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The Wheel of Time’s Gender Bending TV Show

Sprite

(He/Him/His)

I’m really curious to see how this turns out, as the book series feels unfilmable to me. I assume cuts will be numerous and vast.

I’m also interested in how they’ll handle the 90s-era gender politics. The books do make it possible to queer things while holding on to the lore’s gender essentialism, though it’s tricky to do that without getting into some pretty problematic territory. There’s one bit in particular I’m really worried about.

I’m also worried about Amazon committing to both this and a LOTR series, as there’s no way they’ll want to maintain both of those.

Also the casting is pretty diverse for a fantasy series, which is refreshing.
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
Neat. I hope it's good. I never did finish the books when I was a kid... I think I stalled out somewhere around the eighth or ninth book. I remember liking them, though I can barely remember anything about them (I was pretty young).

And yeah, it will be interesting to see how they deal with the gender stuff...
 

jpfriction

A most radical pontiff
As long as some braids get tugged and skirts get smoothed every five minutes, it’ll be faithful.
 

ThornGhost

lofi posts to relax/study to
(he/him)
I'll definitely give this a watch as it starts. I have read the whole series, met Robert Jordan when he was still alive, met Brando Sando about a decade back (we're talking one-on-one discussions with both here, not in line at a signing), bought and played the PC game when it was new, bought and played the card game. You could say I'm pretty invested in the Wheel of Time series.

But! All that was quite a while ago. I haven't thought about WoT a whole lot lately. In fact at all! Sprite is right, there is some 90s ass gender politics at the very beating heart of this series that I've never thought about in light of topics like trans rights. And a lot of what I'm thinking about it is pretty bad.

I do think the series was, in its day, very forward thinking and defied expectations for a fantasy series. In fact I think it would be quite unlike Wheel of Time to not be able to bring that spirit to a truthful adaptation of the show. I completely think there's a way to make this work and be just as progressive and inclusive now as it was then, even if that materially means different things. The Wheel of Time turns and ages come and pass.

Rebuild of Wheel of Time, here we come. 1.11 You Are (Not) The Dragon Reborn.
 
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Sprite

(He/Him/His)
It’s definitely progressive for its time, and I think the lore is salvageable. The books stress over and over that cultures’ perception of reality is limited and flawed.
As long as some braids get tugged and skirts get smoothed every five minutes, it’ll be faithful.
Here’s hoping we get a few smiles that never touch their eyes
 

Mightyblue

aggro table, shmaggro table
(He/Him/His)
Yeah, for all of the big epic fantasy trappings the series spent the vast amount of its non-purple prose length on deconstructing and reexamining a whole bunch of epic fantasy tropes. The three male leads are all very careful studies and examinations of the usual epic fantasy leads, and the same is true for a lot of the major female characters. I think as long as the creators are willing to keep that spirit alive and engage with the material appropriately, the show can probably escape most of those potential pitfalls.

I completely forgot about that one villain who got murked almost offhandedly by the heroes and then got resurrected by the Big Bad as a woman just to fuck with them though, yeah, that's one of the more questionable bits alongside the sub- and plain-textual gender essentialism themes running throughout the books.
 

Bongo

excused from moderation duty
(he/him)
Staff member
Jordan always seemed to be like he was making a conscious effort to express a progressive ethos according to the thought of his day, and had he lived I choose to believe he'd have had something good to say about how being trans fits into the cosmology of the series. It's fortunate for this adaptation that the most problematic episodes have few consequences and are thus easy targets to be cut in the necessary abridgement.

I can't believe Jeff Bezos personally pranked me by making that teaser look good.
 

Sprite

(He/Him/His)
It is nice that homosexuality is just a fact of life in the series, and viewed as perfectly normal by most people.
 

Gaer

chat.exe a cessé de fonctionner
Staff member
Moderator
It was always total bullshit that women were less powerful than men at magic. Oh but “a bloo bloo bloo, any thirteen women no matter how weak can stop a man!!!”
 

Mightyblue

aggro table, shmaggro table
(He/Him/His)
Like I said, there's a whole lot of gender essentialism running through the books which is pretty of a piece of the 90s. Honestly, the whole yin/yang magic thing from top to bottom is just bad in that respect starting with the different ways men and women control their magic. And yes, I get the joke is that women are supposed to embrace and submit to their magic when most female mages are all generally hard assed puppetmasters and most male mages are gentle souls who just want to be left the fuck alone as they have to dominate their magic in turn.

The Aes Sedai and their later male counterparts are probably the biggest problem spots and weakest parts of the books.
 

Rascally Badger

El Capitan de la outro espacio
(He/Him)
I wrote a big weird, kind of whiny post for this thread when I was drunk last night, but I'll just say I remain a big fan of this book series, I think it has held up well when judged again its contemporaries (which is a way of saying that it is still a product of the late 80s/early 90s), and I am very excited to watch the show.

Honestly, rather than being unfilmable, other than being very long I think it translates to screen very well. It has storytelling cadences reminiscent of both action movies and sitcoms in places.
 
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Sprite

(He/Him/His)
By “unfilmable” I just mean there is far, far more material than any show could cover.

I loved the books and definitely think Robert Jordan was trying to be as progressive as he could.
 

shivam

commander damage
(he/hiim)
i loved the books, and i loved this trailer, and i respect and understand the places jordan fell short and was a product of the time, but man, everything about this is just so rad. The multicultural casting fills me with joy.
 
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