Was It Something I Read? – The Starless Sea

 

Hello Dear Ones,
 

Shortest review: OMG, friends, this book is amazeballs. Go read it right now!!!
 

Short review: I normally give myself some time between reading a book and then writing about it. I also try to give myself a year or two before rereading, but in this case, I am breaking my own rules twice- not only by writing this review within a few hours of finishing the book, but also because I will be starting my reading adventure all over again a few hours from now. There is so much to sink one’s teeth into, and I am looking forward to savoring it a second time.
 

Longer review: I also bought a hard copy, and once it gets here, I will be marking it up, as there are so many lovely, quotable quotes and messages to live by. Very few books have the pleasure of getting reread, let alone marked up by me because, well, so many books, too little time and all. (No worries, book-loving friends, “marked up” doesn’t mean anything permanent for the item itself. No actual books are harmed in the writing of my reviews.)
 

Musical review: (Wait, what?! Yes, hear me out!) The Starless Sea, in some ways, reminds me of the Orpheus and Eurydice story as told in the original Broadway Cast Recording of Hadestown- modern life mixed with mythology, magic mixed with mystery, and even though you know the ending, it’s not really the ending because the story is still playing on repeat over and over until infinity, and you still feel all the feels each time like it’s the first time no matter how well you know the lyrics and storyline.
 

Formal review: The Starless Sea is, at its heart, a love story from the author, Erin Morgenstern, to people who love books. There are other loves lost and found within its pages, mystery and adventure, sword wielding tragic heroes, cats, owls, and bees, lots and lots of bees all wrapped up with the Moon, Time, Fate, and books. The overload of imagery and sensation in the words created some wonderful visuals in my brain, and the layers upon layers of stories woven into each other make everything so tactile, yet delicate. Truly, Ms. Morgenstern is an artist of words. I was on the edge of my seat, so to speak, more than once in a story, only to have the story… change, but I was so caught up in the story before that I was okay with the change, and went back to the edge of my seat. Repeat cycle until the end of the book, and into my pending reread. It is so, so, SO satisfying as a reader to get what you want from a story/author, but even sweeter when they make you work and wait for it.
 

An interesting thing to note about this book is that the author wrote it to be “unfilmable,” and as of April 2020, the movie rights have not been sold. This is surprising, coming from a theatre major in this day and age; because acting is life and whatnot, not to mention getting your book made into a movie is a nice financial boon to any lucky author. So, inasmuch as I’d love to see a version of this as a movie, I do applaud her decision and think it an admirable thing to stand by one’s art in its intended form. Seeing as how poorly most books translate into film, I know I would ultimately be disappointed in the end product because so much of the POV takes place in character’s and reader’s heads. (There are a few exceptions to the rule, where I find the movie to be better or as good as the book. Off the top of my head I am thinking of The Princess Bride, and Holes as two examples. How about you? Tell me in the comments below!) The amazing thing about reading a story is that it’s a different experience for each of us. If you’re one of those people, like me, who can “see the action” as you read along, well our action looks different from each other too. (The version in my head included lots of real candlelight; fantastic costuming; some parts in various styles of animation, including claymation; heavy use of a sepia filter; and 1000% requires someone with a very specific male sounding voice to whisper stories to me in the dark. Feel free to send me your audition clips, and remember, we’re going for warm, enchanting, and inviting; not creepy, haha.)
 

Parental Review: This is a book that would be safe for kids to read, as far as blood, sex and violence, etc. goes; but I would recommend it for more adult audiences, maybe well read older teens. The way metaphor and symbolism are used, as well as the way the story is laid out would probably go right over younger readers heads, causing confusion or boredom. Heck, it seems to go over some older readers heads as well, many of the review titles I browsed when looking for information to write this seem to suggest that they didn’t understand the book, or that the metaphor/symbology was overdone. But that is them, and their reviews, this is mine, and I thought it worked well, especially if you are a person who knows myths, legends, and classical literature. Plus, the beauty of reading something you don’t understand can help grow and change your mind, if you desire it to do so and put some effort into understanding.
 

TL;DR review: I really liked it. I’m 65 books into my year, and this is my favorite so far. Go read, enjoy and repeat.

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Channeling on the Big Screen: A Follow Up

Channeling on the Big Screen

 
This article relates to my previous post on January 17th, 2021
 

As many of you know by this time, Amazon released a few seconds of a Moiraine teaser on March 17th, 2021. This was shortly followed up by a Q&A from our favorite show runner, Rafe Judkins, over on Twitter. I didn’t ask the question about channeling myself, but I am glad someone did. And I must admit, Mr. Judkin’s answer gave me chills of excitement because his answer was so very much along the lines of what I was hoping for as far as the “style” being up to the original user. Please view his tweet for yourself!
 

(Side note: If you want to dig even deeper into the rabbit hole of this particular teaser, you can head over to The Dusty Wheel’s discussion of the trailer. Those lucky ducks in Germany somehow got a longer, more zoomed out view in their trailer, (shown at 2:55 in the video) and friends, there be Trollocks in that thar preview! The original post has long since been removed, but it was a really real reel from Amazon bit of film, albeit an unfinished one. I genuinely take comfort in being a part of such an attentive and excited fandom who catch things like this and spread it throughout our whole Randland loving world.)
 

Most recently, via Instagram on May 20th, 2021, Mr. Judkins did another fan Q&A in celebration of wrapping up Season 1 of the show, and announcing that Season 2 is a go. (SEASON 2 IS A GOOOOOO PEOPLE!!!! Thank you Amazon!) His answers were humorously frustrating, especially the bit about about who will be able to see the channeling or not. I guess streaming television is the new Test?! Here’s hoping we all pass.

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Channeling On The Big Screen

Channeling on the Big Screen

 

This article contains a few minor non-Wheel of Time (WOT) spoilers — Harry Potter/Doctor Strange/Avatar — read at your own risk.

 

One of the things I am most interested in watching come to life when WOT drops on Amazon Prime is how Weaving/Channeling will look, and I bet I’m not the only curious cat with the same excitement.
 

I am one of those people who always get a picture in their head when they read, so much so that I have a harder time with comics and graphic novels. The art and my brain don’t always agree on how a scene should look, and it makes me a slower reader. When I first started reading The Eye of the World back in 2003, and learning about Aes Sedai and weaving/channeling, my wonderfully inaccurate and imaginative brain always pictured my fiber-loving Gramma sitting at her loom, shuttle flying from hand to hand between the strings as her feet press down on different pedals to change the pattern of the threads. Realistically, I knew that Aes Sedai didn’t randomly pull out an ickle loom from their saddlebags when work needed to be done; but if I’m honest, it often popped in there in the beginning so I just pushed it away and moved on.
 

Later in the series, when Mr. Jordan started talking about the way the Source user’s hands moved, my imagination conjured up something that looked more like a maestro conducting an orchestra, or some unknown form of sign language. Neither idea is something subtle, which seems like it would be important if one is trying to sneak about and accomplish their plotsy plans. This imagination did limit itself to hands, and not yarn and loom, so it was a welcome improvement!
 

It wasn’t until I saw the end of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix that I finally saw something in film that made me think, “This is what channeling should look like!” Granted, they’re wizards with wands. But the way that they moved and used their wands, almost as an extension of their hands, made it seem like it was simply natural. It also helped that they were doing wordless wand magic instead of shouting spells.
 

Even something like The Librarian’s brainy Cassandra, or more recently the new movie Jingle Jangle’s use of magical equations made me think of channeling. (Side note, Jingle Jangle was fantastically fun, and highly recommended!) It’s math-esq, but still kind of magical in the way they use their hands and you see components coming together.
 

Probably my most favorite depiction I’ve seen so far is from Doctor Strange. We see Strange learn and grow in his skills via practice and testing, like Tower initiates would do. We see that different hand motions cause different results, and that the patterns/movements matter in the outcome. When Strange gets stronger he can wield his power like a weapon; and with the help of the sling rings (an angreal/sa’angreal kind of thing), even makes cool glowing gateways for traveling!
 

I do hope that whatever they end up doing to show channeling, we are able to tell what elements are being used in the weave – maybe a different light color for each, or a different style of movement? This is where we can look at something like Avatar: The Last Airbender. (I know this is a super popular show, but I am only at the beginning of season two so I am basing comments on that only). I like that their use of elemental power involves their whole body; and depending on which element it is they’re using, they kind of echo the movement of that element. Water for example, is very flowing; whereas fire is much more abrupt and forceful. Each bending style in this animated series is actually rooted in a real life martial art, which is helpful to distinguish the elements as well. Given that Mr. Jordan based so many other elements of his stories in Asian cultures, this approach does not seem unreasonable for the series producers to use.
 

All these words to say, who knows what channeling in the new series will look like? I guess we’ll simply have to WAFO. No matter what it ends up looking like, I’m simply thrilled WOT is getting a chance to be on screen at all!
 

How about you? What do you think it will look like? Do you have a favorite visualization from your brain, or some other source? We’d love you to share it.
 

Here are a few links to the visuals I mentioned. Needless to say, all of these links have MAJOR SPOILERS, so view at your own risk.

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TarValon.Net’s December 2020 Recap

TVRecapDec2020

 

Well, we did it team, we’ve finally arrived at the end of the longest century of the longest day of the longest month of our lives. 2020 has been so timey-wimey that it feels like it was only March yesterday, and yet somehow it is New Year’s at the end of the week! Gracious. I am firmly in agreement with our very own Katarianna’s #coronavirustictoklessons that none of this year’s birthdays count toward our aging, which seems very appropriate for a site full of Aes Sedai. I really do think that getting to the end of the year healthy, and relatively happy, is an accomplishment in its own right. You should be proud of yourselves no matter what!

 

EventsDec2020

 

 

HiringsDec2020

 

Please join us in welcoming these members to their new positions:

 

RaisingsDec2020

 

Our newly-retired Mayor, Jahily al’Karee, joined the Tower! Welcome to our newest JM!

 

PositionsDec2020

 

The Department of Marketing has an open-ended, flexible invitation to join them on your own terms, for as much or as little time as you want. If you’re interested in writing, graphic design or social media this is the Department for you! Check them out!

 

Our thoughts are with Team Jordan’s Wilson Grooms as he battles cancer. The family requests privacy at this time and is thankful for the community’s support.

 

Finally, we’d like to wrap up this summary by wishing our very own Mother, Serinia Edoras, the happiest of birthday months in this magical year where we do not age. We appreciate you, and all the others who work tirelessly behind the scenes to keep this place up and running. Go Ohio sports ball!
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NaNoWriMo 2020

NaNoWriMoBanner

 

Ready, Set, Write!

 

Ah, November, otherwise known as NaNoWriMo, the month that strikes an equal combination of fear and joy in the heart of a writer. So many questions abound, so many plot paths to pursue. Am I a “Planner,” well prepared in advance? Or am I a “Pantster,” letting my fingers fly as my unknown to me story flows out of my flashing fingers. Oh how I ever wish I was a Planner, but considering that it is 10:30pm on November 1st, and I am writing this instead of a well plotted out scene should tell you the answer to that question!
 

To learn more about NaNoWriMo, check out their website. In short they are a 501(c)(3) group focused on promoting the creation of new literary works. This is their twenty first year hosting thousands of writers from around the globe and challenging them to write, write, write! The “official” challenge is to write 50,000 words in the month of November, but participants are encouraged to set their own goals. Mine, for example, is to write for at least thirty minutes a day, every day. It would be amazing to get a story from that, but I am more interested in simply getting back into a good habit of daily writing again. Hopefully after coming to the table and writing every day for thirty days it will stick.
 

Several of our TarValon.Net members have been active participants and winners over the years. Please feel free to join us in the planning thread started by Cahalan Sothron in the Fine Arts & Literary Pursuits forum. We will also have a special Discord channel available to us on the TarValon.Net Discord. If you are interested in joining a group on the NaNoWriMo website itself, please send a request to BlueDina (I am so very creative with my user name, ha!) This group is limited to 20 members, per their site restrictions, so please only join if you actually intend to participate on their site.
 

Here is a small badge edited for you to wear to show your commitment to NaNoWriMo!
 

NaNoWriMoBadge
 

If you decide to participate, at any level, we hope you come up with something you love, and that you are able to meet the goals you set for yourself. Once the month is over, come tell us about your goals, and what you created.
 

Now, stop reading, and go write!!!

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