The Wheel Turns

There are bigger Wheel of Time fans than I am, this can’t be reasonably disputed, but I’m not some farm boy fresh off the back of master Kinch’s wagon who’s never seen a book before. I’ve been reading this series since 1994, when during a bout of boredom in my freshman year study hall, I wandered to the school library and picked up the trade paperback edition of The Eye of the World. I don’t bring this up to establish cred or bragging rights, or to make it clear that I was into the series before it was on tv. I just want anyone who reads this to know where I’m coming from. If Lord of the Rings is what got me hooked on fantasy then Wheel of Time is what made me want to write.

I love these books and their characters unabashedly.

That being said, I’m going to go ahead and give you the required spoiler warning now. I will be talking about the first three episodes without any kind of filter, and a little bit about what some of the writing choices this show has made might mean going forward as the series progresses. So, you’ve been warned. Show and book spoilers inbound.

Still here? Ok, let’s go.

I’m too busy to keep track of The Discourse™ online, but the changes made with Mat and Perrin seem to be big sticking points for some folks.

Let’s talk about Mat first. I think we’ve got a depiction of Mat that is very in keeping with the core of who he is, given a couple of key stipulations. The first being that he (along with Rand and Perrin and Egwene) is aged up a few years. You can’t expect to see an early twenty-something pulling the kind of pranks that younger teen Mat had a reputation for at the start of the books. It would look and feel kind of silly given the tone they’re going for. Secondly, making him from a broken home. I don’t like this per se, but it enables Rafe and the writing team to neatly get to the core of the lovable scoundrel we know Mat to be, despite the thievery on display.

When I think about Mat I see a guy who, despite his own desire to go get a table at the inn and dice away the hours, will come through for the people he loves. At the start of this show we get a borderline destitute looking Mat, doing everything he can think of to take care of his younger sisters, short of actual labor (which is pretty in keeping for him). It’s kind of a shame that the show didn’t give us much of “fun Mat” before he gets the dagger that upends his whole existence, but the decision they made here is economical as far as how much screen time we get to establish these characters. There are millions of words and only so many minutes you can stick in the show. I get it. I think it works for the screne.

Which brings me to Perrin. There have been posts regarding Laila and her demise and how it will actually help the show lean into Perrin’s arc, and I tend to agree with that assessment though once again, I’m not sure I actually like the change.

I can’t think of a way to show that Perrin spent his adolescence learning to be cautious around the smaller kids lest he inadvertently hurt them because he’s bigger than they are. There’s no good dialogue option to convey that on screen and the show isn’t about the young Perrin adventures.

Which brings us to the axe. Given what happens with Laila I don’t know that we’re going to get the whitecloak attack from the book. Her death is a much more effective reason for his active hatred of the weapon and fear of losing control of himself than killing two nameless nazi-stand-ins could hope to be. Again, I understand the change and think it works for the show even if I don’t like the vibe. Personally, I think I would have workshopped a different way to get there. I think we ought to be better than fridging at this point.

But there are yet other changes that bring more questions to mind about how things will progress. Take the Shadar Logoth sequence for instance. My first instinct before watching was that they were going to cut Mordeth entirely, but I’m not sure now and I’ll tell you why.

Excuse this momentary burst of pure nerd speculation.

The shadow Mat sees that leads him to investigate the room with the dagger had me convinced for a split second that Mordeth was going to actually show up, but the farther I get from it the more the wheels in my head spin off. My best prediction at this point is that rather than the dagger being corrupted by the evil of the city, it’s going to be possessed by Mordeth. This again, would be an economical choice. It uses a concept that people are familiar with to get to mostly the same place.

We already see the effects of the dagger taking hold on Mat in episode 3, but knowing what we know about Padan Fain and Ordieth in the future, my bet is that Fain never actually enters Shadar Logoth and instead claims the dagger at some point and merges with Mordeth that way. But who knows? Maybe they write around that somehow and Mordeth doesn’t exist in the show as we knew him/it in The Eye of the World.

And that’s really why I’m here folks. I’ve got the books and I love them, but I’m here for the changes. I’m most interested in how they make this adaptation happen, not in seeing them capture every braid tug and smoothed skirt and thumbed earlobe. Bring me the new shit. Freshen things up. It’s not all going to be perfect, but I’m in to see how we get there.

Obligatory Blog Entry Title

Hello folks! Still not dead, thanks for asking.

Have you seen Knives Out yet? Because you should see Knives Out. It’s a masterclass of plot. In addition to being beautifully shot and frankly just delicious to watch, that film does a hell of a job of doling out just the right amount of information to keep you interested and following along. It’s either out of theaters now, or at the very ass end of its run. But either way, if you do any kind of storytelling you should go see that film and take it into you, let it consume your soul, subsume every fiber of your being, become you. Let it make you the story machine you always wanted to be.
Well, maybe that’s a bit much. It’s a very entertaining film though.

I’ve been plunking down words here and there. Still at it, if slowly. Kids, job etc. Also, been making crazy progress on my video game backlog, so uh. THAT’S A THING. Very important, I assure you.

Also reading Seven Blades in Black by one Sam Sykes. It’s a lot of fun, and reminiscent of older Final Fantasy stories in some ways, and you can smell the anime on it as soon as you open it up. You’ll either be into it or not, but it’s quite my jam right now.

Speaking of catching up on my video games, I just added a game to the backlog and picked up Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky. I’ve been jonesing for an old school feeling JRPG for a while now and it definitely fits the bill. The music isn’t really doing it for me so far, but I spent my youth wanting everything to sound like Nobuo Uematsu or Koji Kondo, so that’s probably a failing of mine. It’s fine. The story work though, that’s been fun to watch as I play. It’s an interesting world that wants to take its time drawing you in and getting you to know everyone, and I can really appreciate that. I’m also knocking out Rise of the Tomb Raider and farting around with Star Wars – Jedi: Fallen Order. I think that’s how that’s typed. It’s a bad, ponderous title. How it ever saw the light of day is frankly beyond me.

Anyhow, I’m leaving for Disneyland tomorrow. I’m planning on getting a badass custom lightsaber while I’m there. Have fun folks, type at you next time!

Not a Review of Wonder Woman

I’m not a movie reviewer, just a big fan of movies and super heroes, so I’m not going to review Wonder Woman. I’m just going to say that if you like one or both of those things, you should go see it.

It’s a film with a pure theme and a refreshingly honest story. Our hero is heroic. She does the right thing because it’s the right thing. Not because of some tortured backstory or daddy issues. She’s a good person who cares about people and frankly it’s nice to have a hero who exemplifies heroism again. Especially from DC, who’ve thus far managed to whiff it on Batman and Superman.

Wonder Woman isn’t a perfect film, and I could pick a few nits if I wanted, but it’s unwarranted when it does so much right. Despite the fantastical story, all the characters feel and act genuine. 

Oh, and Wonder Woman’s badass theme riff is on full blast in the action sequences, just like it ought to be.

You should see it. Go and do that.

Look, I can update this blog!

It’s been a good long time since my last blog update, not entirely because I’m lazy and spend too much time playing video games (though that certainly had something to do with it) but also because I’ve not had much to update. After finishing the first draft I passed it along to a few trusted readers and got back a few bits of insight then plunked down and did a full revision.

I looked at every page, every paragraph, every line and judged them with an iron fist.  Some of it got bounced around, some of it got cut, some new stuff got added. From what I understand this is normal. Bringing us to now…

This last week I finished my first full revision on Thief of Souls and sent it to a few people to beta read. I hope to get some solid opinions on what people do or don’t like about it, things that might instigate head scratching, etc.  I’m sure there are things I’ve missed, but I’m happy enough with it as it stands to start submitting it to agents. Let’s all cross our fingers, toes, eyes, and earlobes.

In the meantime I’ve begun writing the next thing, which I’m pretty excited about. I didn’t want to start straightaway on a sequel to Thief of Souls, given that the likelihood of it being picked up may not be stellar, so I’ve jumped onto another idea that’s been sitting around in my head for a few years. No, I’m not going to tell you what it is until it’s had its proper gestational period.

I don’t have any other proper news related to my writing, so with that I will bid you good day (or evening, or whatever – this is the internet after all.)

2716

2716.  That’s how many words we’re at as we speak.  Or as I speak rather.  Since technically neither of us is actually speaking perhaps its better that I move on instead of continuing to drag this particular horse into an alley and cut off it’s head only to bludgeon it further.

I’ll say, things are busy as usual.  I’ve no other excuses for my slowish progress.  Also, I’m a terrible procrastinator ever since my childhood.  Why do now what I can surely worry about tomorrow, or even in a week, or a year?

BECAUSE YOU’RE NOT GETTING ANY YOUNGER.

Seriously.  I’m 31 and I have white hairs popping up in weird places.  That is to say, any place at all where my hair is white is extremely weird to me.  After all, as far as I’m concerned I might as well still be 25.  Or 19.  Or 12 some days.  Or most days.  Whatever.

In any case, it feels good to be putting words on the screen again, even if they’re not as numerous as I’d like.  Baby steps and all that.  But chapter 2 is under way now, and we’re still moving forward.

-Paul

1% yo.

1600/150,000 Words (1%)

Ok.  So maybe it’s a shade above one percent.  I’m a writer, not a mathematician.  I’ll be including the count as part of each post to my blog from now on.  It’s one of the few meaningful ways in which I can gauge my progress on the book.  Speaking of which, I realize I’ve yet to mention exactly what kind of book I’m writing.  Anyone who knows me personally knows I’m a huge fantasy and science fiction nerd.  I have Star Wars tattoos.  Seriously.  So with that in mind, I’m writing a western.  With magic.  To give you a brief setup we have a grizzled lawman taking his family and moving out to a small town in the middle of nowhere looking to get away from the dangers of his job.  Of course, it wouldn’t be much of a story if things actually worked out that way…  Soon I will have a sample up and posted for you to peruse.  And I don’t mean soon in geological terms either.  Now, where’s my fedora?

And so it begins…

I’m the sort of off again on again writer that so many of us with real lives and distractions tend to be.  I’ve been working on one incarnation of my current work-in-progress or another for half a decade now, at the very least.  Recently things in my life have crystalized, and like many others I’m realizing that there is no such thing as too much time.  In fact, there are only varying degrees of not enough.

Certainly it should be plain to all that your time is limited in a very real way, not merely by your job or family responsibilities, but by the very fact that one day you will die.  Horribly.  Screaming and writhing.  Ok, maybe that last part isn’t a given, but you get my point.  Each of us only has so much time to accomplish the things we deem important.  For me, I’ve often set my writing on the backburner with the dial constantly set to low.   It’s time to rotate the pans, and start to really cook.  Stay tuned to this space for periodic tastes of what’s coming up.  It’s going to be an adventure.  No whip or fedora required.  But let’s face it, a whip and fedora make everything better.

-Paul J Andrew