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You've hit the nail on the head with so much of this, but the inefficiency of conversation is a *huge* issue!
Rand had the second most screen time of any character, behind Moiraine... and yet, he had almost no character development, and basically no character at all until he was literally revealed to be the Dragon Reborn. This show was unfortunately a masterclass in achieving very little with a lot of effort
Also, the fact Perrin could almost be completely edited out is both a) insane and b) sadly unsurprising.
Number 4 is a big one for me. Characters standing still and reciting their lines like a play, completely removes any emotion and tension that *could* have been there. The one interaction scene that I thought was actually decent was Nynaeve and Lan in episode 3, when she’s gathering plants and using her tools; she’s actually doing something physical and interacting with the environment in a character-relevant way. Actually, this episode did pretty well in this area overall, with the Dana stuff too, showing her in the kitchen putting old beer and food into the soup pot. But only a few of these good conversation moments stand out to me, the rest were so dull and static.
There's just so much... staring and silence in the dialogue it was starting to freak me out. WOT is full of talking, talking, doing things, taking, doing more things, and details details details all weaved together. It felt in the show like the writers couldn't trust the characters to multitask (or worse, the audience to pick up on more than one thing at a time) so the distilled it into small, empty sentences with barely any content.
The worst scene for me was when Lan and Nynaeve banged in his room. It was just... them staring and slowly approaching each other and it stretched on foreeever for a small payoff. You could cut this scene by 4/5ths and give the time to some exposition or actual character building.
That's what felt the worst to me is that they didn't count on the audience to remember anything that the characters said so they had to \*nudge nudge\* the audience. Unfortunately it made for dialogue scenes that you wish you could skip over. A bit too much spoon feeding.
>It felt in the show like the writers couldn't trust the characters to multitask (or worse, the audience to pick up on more than one thing at a time)
I think this is just us seeing the absolute stretched limits of the talentless screen writers. I think that you put more thought into your comment than they did when they did across the entirety of the first season. How are they going to come up with "Hey maybe they could be helping Tam unpack some casks of brandy while having this conversation." when they can't even follow the "show don't tell" rule.
I mean, since it was OOC for both of them, and added nothing it should have been cut but yeah. It was filmed in a flat and amateurish way. Reminded me of a daytime soap.
I was reading the live thread and people loved that scene…. I don’t get it I found it so hard to watch! Even their inclusion of Lan’s lines directly from the book just didn’t work in context of all that stilted awkward silence. Which is frustrating because I waiting for straight book dialogue and they chose that of all things.
There's a scene in episode one where Mistress al'Vere asks Egwene and Rand to finish cleaning up and Bran is just standing in the background and literally exits stage left as soon as her lines are done.
It's so small but immediately felt like poor stage performance.
Who has a better story than Bran?
> That little bit where he greets Egwene after she survives the attempted murder by cliff tossing was just so sad and awkward.
The editing did him dirty too; Egwene's obviously supposed to interrupt him with that hug but the editing makes him just awkwardly trail off for no reason.
They do the same thing to Tam and Bran later in the episode.
That's just acting. He's trying to hide being a darkfriend^1
^1 which he obviously is because he is not a fat guy
And he should've been fatter. To be honest, it makes the show seem like it's suffering of "blot out the men" syndrome. And I say that as a woman. Even feminists strive for balance, not women being the supreme power over men.
Admittedly, there is a bit of women supremacy or misandry in the books, but mostly that is a result of the men Aes Sedai going mad and destroying the world. The Wheel of Time is largely a matriarchal world, at least in the beginning of the books.
The misandry is a point in the books. The Dark One knocked everything out of balance, and the Light is trying to restore it.
It's not one of the bigger issues overall, but no character suffers more in this adaption's translation than Bran al'Vere. The practical, portly mayor of Emond's Field barely even registers as a named character. He really does seem sad, in a literal sense.
He's a [BOOKS]>!Gray Man!<.
The stand-out example is Valda interrogating them on the road. And yes, Dana making soup from customers' leftovers and generally running the bar **while talking** (*gasp*, multitasking! It's witchcraft!).
The Dana bar/kitchen scene was such a small moment but it was actually a wonderfully competant bit of worldbuilding… it tells you that this town is dirt poor and the customers are not concerned with quality of their food. It *feels* so different from the Winespring. And she was a fantastic actress too.
If only they had tried to weave bits of worldbuilding like that into all the other areas.
right little moments like that are actually super important. they subtly help tell the story and set the scene.
Unsurprisingly, Ep 3 is my favorite episode and in my assessment, has the strongest writing, directing, acting, character and plot development, and cinematography. Ep 4 gets all the kudos but I think is highly overrated (and has an atrocious battle scene and suffers from ENDLESS boring dialog syndrome).
>an atrocious battle scene
I'll have to see when it's released but your comment about cutting down the ep4 battle reminds me of how I thought practically eliminating the ep1 battle would have saved so much time and money while working well. The original prologue could have been added for the "We want a big action hook".
I had a big smile on my face during that part. It was so nice to see Rand and Mat chill in the world.
2 and 3 in my opinion are absolutely the best
That scene was one of the few where the world actually felt lived in.
Almost every other setting feels like a brand new film scene. Including everyone's clothing. The static dialogue only reinforces that
Speaking of multi tasking... Episode 7 cold open! 😅
I started watching Black Sails recently and this stood out so much to me.
Any scene with lots of talking, a character is doing something. Skinning eels for dinner, whittling, sorting out gems, etc.
It makes the scenes feel so alive.
Working my way through that show right now too. Definitely has its flaws and it’s no early GoT, but pretty much every part of it is better than the WoT show. And Black Sails is produced by Michael Bay of all people…
> But only a few of these good conversation moments stand out to me, the rest were so dull and static.
Amazon would never let them do it today, but there is a reason that so many characters through the years smoke while having exposition dumps. It gives them something to do while also letting someone be chivalrous and gracious or rude. The books even have pipes but few studios will let good guys smoke anymore outside of period pieces.
I really enjoyed the Dana scene and couldn't figure out what made it stand out when everything else felt so hollow, but this is exactly it! Amazing that the difference was so noticeable, even without actively looking for it.
It also helped that she was a really good actress
I know different episodes have different writers (and that Rafe wrote 1 and 8, the most hated episodes) but could different scenes be certain people's responsibilities?! Surely I'm not the only person that noticed some scenes felt like they were from entirely different tv shows.
No one *does* or *says* anything that *explains* who they are to the audience, and it's crushing.
It was like the difference between RJ describing people talking to eachother through actions, and BS going said, said, said. They said, and that's all they did.
Are you saying that you don't just stand in place and stare into the eyes of everyone you talk to? /s
Completely agree. Nothing seems real. People just stand or sit and talk. In Game of Thrones, people actually did stuff that real people do. Get up, pour wine, walk around, flick through a book, literally anything. In episode 4 or 5 of wheel of time I thought they'd hit a turning point, because during a conversation someone actually got up and poured some wine. That was the only episode that felt authentic to me and like these were real people. Then they literally never did anything even remotely similar for the rest of the episodes. The writing and direction in this show is baffling.
Gotta do the ol' walk n talk!
I still remember when there was a post on here with thousands of upvotes saying how the episode 4 battle scene was better than Helm’s Deep in Lord of the Rings. Lmfao. I genuinely felt like k was going crazy, I’m glad the hype train has slowed down. Y’all had me questioning my sanity/senses
A massive defense against negativity was already happening in this sub for months before the show even released. Took some time after the season was out for people to realize that disgruntled readers weren't just angry about skin tones and gender roles anymore, but an actual fumble at nearly every turn of the screen adaptation.
It looked like the finale of Role Models where all the larpers are hitting each other with Styrofoam swords
I remember that post - I started questioning my grip on reality when I saw how popular it was.
I was desperate to find a community that would engage in critical discussion of the show after episode 4 or 5. This community wasn't really openly discussing the show's flaws until episode 8 threw the failures of the previous episodes into a much harsher light.
I was just fresh off the disappointment of watching Foundation, which was an adaption of a sci-fi classic that suffered very similar problems, so I think I was just quicker to turn sour on the show (after desperately wanting to like it and grinning like a kid through episodes 1-3).
A normally critical friend of movies and series is really fighting hard to like that show. It is fun to watch.
It's a weird reversal of Wheel of Time because the most compelling content is the entirely original content - I wouldn't call it phenomenal, and it still doesn't really utilise the themes that made the original stories great, but at least it's interesting (and Lee Pace just owns the screen). The adapted content is just mangled beyond recognition.
This is why so many of us went to the Whitecloaks.
I was picturing what dumais Wells would look like with a similar directorial vision and shuddering with horror. Between the "larpers at large" battle in ep 4 and the "i watched a couple of YouTube videos on Massive so don't worry I got this" finale battle in episode 8, the show really does one of the linchpin of Jordans writing, the epic battles, incredibly dirty.
Game of thrones knew how to deal with the big book battles when you don't have the budget or the time (if that was the defence). You simply don't show it. You show the aftermath, or the characters reacting to it. Better to use your audiences imagination, which costs nothing, then make a half hearted attempt which looks lame (ep4) or awful (ep8).
There’s been a lot of shitting on the bad CGI, and flat colors, cheap looking costumes, etc. but I haven’t seen much criticism on the shaky cam they use during battles/tense moments. The shaky cam during the Emond’s field invasion, the E4 battle, and basically any scene with Trollocs is egregious imo. You can’t see what’s going on at all. I don’t think I got one clear shot on what the Trollocs actually look like.
Immediately after the first few eps dropped and I came on Reddit to commiserate there were people specifically raving about how well acted ~~Anakin~~ Rand was. Of all the things I thought someone who liked the show might say, that would have been last. It wasn't until I saw the editorial bent of the different subs that I realised I wasn't just losing my senses.
The love for Show Perrin blew my mind. Somehow they made book 1 Perrin even more of a dumb do nothing blockhead, and people were over the moon with it.
~~Anakin Geralt of Rivia~~
Rand's stupid heavy breathing voice style of acting killed all immersion for me.
You could hear his voice crack / voice change whenever he had lines of dialogue longer than 5-6 moody words.
It works when it's Geralt.
It doesn't work when it's some moody pre-teen villager.
The worst part is both Perrin AND Lan voiced their characters like that too.
Agreed across the board. My biggest issue is that the story in EOTW works. Its well paced and makes sense. This screenwriting just makes up its own story that doesn't really work and cuts out much of what makes the story unique to add new shitty filler for no real reason. Womens circle waterfall, Rand egwene fuckin, Perrin has a wife he kills, journey to Tar Valon for no reason, etc.
I want to like it. I just don't.
Exactly. They could have done so much better if they just didn’t try to make up so much of their own material. If you want to make your own new IP do it with something else please
That they didnt have Thom Merrilyn 1v1 a myrrdrall to let Rand and Matt get away. Motherfucking chills in the book. Motherfucker is like "fly you fools" and Leroy Jenkins himself throwing knives flying at that sumbitch. That you think he's dead and the later reveal was such a moment.
Wait I thought he does do this in the show? Not in exactly the same way and not to nearly the effect (got so sad for like 2 books every time they mentioned that cloak) but I thought that when they’re in the farmhouse and the fade attacks after Mat is puking dagger goo, Thom stays behind and fights it?
I more meant it just doesn't have the impact or meaning. Like that was one of the most memorable moments in the book. I may have missed it in the show. I struggled to care about a story based loosely on my favorite book series.
I know its whining, but I didnt want a new story loosely based around the wheel of time. Is it weird to want the story not to diverge wildly? Idk.
I totally know what you mean. Feels like they sullied a thing that’s rlly important to me. You’d think they’d look at (more) faithful, extremely successful fantasy adaptations like lord of the rings, Harry Potter, the earlier seasons of game of thrones ect and say “hey those guys made a shitload of money. Let’s do that” but no.
Other things like Elyas teaching Perrin about wolves, Lan teaching Rand the sword... I guess I just wanted the original version. Maybe it wouldn't work for TV. To me this new version doesn't either.
Uh what, that's in the show.
> My biggest issue is that the story in EOTW works. Its well paced and makes sense.
There are some things that would have made sense to change. I don't think anyone would argue with streamlining the flash-back flash-forward sequence with Rand and Mat travelling. Even Jordan would acknowledge that the jumble of stuff going on at the end of EOTW was confusing - that could have also been simplified.
But they didn't take a scalpel to the story and remove the parts that were confusing or could be combined with something else. They didn't just reorder things due to issues with casting otherwise. No, they took a *machete* to it and then added on some masking tape of their own scenes to try to put it back together.
I can handle cuts and reinterpretation. But like... why are you inventing new lame shit? Oh the dragon could be female? Except only Saidin is tainted. A powerful nontainted aes sedai dragon wouldn't be a problem. Its why they still male chanellers. Even introducing this just confuses the narrative. Madness and the taint is why this is a male issue. The dragon will not be female.
These are the credited writers for the series.
* Michael Clarkson: The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020) and See (2019) - Total Writing Credits: 3 episodes of TV
* Paul Clarkson: The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020) and See (2019) - Total Writing Credits: 3 episodes of TV
* Celine Song: Past Lives ((post-production) and Working in the Theatre (as self) - No writing experience
* Rafe Judkins: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013) and My Own Worst Enemy (2008) - 12 total episodes of TV
* Amanda Kate Shuman (3ep WoT): 12 episodes of TV
* Justine Juel Gillmer (1ep of WoT): 20 episodes of TV over a 20 year period
* Dave Hill (1ep of WoT): 4 episodes of Game of Thrones
* Katherine B. McKenna(1ep of WoT): 1 episode of TV
* Kameron Hood (1ep of WoT): 3 episodes of TV
That's the total experience of the WoT writers. Rafe Judkins never should have been handed this project, to begin with. His experience with writing and producing is slim, to say the best, and the team of writers he assembled barely has a series worth of experience between them all.
Why Amazon put these people in charge of this show is a different question but, as this entire post points out, the lack of quality in the writing for the show is there for everyone to see.
Unfortunately this is Amazon to a fucking T. They will *always* try to spend as little as possible on a project, to see what they can get away with, and to maximise their profits.
Amazon doesn't give a shit about the actual quality of *anything*, they just care about getting a quick bit of word of mouth, and making loads of money
> They will
> try to spend as little as possible on a project, to see what they can get away with, and to maximise their profits.
But this is a 90 mil project! (And they had to buy the rites to WOT which can't have been cheap either.) Not some cheapo original series they were going to throw a little bit of money at the wall and see if it sticks. The possibility of them loosing a lot of money means it would have been worth their while to get an experienced crew on board to make sure they got something presentable at the end of it.
Its worth remembering that 90million is pocket change to Amazon on the grand scheme of things; there were rumours they'd be spending a 100 million *an episode* on Lord of the Rings 2 - The Revenge, and rumours state that the Witcher Season 2 probably cost around $80-90m to make
The Witcher Season 2 wasn't great imo, but visual its miles better than WoT, and had almost the same budget to tell a much smaller scale story. The Wheel of Time is *huge*, it is a vast story to tell, so the fact that Amazon would spend as much on a whole season as they're spending on a single episode of LotR should tell you all you need to know!
Oh wow... That is a lite CV if ever I saw one... Guessing Amazon saw this like"all the material is there, a child couldn't fuck this up" well I guess this should be a lesson, always apply for the job, even if you think you are under qualified!
Why on earth did they hand a $90Mil project to a team that on the whole has so little experience in what they're expected to do. I mean, what went on in that decision process? With a budget like that, they shouldn't have had to cheap out on hiring mostly inexperienced staff. There has to be more to this story surely and no wonder it was such a mess. You'd think they'd at least have a really experienced person or two overseeing this. (Including overseeing Rafe.)
Because the only qualification that matters is that Rafe is sworn to their idealogical cause. It really is no different than in the books, where rich darkfriends will spend their wealth in service to the dark, profit doesn't matter. Amazon wanted agenda-pushing activist and that's Rafe.
I'll be honest, I glanced at Rafes credits when the series was first announced and misread Agents of SHIELD, as the TV show The Shield so was confused why he didn't do a better job consider how good The Shield was.
It all makes sense now. 🤦
After rewatching 3 seasons of Game of Thrones, watching Succession and Euphoria. I've really come to see how actually mediocre to sometimes very bad the writing for Wheel of Time was. I'm starting to think that might be the biggest problem with the show and the thing that will most likely never change. They can have a bigger budget, shinier CGI, better quality costumes and sets, but if the writing is still bad none of it will matter. Euphoria had me gripped to my seat, tearing up over a one hour conversation in a diner. No fancy CGI or sets or anything other than amazing writing and amazing performances. I hope WoT can reach that level but I see no indication it will.
Euphoria for SURE made me recently realize that a lot of shows I've been watching just have lazy, garbage writing. Euphoria makes you *feel* for the characters and understand their complexities in a way I actually haven't felt since GoT.
YES. This is the point I've been trying to make to people.
The show isn't 'bad'. In the grand scheme of shows, especially Sci-fi and fantasy there are much much worse writing examples. BUT, it deserves all the criticism it's getting for lazy writing and is nowhere near the top end of the TV writing. It's 'OK' but unless it gets new writers I'm concerned for its future.
the direction and cinematography in euphoria is also so superb and complements the writing. like episode 3 this season with the diegetic vs non diegetic meta narrative switching with lexi talking about her play and rue speaking voiceover as the omniscient narrator vs playing herself in lexi's imagination, all interwoven wih camera transitions that were so smooth you were never lost even though it was switching the pov back and forth so quickly. ugh. WoT just feels so amateur and clumsy
It really is such a well made show.
>don't channel in the Ways but you can channel to stop Machin Shin and to open the gateway
The reason to avoid channeling was to avoid drawing machin shin. If it's already there, you're way better off channeling to get it to leave or to leave yourself than to just sit there while it says mean things to you.
I just reread this portion of EotW, Moraine was extremely reluctant to channel because the taint of the Ways would taint the spell with uncertain repercussions. At the end as they're trying to break out I believe it was a light she created and instead of the clear blueish color that it normally would be it was a weak yellow, or something like that.
Well, the ways are presented pretty differently in the books. But even then, "unpredictable effects" is a lot better than "Machin Shin definitely gets to have fun with your bones".
Agreed but in the show Machin Shin doesn’t get to have fun with your bones either way, channeling or not (no sticks and stones, if you will?). It just says mean things (which can’t hurt me).
I thought that was one of the worst changes.
I disagree, the Meangirls Shin memes made it a worth while. Unlike them gutting Perrin storyline. That was unforgivable.
And she chucks her staff at that point, presumably because it is now stinks of the dark ones oily taint
It was the flame from her staff that she used to cut thru the waygate.
Iirc, wasn't the staff ruined in the process?
I was curious, and it was. Left it on the ground, charred, after saying the taint corrupts everything in that place.
In my head, I always assumed that her fire in the ways smelled like gasoline.
How do you know that you have to avoid channeling? It's never stated. I shouldn't need to have an intimate knowledge of the books to understand an arguably large plot point.
The story suffers greatly for it. On the one hand I need that knowledge to understand what's happening, then in the same breath that knowledge is thrown out the window and replaced by spectacle.
>? It's never stated
Are you sure? I'm pretty sure it was.
But you won't see me arguing that the show was well written.
I didn't mind at all they changed how the Waygates look, but why did they have to change to it being activated by Channeling? And still somehow Padan Fain had a key to the Ways.
But that begs the question, why is Machin Shin drawn to channeling if channeling also drives it away?
Maybe it's a moth to a flame situation, but imo it's a bit confusing if this animalistic force also "attacks" through psychological manipulation.
EDIT: discussion further down suggested only Nynaeve had the strength to force it away. I didn't really get that impression from the scene, and I think it creates more problems, but it is an explanation for Moiraine's lines about channeling in the ways.
The actual answer is that we don’t know if Machin Shin even is drawn to channeling.
Machin Shin is unexplained by the author in other works like the Companion, and in the series itself is very poorly understood.
It is believed by some, including Moiraine, that channeling attracts Machin Shin. However this is not reliably proven: the White Tower hasn’t done the necessary trials of repeatability since that would basically be human sacrifice. Much easier to try to shut down all the Waygates than study that contained within.
The most important thing to remember in WoT is that there is no Gandalf. While various people fill a similar role as mentor to the party, Gandalf is a reputable source of knowledge direct from the literal gods that created Middle Earth. There’s no equivalent authorial voice in the novels.
And in the Companion, where an authorial voice can be found on some elements that are left unclear in the novels, Machin Shin is left ambiguous. We don’t know what it is, much less what attracts it.
Machin Shin, as well as some other entities like Fades, can detect channeling. This lets them find and attack channelers. It doesn't mean they are invulnerable to the effects of a counterattack.
Flames are a good analogy: you could easily find someone in the dark if they were carrying a torch, but if you accosted them they could still burn you with it.
In my mind Moiraine doesn't know everything. She knows Machin Shin exists and is dangerous. She knows that it will be attracted to channeling.
She doesn't know you can use the power to keep it at bay. Better to just not channel until you are leaving.
I don't know, why does it just yell insecurities at you?
I've puzzled over what it must do to Trollocs...
"Hey, mangy mutt! You look _nothing_ like a wolf."
"You couldn't even kill a sheep, much less a sheepherder, _Narg_."
"Most Trollocs are afraid of deep water, but not puddles, you wuss!"
"You'll never be a myrddraal"
I'm really looking forward to this. I agree with many points that you raised.
Some thoughts on 9. I don't think that exposition dumps are automatically a bad thing. If we are talking about efficient storytelling, then often having someone just explain something to another character is incredibly efficient. But the caveat is that legwork needs to be done before hand to get the audience to want to hear the exposition.
To use an example I saw elsewhere in the thread, both the books and the show have a character exposit what the concept of 'ta'veren' is to one of the boys (but really to the audience)
However, when we get to that point in the book it is after Rand tells Loial about all the crazy things have have happened to him since winternight and especially in the weeks following the groups split in Shadar Logoth. Things that the audience got to experience through Rand's PoV. So when Loial responses with a possible explanation in the concept of 'ta'veren' both Rand and the audience WANT to hear it.
Compare that to the shows presentation of the concept. (and I only watched the season once so pardon me if I dont get it entirely right) Loial has just been stabbed and the other guards appear to be dead, and now Perrin appears to be in great danger. So what would Perrin and the audience want to hear from Fain at this point? I would argue that the first question that comes to mind is WHY Fain is there. (The Horn? To kill Loial? To capture Perrin?) Instead we get kind of an out of place big picture explanation of why the DO is interested in them and what a ta'veren is and something else about balance and maybe some hooks for S2. But the point being is that the setup didn't match the payoff. I wasn't particularly interested in that bit of information at the moment that it was presented.
Somewhere else on this point I replied on a thread listing 6 ways to dump exposition, only one of which is having one character stand and deliver a monolog. Your point is superbly well made and I think the show could have been more creative about it.
>The majority of dialogs are two-person conversations, shot in a basic shot-reverse shot style, with characters sitting in static positions. There is no motion or action in any conversation scene, characters don't interact with objects, the environment or each other, and barely change positions.
I'm not a picky consumer of media, so I didn't really notice this when I was watching. But after watching how other shows do dialogue, and then returning to WoT, it's so so painful :(
People who watch this show and think it is anywhere near well written must not pay much attention to how people interact in the real world.
Do we get to see this movie?? I had problems with the show that I struggled to pinpoint and this lights it up. I'm ignorant about tv/cinema workings so thank you for this write up.
I will post when it's done. Keep an eye on the sub. Thanks!
p.s. if you want to understand some technical aspects of the show (and to be transparent, mostly criticism), watch "Books and Bianca" and "Amy Stewart" on YouTube. They come from a writing and production perspective and comment on the show from that angle, it's fascinating to learn from.
This is a really great breakdown of what went wrong with the show and as a fellow filmmaker I noticed a lot of the same things but couldn’t put it into words as well as you have. I’m excited to see your cut!
What I fail to understand is WHY in gods name did the screenwriters fail to give the fans what they want: more time with Stepin the warder. This one solution could have completely satiated the hardcore fanbase and it could have easily been done by simply cutting unnecessary elements such as Perrin, rand, mat, Egwene and nynaeve and Lan and also moirane. Then we could have had far more badass fuel wieldy axe fights and hopefully more heartfelt monologues about what truly drives our beloved Stepin, who was taken far too soon
Every point is so well written and dead on to what the problems of the show were.
I feel like this should be sent to Amazon
I think this is a cool and good breakdown of the shows issues but have you read the entire series?
There are some things you are critiquing here, and removing, that are fairly crucial to later parts of the story, and honestly more true to the source material than some of the stuff left in. Are you treating this as a stand alone movie, or planning to do this for multiple seasons, because some of those things are slow burns that will come back to bite you.
Good point, bit I think OP is just looking at season 1 standalone for the show to improve it. Maybe they'll do season 2 and re-edit the season 1 movie depending on what changes. But that's a lot of work for fan service lol
Yes I've read the entire series and aware of which plot points and characters should be important. That's why it was so shocking to me when one of my reviewers pointed out that Min served no narrative purpose (the Rand birth could just as easily be part of the Dragonmount scene or one of his flashbacks).
Min validates that Rand is the Dragon reborn. Without Min Rand claiming to be the Dragon reborn and Moraine believing him is weak.
I agree with your analysis about the show, for me s1 was a big disappointment.
Eh, We aren't really given any reason to believe that Mins prophecies should be taken any more seriously than all the other prophecies moraine doesn't believe in the show.
As far as I remember, Min’s intro in TEOTW doesn’t serve much of a narrative purpose either. What do you think they should’ve done with her on the show? I don’t think it makes sense to have her give a big, detailed, super-clear explanation of what she’s seeing at that moment, or anything else that would serve a serious narrative purpose. I also think it makes no sense to try to introduce her in season 2 or 3.
Min’s intro serves the purpose of setting up several prophecies/omens for the story and the characters.
It was so satisfying to read as they happen / come to pass.
>“She says I see pieces of the Pattern.” Min gave a little laugh and shook her head. “Sounds too grand, to me. I just see things when I look at people, and sometimes I know what they mean. I look at a man and a woman who’ve never even talked to one another, and I know they’ll marry. And they do. That sort of thing. She wanted me to look at you. All of you together.”
>Rand shivered. “And what did you see?”
>“When you’re all in a group? Sparks swirling around you, thousands of them, and a big shadow, darker than midnight. It’s so strong, I almost wonder why everybody can’t see it. The sparks are trying to fill the shadow, and the shadow is trying to swallow the sparks.”
>She “shrugged. “You are all tied together in something dangerous, but I can’t make any more of it.”
>“All of us?” Rand muttered. “Egwene, too? But they weren’t after—I mean—”
>Min did not seem to notice his slip. “The girl? She’s part of it. And the gleeman. All of you. You’re in love with her.” He stared at her. “I can tell that even without seeing any images. She loves you, too, but she’s not for you, or you for her. Not the way you both want.”
>“What’s that supposed to mean?”
>“When I look at her, I see the same as when I look at . . . Mistress Alys. Other things, things I don’t understand, too, but I know what that means. She won’t refuse it.”
>“What do you see when you look at . . . the rest of us?”
>“All sorts of things,” Min said, with a grin as if she knew what he really wanted to ask. “The War . . . ah . . . Master Andra has seven ruined towers around his head, and a babe in a cradle holding a sword, and. . . .” She shook her head. “Men like him—you understand?—always have so many images they crowd one another. The strongest images around the gleeman are a man—not him—juggling fire, and the White Tower, and that doesn’t make any sense at all for a man. The strongest things I see about the big, curly-haired fellow are a wolf, and a broken crown, and trees flowering all around him. And the other one—a red eagle, an eye on a balance scale, a dagger with a ruby, a horn, and a laughing face. There are other things, but you see what I mean. This time I can’t make up or down out of any of it.” She waited then, still grinning, until he finally cleared his throat and asked.
>“What about me?”
>Her grin stopped just short of outright laughter. “The same kind of things as the rest. A sword that isn’t a sword, a golden crown of laurel leaves, a beggar’s staff, you pouring water on sand, a bloody hand and a white-hot iron, three women standing over a funeral bier with you on it, black rock wet with blood—”
>“Most of all, I see lightning around you, some striking at you, some coming out of you. I don’t know what any of it means, except for one thing. You and I will meet again.” She gave him a quizzical look, as if she did not understand that either.”
- Excerpt From _The Eye of the World_, Jordan, Robert.
Damn did RJ plan the Mat eye thing so early?
He planned SO MUCH STUFF, SO EARLY. The king of foreshadowing. He also famously wrote the last scene before he finished the first book.
The way it all fits together over fourteen books to me is amazing, and gets me everytime I read through the series. In particular how he executes on the prophecies in later books.
Happy to hear you point out some of the critical things, I'm always open to reconsidering.
My primary aim is to tell a good, tight story in the span of a movie. My secondary aim is to do this again for Season 2. If I need to re-edit movie 1 to better fit into movie 2, that's a problem for later. But based on what I've cut, I think there is enough context that shouldn't leave big gaps.
Let me know what concerns you most, I'll take a look at it.
Curious if you can you answer his question though, have you read the series and did you use that as a lens for some of your critique? Because small things like Min being unimportant make sense in a vacuum, but if you just remove her then you're screwed down the road.
but also love your post, great write up!
Yes I have and I explain the Min point in a threaded reply below.
I agree that book Min is important later, but show Min didn't do anything that would be worth keeping. There was no foreshadowing of visions for later, no real chemistry between her and Rand, and her importance to Moraine (to set up being in TV later) wasn't setup either.
This right here. And yes I've read the whole series, that's also WHY it was so shocking to me when one of my reviewers pointed out that you could remove Min completely and just put her flashback scenes of Tam into Rand's flashbacks or into the Blood Snow, and you wouldn't miss her AT ALL in the episode.
I agree with OP. Min could have been introduced sooner as she was in the books. It would have been better if she had more thoughtful foreshadowing. I honestly suspect Min won't be important. The actress is in her 30s vs rand early 20's. I don't think she is being set up to be a major love interest. She is portrayed as kind of a world weary drunk not a prescient tom boy with a flirty sarcastic personality. I wouldn't be shocked if they write her out and at best she is a guest spot in some later season.
Well, if you cut the Manetheran song then I'd say you've missed the heart of WoT. I won't say its a tightly packed scene that serves the plot but its the best scene in the whole show. More importantly, the lore and history in WoT aren't just set dressing, they're central to the big themes and several character arcs.
It is one of the best scenes in the entire show (I'd argue Thom/Mat at the Aielman in the cage is the best) and I fought off two of my reviewers to keep it in. It's a hill I will die on. But that doesn't mean that it's narratively efficient. We don't see any consequence of "the Old Blood running deep", we don't see the EF4 gaining an appreciation for their heritage, heck we don't even see them gaining a new attitude towards Moiraine as a result of her opening up a little. This is what I mean by the writing being narratively inefficient.
I think people keep missing the point of your critiques. You are saying that scenes like the Manatheren scene have no pay off so you cut them. Or that Mat, Perrin, and Lan could be cut without really changing anything.
What people are taking that as is that the show should never of had those things.
What I believe you are saying is that the show did a terrible job of utilizing these things or involving them in a meaningful, plot driven way. You can have those elements in the show, they just needed to be written better.
This post right here 👆🏾 You get me. I also didn't say which of the scenes I cut (Manetheren is DEFINITELY in, I had to fight two of my reviewers to keep it). However Manetheren is terribly inefficient narratively. None of our characters display the Old Blood later in the season, none of them show an appreciation for their heritage, and none of them change their attitude towards Moiraine after she shows them a compassionate side. The show squandered the opportunity to build plot through character (and in other scenes, character through plot).
Compare the show’s version of mentioning Manetheren vs the book. In the show it comes off as a throwaway scene tossed in to give book readers an Easter egg to latch onto. Nothing else comes from it. No scene of Mat speaking the old tongue. Which I have to admit I was surprised they cut since that would help feed into the “who is the dragon” intrigue they wanted to setup.
In the books Moiranne tells the story to the villagers who had gathered with torches and pitchforks to kick her out of town. She does it to diffuse the situation and to shame them. The villagers come to their senses and a few call out Cenn for egging it on. IIRC Bran and Abel start pointing out who she healed, how they helped save the town, etc. IMO they should have adapted this scene instead. It shows off more of Moiranne’s wisdom, let’s her show off some power, and helps to world build by showing a common persons reaction to Trollocs. One thing that bugged me in the show is that Winternight wasn’t given anytime to breath. Just straight from the town almost being destroyed to “adventure time”.
Thanks for the well written post OP. It’s spells out a good number of things that bugged me about the show. So much of the pacing, cinematography, set design, etc. just felt like I was watching a.big budget B movie (or bug budget CW show).
I couldn't agree more. When the scene popped up in the show I was baffled they hadn't used it after the Winternight attack. Imagine panning into close ups of each of the women we just watched take down a Trolloc as they hear the story.
It also helps set the world by showing how much people distrust aes Sedai that they’re banding together to kick her out of town for no apparent reason. It would help make rands mistrust if her make more sense later.
FINALLY someone who gets it.
Just because OP (and others) say something's badly done, doesn't mean they think it shouldn't have been done.
“Kill your darlings” is all about getting rid of good ideas, even your favorite ideas, because it doesn’t serve the story. Saying a scene or idea isn’t working doesn’t mean the editor isn’t a fan of the scene or doesn’t like the concept. People who only watch media, instead of also creating it, might not understand this as much as creators do, so it makes sense a lot of people would have that view.
It's also ridiculous. I get that people like it, but if one considers how that song would have survived in the Two Rivers without the meaning of it... If the survivors of Manetheren didn't speak of Manetheren because it was too painful a memory then there's no reason the song would have come to be/become popular in the Two Rivers. So for them to not know the meaning of the song it'd have to have been forgotten in the Two Rivers and then come back there via outsiders, except none of the outsiders explained the meaning of it. And yet it's apparently such a popular song that these kids choose to start singing this dirge while on the road.
It's a scene where the writers decided they wanted a song and didn't bother about motivations. And the worst part is that the scene in which it appears in the book it's pulling double duty. We get the Two Rivers folk lashing out at Aes Sedai and then we get this story as a means of not only worldbuilding and foreshadowing, but also it diffuses the situation and shows that while they don't trust Aes Sedai, they're good people when it comes down to it.
I've got some horrible things to tell you about "ring around a rosey"...
Also, Thom gives us a fairly good tip on why that particular song may have lasted when the history itself did not.
With regard to number 5. The walk to the eye from fal dara through the blight was way too short. You don't wanna channel in the ways because it gets machin chins attention. After egwene channels by the fire it's too late. Channel away. Not how it works in the books exactly but that doesn't matter. Nyneave only keeps it away with raw power. If they didn't have a way out for another couple second they would have been done for.
you can't sleep in the blight cuz nature will try to consume you and creatures could find you, but wasn't moiraine on watch while rand took a nap? Of course you can rest for short periods if someone is keeping guard. How it works in the books doesn't matter a whole lot but there they camp for a whole night in the blight.
When logains people attack the warder camp Liandrin says incredulously that what chance could they have against 7 sisters. So you are right. And they had no chance. It got a little messy because of Logains escape but they didn't really have much of an issue dealing with the men. One Aes Sedai got a couple arrows in her but she was healed in a shot shortly after, then Alanna finished the battle all on her own so the rest could go help with logain. So yeah, not really an issue.
5 sisters could stop the horde because they were linked, and Nyneave was in the link. The show made it pretty clear that she is significantly stronger than any current Aes Sedai.
Even if Nynaeve is powerful she’s untrained, as is Egwene, and these early successes with their powers are making me wonder why training is even necessary, if they can do what’s required. There were many more interesting ways that link scene could have gone. Like what if Nynaeve burnt out the others? Then you’d establish why she’d need training, and remind the audience of her power level. (Maybe she heals Egwene idk. Just something a little more forward thinking than what we got.)
Hi OP. I'm late and Reddit makes it hard to have good conversation over that, but I at least wanted to highlight the main points I had about your post, even if most of it has already been said one way or another.
Overall, I agree with a lot of what you wrote. More than that, I find your post well written and constructive, and I applaud your initiative for analyzing thoroughly and attempting a whole edit. Maybe you have had a formation or expertise in art, or a particular interest in it? I am just a casual media enjoyer, and a WoT fan. Formulating a response, and actually recording myself for a good 45 minutes (I ramble a lot), I thought that must be a typical director vs editor dispute. *Remove that! No, keep it in!* One thing to keep in mind, but you probably did, is that watching a show once (the consumer way), and re-watching it 10 times (the analysis and production way) leave most likely quite a different impression. Just like WoT is better watched twice, it probably suffers from being watched ten times.
The main point in your arguments is efficiency. That's fine, and that's probably quite relevant to a TV show, even more so with a movie, than a series of books. But efficiency feels like a weird metric when we are discussing storytelling. That's probably not the variable you are trying to maximize, even if it can be relevant and defining. Many things are superfluous in the books and in the show, but they participate in that world building you mention, even when they are completely off track from the plot. Wheel of Time is a particular example of that, as are other epics. You're not trying to go from point A to point B, you're trying to tell a tale, to work your audience's imagination.
Contrary to a lot of stories, Wheel of Time, in my opinion, makes a point of showing that character progression and change in general are not easy or quick. It takes time, several attempts, a lot of events, for major changes to occur and stay. A good example is Rand who has a somewhat simple journey in his resolve and relation to his duty, meaning you could sum it up in a few sentences, yet it takes something from like book 5 to book 12 to actually happen. So that should put in perspective the need to have all these inefficiencies, contradictions, tangents.
Some of your examples are not the best, for me: Amalisa and Loial are not really useful, while Rand/Egwene, Lan and Min are major. Some points are kind of debatable, based on the books, like the Ways, while others are quite relevant, like missing on the omnipresent terror and the meaning of the Dragon.
As for your conclusion, yes I believe screenwriting was not the best. I can't really pinpoint what annoys me in the show except for quite a few things in episode 8, overall I loved the show. The issue isn't the acting, it's not the music, it's probably not the cinematography, it's definitely not the actual story, but it's probably at least in part the actual writing for the show and dialogues to some degree.
I'll stop before I go on for too long. Good post!
Thanks for your thoughtful response, I appreciate it! I agree I didn't always pick the best examples, but that doesn't mean there aren't other better examples to pick (like you mentioned) so my general points I believe are still valid. When I say efficiency, I don't mean skip the character development, I mean leverage the character development to drive the world building to drive the plot to drive the...on and on in a virtuous cycle. The inefficiency of the show isn't in having character moments, it's in not leveraging the character moments to build the world or advance the plot in a complimentary scene later in the episode/season.
I will consider what you've posted in my next review cycle this week, and see if I need to close any gaps I've created through too much editing.
>8. Several characters are completely superfluous to the story.
The fact that you could tell (more or less) the same story without Rand and Perrin makes me sad.
I can't wait to watch it. I'll just have to carve 4 hours out of a Saturday sometime.
Painful how true these things are.
Strategically I suspect the show has a leadership issue. The main showrunner directed two episodes and they are the worst reviewed episodes. The guy can't make a good episode, so how can he lead the show?
I think he just doesn't know how important the treatment/screenplay is. Trusting a good book will equal a good show.
TV shows are super complex and they need back up plans written all over the place. Some shows can take impute from cast, some cannot.
Hard disagree on #8 - - Perrin is the reason they could escape the camp-- the wolves came for him. (Also I think Perrin was the reason Egwene was even still alive, Valda would have killed her straight away.) Not to mention a pretty important development -- Perrin saying aloud what happened during the Trolloc attack. Not sure how he'd have been pushed into that if not for being tortured/trying to save a friend (convince Eg to let him die so she might live).
There is a lot of mistakes in S1 but let's be honest and accurate shall we?
> the Ways are a shortcut but they're 1 day away from the Eye whether through the Ways or over land
Because they crossed the 2 week or so distance from Tar Valon to the Borderlands in one day. When they were attacked they were sligthly closer to Fal'Dara than they were The Eye. And every second counted.
> don't channel in the Ways but you can channel to stop Machin Shin and to open the gateway
Because channeling in the ways DRAWS Machin Shin. So obviously Moiraine knew that channeling to leave would draw it, but that's fine because you are leaving. And it's not like Nynaeve could cause more harm by channeling more. It's like she could draw a "Second larger Machin Shin" If Machin Shin is there already it is "Safe" to channel
> First, Moiraine says they need to get to TV "for safety". But her first words to Nynaeve after arriving is not to leave her room as the Aes Sedai can't be trusted.
It's safety from Trollocs. That doesn't mean it's complete ultimate safety from every threat ever.
> Second, the need to go to the Eye to defeat the Great Lord Dark One. But Moiraine's first words to Him are that He can't escape his prison without the Dragon (Rand)'s help, so why bring the Dragon to the Eye in the first place?
Because he cannot escape IN THAT MOMENT. But he will be able to escape later. This is known and mentioned in the show. Siuan says she has a vision he is weak, the prophecy says he will escape later. This is not a contradiction.
Channelling in the ways is also distorted. They mention it in the books. It feels tainted and twisted.
However if the alternative is being ripped into bloody shreds by the machin shin i think its a reasonable trade off.
>Because they crossed the 2 week or so distance from Tar Valon to the Borderlands in one day. When they were attacked they were sligthly closer to Fal'Dara than they were The Eye. And every second counted.
No, that's not the non-accurate part. When they're in the Ways, they say it's another day's journey to the Eye, but when they exit in Fal Dara, it's still a day away. That's the inaccuracy.
That just sounds like standard project management.
Only if you make the mistake of viewing the Ways as a linear pathway trough the lands. Even in the books its nebulous, and do not map onto the world 1-1. and in the Show version for all we know the gateway out to Tear or Illian is closer to the gateway to Fal Dara than The Eye is.
Yeah, if the Ways made sense you could just walk them with a sense of direction. The complex guidings are there because it’s an MC Escher painting in there.
Exactly. It's even worse in the books than in the shows. In the books there are even islands over islands
IIRC correctly in the book the Ways even reminds Rand of the weird dreams he’s being having. Which could have been a bit tricky for the show visually to distinguish weird dreams from weird reality.
Nah man, you wrote all that up just to cover up you are sexist. /s
Removes main character, story flows better = my mind officially blown lmao
Of the EF5, Rand is the least developed Dragon candidate in the narrative of the show, until the sudden flashback reveal in Ep 7. It's a bit weird to do a setup and payoff like that.
Thank you for doing this.
This is the best summary of the show I've seen!
You're doing the Lights work, friend.
You've summed up a lot of my essential complaints about the writing of the show from a writers perspective, but there is no way I could have forced myself to go through it line by line to give this kind of a detailed breakdown.
I dont even want to think about how many times you had to watch that dumb ass Lan/Moiraine scene.
Really interesting discussions here. My only 'original' thought is that I'm getting flashbacks to watching the first few episodes of *The Book of Boba Fett* recently -- just a lot of very slow, static dialogue scenes, and a sense that a whole lot more storytelling could be crammed (quite reasonably) into the same running time.
This was especially the case from Ep 4-8. The dialog and movement is very very slowly paced and eats up a lot of time.
I think the problem is that the show does a bad job of worldbuilding.
A lot of the problems and things that didn't make sense can be reasoned out and explained somewhat with book knowledge.
For example, the 7 sisters having trouble against an army while non-sisters being able to wipe out a Trolloc horde. That could have been mitigated a lot if they had done a better job of explaining the three oaths. When they see Logain's army, they could have had someone yell at Moraine to blow up the army from a mile away. Then they could have had a quick line about how Aes Sedai can't use the One Power as a weapon except in the last extreme defense of her life, her Warder, or other Aes Sedai. They could have done a better job of emphasizing how the Aes Sedai had to get into the fight and use more precision to avoid hurting people on their own side. The fight against the Trollocs would have been contrasted with the One Power being used indiscriminately at long range without the need for precision.
Oh wow, that's a good breakdown, thanks. Not sure if I can deal with trying to watch the show again even if heavily edited, but I can appreciate what you've tried to do to improve it.
Thanks for this post. I haven’t watched the show yet because I’m too scared too lol. I look forward to your fan edit. May you always find water and shade!
Thanks! I'm gonna need some more time to do the hard work of ironing out wrinkles in close to 50 shots, it's gonna be painful!
May peace favor your sword.
Out of curiosity, I'd like to hear what 'immemorable' moments that you'd personally choose to cut without impacting the plot, characterization, and/or worldbuilding. Quite frankly, while I know it's a relatively low bar, absolutely everything in the show is worldbuilding. If you cut something, that's less of the world than what you had before.
With that aside, I'd like to hear more about what scenes you'd specifically remove. Getting examples may help reaffirm your points.
None of the cuts are immemorable, I never said that. In fact they are some of the most beautiful, cinematic scenes in the entire season (as prioritized by the showrunners, which I stated). They also happen to have limited impact to the plot (often), or are narratively redundant with other scenes (sometimes), or otherwise narratively inefficient in the amount of time devoted to them in the length of an episode (very often).
For example, Lan's family scene is some of the strongest characterization in the season, but is EXTREMELY long in terms of screen time and very very slow in terms of pacing. There are shots of food being dished, hugs and greetings, we pause for Nynaeve to get caught spying and then another round of greetings etc. Door to door the scene takes many minutes. Meanwhile, we never see Lan (in the foreground, not Ep 1) battling Trollocs or fades or 5-on-1 vs humans - even Tam gets a better fight scene than Lan. We never showcase his prowess as a warder but devote long minutes to showcase his heritage. The balance show be on both.
I think of it like the slog - we basically stop the plot to fill in characterization and backstory, then get back to the plot. You can afford this in a literary work, but in a screen adaptation you need to do both, and great screenwriters can do both *at the same time*.
Also all that Lan stuff was in episode 7 which is in final act, is this really a good place for such characterizations. Those should all be done by now. We should be on the road and moving towards where our characters need to be for the climax.
So we spent half of episode 8 going places.
I think you honed in on a problem I had with the show: my favorite scenes were irrelevant to the story. The death and funeral are beautifully shot and incredible pieces of film...in a vacuum. However, they *only* add characterization and take up valuable screen real estate for a fairly dense plot. It's especially jarring when it seemed like the first two episodes were so focused on getting us out of EF and through SL. Yet, the show could have lingered in EF to set up who these protagonists are and delve a little more into lore.
Similarly, I can understand skipping Caemlyn because Elayne isn't important till later, but wouldn't that also make sense for Min? Arguably they could skip Fal Dara and just go straight to the Eye as well. All to say, great post, really appreciate your insights!
I'll be interested to see your finished product! I am curious about your point 2, though. At this point, how can you be sure / where do you draw a line at setting up for future payoff? As one example, Stepan has no payoff now but his story will (theoretically) cause viewers to freak when >!Moraine 'dies'!< even though it seems pointless in terms of the season.
We see Stepin have an "out of body" moment during the battle when Karene dies - it would have been easy enough to show him rushing into battle in a frenzy, killing most of the army by himself before dying heroically buying our team time enough to get to the cave. That still delivers the same result without costing an episode. In the fan edit, we simply imply Stepin dies in the cave and move on. The Warder bond is established well enough with Lan and the masking, and regards \[BOOKS\]>!Moiraine's situation, she already set up that the bond can be passed on, so if they follow this Lan's arc ALREADY avoids the Stepin trap!<.
I'm interested to see this. Can't say I agree with all of your points as it seems you're committed to efficiency over having any meaningful content or character complexity. I'm certainly not an apologist for the show and am reticent to defend it, but it sounds like you've removed even some of the changes I liked (E.g. Lan is tremendously more interesting in the show than in the books - or at least as he's presented in EotW).
Additionally, I'd be curious to see how someone who hasn't read the books (or maybe even not seen the show) views your movie edit as it sounds as if this has been abridged for someone who probably already has a strong understanding of WoT plot-beats and is looking for a Cliff's Notes-esque visual aid.
>And yes, I will post here once the fan edit is ready. I feel like it needs just one more turn in the edit bay.
I really hope they don't just DMCA you. I know reddit hates to hear this, but fan edits are not fair use, and they only survive as long as the copyright owners aren't dicks about it and if they just look the other way. Crossing my fingers for you.
Yeah I've looked at r/fanedits and seems like it's usually okay. Let's see what happens, fingers crossed!
>**The showrunners prioritize their time for character "vignettes" and moments of spectacle, at the expense of plot progression** \- this is seen in the time allocated to the Women's Circle ceremony, Rand/Eg multiple times, Manetheren song, Lan's family, Warder camp, Stepin and funerals
With the exception of the women's circle (which seems like it got cut down a lot), I'd say these are some of the best scenes in the show! I thought the song was cool, and the scenes with Lan's family and the warder camp were really nice and sweet. Plus, those and the Steppin episode lay a lot of groundwork for some big stuff later, most notably Rand/Alanna, but also Nyneave/Lan and the Asha'man/Aes Sedai \[edit: and Elayne/Birgitte!\].
I think necessitating every moment to advance the plot would lose us a lot of good things people like about the books, all those slow character moments and mundane observations. I know they only have some much time with the show, but I think it'd be a shame to not have had a lot of the things you've cut here,
The problem is that the books can afford small asides in a way that a TV show can't. There are over 10,000 pages of Wheel of Time books, but if there's actually going to be eight seasons, that's only 64 hours of show. For contrast, the audiobooks are almost 50 hours per book.
A scene can be well acted and interesting and still be a tumour. What did it cost to spend an entire episode on a character whose wiki entry from the books is a couple of paragraphs? Routinely I've heard from my friends that don't read the books that they just don't give a shit about characters like Rand and Perrin, and it's *essential* to give those characters the time and presence to win the audience over.
I agree heartily! Those were some of the best beats and memorable scenes for the characters. Love the song!
Rafe is somewhere beating his chest as he mourns the slaughter of his show writers by this post
re: 5, channeling in The Ways
Machin Chin is the reason you shouldn't channel in the ways. Use of the One Power attracts it. But if it shows up, there's no longer a reason not to channel.
Great job putting your money where your mouth is and I applaud the efforts. Would love to see what you’ve madez
I feel like your assessment absolutely works to make the 1st season a better, more cohesive version of the story it tells about those events.
But I also feel like what's almost certainly going to have been lost in editing it down, is a considerable amount of effort invested in foreshadowing.
Foreshadowing is probably the one tool Robert Jordan employed most successfully, or at least it's near the top of the list. I think it would be an enormous mistake for the showrunners to not lean into that.
The reason I absolutely loved the first season is because I can draw clear lines to events yet to come and see how they're being setup now. That kind of foreshadowing pays huge dividends for the fans. It makes them feel as if they are a deeper, more integral part of the narrative.
Edit: If you want to Downvote me, go for it. I won't miss the karma. But what I'd really appreciate is a discussion. If you disagree with me, please share your reasons why, if you're so inclined.
This is super interesting, I'd like to understand what foreshadowing setups for later gets you most excited? For me, it's a balance of whether the time spent is well invested vs writing a coherent narrative of Season 1's arc.
Season 1 of most shows is about pulling people into the show's narrative and building investment. There's a secondary concern about building a strong enough following and viewership to ensure there's a 2nd season, and more beyond that.
This is a rarity. This is the 1st season of one of the most substantial, lengthy fantasy epics ever written, and it was renewed for a 2nd season prior to release.
I'm laying that groundwork to differentiate this show from most shows. Fans come into the 1st season already knowing that season 2 is happening, and they already know that there's material for at least 7-8 seasons, if not twice that. Most shows do not have either of those benefits, much less both.
So, the burden on this show is not as much about creating a fanbase and building enough investment that the ratings justify continuation. Rather, it's more about pulling back the curtain on some of the magic that's enchanted millions of book readers, so that the non-book readers can start to see what the fuss is about. But it also has to be recognizable to the book readers. However, there's a trick to that. There's evidence to show that people thoroughly invested in an IP will often watch something even when they don't like it. Sometimes they watch just to complain about it. But to Amazon, that distinction may not matter.
This isn't about the classic case of weekly television ratings. This is a long-term investment for Amazon. If they end after a few seasons, they guarantee almost no one is going to go out of their way to get PrimeVideo just for this, nor buy the inevitable gift sets or merchandising.
All of that is a lot of exposition and theorizing to say...it's far more important to the success of this show, compared to most shows, that fans experience a big pay-off for their effort and time investment. Successful foreshadowing is an excellent mechanism for delivering that pay-off.
So when we see things like:
* Impact of the Warder Bond.
* Repercussions from loss of the Warder Bond when the Aes Sedai dies.
* The possibility of a Warder Bond being removed by the Aes Sedai.
* Acknowledgment that Aes Sedai can burnout from pulling too much of the One Power.
* Mentioning an instance of one person pulling cataclysmic amounts of the One Power prior to their burnout
* People falling from The Ways, forever into a void.
And many other events...all tie directly to key milestones that we are very likely to see in the future, even with the need of reconfiguring the story to reduce it by 75% compared to the novels.
My real gripe with the way the story is told, it there is too much exposition dump.
We literally have 5 people from Two Rivers, who have never seen the wider world before. This is an easy win for story telling. We can learn and experience the world through their eyes. Through their perceptions, and emotions and their joy and sadness of seeing the bigger world for all its glory and darkness at times.
But a lot of the times it felt like they were just fine and nothing surprised them. They just took everything in their stride with a small hesitancy and then boom, totally fine not too many questions asked.
Loail in the books was a huge mystery and character of interest every where he went! In the show, meh initial shock by Rand and then he's just part of the background.
I congratulate you in this titanic effort going through this dumpster fire of a show trying to make it decent
I have said many times but your work and effort just highlight the truth.
The people behind this show are frauds, they are a bunch of incompetent hacks that should be fired immediately if Amazon has any hope to turn this into a decent product.
As fan of WoT and RJ it pains me to say but it won't be this time we will get the adaptation we want.
I just pray that in the future where this garbage is long forgotten we get competent people who actually like and know the books to do justice for the wheel of time.
Re-watching the series, I am noticing a lot of this. I was curious if it would feel different with longer scenes of the separate characters. There were a few extremely short scenes that felt out-of-place and pointless to transition to.
For example, the show is structured in a way to jump from one place to another:
[Rand & Matt for 10 minute scene] -> [Perrin & Egwene for 1 minute scene] -> [Rand & Matt for 1 minute scene] -> [Perrin & Egwene for 10 minute scene]
Id rather the scenes with Rand & Matt be just the full 11 minutes followed by Perrin & Egwene for 11 minutes. *scene times just for example*
I think Rand & Matt's journey from Shadar Logoth to Breen's Spring to Fade escape should have been one continuous episode.
Perrin & Egwene from Shadar Logoth to the Tuatha'an to White Cloaks escape should have been one continuous episode.
I didn't need to see so many transitions back to the other group just to stay up-to-date with their every little action. The cuts of Moraine just lying there wounded gave Lan and Nynaeve some development time, but it would have felt much better not constantly going back to them with no plot progression. All of that should have been isolated to the Logain episode alone.
I'd like to watch it cut this way someday, even with nothing removed.
> 7 full sisters can't stop a ragtag army but 5 non-sisters can stop a Trolloc horde
The 7 full sisters nuked the everloving fuck out of that army. One of the sisters was shot by a couple arrows, and they immediately healed her and had her back up and fighting. One Power OP please nerf. Things went wrong when the channeler stronger than any two of those sisters combined chose that moment to explode the sisters guarding him and evaporate his cage.
In Ep 1 we saw Moiraine solo a fist of Trollocs, so Nynaeve and Egwene's power and someone trained to use that power killing themselves to defeat an army seems reasonable. I do wish they had given that moment to Rand, and ep 8 was IMO the worst episode of the series, but I don't think there's any power scaling issues here, at least.
> In Ep 1 we saw Moiraine solo a fist of Trollocs, so Nynaeve and Egwene's power and someone trained to use that power killing themselves to defeat an army seems reasonable
A fist is between 100-200 trollocs and 1 fade. In the show we see Moraine fight sub 20 trollocs and no fade. In the books it was specified to be around 100 ish but the dynamics were different so we can't really compare. Either way, in both the show and the books Moraine uses an angreal (Sa'Angreal in the show) to amp up her power significantly. The army at the gap was between 10,000 to 20,000 trollocs (specified in the show) with hundreds of fades leading the charge. How does Moraine holding out against less than 1 fist of trollocs make it seem reasonable that 5 untrained "linked" women can wipe out the largest army (including charging fades) seen since the Trolloc wars?
> I don't think there's any power scaling issues here, at least.
I see an issue and as a viewer it completely messes with the power scaling.
Calling the vignettes “inefficient” writing is a bit of a stretch when it’s an obvious intentional deviation from the plot. Interesting storytelling isn’t about maximizing production efficiency.
You misunderstand the point about efficiency. The vignettes could have worked if they were better utilized. But, like the song, they were shown and forgotten about.
When every complaint from the showrunner about the difficulty of the adaptation was not having enough screentime, seeing areas where he and the team could have been more efficient with their storytelling does irk me a lot. I don't think that critique is much of a stretch.
There is not a discrepancy in the show regarding the distance to the Eye of the World. The Ways is a short cut that was going to take them from Tar Valon to the Eye in about one day. However they are unable to use the exit they wanted and used a closer one that took them to Fal Dara rather than into the Blight near the Eye. This resulted in them spending nearly a day in the Ways, and then another day going just the last portion of the trip from Fal Dara to the Eye. Clearly the journey from Tar Valon to the Eye without the Ways would have been at least several days.
Is it me or are many of these true of the books?
> The showrunners prioritize their time for character "vignettes" and moments of spectacle, at the expense of plot progression... In the fan edit, I was able to delete entire vignettes without affecting the story at all
> There is extreme inefficiency in the writing... Rand and Egwene argue about her becoming a Wisdom, break up, make up, then argue again about her becoming an Aes Sedai. This is simply inefficient storytelling, it renders the earlier argument narratively useless.
> Several characters are completely superfluous to the story
And this one's just on brand
> Moiraine says they need to get to TV "for safety". But her first words to Nynaeve after arriving is not to leave her room as the Aes Sedai can't be trusted.
Like, the show wasn't exceptional, episode 8 was bad, but the rest of it was fun and decent with some highlights (Zoe as Nynaeve, Valda, Alvaro Morte as Logain, Perrin with the Tinkers). Just weird to see a _Wheel of Time_ adaptation being criticized for not having enough "narrative efficiency"
I agree, but I think that the efficiency-based criticism as to be read in the context of a short TV season.
Or, that a lot of us have been sort of bargaining internally about the trade-offs necessary and/or justifiable to make this work.
Bingo! The story of the 14 books could have been told in 5 or 6 if narrative efficiency was what the Wheel of Time prioritized.
I do wish Amazon had given them 10 episodes instead of 8, the first season did feel rushed. I would have liked more expansive moments to let the world and the characters breathe.