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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18 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

  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

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