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*** Slight spoilers but a very big spoiler in the third paragraph ***

It’s very weird to complain about “woke” on a series like Wheel of Time. The books themselves were very “woke”, and certainly for their time. A lot of feminism, and even an attempt to bring a trans character into the books. Although the latter is very disguised, because when the books came out, no publisher wanted to burn themselves if it was even slightly more explicit. Nevertheless, it has been one of the most important book series in fantasy of the past 30 years. It was a source of inspiration for many other writers now active, such as George RR Martin (who was himself a close friend of Robert Jordan), Brandon Sanderson (who would later finish the last 3 books), or Brent Weeks. And so many more.

The fact that Mat’s father is now a drunk loser has nothing to do with woke either. That’s a bizarre statement. I do understand if you are not happy with such a change. It’s done to give Matt more of a background, to make it more logical to explain why he is the way he is. Why he tends to take things away (which soon has very far-reaching consequences). Personally, I found Mat to be quite a weak dishcloth in the books. Only later did he become his own character enough. So I think it’s good that they want to give him a little more in the beginning. But I would not have made this choice myself.

I don’t think it’s a strange choice to be sure whether the Dragon is now reborn as a man or a woman. Partly it’s to make the entire Emond’s Field 5 important from the start. But then Egwene and Nynaeve would have just made Ta-Veren, instead of considering it as potential Dragon. Also, I think it’s also meant to hint to the viewer that it’s possible (and this is a big plot point in the books!) for people who are biologically female but spiritually male to use Saidin, through reincarnation jokes. This may have implications for how the plot develops. The White Tower did not know this in the books. And it was very important that no one thought of this.

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Furthermore, the tone is a bit PG-12 Game of Thrones. The events in the books often tend to be grimdark, even if the tone wasn’t. So you can’t film both the plot and the tone. That said, they did go the extra mile. Implied sex stuff, but PG-12, Matt’s dad, and so on. It’s much grittier and more edgy in events too, not just tone. In terms of negative reviews, it is very hit and miss. You also have fans of the books who love it, and you have non-fans who hate it. I especially have the impression that the Amazon series has been controversial so far. Either you think it’s quite good, or you don’t like it at all. Personally, I don’t want to pass judgment too much yet. Perhaps cautiously hopeful is the best description for me. I can clearly see that there is a hint of themes from later books. The makers really understood the books. The only question is how popular their interpretation of the series will be.

Brandon Sanderson has also taken some criticism on Reddit about the series. He certainly does not tear it down, he is confident in it, but he is vocal about changes that he does not like. And personally I think he’s just right.

https://www.reddit.com/r/…from_brandon_episode_one/
https://www.reddit.com/r/…from_brandon_episode_two/

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