Thoughts on the Wheel of Time Episode Three

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Since these commentaries have so many (zero) fans, how could I not take a moment share my thoughts as I watch episode three? First we begin with the conversation I had with my husband after the episode:

Husband: So what did you think? I didn’t hear too many cries of outrage.

Me: Oh, there was outrage.

Husband: Did you like anything?

Me: <scrolls through notes, scrolls, scrolls…>

In the comments after the spoiler warning I allude to events later in the books, but attempt to do so in a way that will make sense to people familiar with the story but not give much away to people who haven’t read the books. So not exactly spoilers but just to be safe – 

 

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Book Nynaeve didn’t get kidnapped by Trollocs so none of the opening stuff happened in the book story. But it’s a nice way to showcase Nynaeve’s general badassery. Plus it at least did not actively annoy me like the openings to the two previous episodes, so there’s that.

The intro implies matriarchal power and heavily focuses on Aes Sedai. They are important, but there are a whole lot of other important figures, factions, and nations in the book.

That first interaction between Lan and Nynaeve is everything a book reader could hope for. At least this book reader.

“That’s not how roads work.” I genuinely laughed at that line.

I continue to be distracted and annoyed by Rand’s shearling coat. It’s trying to look like something a back country sheepherder would wear, but it’s failing badly. It’s one of the least lived in looking costume pieces.

But Perrin, the wolves lurve you!

Tied up Nynaeve is PISSED. Completely accurate to book Nynaeve.

“It’s not a demand, it’s a threat.” I laughed again!

I still don’t think Lan is old enough. Or ugly enough. Or scary enough. But I like this guy’s stern gravitas.

Nynaeve cleaning the wound caused me to exclaim “gross!” out loud.

I’ve always thought Ba’alzamon is described in a way that would be near impossible to effectively depict visually, and I think I was right. So I can’t entirely fault them on what they’ve got. It’s one of those things that’s easy to write but less easy to make happen.

They just want to hang out with you Perrin!

M zonderling WFPWB7Vum1E unsplashPhoto by M. Zonderling on Unsplash.

The quips in the dialogue are helping to sustain me. I like me some snark, and it’s being written in a character appropriate way. (So far at least.)

The village Mat and Rand stop at is eventually revealed to be Breen’s Spring, but is really an amalgamation of a long journey through multiple locations meeting multiple people that couldn’t possibly be completely portrayed in a TV show. I have no problem with the condensing of place and character. Which is not to say I have no problems…

The Gleeman’s patches are only on the inside. Of a coat, not a cloak. And they aren’t all fluttery fake worn and colourful patches, they’re grandma’s quilt patches. No one would see this guy coming and flock to see him perform. The Gleeman’s cloak is the Gleeman’s marketing department. And it’s not like any of that would be hard to do for the costumers. I’m sputtering with outrage on this one, especially since it’s done purely for ‘grittiness’, and I have some additional thoughts on that topic to come. (Here’s a link to a search on gleeman’s cloak. Hit the image link. Revel in all the pictures of patchy costumes and even miniatures that did what this TV adaptation screwed up.)

I had thought Thom wasn’t cast old enough when I watched the previews, but now that I see actual scenes, I’m cool with this guy’s age and general appearance. I’m less cool with the costuming and styling of the character. Thom shouldn’t look pristine and rich, but he’s a showman, and he’s vain, and he should be able to turn on a charismatic stage presence. Greasy lanks of hair – no.

I’m not sure I’m as cool with the way this guy sounds. Thom’s got skills. Book readers know what I mean, so I’ll leave it at that.

Why is Thom kind of a jerk towards the boys, seems out of character?

Even Egwene can see the wolves just want to help, Perrin!

Charming barmaids is book Mat’s specialty. Apparently not TV Mat though.

The influence of the dagger is being written and acted in a nice subtle way.

Mat’s conversation with Dana (the barmaid) is completely reverse of what it would be in the books. Book Mat does not want to go back to Two Rivers. Book Mat is full of wanderlust and the desire to see the marvels of the world. This is why it was stupid to give TV Mat crap parents so he feels responsible for his sisters. The characterization is wandering further and further afield.

I know these are the Tinkers, but these are not the Tinkers. Where’s the colour? The eye-searing colour and mis-matched patterns? Ilya wearing a faded carpet does not count as dazzling Tuatha’an clothing. I am disappointed, no matter how much I like the actor portraying Ilya. (Go watch Orphan Black if you’re like I was earlier this year and havn’t gotten around to it yet, it’s awesome!)

Guy stevens dEGu oCuB1Y unsplashLooking at the Tinkers in their camp should be like this photo, but with stripes and paisley and polka dots thrown into the mix. Photo by guy stevens on Unsplash.

It is hard to avoid the impression that Ila is the Seeker of this band of Tinkers and Raen is just her man. Which makes it increasingly hard to avoid the impression that they’re going for an overall matriarchy with women holding the majority of power. This is not the deal in the books. Access to the power of magic is imbalanced since the male half of the source is tainted and male magic users go mad. (Something that was referenced but could have been more clearly explained in the intro to episode one.) But there are places ruled by queens, or by kings, or by either. There are roles that traditionally male and others that are traditionally female. I don’t like where they’re going with this for a variety of reasons, not just inaccuracy to the books.

Seriously, where is the damn colour? Desaturated gleeman and dreary Tinkers. Bah. Also where is Thom’s flair?

I’ve always pictured Aram as boy-band pretty.

“If I wanted a man I could do better.” I agree Rand. Also a timely quip to help turn my outrage back down to a simmer.

Why haven’t we seen/heard anything about the specialness of Two Rivers bows and bowmen?

In the scene where Nynaeve treats Moraine’s injury, I was waiting for her to Heal Moraine. I was kind of figuring that had been the point of Moraine’s injury, which doesn’t happen in the books. Nope, just herbs. But then there was a second scene, and I figured aw, now it’s dire enough that Nynaeve’s mojo will kick in. But nope. It would appear that the point of Moraine’s injury is to have this group hook up with some Aes Sedai and find out about Logain and probably some other world building. Which is fine, but I think they could have done both. Moraine could have the Trolloc poison in her injury like Tam, so Nyn can just heal her a little and they still have to find some Aes Sedai.

Look at them using Thom and an Aiel in a gibbet to finally do some world building! Good job team. Now do it some more. A lot more.

Wait, Rand is the one to turn the barmaid’s head instead of Mat? 

Ah, okay, it’s darkfriend time. Was figuring they’d need to do something like that this episode since the travel storyline needs to be so condensed. 

I am mollified by the portrayal of Thom’s character in the scenes with Mat and the dead Aiel. Far more Thom-like. But not only is his coat drab and with patches on the inside, but it’s CORDUROY???

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Nynaeve doesn’t get to display any mojo, but the scene with Rand and the door is perfect.

“I called one of them.” Like, on the phone? I know that’s not what they meant, but that just popped into my mind when the darkfriend said she called a Fade.

And now I must pause for a rant about the overall depiction of the world. The Two Rivers is in Andor. Andor is your typical fantasy book medievalesque pastoral setting. The Two Rivers is particularly (and literally) pastoral. It’s not a perfect place, but it’s overall a good place. The government is fair and takes responsibility for its citizens. Most people take pride in their homes and their personal appearance, even if they have humble lifestyles. It’s the place where the story starts, and it eases the reader into what becomes an increasingly diverse and complex world.

The leading motivation for becoming a darkfriend is power and immortality. Not the desire to upend the metaphysical underpinnings of the world because everything is so unremittingly awful. It’s not way off-book that Dana would describe that as the Dark’s plan (intentional vagueness), but it is way off-book that everything is so unremittingly awful. There is colour in the book world. Lots of it in some places, like the Tinker camps. There are people who are clean and presentable and content even if they are worn and a little faded. The design has gone for that everything in a medieval fantasy must be brown and dreary approach, and I hate it. I hate that trend in general, but especially in this specific situation because it contradicts things that are well established in the books!

One of the reasons I hate it is because it mucks up future plot points. How do you show that things getting worse and then really awful if they start out pretty awful? At this point in the story everything’s mostly fine either than a few incidents like the war in Ghealdan (which they have referenced) and winter hanging on too long. Awful things do happen throughout the books. There are countries where everything isn’t so great for everyone, and there are people who are starving and downtrodden and desperate. There are tragic events and terrible decisions. How do you emphasize that that if everyone starts out hardscrabble and dreary brown? You need the contrast of nice happy Two Rivers and solid living Andor to see the differences of other places and events.

Courtney smith wrLIzVhWCSI unsplashThe colour palette of this show. Everything is as dead as these leaves. Photo by Courtney Smith on Unsplash.

We may not have seen anything about Two Rivers bows, but Thom’s dagger prowess is well-established. Go Thom!

Don’t be an idiot Rand.

Liandrin’s braids aren’t right. It’s a multitude of braids. Not a few rows of half braids on the side of the head. So yeah, book reader pickiness, but also part of the lack of creating the distinct cultural heritages that is part of what’s super cool about the books. I liked the world setting so much I created a game based on it, and I had to take pages and pages of notes about the hair, clothing, and customs of different peoples and groups to be able to make that game. This is exactly the kind of thing you can do so much more easily with visual story telling, it pains me so much that they’re making such crappy decisions in that area.

I think some of it is budgetary. It appears that the Amazon adaptation of Lord of the Rings has had buckets of cash thrown at it, but this Wheel of Time adaptation has a less generous budget. Which is a shame. Lord of the Rings fans have had a variety of adaptations, and I believe the Peter Jackson movies are generally considered to be pretty amazing. (I liked them, but I’m not a hardcore LotR fan to be able to comment on the satisfaction of fans.) This really was an opportunity to make the next Game of Thrones in TV impact. Not through gore and sex and shock, but through sheer world building scope and spectacle. Alas I fear we will have to wait another 20 years or something until someone wants to try again and see if they get it right.

The Red Ajah get to have colour at least. Sigh.

Really I’m suffering more from disappointment than outrage at this point. :-<

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Thoughts on the Wheel of Time Episode Two

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Because absolutely no one asked for it: a Wheel of Time expert’s opinion on episode two of the new TV series. Thoughts on part one are available if you missed my musings on that.

I don’t go into detail about later events in the books, but I do reference them in a general way, so stop reading at this point if you’re only familiar with the show or the first book or so.

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So far the intros to both episodes suck. They’re clearly meant to establish some of the various factions and human opposition the team faces. I can barely see that as a reader of the books. If this is your first introduction to the WoT, you are not getting a very good introduction to some of these groups.

The Whitecloaks are self-righteous jerks. The intro established the jerk part, in spades, but gave us nothing of the righteousness. None of them say a word about the Light, and there’s nothing to indicate that they fear/hate the Aes Sedai because they think the Power is too powerful for any human to wield. There’s just some sadistic behaviour for the sake of shock and horror. It seemed like a blatant attempt to appeal to fans of Game of Thrones. The Whitecloaks do awful things, but most of them do them out of true conviction. No sign of that.

Oh also, the Children of the Light are excellently trained, disciplined, and equipped soldiers, and I don’t feel that was well-established visually. These guys look like fancy dress parade. I mean those costumes are cool, but I’d have liked to see more gleaming steel and bristling weapons and a little less fanciness. Now the super well equipped camp and servants for the highest ranking soldiers and such, that part seems a bit more on point. But they’re marching to war, they should look combat-ready.

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Quote to my husband during the cool opening credits after the Whitecloak nonsense scene: I’m already annoyed in case you’re wondering.

There were a lot of moments where I loved the way shots were framed and composed and so on. The thwarted Trollocs on the bank of the Taren River is one of them.

The Fades are properly terrifying.

TV Moraine is even more steely than book Moraine, to Master Hightower’s dismay.

The scenery is just magnificent throughout the journey. Both the natural vistas and the hints of ruins.

I don’t object to Egwene being upgraded to ta’veren in this telling. She is able to accomplish astonishing things and greatly affects events. Some of the other women do as well, but Egwene stands out in a way. By training and inheritance Elayne was meant to impact the world. Min and Aviendha are special people with special talents, but a lot of their influence on events comes from being in the right place at the right time. Nynaeve’s influence is largely plain human doggedness, and she wouldn’t want it any other way. Egwene is not the most powerful of them as channellers. She doesn’t have the same background of training as Elayne or even Aviendha. What she achieves at her age feels more right to me if she’s ta’veren.

This is a side note, and on the books as much as the show. Increasingly we are discovering that a fair number of people can’t visualize mental pictures at all, or to only a limited degree. My mind’s eye is pretty fuzzy, though not completely absent. A lot of Aes Sedai training seems to involve visualization, and the Flame and Void is a similar thing I think. Interesting question to think about how someone who can touch the Source could learn without being able to visualize.

“You don’t listen to the wind, it’s the wind that listens to you.” I thought the conversation between Moraine and Egwene was well written.

Rand is awfully whiny and petulant already. Only a little of it comes off as Two Rivers stubbornness and natural suspicion. Book Rand really didn’t start to get on my nerves until at least book five or six, and he had a lot more on his plate then!

I think part of it is that they haven’t established any relationship between Lan and Rand yet, which should have started during this episode. This should also be when Rand starts sword training. He’s a prodigy, but not one without any training.

Screen Shot 2014 09 15 at 5 46 13 PM 0 0 pngSometimes the first lesson is which end of the sword to hold.

Someone needs to call out Bela by name or this whole thing is a complete fail.

Ah, the sadistic jerk Whitecloak is a Questioner. That intro was still a missed opportunity to you know, introduce people to this faction, but not totally off-base.

This encounter with the Whitecloaks is a fair bit different than the full group’s encounter in the books, but given the other changes made, it works. It does better building of the Children of the Light than the opening scene. But I am still not getting much of a sense of their religious fervour or their relentlessly unrealistic desire for perfect order. We can’t see Questioner = Inquisition if we don’t see much conviction to the group as a whole.

Moiraine’s discussion with Egwene about lying without lying is a great example of that idea, which is a pretty important concept to understand about Aes Sedai.

I don’t know if it’s the actor or the acting, but man does Perrin look uncomfortable riding. Which is decently in character I think.

The Manetheren scene is well written and very moving. I heard they had to argue to keep it in. Sigh.

More great vistas!

TV Rand is more annoying than book Mat.

I heard they spent a packet building Shadar Logoth, of course you’re going there Moraine.

Bela!!!

“The Trollocs, why are they just standing there?” Because you are making terrible life choices.

“Touch nothing.” That means you Mat!

Whoa, you can tell they really did spend a packet building Shadar Logoth!

Apparently Perrin’s imaginary wife was very wise.

Ah Mat, just when I was starting to like you so much. But you kind of have to have that dagger for the story I guess. The dagger and the box it was in both look pretty cool.

Mashadar (that black mist stuff) knows how to make an entrance! Super creepy and gross.

And now I must rescind my complaint from episode one that they did not establish how wood-wise and sneaky Nynaeve is.

Chyntia juls HxUhf2MZS3k unsplashPhoto by Chyntia Juls on Unsplash.

But… still no Thom. And no sword training or Lan-Rand relationship, and unless they’ve made some significant changes, that now can’t happen for a while.

I understand why they skipped Baerlon and Mordeth, and compressed some other stuff. I’ve read interviews where they felt it was awkward to hire someone for what is a bit part now and be sure they’re available for meatier stuff later. Also why confuse audiences who haven’t read the books with so many people and places that aren’t that essential to the plot. There is a LOT of book, they’ve got to compress somewhere! 

There were a few huh moments and missed opportunities for world building, but on the whole I liked episode two a lot better than the first! I assume we’ll finally get to meet Thom in the next episode!

Thoughts on the Wheel of Time Episode One

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Hello! If you are one of my usual readers of this blog, I apologize that this post is not at all about miniature painting or miniatures. It is instead a record of my reaction to viewing the first episode in the Wheel of Time television series. I’d have written this as a Note on Facebook, but Facebook removed that capability, so I have resorted to writing my thoughts here for easy linking.

Thoughts on Wheel of Time Episode One

But first, a bit of background. This is also spoiler padding for those who haven’t watched the episode yet or aren’t at all familiar with the books. Before I was Rhonda Bender the moderately well known miniature painter and teacher, I was Rhonda Peters, moderately well known for running an online Wheel of Time based game and being something of an expert on the setting of the Wheel of Time. The WoT has a meticulously detailed world, which made it an excellent setting in which to base an online role-playing game. To that end I combed the first seven books for cultural details and listed them in a document I titled the Wheel of Time Concordance. It is still floating around the internet today, and I believe there are versions of it that have been expanded upon by others. (And I had definitely dropped the ball on finishing it up even for the books that were written at the time, so that’s pretty cool that others took on the work.)

Deia2A picture of my character on the game by Richard M. Boye who did a lot of fantastic WoT art.

I met the man who became my husband on the game, so in a sense because of the WoT books, so whatever else they are to me, they’re important for that fact alone. :->

Despite what those facts might lead you to believe, I wouldn’t say I’m a crazy WoT fan. I stopped reading after the publication of book nine or 10. I don’t have the best memory, so I typically reread the first books in a series when a new one is released, and that was turning into a lot of rereading, so I thought I’d just wait and do it in one go when the last book was released. (Between rereads and taking notes for the Concordance I probably read Eye of the World more than a dozen times, more than enough to be well tired of the ‘first third is a pastiche of LotR’ thing.) I didn’t get around to reading the whole series until a couple of years ago when I listened to it on audiobook. I like the series, and it has great personal meaning to my life, but I don’t know that the story itself is one of my favourite things ever. 

TaverenIn 1999 this was a super cool webpage graphic.

So I wouldn’t say I’m a crazed fanboy who has unrealistic expectations. I do get that a sprawling narrative like that will need to be condensed and adapted for the screen. I only watched the first couple of seasons of Game of Thrones, but I thought the people who made it did a great job of condensing and world building and so on. (I hear the last season maybe isn’t so great though. ;->) I think the TV adaptation of the Expanse is a marvel. The first season is simultaneous the most faithful and most innovative adaptation I’ve ever seen. So I wouldn’t say I’m someone who forms such strong mind pictures and expectations that I can never be satisfied by adaptations.

Okay, that’s enough spoiler padding, on to my reactions! This is written from notes I took real time as I was watching the show, but I also went back and scanned through the episode to check on some things.

Spoiler alert news featureSpoilers ahead, last chance to turn back!

What’s with this huge gaudy serpent ring? The books are very clear that it’s a simple gold band. Easy to take off and slip in a pocket or hold behind a fold of skirt if an Aes Sedai wants to be covert. The Ajah stone colour element is interesting, but that looks like a seriously impractical ring style to wear.

We don’t know if was reborn as a boy or a girl. Well, we do know actually. The Dragon is a man. The dragon has to be a man, since one of the major themes of the books is redressing the imbalance of magical power in the world that men cannot safely wield magic. The whole struggle of the Dragon is being the awaited saviour who is also feared for his ability to use the dreaded, tainted male half of magic. There are prophecies in every major region of the world about the very much male Dragon.

I am fairly open to revising race and gender in casting of adaptations of older material. I was delighted by the Liet Kynes casting in the new Dune! Gender is a big thing in the WoT books. It’s probably too much of a thing. Gender isn’t a blanket issue of social roles or abilities. Some countries have male rulers, some female, some either. There are strong female warriors. There are countries or regions where there are defined gender roles, but not in the world as a whole But whatever your job or ability, if you’re a man the mind of a woman is a foreign land you will never understand, and vice versa. Even the Source of magic is drawn in stark black and white lines of gender. Gender is an either/or proposition in a way that is problematic. So I get the show’s desire to dial that down a little, but it does throw off some theme elements and prophecies and such.

A scene of some Red Ajah Aes Sedai chasing some male channellers. Meh. I thought at first this was the capture of Logain, but apparently that happens in a later episode. If this scene is meant to explain the taint and the function of the Red Ajah I think it does a crappy job of it. It implies women kill men for horning in on magic. Also that this is done vigilante style, when there is law and procedure for the capture and trial of male channellers. Even if it doesn’t always happen that way in practice, it would happen that way if the Red sisters realized a Blue was standing there watching them.

Lan is not ugly. Not at all. Not even a little. I guess I can live with watching his not ugliness. And we eventually get to see a lot of how not ugly he is!

I think it’s just as well they didn’t even try to do the ‘ageless’ look of the Aes Sedai. Would probably just have ended up in the uncanny valley.

Egwene’s braid ceremony. I initially thought it was kind of cool to make more of a moment of the transition from girl to woman. Then Nynaeve pushed Egwene in the river and I was huh? The message here seems to be accept and work with the force of the river, which is how women work with their half of the magic power. But why is this here? None of them are training in the power yet for that point to need to be made to the viewer. Also one must infer that Nynaeve also went through this same ceremony, but one of Nynaeve’s major character arcs is learning to go with the flow instead of trying to control literally everything so that doesn’t make sense and I am thoroughly annoyed that this happened instead of some more useful world building or something.

Also we know there’s a woman’s circle, but nothing about the other half, the village council. Where’s the yang to the yin?

I never pictured fuzzy sweaters as existing in the WoT. But Robert Jordan never specifically told me they weren’t there, so okay, I’ll go with it. It’s super fuzzy though.

Why is the expository dialogue not expositing useful information? We’re going to see many times over that Rand loves Egwene, even just in this episode. Why not use this time to have Tam talk about some important background stuff? Time is a precious commodity when you’ve got source material with this many characters and events!

The Winespring seems too big, Two Rivers seems too big. Perrin seems much too small. Perrin should look like the Rock in stature. The expressions and demeanour are good though.

I do not yet want to punch this Mat in the face, so that’s one up on the books. ;->

“You’re married.” What the f—??
I yelled that exact sentence at my TV. I think this is the point where my husband became more absorbed in watching me watch the show than in watching it himself. ;->

What the

Bran does not seem at all mayoral. The yang is still MIA.

Confused by how adulthood is determined. The four subjects of interest are all the same age in the show (20 I believe). Perrin is already married (WTF), but Egwene only just became a woman?

What is Perrin’s imaginary wife all pissy about? Does she have issues with Egwene? Is she wondering why no one older than 25 works at the very important to the village smithy? Why make her deal mysterious given that anyone who has read the books suspects she’s not going to exist by the end of the episode.

Mat’s parents suck, and he acts as the responsible adult to his much younger sisters. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this change. On the one hand, it gives Mat a bit more complexity and backstory and some reasons for what he does and who he is. But one of his major character arcs is being the guy who hates being at all responsible but having increasingly significant responsibilities thrust upon him. How do we see that if he starts out being responsible?

The premarital sex and general nudity don’t jibe with the books (at least for these characters and this place), but I get it, gotta compete with GoT and Witcher. And honestly it’s pretty tame compared to those, and no awkward sexposition.

The actor for Egwene fits well for me. Not as sure about Nynaeve. She’s not nearly tightly wound enough.

Having people crowd around Padan Fain to hear his news of the world is another missed opportunity to do some world building. 

Nynaeve’s conversation with Moiraine implies she knows that listening to the wind and using the power like an Aes Sedai are the same thing, but her struggle with learning and accepting that is an important character arc in the books. Maybe there isn’t time for that in the story.

I did not love the story Nynaeve tells about the old Wisdom traveling to the Tower and being turned away for being poor and humble in background. The Aes Sedai do not care squat about any of that. They’re supposed to give up all previous allegiances and ties, and for the most part most do. Their hierarchy is primarily based on magical capability – a magically stronger former scullery maid would rank over a weaker noble-born woman. I’m not saying that’s a better sort of prejudice, but it’s the one they actually have in the books.

Trollocs do not artfully arrange their dinner leftovers, but it’s a cool visual of the Dragon’s Fang.

I’m sure the fact that reincarnation is a big thing in this world will be well established. Tam and Rand’s talk was another missed moment for some backstory. The lantern scenes make for a nice moment though.

Padan Fain’s nonchalance during the Trolloc attack is fantastic foreshadowing. Jordan is the master of foreshadowing, I think he would approve of this at least.

Disaster girl nyt 1619763942851

Trollocs seem spot on.

The heron-mark blade! And Tam wielding it like a BA former blademaster. Easier conveyed on screen than in the text of the books and an awesome moment.

Lan and Moiraine fighting in unison – definitely a cool moment!

Defiant stubborn as rocks Two River folk telling a Trolloc to come get some – now that’s some good world building through visuals.

A Trolloc carries off Nynaeve. Um, what? We will see if this seems less stupid in future episodes. In the book the fact that she leaves on her own to follow the group establishes a fair number of character elements, including her competence in general woodland survival that piques a certain not ugly gentleman’s interest.

Did they just make Perrin kill the imaginary wife they gave him? WTF again! They created this character just to fridge her. I sort of get it as a short-hand way to establish that Perrin is (will become) someone who controls himself really tightly for fear of hurting someone since he’s bigger and tougher than most people. Why not have him accidentally kill Master or Mistress Luhhan instead of writing them out and adding an imaginary wife? Also now I’ll never know why the imaginary wife dissed Egwene by skipping her imaginary braid ceremony.

Images

Moiraine showing us why they call it the Power!

But why destroy the Winespring, ack!

On first watch I thought the way Moraine convinced the kids to leave town was not handled that well, but on second thought and given the constraints of time, I get it.

Where’s Thom!? I imagine he’ll be introduced in a later episode, and I sort of get that, but he is missed from this beginning. Also from the preview I saw the actor is not nearly old enough, so I’ll go ahead and gripe about that now. The WoT has a surfeit of characters barely out of their teens in important roles doing important things. White haired and slightly creaky Thom was a welcome addition to the gang.

Little old man14

A diverse Two Rivers. I’m waffling on this. On the one hand, I’m pro adding diversity to adaptions of things that were written way too white. (See again: Liet Kynes in the new Dune movie. And also a more desert dwelling looking Chani than palest of the pale Sean Young from the 1984 version.) On the other hand, the main WoT world is written with diversity, but this is concentrated geographically. (Lan is not colour blind casting, he’s cast to match the depiction of people from his region.) The average citizens of various nations have different racial appearances. The Two Rivers (at this point in the story) is a very isolated town in a predominately white nation. (By contrast, there is another continent is written as more homogeneously racially diverse.) On the third hand, while all of that is true, the majority of the main characters are white in the books and minor characters are only going to get more minor still with the constraints of adaptation, and it’s probably not a super important bit of world building. I hope variations in styles of clothing, architecture, and so on will be included, however!

Speaking of – the clothes of the people we did see seem a little off-book. Moiraine’s attire didn’t stand out as being as much better than the Two Rivers folk as it should have.

But most importantly – Bela! On screen but unnamed? Hopefully not forgotten!

And that does it for episode one, whew!