Winter Dragon: The Wheel of Time TV Pilot

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Wow. So I had no idea this was going to be a post, much less that I would have a subject to talk about. I don’t think anyone in the fandom did. This is kinda monumental. Tonight, the Dragon rode again on the winds of time.

I actually watched an episode of a TV adaptation of The Wheel of Time. I’m still getting this through my head. This is a thing that I never, never thought would happen. I’m still a little bit in shock, so consider that as I write this review.

I…actually enjoyed it.

It wasn’t perfect. I don’t think it’s possible for a cinematic adaptation of WoT to be perfect. It’s too big a task. That said, the “Dragonmount” prologue covered in the episode tonight could have been perfect. Or, at least, close. The crazy thing is, I don’t think it’s the writers’ fault that it wasn’t. Overall, the writing was quite good. The dialogue was actually pretty great, adhering to the text of the book when it needed to and departing from it when necessary. The acting was decent; Lews Therin was portrayed fairly well and Ishamael was quite good.

Holding it all back was the budget. In two spots was CGI used; one was actually excellent. The Healing of Lews Therin was done really well, and I loved the visual. The other instance…well, it suffered from a lack of budget. LTT becoming the Kinslayer was, in theory, executed well. The flashback strikes and confusion presented were right on, but the actual effects were lacking.

And therein lies the biggest problem with this episode: the team simply  did not have enough budget to do the scenes justice. There were two major scenes that didn’t hit home, and both suffered because of that monetary restriction. The first was the flashback to the Kinslaying, and the second was the penultimate sequence of Lews Therin leaving to kill himself. It was clear that they didn’t have the financial means to film an epic suicide-by-One-Power scene on the slopes of Dragonmount.

But within the constraints the production had, I actually think this was a well done episode. If things can proceed, and gain the backing that a show like Game of Thrones has, it could be very well done.

I will leave it at that. I have a few other, small quibbles (such as the fact that Ilyena was not blonde despite being accurately referred to as “Ilyena Sunhair”), but in the grand scheme of a Wheel of Time show, they are insubstantial. Overall, I enjoyed the result.

For more about the Wheel of Time, check out my reread!

UPDATE: Apparently Harriet and Bandersnatch had nothing to do with this, and aren’t happy about it. Additionally, and I’m not going to pretend I understand the intricacies of who owns what rights, but it seems that Red Eagle doesn’t have the rights. It’s Universal, and on the surface, they weren’t involved in this episode. So that’s troubling. I’m not sure what to think now, except the fact that this has all brought a TON of attention to WoT, and hopefully that can be parlayed, one way or another, into a high-budget and successful TV adaptation.

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4 thoughts on “Winter Dragon: The Wheel of Time TV Pilot

  1. I have to agree. I liked most of Winter Dragon and DO think it was a poor budget for CGI that ruined it. Thats probably why they had to change the ending since the creation of Dragonmount is not something that could be filmed in reality. The thing is Red Eagle does not have the budget and it seems they made the episode purely to prevent the rights passing to a group that does. That would explain the crazy timing and infomercial space. Unlike game of thrones which is an amazing fantasy story with very little magic or fantasy, Wheel of time has a HUGE amount of fantasy and magic so a major part of its budget would have to go to CGI.

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