The Wheel of Time on Amazon Prime

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Jedman67, Nov 18, 2021.

  1. LaxScrutiny

    LaxScrutiny Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2003
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    I too am loving the new material. It's being fit in seamlessly, and for me it's a gift to the fans of the books, in that it gives the story things I've always wanted to see.

    The show so far has been light on the social matriarchy in the books. I saw Egwene's forced bath at the hands of men as being a slap in the face to the Aes Sedai; whether Egwene was perceived as one or not, the men would certainly have felt that way.

    This scene, along with the torture of Perrin, would be a push for Egwene to fully embrace the Aes Sedai. While Nynaeve has reasons to feel hesitant and mistrustful (eg. the story of her Wisdom mentor as told in the first episode), Egwene is left with reasons to throw herself into it. This fits well with their characterizations later in the books...
    ...Egwene becoming Amyrlin of the White Tower faction and Nynaeve Amyrlin of the rebel Aes Sedai who sided with Rand.)

    I see what you mean about Loilal's appearance, but he's so damned lovable I'll forgive it. ;)
     
    Jedman67 likes this.
  2. DigificWriter

    DigificWriter Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 20, 2001
    Location:
    West Haven, UT, USA
    @Tirius
    The role of Elayne has been cast for Season 2, with British actress Ceara Coveney playing the character.

    With regards to Loial, Rafe said the following during his Reddit AMA:
    "Hammed is incredible. For his physical appearance, we really tried to find ways to do a nod to what is in the books while making him a character that doesn't require VFX for us.

    We just can't afford at our budget level to do a fully VFX core character well. So it would mean that he ends up getting cut from scenes so that we don't have to spend on him, and I didn't want that, as I love Loial and I love Hammed."

    Rafe also said the following in an interview with Nerdist:
    “There were a couple of key things that went into the look for Loial. The first was allowing our incredible MuFX [makeup and effects] designer, Nick Dudman (Harry Potter), to create a look that would not require VFX for Loial to be on screen. Loial is such an important character from the books, and at our budget level, having a fully VFX character in the show who’s in normal dialogue scenes with the rest of our group is not really possible. I wanted Loial to be someone we could incorporate as a core group member like he is in the books. Secondly, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, who directed block three, was hugely impactful in the Loial design as he first appeared in her episodes. Finding things that honored the Ogier look as written about in the books while simultaneously giving the actor the absolute maximum flexibility for performance.”
     
    Jedman67 and LaxScrutiny like this.
  3. Tirius

    Tirius Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2003
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Aye, I've read this, and the casting news for a character we would have met in Baerlon as well. On the whole, I think the show is being smart with holding back some of the secondary characters at this point. We're getting on average 1 or 2 new recurring characters per episode, which I think is about as much as we can expect the non-book crowd to handle on top of getting to know the world as a whole ánd still follow the story.

    Looking for an in-universe reason why this meeting did not take place is actually very easy: at the time, Mat and Rand were still with Thom. And we know how popular he was at said location. :D Mat and Rand's travel line does pass through the place on the Explore page's map, so it's likely Thom took care to steer clear of it.
     
  4. DigificWriter

    DigificWriter Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 20, 2001
    Location:
    West Haven, UT, USA
    @Tirius
    The going thought amongst hardcore book fans right now is that Elayne and Rand will still meet each other in the show, just not in Caemlyn.
     
  5. LaxScrutiny

    LaxScrutiny Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2003
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Wow, that was a hell of an episode. With next to no action, it was jam-packed with characterization and plot development. I need to watch it a couple more times.
     
  6. Tirius

    Tirius Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2003
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    That makes two of us. The structure of the episode was indeed very different from the last few, with only one storyline to really focus on. It seems I tend to improve my opinion a bit on the second viewing, at least that has been the case previously, so I'm postponing my review until then.
     
    LaxScrutiny likes this.
  7. FreezeC77

    FreezeC77 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    I'll put details on the episode in spoilers since it just came out. It was certainly a different pace than previous episode. These do not have any book spoilers and just discuss the episode.
    I like the start of the episode and showing Siuan's childhood and where she came from. It has bearing on her going from being a lowly and not well-off fisherman's daughter in a region where channeling(even by women) was seen as evil to being in charge of the most powerful group of channelers in the lands.

    I specifically did not re-read the books prior the show so I'm not 100% certain on some things... but I do not remember a Siuan/Moiraine relationship so that's an interesting bit. Now, there was hints they had a relationship when they were novices in the tower... but I think the change here is probably for the better. The way Robert Jordan presented many of those 'lesbian' relationships among the Aes Sedai and other female characters having same-sex relationships when they were in their teens was kinda like a guy saying "Chicks like to experiment in college' He referred to them as 'pillow friends' in the Wheel of Time universe so I could see how that entire concept would seem rather old-fashioned and even to other lgbtq+ people to seem pretty ignorant.

    The duality of Siuan between the ultimate power and then her love with Moiraine was very interesting. I think they demonstrated (or tried to demonstrate) the power of the OATH ROD via the banishment. Aes Sedai 'tower politics' can honestly be pretty damn boring in the books so I think they handled it about as well as could be hoped.

    The interesting thing with the ending and what we know about Mat's actor being recast for season 2. I wonder if this could be the last time we see him on screen at all until S2?


    BTW, these below are book spoilers. Some may be pretty detailed so please avoid if you didn't read the book. Since some of this stuff has not happened in the show yet(if it does happen)

    I feel like this episode just merged Portal Stones and the Ways together. The Portal Stones were specific stones that could be activated by the One Power(male or female) and allow to go through and travel between different places, possibly alternate realities, or even different times. The "Ways" were specifically created for OGIERS to open and use to travel between their steddings(villages/areas). Moiraine in the show refers to what she's about to open talking about the "ways", but it seems much more like a portal stone especially then when she talks about different times/realities. Bringing Loial along would have seemed like using the Ways since an Ogier is the one who opens it, but it's like they merged these two things together for some reason.

    If you wanted to use a Star Trek type reference it's like they merged wormholes and transwarp together.

    The interesting thing about Siuan/Moiraine is I can see by doing that how many other possible future threads they closed from the novels. Siuan's developed relationship with Gareth. I'm not sure what kind of impact a Siuan/Moiraine present day relationship has on the Moiraine/Thom storyline as well. I was also wondering what type of look Siuan would have because how they've presented the Aes Sedai it kind of looks like they decided against the 'aged/unaged' stuff from the books.

    The comment about 'losing ships in the west' was also an interesting thing. It makes me wonder if possibly the Seanchan could be spread up significantly and possibly see Mat put on that journey much quicker than the books.
     
  8. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2002
    Location:
    UK
    Did I let something fairly major fly over my head, or . . .
    . . . is Moiraine and Siuan being lovers a new addition? Admittedly I only read the first four and a half-ish books (and that was quite a while ago), so maybe this is a thing that comes out more explicitly later on down the line, or in the prequel novel? All I remember is that they're very close friends and confidants; nothing overtly sexual or romantic that I can recall.

    Not that I have a problem with it, just curious if they were coded gay back when gay characters in books wasn't a thing publishers allowed and I just missed the hints and just took the text at face value, or if they're doing something different for the show.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2021
  9. FreezeC77

    FreezeC77 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    In terms of when it happened or was mentioned in the books
    It's the prequel novel 'A New Spring' set 20 years before the first Wheel of Time story which deals with when Moiraine and Siuan were present for the Dragon Reborn prophesy and became the only living sisters who were there to hear it (the sister who received the prophecy died due to the intensity of the vision).

    Robert Jordan doesn't give them 'love scenes', but there's hints and he called them 'pillow friends' which was an Aes Sedai/Wot world term for same-sex relationships/secret lovers. It's something I talked about in one of my spoilers and the likely overt change is probably because Robert Jordan wrote about the Aes Sedai same-sex relationships kinda like some guy talking about 'girls experimenting in college'.

    The prequel novel came out in 2004. Between books 10 and 11.
     
    LaxScrutiny likes this.
  10. DigificWriter

    DigificWriter Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 20, 2001
    Location:
    West Haven, UT, USA
    Moiraine and Suian having an intimate relationship is definitely not a screen change (thank you Matt Hatch, Daniel Greene, and other hardcore book fans for that info).

    The show just took the novels' coded ambiguity out of the equation.

    I'd also add that the show dropped a pretty big - yet still subtle - hint about the characters' relationship in the episode A Place of Safety because Moiraine mumbles Suian's name in her delirium while Nynaeve is treating her.
     
  11. LaxScrutiny

    LaxScrutiny Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2003
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Something I didn't realize on first viewing, apart from the opening sequence with Suian, the episode follows Moiraine through every scene throughout. Something very well done in that through her interactions we see various plot threads evolve for all the others. She is the focal point, not just in screen time, but the centre of the Wheel so to speak. At least for this episode
     
  12. Tirius

    Tirius Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2003
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    You mention a few things that I noted as well. The use of the Oath Rod in this manner is highly unfortunate, given that its use in precisely this manner causes an uproar later when Elaida suggests it in the books. For Siuan to so casually demand it here feels... wrong. Mat's being left behind is indeed probably due to the casting change, either because Barney Harris left earlier than we knew or because reshoots after his departure required a rewrite. And for the Ways, it's less that Ogier needed to open them than that Loial knew how to navigate them. Anyone could open the Ways using the key Avendesora leaf in the books, if they knew how. But I suppose if they are being merged withe the Portal Stones, this could make some sense.

    The main concern here I think, is what this means for a) Moiraine and especially Siuan's story going forward, as it does suggest her relationship with Gareth Bryne will be omitted, and b) that Moiraine and Siuan don't actually interact much in the main story. They show could be setting itself up for trouble if they have to invent reasons for them to meet up again later.

    This is my main concern with this episode. As much as I enjoy what Rosamund Pike does with Moiraine, she's not supposed to be the focus of the story. Mat, Rand and Perrin get so little time this week, and they are supposed to be much more important. They need character growth and more screen time if the new audience is to warm to them. Especially given that last week also didn't have any of them in the A plot.
     
  13. Tirius

    Tirius Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2003
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Episode 6 review below (mild episode spoilers in text above, book spoilers in the box)

    To the new fans, today's episode is probably best seen as 'here is your introduction to the White Tower politics, brace yourself'. We are introduced to a new recurring character once more, this time in the shape of Siuan Sanche, the Amyrlin Seat. The story focuses on her relationship with Moiraine in particular, involving a deal of secrecy both because of their involvement with the Dragon and Siuan's need to remain impartial to outsiders. We are also shown the Hall of the Tower for the first time, and I will give props again to the set designers, as I really like how it looks, especially from the top-down views. And without paying much attention to it, we are shown the full Ajah roster for the first time, following up on the animated bonus episode from last week (please Amazon, promote those things more!). The subtle use of very different garb for each of the Sitters present is a nice way to draw some further attention to the cultural diversity of the larger world.

    The writers do a decent job in showcasing some of the different power struggles within the Tower, I feel. There's Siuan vs. Liandrin and Moiraine to illustrate the leadership struggles of the Amyrlin, Moiraine vs. Liandrin to showcase the struggles between Ajahs, and Moraine vs. Maigan to showcase some of the inner workings of the Blue Ajah (and we may assume, inner workings of Ajahs in general). The latter conversation also briefly highlighted how Ajahs play off each other, when Maigan notes the Green came to the Red's defense in a most unusual manner, and it has her worried.

    My main issue with this episode is rather the same as last week - many of the established main characters are relegated to secondary roles with little to do. Nynaeve and Egwene get one moment in the spotlight during their interview with Siuan, and I do like the interplay between Siuan and Nynaeve in particular. This is very reminiscent of the books, where these meetings are very much like the unrelenting force meeting the immovable object. However, Perrin and Mat get very little to do, and Rand has to be satisfied with one character moment where he attempts to draw his sword on Moiraine to defend Mat. I worry about this, given that we are supposed to root for all these people and so far the amount of attention they have been given is... very uneven. And I will admit I am getting somewhat annoyed with it. I am also not a huge fan of the continued accents of sex and nudity, as it was never really something of note in the books, other than characters feeling awkward when faced with taboos, or lack thereof, when they come across other cultures. In episode 1, the bath scene was a good way to show the relationship between Moiraine and Lan without spending words on it. Here, I am not sure it was needed. Especially not that steam room scene, because yes: let's discuss intelligence reports in a public space... *honestly*.

    Book progress: Book 1 chapter 1-43 + Book 2 chapter 1-4 (brought foward). Rating: 1 out of 5 potential Dragons. (The Dragon is not Captain Planet.)

    This episode is quite obviously a bit of a reshuffle of events from the books, and one of the first major ones in terms of content from book 2. Specifically, Siuan Sanche's first appearance and her public denouncing of Moiraine for going off alone is moved forward, and as such becomes the main inspiration for the episode. I'll admit that the show found a clever solution to why the party would have to leave Tar Valon again so soon, given that it couldn't just recycle the Caemlyn plot from the books, but I still question the need for the hole even if the ladder out if it was smart.

    Some further nods to the books include Siuan being insulted with the insinuation that as a former Blue, she was going easy on Moiraine. We also get Moiraine's Healing of Mat in the inn, and Liandrin learning of all the Emond's Fielders and trying to pressure people for information. I think this was also the first time we get confirmed told Moiraine is indeed a noblewoman, and given her full name.

    And that... is as much as I can make of it in terms of comparisons that felt on point. The rest... leaves me sad. It's not what I was hoping for. I mean, the acting is decent and the sets are nice, but... why these creative choices? Why the use of the oath rod to swear fealty to the Amyrlin, where the very idea of that landed Elaida in hot water when she tried to propose it even amongst her allies in the books? Why the strange portal thingy that Moiraine uses to visit Siuan, without any explanation of what that is or where they even are during that scene? Why does the Waygate have to be opened with the Power now? And... why the romance subplot? I can't make sense of these changes. They must serve some purpose. But I can't see them. I can't touch on all of them here, but there are some I want to elaborate on.

    The clear romantic overtures between Moiraine and Siuan are a far cry from just memories of being "pillow friends" during their training years. I am not sure where this is going. It's not as if the two have a lot of direct interaction in the original story, none that I can think of between Fal Dara and Moiraine's confrontation with Lanfear at Cairhien at least. Ties of friendship and shared goals were apparently not thought enough for the showrunners? So much for the Blues all being "married to your cause". I do like that we got a bit of Siuan's backstory, showing her very humble beginnings that are so integral to her personality. However, those humble beginnings did not really translate to much later in this episode. I suppose this must be another seed for the future, but it is again a question of my not being sure why this scene was included at this point in the story.

    We get another huge change where Mat is left behind at the end. From a comment on a reactor's video, I am going to speculate that it was an unplanned change, but is a result of Barney Harris' depature from the series, requiring him to be written out of the final episodes. As such, I won't hold this against them. It is not as if Mat's role in the finale of book 1 is important, but it effectively cuts him off from everyone in a way that I am curious to see how they'll fix. Maybe his journey from Tar Valon to Tear with Thom will be brought forward in season 2 to cover it? It's leading me to suspect the Seanchan will not be landing at Falme next year, but at Tear, with the plots of books 2 and 3 being combined to take us there. Something I was already suspecting, given Falme's relative lack of importance during the series, and the fact that Tear plays a much more prominent role. It wouldn't take much to simply say the Seanchan Empire lies to the south instead of to the west to fix that.

    Finally... I get that Moiraine is important to the WoT story. I also understand that Rosamund Pike is the figurehead of the cast and the series, and she does play the role well. But out of the 7 who leave Emond's Field in book 1, she arguably is the least important character in terms of visible page/screen time and role on the overall story. Maybe the series is giving her time now because her story has a big gap later. Maybe Tolkien knew what he was doing when he dropped Gandalf in a hole partway through book 1. But this week it feels like Moiraine is the *only* lead character. That is too much. It's squeezing out the development of Rand, Mat, Perrin and Egwene in particular, in a way that is not at all like the books. *They*, along with Nynaeve and Elayne Trakand are the leads of the story. Or at least, they should be. It has me really worried.
     
  14. LaxScrutiny

    LaxScrutiny Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2003
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Once again, I love your insights.

    You hit it on the head with Moiraine standing in for Gandalf. This is the point. Gandalf became a lessor character, allowing the story to play out for the core. The core we thought were just little people.

    As far as the show goes, we don't know who the Dragon is. The five are all eligible, until one steps forward in the story. Moiraine is rightly the focus right now, and the world is revealed and explained as we follow her. She won't always be the focus, and shock of that will drive the story. (I don't think that the Dragon emerging being a big deal is any kind of a spoiler. :) )
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2021
    Tirius likes this.
  15. Skywalker

    Skywalker Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2005
    Location:
    Back to the lower decks
    Regarding what happened at the end...

    If this was indeed Barney Harris' final episode, then I wish they had cut the scene of Moiraine curing Mat and instead had her leave him in the White Tower and shown Mat's new actor being cured instead.
     
  16. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2004
    Location:
    Lancaster, PA
    Animated bonus episode?
     
  17. Tirius

    Tirius Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2003
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Hidden under the X-Ray button's Bonus Content page while watching, each episode comes with a short animation about the lore of the series, in a lovely watercolor-esque style. There is one accompanying each episode. Quickest way to access them all is through the X-Ray on the latest episode, as it will also list the ones for the previous weeks.

    I suppose I am judging the show a bit harshly, given that books 1 and 2 are not exactly the shining examples of giving everyone equal attention either. Something I even used to support the changes to Mat and Perrin's backstories in my episode 1 review. I never really liked those parents who come down hard on their kids because they just want them to do better, and here I am doing the same. :D We'll just wait and see where it goes, hopefully it'll all make sense in the end.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2021
    LaxScrutiny likes this.
  18. The Knappos

    The Knappos Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2021
    Location:
    South coast, UK
    Has Mat 1 left without damning anyone’s eyes?! What?!?!
     
    LaxScrutiny and FreezeC77 like this.
  19. BigJake

    BigJake Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2013
    Location:
    No matter where you go, there you are.
    Wow, that last episode was wild.
    I never shipped Moiraine and Siuan Sanche in the books... but then again, they weren't being played by Sophie Okonedo and Rosamund Pike. The reveal of their relationship floored me in the best way. It helps that these are literally two of my favorite women on the planet and not to make it weird or anything, but I damn near passed out at the episode's second usage of the phrase "on your knees." It brought so much emotion to the exile scene in particular, where Moiraine calls her beloved "clever as a pike, strong as the tides" just like her father did. I was impressed and moved. It's just a perfectly beautiful added layer.

    Mat just absenting himself from the quest to the Eye is an interesting wrinkle. I wonder if they'll start folding his plot in the books into the frame earlier, contemporary with the other Two Rivers folk going a-questing. Intriguing choice. I'm actually really enjoying this show.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2021
  20. mswood

    mswood Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2002
    Location:
    9th level of Hell
    Sorry but that isn't accurate. While Moraine very likely suspects that Nynaeve has channeled before she has literally no information that utterly confirms it.

    While many wisdom's are channelers not all are, and those that can't still say they can listen to the wind (one of the duties of the Wisdom is to give guidance on the weather and crop forecasts, ect).

    Since she hasn't witnessed a prior channeling event, nor has Nynaeve discussed with her a prior channeling event, Moraine can only attest to the one channeling event that she knows occurred.

    This is a great example of how the Aes Sedai can thread the truth through the head of pin.

    This also happens in episode 6 when she is being tried and Lilandrin brings up Nynaeve, and she states she suspected but didn't know.
     
    Skywalker, LaxScrutiny and FreezeC77 like this.