Following The Book

Last night I let me streak die. I have written a sentence or two to keep it alive before but last night my brain got rattled by a rollercoaster and I decided to use the last bit of eye power I possessed to post pictures of our day to Facebook.

That was last night and tonight is different. Earlier this year I decided to finally start reading The Wheel of Time series and today the first few episodes of the TV series based on those books came out. I believe I liked the first episode of the TV series but a few of the changes that were made didn’t make a lot of sense to me. They felt like making it more gritty and mature for only the sake of making it more gritty and mature.

I will give a brief example of one scene where the changes felt like they took away from the spirit and plot of the story. The attack on the village by the trollocs in the book is mostly unseen as our focus is on Rand and Tam and Rand’s race against time in getting his father to the village and the weird things his father mutters in his fever dream. None of that is present in the show. Rand and his father, Tam, are still attacked at their farm but they aren’t the main focus. The village is, and half, if not more, of the village is slaughtered.

In the book the attack is more focused. It is limited to just Rand, Mat, and Perrin and is an utter failure thanks to Moraine and Lan. If I recall correctly none of the villagers are killed and only one is injured, outside Tam, and the attack is repelled quite easily. In the show there is no focus to the attack. The point appears to be to slaughter the entire village without a care. At the end of the episode Moraine is shown riding off with the three boys and Egwene with no explanation as to how she knows they are the ones she was looking for where in the book she knows that one of the three boys who the trollocs attacked is the one she is looking for.

The other changes that were made were more sex and nudity and other things that don’t much matter but the above change doesn’t keep with the spirit of the book and takes away from the plot. One other change I found weird was turning Perrin’s mother and father in the book into his wife. That was a very strange sort of change to make for little or no reason. Especially for such minor characters.

I normally don’t mind changes from books as I fully believe TV is a different medium, but the show felt like it needed big violent set pieces to create tension whereas the book creates tension in other ways. I admit I miss those other ways in movies and TV shows. I like character driven stories where strong actors tell the tales and not CGI violence.

At the end of the day the show succeeded in what it was trying to accomplish. Tension was created and a story was told. It feels a little bit more like a story based on The Wheel of Time than The Wheel of Time but I will watch the other episodes and perhaps I’ll like them better as well. The events in the Two Rivers are a minor occurrence in a story that is largely a road narrative and how the characters got on the road might not end up being as important as that they got on the road.

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