Wheel of Time: Blood Calls Blood   Books Included 
December 4, 2021 12:57 AM - Season 1, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Perrin and Egwene run into a familiar face. Mat and Rand see strange ones. Moiraine and Lan mourn their loss.
posted by corb (37 comments total)
 
Well, this appears to both answer one of the questions I was wondering about (how will we have time for Caemlyn with only four episodes left in the season) with an unexpected answer: we won't go to Caemlyn and will instead go straight to Tar Valon.

The minor changes here actually, to my eye, work better than the big one. If you're skipping Caemlyn, then it makes sense to move the inn and the meeting of Loial to whatever your next location is. Skipping Caemlyn means they'll probably push Elayne into already being an Accepted when she encounters Rand is my guess, we miss the bit about Elaida and a little interaction with Galad and Gawyn, but nothing else terribly important. (If they include Elayne at all, I suppose. Skipping Baerlon meant we didn't see Min either, I'm wondering if they plan to just keep Aviendha or to leave him paired with Egwene?)

Similarly, we don't really need Elyas if we have Perrin discovering his connection with the wolves on his own, and we can absolutely condense the torture of Perrin and subsequent rescue of him and Egwene into them getting themselves out; really the only thing of significance there was Lan and Nynaeve being impressed with each other, and we get that out of Lan's emotional connection with our tragically lost Warder. (Along with some really good emotional beats that explain the Warder-Aes Sedai connection)

But I am just plain not sure how they are going to get from Tar Valon in the fifth episode to the Blight in the eighth episode, assuming each season is one book. They've set up the meeting with Siuan Sanche, which means the sixth episode really has to be Politics At Tar Valon and Healing Mat. That leaves..one episode for travel and one episode for the fight? That seems weak, though I suppose they could do it. But it really feels thematically different, leaving Tar Valon, with all the Aes Sedai, and striking out on your own, rather than just having no other choice than leaving for the Blight because you're in a race to stop things from going wrong.
posted by corb at 1:12 AM on December 4, 2021 [1 favorite]


You're forgetting that the travel is a trippy walk through a weird door and a nightmare landscape; in terms of screen time, it'd be hard to stretch that out for more than a few minutes. You can do travel, a brief stop in Shienar, and set up the finale in one episode, easy. (Although they could also move Shienar entirely to the next season and it would make sense and we'd lose nothing.)
posted by restless_nomad at 5:36 AM on December 4, 2021 [1 favorite]


I have a non-reader question… how are the Light guys, who in this episode are at least temporarily taken out by a bunch of wolves, able to capture and kill multiple Aes Sedai, who we just recently saw fuck up an army? Based ln what we’ve been shown so far, it just doesn’t make sense.
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:37 AM on December 4, 2021 [1 favorite]


The Children would probably have to surprise an Aes Sedai, rather than attempting to capture her when she and her warder are aware of the threat; I believe there's a comment in one of the books that "not even Aes Sedai are immune to an arrow in the chest," or something to that effect... And there are herbs that could be used to incapacitate a channeler, although I don't remember whether the Children ever use them in the books.
posted by boisterousBluebird at 7:29 AM on December 4, 2021 [1 favorite]


Yeah they use ambush techniques pretty much exclusively - also, it's possible to exhaust a channeler if you have enough suicidal dudes at your disposal, and they don't all have Warders (i.e. the Reds).
posted by restless_nomad at 8:11 AM on December 4, 2021 [1 favorite]


To be fair, I think Logain’s army was more or less a bunch of random guys rather than trained soldiers, and I think the Whitecloaks got powered up somewhat in the show (mostly in the books, as I recall, they’re portrayed as religious fanatics who threaten anyone who helps an Aes Sedai.)
posted by tautological at 7:58 PM on December 4, 2021


Yeah. The whitecloaks were torturing people within sight of the white tower? They seem more confident than I remember. Getting rekt by a pack of wolves could happen to anyone. Who would see that coming?

I'm not too worried about plot changes. Obviously much will change. I like loial, and I was moved by the warder's funeral. I'm not sure how much I was supposed to read into Lan and Moiraine's Significant Glances, though.
posted by Acari at 9:06 PM on December 4, 2021 [1 favorite]


I'd completely forgotten about Loial, and was glad to be reminded about that whole plotline.

It was a bit.. Convenient that he just went and got ninny so the plot could continue, but at least it moved things along
posted by coriolisdave at 11:20 PM on December 4, 2021


It gave him something to do and showcased his magical knowledge of trivia (he spotted her Very Distinctive hairstyle!) which is a nice character note and an elegant way to handle that instead of (as in the books) a solid week of playing chess and talking about books he's read.
posted by restless_nomad at 5:40 AM on December 5, 2021 [3 favorites]


(By which I mean "magical", of course - I have been explaining to my wife that, for example, Egwene's magic power is that she is the stubbornest human on the planet, and if you look at all of her plot challenges, you will see how that is true.)
posted by restless_nomad at 5:42 AM on December 5, 2021 [1 favorite]


Man, I got pretty emotional at both the casual discussion of bisexual experimentation between Lan and Stepin (they even included the typical straight guy assumption that all gay men desire them and Lan's gentle pushback!) and the public, revered display of male grief and emotion by Lan in the funeral scene.

Those moments were really special to me, and aren't something I've seen much in television, especially fantasy. Daniel Henney is really doing a wonderful job, and Rosamund Pike's facial expression as Lan's increasingly intense pain flowed through the warder bond to her was really fucking well done, too. Amazing episode.
posted by lazaruslong at 7:14 AM on December 5, 2021 [10 favorites]


Also really glad to see Perrin grappling more with accidentally killing his wife. Him walking along and smiling with the Travelers was a little weird. What he did was an accident, but a life-shattering one. Glad that he's getting some time to show that internal struggle a bit more.
posted by lazaruslong at 7:15 AM on December 5, 2021


The whitecloaks were torturing people within sight of the white tower? They seem more confident than I remember

I was talking to someone offline about how I think it's harder to empathize these days with essentially the hierarchical authority, which the Aes Sedai and the White Tower really were - you see it all through the books, they just show up places and kings come to do them honor. Whitecloaks weren't just, at least as far as I recall, killing Aes Sedai and being brazen about it - the White Tower would have viewed that as much more of a threat.

In the books, Perrin kills two Whitecloaks, and they're taking him to be hanged for murder, so it's much more plausible that Aes Sedai wouldn't care. Killing women with talent however would be a MUCH different scenario I think.

But I think they're striving more for a feel of the White Tower as besieged almost right from the start - they have power, but they're not safe anywhere, which gives us more sympathy for people like Moiraine. In the books you got much more of a wariness about the Aes Sedai at least at first.
posted by corb at 7:46 AM on December 5, 2021 [2 favorites]


restless_nomad : It gave him something to do and showcased his magical knowledge of trivia (he spotted her Very Distinctive hairstyle!) which is a nice character note and an elegant way to handle that instead of (as in the books) a solid week of playing chess and talking about books he's read.

Yes, that was a lovely moment!

Undercut only by the inconsistent world-building that's already established that the "Very Distinctive Hairstyle" is... not consistent across women from that region, so couldn't possibly be used to identify them.
posted by coriolisdave at 2:30 PM on December 5, 2021


It's been a very long time since I read the early books, so maybe I've forgotten (or maybe it became legend and then I've forgotten), but I'm finding it interesting how foregrounded the Aes Sedai are in the series at this point; there's a lot of focus on Tower machinations, the Warder bond, the Children of the Light (or at least the Inquisitors; the regular Children didn't like them, but I recall their commander encouraging Moraine to seek one out for healing). Though the Aes Sedai don't seem as powerful overall in the world as they were presented in the books - that's something that jumping over the Camelyn sideshow undercuts somewhat (at this point - can be easily fixed by Siuan showing up with Elayne in tow), as it makes clear that the Queens of Camelyn are tied to the Tower.

Some foreshadowing of Moraine and Lan's future, with Moraine mulling over reading about how to release a Warder.

Overall, I thought it was an okay episode, it didn't do a lot for me, and the "reveal" of Perrin's ability felt very flat - let's have lots of wolves howling every time Perrin gets hurt! And then his eyes change colour! And that freaks the unflappable Child of Light Inquisitor guy out so they can escape!
posted by nubs at 7:30 AM on December 6, 2021


Some foreshadowing of Moraine and Lan's future, with Moraine mulling over reading about how to release a Warder.

I think actually it's trying to foreshadow Nynaeve's future with Lan and also the romantic problems of her romance with Lan - like, the focus on the relationship between an Aes Sedai and her Warder, with them feeling each other's emotions, means that you can never have a relationship with a Warder without there being a third wheel somewhere, and even if they can make it work, Nynaeve and Lan would be under the belief that at any point if Moiraine dies, Lan will too - not exactly the thing you want for the guy you want to marry.
posted by corb at 2:23 PM on December 6, 2021 [2 favorites]


I was thinking more of the fact that, at least in the books, Moraine transfers Lan's bond over to someone else before she disappears into the land of snakes and foxes; ie., the show is setting up the fact that Bonds can be removed/transferred so that the audience is prepared for it happening with Lan and other future warders.

I'm beginning to think that the books are only a very loose guide to where the show is going to go, though; timelines are accelerated and it might be that many things we know from the books are only legends for this turning of the wheel.
posted by nubs at 8:52 AM on December 7, 2021 [2 favorites]


yeah, I think Rafe and Brandon both have agreed that this show is one version of the telling of the story rather than a faithful adaptation. so all bets are off for changing stuff. i admit to thinking that the whole bit where Lan is basically carving a bloody path through the world in a haze of rage and grief towards his new Aes Sedai was dope af so hopefully a version of that makes it in.
posted by lazaruslong at 11:33 AM on December 7, 2021 [2 favorites]


I'm hoping this season doesn't end with the Eye of the World. Honestly I think a secret well of purified Saidin is a cool enough setpiece that it's annoying that it gets wasted on one measly battle (and ending an unusually late spring, which we haven't heard a peep of in the show). Of course the Eye is where the Horn of Valere (which can also be completely skipped, since it drops out of the books very early on) and the Dragon Banner (Necessary to have prior to getting Callendor? IDK) are, so it'd take a bit of thought to come up with new origins for these, and if they're even necessary to have on hand. Anyway, If Season One ends with "Yeah actually it really is Rand who can channel" I wouldn't mind.

I think if I were put in charge of this series I'd make a lot of changes to what events happen and in what order, because I'm not precious about it and the #1 complaint about the books is how the first few start strong and then fall into a long meander until Sanderson shows up to pick up the pieces. Compress the important events down to a few seasons, try to theme it such that one thing gets focused on at a time rather than having a million threads with each one getting a tiny fraction of focus per book.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 11:34 AM on December 7, 2021 [2 favorites]


Couldn't agree more, save to say that while I agree the books start strong, Eye of the World in particular really reads like a pretty bad Tolkien homage. So much stuff is kinda blatant feeling, like RJ was testing out his ideas on top of a well established substrate. Books 2-6/7 ish felt pretty strong, then the long long slog with multiple pointless kidnappings, then the Brando Sando strong finale. Just my two cents. The books will benefit from a lot of editing and compression.
posted by lazaruslong at 1:23 PM on December 7, 2021


The horn of Valere is probably going to stay. I say this with confidence because that girl gave Mat a doll of Birgitte.
posted by Acari at 3:10 PM on December 7, 2021 [5 favorites]


Of course the Eye is where the Horn of Valere (which can also be completely skipped, since it drops out of the books very early on) and the Dragon Banner (Necessary to have prior to getting Callendor? IDK) are, so it'd take a bit of thought to come up with new origins for these, and if they're even necessary to have on hand.

Horn of Valere is necessary for Mat, and necessary for Birgitte later (also GOOD catch Acari on the doll!) and for defeating the Seanchan/Whitecloaks in the Great Hunt. So they /could/ kick it to the next book, but I'm not sure inventing a new origin story for it would be any better. Dragon banner I think is also necessary for the Horn of Valere - like I seem to recall they're like 'okay but where is your dragon banner' and then Rand is like 'oh yeah this old thing' and whips it out. I suppose you /could/ have the next episode be "Mat gets healed, then the dagger gets stolen, when they catch up to Fain they find the Horn" but it would be weird I think.

I do agree that the Green Man is kind of the weakest part of everything - I hadn't thought of it as being Tolkienesque until you said it lazaruslong, but now that you do the Green Man is basically an Ent and most of the interesting stuff of that section is in Rand's head.

I also am not sure how you're going to be like 'cool an unpolluted pool' when they haven't really talked about the taint on saidin.
posted by corb at 3:15 PM on December 7, 2021 [1 favorite]


So, uh. Corn remembers the books far better than I do. I’m not remembering a ton of specifics from The Eye of the World, but so far it’s hitting all of the notes that I’ve wanted it to, and it seems to be working quite well as television. Let’s be real - a faithful adaptation would have been terrible on many fronts.

I’ll admit that I wasn’t expecting to like this as much as I have, and I certainly wasn’t expecting to be inspired reread the series from the beginning. But here we are.

As a fun thought-experiment…. what changes if we don’t learn the identity of the Dragon Reborn for quite some time? What if we learn that Mat and Perrin are, in effect, able to channel?
posted by schmod at 3:58 PM on December 7, 2021 [1 favorite]


Someone asked in a non-reader thread what non-readers were making of this show, and one thing I’ll say, having read these threads and noted this argument: it doesn’t feel weird at all to me that the Dragon Reborn could be a woman in this version. It never would have occurred to me as a problem if people here hadn’t been talking about it. To me it makes perfect sense that in a universe with reincarnation, people might be reincarnated in different types of bodies; and it seems established that the inability of men to use magic without going mad is a later development than the existence of magic itself, some kind of curse. A female Dragon could have the power to end that curse and remake the entire system of magic from the ground up—which, of course, would make her potentially the enemy of people on all sides of the brewing conflict. I’d still bet on them keeping the canon Dragon identity just because I assume too much other stuff is dependent on it, but for this non-reader it’s a non-issue.
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:33 PM on December 7, 2021 [3 favorites]


"Mat gets healed, then the dagger gets stolen, when they catch up to Fain they find the Horn"

Has Padan Fain even been mentioned since he noped out of episode one? I'd have to look it up but I could have sworn he came up a couple times between then and now in the books. I guarantee if he does pop up now my wife, who didn't read the books, will have no idea who he is.

I do agree the horn has a role to play, especially in bringing Brigitte to the world. I think if I had the chance I'd make the horn a bigger deal in the show. Mat can toot it early like he does in the books then he can go on carrying it until he toots it again at the last battle like he didn't do in the books. Then the Eye can move to later (maybe putting it in Rhuidean might work) and make it just the horn and banner that they're going to get in the Blight.

Also, Rand going to Rhuidean and having his time as the Muad'Dib for the Aiel can be in the third quarter of the story instead of in the first third.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:44 PM on December 7, 2021 [1 favorite]


it doesn’t feel weird at all to me that the Dragon Reborn could be a woman in this version

Agreed, with one logical pitfall - why would the Dark One have tainted The Source for men only if the Dragon Reborn could be a woman?

TBH, this story is very funny if Rand isn’t the Dragon, because he’s barely compelling as a character when he is The Dragon. Otherwise, he’s just some himbo - the Derek Zoolander of the WoT universe.
posted by schmod at 7:02 PM on December 7, 2021 [6 favorites]


The male half was tainted because all the Aes Sedai who participated in sealing TDO at Shayol Ghul were men (back when men could be Aes Sedai). The taint was TDO's counterstrike before being sent to the corner. If a woman had joined in, likely both halves would be tainted.

Even if the taint might not affect later (possibly female) Dragons Reborn, it had the immediate effect of driving Lews Therin insane and Breaking the World. So still a solid get.

I think the show is setting it up to make it seem that Nynaeve is the Dragon Reborn, what with her bravura display when healing Lan, so that when Rand's reveal comes around there can be a couple extra levels of surprise/revelation for the non-book readers: first, that the most powerful channeler (so far) is not the DR, and second, that the DR is going to go insane and probably break the world again because he's male.
posted by logicpunk at 8:08 PM on December 7, 2021 [3 favorites]


Has Padan Fain even been mentioned since he noped out of episode one? I'd have to look it up but I could have sworn he came up a couple times between then and now in the books. I guarantee if he does pop up now my wife, who didn't read the books, will have no idea who he is.

okay so hear me out: there's a moment where Mat is feeling all dagger-sick and he and Rand are sitting on the balcony together watching the Reds bring Logain into Tar Valon. Before Mat goes all dagger-hallucination-y, there's a seemingly random shot of just like, the street.

I can't be 100% certain, but I'm like 90% certain that's Fain in the background tracking the dagger. See this clip around the :15 second mark, left side of the frame, in background.
posted by lazaruslong at 1:18 AM on December 8, 2021 [3 favorites]


Okay actually having listened to the scene with earbuds in, I'm now 100% certain that's Fain. There's no other reason to keep in the audio from that one "random passerby" and you can definitely hear his giggle.
posted by lazaruslong at 1:19 AM on December 8, 2021


I think you're right. That's our (d)friend!
posted by Acari at 7:33 AM on December 8, 2021 [2 favorites]


Agreed, with one logical pitfall - why would the Dark One have tainted The Source for men only if the Dragon Reborn could be a woman?

Garden-variety misogyny? As if the Dark One would consider those sweet little ladies to be a threat, look at them weaving that saidar all cute and shit.
posted by coriolisdave at 1:47 PM on December 8, 2021


It's bad enough that Saidar must be "submitted to and embraced" and Saidin has to be "seized and dominated." It's unfortunate that there's no way to remove the gender essentialism from the story without also breaking a lot of important plot points, but I'm still very interested to see the ways the show subverts it. I'm hoping for a trans woman Aes Sedai, even if that is still just another layer of gender essentialism, changing it from "You're a woman based on what genitals you have" to "You're a woman if you can embrace Saidar."
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 4:54 PM on December 8, 2021 [4 favorites]


Well so far there is no saidar and saidin - no one has used those terms or described the source as being split in half. So they've given themselves some room, but we'll see how far they can push it. It's tough when one of the primary themes of the book is how strict separation between sexes is a bad thing, but using a wholly binary definition.
posted by restless_nomad at 3:09 AM on December 10, 2021


True, but we have “white Source” and “black Source”
posted by schmod at 6:15 PM on December 10, 2021


what changes if we don’t learn the identity of the Dragon Reborn for quite some time? What if we learn that Mat and Perrin are, in effect, able to channel?

So, I actually think that the way they've done this change, they can keep the identity of Rand as the Dragon Reborn until the next season, easily, if they want to. Since they've thrown Egwene and Nynaeve into the mix, and have shown both of them channeling, Rand channeling doesn't actually mean that he's automatically the Dragon. They could possibly add Nynaeve doing some fancy channeling as part of the battle, then have Rand just be the one who "gets the lucky shot in".

Actually, that could play in well with Mat blowing the horn too, make it really confusing on who is Actually The Dragon. As I recall, they don't Officially identify the Dragon until he takes Callandor.
posted by corb at 7:11 PM on December 10, 2021 [1 favorite]


I believe the show runner has said the mystery will be revealed at the end of this season, which will simplify things. Most of The Great Hunt wouldn't work well without the audience knowing that Rand is the Dragon.
posted by restless_nomad at 5:56 AM on December 11, 2021 [1 favorite]


Lotta monologues in this show.
posted by bq at 5:27 PM on March 27


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