverse cast: with a variety of people looking like a modern urban city population.
Why should anyone care?

Add this to every other plot hole, anachronism and misplaced contemporary dialogue that makes up EVERY sff production ever. You somehow overlook all that other stuff, but you want to get wrapped up in questions of race? In the reality of 21st century media production?

Frankly, the only legitimate way to make stories like this or Dune both equitable and realistic is to not hire a single white actor.
 

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