The Wheel of Time TV Series Is Going to Suck

And I’ll tell you why . . . it’s not for the reasons you’d think after reading this article from Bounding Into Comics:

Amazon’s upcoming Wheel of Time series will race swap Egwene, Perrin, and Nynaeve.

Wheel of Time showrunner Rafe Judkins confirmed casting announcements for the upcoming Amazon adaptation. They cast Marcus Rutherford as Perrin Aybara, Zoë Robins as Nynaeve, and Madeleine Madden as Egwene Al’Vere. They also cast Josha Stradowski as Rand al’Thor, and Barney Harris as Mat Cauthon.

The casting news comes after Rafe Judkins revealed his ideas of how the show was going to handle casting. Judkins posted a script grab that read:

“As much as possible, our cast should look like America will in a few hundred years — a beautiful mix of white, brown, black and everything in between.”

Okay, so race-swapping is the “in” thing these days. Read that quote from Judkins again and remember the world of The Wheel of Time is not America.

Nervous yet?

You should be. This Judkins dork is trying to impose Current Year mores and norms on an adaptation of a fantasy series. What the absolute hell does what Judkins thinks America in “a few hundred years” (if it’s still around) will look like?

This ramming of modern political considerations, sans lube, right up The Wheel of Time‘s metaphorical keister, is a huge and painful red flag.

This show will be social-justice infused to the hilt of its Power-infused, heron-marked blade. And it’s not these actors’ fault. It’s this Judkins moron’s.

These casting decisions also appear to go against the vision of Wheel of Time creator and author Robert Jordan.

Back in 2014, notes from the Robert Jordan Collection at the College of Charleston revealed the actors he modeled his characters after.

Egwene was described as Audrey Hepburn at age 18. Nynaeve was described as a young Jacqueline Bisset and Perrin Aybara was a young Val Kilmer.

This is the key: it goes against Wheel of Time Robert Jordan’s vision.

For those who aren’t familiar with the books, each nation is a rough amalgamation of various real-world cultures. The Two Rivers, from where the series’s main characters hail, is a small, backwater region of the nation of Andor, which is supposed to be England. Not a lot of Africans in medieval England.

If they’re getting this basic fact wrong, I shudder at how they’re going to mess up the rest of the tale. One can only imagine the further changes.

And this isn’t a race thing, though I laugh at things like that recent BBC adaptation of The Iliad with a black Achilles and other characters (Greek-washing?). Seriously, it’s way too much to suspend my disbelief when there are non-Greek-looking individuals in Classical Greek epics.

It’s like when you see rainbow-flag draped churches with female pastors that don’t really believe the Resurrection is a historical fact. What else are they deciding to eschew?

There are black nations in Wheel of Time like the Sea Folk. Will we see white Sea Folk? No, but more likely we’ll see black and Asian and whatever members of the talk, fair-skinned, red-haired, and blue-eyed Aiel tribe.

Tarabon and Arad Doman are Persian and Arab-inspired. Shara is black. Saldaea and Arafel are sort-of central Asian. Lots of cool characters come from there!

Semirhage, one of the most powerful of the evil Forsaken, is black. Will we see a white actress play her?

Of course not. Because that would be silly and against Robert Jordan’s vision for that character.

And yet, that vision is violated willy nilly in something as basic as casting. Not like any of the other actors chosen, save for Rosamund Pike, look particularly good either.

Cautiously pessimistic about this TV series? Nah fam, I’m straight-up cynical.


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30 comments

  1. I really don’t think THIS stuff is that big a deal. I simply refuse to judge the actors before I see them acting, which is the real test. That being said, lack of appreciation for Jordan’s vision is the biggest risk for the series. But in regards to that, it isn’t race I’m worried about (largely irrelevant to WoT) but gender (absolutely central).

    Liked by 2 people

    • The lack of respect for the vision IS the key thing but I’m not going to lie: race-swapping totally takes me out of the story, no matter how good the actor is and no matter what they swap for what. I can’t help it.

      To me, this Judkins twerp sounds like he wants to reinterpret the WoT to represent his ideal America. This makes me want to puke because it means staying true to Jordan’s vision is NOT his first priority.

      I guarantee Harriet and Sanderson were too petrified of their careers ending forever to say “no” to these choices.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I completely agree with your article. here is my issues. They are crow barring all of this pc bs into a story that doesn’t really have that in it. That’s why it will flop they are going to over highlight women, trans, gay, and sex to try to appease the pc gods win an award and pretend they have helped minorities.

        The next thing with the race thing know your audience black America isn’t really into fantasy. in all honesty it’s more relatable to white men cause most fantasy is set in Medieval Europe type Environment when it was populated by white Europeans. It might not be to relatable to a black person.

        Amazon wot is going to come off as a Phony counterfeit. To satisfy amazon Rafe the mostly female writing team and the political left. In doing so they will have ruined one of the genres best story.

        Last thing, is if you want a show that is a pc orgy then make one with a gender fluid trans pan sexual that is every race but white that saves world. You won’t because nobody wants to watch that. Don’t give fans a bait and switch. Why can’t we have a show that has some traditional values in it with out it being turned into some kind of pc Frankenstein.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for dropping by and commenting.

        It’s all just insulting to the source material. As I said in this article and responses to previous comments, my skepticism of this series has nothing to do with the actors as people or actors or their race per se. It’s about that I now don’t trust the show runners to do Robert Jordan’s story justice because they can’t get basic facts right. They will ruin his vision. Maybe the show will be decent but it still won’t be the Wheel of Time characters as Jordan created them.

        Whether black people are the primary fantasy audience is an interesting point. I get appealing to different audiences, but what about your core? And I wonder if black Wheel of Time fans cheer this or look at the changes and wonder “What the hell did these morons do to Perrin and Egwene?” They’d never do the reverse to non-white characters to appeal to European audiences, for example.

        It’s all so stupid. All I know is that I’ll be skipping this adaptation and sticking to the books. Robert Jordan was a great writer and I don’t care what anybody says.

        Like

      • Absolutely. The race of a character is a deliberate choice made by the creator. I’d Robert Jordan intended Perrin and Egwene and Nynaeve to be black, he’d have just made them black in the books.

        For me, the characters’ races are such an integral part of who they are, it doesn’t bode well for the rest of the TV series if they’re changing up stuff like this.

        Having a diverse Emond’s Field in what the creator intended to be a rural English-type of sort-of renaissance-era England doesn’t pass the laugh test.

        There’d never be a white Shaft, for example, to use another bit of book-to-screen, no matter now good the actor was or how he nailed the part and made the heads of casting cry? Why should we be okay with black Perrin? Why does “We just want the best actor!” only fly with white characters? It’s absurd.

        And anyone who comes here bleating about “Muh privilege!” can shove it.

        Like

  2. I sent the bounding into comics article to my bro, who is a WoT fan, and to my college buddy, who is a WoT superfan and reread the series every time a new book came out. I myself only got through two of the books; my issue was characters repeatedly engaging in “Don’t open that door, idiot” actions that a reasonable person would never engage in. My college superfan buddy was not pleased with my lack of interest in the series.

    That said – I would have probably watched the show out of curiosity if I didn’t know its going to be “A Bold Political Act” aimed squarely at destroying its source material. No thanks. I bet my college superfan buddy watches it; I will be monitoring his reaction.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I loved the books. I don’t know how I’d feel rereading the series from books 1 through 14 in a row—I read the last book when it came out after reading the preceding at least three times each, and mostly enjoyed it. I’d give Sanderson a 7 out of 10. Not bad considering the monumental impossibility of his task.

      That said, I was guardedly looking forward to this series until I saw the casting choices. They scream “I’M MAKING A POINT LOOK AT ME!”

      It’s not the actors and actresses themselves. It’s the dumb-dumb of a show runner who is trying to reflect “America a hundred years from now” (like he knows what the country will “look like,” or if it’ll even still be around) by grafting his personal politics on a FANTSY SERIES.

      The best actor for the role in an adaptation not only needs to play the part the best, but yes, LOOKING the part is a part of it. Cast white Black Panther and then get back to me about the sincerity of your “We’re just picking the best actor, man!” stance, Mr. Judkins.

      Like I said in the post, it’s clear they have zero intention of sticking to Jordan’s vision. And I have zero intention of watching this.

      Like

  3. Dear Mr. Hellene,

    —This is a tangential response to your article since I’ve never read the Wheel of Time and doubt I ever will. A lot of epic fantasy just doesn’t appeal to me for one reason or another and this series is long and sadly, not fully completed by the original author though I understand he was involved as best as he could be given his health.

    —I do like the book covers they seem to promise something mysterious and amazing, exciting, scary and enchanting but then I read things like Aes Sedai (sp?) and Faorlin (SP?) and something about it just turns me off. So, I’m not looking for a sales pitch, but I’m just wondering if you could, express what about the series you enjoyed or point me to a link, etc. Is WOT one of your favorite series?

    —-Do you think or wish the author had written less volumes and kept the story from ballooning?

    —As for the adaptation, I don’t have a horse in this race but I think there’s acting ability which should be uppermost with casting and then there’s the storytelling, which should keep to the spirit of the material in my opinion, while altering things not for political correct reasons but just because some things need to be changed when adapting a multi-volume series. In other words, the story is what counts.

    —I wonder if Game of Thrones has kicked open the door for fantasy adaptations. I thought the Lord of the Rings movies did but it didn’t happen. My opinion is more people are open to longer scale fantasy as a genre, especially with the ease of tv but will quickly drop the show if it doesn’t immediately engage, especially after the widespread criticism of Game of Thrones. Any thoughts on that?

    —-In the end, you always have the books regardless of adaptations and at least Mr. Jordan did the best he could to finish it with Sanderson’s help (another author who as soon as I try to read, I just can’t get into it) and as far as I know, he did at least write the conclusion proper to the book before he died.

    cheers

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ll preface my rather lengthy comment by saying I’m a Wheel of Time super-fan. I grew up reading them and although it’s fashionable to bash Robert Jordan, I think he’s an excellent writer.

      I’ll get into what it is I like about the Wheel of Time, but first I have to say it’s interesting you mentioned the covers piquing your interest. It was the cover to book 1, The Eye of the World, that I saw my friend reading when I was in the fifth grade that made me plead with my mother to buy it for me at the book store some weeks later. I was hooked since.

      Since I was a pre-teen when I started reading The Wheel of Time, that the characters were teenagers appealed to me. As the series progressed and I grew up myself, I feel like I grew up WITH the characters. That sounds silly only to those who’ve never experienced such a thing while reading. In fact, it’s the characters and worldbuilding that makes me recommend The Wheel of Time. Jordan’s world feels lived in and real. Yes, he goes into detail about architecture and clothing, but I found that this really adds to the verisimilitude.

      Although Wheel of Time is a Chosen One story, it’s a Chosen One story where the Chosen One is destined to go mad and break the world after saving it . . . just like the legendary hero he is the resurrected form of. This particular Chosen One has been described by some readers as “whiny” and “emo,” but he’s going through serous mental illness as the result of having (1) the ability to channel the tainted male half of the world’s magic power, forever scarred by the Dark One, and (2) having the resurrected soul of a crazy person living inside his head.

      Other characters, male and female, are also great. The women have been described as “pushy” and “unlikable,” but it makes sense IN THIS WORLD since only women can channel the power without going crazy. The Wheel of Time world is almost a matriarchy. Women didn’t destroy the world, after all, only men did. Jordan doesn’t devolve into man-bashing. I find the gender dynamics quite funny, and even traditional in some instances.

      His villains are awesome, too.

      I personally don’t find the series bloated. 14 books is a lot, but Jordan never loses the plot. There’s a span between books 8-10 that I didn’t enjoy at the time, but when I re-read the whole series, those books fit really well IN CONTEXT, even the much-maligned book 10, The Crossroads of Twilight. There’s also one particular plot thread that goes on a hair too long, but I still found its resolution satisfying.

      Brandon Sanderson did yeomen’s work finishing the series. It helped that Jordan had the ending written out from the get go, or so we’re told. If he didn’t have it written, he said in many interviews he knew exactly how the series would end the moment he started writing it. I give Sanderson a 7 out of 10. There’s some aspects to his three concluding volumes I didn’t like, but those are mostly stylistic. I think Sanderson is a fine writer from what I’ve read of his own works.

      Wow, this comment went on way too long.

      All this Wheel of Time talk makes me want to re-read this series again. You’re right: I always have these books, adaptation be damned. I get a bit overprotective since the series means so much to me. Along with Tolkien and some other authors, including Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman (LOVED their works, Dragonlance and otherwise), and Lloyd Alexander, Robert Jordan made me want to be a writer. He’s hugely influential on my own work, for better or for worse. I sincerely hope for the better.

      Like

  4. Alexander

    Richard Jordan was a cis heteropatricarhical white normie. Consequently his vision was wrong ab initio and distorted by trans European fantasy tropes that denigrated other cultural tropes.

    So of course Judkins as the chosen one had the oracular powers to filter the vision and reveal it in a moment of prophetic salvation.

    xavier

    Liked by 1 person

      • Alexander

        Remember Brian’s observation that leftism is a religion. Well Judkin is simply trying to LARP Ishaih and the other old Testament prophets and failing in supreme cringe mode.

        SJW can never create only destroy like wasp eggs

        xavier

        Liked by 1 person

      • Wasp eggs! Perfect!

        Another thing I’ll bet will happen in this Wheel of Time adaptation: the very subtly implied lesbianism in the White Tower among the all-female Aes Sedai will he portrayed as full-on lesbian orgies, even though Wheel of Time was neither gory or sexual. Gotta out Game of Thrones Game of Thrones, after all!

        Like

  5. Alex,

    —-Thanks for your response, I enjoy a lengthier post, especially since this isn’t twitter and discussions don’t have to be boiled down to the bare minimum. It’s funny, I didn’t ask for a sales pitch but your enthusiasm has made me curious about the series. I could always skim the parts I don’t like.

    —At the same time, I didn’t care for DragonLance and it came highly recommended, so who knows.

    —The premise sounds interesting and from the bits I’ve heard about the series, your take seems unique in that you enjoyed the parts others found bloated.

    —I remember begging my Mom to purchase me a book…ahh..the good old days!

    —I hope Jordan had the ending written, I’m inclined to think he did if he had enough time after learning of his condition. Of which I know nothing, this is probably the most I’ve discussed or read about the series having picked up bits and pieces of its reputation the way one does online.

    —-I can respect being protective of a series, I heard how some Harry Potter readers began picturing the actors as they read, which regardless of an adaptation is wrong to me.

    —-I’m glad you went into detail, not only is it your blog but I think one of the best elements of a “place” like this is the opportunity to share differing opinions and get more in-depth on a subject.

    cheers

    Liked by 1 person

    • The ending was mostly satisfying, no doubt about that. But what I will say is that it didn’t seem rushed and it was consistent with things that were planted WAY back in earlier books. It worked pretty damn well.

      I never pictured actors playing characters from WoT. I think Jordan described them vividly enough. One criticism of the series is that nearly everyone is good-looking . . . but ah well!

      Like

    • Alexander,

      The culthe of trangressive is so tedious. How about an all female assassin entity that straight up kills for money. Ya know like mundane hit men and sicaros?

      Even if Sanderson never bothered to delve deeper? Why not employ latent tensions yak know assassin girl likes boy and has inner conflicts about what she does?
      xavier

      Liked by 1 person

      • That sounds interesting.

        I *liked* Sanderson’s WoT volumes, although there were times you could absolutely tell where Jordan’s actual writings were used. Still, though I personally prefer Jordan’s style to Sanderson’s I appreciate that Sanderson *didn’t* attempt to mimic Jordan’s style.

        Like

  6. This is not Robert Jordans Wheel of Time. He cast his characters and they were all white. It is the Last Jedi of the Wheel of Time series. Woke Of Time soapboxing a sjw sermon.

    And Now Lan is cast as an Asian and not even a six-foot one. The height casting is even wrong. Will the series give Rand three wives? Not likely. Will it change the sexuality of the main characters, very likely. These casting choices prove to me that progressive neomarxist types are not only infused with self-hatred of their own skin tones but that they hate the western culture.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And more than all of that: THEY CAN’T EVEN GET THE BASICS OF THE STORY THEY’RE ADAPTING RIGHT! Why on Earth should I trust them with any other aspect?

      Casting DOES matter. It’s not an issue with the actors chosen or their race. It’s the fact that these morons running the show are ADAPTING a pre-existing work. There are certain expectations that go along with this. Want more flexibility in casting? Create your own damn show!

      Like

  7. Counsel not agree more. The casting choices that have been made are atrocious. Why is the actress playing Egwene so physically unattractive? Why are Nyneve and Perrin portrayed as black people? Why is Morraine played by a much older actress? When you invest a lot of time reading these books and form a detailed mental picture along the way, you feel betrayed when the studio use actors that do not resemble the characters in the book. It is a trust thing and based on what I’ve seen so far I trust the studio to mess it up terribly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jim,

      Thanks for the comment! The casting choices are indeed questionable, race-swapping aside. And it has nothing to do with the actors as people; I’m sure they’re lovely and talented individuals. It’s about this Judkins guy trying to stamp someone else’s creative work with his own stupid vision.

      “When you invest a lot of time reading these books and form a detailed mental picture along the way, you feel betrayed when the studio use actors that do not resemble the characters in the book.”

      The Harry Potter movies succeeded here, whether you like the stories or not. This . . . looks like it won’t.

      “It is a trust thing and based on what I’ve seen so far I trust the studio to mess it up terribly.”

      Exactly. That’s the point I tried to make in this post. If the showrunners can’t get these basic facts right, why on Earth should anyone have faith they’ll get the rest of the story right?

      I’ll pass on this series, thank you.

      Like

  8. I totally agree, I detest modern day Hollywood. I have no intention of watching “Wheel of Woke” as it will infuriate me further. On the bright side, I never would have found your blog without it and from it, hopefully, a great read by a modern author that doesn’t inject his stories with woke nonsense.

    As a side note, what is your opinion on the female characters in WoT? I’m on book 6 (?) The Path Of Daggers, and am seriously thinking of dropping the whole series due to how they are depicted; spiteful, bitchy, petty etc. I hate most of them, specially when they go through a mini redemption arc only to return to how they were, it’s really getting annoying and doesn’t make sense for EVERY main line female to act like this. It is clear Jordan wanted to write “strong female leads” but in my opinion he just made them very unlikeable.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gavin, glad to have you here! I was pretty bummed when WoT was optioned, because I knew there’d be woke idiocy attached to it. Like usual, I wasn’t wrong. And let me reiterate: my distrust based on the casting has nothing to do with the actors themselves, but (a) the one-side’s hypocrisy of “We only want the best actors!” and (b) the show runners deciding to alter such basic facts about these characters. What else will they change? When you’re doing an adaptation, these things matter.

      Anyway, I hope you enjoy my books. I don’t even want to be the non-woke equivalent of someone shoving their politics in your face. I just want to entertain and maybe make you think.

      Now on to the WoT books themselves: I actually like the female characters. That they’re how the are makes sense given that the world is one in which women DO run more than men based on the fact that the male half of the One Power is tainted. It’s a matriarchal world and Jordan, in my eyes, did a good job of showing what it would be like if women in power acted the way they think men in power act. I find it hilarious.

      The most unlikeable, to me, was Cadsuane, followed by Egwene, though Egwene does come in to her own. I find Nynaeve one of the best characters in the book, and I *love* Moirrane.

      But as always, to each his own.

      The series drags a bit in the middle, but if you’re on Path of Daggers (book 8), stick with it. Big stuff happens in book 9, and while 10 is a bit slow, 11 to the end really ramp things up.

      Like

  9. Fun fact, in the BBC Iliad them choosing to put African Greeks could have been not only a tremendous step in the right direction when it comes to diversity in films/shows but also incredibly realistic. Memnon, an Ethiopian king who fought for the side of the Trojans and was supposedly only second to Hector was of course, African and obviously so were all his countless soldiers. They could have stopped stealing from other cultures and instead had a great opportunity to show Africa’s own “history” but instead… they did what they did and made the “fairest among the Greeks blonde Achilles bald and black”

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Alex,

    Only this morning did I see that the WoT was to have a series adaptation. I read the books when they were first released and loved them – along with many other fantasy novels. At that time I would have been very excited at the news of a film series adaptation.

    However, knowing how modern corporations are pursuing identity politics and infusing it into every facet of our lives, my heart sunk at the news. A quick check of the internet confirmed all my fears. A secret part of my childhood, as will be the same for many who read fantasy, is about to be raped. Nothing will remain untainted.

    What a waste of an opportunity and great literature.

    Brace yourself, empowerment, ‘diversity’ and identity politics are coming.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mr. John, thanks for stopping by and commenting.

      You are on the money about how news of a film adaptation of a beloved property used to be cause for celebration. And back in the pre-woke days, even if it was terrible it would be quickly forgotten. Now, it’s nearly the death-knell for said property. And the bigger the budget, studio, and names attached, the worse it will be.

      Again, I have nothing against the actors and actresses in question. It’s the people running the show I don’t trust.

      Let me contrast with the new Star Wars movies. JJ Abrams—who is a racist—set out to un-white Star Wars. “Look! A black man, a woman, and a Latino! Suck it, MAGA-pedes!” Yet no one cared because these were brand new characters. Many fans LIKED the characters and actors (aside from pathetic internet trolls who took it upon themselves to attack Daisy Ridley and Kellie Marie Tran personally). It was the stories themselves that were lacking.

      Here, with Wheel of Time, the show runners seem to be trying to rub their virtue into every white person’s face, saying “If you don’t think this is the most wonderful thing ever, YOU’RE EVIL!”

      Sorry, asswipes. I’m not buying it. Neither are a lot of people, apparently. I guarantee this show will have steamy gay sex, a Trump stand-in (one of the Forsaken, perhaps?), and the Children of the Light will be an incredibly thinly-veiled attack on the Catholic Church and “Muh inquisition! Muh crusades!” I’m also calling that there will be diverse Aiel—hell, diverse everything except for the Sea Folk and maybe Tarabon or Arad Doman.

      The funny thing is that in the books the Seanchan Empire IS truly diverse a la 21st-century America.

      I’ve got a strong feeling that this show is going to be awful. I could be wrong, but all signs point to “awful.”

      Like

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