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Wheel of Time Chat with Spoilers

ncurd

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Okay probably kinda needed its getting harder to talk about the show without giving stuff away and its stuff that isn't going to occur for a few seasons. I'm declaring open season for this thread if it happened in the books you can discuss it.

As mentioned in the previous thread Wheel of Time is pretty seminal work in fantasy storytelling and was pretty much for a time people's go to series for something to read once you've read Lord of the Rings. This particularly useful in context of 2001 where a certain film had come out and people were hunting for what else to read. A Song of Fire and Ice was released in terms of the best bits was less popular in this country. Other options were Dragonlance which had 15billions novels which is pre wikipedia days was a problem and Dragonriders of Pern which equally had a where to start issue


You could read Shannara but it was rubbish (barely got through half of book one).

Wheel of Time on the other hand had some sexy books covers but as it was one continuous story knowing where to start wasn't an issue.

This is also why I read it I was in college taking a 50 min bus journey from home and back between Yeovil and Street. Which is now nearly 20 years ago which is why my memory sucks on the exact details of the novels and they blur, I read the first 10 books in just over a year as I finished book 9 shortly before or after publication of book 10. I may have read Knife of Dreams but I've never read the Brandon Sanderson ones.

The problem of course was the infamous 9th book where only half character turn up and covers the period of 2 days (I think) the 10th didn't help much.

Basically something went wrong after the 7th book (this glancing at wikipedia pages). So Rand al'Thor is the Dragon Reborn (first major spoiler) and at this point he's essentially consolidated power to have some kind of army and won his first major battle. At his point it should essentially be training for the final battle and the end of the story. Establishing his power base is pretty much the plot of books 4-7 and where the story is best. I think books 4-6 are my favourites especially book 5 because thats the **** goes down (have they cast Lanfear yet?) and pretty much what the last episode was doing some ground work for. Which Moiraines death, why Lan gets bonded to a different Aes Saidai other than Nynaeve (by the way they get together they're my favourite characters).

But yeah after book 7 Jordan sends Mat TO A DIFFRENT CONTINENT and its a mess it introduces a whole a bunch of new and bloody interesting characters. But Mat is also crucial and must be there for the end of the story due to plot reasons as he has to sound the Horn of Valere. Basically getting Mat back and therefore slowing the rest of plot down just slowed everything down. And clearly due to his own ill health and death but also the fact books stopped coming out as quickly Jordon really struggled to get the story back under control so he could finish it.

Should say whilst I've not finished it from what I heared using extensive notes (and being annoited) Sanderson the books do finish very satisfying.


I can understand what they are doing with Perrin due to the animal inside and giving him conflict he was always a bit too much of a nothing character.

As to what @Which Tyler said in the last about season to book I can see with a slightly longer book them consolidating a fair bit books 2-3 which mainly tread the same ground as each other. The Dragon Reborn actually being the interesting one but The Great Hunt covering some needed plot points. I do think books 4-7 will be their own seasons. What I do expect is books 8-14 being considerably cut down Mat doesn't go off, the taint gets cleansed at the end of the following season instead of waiting 2 books and they pretty much go into the Last Battle from there. So take this season into account 8 seasons total? (1=1, 2=2/3, 3=4, 4=6, 5=6, 6=7, 7=8/9/10, 8 = 11/12/13/14).
 

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Just checking in so I get notifications, will come back and post some actual thoughts in a while.

Edit: Have just realised that there is a way to accomplish this at the top of the thread without replying. Nevertheless, I'll leave this up as a monument to my stupidity.
 

ncurd

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Just had a dig through my books to get some idea of how quickly I read the books, I use to use receipts as bookmarks. Sadly no useful information I know I started Eye of the World on 18th September 2002 but all the other receipts are too faded to make out the dates.
 

big ginger 8

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I don't think any of the books take place on any continent but Randland?

Books 11-14 are brilliant. Think I'd argue the 'slog' is really only 8-10.
 

ncurd

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I don't think any of the books take place on any continent but Randland?

Books 11-14 are brilliant. Think I'd argue the 'slog' is really only 8-10.
Apologies thinking Ebou Dar was a different continent. But essentially what I meant was the introduction of the Seanchan which were a needless complication.
 

Which Tyler

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Based on the copyright page in my versions (which more or less corresponds with my memory), my reading was Hobbit / Discworld > Shannara > LOTR > Dragonlance > WoT > Pern > ASOIAF

We read the Hobbit for English in the mid-80s, school was proud of Tolkein as there was some sort of connection.
Read my brother's Discworld books somewhere around the publishing of Mort (I remember him waiting for it) so 1987. It's perfectly possible that these 2 came into my life at the same time, I think Hobbit was first, but could easily be wrong.

Started Shannara when it was just a trilogy, around 1988/89, so aged 12-13 - it blew my mind. It does NOT stand up to re-reads, and there's so many better options, I wouldn't recommend it to any tweens now.

Which led me to LOTR when a teacher saw that I was reading a swords and sorcery book, I can't remember if that was final year at Primary school, or first year at Secondary (I was the 13 intake). Loved it, and my copy has gone past dog-eared, and is largely held together with duck tape.

New kid joined our school ahead of GCSEs, and introduced me to Dragonlance, and D&D; but these were always more DD campaign in prose form books, light and throw away - don't think I even tried to re-read them, can't remember anything much about them (some half-elf, a sickly but ruthless wizard and his strong but thick brother). I had 2 anthologies, pretty sure I only finished them for completeness sake.

Started WoT in the early 90s, with Lord of Chaos (1994) being my only hardback copy, whilst my Fires of Heaven seems to have been the first paperback run (no "reprinted in"). Which certainly matches my memory of reading these rather than studying for A-levels. It was several steps above anything in the genre that wasn't written by Tolkein - I've re-read these multiple times, but not since Sanderson finished them off with a damp squib.

Read through Pern whilst depressed and overcoming heartbreak after being dumped by Fiancée#1 - so 1999/2000

I was very much a late-comer to ASOIAF, though I'd read a couple of Dunk and Egg stories in collections I'd bought for other authors (STP). Discovered them in my first year outside of education so, 2003/4. aFfC is my first hardback, and I waited the full 6 years for aDwD.
 

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Would have to agree with others, I'd date the slog from 7-10 but Knife of Dreams (11) and the Sanderson books are brilliant and well worth the read.

I have mixed feelings about the Wheel of Time. I recognise its place within the fantasy pantheon and think it did a lot to drag fantasy into out of the long post-Tolkien slump, and absolutely tore through the books when I read them. I was in my early teens, so would have been slightly younger than most reading them, no idea what effect that had on my enjoyment. I do remember even at that age thinking that the general depiction of women and the writing of the female characters wasn't up to par, and looking back on it now that's only increased. But equally, some of the books really aren't very good and even the good ones have their issues. Even those it's a good while now since I read them I'd have limited interest in ever attempting a reread. I think now that I'm older I've learned that even the better books weren't really my style.

As for the show, I'm pretty impressed so far. The first episode obviously suffered in the editing room but I enjoyed it and since then it's clearly improved episode on episode. I've only seen up to episode 3 and the consensus both from friends and the internet is that this improvement continues. After an initial mixed reaction it does seem to be picking up a decent bit of positive buzz too.

As others have said, the plot of the first book is significantly less interesting than those the follow so there's a lot of potential for improvement for the show as well. Although I do think you can get away with cliches and more generic plotlines to a greater extent on screen than in books so that impact might be limited.

The question of how the show/books fit together in terms of seasons is an interesting one since it obviously won't be a simple 1 to 1 formula. 2 and 3 being combined potentially is a good call. That would work out at 5 seasons by the end of book 6, which seems fair. After that it gets tricky, especially since so much of the plot of 7-10 is needless bloat, how much they cut out will have an impact on how the remaining content gets divided up. At a minimum, the Perrin/Faile/Seanchan kidnapping arc will be the first to go. The bit about Elayne and the Andor throne is should be out too. Neither are relevant to the broader plot and are really only there so Perrin and Elayne have something to do while the rest of the main cast (slowly) further the plot.

A more radical but probably needed step is to at least shorten but maybe cut Ebou Dar and the Seanchan. Would probably involve a bit of plot reorganising and but will need to happen anyway and they aren't anyone's favourite bit anyway. At the very least don't leave Mat there. Reading through plot summaries for those books, the Rand stuff and the cleansing of the taint is all that really needs to happen. To be honest, most of those books just need to be cut and have the important stuff added in to the parts that precede and follow it.
 

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havent read the thread, quick question, should i start reading the series or has it become too big, ive heard some mixed reviews, largely that the first few are very good...and then it starts to drag
 

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havent read the thread, quick question, should i start reading the series or has it become too big, ive heard some mixed reviews, largely that the first few are very good...and then it starts to drag
First book is very generic. After that it's quite good, then starts to drag before improving again towards the end.

It's definitely a divisive enough series but a lot love it, hard to know where you'll fall unless you give it a try. Even giving it a go is a significant time investment though which is worth bearing in mind.
 

Which Tyler

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havent read the thread, quick question, should i start reading the series or has it become too big, ive heard some mixed reviews, largely that the first few are very good...and then it starts to drag
Up to you really.
There's 14 doorstopper novels, and a prequel. The audiobooks take about 3 weeks to work through - if you never pause them.

They're dated and have some problematic elements for a modern audience.
They're pretty well packed with cliches; but in part, that's because they're the source for some of the cliche, and in part, because, especially the first book, was designed to be a cheap LOTR knock-off.

1st book is derivative
Books 2 & 3 are decent, as the author finds his voice, but a little repetitive.
Books 4-7ish are brilliant.
8-10 are largely a real slog with a whole bunch of storylines going nowhere, and doing it slowly - about 1 book's worth of story spread over 3; but if you've fallen in love with the world and the author by then, they're worth it anyway (and far, far better than than GRRM's solution to a stalled narrative of simply not writing anything)
Book 11 moves things forwards again, and is good to very good.
Books 12-14 are written by another author, and... divides the fandom. He gives us an ending, and it was a thankless task; but... let's just say it's a different take on things compared to the original author.



The other thing I'd say - and I'd say this for any book => TV/film adaptation, if you're liking the adaptation, leave the books until it's finished; or at least, don't read ahead of where the show is up to. Books are always far more detailed, shows are always cutting stuff, and in this case, they'll be huge things (best case, we'll get 20 days of spoken word into 2 days of screen time). Knowing the source always gets in the way of enjoying the adaptation, whilst reading afterwards usually adds flesh to the bones of the show.
 

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great sum up, i found that when i read Dune last year....was very predicable/cliche'd and then after some thought came to the conclusion it was probably the original or early adopter, not its fault lots of authors have done something similar since

interesting what you say re Sanderson, that was the one thing i had had common feedback form the 3-4 people id asked, was that he'd done a very good job wrapping it up, and i really like quite a few of His books

might put it in the "if i see on sale i'll grab" category
 

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great sum up, i found that when i read Dune last year....was very predicable/cliche'd and then after some thought came to the conclusion it was probably the original or early adopter, not its fault lots of authors have done something similar since
Document phenomenon called the Seinfeld effect. Pretty interesting. Lord if the Rings suffers from it as well.

Wheel of Time goes both ways, it's both a source of cliche and a borrower from earlier works.
 

Kiwiwomble

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Document phenomenon called the Seinfeld effect. Pretty interesting. Lord if the Rings suffers from it as well.

Wheel of Time goes both ways, it's both a source of cliche and a borrower from earlier works.
yeah, its a bit of a paradox as i would go as far as to say it made Dune unenjoyable to read as subsequent authors have the benefit for building and tweaking some of these tropes where as the original can be a bit rough or simplistic
 

big ginger 8

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So what are peoples thoughts on the finale/season as a whole?

I'm unfortunately kind of meh overall. I don't really care about any if the characters which is unfortunate as the books are probably my favourite series ever and when reading it, it definitely had some of my favourite characters.

I see they've increased the budget for the next season but I think if it sticks to the 8 episodes off 55 minutes format a lot of the issues will persist. Nothing is given time to breath. Also from reading Sanderson's update the writer's first inclination seems to be to go the dark and edgy root. Which is fine for plenty of other series but while the WoT has plenty of darkness at it's core it is not a dark series like ASOIAF or the First Law.
 

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