May 2011

Yup, didn’t have time to get the WOT Casting done before leaving for NYC. So we’ll be delayed a week. Sorry.

The second part in Olaf Keith’s Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn History talks about the cover art for the books and its various editions. Head that way for some awesome MS&T goodness!

I am leaving for a mini vacation to New York on Tuesday this coming week, and will not be back until Sunday. I will try to get the next WoT Post up and scheduled so that it can come up on Friday, but I’m not guaranteeing anything at the moment.

Welcome back to The Wheel of Time Casting Call! We’re down to the end-game here, crunching the big numbers for the stars of our movie, and it’s going to be a fun, exciting, and likely controversial last five weeks!

Before I jump in, I would like to say that for this last Tier, I have necessarily had to let age go as a strong determining factor. The problem is that all the main characters are young. And not just young, but literally teenagers. And I’m sorry guys, and I mean no offense if you are really into these teeny-bopper actors right now, but most of these young actors in Hollywood right now simply don’t fit my needs. They’re either too fake-looking (for the women), or they just simply can’t act. I don’t care how much you like One Tree Hill, or the 90210 remake, the actors suck. Sorry if that bothers you. Now, for my Casting, for any of the characters where I can fit the age criteria, I certainly will, but I’m pretty sure that only one of the main characters I’m casting is going to fall in the actual age of the actor I use. However, I will be using actors that can (and have been known to) play younger roles than their age, and I hope you all find this to be a forgivable offense.

As 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.

Oh, and there will be spoilers, up to and including Towers of Midnight. You have been warned.

The first part of Tier 1 will be casting a couple major characters that get a ton of flack throughout the series for having some rather boring and unfortunately long-winded storylines. Elayne (and her ‘Queening’) and Perrin (and his ‘Faile-ing/ – no double entendres there, nosiree!) are often lumped in a category of main characters that people get tired of reading about, due to some stupid decisions they make (I’m looking at you all the time, Elayne!) or some really long ‘quests’ they take. These two storylines I’m referring to are also unfortunately thrown into the portion of the series that are often argued as the worst books written – Path of Daggers through Crossroads of Twlight (though neither ends there, they take up a lot of time through those books), which doesn’t help redeem these story arcs in most readers’ eyes.

Perrin Aybara and Elayne Trakand, by Seamas Gallagher

However, when you take them on the whole, both storylines are not only necessary for the character development of Elayne and Perrin, but they’re kinda fun – if they were shortened anyway. I mean, Perrin chasing through the wilderness, then pretty much single-handedly ending the Shaido threat is nothing to be laughed at – it just should have been condensed down to one book (at the most, two), each in ten-to-twelve-chapter-lumps, instead of spread out through five frakkin books. And Elayne’s was important, and we always knew it was coming, because it finally puts her in a place where she can have importance in the Last Battle.

So let’s talk about them and what we need to cast them.

For most of the series, Elayne Trakand is the strong-willed princess Daughter-Heir to the throne of Andor. She eventually takes said throne, but even with all the political maneuverings, her pregnancy, and all the shiz-nit she’s been through, we still have to remember, she’s a young woman. At nineteen years old (and 17 or 18 when the series starts), she should, in all honestly, be expected to make rash, impulsive, and quite frankly stupid decisions. Which she does with great aplomb. So we have a young woman, prone to making decisions that may not be the wisest in the world, and she’s young.

Physically, she is strikingly beautiful, with red-gold curly hair, and sapphire-like blue eyes. She is tall-ish for a woman, and has long limbs and good form. She is mentioned to have a “perfect oval face,” and full red lips. So we’re looking at someone here who fits a very traditional and classic sense of beauty.

A couple favorites for Elayne seem to be Amanda Seyfried and Amber Heard. Amanda Seyfried is a full-on dismissal for me – it’s not that she doesn’t fit some of the criteria, I just think she has a quirky look to her beauty that doesn’t fit that near-perfection we need. As for Heard, sure she’s pretty (hot?), but I don’t particularly find her acting all that suitable. Granted, I’ve only seen her in Pineapple Express, but I just wasn’t impressed. That doesn’t mean she couldn’t make a good Elayne, I just don’t particularly see it. So who would I choose?

Ladies and gents, I give you Anna Camp. Many will not know who this lovely lady is, but I assure you, after seeing her pictures and checking out some of her acting, you should have no problem accepting her for Elayne. She is absolutely gorgeous in the traditional sense, and has almost all the features necessary – height, oval face, gold hair (possibly a little dye to add some red-ish-ness to it), and beauty. We would have to give her some blue contacts, but I’m not too terribly concerned about that, since we’ve always known we’ll have to make sacrifices here and there. The point is, she is beautiful, fits most of the physical criteria, and is a great actor on top of it all. Plus, she looks like Amy Yasbeck, who is my Morgase pick. Enjoy!

Anna Camp as Elayne Trakand

Places you’ve possibly seen her:
True Blood
Mad Men
Various other TV shows

Perrin ebook cover
Next up on the list is our favorite EMO, Perrin Aybara. Known for, amongst other things, whining his way through many of the books, Perrin is one of the ta’veren, which means he (likely) has a major role to play in the Last Battle. He is the mopiest of Our Heroes, but he is also possibly the most logical and rational as well, making decisions based on long contemplation and thought, instead of just jumping into the mix and hoping for the best. He became the leader he needed to be in Tower, and is likely to be at the head of Rand’s forces beside Mat in the upcoming battle.

Perrin is very large – not tall, and certainly not “thick.” He is pound for pound muscle, having worked for years at the blacksmith’s forge, and he shows it. Everyone that comes in contact with him for the first time notes his size. He is of average height, has curly brown hair, and has been sporting a full beard since The Shadow Rising. His eyes used to be brown, but are now golden like a wolf’s.

A lot of people like Ryan Reynolds for this role. I am actually a big fan of Reynolds as an actor – I was uber-excited to see him playing Hal Jordan (though I would have rather seen him play Barry Allen), I really liked him in the new Amityville, and he’s just all-around a funny and charismatic actor. Unfortunately, I just don’t think he fits what I’m looking for. I know he can get buff (there’s a great picture of him holding an axe for Amityville that I think most people get their Ryan=Perrin inspiration from), but he overall has a very slender frame, and I just don’t see his voice working for Perrin. However, were I to not use the actor I’ve chosen, Ryan would be in strong contention for this role.

So who did I go with? Scottish actor Paul Telfer, that’s who. When looking for actors for Perrin, I originally just googled “strong young actors,” and started filtering through pictures. One picture in particular (top-left below) caught my eye, so I started looking up Paul. And it turns out that I actually knew who he was, having watched NCIS and Hotel Babylon. So I rewatched the episodes necessary and found myself really liking his abilities. Then to top it all off, he has (or can have) a great build to play Perrin. He is, of course, older than Perrin, but I think he looks young enough so as not to cause any major concerns.

Paul Telfer as Perrin Aybara

Places you’ve possibly seen him:
Hotel Babylon
Various other TV Shows

So there you have it. Tier 1 is going strong, and next week, we’ll take a look at a few rather important villains, and see if you guys can stand behind my choice for the most beautiful woman in the world.

-Brandon Daggerhart

Welcome back to the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn re-read. Sorry for the delay – I trust you’ll forgive me. If not, well, too bad (neener)!

We’ll cover chapters 32 and 33 today, where we have some of the most expositional in the series. It has to happen in fantasy stories, but there’s a lot here. Of course, on the positive side, Tad Williams’ prose throughout much of the storytelling is so beautiful that you forget you’re reading large info dumps. We finally learn WhazzupWitTheStormKing, Yo? and maybe get some hints at the overall plot of the series. Oh, and we get the first of the three Great Swords’ names. I call that important.

And, as usual, 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, Olaf has put up the first part of the MS&T History series he is working on, and you should definitely check it out ASAP!

Now, let’s read.

Chapter 32 – Northern Tidings

That night, Simon gets drunk with Towser, and the two of them commiserate on women – Simon on the betrayal of the one, Towser on the one he left behind to stay in service to King John. Simon learns a bit more history about the north, and eventually leaves to sleep for the night. The next morning, Simon sleeps in, then goes to receive some training from Haestan. Leaving the training yard, he sees Miriamele walking with two of her handmaidens. He calls her down to speak, and she dismisses the girls so they can have some privacy. They talk about their journey and seem to make things right between them, then he leaves after bowing to her (which seems to cause her some distress). Binabik meets Simon on the way to his room, and Simon questions Binabik on his “treachery,” then quickly forgives the troll, knowing it was not his fault, but lets Binabik know he has no intentions of returning to the Raed. His friend pleads with him to come share his story, and Simon finally agrees, as long as the decision to talk at the the council is his alone to make.

At the Raed, Duke Isgrimnur is having an incensed yelling fit about all the evils of Elias, before finally explaining that King Elias has given all Isgrimnur’s land to Skali Sharpnose. Isgrimnur tells the story of the ambush at the monastery, then the attack of the diggers (which some dismiss as mythological nonsense). Binabik stands to explain that the diggers are real, but the Rimmersmen are enraged that a troll is at the council. Josua calms everyone down, and Isgrimnur continues to explain that after escaping the diggers, they were told that the High King has taken away all his lands. Gwythinn uses this moment to rally many of the people into a frenzy, asking, “Is [Elias] not our most dangerous enemy?”

“No! He is not!”

An old man, brought by Isgrimnur, has stepped into the room. His name is Jarnauga, and he knows the truth of what is happening, and the blame cannot be laid at either Elias’ or Pryrates’ feet. He explains that the forge-fires of Stormspike, for months, have been burning all night long, meaning the White Foxes, and their queen, Utuk’ku, are preparing for war. But even they are not the real enemy. The being behind all the problems is none other than Ineluki, the Storm King.

Simon’s and Towser’s commiserating is pretty funny, though Towser’s story takes a bit of a sad tone by the end. Poor old man gave up quite literally everything to stay in service of his beloved King John, only to be tossed aside after his death and dragged along basically out of pity. I never noticed this before (or if I did, I didn’t pay attention to it), but his scarf from his many-years-gone-lover is in some ways a bit of foreshadowing for Simon getting his own scarf soon. I don’t know if this is meant to actually mean anything or not – after all, Simon eventually does get his girl – but it does seem at least somewhat . . . poetically symbolic.

Simon’s taking his grief out on Binabik is very realistically teenager-like of him (I’m pretty sure we’ve all done that, even when we weren’t teenagers), but even so, I still think I sympathize more on Simon’s side of things than Binabik’s in this particular instance. After all, it’s apparent now that Josua did know who Simon was talking about when he mentioned Marya the previous night, but even so, he lied to Simon – the boy who rescued him from certain death and given up everything for him – for no logical reason at all! I mean, where is the logic in hiding this information from Simon, knowing that he will eventually find out anyway. Did Josua think, “Well if he finds out in a crowded room, he’s less likely to have a tantrum at least,” because if so, he was pretty damned wrong on that aspect. And even after making the promise, what logical reason was there for Binabik to hold to it, knowing how devastated his friend would be once the secret was exposed. I don’t know, I just find this whole sub-plot to show a lot of neglectful maliciousness from characters who are otherwise shown as very kind and caring.

The prince tilted forward like a stooping hawk, and Simon, clutching Binabik’s jacket, was struck by the resemblance to the dead High King. Here was Josua as he should be!

What is this quote about? Is it a red herring that Josua is John’s son? Is it Simon’s ignorance? Did Mr. Williams not know at this point that Josua was actually Camaris’ son? No idea, but knowing what I know of the series at this point, the sentence seems to come off as a bit odd. Maybe it’s just metaphorical, like saying, “Josua truly looked like a king now.”

I find the Rimmersmen and Binbabik’s hissy fits in this chapter to be a bit jarring as well – maybe not so much for the Rimmersmen, as all of them seem to have some pretty significant anger management issues, but moreso for Binabik, who seems to show a very level head most of the time. Between that and Binabik’s betrayal to Simon, this chapter comes down as not one of my favorites – I just find that there is either too much misinformation in the chapter, or too much mischaracterization. But …

‘The trolls of Yiqanuc are no one’s enemy,” Binabik replied, more than a little haughtily. “It is the Rimmersmen who are so frightened by our great size and strength that they attack wherever they see us – even in the hall of Prince Josua.”

^ That rocks. 🙂

We also meet Jarnauga in this chapter, who gets the fantastic honor of being Mr. Info Dump for the next little while. He does it well, though at times his storytelling sounds suspiciously like Tad Williams’ prose (I smell conspiracy!). I honestly never really liked Jarnauga as a character . . . well, I didn’t dislike him, but he is one of the more boring characters to me. He is basically only here for info-dumps, and then his sacrifice at the end is a bit too reminiscent of Morgenes.’

Chapter 33 – From the Ashes of Asu’a

Jarnauga explains tells the story of how the Sithi were the first inhabitants of Osten Ard, and created beautiful cities – the most beautiful of them Asu’a, where now the Hayholt stands. Men came to the land and at first, Sithi and Man lived mostly harmoniously with each other, until five hundred years ago, the Rimmersmen led by King Fingil, all but destroyed the Sithi. Iyu’unigato, king of the Sithi, prepared his people to flee from the armies and vanish. The Erlking’s son, Ineluki, would have none of this. Ineluki forged an unnatural sword of combined witchwood and metal, which all the Sithi fled from. The sword drove Ineluki mad, and he struck down his father when the Erlking protested the unnatural weapon. He then named the sword Jingizu, or “Sorrow.” Then with his five most powerful servants (the Red Hand), Ineluki cast a terrible spell, attempting to keep Asu’a from Fingil – the spell consumed him and his Red Hand, but Fingil lived, and Asu’a stood.

During this telling, Simon begins to remember what happened on Thisterborg, and eventually stands up screaming. He is taken out of the hall by Isgrimnur when he faints, and Miriamele shows up and tends him (which Simon likes). Binabik eventually brings Simon back into the room, where Simon explains what he saw on Stoning Night. Jarnauga says Simon saw one of the Red Hand, or at least, the undead remnant of the creature, and saw that being give the newly-reforged Sorrow to Elias. He then explains that Ealhstan Fiskerne set up the League of the Scroll several centuries later, to help humanity prepare for the inevitable return of Ineluki. The night ends with the council wondering what exactly it is that Ineluki and Utuk’ku want.

Below the Hayholt near the forges, Pryrates realizes that Simon’s mind has awakened, and thinks something must be done about the boy. He speaks (screams) to Inch, the new overseer, about siege engines needing completion. Inch questions Pryrates and where the engines are going, and as the priest leaves, he wonders if he should have Inch killed. Back in the castle, he is approached by the sleepless Elias, who wants to know if Miriamele has been found yet. Pryrates assures the king that the princess will be found soon, and Elias heads back to his rooms to try to sleep.

Major Exposition Chapter here! We are given the real details of what happened after the Battle at the Knock, and (one of) the Sithi’s disastrous counter-measures. Ineluki’s story is very sad, and the more we find out as we go throughout this series, the more he is made to be an extremely sympathetic character. Everything he does, he does from love, though that love has turned twisted and corrupted. He is the mirror image of Elias (as we eventually find out).

We also get a “FINALLY” moment once Simon remembers what happened on Stoning Night. This is an author’s trick that doesn’t always work well – when the readers know something the characters don’t, oftentimes, this lack-of-knowledge is hand-waved away. The characters may act in ways contrary to their normal actions, just so that the plot can keep whatever secrets it needs to keep. Sometimes you have characters that wouldn’t normally hide things from each other lying, cheating, and stealing, just so the author can keep the characters in the dark. Thankfully, this is not the way Tad Williams decided to handle this situation, for which I am grateful. The reason Simon couldn’t spread the information about Sorrow is simply because his poor little human mind couldn’t handle the bond between Pryrates and himself, or the horrible things he saw, until he was ready. I imagine I would have shut the events of that night out myself.

The part where Anodis leaves is interesting, as it shows the very great rift and divide between scholars (scientists) and priests – much as in our own world.

Anodis looked up crossly. “And I should sit here, in the midst of a war council I never approved of, and listen to this . . . this wild man speaking the names of heathen demons? Look at you all – hanging on his words as though they were every one from the Book of Aedon.”

“Those of whom I speak were born long before your holy book, Bishop,” Jarnauga said mildly, but there was a fierce, combative tilt to his head.

“It is fantasy,” Anodis grunted. “You think me a sour old man, but I tell you that such children’s tales will lead you into perdition. The greater sadness, though, is that you may drag all our land down with you.”

Sure, we get a bit of lampshade hanging there, but otherwise, he brings up a strong example of how religion-vs-science debates are often handled here in our “real world.” The side of the scientific scholars is often (derisively) simply stated as a fact, that through physics, history, or mathematics, it is necessary that the religious angle is simply either uneducated, undereducated, or lacking in proper knowledge. On the other side, the religious scholars just stick to their guns, even in the face of evidence or “fact” which may turn their philosophies on their head. Both sides of the argument can come up with a million-million reasons why the other side doesn’t work, and everyone just gets pissed off until someone leaves (like Anodis).

I don’t really know if I have a point with that statement . . .

The Men of history are not presented very admirably in this chapter – as Jarnauga and Josua both say, sure, let’s let old wounds stay sealed, but are we ever given a reason why Fingil went all genocidal on the Sithi? I know why King John did (shame and fear, since the Sithi likely knew he didn’t actually kill Shurakai), but what was Fingil’s ambition? Land? Power? Asu’a? Maybe we’re eventually told, but I cannot remember what it was all about.

The sad story of Ineluki’s forging, patricide, and attempted routing of the Rimmersmen is very well done, and in my opinion, some of the finest prose in the books. I won’t copy it all here, but take out your books and read Ineluki’s story. We also find out that the Norns came into the picture because, for some reason, they were willing to harness the great anger and wrath of Ineluki’s spirit. But we are not told yet the story of Utuk’ku’s child, and why the Norns and Sithi parted ways so long ago. So we are left with the extremely-relevant mystery of “why are the Norns such bastards?” Seriously, the Norns do far worse things in this series than anyone else (besides possibly Pryrates), and for the most part, we are not ever given what I would consider a very reasonable explanation. But more on that once we learn more of Utuk’ku’s motivations.

Pryrates’ section shows him as suitably evil and nasty, without even the slightest real sympathy for any other human beings, even the High King. However, during their conversation, we do get to feel a bit more heartache for Elias – he really seems to have been thrown into this game without even the slightest idea of how far out of everyone else’s league he is. His yearning for Miriamele seems very real, and his last question, “Do you think I shall sleep better . . . when [. . .] I have my daughter back?” stirs up the thoughts of real emotions in the poor High King. At the end of the day, I think Elias was fully in control of his own actions, but he was definitely manipulated by Pryrates, and that makes his story very heartbreaking.

That’s it for this week! Join me again in two weeks, and don’t forget to check out A Gentle Madness next week for more Tad Williams awesomeness!

Brandon Daggerhart

Like the title says, I got backed up at work this weekend and yesterday, but it will be up tonight (probably 8:00 PM EST-ish). Sorry for the delay!

So, no Casting today. I just wanted to let you know how Tier 1 would work.

Basically, there are ten characters to cast:

Elayne Trakand
Nynaeve al’Meara
Egwene al’Vere
Moraine Damodred
Lanfear / Mierin Eronaile
Ishamael / Elan Morin Tedronai
Perrin Aybara
Mat Cauthon
Rand al’Thor

I will be pairing up the characters two at a time (not releasing order yet, since I’m not 100% sure myself), so it will take five weeks to cast the remaining characters. After the final Casting Call (which, really, is going to include Rand, so set your calendar), I will do a Roundup post where I talk about changes I would make, differences in how I would make the posts, etcetera.

Anyway, hope you guys are looking forward to it – I know I am.

See you next week!

Next Page »