When we left off we had wrapped up the one and only scene that is shared between the books and the show. Rand and Tam are going to Bel Tine, where we will be treated to more fanfic. As a matter of fact, that’s all we’ll be treated to from this point on.
I’m not even going to bother describing any of the fan fiction in detail. I will point out that characters break out into smiles so goddamn often that it’s turned the corner from irritating and started being straight up hilarious. It’s like Rafe Judkins is a two year old, who has no idea how to display happiness other than having one actor in a shot spontaneously break out into a grin.
Remember these from the previous piece? Well we’re introduced to Mat and Perrin in a decidedly uncharming manner. Here we –
JFC there is not one single frame of this show that I can’t bitch about. Ignoring the Nigerian extra, the actor who plays Rand was so obviously told to take a fake swig of his ale as the scene begins. They even do this exact thing again later on in the show, have Rand take a stilted, awkward swig of beer.
And then they do it again in the very same scene. Meaning that the scene starts with Rand swigging beer, and ends with him swigging beer. And yes, the camera lingers on him as he clearly acts his way through drinking beer on both occasions.
Again, this isn’t nitpicking, the entire show is put together so carelessly that it has the feel of a middle school play.
Anyway Mat has a gambling addiction now. Sorry, let me fix that for you. Show!Mat has a gambling addiction, which Show!Rand and Show!Perrin think is hilarious.
I’m just going to paste in all the times these clowns start smiling in this scene. Understand that these are all different beats. As in, they stopped smiling, did something for a few seconds, and then the camera shoots them grinning ear to ear again.
The showrunners in particular give Perrin absolutely nothing to do but smile in this scene.
There’s more smiling.
And then Egwene walks in, smiling.
Which prompts more smiling.
And even more smiling.
Am I getting through to you how truly awful this is? I’ve changed my mind. This doesn’t even feel like a middle school play, unless said play was also written by a middle schooler. It’s like they have absolutely no idea how to convey the notion that these guys are a group of friends other than to have them grinning like hyenas.
Suddenly it’s nighttime and Lan walks in and then just stands there. I can’t help but notice that he looks like a complete dork. The actor is in decent shape, and I’ll give a lot of leeway in casting good actors over bad actors who are roided out of their minds, but come on now. The combination of his clothes being too big for him and the actors relatively small stature makes him seem exactly like what he is, a Hollywood actor pretending to be a tough guy.
Moiraine walks in and warms her hands in front of the fire while everyone in the common room looks at her.
None of this is important. None of this happened in the books. I’ll be skipping over most of the rest of this entire episode, because I just can’t take it any longer. Even watching this at 1.5x speed is painful, and I have to watch it at least twice to transcribe everything and get the screenshots.
So Perrin has a wife now. Mat has –
Oh yeah, Perrin has a wife. Don’t worry, this doesn’t affect anything, since the show has him accidentally kill her in just a few minutes. Yes, they invented a wife for Perrin who he murders. Yes, this is terrible for a lot of different reasons. Yes, the showrunners are hacks.
Anyway Mat now has an alcoholic mother and an abusive father, then Rand and Egwene have sex in a public place. They don’t actually show the sex, but they do show some extremely hands on groping, followed by a shot of them talking while half naked post coitus.
I wasn’t kidding when I said they do this in a public place. This is the same common room from before. It was full of people just a few minutes ago.
But why have continuity when you could have a gross sex scene instead?
There’s a truly tedious and lore shattering conversation between Nynaeve and Moiraine that takes forever.
There’s an unbearably tedious scene between Rand and Egwene that is so slow paced and horribly written that the first time I saw it I didn’t realize that it also makes zero sense. How the heck did they get on top of this mountain? When did this happen? They just randomly did a 10k hike the day of the Bel Tine?
The show is so bad and forgettable that I completely forgot this scene of Lan walking through a bunch of ritualistically murdered goats. The second time watching it felt like the first time for me, indicating that I must have been daydreaming the first time I watched the show. I guess in this sense it has rewatch value.
Now it’s time for this guy we’ve never seen before to get an axe in the back. You can see it flying in from stage right in the above shot.
He’s dancing with Egwene when this happens, and we see a point sticking out through his chest, indicating that he got shot with an arrow, or maybe stuck with a spear.
He does generic surprised death react #42, and falls over.
Only to reveal that he had an axe in his back.
Try making these two images work together in a way that makes sense.
We start with something poking through his chest.
And reveal it to be an axe.
Again, I know this is repetitive, but do you see the insane lack of attention to detail in this show? They can’t make something consistent from shot to shot, and not in a trivial way. This man got murdered by two very different weapons, unless we’re trying to argue that the axe that went through his body also had a weird stabby part for no reason?
There is also no reason for that one guy to die like that, since it implies that the trollocs decided to throw an axe at him specifically for no reason. They didn’t throw axes at anyone else, so they just decided to give away the element of surprise… because.
There’s a drawn out battle that takes forever. There is no drama or stakes, because Moiraine is OP.
Away from this scene Perrin kills his wife. So I guess we wrapped up that lore change fast.
And the battle is over. Suddenly it’s morning and all the main teenagers, who are now mid twenties, are convening when Moiraine tells them that they’re chosen by fate and blah blah. This might technically count as something that happens in the books, but again, butchered beyond recognition. It’s also accompanied by, you guessed it, more smiling in response to bad attempts at jokes.
There’s some more excruciatingly bad dialogue and then it’s over, may god have mercy on my soul. I can’t believe I managed to suffer through that, and not once but twice. Okay I cheated and watched the thing on 1.5x speed both times, but oh my god that show was painful, truly painful to watch. Every second is pain.
I have never gotten such a stageplay vibe from a show before. Only a better writer than I can explain how they managed to fail at everything so well and truly. There is nothing good here, nothing. The music is generic and bad. The special effects are terrible. The acting is poor. The camera lingers on characters in a way that feels unbearably tedious even when watching at 1.5x speed. They changed everything for no reason.
And the writing is horrible in all respects. The pacing is amateurish. Characters stand around talking while doing nothing else, leading to a show that feels rushed and agonizingly slow all at the same time. The dialogue is just putrid. They managed to make Wheel of Time less magical and yet also more generic and tropey. This is somehow worse than Rangz of the Kangz. I don’t mean that it’s worse because they had better material to work with, what with adapting an already complete series. I mean that it’s worse taken on it’s own. Even if I didn’t know what Wheel of Time was I would think this show was just truly abysmal.
At the end of my Rangz of the Kangz series I had a little fun thinking of how I would re-write the series. In my second video review I did much the same.
But the problem here is that there is an easy solution to fixing everything from the show, aside from the bad CGI, poor cinematography, and terrible sound design and music. The solution is just to actually adapt The Eye Of The World. I couldn’t keep saying “this wasn’t in the books,” because literally every single scene except Rand and Tam walking to town, and maybe Moiraine telling the kids they need to leave, is not in the book. The rest of it is pure fanfiction, with mystery meats thrown in everywhere. As a result, the solution is easy, you don’t do that.
I had been warned by people that they did a lot of changing to the story, and the term “fanfic,” was thrown around a lot. Even still, that did not prepare me from almost every single scene being a creation of homosexual fanfic enjoyer Rafe Judkins perverted mind. This show just flat out isn’t The Wheel Of Time. It honestly feels like Rafe Judkins wrote fanfic of WOT, and intentionally changed everything so he couldn’t be accused of plagiarism. Then he gets hired by Amazon Studios to adapt WOT, so he changes the character names back to the characters from the books. That’s about as faithful of an adaption as this is.
I can’t harp on this point enough. Take the battle at the end of the episode. This happens in the books, and yet we don’t see any of it. Instead we follow Rand and Tam. They get attacked by trollocs on their farm and Tam kills a bunch of them before leading them away. But since Tam got an axe wound Rand has to drag him on a makeshift wheelbarrow back to town. During this trip Tam feverishly mutters some very important things about Rand’s birth.
This is all very essential to the plot, and the relatively small scope of the story, that of a farm being attacked, makes it no less dramatic as a result. It’s also Jordan’s way of making absolutely positively sure that you understand that Rand is The Dragon Reborn, even if Rand himself has some plausible deniability.
Upon arriving in town Rand sees the destruction of Emond’s Field. He goes to Nynaeve, who tells him that Tam is too far gone. Finally he goes to Moiraine, who does in fact heal Tam up. This one act is also essential for Moiraine’s characterization, since she’s somewhat cold. Saving such a loved character helps the audience connect with her, and it also makes Rand feel obligated to her. It allows for them to plausibly trust her, while retaining much of the paranoia and ill feeling towards the Aes Sedai.
Even a faithful adaptation is going to need to have differences. You can’t easily display a characters inner thoughts on page, so you need to convey that information through dialogue, events, skillful acting, or something else. Maybe you have a character say something that was previously covered by the narrator. Maybe you add another character into a solo scene, since you can’t easily convey their thoughts without them talking to someone. And of course there are budgetary constraints.
On the flip side, film is a visual medium, so it’s also possible you can rip out lots of dialogue that explains something we can now see. You can certainly do this for descriptive text, which is why I think that The Wheel Of Time is one of the greatest candidates ever for television adaptation. Robert Jordan sure does love his descriptions.
What I did not expect was for them to just strip out the actual story and replace it with pure fanfic. Again, I thought there would be some fanfic, but mostly the real story. I expected that I would be able to laugh at their adaptation choices, and easily suggest better. The problem is that this just flat out isn’t an adaptation, it’s pure fanfic that has some nods to the actual story it’s supposed to be covering.
In a way it’s probably a good thing that the show is this awful, assuming you’re a Wheel Of Time fan. This will be quickly forgotten, and it’s possible that someone can make a faithful adaptation in the future.