Amazon’s The Wheel of Time showrunner Rafe Judkins recently explained why the show claims females can be the Dragon Reborn.
In the show’s opening episode, Moiraine Damodred, played by Rosamund Pike, states, “Now, this man has been born again. We don’t know where or to whom, if he was reborn as a girl or boy. The only thing we know for certain is that this child is coming of age now and we must find them before the dark does.”
However, in the original books by Robert Jordan, it’s clear that the Dragon Reborn is a male character and the three persons of interest for Moiraine Damodred as she investigates Emond’s Field are Rand, Mat, and Perrin.
Not only are they persons of interest for Moiraine, but they are also specifically targeted by the Myrddraal and his band of Trollocs.
Moiraine tells Rand in The Eye of the World, “It was you three the Myrddraal sought, and none others.”
She would later add, “In one of you or all three, there is something the Dark One fears.”
Even before this, Jordan makes it clear the Dragon is a male because everyone claiming to be the Dragon Reborn is a male.
He writes, “Rand could remember every tale he had heard about the men who named themselves the Dragon Reborn, and if they had all proven themselves false Dragons by dying or disappearing without fulfilling any of the prophecies, what they had done was bad enough.”
Nevertheless, the show claims the Dragon Reborn can be a female as well, and showrunner Rafe Judkins attempted to explain the change from the books in a recent Ask Me Anything (AMA) on the Television subreddit on Reddit.
Judkins stated, “The change we made was not just with the fact that a woman could be the Dragon, the core change we made was that people are NOT 100% convinced that these 3000 year old prophecies are 100% accurate.”
He continued, ” I think it feels a little bit more true to the world, and you see the characters questioning the prophecies of the Dragon and the details of it much more in the show than in the books (although there are some scenes in the books that show this as well, we’ve just expanded on that).”
“It seems quite trusting for the Aes Sedai, who trust no one, and especially Moiraine, who trusts less than no one, to believe with 100% certainty ANYTHING that was written thousands of years ago,” he concluded.
Judkins would also address other changes made from the book as well as his philosophy regarding adaptations.
Speaking generally about adaptations, Judkins said, “You can never make something that’s like ‘most’ of them pictured it. That’s the beauty of books, we all have our own personal vision of it in our heads, and it gets broken down a bit by watching it adapted.”
He added, “For me, though, I prefer an adaptation that tries to utilize its medium to tell the story best. Like, I prefer Azkaban to the first couple Potters.”
Judkins would also address why he did not include The Eye of the World’s original prologue that tells of the end days of Lews Therin Telamon, his descent into madness, his massacre of his family, and his creation of Dragonmount by killing himself with the One Power
He wrote, “Ha, we had a lot of different versions of how to start the show always, but my personal opinion was that we shouldn’t really see this Cold Open until Lews Therin was ready to play a more significant role in the show.”
Judkins would also provide a lengthier explanation as to why he made Perrin a married man in the show as well as having Perrin killing his wife in the heat of a battle with Trollocs.
Judkins previously told The Hollywood Reporter, “For this character that’s extremely internal — you really never get to hear his internal monologue that out loud in the book — we give him a moment at the beginning of the series where you understand why he, across the course of the series, has such a struggle with violence.”
Now, in this Reddit AMA he further explained, “Well, firstly in the longer version of the script I’d had Perrin being the apprentice to the town blacksmith, who he then accidentally killed during the Trolloc attack. It really was important to me that he have an iconic moment of violence in the first episode that would underpin his long term journey with violence and whether he’d choose the axe or the hammer. So I’d made that blacksmith his mom.”
He continued, “But as we had to trim a bunch of page length down in the scripts, it became a simpler story to tell it as his wife, and also felt natural that if these characters were in their early 20s in a small mountain village, that one of them likely would be married.”
“There’s a scene in the books where Perrin talks about if he’d stayed in the Two Rivers he might’ve married Laila Dearn, and voila, Laila was born. My only sadness is we couldn’t have seen more of her. Helena Westerman who played her was AMAZING,” he stated.
Judkins would also address some general criticisms of the show regarding its pacing and lack of characterization.
He said, ” I think it’s always important to hear people as they take in the show and comment on it, but not be chasing approval.”
“If you try to make a show that EVERYONE likes, you’ll have an actual pile of trash at the end. Better to make a show that some people truly love (even if others think it’s a pile of trash ha),” he elaborated.
The showrunner then said, “In terms of pacing, it’s a balance you have to strike. We as creatives are always wanting more time to intro the characters, spend time with them, understand their emotions, etc. And the network will want the show to be brisk and pace-y so that no one ever has a chance to turn it off.”
“Both things are valuable, and maybe Amazon was right about pace as the first three episodes of WoT have one of their highest completion-rates in history, which is perhaps the most important single piece of data on a tv show today,” he detailed.
What do you make of Judkin’s explanation about the possibility of the Dragon Reborn being a female? What do you make of his other comments regarding changes the show made to the books?