Even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again
April 29, 2016 9:32 AM   Subscribe

We all "enjoyed" watching Winter Dragon, a pilot for a TV adaptation of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time. Our suffering appears to have been worthwhile however, as Robert Jordan's widow, Harriet McDougal, has announced that the legal issues have been resolved and a new series is on the way.

Working link to a version Winter Dragon, since the version in the previous FPP is dead.

No word is available at this time about which studio is involved, but negotiations seem to be going well and an announcement from the studio is forthcoming.
posted by sparklemotion (40 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
That pilot was like watching somebody seal up some raccoons in a trash can and send it rolling down a hill.
posted by boo_radley at 9:47 AM on April 29, 2016 [18 favorites]


Hook Jordan's remains to a dynamo.

Shoot this series.

World's energy dilemma solved.
posted by ocschwar at 9:49 AM on April 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


The wheel of rights turns, and adaptations come and pass, leaving books that become shows. Shows stray from faithfulness, and even faithfulness is no matter when the Internet screeds begin...

*sniffs, tugs braid*
posted by nubs at 9:55 AM on April 29, 2016 [27 favorites]


The impression I'm getting is that the new series will not be made by the creators of the pilot. McDougall's statement said that the announcement is coming from "a major studio," which is a little bit of shade to throw because Red Eagle Entertainment is certainly not that.

Plus, Red Eagle and McDougall are not friends.
posted by sparklemotion at 9:56 AM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


Unlike some extremely popular on going televised fantasy novel series, this one has an ending.

In all seriousness, I would love to watch a well produced television show of the WoT series, but hopefully, whomever adapts it will look at the books following Book 5ish and judiciously slice away at what amounts to a grand level of slogging. It's a 14 book series which easily could have been cut down to around a hard 8 or 9 (at worse).

I'd like to think it offers a good balanced presentation of female and male characters, something that we look for a lot these days. It's also absent of the sexual violence that is one of the biggest criticisms leveled at GoT or even the 'brutalities of war and medieval life' that is laced throughout the show.

So bring on the Oigers, the trollocs, the Aiel, and the Aes Sedai, make it good and entertaining, and you'll have a series that will last you quite a while.

Here's a wiki-link about the series for the uninformed.
posted by Atreides at 10:04 AM on April 29, 2016 [9 favorites]


On the one hand, this book series at least is complete. On the other hand, it's fucking terrible. So basically we got another Sword of Truth thing going on here.
posted by Sternmeyer at 10:08 AM on April 29, 2016 [10 favorites]


Casting is critical for this, but what casting director has the fortitude to search through thousands of glossies in order to find the most well-turned calf?
posted by logicpunk at 10:12 AM on April 29, 2016 [5 favorites]


On the other hand, it's fucking terrible.

Bit harsh. The first 4-5 books are pretty good.
posted by Pendragon at 10:14 AM on April 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


logicpunk: "Casting is critical for this, but what casting director has the fortitude to search through thousands of glossies in order to find the most well-turned calf?"

And who possesses the most tuggable braids?
posted by boo_radley at 10:14 AM on April 29, 2016 [7 favorites]


The customers guild is already ramping up production of elaborate skirts, divided for riding.
posted by sparklemotion at 10:22 AM on April 29, 2016 [5 favorites]


I'd like to think it offers a good balanced presentation of female and male characters, something that we look for a lot these days....

Just to stave off the inevitable fight:

Jordan's portrayal of women can be ... problematic, but one of WoT's real strengths is that it features women doing things with other women -- very few of them seem isolated in the ways that other writers' female characters (Sanderson, GRRM) seem to be.

I heard a panelist once (a decade ago) say that the reason she'd always defend Heinlein was that he wrote a story with a female engineer. I feel the same about Jordan -- for all his flaws, WoT contains female characters I could identify with at the age of twelve and characters I can identify with in my mid-thirties, and, as a geeky female, it's hard for me to think of another series that does the same thing.

So bring on the TV show. I'll definitely watch.
posted by steady-state strawberry at 10:22 AM on April 29, 2016 [14 favorites]


Count me in as someone who'd be down for a contemporary sword-and-sorcery type show that's a little bit . . . lighter . . . on the violence than GoT. I enjoyed Legend of the Seeker, and that was cheesy as hell.
posted by Think_Long at 10:36 AM on April 29, 2016


I'm guessing this will be another example of Hollywood completely missing the point of what makes a show popular. GoT isn't a massive success because it has dragons and swords in it. But all Hollywood sees is dragons and swords so SHANNARA! WHEEL OF TIME! MORE SWORDS! MORE DRAGONS!
posted by Justinian at 10:39 AM on April 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


I look forward to the next 58 seasons of muddled plotlines, characters that are on the screen for no discernible reason, and braided hair. So much braided hair and arms crossed beneath ample bosoms.

It's a 14 book series which easily could have been cut down to around a hard 8 or 9 (at worse).

Really it should've been done in 6. Everything that happened in books 4-10 could've easily been reduced to 1 book, cutting out about 6000 pages worth of the series of repetitive confrontations with various Forsaken and Rand wandering around in the desert. That leaves a whole book 5 for the more interesting side plots that don't really get going until books 11-12, and a whole book for the last battles. 6 books, call it 8 TV seasons, and make sure to hire the most ruthless production editors available.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:53 AM on April 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


Someday someone will produce the definitive abridged version of this series and it will be glorious. Maybe it will be the TV show.

Also, even if you don't like WoT it's clearly better than Sword of Truth by far. SoT devolved into Randian nonsense pretty quickly, WoT kept a huge magical world spinning and spinning and spinning.
posted by macrael at 10:58 AM on April 29, 2016


The series was quite a slog in the middle section, but the ending, especially the last book, made it totally worth it.
posted by Billiken at 11:00 AM on April 29, 2016


I definitely enjoyed the start and end of that series, so my hopeful side looks at this as a chance to see what the series would have been like if Robert Jordan hadn't gotten too famous to have an editor go to town and trim out the whole books worth of when the plot grinds to a halt, characterization gets repetitive, etc.
posted by JiBB at 11:00 AM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


Saw a funeral service for the Eastern Star the other day. It had a lot of overlap with the Aes Sedai. Just sayin'
posted by LegallyBread at 11:10 AM on April 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


SoT devolved into Randian nonsense pretty quickly, WoT kept a huge magical world spinning

A huge magical world with a bunch of nonsense about a man named Rand. Think about it.
/joke

I'm guessing this will be another example of Hollywood completely missing the point of what makes a show popular. GoT isn't a massive success because it has dragons and swords in it

I'm not always sure that the people behind GoT understand that it isn't the nudity and the violence that makes the show popular.

The WoT series lost a great deal of steam for me after book 6 (and even book 6 had big problems, and it was only the final 50-100 pages that was great). Somebody needs to dig in and cut way back on the moments when characters just don't share information with each other because it might advance the plot and allow us to miss a few hundred pages of people agonizing over things, and that might actually keep enough momentum going.
posted by nubs at 11:11 AM on April 29, 2016 [4 favorites]


It's also absent of the sexual violence that is one of the biggest criticisms leveled at GoT or even the 'brutalities of war and medieval life' that is laced throughout the show.

WoT is endearing to me because the worse curse any character mutters is "mother's milk in a cup!"
posted by Groundhog Week at 11:13 AM on April 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


The series was quite a slog in the middle section, but the ending, especially the last book, made it totally worth it.

I definitely enjoyed the start and end of that series,

Are the final WoT books, written by a different author, in the true spirit of the originals? Like, can I spiritually accept that the ending is the true ending? I stopped reading after RJ died, but, man, I really liked those books. Maybe I shall go on if I'm convinced here.
posted by zeek321 at 11:22 AM on April 29, 2016


I liked, uh, book nine maybe? The one where Rand spends ninety percent of it locked in a trunk.

Some of the earlier ones were cool, and I gave up a book or two after that one.

There was one around book four or five (or six?) where half the book was a caravan literally doing nothing and going nowhere. I somehow didn't check out then.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 11:41 AM on April 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


zeek321, I didn't find the WoT books by Sanderson all that enjoyable (but I don't like Sanderson's writing in general). Many others disagree with me, and that's fine. But, if you feel a need to find closure on the series, they will do that - he worked from RJs notes, and all the boxes get checked off.
posted by nubs at 11:45 AM on April 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


Are the final WoT books, written by a different author, in the true spirit of the originals? Like, can I spiritually accept that the ending is the true ending? I stopped reading after RJ died, but, man, I really liked those books. Maybe I shall go on if I'm convinced here.

The final three books (written by Brandon Sanderson) incorporate the portions of the final book that RJ finished before he died. The very final chapter is almost entirely Jordan's actual writing, so the series ends the way the original author always intended.
posted by greenland at 11:48 AM on April 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


It all ties together and even the parts that bog on detail are in their way of interest. The main story tends to get *lost* in spots with side-plots. It should be a classic example of starting in a known spot with a known ending and just letting the rest 'flow'... Plot explosion. The multiple viewpoints is nice, but trying to tell everyones side of each part is ... messy.

Sanderson did a good job with what he had to work with and honestly if Jordan had been doing it it might have drug out longer.

It started well and ended well.
posted by twidget at 12:09 PM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm halfway through book five, and while I sometimes (often) want to smack the characters with a rolled up newspaper and say, "Just tell him/her that you love him/her!", it's engaging enough to pull me away from things I "should" be reading.

What book should I skip ahead to to get closure and let me get on with my life?
posted by Standeck at 12:19 PM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


10 or 11. Really, books 5-9 are all exactly like that. Eventually some of the side plots pick up and get somewhat interesting before everyone basically drops everything and lines up for the last battle, here's a brief summary with a couple paragraphs on each book.
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:54 PM on April 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


I've got issues with Wheel of Time but it in no way, even at its worse, descends to the level of the Sword of Truth, or god forbid, whatever Paolini calls his bullshit series.

I would think that Syfy might be the likely place for this to land. Their adaptations of The Expanse and The Magicians have been pretty successful.
posted by Ber at 1:44 PM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


I would have been happy with what Sanderson did with the last books if Sanderson didn't have an actual tin ear for language and regularly made word choices that threw me clear across the room, let alone just out of the story. It's made worse because Jordan had a very clear voice, in my opinion.

But I freely admit that's idiosyncratic of me, because I know for a fact that a goodly number of fans who didn't mind that particular aspect were very happy with the ending. The aspects I groused about were the aspects I would grouse about if Jordan had finished the series, too. And Sanderson does tie everything up.



(My life on these here Internets, I can say without much hesitation, really took off on rec.arts.sf.written.robert-jordan . I've, uh, spent a lot of time thinking about and talking about those books. Also the vast majority of friends I made online are from that newsgroup, the ones that weren't from alt.fan.wedge, so...)
posted by seyirci at 2:38 PM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


I still haven't read the last book. I get bogged down during my re-read, somewhere around book nine. Then I start over again a year or two later.

It feels sort of like a wheel of re-reading.
posted by Pendragon at 2:57 PM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


if Sanderson didn't have an actual tin ear for language and regularly made word choices that threw me clear across the room, let alone just out of the story.

This, so much! I read WarBreaker and Elantris, and could he have chosen stupider nouns?? (I mean really, "chromaBreath"?). He got lucky in Mistborn that "allomancy" sounds kinda cool. But even "feruchemy" is close to stupid.

I tagged out of WoT around book 8 or 9 and haven't felt like rereading everything to be able to read the new ones. Besides, it was never about the characters I liked.
posted by leahwrenn at 4:57 PM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


I keep a half-read book 4 close at hand as motivation to find something else to read.
posted by simra at 4:58 PM on April 29, 2016


It has been suggested that the WoT series ridiculous length and lack of meaningful editing pretty much kept Tor afloat and allowed for the publication of books that were actually worth reading.

A choice morsel:
I further said and will repeat: there were quite a lot of people who sneered at ‘Robert Jordan’ but whose own books wouldn’t have been published without the Wheel of Time to subsidize them. Since the onset of Jim’s (Jim Rigney’s) illness, he hadn’t been able to write–and a lot of those people are not being published any more.
I personally have no use for the prose of Robert Jordan, but I can see why some find it appealing.
posted by xyzzy at 5:04 PM on April 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


I am leery of series more than a handful of titles in length, since belly-crawling through The Belgariad as a kid. Is this one worth it?
posted by wenestvedt at 6:08 PM on April 29, 2016


I would have been happy with what Sanderson did with the last books if Sanderson didn't have an actual tin ear for language and regularly made word choices that threw me clear across the room, let alone just out of the story. It's made worse because Jordan had a very clear voice, in my opinion.


I like Sanderson's writing but the clash between styles was jarring, particularly in book 12 which was mostly completed at the time of Jordan's passing. The tone would just abruptly change between chapters. Book 13 seemed to be mostly, if not completely in Sanderson's writing as I recall but in the final book it was obvious again when Sanderson passed the baton back to Jordan's ghost to finish the tale.
posted by dances with hamsters at 9:15 PM on April 29, 2016


Is this one worth it?

No. Read Kate Elliott's "Crossroads" series, which has a start and an ending. (That's the series that goes: Spirit Gate, Shadow Gate, and Traitor's Gate. It's all good. And then you'll be set up for Black Wolves, which is even better.)
posted by suelac at 11:14 PM on April 29, 2016


If TV couldn't get Shannara or Sword of Truth right, and Hollywood fucked up something as simple as the Hobbitt, what chance this.... thing, whatever it is?

(I tapped out at book 8).

Of course, despite my disappointment, I still want a Belgariad TV show.
posted by Mezentian at 5:15 AM on April 30, 2016


The aspects I groused about were the aspects I would grouse about if Jordan had finished the series, too.

Is this where this thread is going? This is where this thread is going.

Mostly. Except for the part where the EPIC reveal at the end of ToM -- the thing that, AFAICT, no one had even floated as a theory on the WoT FAQ, the thing that we all recognized immediately once it appeared -- was just dropped completely. Like, we almost never hear about the *spoilers* again, even though it's pretty clear that Jordan intended them to dominate the entire Last Battle.

Sanderson had a thankless task, and for that I give him kudos, but he dropped balls in places and in ways that it's possible to see where things *should* have been slotted in, had RJ been the one finishing the series. He also differs from RJ the most when it comes to writing about the military (RJ served in Vietnam; Sanderson played a lot of D&D), and that was kind of what he was stuck writing at lot about in the final books.

TGS / ToM / AMoL all feel like shadows of what they should have been had they been written by RJ. (And that itself feels almost WoT-ish to me, although I'm not sure why.) Maybe that's better, in ways -- I don't think RJ could have lived up to my expectations. But, bizarrely, that's what might make a good screen adaptation better than the final three books -- none of it will involve RJ's style, and the battle sequences can be as gritty as the director wants them to be.

(Except for the spoiler in the Blight. The spoiler in the Blight will still go nowhere, and I am still mad about this.)
posted by steady-state strawberry at 6:22 AM on April 30, 2016


I'm curious about how this series might run.

From memory, book one is largely self contained, but the closer you get to the end (Book 17 or so) the more spread apart the characters are, the more locations, the less story.... and assuming they make 20 episodes a season it's still going to need 10-odd years to run to completion.

It seems unlikely to me to make it that far. Most shows run out of steam by about year five.
posted by Mezentian at 6:25 PM on April 30, 2016


I think capable writers could probably cut away some sidelines and what not for a considerably shorter run.
posted by Atreides at 3:55 PM on May 1, 2016


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