February 2011


Time for another week of casting. I’m moving up to ten characters for the next three weeks, which will knock out everyone left in Tier 3, and that way, we can move forward to characters that people actually give a damn about. 🙂

I did notice this week, by dint of how the various characters’ names fall alphabetically, that I had some of my biggest stars in this part. Fun stuff. Oh, check here for previous entries to the Casting Call, and Go Here Now! if you have your own suggestions for the Casting Call. Oh, and yeah, there may be spoilers, up to Towers of Midnight . . . there you go.

Rock on!

Nalesean of House Aldiaya

Nalesean started following Mat around after Mat whupped a lot of Shaido ass during the Battle of Cairhien. He is described as square-faced and blocky, with a pointed black beard (as is the Tairen style).

Adam Scott as Nalesean
Because I was not 100% sure on his personality, I decided to just use appearance for this Casting. Now, ‘blocky’ is not something that Adam Scott would really be described as, but I can think of few other actors who could so aptly be described as ‘square-faced.’ He has black hair, so as long as he can grow a beard, it’s a good match.

Places you’ve possibly seen him:
Knocked Up
Tell Me You Love Me
Parks and Recreation


Nerim

Nerim is one of Mat’s other ‘butlers,’ and often plays as part comic-relief, but sometimes part trope in the flesh. He is older, with gray hair, and is short “even for a Cairhienen,” and very melancholy.

Dustin Hoffman as Nerim
Big actor alert here, and quite frankly, I call it inspired, especially since I literally go into fits of adolescent giggles when I think of Dustin Hoffman as Nerim getting into arguments with Paul Giamatti (as Lopin) about what Mat should be wearing. Hoffman deserves roles like this, where he can really shines as a charismatic, yet comedic actor. Plus, he’s a tiny little man, so he fits the shortness criteria. Love this one.

Places you’ve seen him:
Meet the Fockers
Stranger than Fiction
Rain Man (duh)


Noam

One of only two other Wolfbrothers we’ve been introduced to beyond Perrin, and seemingly a sad case of how Perrin may one day end up. Noam is completely lost in the wolf (though he has good reason to be, as we find out in ToM), and paints a dire portrait for Perrin of his possible future. The main descriptions we’re given of him are that he’s a big man with broad shoulders and, of course, golden eyes.

Robert Patrick as Noam
Well, Robert Patrick is a big man, and if you look at him sporting a massive beard and wrestling like a bear in recent years, I doubt you would have any problems with seeing him trying to chew through bars.

Places you’ve possibly seen him:
Terminator 2: Judgement Day
X-Files (later seasons)
Walk the Line


Olver

The little boy who is not Gaidal Cain, but is otherwise often described pretty much as the ugliest child most people have ever seen. He follows Mat around from LoC onwards, as his parents were killed by Shaido. He takes after Mat, and even as a young child, gets into trouble by flirting with women. He has big ears, a big mouth, a squashed nose, and looks to be around ten years old.

First of all, I will tell you that I feel pretty bad googling “ugly kid actors” trying to find someone to fit the role of Olver. Seriously, it’s kind of weird, almost feeling like I’m sinking a bit into hell each time I clicked on some kid’s picture.

Raymond Ochoa as Olver
Anyway, Raymond Ochoa, the actor that I’ve chosen, in most pictures, would not be considered terribly ugly at all, but I did go out of my way to find (to the best of my abilities) the most unflattering picture I could of the boy, and I still feel like mothers everywhere are glowering at me. Oh well, let’s just move on from here.

Places you’ve possibly seen him:
Yogi Bear
Err… not a lot else … maybe we’ll see more from him in upcoming years


Pedron Niall

Pedron Niall is one of the most awesome characters in the series, especially when it comes to the whole moral ambiguity side of things. He badasses himself (politically, not sword-fightingly) through several books before his unfortunate assassination, and even then still tries his best to go out with style (which he does not). He is old and frail-looking, “all sinew and bones,” with white hair and dark eyes.

Clint Eastwood as Pedron Niall
Searching for actors for this role, I needed an old actor that the audience would still understand could kick their ass if needed. There were none to compete with Clint Eastwood for the role, the second of several really big-named actors this part. Eastwood would have no problems playing the part of the old general who has one last, good fight in him (since that’s been the plot of almost every one of his movies for the last, what, ten years?).

Places you’ve seen him:
Gran Torino
Million Dollar Baby
Space Cowboys (!!!)


Pevara Tazanovni

One of only two or three really awesome Red Sisters in the series (seriously, most are douches, and you know it), Pevara is one of the infamous Black Ajah Hunters, part of a storyline which started aaaallll the way back in ACoS. Nowadays, she’s in pretty dire circumstance at the Black Tower, but hopefully she’ll be just as badass as we’ve always expected her to be, and be instrumental in bringing Taim down. She is plump and short, but pretty with dark eyes, and is “always cheerful.”

Melanie Lynskey as Pevara
Not much is said about her age, except that her relatives were all killed by darkfriends many decades prior to the story, so I’m going middle-aged-ish. Which on an Aes Sedai, should still look relatively young-ish, which brings us to Melanie Lynskey. Lynskey is hardly “plump,” though in Hollywood, anything over a size – what, zero? two? – is considered ‘pudgy.’ Anyway, she looks cheerful enough, and I think would do well here, plus already has Red Ajah attire on.

Places you’ve possibly seen her:
Sweet Home Alabama (one of my wife’s favorite movies)
Flags of our Fathers
Coyote Ugly


Reanne Corly

One of the Wise Women of Ebou Dar, and integral to the plot of ACoS (and then basically a nuisance from then on), Reanne has gray hair, wrinkles, and blue eyes, and is over her 400th birthday. She has a pretty strong character, lots of backbone, which she shows to Elayne and Nynaeve during their first confrontation.

Candice Bergen as Reanne
Murphy Brown . . . ahem . . . Candice Bergen is going to get this one. She’s getting older, and fits the older looking criteria, and I doubt many can remember Bergen’s prior shows and not know that she can play a strong character.

Places you’ve possibly seen her
Murphy Brown
Ghandi
Sex and the City


Rhuarc

One of my favorite characters (and unfortunately, mostly demoted to side character in later books in the series), Rhuarc is one of the men in the series that defines the Aiel for me. He is (as are most Aiel) a ridiculously great warrior, and also gets to be a part of one of the Aiel love triangles, which is pretty hip, I guess. He is tall, graying, and very strong and handsome.

Kevin McKidd as Rhuarc
Many people may question how I even know Kevin McKidd, and all I can say is, there was once a time (or sixty) when my wife convinced me to watch Grey’s Anatomy with her. And McKidd was always my favorite character once he showed up. I jokingly called him McScruffy, to give him a name next to McDreamy and McSteamy (God, how do I know this… ?). Anyway, strong, tall, red hair, a little dye to turn it slightly gray (since he’s only 38 years old), and you have a spitting image of Rhuarc.

(Side Note: Robert Redford may have been great for this role 10 – 15 years ago, though he would need some extra height.)

Places you’ve possibly seen him:
Grey’s Anatomy
Made of Honour
Kingdom of Heaven


Rodel Ituralde

Rodel was tantalizingly not introduced to us ‘in the flesh’ for many, many books (first appearance is CoT, I believe?), though he was one of those Five Great Generals that occasionally you’d hear Gareth Bryne or Mat talk about. And as soon as he shows up, it’s obvious he’s worth all the talk and buildup he’s been given. He and his armies slaughter Seanchan unlike any other force in the series (though he takes great tolls in doing so), and earns the respect of Seanchan generals he beats. He is described as particularly short, with dark hair, and a thin mustache.

Robert Downey, Jr as Rodel Ituralde
Yup, I went with Robert Downey, Jr. and am happy doing so. This makes the 3rd major actor in the lineup this week, but I have no problems seeing Downey kicking The Ever Victorious Army’s butt from one battlefield to the next. Plus, he’s kinda short – barely taller than Tom Cruise, I believe. And seriously, he is one of the finest actors of our generation. (I made sure to find a shot of him with an Ituralde-style mustache).

Places you’ve seen him:
Iron Man 1 & 2
Sherlock Holmes
Tropic Thunder


Romanda Cassin

Last week we got Pain-In-The-Ass (PITA) of Egwene #1, this week, we get PITA #2. Romanda’s entire role in the series that we have seen is to be a vine-to-trip-over on Egwene’s path to being the true Amyrlin. And boy, she fulfills that role superbly. She is older, with white hair (which she wears in a bun), and has a soprano voice. Handsome rather than beautiful.

Judi Dench as Romanda
If Dame Judi Dench doesn’t fit that, then I don’t know who does. Dench owns whatever role she slips into, and she it would be awesome (in a horrible way) seeing her and Diane Keaton making Egwene’s life miserable for five books (or so).

Places you’ve possibly seen her:
James Bond (the new ones)
The Chronicles of Riddick
Iris


Well, there you have it (again). Two more weeks and we’ll be moving on to Tier 2, which is going to r0x0rs s0x0rs (apparently). Hope you enjoyed!

E.S.

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… and possibly next week as well.

I apologize, but I will not be able to finish the MS&T Re-read for a (hopefully short) while. A new job opportunity has presented itself which is taking up a bit of my time for right now, but I should be able to have it updated again at the latest by the second week of March. See you soon!

It’ll be late tomorrow – it should still be out on Monday, but it will likely be the evening instead of 2:00 PM (usual time). Sorry ’bout that.

Woah, is that another Wheel of Time Casting Call over yonder? I believe it is! Those poor, poor actors and actresses, having to to grovel and beg to be included in such a prestigious event.

Yeah, so here we go, I have some really favorite castings in this – not necessarily in terms of favorite characters, but I’m really proud of the choices made for a few of them. Let’s see how this pans out. Oh yeah, before I forget, check here for previous entries to the Casting Call, and Go Here Now! if you have your own suggestions for the Casting Call. Oh, and yeah, there may be spoilers, up to Towers of Midnight . . . it’s not likely, but it’s possibly, so I said it.

Here we go.

Lopin

One of Mat’s manservants since about Lord of Chaos, Lopin (along with Nerim) serve as a bit of comic relief a lot of times, playing “the Butler” role very well. He is described as somewhat portly, with a bluff face and a long beard, going bald, and being a dark complexion. Usually jolly.

Paul Giamatti as Lopin
There is no one better fit for this role than Paul Giamatti. Seriously, I dare you to tell me that picture above isn’t exactly as the character is described. Well, maybe not the “jolly” part, but I really wanted a pic of Paul looking badass, and I promise you, if you google him, all his other pictures look awesomely “jolly.” The man is a superb actor, has a great deadpan wit and delivery, and looks like he was made to play the character who’s description is given above. One of my favorite castings of the series so far.

Places you’ve possibly seen him:
Lady in the Water
Sideways
Cinderella Man


Martyn Tallanvor

The guy that just won’t leave Morgase alone. Well, I guess they’re “in love” and all, but seriously, Tallanvor never comes across to me as anything in this entire series other than a complete and utter douche. I suppose there is supposed to be some charm to his character, with the whole re-swearing on Morgase’s name, and then following her to the ends of earth, and then being willing to leave her once she can’t make up her mind, and then the two are “happiliy married” in ToM . . . Meh. So description, tall, good-looking, dark eyes, older than Galad, younger than Gareth. Hmmm…

Karl Urban as Tallanvor
I have chosen Karl Urban for this, if for no other reason, than to prove to myself that I’m willing to put actors I love in roles I don’t particularly like, because that’s what works. Urban’s one of the best actors around right now, and presumably already knows how to use a sword, so that helps. I can’t recall if Tallanvor ever gets an opportunity to be a warrior, instead of just a weird “love” interest, but if he does, Urban will pull it off well.

Places you’ve possibly seen him:
Star Trek (2009)
The Lord of the Rings trilogy
Ghost Ship (heh)


Masema Dagar

The prophet, the guy that, somehow and for some reason, was important enough that Rand sent Perrin after him to start the Neverending Plotline of Doom. The guy is pretty hateful, even back before he was the prophet, and his looks seem to suggest he’s not very pleasant – deep set “scowling” eyes, dark complexion, scars. Who could do this.

Danny Huston as Masema
How about Danny Huston? Well, I’m not really asking, am I? Danny tends to play a creepy-type of character – not creepy like Cillian Murphy, but creepy like, he’s making plans about your demise behind your back, and don’t-accidentally-walk-in-on-him-while-he’s-putting-his-knives-away-in-the-armory-behind-his-desk-creepy. Doesn’t that grin on his picture just look . . . twisted? I think he’ll do Masema just fine.

Places you’ve possibly seen him:
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Children of Men
The Kingdom


Melaine

One of the Wise Ones who helps train Egwene, Melaine is married to Bael and Dorindha. She is “handsome,” rather than pretty, appears young-ish, and has the typical Aiel features – tall, with red-gold hair.

Marg Helgenberger as Melaine
Marg Helgenberger is a good actress who fits these criteria, and she looks like she could kick your ass if she needs to (which, one could argue, is rather Aiel-like). She may be a little pale to play Aiel in a realistic sense, but most red-heads have a pale complexion (here in the real world, anyway), so all the Aiel are going to be paler than they would be from cooking (in a skin-tanning-sort-of-way, not a kitchen-way) in the Waste their whole lives.

Places you’ve possibly seen her:
CSI
In Good Company
Mr. Brooks (Awesome!)


Merana Ambrey

An Aes Sedai of the Grey Ajah, Merana is first mentioned to us in Lord of Chaos as the leader of the embassy sent to talk to Rand in Caemlyn. She loses her place due to circumstances outside of her control, but becomes one of Rand’s most faithful Aes Sedai servants eventually. She is slim, with dark hair and “cool,” hazel eyes.

Gabrielle Anwar as Merana
I don’t really get the whole “cool” eyes bit, but otherwise, I like Gabrielle Anwar, another Tudors actress, for this role. She has a strong personality, which fits the typical Aes Sedai model, but at the same time, she has a bit of a frail look to her, which fits the superficial aspects of her breakdown and loss of control of the embassy.

Places you’ve possibly seen her:
The Tudors
Burn Notice
Various TV Shows and TV Movies


Merilille Ceandevin

If nothing else, Merilille gets awards for having the most-difficult-to-type name in the damned series. All those ‘i’s’ and ‘l’s’ wreak havoc on my right hand. But on a more important note, she is another Gray Ajah Aes Sedai, who is sent to Ebou Dar to be emissary to Queen Tylin. She is a slender, pale Cairhienin with glossy black hair and large liquid dark eyes.

Rose Byrne as Merilille
Because I could not find specific mention of her age, I went relatively young with this with Rose Byrne. I don’t think she has naturally dark hair, but she looks good with it, so if they have to dye it, no biggie. And in case you can’t tell, I intentionally went with a non-glamor-shot, because I also don’t know what kind of ‘attraction level’ Merilille has.

Places you’ve possibly seen her:
Troy
Marie Antoinette
Knowing (I’m sorry, I shouldn’t bring this movie up in intelligent circles…)


Morvrin

A Brown Ajah Aes Sedai who “helps” Sheriam and crew out before Egwene, Siuan, and Leane step in and make Salidar work. She is also part of the conspiracy that sends Aes Sedai back to the White Tower as moles. She is stout, with gray-streaked hair, and has a round face.

Susan Flannery as Morvrin
Those criteria could be fit with a lot of actresses in Hollywood, but I’m really wanting to put Susan Flannery in this role (I’m saving Judi Dench for someone more important). Who is she, you ask? Well, don’t judge me too harshly on this knowledge, but she’s a Soap Star. I don’t watch them, but I know they exist, so bite me. Anyway, she’s pretty good at what she does (how do I know that?) and I think she’ll make a good Morvrin, even though she wears pink instead of brown.

Places you’ve possibly seen her:
Days of our Lives
The Bold and the Beautiful
… yeah, not a lot else . . . some old movies like The Inferno


Myrelle Berengari

The official Pain in Nynaeve’s Ass for several books, Myrelle is rumored to have married all her Warders, and is one of the best at reviving a Warder’s spirit after he loses an Aes Sedai. Which, when one follows the other, you can probably guess how that ‘reviving’ works. She is very beautiful, olive complexioned and dark haired, and is tall.

Alyssa Milano as Myrelle
Alyssa Milano was born to play the beautiful, sassy bitch that Myrelle is often portrayed as. She hasn’t done a lot in recent years, so this would be a great comeback for her. This is another of my favorite Castings, I think it’s a match made in heaven.

Places you’ve possibly seen her:
Charmed
My Name is Earl
The Blue Hour (kinda indie flick that you should see for something different)


There you have it. That’s it for the week. Join me next week, same time, same place, and we’ll see if we can nail down a really ugly kid.

Cheers!
E.S.

Hello, and welcome back to the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn re-read and analysis. Today covers chapters twenty-eight and twenty-nine. I chose to leave off thirty today, since that starts Part 3 of the book, and I want to tie in the next few chapters together. Or something. Oh, and also, this is going up on Tuesday, since Valentine’s Day has a tendency to draw my attention elsewhere. I promise it’s not laziness!

Anyway, as I will continue to say until the very last of these re-reads is done, if you have never read this series before, and have somehow found this site by accident, there WILL BE MASSIVE SERIES-BREAKING SPOILERS throughout this re-read and analysis. I do not believe I can stress this enough. DO NOT read this if you have never read the series before, unless you just don’t mind knowing how a many-thousand-page epic series concludes. There will be Spoilers. The will be MANY Spoilers. You have been warned.

(Don’t forget to take your supper off the stove before staring thoughtfully to the sky, kiddies!)

Chapter 28 – Drums of Ice

Summary

On the 24th day of Maia-month, Maegwin and Gwythinn (Maegwin’s half-brother) are headed to the hall to speak with their father, Lluth of Hernystir. The speak of Guthwulf, who is at the Taig by writ of Elias, and how the King’s Hand has been insulting to Lluth, king of Hernystir. They enter the hall of the Taig and are greeted by King Lluth ubh-Llythinn and his wife, Inawhen. Gwythinn informs the king that last night, one of Guthwulf’s men picked a fight with Craobhan, and Gwythinn had to restrain the old man from retaliating.

Lluth looked troubled for a moment, then the look was gone, hidden behind the smiling mask that Maegwin knew so well. ‘Ah, father,’ she thought, ‘even you are finding it a bit hard to keep the music playing while these creatures bay all around the Taig.’ She walked quietly forward and sat on the platform by Gwythinn’s stool.

“Well, the king grinned ruefully, “sure it is that King Elias could have chosen his diplomats with a bit more care. But today in an hour they are gone, and peace descends again on Hernysadharc.”

Earl Guthwulf requests permission to enter and speak with the king, which is granted. Guthwulf greets the royal family with a bit of mockery (but not enough to warrant reaction), then demands to know when Lluth will be sending his ‘dues’ to Elias. Lluth says there will be no dues, as Elias has done nothing to help with their snow-blocked roads, or with the bandits that roam the lands. He asks “what can your king do,” as he sees there is ‘no greater tithe’ that can be paid upon them than to see their people suffering.

“No greater penalty?” the Earl said, savoring each word as though it felt good on his tongue. “No greater tithe?” He spat a wad of citril juice on the ground before the king’s chair. Several of Lluth’s men-at-arms actually cried out in horror; the harper who had been quietly playing in the comer dropped his instrument with a discordant crash.

“Dog!” Gwythinn leaped up, his stool clattering away. In a flashing moment his sword was out and at Guthwulf’s throat. The earl only stared, his chin tipped ever so slightly back.

“Gwythinn!” Lluth barked, “Sheathe, damn you, sheathe!”

Guthwulf’s lip curled. “Let him. Go ahead, pup, kill the High King’s Hand unarmed!” There was a clanking by the door as some of his men, their astonishment thawing, started to move forward. Guthwulf’s hand shot up. “No! Even if this whelp should slit my weasand from ear to ear, no one shall strike back! You walk out and ride to Erkynland. King Elias will be … most interested.” His men, confused, stood in place like armored scarecrows.

Lluth orders Gwythinn to stand down, and tells Guthwulf to inform Elias of the mortal insult he has paid the House of Hern this day. Guthwulf leaves with some ominous threats. Maegwin sees her father and brother are both very frightened.

******

Tiamak the Wrannaman is having a bad day and a lot of poor luck. The only crab caught in his many traps is too small to eat, his best bowl and best pen are broken, and had spilled ink all over a project he was working on. As he is settling down to rewrite the ruined page while cooking some root soup, he hears the returning sounds of his one messenger sparrow, which is the bird he uses to communicate with Morgenes. He retrieves the bird from its house above then brings it into his warmer home. He would rather eat before reading the message, as he is very hungry, but feels that some ‘good news’ from Morgenes would do him well.

The slip of parchment that had been wrapped around the sparrow’s leg was ragged at the edges, and the printed characters were smeared, as though the bird had gotten more than a little wet, but he was used to such things and soon sorted it out. The notation signifying the date when it had been written surprised him: the gray sparrow had taken nearly a month to reach the Wran. The message surprised him even more, but it was not the kind of surprise he had been hoping for.

It was with a feeling of cold weight in his stomach superceding any hunger that he went to the window, looking out past the tangled banyan branches to the fast-blooming stars. He stared into the northern sky, and for a moment could almost believe he felt a cold wind knifing in, driving a wedge of chill through the warm air of the Wran. He was a long time at the window before he noticed the smell of his supper burning.

******

Count Eolair is visiting with Father Dinivan, but wishing he was back home in Nad Mullach, instead of in Nabban. Eolair is in Nabban on Lluth’s behalf, to reach out to Lector Ranessin and Duke Leobardis, and try to find common ground with which to approach the High King in regards to the hardships suffered by all. Dinivan asks why Eolair is speaking with him, then.

“I am not quite sure. Only this I would tell you: it seems there is some struggle brewing, as often happens, but I myself fear it is deeper. You might think me a madman, but I forebode that an age is ending, and I fear what the coming one may bring.”

The lector’s secretary stared. For a moment his plain face seemed far older, as though he reflected on sorrows long carried.

“I will say only that I share your fears. Count Eolair,” he said at last. “But I cannot speak for the lector, except to say as I did before: he is a wise and subtle man.” He stroked the Tree at his breast. “For your heartsease, though, I can say this: Duke Leobardis has not yet made up his mind where he will lend his support. Although the High King alternately flatters and threatens him, still Leobardis resists.”

Dinivan can only offer a very vague reassurance that he believes Leobardis will not ally with Elias, and then the two talk about more pleasant things.

******

Jarnauga, an old Rimmersman, is waiting in the cold weather for some travelers. His village, Tungoldyr, which stands in the shadow of Stormspike, is completely abandoned from the unnatural cold – even the hardy Rimmersmen cannot survive in this climate. He sees the flickering lights withing Stormspike, signifying the Norns are preparing for something, and he knows he will never see his village again, as his time is coming – that much is certain.

But not everything was clear, even now. There was still the nagging dream to be dealt with, the dream of the black book and the three swords. It had dogged his sleep for a fortnight, but its meaning was still hidden from him.

His thoughts were interrupted by a blotch of movement on the southern approach, far away along the rim of the trees dotting the Wealdhelm’s western skirts. He squinted briefly, then slowly nodded his head and rose to his feet.

As he was pulling his coat back on, the wind changed direction; a moment later a dim mutter of thunder rolled down from the north. It came again, a low growl like a beast struggling awake from sleep. On its heels, but from the opposite direction, the sound of hooves grew from a murmur to a noise that rivaled the thunder.

As Jamauga picked up his cage of birds and walked out to meet the riders, the sounds grew together – thunder tolling in the north, the muffled din of approaching horsemen to the south – until they filled the white forest with their cold rumble, like music made on drums of ice.

Commentary
That’s another catch-me-up chapter, where we see how the rest of the world is faring while (im)patiently awaiting the resolution of the cliffhanger with Our Heroes.

The first two sections of the chapter were for introducing new secondary characters. Maegwin, the daughter of Lluth, is a gawky young lady who seems to not really enjoy the political intrigues of being a ‘king’s’ daughter – in fact, she seems to prefer animals to people.

I do find it sadly ironic that she and Eolair constantly have thoughts of each other, but never seem to acknowledge them as ‘real.’ She thinks his attentions are just because she is the king’s daughter, and he thinks she doesn’t really like him, or just has a crush because they met when she was so young. It is a bit of a soap-operish-type of thing to do, but seems to work well here. It does leave me a bit miffed at the end though, finding out how Maegwin end’s up – apparently, Williams had no qualms whatsoever with causing his beloved characters all kinds of pain and anguish.

Guthwulf was pretty awesomely scary here as well – the balls on that guy, to literally threaten a ‘king’ in the middle of said king’s court – well, they are not small, those. It is easy to look at him as a pretty bad guy here, and I think, even at the end of the story, should Usires come down from Heaven (or wherever) and judge Guthwulf, the Earl of Utanyeat would be put on the ‘not-very-good-guys’ list. However, I do find myself thinking often that he truly is a dutiful knight. He actually believes here that Lluth is wronging his liege, Elias, and that Elias is not asking for too much. We know this because we do get inside his head every now and then, and the man thinks relatively reasonably. He knows things are turning to shit all around the kingdom, he knows circumstances are not ideal, and he has a pretty damned good guess as to who is behind it all (Pryrates) – so he has a head, and not a terrible one, on his shoulders. But unfortuately, in Guthwulf’s case, goodness ain’t about following rules, it’s about being able to judge which rules are worth following, and which are not. Which pretty much right now seems to include every law, rule, edict, statement, etcetera that comes out of Elias’ (and Pryrates’) mouth(s).

So yeah, I sympathize with the Wolf, but I certainly do not condone his actions – especially those which come later, once (presumably) he has returned to Elias with the news of what Lluth had to say.

Welcome to our story, Tiamak, the second of the secondary characters! Unfortunately, I find you incredibly boring here in the beginning – I must confess, in past re-reads of this series, I have tended to gloss over the Tiamak sections (except the one where he wrestles a crocodile!). I don’t think I really start liking Tiamak as a character until he meets up with Isgrimnur – which is a pretty long time from now. Which is kinda sad I guess, because he’s not a bad guy – he’s just . . . boring. He doesn’t really ever do a whole lot (though I think he and Strangeyeard figure out at the VERY END that the Norns will be attacking from behind, or something like that), and I know it’s not necessary for every character in an epic fantasy series to be an action star. He is here for the very specific and important reason that Morgenes wanted to make sure he was taken care of once the creeks got swift and the paddles were lost. I just can’t help but feel like he never really contributes in any important way.

Well, he does bring that piece of Nisses’ parchment with him, which is somewhat useful for getting Camaris out of his funk, but other than that, is kind of part of that whole “False Messenger” thing, which means, nope, wasn’t too helpful after all!

Ah well, maybe with me really bunking down to re-read this series properly, I’ll find some things about him that I like.

And heh, he’s writing “Sovran Remedys of the Wranna Healers,” in the hopes of finally getting some recognition from the rest of the world that the Wrannamen can be just as learned and scholarly as the rest of the world. It would probably help his case a bit if he learned how to spell “Sovereign” and “Remedies” the way the rest of the world spells those words (not that they’re wrong, necessarily, but language evolves too, Tiamak!).

Eolair and Dinivan don’t really provide us with a lot of information, except to show that they’re both really cool cats, and it really, really sucks what happens to Dinivan later. Ah well.

And Jarnauga is introduced here, as the wise, old, mostly-naked dude to is meeting some strangers. Do we ever find out who he was meeting that was so important here? The next time we see him, he’s breaking up parties with “Behold” this and that, and I can’t recall he actually mentions who he was waiting for. But I get the feeling they were important.

Oh, and he can see lights flickering from within a mountain? And hear war music from within? That doesn’t sound like living “in the shadow of the mountain,” so much as living “on the side of the mountain.”

Words to look up: weasand – throat; gullet. Makes sense in context, but never heard the word before. It’s one of those things that shows Williams is quite a scholar himself, as he uses a lot of archaic words throughout the series. I just haven’t been posting them. Maybe I’ll do that from now on.

Chapter 29 – Hunters and Hunted

Summary

Simon runs back to pick up Binabik, sure that the troll is dead, getting wounded by an arrow in the process, and they turn back towards the city. Baron Heahferth attempts to charge across one of the bridges to cut Simon and his friends off, but the bridge collapses into the river below, taking Heahferth and all his men with him. Simon, carrying Binabik, runs into D’ai Chikiza with Marya and Qantaqa.

Simon’s arms were aching after a hundred steps, and it felt as though a knife was sliding in and out of his side; he fought to stay even with the girl as they followed the bounding wolf through the ruins of the Sithi city. It was like running through a cave of trees and icicles, a forest of vertical shimmer and dark, mossy corruption. Shattered tile was everywhere, and massive tangles of spiderwebs strung across beautiful, crumbling arches. Simon felt as though he had been swallowed by some incredible ogre with innards of quartz and jade and mother-of-pearl. The river sounds became muted behind them; the rasp of their own hard breathing vied with the scrape of their running feet.

At last, it seemed they were reaching the outskirts of the city: the tall trees, hemlock and cedar and towering pine, were closer together, and the tiled flooring that had been everywhere underfoot now dwindled to pathways coiling at the feet of the forest giants. Simon stopped running. His eyesight was blackening at the edges. He stood in place and felt the earth reel about him. Marya took his hand and led him a few limping steps to an ivy-choked mound of stone that Simon, his sight slowly returning, recognized as a well. He set Binabik’s body down gently on the pack that Marya had been carrying, propping the little man’s side against the rough cloth, then leaned on the well’s rim to suck air into his needy lungs. His side continued to throb.

Marya squatted next to Binabik, pushing away Qantaqa’s nose as the wolf prodded at her silent master. Qantaqa took a step back, making a whimpering sound of incomprehension, then lay down with her muzzle on her paws. Simon felt hot tears spring to his eyes.

Marya sees that Binabik is not dead, and Simon determines they must remove the arrow from Binabik’s back. Marya gives Simon her knife to cut away the cloth around the wound and to cut the tip off the arrow so it can be pulled through. Once done, they wrap up Binabik as best they can and, and Simon picks him up and they head towards the hills to the north of the city. Once they get to the steep inclines out of the city, they must stop and rest again. Marya points out that Simon will need his hands to get up the hill and the two try to determine how to make it up, and save Binabik. Simon thinks of an idea that may help them out, and calls Qantaqa to him.

Working feverishly, the unspoken thought of Ingen Jegger a hovering shadow, Simon and Marya wrapped Binabik up neck to toe in the girl’s cloak, then balanced the troll stomach down on Qantaqa’s back, tying him in place with the last shredded strips of clothing from out of the pack. Simon remembered the position from his involuntary ride to Duke Isgrimnur’s camp, but he knew that if the thick cloak was between Binabik’s ribs and the wolf’s back, the little man would at least be able to breathe. Simon knew it was not a good situation for a wounded, probably dying, troll, but what else could be done? Marya was right; he would need his hands going up the hill.

Once Qantaqa’s initial skittishness wore off, she stood passively as the boy and girl worked, turning occasionally to try and sniff Binabik’s face where it bobbed at her side. When they finished and started up the slope, the wolf picked her way carefully, as if aware of the importance to her silent burden of a smooth ride.

They climb for awhile, then rest again and have a moment (which Simon makes awkward by blurting out, “I like you, Marya!”), then must continue on. The deer path they are following eventually meets up with a much wider path – an ancient Sithi road. This meets up with the ‘Stile,’ a zig-zagging path that will take them up the hill and towards Naglimund. As they are preparing to mount it, Marya sees something up above, and they worry it may be more men waiting for them. They decide to follow the path for awhile at least, and head up the Stile.

As they are all weakening and tiring – even Qantaqa – and Simon is planning on taking a break again, they see torches ahead of them on the spine of the hill. Marya assumes it is Jegger, cutting them off, and they leave the path so as to be harder to find. They find another clearing in which to rest while trying to decide what to do next. As they are munching on food, they here the baying of the hunting hounds in the distance. Simon fumes for a few moments about how awful their predicament is, then starts rummaging around in Binabik’s pack.

Simon found what he was seeking and closed his hand on it. Some of the noises were now coming from the hillside north of them, too, almost at their level of the slope. The trap was closing.

“Hold Qantaqa.” He got up and crawled a short distance, scouring the brush until he found a good-sized broken branch, a thick one longer than his arm. He brought it back and upended Binabik’s bag of powder on it, then laid it down carefully. “I’m making a torch,” he said, pulling out the troll’s flints.

“Won’t that just lead them to us?” the girl asked, a note of detached curiosity in her voice.

“I won’t light it until I have to,” he replied, “but at least we’ll have something . . . something to fight with.”

Her face was in shadow, but he could sense her eyes on him. She knew exactly how much good such a gesture would do them. He hoped – and the hope was very strong – that she would understand why it was a necessary gesture.

Simon tries to light the torch as something crashes close by. A giant humanoid creature stumbles into their clearing and attacks Simon with its claws and lunges for him again, but Qantaqa saves him. As the giant is about to attack Simon again, hunting hounds charge the clearing, and along with armed men, bring the giant down. Simon recognizes Josua as one of the riders, and calls the prince’s name as he faints. He feverishly remembers being carried into Naglimund afterwards.

Commentary

Another tense chase chapter. This one has always reminded me very much of Chapter 12 of The Fellowship of the Ring, “Flight to the Ford.” Whether intentional or not, there are a lot of very important similarities in this chapter. The desperateness of Our Heroes’ situation, being chased by an enemy they know almost nothing about, the critically-wounded party member, the water-related sudden (and unexpected) death/destruction of the main bulk of the chasing enemies (done by (possibly) elves/Sithi, no less!), the main hero unconsciously being taken to a safe haven at the very end. Then it is followed very soon by a happy reunion. This chapter also, just like “Flight,” marks the end of a major section of the book, and a major plot-point, which is where the heroes are traveling alone, unprepared, and in flight, just trying to reach a specific place of safety. As you can see, many similarities here, and probably some I haven’t thought of. It could be that Williams subtly put this stuff in on purpose, to keep the reader in a familiar place, before really turning things on their head, or it could just be completely unintentional, but I like it. From both a literary place, and emotional place, I think it is fitting. In a literary sense, it makes the readers (those who’ve read LotR, anyway) assume they know where they are going, and when things take horrible, drastic turns, it puts the readers in much more suspense than they otherwise would be. From an emotional point, familiar ground always makes us cozy, which means it is easier to read, easier to enjoy, and easier to remember.

ANYWAY, yeah, Binabik is horribly wounded, and Simon’s sureness that the troll is dead, but unwillingness to leave the body is very admirable, and then he carries the little dude for who knows how long? Good man there. A major portion of this chapter seems to be to showcase the strong sides of Simon’s character – his carrying the troll, his good and quick thinking in both removing the arrow from Binabik, and in tying Binabik to Qantaqa, his determination to go down fighting at the end, even with nothing but a torch. This, to me, is a very important, yet subtle, indication of what kind of man Simon will soon become. I’ve complimented Mr. Williams multiple times on how well he writes a teenage boy, now I spread that compliment out to include how well he writes a strong-willed teenage boy who does what needs to be done in dire circumstances.

Another somewhat anthropomorphic Aldheorte scene here – kind of. Miriamele thinks the Sithi caused the bridge to collapse on the riders, but Simon thinks that’s nonsense. I’ll add it to the list – it does seem likely to me that, whether or not any Sithi are actually hanging around in the city (which seems very unlikely), due to what we have heard and read so far as to the nature of the forest and the Sithi in generaly, something other than just the mass of horses and riders could have brought the bridge down. I’m just sayin’ . . .

Not really a whole lot else to talk to in this chapter. Simon has an endearing and somewhat heartbreaking moment with Marya (“I like you, Marya!”), and he does rethink his thoughts about her looks, finding her to be ‘delicate’ instead of ‘skinny.’ That’s nice, whatever helps you sleep at night, Simon, after thinking she was a boy. I’ll save the stuff about Josua for the next chapter.

Cheers!
E.S.

Welcome back to Part 7 of the Wheel of Time Casting Call, in which famous celebrities are forced to jump to my beck and call. And they love it.

Before moving forward, here are a couple things worth mentioning.

First, if there could possibly be spoilers all the way up to Towers of Midnight, the most recent book in the series. I don’t typically get all spoilery here, but if someone dies or something, it could possibly get mentioned. You’ve been warned.

Second, if you haven’t read the previous entries, you can find them right about here. I’ll try to keep this page updated.

Lastly, there has been a lot of disagreement on my choice of Juliet Landau for Berelain. As most of you may have seen me mention, the hardest part of this casting call has not been finding actors to play important characters (such as Rand, Nynaeve, etcetera), but finding actors and actresses to play the roles of those typically deemed ‘extraordinarily beautiful.’ Subjectivity and perspective play a major role in this, so at first, I was just going to move on and not worry about it, but it seems the dissent with Juliet Landau is strong enough that I should rethink that stance. Therefore, I have set up a new page where I would like readers of this blog to make their own suggestions for actors for various roles.

That should do it. Let’s proceed.

Joline Maza

The pain in Mat Cauthon’s ass for several books is a pretty Aes Sedai named Joline, who seems to have no problem ordering around (or at least, attempting to do so) the person who saved her life out of nothing moreso than the goodness of his heart. She is slender, with large brown eyes, and though I can’t find it specifically, I’m pretty sure she has dark hair. And it is mentioned that she is ‘taller than Merilille.’

Ashley Judd as Joline
Ashley Judd has played enough ‘nice girls,’ that I think it’s about time to see her do a role that’s a little less pleasant. She is a taller(-ish) woman, so that works for the other parts. She is very pleasant to look at, and her face is shaped right (in my oh-so-humble opinion) to play a jerk. I don’t have much to say on this one.

Places you’ve possibly seen her:
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
Double Jeopardy
Crossing Over


Juilin Sandar

This thief-catcher from Tear has been with Mat now for awhile, but started off in the company of Nyneave, Egwene, and Elayne, helping them find the original thirteen Black Ajah. He is described as handsome and lean, with black hair, dark eyes, and a dark face. It is mentioned once that he looks to be ‘carved from aged wood,’ so I figure that to mean relatively ‘hard’ looking, or at least ‘angular.’

Eli Roth as Juilin Sanders
I didn’t know who Eli Roth was until I saw Inglourious Basterds (since I don’t watch a lot of horror, I had not seen Hostel and the likes), but quite frankly (and other than Cristoph Waltz), Eli was the star of the movie for me. He has a great look to play what I can figure from Juilin’s character, and seems to have a good, stoic reserve about him that would fit Mr. Sandar as well. Plus, he looks like the kind of guy that you could certainly have a friendly conversation with, but would mess you up if he really needed.

Places you’ve possibly seen him:
Inglourious Basterds
Hostel
Cabin Fever


Jur Grady

Another loyal Asha’Man, Grady has been hanging out with Perrin for several books now. He is one of the few (as of ToM) that we know to be good and on the side of Light. He is described as having a farmer’s face, and being a bit stocky.

Stephen Moyer as Jur Grady
Some people may believe Stephen Moyer is too much of a sex symbol nowadays to be described as a farmer’s face, but I think if you look at him closely (and you conveniently forget that he is very famous now, but was not several years ago), you can see it. I do think he is a very good actor, though not the best in True Blood, and I do like him well enough to put him in this relatively minor-ish role.

Places you’ve possibly seen him:
True Blood
88 Minutes
Various TV Shows


Laras

The fat Mistress of Kitchens in the White Tower, Laras has never really seemed like she may be very important, yet she kept showing up in ways to help Our Heroes out, such as helping Min rescue Siuan and Leane in TSR, and then attempting to help Egwene later. Verin seems to imply before her death that Laras is not all that she seems, so she may yet have an important role to play (some believe she has the Horn of Valere). Other than described as very hefty, the only other real information we are given about her appearance is when she tells Min she used to be quite beautiful.

Kathy Bates as Laras
Kathy Bates was originally going to be my Verin, but Verin isn’t described nearly as large as Laras, and I really like the idea of such a big-named actress playing such a seemingly minor character. I don’t really want to sit on this for too long, since I would have to keep using the words “fat” and “hefty,” and that makes me feel kind of cruel and creepy. So we’ll move on.

Places you’ve possibly seen her:
About Schmidt
The Day the Earth Stood Still
Misery (older Stephen King movie, must see)


Leane Sharif

The first time we are introduced to Leane, she is not mentioned in any way to be the apparently beautiful person she is later in the series. I guess it’s because she has the ageless face, and Rand and Perrin don’t like to think of Aes Sedai in that way. It isn’t until The Fires of Heaven she becomes the character that we all love today. She is one of my favorite minor characters in the series. She has the copper-skin of a Domani, is thin and nearly as tall as a man. She is willowy, graceful, and beautiful.

Olivia Wilde as Leane Sharif
I don’t know about the coppery skin part, but otherwise, I really like Olivia Wilde for this role. Granted, I cannot recall ever being told specifically that Leane has black/dark brown hair, but I feel like her other descriptions really lend themselves to her hair likely being dark. Wilde has a bit of what I would typically call a “funny face,” (almost elf-like) but she plays the very attractive role often enough that I think that’s an easily over-looked feature. And after watching House, I can totally see her manipulating (and loving) men the way Leane does.

Places you’ve possibly seen her:
House
Tron
Year One


Lelaine Akashi

Ahh, Lelaine – how I have hated you. Not that Egwene is one of my favorite characters either, but seriously, you seem to serve no purpose other than to get in Egwene’s way on everything. Which is likely exactly the purpose you were meant for, narratatitvely-speaking, of course. Lelaine is older, but her hair is still dark, and she is often described as having a beautiful smile.

Diane Keaton as Lelaine
I needed a way to put Diane Keaton in this movie, and I found it. Keaton is one of those actresses that I seem to be magnetically drawn to – she can play any role given her with great dignity, and has one of the most beautiful smiles in Hollywood. And I would love to see her play a role that is more antagonistic (such as Lelaine’s). She may need a bit of hair dye, but that’s not biggie.

Places you’ve possibly seen her:
The Family Stone
Something’s Gotta Give
Father of the Bride I and II


Liandrin

The Great Unpleasantness, Liandrin is likely one of my least favorite characters. I don’t even like her as a villain. She’s pouty, bitchy, whiny, and then she throws evil on top of all that. She has golden/honey-colored hair that she wears in braids, and is pretty.

Clare Kramer as Liandrin
Clare Kramer has already played Liandrin before, as far as I’m concerned, when she played Glory through Season 5 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She pulls off ‘snotty evil’ very well, and though that’s not the only kind of role she’s played, that’s the most memorable to me.

Places you’ve possibly seen her:
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 5
The Rules of Attraction
The Gravedancers


Loial son of Arent son of Halan

Yay! Someone awesome is casted today. Loial, whose name is a pun on his most endearing feature, is a friend of Our Heroes and has been since the first book. As an Ogier, he is tall (about nine/ten feet tall), with a huge head, huge ears and eyebrows, and a large nose. He is sweet and caring, and speaks in a low, rumbling voice.

Richard Moll as Loial
Though I think for the most part, Trollocs and Ogiers will be CGI’ed, I think there will be times when they will need human stand-ins for various types of scenes. And for those, Richard Moll is my choice. He is extremely tall, has a rich, low voice, and I just like him all around.

Places you’ve possibly seen him:
Night Court
But I’m a Cheerleader
Voice Acting in various animated shows


There you have it. You may have noticed I skipped Lan. This was not an accident. I have decided to promote him to Tier 2 at the request of several readers, so he will not be casted for awhile yet.

Please don’t forget to post in the comments of the Readers’ Suggestions page here.

Thanks for reading!
E.S.

Hello All,
This post is here for a specific reason – to allow readers to make suggestions on actors for the characters in the Wheel of Time Casting Call. After several various discussions on my blog and at theoryland about Berelain and my choice(s) for her, it has become obvious to me that there are a few characters that should be discussed more openly before the Casting is done.

So this post is here for people to make replies about their own suggestions for casting various characters.

The characters typically referred to in the series as “the most beautiful [people] in the world,” are Berelain, Galad, and Lanfear (and Graendal, to a lesser degree). Now, I have a choice for Graendal, Lanfear, and Galad already, but since they won’t be casted for a couple months now (at least!), there is some time for some other suggestions to be made. I will also be changing Berelain – note, this won’t be a democracy – if 100 people want Angelina Jolie or Natalie Portman, and 25 people want various other actresses, I will still not be using Angelina Jolie or Natalie Portman (I have my standards, and while I understand both measure up to various degrees of beauty, they are not who I would choose). However, if some actresses come up that I did not even consider, who I then determine would be better than my choice, I will bring them up (alongside my choices) and see what people think.

Anyhoo, let me know what you think.

Also, feel free to make suggestions for any characters – you may say something that I never even considered, and I would be happy to change my mind if I actually see someone significantly better than my choice.

Cheers!
E.S.

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