Brandon Sanderson says change from books was a big mistake

Fantasy author Brandon Sanderson weighed in on Amazon The wheel of time TV shows.

Sanderson, who made a name for himself in the fantasy world for his Born of the Mists and Storm Archives novels (among others), finished writing Robert Jordan’s epic fantasy series after the author’s death in 2007.

He is also a consultant and producer of the series, although he was not responsible for directing the shootings. It’s up to showrunner Rafe Judkins to decide.

According to Sanderson, the two didn’t always agree on the changes the series made to the books. Spoiler territory ahead.

One of the big changes from the first book, Eye of the world, has to do with Perrin (Marcus Rutherford).

In the show, after the village of Emond’s Field is attacked by a large group of Trollocs (evil beastmen who are essentially the orcs in this show), Perrin and his wife, Laila, battle a group of creatures in their forge .

In the heat of the moment, Perrin accidentally kills his wife, blindly throwing out what he thought was another Trolloc. Soon after, he and the other companions flee the village with Moiraine (Rosamund Pike) and Lan (Daniel Henney). There is apparently no time for a funeral.

In the book, Perrin is not married and does not kill anyone by accident. It just doesn’t happen, which confused many readers. Why this massive change?

According to Judkins, this was an attempt to give Perrin a more compelling backstory and help viewers get to know her character better early on in the story.

“So I talked to people,” Judkins told The Hollywood Reporter, “when we first started the adaptation, pretty much, ‘What are the things you didn’t like about the books? One thing that comes up quite regularly is that people felt like they didn’t really know Mat or Perrin, especially, until later in the books. You can’t really afford, on a TV show, that one or two of your seven tracks aren’t characters that really appear before season four, can you? (Laughs.) So one of our big jobs was to make sure that each of these five children of Two Rivers, you could understand the core of the story that they will be facing in the first season – and through all of it. series – in this first episode. “

Apparently there is a line in one of the books where Perrin says that if he had stayed in Two Rivers for a few more years he would have married Laila Dearn, and that is where the inspiration for the character came from. came.

In a long reddit post, Sanderson writes that he disagreed with this change, as well as other changes that made the story “darker” – a fantasy subgenre that Game Of Thrones would fall in, but who The wheel of time does not.

Quoth Sanderson:

“The biggest thing he and I disagreed about was Perrin’s wife. I realize that there is a good opportunity here for Perrin to be shown with rabies issues and to be afraid of the potential beast inside of him. I liked the idea, but I didn’t like being a woman for several reasons. First of all, it sounds a lot like the Disposable Woman in the Fridge (AKA Woman in the Fridge) trope. Beyond that, I think the trauma of killing your wife is so huge, the story it tells doesn’t cannot realistically deal with it in a manner that is responsible. Perrin killing his wife and then going on an adventure really bothers me, even still. I trust the writers won’t treat it lightly, but still. This kind of trauma, handled realistically and responsibly, is really hard to deal with for a series of adventures.

“I suggested instead that he kill Master Luhhhan. As much as I hate to make Luhhan dirty like that, I think the idea Rafe and the team had here is good for speeding up Perrin’s plot. Accidentally killing your master takes the trauma back a bit, but gives the same motivations and hesitations. One thing I don’t want this WoT adaptation trying to do is become a tonal replacement for Game of Thrones – IE, I don’t want to lean into the ideas of “Grimdark”. Killing Perrin’s wife was pissed off just to be pissed off.

I think that makes a lot of sense and I wish Judkins had listened to the advice. Many book fans are upset by this change as well as others, like the idea that the Dragon Reborn may be one of the five youngsters in Two Rivers, not just Rand al’Thor (it will likely be Nynaeve).

But Sanderson has a clever way of looking at these changes. “I consider this to be another spin,” he wrote in a comment later in the thread. “It’s not an adaptation of the books for me; it’s an adaptation of THE NEXT time these people experience this story.

It’s a good way to look at it and it ties in with Jordan’s ideas thematically. Sanderson has other good glimpses of adaptations to the series.

First, he points out that the reality of adapting a book for the screen comes with challenges we might not be aware of, such as obstacles to casting and location. Two other problems also arose. Judkins wanted to accelerate the “whole” nature of these stories, but the first book is very Rand centered. So changes were made to make the first season less Rand-centric and more focused on the larger cast.

The obvious reason for many changes was simply the weather. Adapting a long enough fantasy novel into just eight episodes requires cuts and rewrites, and the point is, some of these changes are bound to be unpopular with readers. But a more “faithful” adaptation does not always make it better.

“However, you can watch the first three Harry Potter films to see why an adaptation like this is sometimes necessary,” Sanderson writes. “The first two are very faithful, and are also boring, because the pace of a book is so different from a movie or a TV show. The third is much more suitable and in my opinion the best of the movies.

I completely agree with that. The third film is from afar best of all Harry potter series of films and one of the best novels too. The film is certainly a big step forward from the first two.

You can read Sanderson’s full reddit post about all of these changes below:

What do you think of the changes in The wheel of time? Let me know about Twitter or Facebook.

Further reading:

Watch me discuss this issue in my latest YouTube video below:

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