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The Wheel of Time: A Rambling, Digression Filled Review


Jason Rimbaud

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The Wheel of Time: A Rambling, Digression Filled Review

By: A Fan of the Books

So somewhere & somewhen, I started replying in a Wheel of Time: The Series thread and realized after a few pages that it was way too long to post in a thread. Plus it was filled with colorful metaphors, talks of naughty bits, and generally senseless ramblings that I decided about that time for a new Blog Entry by the amazing Jason Rimbaud. Or is that the absent Rimbaud? Doesn’t matter.

But before I start to bore you with my thoughts about a show that has been finished for almost three months, let’s go back in time. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. But definitely in the realm of times.

The year was 1993, this little freckled-faced boy, who was filled with hopes and aspirations of one day becoming a writer of fiction, wandered into a magical place called Borders in Harrisburg Pennsylvania. 

For those of you too young to remember just what the hell is a Borders, I’ll tell you. And again, I’m not saying this is true in all places and also times, I’m just saying what I knew to be true back in 93’. 

Borders was a place that if you entered the store at a particular time, and you went up the long escalator to the second floor, and turned left and went straight to the back corner of the store. You would find one of the biggest restrooms you have ever seen in your life. And if you went into that restroom, you would first see a row of sinks, eight of them, then a wall of hand dryers, then if you continued walking around the pony wall, you would find a row of a thousand stalls, seriously there were a billion stalls in that restroom. 

And like I said, if you were to walk into that bathroom at a particular time, and walked around that pony wall, and enter the very last stall on the right, then you might be able to get a blowjob from a random stranger. Who I might add, would refuse to look at you much less talk to you after the deed was completed and you accidentally ran into him perusing the rows and also rows of books.

No my friend, we didn’t have hook-up apps like Jack’d & Grindr where we could see the photos of the person before we hooked up. Or read a profile detailing what they were into and what they wanted to do. 

Nope, we had to do it the old fashion way. Sit patiently in a stall, sometimes hours before we finally got that wonderful signal, shove our penis into a hole in the wall, and pray beyond hope that it was at least a halfway decent looking guy. The times that ended up happening were few and very, very, very, very far between.

So that is Borders kids, you don’t know what you were missing out on. Complete anonymous sex with older men, whether you liked that or not. That was the option back in those days.

So there I was, a young man filled with testosterone and a full head of hair, perusing the rows of books waiting to see if anyone entered that magical place. As it happened, while I was waiting for something exciting to happen, I noticed a display of books. This display of books was in the perfect eye line of the entrance to the restroom. 

I’m sure you’ve seen those displays, normally a huge cardboard placard of the cover of the book, with maybe a few reviews of the book, and the title. 

And there it was, this large placard, saying coming this fall, The Fires of Heaven by Robert Jordan. And the cover is rather plain, just a man standing in the middle of what looks like a courtyard wearing a red coat, with orange hair. But in the background was a man standing there with a staff slung over one shoulder and a wide brim hat. This was the image I was intrigued by. Who was that man in the wide brim hat?

Keeping one eye on the entrance to the restroom, I quickly realized that The Fires of Heaven was the fifth book in this epic fantasy series. I knew that because they had the first four books on the table under the placard, and being somewhat intelligent, I surmised that these were the first four books of the series. 

And the rumor was back then, that this was going to be the final book of the series. Who would attempt to write a ten plus book series of fantasy. 

I usually never want to start a series until it is complete, as I hate waiting for the new book to come out. And kids, if you thought waiting a week for a new episode of your favorite TV show, then try waiting two years or more for the next installment. That is patience.

And if you really want to talk about patience, it took me another ten years before I got the ending I so wanted from that long ago day of sloppy blowjobs and cover art. Chew on that patience I displayed.

Though I went to Borders that day for a quick, sloppy blowjob from a random stranger in the restroom, I picked up the first book of the series and decided to read a few pages while I waited for someone to go into the bathroom.

Now I'm going to be honest here, I’d like to say that all thoughts of strange men sucking me off left my future bald head upon reading that first prologue of Eye of the World. But that’s not true, I ended up with a somewhat younger man than normal on the receiving end of my…bellend. But that’s another story.

I think I finished all eight hundred or so pages in a few days of the Eye of the World and immediately went back to that Borders, not for a blowjob but to buy the next book in the series. Over the next few weeks I devoured all four books and couldn’t wait for the fifth and final book to come out. 

Being a massive fan of the books that I am, and not that fan that thinks the books are perfect, I am fully aware that the first three books are somewhat a slogfest and let's not talk about eight, nine, and ten. But I loved the storyline and had the biggest crush on Mat, the one who turned out to be the figure in the wide brim hat. 

I was stoked that the Wheel of Time would finally be getting the live action treatment from Amazon Studios. And once I saw the trailer, I knew it was going to be different then the books for a multitude of reasons.

  1. The average book length, not dick length, is eight hundred pages. That’s crazy long. And there is no way in hell they could do one book per season. 

  2. Who would expect a show to last 14 seasons anyway.

  3. We know that Robert Jordan loved describing the most mundane things in finite detail and that's not even discussing his fascination with ladies dresses and hairstyles. The books have a lot of filler that could be cut and never missed.

By the way, how does one actually go about sniffing in disgust or anger? The female characters are always sniffing, pulling their hair (though I have noticed a lot lately that women constantly stroke their hair in public like a boy scratches around his crotch) and looking disapprovingly at every male they see.

  1. The story itself takes place over a period of three years. ( I had to look that up as I thought the story took place over a much longer period of years. That means Rand was only 19 when…) No spoilers. So 14 seasons would age the characters out.

  2. The amount of time spent traveling from one place to another is so time consuming that I know they would have to keep the story moving at a faster pace. So avoiding certain places and events only makes sense.

  3. There are thousands of characters in these books and many of them have speaking parts, so combining several characters into one or omitting them completely is understandable. 

My husband, “N”, who does not offer blowjobs in the restrooms…anymore, has no experience with the book series. Except that he constantly tells me to throw out my WOT books because they are cluttering up the bookcase and he can’t put up more photos of us sans restrooms.

“N” is a huge fan of fantasy & Sci-Fi, so he was all in after watching the trailer. And after watching the first three episodes, he was hooked. But then became rather pissed off because Amazon decided to drop a new episode weekly instead of all at once. He made me…physically threatened my life if I were to watch them without him.

I’m sure none of you know this, but I am a huge fan of Survivor. Yes, that reality show that has been on the air for twenty years. Don’t judge me, I had to get blowjobs in restrooms by random strangers when I was young, I don’t know any better. 

“N” also likes Survivor, but can’t stand waiting for the new weekly episode to drop, so I watch it first, and then once it's all released, then he will binge it in like three days. 

That is what he made me promise to do, wait until it's all released and then watch it with him all in one night. And I don’t like watching TV like that. I like to digest what I just watched and think about it for a week before dipping my bald head back into the experience.

So on Christmas Eve we snuggled in bed, I hate watching TV in bed, and binged the remaining five episodes.  

“N” loved it. He liked the characters, the cinematography, the special effects, the magic system, and of course, the Trollocs. And I will agree, the first six episodes look fantastic. I love that they are filming in a location that is unknown to most American audiences. So it looked like a fantasy world. And yes there are CGI touches to things, but they built a lot of actual set pieces in the amazing landscape that is Czech Republic, in Prague. 

He loved the mystery that is, which one of them is the Dragon Reborn. I actually enjoyed watching it with him in bed as he went back and forth. It is Matt, oh wait, it has to be Perrin, no I think it is Egwene. I’m sure it's Perrin, Holy Shit! It's Rand, I knew. 

And he asked me questions about the books, which I refused to answer. He begged me to tell him what happened next, and all I can say, I don’t know, they changed so much I have no clue. Then he offered me blowjobs, not in a restroom much to my chagrin, and when I still didn’t acquiesce to his demands he cut me off from sex completely. So back to Borders…Wait, Borders are no more. Balls.

“N” didn’t know what they had changed, made up, omitted, or combined into single characters. All he knew is he loved the drama, the mystery, the scariness of the Whitecloaks. Who I must admit, are even more terrifying than in the books. 

So “N” didn’t understand when Tam first drew the Heron sword, I took a sharp intake of breath. And grinned from ear to ear when Morgaine and Lan were kicking Trolloc ass in the Two Rivers. The encounter Perrin had with the wolves in the forest only fueled his theory that Perrin was the Dragon Reborn, I only smiled. When the camera focuses in on the dagger, I yelled something out, but he didn’t understand why. 

I got so excited when I first saw Thom in the Inn telling us the tale of the Dragon Reborn. And when he was killed by the Fade, I inwardly smiled as I am rather certain that isn’t the last time we see Thom. Or when I first saw a red haired Aiel in the cage, I giggled at the implication and wanted to know how they would portray the best fighters in the world. Nor did I say aloud, what the hell is that? When the Ogier first arrives talking to Rand in the Inn. 

Or why I starting yelling, thats what I’m fucking talk about, when the Maiden of the Spear was on that snowy mountain top and I saw she was pregnant. Though I did remain rather silent as I watched in awe as she proceeded to take out all those soldiers. But I did get to see his reaction when he realized that the soldier was Tam and that badass fighter was Rand’s mother.

And much like him, in a way it was a new story for me as well. I knew and understood the changes they had to make. And actually liked that they changed the age of all the lead characters. Or making the show way darker than the novels. Bloodier than Jordan would ever dare dream. And lets not forget boobies, there are boobies and butts everywhere. And maybe even a hint of ball bag, Lan’s ball bag. 

Nudity is looked up as taboo in the Two Rivers, but throughout the rest of the books, there are boobies flooping around everywhere. And lest we forget, Rand and Egwene have been doing the nasty for a while. And Perrin knocked up some chick before slicing her open like a ripe Cantaloupe. Lan and Nynaeve knocking boots, that didn’t happen until book 10 or something. Moiraine being all lipstick to Siuan butch amazingness. Everyone is fucking,

From the very beginning, which I do think was a bad cold open for Wheel of Times, I knew this wasn’t Robert Jordan’s Wheel of TIme anymore. And I was completely okay with that. If the concept is that everything has happened before, and these people are constantly being re-born into different ages, then this is just a different version of events that happened a long time ago in our future. The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills. 

So in the books, the Whitecloaks were dangerous and very militaristic, but damn, what a way to introduce them. That scene was deliciously twisted and just the way I imagined those zealots to behave. I think his fascination on Perrin and Egwene wasn’t really explained well, there were several leaps of logic in why he suspected them to be from the White Tower. But, plot, I understand.

I still would like to ask the showrunner why he spent almost an entire episode of only an eight episode season on an Aes Sedi and her Warder. That actually made me angry and wish I was back in that cold restroom with strangers sucking on my weiner. Lan didn’t need to thump his chest, in the books he was more reserved and rarely showed emotion. I thought it was so out of character and still don’t understand why they felt this deserved an entire episode. It didn’t further the main story, nor did it really tell much about the White Tower and the Sisters. 

Let's talk about the magic system and its live action depiction. I absolutely loved how they showed the one power. And yes I’ve read the naysayers talk about how they don’t go into detail about wielding the One Power on the show and casual viewers don’t appreciate the toll it takes on the user. Fuck you, visually, it works. Not everyone bones up about magic systems and how they work. And the wisps of smoke, gray for the Sisters and inky black for the men, I thought really captured the yen and yang of it all. 

And did the Whitecloaks put a beat down on the Tinkers, probably my least favorite groups in the entire series. The Way of the Leaf reminds me of vegetarians and I like my meat! (that's a long way to go for a dick joke, but I’ll allow it).

We got to see a truly badass false dragon kill everyone and Nynaeve dropping the One Power bomb that healed everyone. That was epic in all the right places. I am finding this Nynaeve more tolerable than in the books. In this weaving of the Wheel, I dislike Egwene more, which I find distasteful. In the books, Nynaeve is the worst depiction of a female character I have ever read, watched, dreamed about in all the weavings of the Wheel. EVER.

The actress who plays Egwene is simply amazing. And with the exception of Mat, who I didn’t think captured the essence of what Mat was, the rest of them are really good in their roles across the board. But Moiraine steals the show, she is perfect in every way and her scene where she fucks her “pillowfriend”, is amazing. Great acting. I didn’t find a weak actor in the bunch, just a stellar job of casting. 

We get to see a scene from book 3, when the Two Rivers folk are riding together and start singing and then Moiraine tells the story of Mantheran, I got chills. It made me want to go join in the fight against fades, trollocs, the dark one, and Borders restroom trolls. 

The last two episodes were my least favorite. And not just because they had changed so much of the story that I was literally lost a few times on who these people were. But mostly because you could tell that Covid restrictions really hit them hard. Set pieces were smaller, probably to disguise they had less extras than before. Unfinished special effects, and one of their main characters refusing to come back to finish the show in the poorly cast Mat.

How much rewriting do you think they had to do to cover the absence of Mat in the final two episodes? Did I mention the horrible special effects in the last battle with the Trollocs? And why did they only send eight people to defend the gap against hordes of Trollocs anyway? Covid.

I can forgive the limitations of the last two episodes. I also forgive the rushed ending as Amazon refused to move the premiere date to give them more time, so yes, it wasn’t perfect. 

But I can’t forgive the way they ended the season. Three untrained Aes Sedi being led by a too weak to serve accepted, doesn’t matter she was tower trained, took out thousands of trollocs. And yes the idea was to say that Nynaeve and Egwene were that strong in the One Power, that even an accepted could destroy everything and everyone being linked in a circle. 

Rand was the one in the books that appeared in the sky above the gap and saved everyone, thus proclaiming himself the Dragon Reborn. But they had to have a scene where Egwene saves Nynaeve’s life. Doesn’t matter that throughout the entire book series, Egwene was known to be weak in healing. Nor does anywhere in the books show that much destruction can be had without the aid of enhancement items. It really left a sour taste in my mouth.

And before you say, “They made it all girl power because of the times and the me too movement. All males are stupid and useless without a woman telling them what to do”. I only have to ask one question, did you read the fucking book? Robert Jordan clearly wrote that into the story thirty years ago. Every single female character is written from a view of power, except for Min. They always know what to do and think men are stupid. Robert Jordan had either a very high opinion of women or thought they were all horrible, as every female character is written the same way. 

So should you watch this show…like I said in that restroom stall all those years ago…yes, yes, yes!

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I now know enough to be confused about a show I'll never watch, which means I'll remain confused but happy the analysis of it is over and I can go do something constructive with the time I have left.

However, I do have to acknowlege that the deconstruction of 8,000 pages herein was well-written.  I expect nothing less from Jason.

C

 

 

 

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