#WoTWednesday: December 4, 2019

Another month, another #WoTWednesday, and the question that’s been on many peoples’ minds these last few weeks is: will today be the day we finally get a Thom casting?


In an echo of the huge casting news we received on August 14, it turns out that Amazon has decided to release multiple castings for December’s #WoTWednesday–and yes, Thom is one of them!


Alexandre Willaume, who had recently posted some images on instagram related to the series that were then taken down, has been confirmed as Thom Merrilin:

Alvaro Morte has been cast as Logain Ablar:

Hammed Animashaun has been cast as Loial, a character many fans feared would be cut:

And Johann Myers, who was spotted briefly in the video that Amazon released in October, has been cast as Padan Fain:

So far reactions are overwhelmingly positive in regards to the new reveals. Rafe Judkins appears to have hit it out of the park again with these castings.

As always, Rafe has offered some of his thoughts on the castings. It looks like we can expect an exceptional and emotional Logain performance:

A theme throughout the casting has been finding the absolute perfect actors, which Rafe once again reiterates in regards to Loial’s casting:

Rafe also revealed a little information about Padan Fain’s entrance into the series:

And he had a few words for those who have been doubting whether Thom would make the cut for the show (I’ve had my own moments of worry!):

Of course, plenty of questions remain. How will Loial look on screen? If Amazon is releasing news of Logain alongside of Thom, Loial, and Fain, does this mean that his role in the early series will be commensurate with the other three characters–particularly given that Rafe Judkins has already said he plans to increase Logain’s role?

Who is your favourite of the new castings?

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7 Randland Cities We Don’t See Enough Of

This article contains spoilers for the entire series.



One of the most immersive aspects of The Wheel of Time is the depth of the imagined world within which the story unfolds. With more than 150 distinct cities, towns, and villages visited or named throughout the series, Robert Jordan’s Randland continues to be one of the most three dimensional worlds in the fantasy genre.


Nonetheless, although we spend ample time in cities such as Caemlyn, Cairhien, and Tear, there are others that it would be fascinating to get a better look at. Here are a few that we know just enough about to make me want to know more.




7. Deven Ride


In The Eye of the World and The Shadow Rising, we spend plenty of time in Emond’s Field; we even get a glimpse of Taren Ferry and the area around Watch Hill. This most remote of Two Rivers’ villages, however, is visited by Perrin only in the Wolf Dream—at least so far as readers see. Right up against the Forest of Shadows, Deven Ride is the furthest Two Rivers village from the River Taren; according to Perrin, it has “even fewer visitors than Emond’s Field” (TSR, Ch. 53). Although both Watch Hill and Deven Ride are supposedly quite similar to Emond’s Field, with Taren Ferry being the “strange” outlier (TEotW, Ch. 3), it’s hard not to wonder about this little-known village.



Elise Mitchell. The Two Rivers. The Eye of the World.


6. Maradon


Although we as readers don’t visit Maradon until Rodel Ituralde defends it against the Shadow in The Towers of Midnight, it is mentioned as early as the first book. Home of the Cordamora Palace and the seat of Queen Tenobia Kazadi, it is said that “you can see the Blight from the highest towers in Maradon” (TEotW, Ch. 20). The city we eventually get to see is little more than a shell, “emptied of most civilians” (ToM, Ch. 24). What might this city be like when it is full of life—and Saldaean tempers?



5. Mayene


Throughout the series we hear frequently about the dangers that Mayene faces from Tear,  but no character actually visits this independent city-state until A Memory of Light—and then, we see only the inside of the building that serves as a hospital for the wounded during the Last Battle. Given that we spend time in the other two city-states of the Westlands, Tar Valon and Far Madding, one wonders about this tiny nation that Berelain fights so hard to protect.




4. Shol Arbela


Although it is referenced multiple times by various characters, we never do see the capital city of Arafel. In fact, Shol Arbela is one of only two capital cities in the Westlands that never make an actual appearance on the page. (The other, if you’re curious, is Shienar’s Fal Moran.) We know virtually nothing of Shol Arbela, except that it was not built by the Ogier (LoC, Ch. 20) and is known as “the City of Ten Thousand Bells” (KoD, Ch. 9). With an epithet like that, it’s hard not to be curious about this city.




3. Tar Valon


It is said by the people of Tar Valon that while “The Wheel of Time turns around Tar Valon,” so “Tar Valon turns around the Tower” (TSR, Ch. 1). As far as the city’s presence within the series goes, this appears to be the case; references to “Tar Valon” are frequently taken to stand in for the White Tower. Although we do visit the city on several notable occasions, with its beautiful Ogier-built buildings and throngs of people from all over the world, we primarily see the grounds and rooms of the Tower itself. With tantalizing tidbits from the The Wheel of Time Companion—such as the fact that the city itself was “administered by a council of Aes Sedai chosen by the Hall of the Tower”—what might life be like in Tar Valon, both for those who live there and those who govern it?




Chuck Dixon and Chase Conley. Manetheren. The Eye of the World Graphic Novel, Volume 1.

2. Paaran Disen


Thanks to Rand’s journey through the glass columns at Rhuidean, Paaran Disen holds the distinction of being the only city from the Age of Legends that actually makes an appearance in the series. With the city decimated by the War of the Shadow, we read of Rand’s ancestor Jonai as he hurries down the “empty streets” with their “shattered buildings and dead chora trees” (TSR, Ch. 26). The home of the Hall of Servants, which was the center of Aes Sedai power, Paaran Disen must truly have been a sight to behold in the centuries before the opening of the Bore.




1. Manetheren


Early in The Eye of the World, Moiraine holds characters and readers spellbound as she tells the story of Manetheren. She tells of its beauty, “a mountain city so lovely to behold that Ogier stonemasons came to stare in wonder.” She tells of its last King and Queen—of “fearless” Aemon and “beautiful” Eldrene, of a “Bravery and beauty and wisdom and a love that death could not sunder.” And she tells of it’s betrayal and it’s fall, of the sacrifice made by its people and “the fires that consumed [the] empty city  […], even the stones of it, down to the living rock of the mountains” (TEotW, Ch. 9).This scene is legendary amongst Wheel of Time fans, and Moiraine’s tale, along with the small visual glimpses of the city to be found in the graphic novels, have long inspired readers. I think it’s safe to say that many fans would love to know more about the fabled Mountain Home.





You can read more about all of these cities in TarValon.Net’s Library. What cities would you have loved to see more of in The Wheel of Time?

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Emond’s Field Diary, Part 3



We’ve read the journeys of those who left the Two Rivers following the fateful Trolloc attack on Winternight—but what about those who stayed behind? Here’s one imagining of what life might have been like in Emond’s Field.



Part 1     |     Part 2




17 Choren 999 NE


It has been quite some time since I wrote anything because I have scarcely had time to eat and sleep. So much has happened I’m not sure where to begin. After Lord Perrin arrived, his Ogier friend sealed something called a Waygate near here. While he was gone, Lord Perrin started getting people from farms that were far away from the village to come closer so they could be better defended. With the Trollocs that attacked after, everyone who came to the village was lucky. The Whitecloaks were driven from the Two Rivers, and the Trollocs were all killed. There were so many and they just kept coming and everyone was so tired. I’m glad the fighting came to an end, because I’m not sure how much longer we could have held out.


I’m not sure when it happened, but the men started to call Perrin the Lord of the Two Rivers, and the name has stuck, and now he’s Lord Perrin. He and the Lady Faile have wed and I am glad he has his own sort of family with her, now. He’s planning to raise an army of good Two Rivers men to go and fight for the Dragon Reborn, who he confirmed was Rand. He also says that Rand is the same person he has always been and we shouldn’t worry.


I hope he is right.



26 Choren 999 NE


Verin Sedai and Alanna Sedai rounded up all of the girls and young women who can become Aes Sedai and started to lead us out of the Two Rivers today. Yes, I can be an Aes Sedai. Now that the decision has been made for me, I feel that I’m actually happy to go. I’m still afraid of the world outside, but I will face it with my head held high, because someday, I will be Aes Sedai, and I cannot show my fear.



2 Nesan 999 NE


We have made it to Baerlon. It is so big and intimidating, and Verin Sedai told us that it is a small town. Small! If this is small, I can’t imagine what the bigger cities will look like.



20 Shaldine 999 NE


Today, we made it to Whitebridge, which is bigger than Baerlon, and even more intimidating. Yet again, Verin Sedai says we still have bigger cities to go. I can’t imagine something bigger.



12 Nesan 999 NE


Now, I have seen one of the largest cities in the world. We have arrived in Caemlyn. Verin Sedai says we had to come here because this is where Rand is, but I’m more excited to get to the Tower so we can train to be Aes Sedai.


Rand came to the inn where we are staying, and he scared us something awful. He really is the Dragon Reborn, and a large part of me hopes I never have to see him again.



13 Nesan 999 NE


Alanna Sedai says that we cannot go to the Tower yet. There seems to have been something that happened there, but if they know what it is, they’re not telling. I guess we’ll just have to keep going.



Tune in on Friday, December 13 for the penultimate instalment!

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(Re)Imagining Nynaeve al’Meara on Screen

This article contains spoilers through Lord of Chaos.



From love to hate, from frustration to respect, Nynaeve al’Meara frequently elicits strong emotions from Wheel of Time fans. Questions inevitably abound regarding precisely how Nynaeve’s character will be interpreted by the scriptwriters, the showrunners, and by Zoë Robbins herself.


Join us as Atarah al’Norahn, Elia LePhant, Eliza al’Shaw, Juliya Karisu, and Thaddius al’Guy discuss what they consider to be Nynaeve’s defining moments, her motivations, and the impact they hope Nynaeve will have on viewers.




Q: What Nynaeve moment(s) from the first two books are you most excited to see Zoë Robbins play on screen?


Juliya: I can’t wait for her first appearance—hopefully tugging her braid and looking grouchy. I also want to see the scene where she’s discovered by Lan and Moiraine after following them for a while without them knowing. And I’m really looking forward to her Accepted test!


Elia: The first time she heals someone in the first book, and when she is tracking Moiraine, Lan, and the Emond’s Fielders, and Lan acknowledges her tracking skills.


Thaddius: There may have been a lot Nynaeve did in the first two books, but I absolutely want to see the scene where she tracks Lan and Moiraine down after they leave the Two Rivers.


Eliza: I’m looking forward to the scenes with Moiraine! Nynaeve has had to fight to prove her worth in the role of Wisdom, and Moiraine is the first person who Nynaeve can’t bully into submission. Moiraine is more knowledgeable and more powerful. Watching Nynaeve’s determination to better herself, to be better than Moiraine, are some of my favorite moments in the series.


Atarah: I don’t think I’m alone in saying that Nynaeve’s scene with Lan in the Blight is one of my favorite moments in the first book—even in the entire series. But there are a lot of other quiet but powerful moments that I’m really looking forward to seeing. One is the scene in the Blight where Moiraine invites Egwene and Nynaeve to set up the ward with her. Nynaeve is so hesitant, but is beginning to truly face the possibility of a life she had never even begun to imagine.




Q: Is there anything new you think the television adaptation will bring to Nynaeve’s character for you? What do you hope Zoë Robbins will bring to the role?


Eliza: Zoë has fire! I can’t wait to see her portray Nynaeve’s stubbornness. But I don’t want her love to be lost; it’s not new, but it’s a much harder thing to show without the internal monologue, and also hard to show without making the character look fickle. Nynaeve is motivated mainly by love so I hope that comes across.


Atarah: Passion. It’s such a defining feature of who Nynaeve is and what drives her always: passion to heal, to help, to learn, to be better, to love, to live. I hope that Zoë will be able to bring these to life, both for longtime fans of the series and for newcomers who have never before encountered the force that Nynaeve is.


Thaddius: Well, suffice it to say it will bring the character to life for me and let me see a fully 3D version of the character that I’ve been reading about for twenty years. I’ve never seen anything that Zoë has been in, but I hope she can deliver the core of the character that I know so well.


Elia: I hope Zoë gives more dimension to Nynaeve’s character, especially in the beginning. I would like to see her be more human, and give us a better understanding about why she acts the way she does, and why she does the things she does. On paper, Nynaeve can seem very extreme and unreasonable, so I would like to see Zoë make her “real” for us.


Juliya: I hope they will make Nynaeve a little more likeable. I love her a lot, but many book fans are completely the opposite and don’t like her. I hope Zoë will do a good job of being fierce and stubborn, but also kind and loyal.




Q: What’s the one emotion you most hope Nynaeve’s character will evoke from viewers?


Thaddius: Hope. She spends a lot of her time fighting with herself about her own abilities via a mental block on using the One Power, and I am looking forward to seeing Zoë work her way through that obstacle and overcome it, letting people know that while things may be hard, you will get through it.


Elia: Awe at her strength of will.


Juliya: Admiration—for her skill and talent, as well as her willingness to try anything to help people.


Atarah: I hope that viewers will feel respect for her drive and her skill. I really hope the screen version of Nynaeve prompts emotion in fans as strongly as she does in the books.


Eliza: I want people to be rooting for her, even when they’re frustrated with her. She can be infuriating sometimes, but with such a big heart people will love her anyway.




Zoë Robbins as Nynaeve al’Meara by Ariel Burgess.

Q: Is there a scene or a line from the first two books that you see as absolutely central to Nynaeve’s character in The Wheel of Time—something you can’t imagine being cut?


Atarah: I think some of the scenes surrounding her Healing will be really important. For example, the scene where she isn’t able to do anything for Tam and her despair at it, but also her determination to carry on and save as many as she can. I also really want to see the scene in which Moiraine exhausts herself hiding the group, before they reach Shadar Logoth; Nynaeve is determined to set her to rights again, despite her dislike. I think these kinds of moments are really pivotal for showing Nynaeve’s character and spirit, and if these specific scenes don’t make it in, I think that there need to be ones with a similar feel.


Elia: I would like them to spend some time on her inability to channel freely the way Egwene can in the first few books. The frustration and anger she feels towards her block will be powerful to see, and it’s an important part of her character. I also would like them to really highlight the fact that she developed her own style of Healing that no other Aes Sedai does, and also her relationship to the weather, as it foreshadows later events in the series.


Eliza: I thought about this for a while, and for me many of Nynaeve’s great moments in the early books actually come from what the boys remember about her—hitting people with her staff, spending all her time trying to heal someone. I’d love to see those scenes acted out as flashbacks rather than just talked about. But for Nynaeve herself I’d say the entire arrival at Baerlon should be just as written. Her outrage and how she challenges everything Moiraine says, even threatening to expose her as Aes Sedai—it just shows her strength of character, how she doesn’t automatically fall under Morraine’s command.


Juliya: Absolutely—the scene between Lan and Nynaeve where he tells her “I will hate the man you choose because he is not me, and love him if he makes you smile.” I want to see Nynaeve’s heartbreak and disappointment, but also her resolution in moving forward.


Thaddius: The scene towards the end of the second book when by only studying for a mere moment, she learns how to unlock the a’dam.




Q: How do you imagine Nynaeve’s first entrance on screen? What kind of feel do you hope it will have?


Eliza: I would actually really like to have Nynaeve first show up in the background, doing something to one of the Village Council men—a typical Wisdom Nynaeve sequence that you might not notice the first time unless you are a super fan. But as for her arriving on screen, I want her to feel as if she seemingly pops out of nowhere. Her presence on screen should feel big. This will depend much on the reaction of people around her (especially Mat), but also will need Zoë to command that scene, for her to feel older than the boys and Egwene without necessarily looking much older.


Juliya: As I said earlier—I want her to be tugging her braid, or holding her big walloping stick, hopefully grumbling about Moiraine and Lan showing up. I hope the scene captures how pretty but also capable and strong she is.


Atarah: In the books, we first see her interacting with Rand and Mat, and I hope they’ll do something similar in the show. As important as her relationships with Moiraine and Lan are, I hope that they show her in the context of the Two Rivers, and interacting with Two Rivers people, before they introduce the Nynaeve-Lan-Moiraine dynamic. It’s her determination to protect the people of Emond’s Field that draws her out of the Two Rivers in the fist place, and I really want her place in Emond’s Field to be established, very firmly, from the start.


Thaddius: I imagine her giving Rand (or especially Mat) grief about something that they had done.


Elia: I would love to see Nynaeve listening to the wind, and showing her growing unease and concern at what she is sensing. Perhaps she is out in the forest, observing the dying trees and plant life.




Q: Which other character are you most interested in seeing interact with Nynaeve on screen? Is there a relationship dynamic from the first two books you’re particularly interested in watching play out?


Thaddius: The relationship between Nynaeve and Moiraine. Nynaeve always was the one to be in control of situations, and as Moiraine comes in and takes control, Nynaeve has to learn to deal with it in her own way.


Elia: I am very excited to see her relationship with Egwene play out with Madeleine Madden! I think they will bring a real sisterhood to the characters on screen, due to their friendship in real life. Of course I am also looking forward to her relationships with Moiraine and Lan as well, especially from The Eye of the World. I can’t wait to see the tension between her and Lan develop into love, as we don’t get much from the books themselves. I think developing their relationship on screen will be much more satisfying to viewers.


Eliza: Obvious, I know, but this has to be Lan. The first couple of times I read the book, I felt their romance came out of nowhere. Now I’m older and have picked up on the subtle hints in the early chapters of the first book. The scene after Shadar Logoth when she tracks Lan, again, and the little back and forth they have around that particular skill—I’m looking forward to that.


Juliya: Definitely Lan. I’m excited for the romance, not going to lie.


Atarah: I’m curious about how they’ll handle her relationship with Rand in the first season, considering how intensely important it becomes later in the series. Nynaeve becomes one of the only Aes Sedai Rand can bring himself to trust; how will they begin setting that up? And of course I can’t wait to see Nynaeve and Lan on screen together. And I look forward to seeing how the relationship between Nynaeve and Egwene develops on screen—from a hierarchical relationship, in which Egwene is Nynaeve’s apprentice, to more of a relationship between equals, and then to a complete reversal of that initial hierarchy when Egwene becomes Amyrlin.



With so many unforgettable Nynaeve moments in the books, the show creators certainly have plenty of material to work with in creating and shaping a powerful, enduring screen presence for her character. What do you hope to see from the television adaptation of Nynaeve?

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TarValon.Net Library Resources: San d’ma Shadar



This November, our social media accounts have been featuring one of TarValon.Net’s companies of Warders—San d’ma Shadar (SDS), or the Slayers of the Shadow. If you’d like to know more, check out some of these resources in TarValon.Net’s library!



San d’ma Shadar at TarValon.Net


The San d’ma Shadar Company Headquarters will help you navigate through various other pages about the Company. Here you can find the SDS Creed; links to the Who’s Who of San d’ma Shadar Gaidin, Aspirants, Aes Sedai, and Drinking Buddies; and more!


For some entertainment, check out this collection of stories written about SDS. The rules stipulated that all stories had to include “Tequila, blow-up dolls, fair maidens, nuclear explosions, party hats, tubes, picnic tables, chicken, bragging, shameless flirting, magnificent tracks of land, calvary, rainbows, honey, The Second Amendment, PETA, Coca-Cola, Frat Boys & Corsets”—and still be PG-13.


And if you’re looking for a new drink to try, check out this list of SDS Drinks!




San d’ma Shadar in The Wheel of Time


Although all of TarValon.Net’s Warder companies are original creations of our community, an unspecified group that Mat remembers in A Memory of Light is named after the San d’ma Shadar. Check it out here!


The Gaidin of San d’ma Shadar think that Birgitte, Mat, Juilin, Uno, Lan, Olver, Elyas, Rhuarc, Talmanes, and Nalesean are good examples of Wheel of Time characters who would fit right into SDS. Check out their character summaries!

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