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Some Thoughts from Brandon on Episode One
Haven’t watched the final product yet, as I wasn’t able to make the premier. Disclosure, I’m one of the producers. My part equated to reading the scripts and offering feedback directly to Rafe, the show runner. I’ll be watching tonight, and there are a few details I’m curious to find out about in regards to whether he took my advice or not.
Biggest thing he and I disagreed on was Perrin’s wife. I realize that there is a good opportunity here for Perrin to be shown with rage issues, and to be afraid of the potential beast inside of him. I liked that idea, but didn’t like it being a wife for multiple reasons. First off, it feels a lot like the disposable wife trope (AKA Woman in the Fridge.) Beyond that, I think the trauma of having killed your wife is so huge, the story this is telling can’t realistically deal with it in a way that is responsible. Perrin killing his wife then going off on an adventure really bothers me, even still. I have faith that the writers won’t treat it lightly, but still. That kind of trauma, dealt with realistically and responsibly, is really difficult for an adventure series to deal with.
I suggested instead that he kill Master Luhhhan. As much as I hate to do Luhhan dirty like that, I think the idea Rafe and the team had here is a good one for accelerating Perrin’s plot. Accidentally killing your master steps the trauma back a little, but gives the same motivations and hesitance. One thing I don’t want this WoT adaptation to try to do is lean into being a tonal Game of Thrones replacement–IE, I don’t want to lean into the “Grimdark” ideas. Killing Perrin’s wife felt edgy just to be edgy.
That said, I really liked a LOT about this first episode. I prefer this method of us not knowing who the Dragon is, and I actually preferred (EDIT: Well, maybe not prefer, but think it’s a bold and interesting choice that I understand) this prologue. I thought it was a neat, different take on how to start the WoT. I really liked the introduction to Mat, and in screenplay form, I thought the pacing was solid–fast, catchy, exciting. People are complaining about it, though, so maybe in show form it’s too choppy. When I was on set, I liked the practical effects, and what I saw of the acting–so I’m expecting both of those to be great in the finished product.
EDIT: For those complaining about Abell Cauthon, I did try to get this one changed too. So at least they heard from one of us, offering complaint, before going to production. I always had a soft spot for him. I didn’t expect them to change this, though, with Mat’s more gritty backstory. Again, I do wish they had taken a less “grim” feel to all of this, though I do think the details of introducing Mat were interesting and a nice acceleration of his character. Which is a good thing, since the series will need to condense from the books, so moving character beats up in time is going to generally help with that.
This team is excellent, I have to say. Episode six is the best–least, I think that’s the number of the one I’m thinking about–so be on the lookout for it. But they have real respect for the story, and are good writers. This is an enormously difficult project to undertake, and I’m quite impressed by Rafe and everyone involved.