Rand: Book vs. Show (w/ book spoilers)

Satara al'Caelahn

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When the show first came out, I didn't keep an eye on anything "salty" and overly critical about it because I didn't want to hear bad things about something that made me happy. Even now that I can appreciate some of the criticisms (minus rage-filled, bookcloak "fans") I still haven't ranted much about the show's failings myself.

But I have to get this off my chest. Warning: long rant incoming. :laugh: :look:

Rand is a very polarizing character. People usually either love him or hate him, but most people can agree that he's an interesting character at the very least. As someone who loves Rand, I've been really upset with his entire story in the show.

Why, might you ask? Thank you so much for asking. Sit. Have some popcorn. 🍿

They've taken so much away from him that made him a bit of a badass, and it didn't just start with the episode-that-must-not-be-named (S1E8). As book readers, we know that most of the first book is told from Rand's perspective, and that builds empathy for him and what he's going through. We know almost from the very beginning that he's the Dragon Reborn and that builds on that existing empathy, knowing that he's going to have a hard road ahead of him; even harder of a road than if he was just a male channeler, though that's hard enough. Instead, the show is told primarily from Moiraine's perspective which is a really odd choice in my opinion, considering how secretive she is. Secretive characters make really bad "narrators" generally speaking.

But I could get past that. I could get past the fact that the show made Rand look like an overbearing, moody asshole who was only there to guilt trip Egwene because of his own poor, hurt feelings.

I began to have true disappointment with the season 1 finale. One of the more cool, awe-inspring things that Rand does in the end of book 1 is defeat half (or more) of the trolloc army at Tarwin's Gap, but that task was given to others. Instead, he's resting comfortably in Moiraine's lap for most of the finale, and then instead of dealing a fairly significant blow to the Dark One, he just let Ishamael out.

I've forgiven it, considering the rewriting they had to do, Barneygate, covid restrictions, etc. They did what they had to do and I wrote it off as something that they'd make up for later on.

Unfortunately, I was wrong.

For most of the season, Rand isn't too bad except that he's clearly acting like a horny 15 year old with Selene which... let's be real, is to be expected. I liked that he was learning sword forms from Errol and I didn't mind the other divergencies from the book like seeing more of Logain. But again, the finale has failed me when it comes to Rand.

The fight with Turok was a bit of a disappointment, although a pretty funny one. I like that it showed Rand in a very "I don't have time for this" kind of way, but in a selfish way, I missed the sword fight. I hear we'll get it later on, so I'm being patient, but it was still a disappointment. Not the biggest, though.

My first real Rand-shaped disappointment came with Mat's Horn of Valere scene. In the books all of them were together when Mat blew the Horn, and Arthur Hawkening Artur Hawkwing addressed Rand as a fellow Hero of the Horn, even though Rand was still in denial about being the Dragon Reborn. That moment was taken away from Rand and given to someone else. And I can't hate it, because that was some awesome character development for Mat that he sorely needed after Barneygate. It tied up some plot holes and lose ends from season 1. I get it. I do. I love that for Mat. I just wish it hadn't come at Rand's expense.

And then the top of the Tower scene.

*sigh*

I know Egwene is clearly Rafe's favorite character. It shows. It's true that she's amazing and awesome and I can't wait to see her grow. But she was never supposed to go head to head with Ishamael (and frankly, imo, couldn't have truly posed and obstacle for him). That was Rand's moment to prove himself to the world. Don't even get me started on Egwene breaking herself out of the a'dam. The whole terrifying prospect of the a'dam is that you cannot break out of it without help, no matter how hard you try, no matter how strong your willpower is. That's what drove Egwene to become as strong as she did, and that was essentially taken away from her, too. Sure, it showed that she was cool and powerful, but it eliminated her reason and motivation for getting cool and powerful. But I digress.

Same as in the season 1 finale, Rand was supposed to have cool moments of badassery, and once again, he was sitting down with his head in someone's lap, being coddled like a little baby. Instead of facing off against Ishamael, all he did was get tossed around, stabbed, healed, whined about being shielded, and then walked up and poked Ishamael with his sword. He did the bare minimum while everyone else in the episode carried the weight. Except maybe Nynaeve, bless her heart.

I like that Mat got his cool moment. I like that Egwene got her cool moment. I just hate that they had to take those moments away from Rand. Mat and Egwene did enough cool stuff on their own. Why take moments of badassery away from Rand? Moiraine got a cool moment. Heck, even Lan got a cool moment. Rand? The person the entire thing is supposed to be about? Not so much.

And that leads me to my final point. By neutering Rand's badassery, they've really taken the power out of what it means to be the Dragon Reborn. And this was a running theme from the begining, if I'm honest. They didn't make mentions of how utterly terrified people are of men who can channel. They never showed or told us how people felt bone-chilling, existential dread at the idea of the Dragon being reborn because he was prophecised to break the world. Again. I don't even think they call him Lews Therin Kinslayer at any point. Like... this man is supposed to make the world shake with every step, insanely (pun intended) powerful and intrinsically tied to the fate of the world. He's supposed to be cool and intimidating.

So when he stands on top of that tower in Falme and people cheer for him? What's up with that? They wouldn't cheer. They'd fall to their knees and weep, pull their hair, hide their children, break their oaths, pray for salvation, and Light knows what else. They wouldn't be happy about it. They'd be terrified.

But instead of being a badass who instills fear with just the barest whisper of his name, Rand just gets to rest his head in people's laps while they do all the work, I guess.

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Megana Vallentin

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I appreciated Rafe's explanation that Rand couldn't do some of the cool book things because, for example with the sword forms, he hasn't had that training yet in the show-verse. But I agree, he NEEDS some big heroic scenes at some point. I love how much all of the other characters are being given their due, but at some point we really do have to care about the actual Dragon Reborn. :laugh:
 

Satara al'Caelahn

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Yeah, I understand the sword part with Turok. I get it. The way they had to rearrange things made it so that he hasn't had that time with Lan yet and has only barely started learning. Turok would have eaten him alive.

But come on, give him something. 😭
 

Ephrem Elpidius

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I appreciated Rafe's explanation that Rand couldn't do some of the cool book things because, for example with the sword forms, he hasn't had that training yet in the show-verse. But I agree, he NEEDS some big heroic scenes at some point. I love how much all of the other characters are being given their due, but at some point we really do have to care about the actual Dragon Reborn. :laugh:

I thought this was the whole point of actors having stunt people that looked like them? I am sure with all that money they could have found someone with the same type of frame who was a sword master. Just a quick google search brings up local sword training schools near me, so a few rings, ask who their best is and if they fit a certain type of body frame, exchange pics and numbers. I could have had it done within a week or two. I don't really buy this excuse, Hollywood has always used certain camera angles so you can't see the face when stunt actors step into the main roles, and brush up any details with computer software.

That being said, Brandon Sanderson had a podcast where he gave some of the spoilers for the first season of Wheel of Time, and I have to say I am 100% glad I didn't watch a single minute of it and still haven't, to me that is not Wheel of Time. I am happy for those who enjoy it though.
 

Satara al'Caelahn

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I thought this was the whole point of actors having stunt people that looked like them? I am sure with all that money they could have found someone with the same type of frame who was a sword master.
I think she means that Rand as a character hasn't had the training yet. I'm sure the actor, Josha, has done sword training by this point.

The character of Rand hasn't done any sword training with Lan yet within the plot of the show so it makes sense that they eliminated the Blademaster scene between Rand and Turok.
 

Megana Vallentin

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Yes, I meant what Satara said.

That being said, Brandon Sanderson had a podcast where he gave some of the spoilers for the first season of Wheel of Time, and I have to say I am 100% glad I didn't watch a single minute of it and still haven't, to me that is not Wheel of Time. I am happy for those who enjoy it though.
I'm a huge Brandon Sanderson fan but I don't listen to his podcast, and I'm kinda glad for it because from what I've heard his comments would have really rained on my enjoyment of the show. I would prefer to enjoy his books, the WoT books AND the WoT show without that kind of criticism! (Which means yes I'm hiding from a lot of the internet that's been harshly critical of the show. There's a difference between discussing the high and lows, and just dumping on the whole thing!)
 

Satara al'Caelahn

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I'm a huge Brandon Sanderson fan but I don't listen to his podcast, and I'm kinda glad for it because from what I've heard his comments would have really rained on my enjoyment of the show. I would prefer to enjoy his books, the WoT books AND the WoT show without that kind of criticism! (Which means yes I'm hiding from a lot of the internet that's been harshly critical of the show. There's a difference between discussing the high and lows, and just dumping on the whole thing!)
This exactly. I have my sadness and impatience for Rand to have his moments, but I've also really steered clear of people who are hating a lot on the show. Like if you don't want to watch it, obviously there's nothing wrong with that. But the people who watch it and then review bomb it, make nasty comments about it, make nasty critical videos about it and stuff like that? It just breaks my heart in a certain kind of way and almost makes me feel bad for enjoying the show.

So that'll be a definite "no" for the Brandon Sanderson podcast.
 

Ephrem Elpidius

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This exactly. I have my sadness and impatience for Rand to have his moments, but I've also really steered clear of people who are hating a lot on the show. Like if you don't want to watch it, obviously there's nothing wrong with that. But the people who watch it and then review bomb it, make nasty comments about it, make nasty critical videos about it and stuff like that? It just breaks my heart in a certain kind of way and almost makes me feel bad for enjoying the show.

So that'll be a definite "no" for the Brandon Sanderson podcast.

I understand all of that, makes sense. In one of the podcasts Brandon said Hollywood doesn't call him anymore for editorial opinions, they only did on a few episodes of the first season apparently. lol, I guess they didn't like what he had to say either, who knows. I don't think you should feel bad for liking the show at all though, I just know it's not for me is all I meant.
 

Ruslan Rynar

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And that leads me to my final point. By neutering Rand's badassery, they've really taken the power out of what it means to be the Dragon Reborn. And this was a running theme from the begining, if I'm honest. They didn't make mentions of how utterly terrified people are of men who can channel. They never showed or told us how people felt bone-chilling, existential dread at the idea of the Dragon being reborn because he was prophecised to break the world. Again. I don't even think they call him Lews Therin Kinslayer at any point. Like... this man is supposed to make the world shake with every step, insanely (pun intended) powerful and intrinsically tied to the fate of the world. He's supposed to be cool and intimidating.

So when he stands on top of that tower in Falme and people cheer for him? What's up with that? They wouldn't cheer. They'd fall to their knees and weep, pull their hair, hide their children, break their oaths, pray for salvation, and Light knows what else. They wouldn't be happy about it. They'd be terrified.

But instead of being a badass who instills fear with just the barest whisper of his name, Rand just gets to rest his head in people's laps while they do all the work, I guess.

So I get where you're coming from... but at the same time, Rand's storyline is BORING early on. In my opinion, his story did not become interesting until book three, and that was only really at the end, once he claimed the sword in the stone. There are bigger plotlines to lay out before Rand gets the sword, and I think that the show has done a good job highlighting that.

As for the cheering for the Dragon, I thought they were cheering for the city's liberation, not necessarily for the Dragon. In time, word will spread, but in the moment, it was not for the Dragon/the world lacked the understanding that it was the Dragon.
 

Ephrem Elpidius

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So I get where you're coming from... but at the same time, Rand's storyline is BORING early on. In my opinion, his story did not become interesting until book three, and that was only really at the end, once he claimed the sword in the stone. There are bigger plotlines to lay out before Rand gets the sword, and I think that the show has done a good job highlighting that.

As for the cheering for the Dragon, I thought they were cheering for the city's liberation, not necessarily for the Dragon. In time, word will spread, but in the moment, it was not for the Dragon/the world lacked the understanding that it was the Dragon.

I love the first book, its my favorite in the entire series. I like classic high epic fantasy that doesn't require sex/politics to show you a entertaining time.
 

Syera Faelron

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I agree with the cheering for the liberation moment. As they wouldn't be able to see the group tottering on the edge of that tower to be honest.
They would be unclear to the townsfolk on the ground who the hell stopped it, then the dragon of fire would be an indicator then.
 
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Instead, the show is told primarily from Moiraine's perspective which is a really odd choice in my opinion, considering how secretive she is. Secretive characters make really bad "narrators" generally speaking.

The video Daniel Green did on Season One totally changed my mind on Moiraine being the MC. Rand (and the other EF5) are pretty much completely ignorant at first, so they would have been sub-optimal narrators. But, Moiraine is in-the-know about pretty much everything, which makes the attention to other story lines feel more natural.

That said, I fully agree with your perspective on the Rand-neutering. They took away a lot of his agency, and characters are always less interesting when stuff happens to them, rather than them doing stuff. The whole "the ladies kill the Trolloc army instead of Rand" arc was a huge disappointment.
 

Satara al'Caelahn

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The video Daniel Green did on Season One totally changed my mind on Moiraine being the MC. Rand (and the other EF5) are pretty much completely ignorant at first, so they would have been sub-optimal narrators. But, Moiraine is in-the-know about pretty much everything, which makes the attention to other story lines feel more natural.
I would normally agree with this, if Moiraine actually told anyone about all of her plotting and scheming. She holds her cards close to the chest and she might know a great deal, but she doesn't say a great deal. At least with how she's portrayed in the books.

I still think they could have given Rand his balls back at some point, even if they wanted to keep the main focus on Moiraine. :laugh: We're two seasons in and he hasn't done anything except get his pride handed to him and releasing Ishamael.
 
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I still think they could have given Rand his balls back at some point, even if they wanted to keep the main focus on Moiraine. :laugh: We're two seasons in and he hasn't done anything except get his pride handed to him and releasing Ishamael.
Agreed, and they could have done it too. Everyone could have shown up almost at the same time as Matt throws his Ashandarei through the illusion of Ishy. Elayne and Nynaeve link to heal Rand while Matt, Perrin and Egwene start fighting with Ishy (not truly effectively but buying time for him to be healed) Lan and Moiraine's scenes, while great, should have been shortened, thus giving us 2-3 minutes of Rand unshielded, pulling his Sheep brained befuddled eyes away from Elayne and seeing his friends in mortal danger, get up and PROVE that he is a bad ass (possibly even show a black/white Shadow puppet beside him) as he fights Ishy with the One Power. Moving closer as he draws his blade and strikes: Parting the Silk, to put him off balance. Followed by Reaping the Barley, before he can right himself. Straight to the heart! Just as Errol taught him
 
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