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When Amazon Studios decided to make The Wheel of Time TV series happen, it was as if fans of Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson’s epic fantasy series had been waiting since the Breaking of the World.
Sanderson, who finished the final three novels after Jordan’s death, recently gave the Wheel of Time Reddit community some insight that his NDAs actually allow him to reveal. Amazon and showrunner Rafe Judkins’ vision for the live-action series may differ to how it unfolds in the books — to the point that it might be Game of Thrones-level polarizing for some fans.
Before someone starts a remake petition before the show doesn’t even have an official air date, though, Sanderson had this to say about how the power struggles and arcane magic of the source material will translate onscreen:
“I found the [vast] majority of these decisions to be excellent choices — things that will give the show its own soul, but still in line with the feel and tone of the books. I can’t say for certain, but my instincts say the fanbase will in general respond to them positively. There are a few I offered suggestions on, and we’ll see,” the author commented in the Reddit Wheel of Time group under the username mistborn (which is one of his novel series).
Something that may resonate with anyone who was obsessed with The Lord of the Rings is the comparison that he made to how Peter Jackson transformed that series from page to screen.
“I can’t say too much, not just because of NDAs, but also because the show is very much still in flux as Rafe makes decisions on how he wants things to go,” Sanderson admitted. “As the alterations go, I’d say they fall in line with positive changes made in bringing LOTR to the big screen — things that were altered in order to make the films work for the medium.”
Does that mean something similar to an otherworldly army of Elves appearing out of nowhere at Helm’s Deep a la Peter Jackson is going to happen in Wheel of Time? Not necessarily. It could just mean that the TV version might begin from a point of view through someone else’s eyes besides Rand al’Thor’s, and at a more critical point in the story. Would LoTR really be the same if it dragged through an hour of Tolkien’s preface Concerning Hobbits?
“Overall, the thing I’m most impressed with is Rafe himself, who really seems to be guiding this show with a balance between love for the source material and his own creative vision. I’d much rather get this, personally, than something like the first two Harry Potter films — which felt like someone trying to bring the books to the screen with exact scene-by-scene recreations,” Sanderson said.
While that may be true of Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling's first two books were also short in comparison to the pages and pages of material that encompassed the final showdown against Voldemort. Jordan and Sanderson’s books start off expansive and only keep delving into the complicated and often dangerous altverse-Earth they created from there.
Just please tell us we’ll get to see the Aes Sedai conjuring all sorts of fantastical things, even if that means watching them flick their shawls every other second. We’re here for it.