April 2011

The Anubis GatesThe Anubis Gates by Tim Powers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Anubis Gates, by Tim Powers, was published in 1983 and won the 1983 Philip K. Dick Award. It is often reported as one of the archetype books of the steampunk genre, though it is definitely not a steampunk in the modern sense. Instead, it is a historical fantasy, in which Powers weaves together fiction and actual historical events to create a tapestry and story of magical mayhem and adventure.

The book starts with some ancient Egyptian magicians attempting to open up a portal to let the old Egyptian gods into the modern times (1800’s) to bring back power to Egypt and take said power from Brittain. The plan goes awry, and opens up multiple portals through time. Then, in the modern era (1983), the protagonist is introduced to this time portals, and begins an adventure that takes him through multiple different times and bodies.

To be honest, it took me a long time to get into this book. I tried reading it once months ago and put it down. It just seemed to be boring to me. Don’t get me wrong – I understand that plots can take time to develop (after all, I’m a known champion for Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn being one of the finest fantasy stories ever written, and it has a notoriously long 190+ page "introduction."), and I understand that Powers has an interesting writing style from his background in English literature. I just wasn’t interested in the story, the characters, or the time period the first time I tried to read it.

I decided to pick the book back up again and told myself, "I’ll read to at least page 100 before I make any decisions about it this time." I approached page 100 and passed it one night without even realizing, and was hooked. I don’t know why this time it was different – there is definitely something to the philosophy that there is a ‘time and place’ for everything, and this was the time and the place for me. It definitely had its slow parts, and there were parts of the book that I don’t really feel were explained very well, but looking at it on the whole, it was a fantastic read.

Spoilers Below – Read at your own Risk

There was one part in particular that I remember sucking me in. Brendan Doyle, in the early 1800’s, was waiting at a tavern for the arrival of the poet William Ashbless. Ashbless never showed up, which prompted Doyle to write one of Ashbless’ poems from memory. It was at that moment that something clicked in my head, and I realized what was going on – that Doyle was Ashbless (or would become him), and that this story was going to get all sorts of funky.

For the most part, all of the time traveling in the book was very well explained and well thought-out, especially in terms of long-term effects. The device for moving through times seemed to have a bit too much handwavium in its flux capacitor, but most of the "logic" in the time traveling worked fine.

The ending was also very poignant – the fact that Doyle, by the time the main part of the story ended, knew that he would never have any true free will (since he must necessarily live out the live of Ashbless as written), was very sad. The epilogue, where we find out that there is still more to his story, made for a very happy turn.

Some parts didn’t work though. There were parts of the story that were written in such a way that I just simply didn’t know what was really going on. I thought Byron was murdered at one point, but at the end of the book, we are told Ashbless and Byron had become great friends. It took me a couple times reading through the scene at the end with Jacky, Dog-Face Joe, and Darrow to comprehend what had happened – that Dog-Face had swapped bodies with Darrow at the wrong time, and had come into an already dead (or dying) body. It was really cool once I figured it out, but the scene was very confusingly written.

I never really bought the Master as any sort of threat either. His actions, and then his death, were all pretty irrelevant to me for the most part. Romany/Romanelli and Horrabin were much more interesting. And they were focused on more, but I don’t really even see the purpose in the Master’s arc in the book.

And finally, Romany’s death by Apep was a little odd to me – it just didn’t seem to be explained well why that happened, and why Doyle was healed afterwards.

Overall, the story was a great read, and I would highly recommend it to literally anyone interested in the fantasy or sci-fi genres.


View all my reviews

Hello! (Told you I’d have it up by 5:00. I think)

Here we are yet another week with yet another Wheel of Time Casting Call, with yet another batch of unfortunate characters being forced into the bodies of actors that I think they are most reminiscent of. It’s like a wacky science experiment gone all horribly wrong. It’s like I’m taking itty bitty mice, who all have certain ways they like to be thought of, and forcing their minds into the bodies of other mice, who may or may not look quite like what the original mice always thought they looked like, and also don’t necessarily look quite like what everyone else thinks the mice should look like. And it depresses the mice. And depressed mice are sad. They just sit around all day eating cheese. 😦 I digress (<—- Understatement).

A note on the art: For most of the art I use for characters, I am getting it from the amazing Seamas Gallagher gallery, who does some of the best WoT art out there. Some of the other I’ve used is from the equally amazing Jeremy Saliba. A lot of the art I use is cropped, so that I can fit the most character on the screen without having to deal with fancy borders and such, so you guys should definitely check these guys’ sites out (where you will find the full, beautiful pictures) and support them if at all possible. Some characters, no matter how important(ish) they are, do not have art though. In which case, I will insert a picture of a friendly squid.

Oh, and apparently my blog has gotten popular enough that another WoT Casting blog has mostly copied it, including the format of the posts, the actors I use, and even some of the little quips and humor I put in it. Sincerest form of flattery, right? Right!

Spoilers may exist, read at your own risk.

Tier 2 Casting

Modhedien, by Seamas Gallagher
Let’s talk about Moghedien. Moggy has essentially become Nynaeve’s nemesis over the course of the series, and has done some pretty terrible things. In fact, she has possibly done some of the worse things in the series, including the Dream Ripping (TM) of Birgitte and the balefire of all the boat crew just to get at Nynaeve. Seriously, think about what some of the other Forsaken have done, and she’s up there in the top tier of “Most EVAHL!” whether or not she gets any awards for Most Competent. Then again, she’s done some pretty cool things too, such as tying Liandrin’s shield in infinite little knots so that our resident Ms. Petulant can’t really cause anyone any harm. The enemy of my enemy . . . well, she’s not my friend, but it does grant her a couple cool points.

Moghedien has taken on a couple different personas in the series, such as Gyldin and Marigan, but when she is forced by the a’dam to reveal her true appearance to Egwene, she appears sturdily handsome with shoulder-length hair worn loose. She has large, dark eyes and smooth cheeks. I’m pretty sure she has dark hair, but I can’t find much about that. I know Gyldin and Marigan both had dark hair, so I’ll assume Moghedien does too.

For some reason, I kept wanting to put Elisabeth Shue in this role, but I think it was I couldn’t come up with anyone better. But then I remembered Jeanne Tripplehorn, who kind of rocks. I don’t watch Big Love, but my wife does, and everytime I see her on screen, I have to stop what I’m doing and enjoy her splendidness. She has all the criteria we need, and she can look mad and mean like the bestworst of them.

Jeanne Tripplehorn as Moghedien

Places you’ve possibly seen her:
Basic Instinct
Big Love
Very Bad Things

Morgase, by Seamas Gallagher
From there, we move on to Morgase Trakand. Morgase, Blessed of the Light, Rose of Andor, yadda yadda yadda, gave us a good first impression with her very reasonable and moral decision of how to handle Rand’s whole “falling into a castle courtyard” debacle. She used good logic and strong ethics to make a very good judgment of Rand, and thus, she was a very likable monarch right from the get-go. Then she got all Rahvin’ed, which was extremely unfortunate (those words, lightly they are used), and all that goodness got all turned around and upside down. Then, perhaps even more unfortunately, she became a huge bore, and I now find myself often skipping over her chapters in the series. Let’s talk about her appearance.

First of all, I’m only using the above picture because there isn’t much art to choose from of Queen Morgase, but this is probably some of my least favorite art depicting WoT characters. I don’t know why, but I find her to be ugly (instead of the beautiful she should be), and the dress just doesn’t fit my mind of what she should look like. Anyway, we know she has red-gold hair, and has “Elayne’s looks, ripened to maturity.” We also know she still appears relatively young, and that comes from her Slowing.

Many people probably don’t even know who Amy Yasbeck is. She played Maid Marian in Robin Hood: Men in Tights, and she absolutely looks the part I’ve always pictured for Morgase. She is beautiful, she is mature, but she has a young-ish appearance. Plus, she looks very much like the person I have chosen for Elayne, so the whole mother-daughter thing works out. See, I plan this shit out!

Amy Yasbeck as Morgase

Places you’ve possibly seen her:
Robin Hood: Men in Tights
Various TV Shows and
TV Movies

Khalamari Kid as Osan'Gar
Osan’Gar comes next, who was masquerading as an Asha’Man for awhile. He begins his existence in Lord of Chaos as the reincarnated Aginor, but doesn’t show up as a character until introduced to us as Dashiva in A Crown of Swords. As far as I’m concerned, he’s gone down in the history of the series as possibly the most useless Forsaken we’ve met (though I’m willing to let him eek that out with Demandred depending on how awesome (or not) Demmy’s appearance is in AMoL).

He has an “ordinary face,” and is in his middle years. He acts like he’s already insane, he is a daydreamer, and he walks hesitantly, and tilts his head in a curious way when he speaks to people. He has untrimmed hair.

Well, he’d have to grow his hair out a bit, but I love Michael Keaton for this role. Keaton plays funny and crazy with the best of them, and he could basically play Beetlejuice and he’d be in character. There was one other person I considered having Keaton play, after it was brought to my attention by Terez that he’d make a good Fain. But I needed a bit more crazy in my Fain. And ugly. And Michael Keaton is not ugly (by most standards).

Michael Keaton as Osan'Gar

Places you’ve possibly seen him (Keaton):
White Noise

Padan Fain, by Seamas Gallagher
Padan effing Fain. Possibly the most horribly evil and insane character we’ve met in the series, one who has done nothing but harass, pursue, and attack Our Heroes from the very first time we see him. Seriously, the first time we see him, he’s planning a Trolloc attack. And apparently he’s got some major parts to play coming up – there’s otherwise no reason for him to have been around as long as he has. I have a pet theory – one that involves Fain being locked in an eternal battle with the Dark One (since he hates the Dark One as much as he hates the good guys) as Mashadar – but I have no evidence, or even any real logic, to support it. Just something I think would be “cool.” Anyway, he is utterly filled with Wrath towards both the Dark One, and Rand, and his story ain’t quite done yet.

So, he’s a pale, gangly, skinny dude, with a “massive beak” of a nose. Most of the recent art, including that above, shows him looking pretty disheveled, unkempt, and missing teeth, soaking himself in blood, whathaveyou. Oh, big ears too. I always liked the art for him in the Big White Book (though that book nowadays gets a lot of flack for its depictions of the characters). Oh, and he’s bat-shit insane. Like, Über-Insane, even.

So, not a real shocker here, Steve Buscemi wins this round. He can play “bat-shit insane” very well (watch him on The Sopranos), and has most of the not-quite-very-handsome facial features that would be needed for Fain. Big ears? Check. Big nose? Check. Presumably missing teeth (from chewing on his Shadar Logath dagger)? Check. I don’t think he even cleans up well (not that I’ve ever seen him in a business suit that I can recall, unless you count Reservoir Dogs, and he was pretty bedraggled-looking through most of that as well).

(As a side note, I strongly considered Gary Busey for this role as well. And it would have been AWESOME)

Steve Buscemi as Padan Fain

Places you’ve possibly seen him:
The Sopranos
Reservoir Dogs
The Big Lebowski

Rahvin, by Seamas Gallagher
Our resident rapist, Rahvin is up next. Maybe that’s not fair to introduce him as such. I mean, he’s not known for only raping (mentally and physically) Morgase, right? I mean, he did other things. Like put Trolloc guards in Caemlyn. And killing entire cities during the War of Power. And forcing Morgase to send away all her friends, family, loved ones, and anyone she trusts, and then making a public fool of her. So he’s got other things goes for him, I guess.

He’s a stud though. Tall, dark, and handsome, making women who aren’t even Compulsed swoon over him. He has black hair, which is white at the temples, and is dark and slender with nearly black eyes. He supposedly has an “insatiable” appetite for women – one may even say he Lusts after them. Sometimes, in other Castings, he is cast as a black man, because of that “dark” part up above. I don’t get the feeling that’s the case, so I haven’t done that. However, if anyone has anything to prove me wrong on that, I do know a good black actor I would put here for the role.

So, I’m going with Benjamin Bratt for this. I don’t remember when I first saw him – I do remember I didn’t like him the first time, wherever that was (maybe Demolition Man? Which, i guess I can’t really blame him for that movie, right?). Anyway, he’s made a very favorable impression on me in recent years, and I actually really like him nowadays. And when he cleans up, he looks exactly like I picture Rahvin to look. So there. And he was HIGH-larious in the episode of Modern Family he showed up in.

Benjamin Bratt as Rahvin

Places you’ve possibly seen him:
Miss Congeniality
Law & Order
The Cleaner (TV series)

Sammael, by Seamas Gallagher
The Forsaken most represented by Pride (maybe I should do a series on the Forsaken and the Seven Deadly Sins?), Sammael is next. Sammy (I like mocking the Chosen by shortening their name into a little pet name – it makes me feel powerful over them, almost like proclaiming “Ba’alzamon is a Fool!”) was known as a great general. Once out of the prison, he set up shop in Illian, consolidating power for quite some time, and even tried to set up a truce (though I seem to remember that was a trick?) with Rand to not attack each other until the Last Battle.

He is taller than average (slightly), with golden, closely-cropped hair, blue eyes, and a square trimmed beard. He is described as “solid and compact,” so I picture he works out (or at least looks like he does), and also picture him always standing straight-backed with his hands clasped behind his back, like a good soldier. Oh, and he has a nasty scar across most of his face, something that could have been Healed, but he left it as a constant reminder of why he hates Lews Therin so very, very much.

Viggo Mortensen was in plenty of films before The Lord of the Rings, but that’s what made him famous (and brought him to my attention, which may be more important for this particular blog series). He gets to be Sammael, though he’ll need a bit of dye (I didn’t know he was starting to gray so much). Otherwise, he’s exactly as I picture that Forsaken – solid, compact, stern-no-nonsense-looking, well-disciplined. I guess someone will have to cut up on his pretty face a bit to get that scar, which is a bit unfortunate, but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do to get in the Big Flicks, right?

Viggo Mortensen as Sammael

Places you’ve possibly seen him:
The Lord of the Rings (duh)
The Road

Semirhage, by Seamas Gallagher
And we go from Good Little Soldier Boy to Creepy as All Effing Get-Out-Of-My-Fantasy-Series Semirhage (I’m told that was her official name before RJ got tired of typing it). Semirhage was built up quite a bit before we really got to see much of her – but man, she made an impression on us. Apparently, even the Forsaken were wary of her (which should really tell you something right there), and no other villains in the series have come anywhere close to the purely sadistically evil things Semmy has done in the name of the Dark. And she blew off Rand’s hand. 😦

She is slender and taller then most men. She has a dark face with large dark eyes and full lips. She has short wavy hair. She is said to always dress in black because Lanfear dresses in white, though not even the other Forsaken dare to call her on it. And she’s creepy. That’s pretty important, I’d say.

Well, without the proper make-up, I wouldn’t call her creepy, but otherwise, Gina Torres is absolutely perfect for this role. She is an awesome actress, and she can play a real bad-ass when needed. She’s also tall – look up pictures of her standing next to her husband, Larry Fishburne. She’s supposedly one of the friendliest, most down-to-earth actresses around, so I hate to put her through the necessary torture to get her to play the role properly, but once again, gotta do whatcha gotta do for the serious roles.

Gina Torres as Semirhage

Places you’ve possibly seen her:
The Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions
Various TV Shows

And that ends this week. Come back next week for the final six of Tier 2. I guess that means Tier 1 is coming up soon, eh?

-Brandon Daggerhart

Like the title says, I wasn’t able to put in my usual couple hours yesterday, so it will probably be up around 4:00 or 5:00 PM EST today instead of the usual noon-ish.

After some very positive response (especially from 2 particular people via email), I will be continuing my Re-Read starting this coming week, Tuesday, May 3. The new format mentioned last week will indeed be what I use (shorter, more condensed chapter summaries, only 2 chapters at a time, still just as much commentary as I can cram in though), and will also only be posted every other week for the time being. More on that when I post next week.

Thanks everyone for your support, and there should be some very exciting things going on here soon for Tad Williams fans!


Hello! Well Met!

Welcome back to the Wheel of Time Casting Call, in which I force my own dreams about WoT Casting into the unsuspecting minds of all my readers. Uwahahahah! Hey, this week finally gets to Lan (who people have been asking about forever now), and I imagine there will be some griping with it. Oh, and Logain, too.

For most of the art I use for characters, I am getting it from the amazing Seamas Gallagher gallery, who does some of the best WoT art out there. Some of the other I’ve used is from the equally amazing Jeremy Saliba. A lot of the art I use is cropped, so that I can fit the most character on the screen without having to deal with fancy borders and such, so you guys should definitely check these guys’ sites out (where you will find the full, beautiful pictures) and support them if at all possible. I know a couple of prints that have my name on them.

Spoilers and all beware, they may exist. And partial nudity. The post, it is now? It is!

Tier 2 Casting

Our sultriest and sluttiest Forsaken award goes to none other than Graendal, who, when not killing other Forsaken, spends her time lounging about in decadence and perversion. She is described as the craftiest of the Forsaken, and is extremely talented in psychology and psychiatry (or whatever Age-of-Legend-ers called the study of mind diseases and such). Her perversions are likely extremely appreciated by Shadar Haran.

Graendal, by Gallagher

She is beautiful and plump, and has absolutely no problem showing off her goods – in fact, she uses that as a strength to distract people from her machinations. We know this because she is apparently always naked(ish). Probably really good for job interviews. She has curly, red-gold hair and a very curvaceous figure.

Christina Hendricks is all that and more. I first saw her on Firefly and fell in love with her – and in the same episodes, you get to see her also play the ruthless (and beautiful) villain. And she’s got all the physical necessities . . . necessary . . . for a Graendal role (in fact, one could argue she is very well known for those attributes). Dye her hair a bit and put her in a transparent dress and you’ll have a spittin’ image of Graendal.

Christina Hendricks as Graendal

Places you’ve possibly seen her:
Mad Men
Various other TV Shows

Al’Lan (Lan) Mandragoran, Lord of the Seven Towers, has been with us since literally the beginning of the story, and though he had exactly ZERO POVs in the series until very recently, he is someone that WoT fans absolutely adore. He is a poet, a king, a deadly warrior, and a lover, and covers all aspects of the Knight trope. And he’s the only person cable of putting up with Nynaeve’s bullshit for an extended period of time.

Lan, by Gallagher

We know that he’s not extraordinarily handsome (though I don’t think he’s supposed to be ugly either), and is very rugged, with scars and haunted, cold eyes. He is graying, and keeps his gray hair long and pulled back by a hadori. He is also very tall and imposing, and is one of the – if not the – finest warrior(s) in all the lands.

There are a couple of fan-favorites for being cast as Lan, but I didn’t go with any of them (neener!). Those of you who have been reading this blog series for awhile now may recall that I chose my Isam very carefully, because I wanted these relatives to look related. And thus, we have Liam Neeson! (Woohoo!) He is a bit of a dark horse for this role, but no one can deny that few actors can badass their way through a movie like Neeson. He's a bit older, but that can be fixed, he's ridiculously tall, and he looks like Eric Bana's older brother. There you go.

Liam Neeson as Lan

Places you’ve possibly seen him:
Batman Begins
The Phantom Menace (sorry, but he is the only redeeming factor in this movie)

Lews Therin

Lews Therin was added to my list after my initial line-up of characters was worked out (so you won’t find him on the original list), because I figured we need a face for Rand’s insanity. And the Dragonmount prologue (which will be filmed in my movie) really needs a good actor. Lews Therin, the Dragon, the Kinslayer, is only described as tall, with dark hair (turning white), and tired-looking. Not much more than that. Did I mention he’s crazy? Cuz that’s important.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Clive Owens, an actor more capable of looking worn out and bedraggled than Danny Glover on the day before his retirement, finding out he has to work “one last job.” Clive is an awesome actor (one of my favorites), and I do not doubt he can play crazy with the best of them.

Cline Owens as Lews Therin

Places you’ve possibly seen him:
Children of Men
Inside Man

Next up, Logain Ablar is a pitiable antagonist(ish?) in the first book, but becomes much more important later on. He is a powerful channeller, and once he joins the LightSide, is a powerful force in Rand’s Asha’Man. He is the first false Dragon we ever hear about, and the first person to be Healed of severing EVAH, so that’s important. Plus, Min sees “glory like no man has seen” when she views him, so he’s likely to stay pretty important, despite his missingness in the last book. My pet theory: after Rand dies, Logain will somehow claim the glory of defeating the Dark One. Or at least he will be the person remembered as having done so (see: Thom’s thoughts on stories changing through the ages).

Logain, by Gallagher

Anyway, tall, dark, and handsome is Logain. He has long, dark (curling) hair, a powerful stare, and according to every piece of art I’ve been able to find on him, a permanent five o’clock shadow. He is dark for a Ghealdanin, and short of his middle years.

Go Patrick Dempsey! You heard me. I said it, it’s out there, no takesies backsies. Look at him, he looks just like Gallagher’s art, five o’clock shadow and all. Even found a pic of him in a black coat! Seriously, the guy’s got chops – he sat with me as one of the only decent actors during the first season of Grey’s Anatomy (shit, I guess I’ve finally admitted I used to watch that stupid show), until the rest of the crew learned how to talk in character. He’s got the right height, coloring, and demeanor, and I just flat like him. So there. And I may have a bit of a man crush on him. My wife thinks so.

As a side note, I know a lot of people like Hugh Jackman for this role, and while I like Jackman as well, I just don’t want him in this movie. Nothing against him, I think he makes a great mutant . . . I just don’t think he’s had a lot of success over the years in speaking without a very obvious Australian accent, is all.

Patrick Dempsey as Logain

Places you’ve possibly seen him:
Grey’s Anatomy
Made of Honor

Another Asha’Man comes up next, none other than Mazrim Taim. This guy has had “bad news” stamped on his forehead since the first time we met him – hell, before that, since we knew the Black Ajah was interested in him as well. He oozes insincerity, creepiness, and general evil, and Rand has him teaching hundreds of new Dreadlords. Whoops!

Mazrim Taim, by Gallagher

Physically, he’s got enough in common with Demandred that RJ used him as a red herring for a few books, before apparently getting tired of it and telling everyone in no uncertain terms, “Taim is not Demandred, shut up already!” Tall, dark hair, hooked nose, rarely smiles. And he may have a bit of an ego problem. Most narcissists do, but the dude literally told Rand, “Hey, we’ll be equal partners, you being the savior of the world and all, and I’m just a schmuck who started a war.” Cool, huh?

Not breaking any new ground here, I never had anyone other than Jason Isaacs in mind for this role. He’s got the hook nose, he looks evil, plays an evil character in literally everything he plays, and those characters literally never smile, unless it’s to intimidate someone (and usually looks more like a grimace). Ever. Not once. Find me a picture of him smiling (in character) in general delight, and not to be menacing, and I’ll send you an ice cream sundae. With extra sprinkles. And a cherry.

Jason Isaacs as Mazrim Taim

Places you’ve possibly seen him:
Harry Potter movies
Green Zone
The Patriot

Mesaana seemed to be one of those Forsaken that never really did anything, until you look at the big picture – she broke the White Tower. Well, maybe not directly, but I guarantee she was the one behind it all. And that’s serious, yo. The beacon of Light that people were depending on to save them from Pure Evil (TM) was broken, crumpled, and tossed aside. And Mesaana did it. She sure taught them all.

Mesaana, by both Gallagher and Saliba

She is tall, just short of her middle years with big watery blue eyes and chin-length dark hair. She has a voice that sounds like chimes. She occasionally changes her appearance to that of a shadowy being, wreathed in light, wearing blacks and whites and having eyes and lips of silver. And she’s blurry. The first part of the description is probably the more important part.

Do you know how hard it is to find a picture of Catherine Keener looking even remotely intimidating? She’s all smiles! Even the one non-smiling picture I found (below) looks like she’s having to try not to smile. Anyway, I love this woman. And she looks the part. So I’m not going to write up a long defense of her. She’s there. And awesome. Too bad she’ll have to bow to Egwene (that turd).

Catherine Keener as Mesaana

Places you’ve possibly seen her:
The 40-Year-Old Virgin
Being John Malkovich
Death to Smoochy

Min Farshaw, the lover o’ Rand, is finally getting cast. We’ve known her since book one, though we had no idea she’d be as important as she is until recently – she may be the one who figures out how to save Rand from eternal death. She reads glimpses of the Pattern, and there is a little bit of weirdness in that, especially when she tells people what she sees, and they can predict how to live based on it, thus creating self-fulfilling prophecies and all – but hey, it’s fantasy.

Min Farshaw, by Gallagher

She has short, boyish hair, though she’s grown it out recently. She used to wear only man clothes, but now she wears man-styled clothes that are shaped for women. She is slender with short hair that curls about her neck, and large, dark eyes. I like Gallagher’s art for her, it’s basically exactly what I’ve always pictured.

Emma Roberts gets the cup cake this time. She is relatively young on the scene, but then again, Min’s a young character, so that works. She hasn’t been in a ton of stuff, but what she has been in, she usually gets some good positive reviews out of. She has brown hair (most of the time), and has some of the features I think work with Min. And she’s cute. That’s important, we wouldn’t want Rand falling for someone not attractive, right?

Emma Roberts as Min

Places you’ve possibly seen her:
Scream 4
Hotel for Dogs (kids’ movie, still cute)
Several TV Shows

There you have it. Part 3 done. Come back next week, we may have some exciting new stuff going on! Please send all hate mail to DrDerekShephardRocks@greysanatomy.com.


So you guys have probably noticed that it’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything to do with the MS&T re-read. I want to explain my reasoning and hopefully some people will let me know what they think.

I haven’t got a lot of feedback on the series as a whole. Apparently Mr. Williams and Mrs. Beale were reading it, which is extremely AWESOME, and I know that should be enough by itself for me to continue working. But I am just getting NO response from it. No one ever posts comments about the series here on the blog – the one person who did seems to have stopped after about 5 entries. I think I have two theories as to why that is the case.

The first theory is something I could fix. Several people have voiced (either here, through email, or on tadwilliams.com forums where I originally started the project) that the entries are just too long. I know I was putting a literal TON of information into each post – I know this because it generally took me anywhere between three and five hours of reading and typing just to get the summaries right, and only then did I start working on commentary. This means that it takes people a very long time to read – possibly more than one or two sittings just to read one blog post – and it takes me an extremely long time to write – and I have a lot of things I want to be writing now. So there’s a really simple answer to this one – I can shorten the posts. More on this in a moment.

The second theory is that, unfortunately, people just simply are not interested, and this is a problem that I cannot fix. I do not have the backing of Tor (since these books were not published by them), where several extremely successful re-reads have happened. Also, this is not a continuing series. That doesn’t explain everything of course, but it does explain some – there’s not a lot of anticipation for a blog series about a series that is done. There’s no urgency, because there’s not anything else coming out soon that people need to think about. Mr. Williams has stated before that he may go back to Osten Ard and write a follow-up series, but that is likely many years away, and MS&T is now a 20+ year-old series whose story is told, and doesn’t need constant re-telling. As much as I love this series (and read it over and over again), I know that plenty of people are not like me, and do not re-read series over and over again just to get more out of them. So all of that rambling just to say, as good a series as this is, as award-winning as it is (and should be), there just doesn’t seem to be a ton of interest in a re-read and analysis of it.

That second theory is a hard one for me – I think MS&T should be the ultimate fantasy series for readers. Once they’re read Tolkien (necessary reading for any new fantasy reader), their next choice should be Williams. After that, go to the silly stuff (Eddings or Feist), or move onto the really hard, LONG stuff (Jordan, Martin, Stevenson, whoever), but LotR and MS&T should be essentials. It’s simple (to me). But with no movies being made, no TV shows, no new books coming out – well, the interest in the general population just isn’t there. And there’s nothing I can do about that. So I’m at a stand-still on that one.

As for the first theory, here’s a simple solution. IF I am to continue the re-read, I will be cutting back to two chapters at a time, and both of those chapters will be much more condensed in summary and quotes (though the commentary will stay the same, and likely will have many of the quotes moved to there). It’s something that has worked well with Leigh and Kate doing the WoT and LotR re-reads over at Tor, and I’m willing to give it a try. But I need to know if I should even be working on this.

Like I said, I have a lot of projects I want to do. I’ve just taken on a new job and position in life that is AWESOME and is going to give me time to work on things I want to work on. I’m working on my own novel, I have several other read-through projects I would like to do, and I’m involved now in a local speculative fiction group that is trying to start a magazine and publishing company (this is not my job, it’s voluntary). All of this could be things I work on.

So I need to know what you guys think. Please post comments here and let me know if you really want me to continue this. It’s a fun project, but I’m just not seeing a lot of results from it – and though I shouldn’t be treating it as a means to an end, I would at least like to know that it’s appreciated and fun for someone else as well.

Thanks for your time.

Aaaaaaaand, we’re back! Sorry about the delay in posting, I’ve been working ’round the clock for the last month or so to prepare for a new job, and I should be done with that now. So let’s get on to the fun stuff!

This post continues Tier 2 Casting of the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. The seven characters casted today were pretty tough, especially Galad (who I assume will still be a very controversial choice, but I’m not going to let that stop me, am I? The shit, it is a’rollin’!), but possibly Elaida and Cyndane as well.

But really, this is just stalling. Let’s move on.

Tier 2 Casting

We begin with Cadsuane Melaidhrin, who, depending on your particular inclinations, most consider to be an extremely annoying bully, or a particularly strong (and awesome) character who pushes Rand to do what needs to be done. I tend to fall in the latter camp more often than not, partly because Rand does need some serious ‘pushing’ in the later part of the series, and partly because . . . well, just because she’s awesome.

We know that Cadsuane is old – possibly (and probably) the oldest living Aes Sedai today, but not remotely feeble like some older AS (Adeleas and Vandene) – she is always described as having a very strong personality, and gliding around like she owns the place. I picture her relatively tall for a woman, and she has fully gray hair in a bun. Skinny or wide, I don’t know, so I figure somewhere in the middle. None of the pseudo-official artists have drawn her, though she is in the Dabel Bros. New Spring comic, so we can get a bit from there.

Really, it is doubtful that I have ever imagined anyone other than Meryl Streep in this role. The woman has an aura of power and command about her, and she exudes self-confidence (which is arguably Cadsuane’s most notable trait). She is still smooth-faced, so even as an older lady, she will fit that particular Aes Sedai necessity.

Meryl Streep as Cadsuane

Places you’ve possibly seen her:
Julie & Julia
The Devil Wears Prada

Next we go to Couladin, who was not in the series for an extremely long time, but while he was, he cause all sorts of problems (including most of Rand’s plot through The Fires of Heaven). He is duped and manipulated by Asmodean, Lanfear, and Sevanna into claiming to be the Car’a’carn, and ends up with his head on a spike because of it. (Go Mat!)

Couladin, an Aielman

Apparently he is literally ALWAYS angry – everyone that sees him either mentions how much the guy glowers, or now much Rand should look out for him. We know he’s tall (he’s Aiel), and he is described with “fiery red hair,” so I picture bright orange-ish hair. BTW, there are literally no pictures of Couladin anywhere on the intrawebz, so this generic Aiel pic will have to do (without even a showing of red hair – seriously artists, do none of you care about Aiel?).

Damian Lewis is who I’ve gone with for Couladin. I saw him first in Band of Brothers (go watch this NOW if you haven’t seen it yet), and he’s awesome. I figure he can put on some sort of permanent sneer so he always looks mad.

Damian Lewis as Couladin

Places you’ve possibly seen him:
Band of Brothers
Much Ado About Nothing

Next up is Lanfear Cyndane, the beautiful ex-brunette-now-blond-psycho in charge of creeping Rand the fuck out for several books, now simply relegated to following Moridin around. Cyndane (re?)-appeared around book (mumble)eight?(mumble) and immediately picked up where she had left off – that is, psychoing around all over the place, grumbling about how Lews Therin would be hers, All Hers!


Cyndane is constantly described as having “silver” hair, but since the only person I can think of with silver hair (and I’m relatively sure she dyes it) is Christina Aguilera (and I’m not putting her in my movie), we’re going with blond – which should be easy enough to dye properly. She is also described as having an impressive bosom, very pretty (but not as pretty as Lanfear), and a low, sultry voice. She is apparently short as well, and tries to make up for it by standing straight (if only that worked). (Another relatively major character with almost no art available on the webz. All I have to go by is this anime-ish art, whazzup wi’dat, yo?)

So, I’m finally putting Scarlett Johansson in my movie. Some people think she’s nothing more than a pretty face, but I actually really like her as a young, mostly-beginning actress, and think she will grow to be very strong in Hollywood eventually. And seriously, look at her – match the criteria much, no? Pretty? Check. Blond (to be dyed silver)? Check. Sultry-ish voice? Check. Impressive bosom? . . . you get the idea.

Scarlett Johansson as Cyndane

Places you’ve possibly seen her:
Lost in Translation
Iron Man 2
The Prestige

Demandred, our Man-in-the-Shadows, who we have still not seen his alter ego all the way into book thirteen now. Seriously dude, you’d best make one hell of a grand entrance now so as not to let down everyone who’s been waiting since Lord of Chaos for you to start kicking ass. All we really know about Demandred is that he is very envious of Lews Therin, and would have not turned to the Dark except for that envy. Seems like a pretty crappy reason to me.


Demandred has two defining characteristics that are always mentioned – his lack of a smile, and his hooked nose. Which, going by the first of those, should we also assume he has no smile lines? We also know he has dark hair, is not quite as tall as Lews Therin / Rand, and he is considered handsome.

May I present Daniel Day Lewis? (Some of you may notice by now that I am putting some of the strongest actors in the entire series as Forsaken, because I do believe it takes very real acting talent to portray the ruthless evil we see in most of these baddies). DDL barrels his way through any role you give him, often scaring those around him by his intense performances. He is a bit older than I imagine Demandred is masquerading as, but that can be fixed with make-up. Plus, look at that profile shot I got of him. Hooked nose!

Daniel Day Lewis as Demandred

Places you’ve possibly seen him:
Gangs of New York
There Will Be Blood
The Crucible

Elaida do Avriny a’Roihan, our Tool of the Day (TM), made it a point throughout the series (up until her extremely (non)unfortunate departure from the series-proper) of pissing off every single person with whom she came into contact. I still have hopes that Siuan is going to somehow be the one to get her vengeance on Elaida, but that seems much less likely at this point.

We know that she has dark hair, she is handsome rather than beautiful, and that she has a very stern face. This whole “handsome rather than beautiful” thing that Jordan likes to say can be a bit confusing. I mean, I’m assuming he doesn’t mean she looks manly, because he has said flat-out before when a woman looked manly. So I tend to translate it in my head that Elaida does not meet the most common criterion for traditional beauty. Also, I picture as only a bit older than Siuan and Moraine, so I’m not going with Anjelica Huston (who seems to be a fan-favorite for her).

Instead, I’m going with Minnie Driver, who Family Guy tells us her head is too big, but I think it’s just right. She tends to have a bit of a stern demeaner about her in most things I’ve seen her in, and I think she just looks the part. I thought of Andie MacDowell as well, but dammit, Andie just looks too friendly and cheerful! Minnie has enough of a not-quite-so-traditional-beauty look to her that I think she fits, plus I found her in a red dress. Important, you know?

Minnie Driver as Elaida

Places you’ve possibly seen her:
Grosse Pointe Blank
The Phantom of the Opera

Mat’s love-of-his-life, Tuon (Fortuona) comes next, and she was a doozy for me to cast. What it ended up coming down to was just finding a black actress that I liked, who could then be made to look like Tuon is described. Because guess what, ya’ll, there aren’t a lot of black actresses in Hollywood right now that look like Tuon’s description. But that can be worked around, as long as someone is willing to shave her head.


So yeah, shaved head (when we meet her), Tuon is twenty years old and “boyishly slim” and could be mistaken for a child at first glance. She is short and dark with large liquid brown eyes and a heart-shaped, almost child-like face and “does not possess a full bosom.” I guess since that last bit needed pointing out, we know a little bit about where Mat’s head lies.

If you’ve seen the new-ish Battlestar Galactica, you may know where I’m going with this. Kandyse McClure was one of the supporting characters who was there almost until the very end of the series. She is a strong actress, and I think physically fits what we need – slim, heart-shaped face, etcetera. Now, she’s not short (at least, not for a lady), but I don’t suppose that’s something that would be too hard to work around (see: Fellowship of the Ring, The, hobbits). I tried to find a picture of her with shorter-looking hair so we could get a general idea of what she looks like bald as an egg.

Kandyse McClure as Tuon

Places you’ve possibly seen her:
Battlestar Galactica
Children of the Corn
Various other TV shows and TV movies

And then we come to Galad Damodred, the pretty boy of the series, the over-the-top-do-gooder who gets on literally everyone’s nerves, and has very few redeeming qualities (until the prologue of Knife of Dreams, where he starts kicking a lot of ass). He is noted for, if nothing else, literally the only person in the entire series to give a serious crap about, and then take some action for, what happened to Morgase. And boy does he take some action for it. And now because of him, we have a leader of the Whitecloaks that can possibly actually make them useful for the upcoming Last Battle.


Galad is very often described as “too pretty for masculinity,” and “beautiful.” I’ve not known men in my personal life who I can characterize as such, but I can picture them. I have one friend who’s fiance is always talking about how other girls, waitresses, etcetera are are always fawning over him, but I don’t see it personally, so maybe I’m just not looking in the right way. He is slender and tall, with movements speaking of whipcord strength and confidence. His eyes are dark, as is his hair.

So let’s talk about my choices in this. I know my actor is going to be a dark horse for this role, but I want to go over a few things. I won’t be changing my choice, but hopefully I can help those of you who will at first be very against the idea to at least see why I chose him.

I started with the obvious criteria of “too beautiful for masculinity.” I asked all my female friends (and some males as well) to start naming young actors they found particularly gorgeous or beautiful. A lot of standards came up, Bradley Cooper, Orlando Bloom (don’t like him, sorry), Jensen Ackles (too late!), Toby Hemingway, Ian Somerhalder, Jake Gyllenhaal (one of my personal current favorite actors), Jared Padalecki (yuck?), Daniel Radcliffe, David Boreanaz (maybe younger and thinner), and others. Even Russell Brand came up (which I kind of liked, but didn’t think it would fly over well). One name that came up on the list though, really caught my eye, and I started thinking about him. He has played a superhero before, so I know he can get in the necessary shape, he’s definitely someone I would consider a “pretty-boy” actor, and I just out-right like him. The more I thought about him, the more I became determined to use him. And that’s what I’ve done.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you James Marsden (who, now that I think about it, looks a lot like the friend of mine I mentioned up above). James is not quite as tall as I picture Galad to be, but that is something that be corrected – I mean, seriously, Tom Cruise is like 5’4″, but always looks taller than everyone else in his movies. Camera angles, thick shoes, whatever. Plus, he’s got the right body shape – lithe and muscular, and on top of it all, he’s kinda pretty. So there you have it. There will be disagreement. If it’s too much for you to handle, I kindly welcome you to start your own WoT Casting blog and show me how it should be done!

James Marsden as Galad

Places you’ve possibly seen him:
X-Men movies

And finally for this week, we move on to Gawyn Trakand, who has been a pretty lame character most of the series (but has twu luv for Egwene). He seemed like he would be pretty cool at first, but seriously, he needs to hire someone to hang around with him and just be a fact-checker – there’s a reason why people who believe literally every rumor they hear usually wind up living alone in a house filled to the brim with A – cats, B – empty cardboard boxes, or C – all of the above (along with a closet filled with tinfoil hats). So anyway, let’s talk about how we cast him.

(Yes, this is seriously the only picture I can find on the netz of Gawyn) Gawyn is older than Elayne by several years. The two of them look very much alike, sharing the same oval face and reddish-gold hair. He is approximately a head taller than his sister. So we’re looking for traditional royal-line-of-Andor-reddish-hair, and someone who has similar looks to who I’ve cast as Elayne, which is . . . whoops, that would be telling! So he’s somewhat tall, since we know Elayne is tall for a woman. And, I guess that’s about it.

Garrett Hedlund is another actor who came up in my search for someone to play Galad, and while I can see that he has that pretty-boy thing going on for him as well, it’s not over the top. He has the hair coloring necessary (wouldn’t even need to dye it). As a side note, I almost cast that one guy from that stupid TV show about stupid people in a stupid little town, but thought it would destroy my soul to do so. So there you have it. Here’s a couple pictures of him looking all mopey and emo – he’ll make a fanTASTic Gawyn.

Garrett Hedlund as Gawyn

Places you’ve possibly seen him:

And that’s a wrap! Come join me next week for another seven.

-Brandon Daggerhart

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