The Wheel of Time showrunner Rafe Judkins recently confirmed that the show will include more LGBTQIA+ relationships as well as explore the polyamorous relationship between Aes Sedai Alanna Mosvani and her two warders Maksim and Ihvon that was introduced in the show’s first season.
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Judkins’ confirmation came as part of video presentation he participated in for JordanCon 2022, where he also revealed that the show will be race swapping Aviendha with the casting of Ayoola Smart.
Early in the presentation Judkins was asked, “Are there any plans to include other LGBTQIA+ relationships in the show?”
He responded, “I mean, we predominantly in the show have been trying to take things that were suggested or hinted at being LGBTQIA+ relationships in the books and sort of expanding on them, bringing those out, letting us know more about those characters and their feelings for each other.”
“Or taking things that we don’t know what the relationship is between those two people and giving them something,” he asserted.
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The showrunner continued, “And I think that’s what we’ll continue to do with the show the whole way through the series. You will see us lean into those places that are already so present in the books and then try to find room to tell more of the emotional history of some of those characters.”
“And a lot of times that will include their relationships with people be they of the same gender, a different one, or ungendered,” he added.
He would follow-up on this when he was asked later in the presentation, “How did you approach representing polyamorous relationships, and do you have a plan for exploring those in later seasons?”
He answered, “Our approach to polyamorous relationships is the same as our approach to any other relationships on the show. We’re trying to take what’s there in the books. Try to give you more insight into the emotional interior of all of those characters and understand what they feel and why they do the things that they do.”
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He then revealed season 2 will explore the relationship between Alanna Mosvani and her two warders Maksim and Ihvon saying, “You see a lot more, actually, in season two of one of those relationships: the Alanna, Maksim, and Ihvon relationship. We get to delve into more of that and understand a little bit more how those three parts fit together.”
“And how there’s not just one relationship happening there. There’s three relationships,” he elaborated.
Alanna’s relationship with Maksim and Ihvon in the show was never explicitly stated or explored in the books and is clearly one of the cases that Judkins is referring to when he claims he plans to introduce more LGBTQIA+ relationships that weren’t mentioned in the books.
In fact, in the books Alanna’s warders are Ihvon and Owein. Owein is killed by the Children of the Light as revealed by Alanna while in a discussion with Perrin and Faile in The Shadow Rising.
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Author Robert Jordan wrote, “Alanna waved Faile to silence. ‘You certainly do not understand,’ the Aes Sedai told Perrin in a tight voice. ‘You do not understand the restrictions under which we labor. The Three Oaths are not merely words. I brought two Warders with me to this place.'”
He continued, “The Greens were the only Ajah to bond more than a single Warder apiece; a few, he had heard, even had three or four. ‘The Children caught Owein crossing an open field. I felt every arrow that struck him until he died. I felt him die. Had I been there, I could have defended him, and myself, with the Power. But I cannot use it for revenge. The Oaths do not permit it. The Children are very nearly as vile as men can be, short of Darkfriends, but they are not Darkfriends, and for that reason they are safe from the Power except in selfdefense. Stretch that as far as we can, it will only stretch so far.'”
As the video concluded, Judkins also revealed what he’s most looking forward to fans experiencing in Season 2 saying, “Really excited with Season 2. We’ve tried to take a chance in this season to spend time with each of the characters individually. And I think it gives you this amazing opportunity to get more into their headspace the way you can in a book when you are reading a chapter from their POV.”
“So I’m most excited about both books fans, but also people who don’t know the books as well to be able to spend time with each of these characters, see what their like on their own, what they feel, what they want from the world, and be able to track them through the season,” he detailed.
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“Because I think when you have all of the characters moving as a group in a TV show it can be harder to get into their interior emotional lives,” he said. “We’re doing all kinds of cool stuff — don’t get me wrong — in season 2. But that’s the thing that I’m most excited about is for people to just get to know them better and get to see what they really want and how they’re progressing.”
He concluded, “Because when you get to the end of Season 2 some of those characters almost feel unrecognizable to who they were at the start of Season 1.”
The Wheel of Time’s 1st season saw its audience flee the show throughout the season’s eight episodes. According to Nielsen’s reporting the show was the second most viewed streaming program for the week ending November 21st.
Nielsen reported the series had over 1.163 billion minutes viewed over three episodes.
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The show would see a significant drop the next week when the release schedule reverted to one show a week. Nielsen reported it had dropped to 6th on their charts with only 663 million minutes watched.
It would continue to drop with the the release of the show’s 7th episode only bringing in 467 million minute viewed. However, the show would see a spike with the release of the 8th episode with people more than likely binging the entire show from the beginning. But even then Nielsen reports it only had 638 million minutes watched that week.
The show would remain on Nielsen’s chart for another week bringing in another 630 million minutes. However, by the week ending January 9th the show had completely vanished from the charts falling below 344 million minutes, the amount of time watched for Netflix’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the 20th program on the list.
Given the falling ratings throughout the show’s first ratings, it’s more than likely the show’s ratings for Season 2 will continue to decline especially as Judkins has indicated they will continue to embrace wokeness and veer from the actual books as much of the first season did.
What do you make of Judkins’ promises for Season 2? Will you be watching?
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