Novelist Brandon Sanderson, who finished The Wheel of Time book series following the death of Robert Jordan, revealed two big fixes he would make to the live-action adaptation from showrunner Rafe Judkins.
In a recent upload to his YouTube channel, Sanderson participated in an hour long discussion about the entire series with his The Apocalypse Guard co-author Dan Wells.
While Sanderson does discuss his problems with the show he makes it clear at multiple points that he enjoyed Judkins’ adaptation.
In fact, he states, “I’m not in the camp that what Rafe has done is some tragedy and things like that. I think Rafe has done a good job. I think he has adapted a very difficult book to adapt. He picked an adaptation style that suited his writing and his team’s writing for it and they executed on that vision pretty well.”
With that said, Sanderson once again pointed to the problems he previously expressed with the plot arc for Perrin.
Sanderson said, “One of the things when I argued against the plot arc for Perrin with Rafe at the beginning, was I said to him, ‘Look, if you’re going to to put this trauma upon Perrin, you’re probably going to have him dealing with that the entire season if you’re going to be responsible about it.”
“Which means that there’s going to be no place really for him to go. He’s at his lowest moment at the start of the show and either you will have to have him get over that really quickly, which would be unrealistic and no doing service to the trauma you put him through. Or you have to deal with the trauma,” he asserted.
“By then they already knew what they were doing, right? That’s what they were planning to do. Is Perrin deals with trauma for the first season. It turns out that it just didn’t go really anywhere,” Sanderson stated.
Sanderson would go on to reveal what he would change in the show when it comes to Perrin, “Seeing it all together, the revision I would recommend for Perrin, if I could have read through the whole thing if I had time with it and what not, and I don’t know that they had the time for all of this with Covid and things, but what I would’ve said is, ‘I would remove the killing the wife at the start. We’ve talked about that ad nauseum.”
“If you are going to this thing, I would have Perrin decide to follow the Way of the Leaf by meeting with the Tinkers so the Tinkers have a point in the narrative. He picks that up and he tries to not then fight back. And comes to the decision that this is not for him. There’s at least an arc there,” Sanderson elaborated.
He then offered another alternative path for Perrin, “You could even do it where he decides to follow the Way of Leaf and then he’s being tortured by Valda and that’s the point where he snaps and says, ‘No. Way of the Leaf is not for me.’ And then acted in that moment. But then in the end he berserks again and he’s really, really scared that like, ‘I’m too dangerous’ and leaves after that. Walks away from his friends or something like that.”
Sanderson would also express he doesn’t “get” the Perrin torture scene. He stated, “As much as I like all those middle scenes, the scene with Valda, I just don’t get.”
While he says he doesn’t “get” the scene, Sanderson did go on to say, “The equivalent scene of that in the books. That is a Perrin scene. The wolves come in, two Whitecloaks end up dead. Perrin killed them, and that haunts him for the rest of the series. They replaced that with killing the wife.”
“In the books he berserks for the first time with the Whitecloaks, kills two of them, and then that kicks off his sort of ‘What am I? Am I a danger to the people around me? How much violence do I need to do to the world to prevent the world from doing violence to people I love,” Sanderson explained.
“That’s basically the key Perrin conflict. He’s the big, strong guy who’s always held himself back because he didn’t want to hurt people and now he’s realizing that maybe he’s got to hurt people,” Sanderson detailed.
Sanderson would also address how the wolves were portrayed in the live-action adaptation saying, “That’s one of the problems that is put upon Rafe rather than — I think Rafe has done a decent job of incorporating so they aren’t out of nowhere when they come in later.”
He then stated, “Let’s give credit where credit is due. Having a character who spends the whole season dealing with trauma being unable to fight back at the end because of his trauma is actually pretty legit.”
He further detailed, “It’s not a satisfying traditional cinematic arc, but it’s pretty legit where they went with Perrin. And it’s kind of a natural outflow of where they started and it’s kind of a responsible way to deal with the thing that they’re doing with Perrin. It just didn’t feel that satisfying as a complete arc for a season.”
“And that’s the issue that we’re getting into. I think Perrin is just this special thing where they are trying to do something very different from the books with Perrin and I’m just not on board completely with it,” he declared.
Sanderson then praised the show’s characterization and arcs for Egewne and Nynaeve.
He said, “Contrast that with Egwene and Nynaeve, who I think they handled really well all through the opening episodes and kind of had a drop for the last one.”
Despite this praise, he noted he had a fix, “I’ve got a fix for them that’s a lot easier and I wish I’d been able to talk about this. So their arc for this season both in the books and in the show is basically, ‘Do we get involved with these Aes Sedai? They seem really manipulative. We’re not sure if we like the way they do things, and yet they have the power in this structure and maybe the reason they do some of these things has good foundations.'”
Nynaeve’s on the [side of] we should just not be involved with them and Egwene is the voice of like ‘Maybe we should be. We can both channel and things like that.’ And the show, I think, got that across pretty decently.
He then offered his fix, “Your ending episode just needs then to end with them both deciding to go train to be Aes Sedai. And so I don’t know why they did the whole linking to fight off the Trollocs.”
He continued, “I think it would be a really easy fix to Egwene and Nynaeve need to be there to help with the defense against these and they’re just not trained enough. Nynaeve can’t access her power the right way. Egwene can’t control. At the end of it they’ve helped out, but then they realized if we had been fully trained all these people over here wouldn’t be dead.”
“‘We need to go do the responsible thing. Go learn to use our powers and if there’s a hierarchy and power structure there that is messed up well then we fix it. We become part of the solution rather than just walking away,'” explained.
Sanderson concluded his fix, “If that alone had been there, I think their whole arcs would be really great through the whole season.”
At the end of their discussion, Sanderson also expresses his concern about Lan specifically his depiction in the season finale.
He says, “We are running out of time, but there’s one more thing I want to talk about. Lan. Lan. Lan doesn’t do anything in the last episode except run to find Moiraine.”
“If I’d only been able to — because they have that beautiful moment, top-down shot in episode where Lan is protecting Moiraine that is partially there because I asked them for it and it’s so beautiful.”
He then offers another fix, “Imagine if in this one he’d run off to go find Moiraine and saw that the Trollocs were coming and then you do the thing that I’m asking for where Nynaeve is fighting, but she’s not good enough and things like that, but she is killing some Trollocs and one almost gets close to her and then same perspective shot, Lan appears out of nowhere and gets the Trolloc.
Sanderson continued, “And for a few moments they’re fighting together just like Lan and Moiraine more. Wouldn’t that just have been the most beautiful scene that you could imagine?
“That Lan goes back for her rather than chasing after Moiraine because Moiraine left him on purpose and Nynaeve needs him right then. That would have been so good. But I didn’t get to give feedback on these ones,” he concludes.
Switching to Loial and concluding the episode, Sanderson had high praise for how the show handled his character saying, “He was spot on from the books. He was one of my favorites. They just did an amazing job with Loial. Perfect. Wouldn’t change a thing. Really happy.”
What do you make of Sanderson’s criticisms and praise for The Wheel of Time?