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After all, the HBO project did launch a new era of prestige TV, prompting networks and streamers to scramble in an effort to find the next big fantasy project. If you were to ask The Wheel of Time's showrunner, Rafe Judkins, about it, however, he'd tell you that he never envisioned the Amazon translation as an answer to Westeros mania (no matter what Jeff Bezos
"This show and the books are not like Game of Thrones. I said that to Amazon right up front," Judkins said during a recent appearance on the Ringer-Verse podcast. "I was like, 'If you are looking for the next Game of Thrones, this isn't it. What I'm gonna pitch you is a series that is really different' ... I think when people say they're looking for the next Game of Thrones, often they mean something that pops the cultural bubble and exists in a hugely global space. I think the next thing that does that will be a totally different kind of show ... I was really clear with them from the beginning that we're not trying to be Thrones."
He went on to say that The Wheel of Time is not preoccupied with "crazy sex and violence at every turn" and seeks to do something different that audiences maybe haven't seen before.
"I loved the Thrones books and loved the adaptation, too," Judkins added. "I was like, 'I love this, but it's not what this is and I'm not gonna make it this, so if we engage in this together, do it knowing that you're bringing something else that's really amazing to life ... which is, in so many ways, a pillar of fantasy literature that has never been adapted ... To their credit, I think that they really embraced that and we've heard more talk about Thrones in the last five days than the entire two years of making the show combined. It's funny because everyone's like, 'Oh, the network must be putting so much pressure on you about Thrones,' but they actually really haven't. I think they're excited to have something that's different."
With all of that said, Judkins did seek out advice from the two dudes who helped bring Game of Thrones to life: D.B. Weiss and David Benioff. Their sage wisdom? "Just do what you're going to do. You know what this is. You have to believe in it. These kinds of things have to have an extraordinary clarity of vision to work."
The first four episodes of The Wheel of Time are now available to stream on Amazon Prime Video. Episode 5 — "Blood Calls Blood" — premieres on the service this coming Friday (Dec. 3). A second season is currently in production.