One of the notable aspects of Robert Jordan's writing style was that he was "occasionally" overly descriptive. From clothing, locations or horses, the reader was rarely left in doubt about how something looked. So it is ironic, at least to this observer, that The Wheel of Time TV show thus far, based on the small amount we have seen, has not adhered to those descriptions very closely.
He wanted to believe that Tam was right, that the rider had just been his imagination, but he could remember that feeling of hatred too well. There had been someone. And that someone had meant them harm. He did not stop looking back until the high-peaked, thatched roofs of Emond’s Field surrounded him.
On roof after roof the goodman of the house clambered about, checking the thatch to see if the winter’s damage meant calling on old Cenn Buie, the thatcher.
He had been sprawled on his front steps, not up on his roof, though the thatch looked as if it badly needed Master Buie’s attention.
Rand stared wonderingly. No one traveled beyond the village by night, not these days, certainly not alone. The thatcher grumbled under his breath again, too low this time for Rand to understand more than a word or two. “Madman” and “unnatural.”
“I can see,” Bran replied with a sidelong look at the thatcher.
Thatch or Thatcher was used six times in just a couple of pages. Jordan clearly wanted us to know the village was thatched.
Did the set designers get the message?
Shingles and Shingler for the show! These photos are before any post production, so perhaps they'll throw on some thatch in post. The roofs in the WoTonPrime teaser did look a bit different.
Three men in breastplates and conical steel caps, burnished till they shone like silver, were making their way down the street toward Rand and Mat. Even the mail on their arms gleamed. Their long cloaks, pristine white and embroidered on the left breast with a golden sunburst, just cleared the mud and puddles of the street.
The costume designers had an easy job with such a clear description. Did they mail it?
The only similarity is, they are wearing white. So that would be a no. Fan's have pointed out that this could just be their "casual" dress and they don't have on their full armor. The leaked "Wolf attack" video has them wearing the same outfit.
The gates stood open, tall and covered with dark iron, but a dozen armored men stood guard in golden yellow surcoats bearing the Black Hawk. The hilts of long swords on their backs peeked over their shoulders, and broadsword or mace or axe hung at every waist. Their horses were tethered nearby, made grotesque by the steel bardings covering chests and necks and heads, with lances to stirrup, all ready to ride at an instant.
Rand’s bay stallion was with the other group on the far side of the courtyard, with Ingtar, and a bannerman holding Ingtar’s Gray Owl banner, and twenty other armored men with lances tipped with two feet of steel, all mounted already. The bars of their helmets covered their faces, and golden surcoats with the Black Hawk on the chest hid their plate-and-mail. Only Ingtar’s helmet had a crest, a crescent moon above his brow, points up.
Living in the Borderlands and being ready to face Trollocs at anytime would certainly want to make you armor up. Shienaran soldiers are full time and not casual layabouts like the Whitecloaks.
Like with the Whitecloaks, they made an effort to get the colors right, but once again eschewed using mail or steel armor. Leather armor against Trollocs doesn't seem wise. Horses for courses.
These horses are not going to stay the course charging a horde of Trollocs. Grotesque steel bardings is likely impractical and expensive on anything more than one or two horses though.
Heron Marked Sword
When Tam came back, Rand stared in surprise. A thick belt slanted around Tam’s waist, and from the belt hung a sword, with a bronze heron on the black scabbard and another on the long hilt. The only men Rand had ever seen wearing swords were the merchants’ guards. And Lan, of course. That his father might own one had never even occurred to him. Except for the herons, the sword looked a good deal like Lan’s sword.
“Where did that come from?” he asked. “Did you get it from a peddler? How much did it cost?”
Slowly Tam drew the weapon; firelight played along the gleaming length. It was nothing at all like the plain, rough blades Rand had seen in the hands of merchants’ guards. No gems or gold adorned it, but it seemed grand to him, nonetheless. The blade, very slightly curved and sharp on only one edge, bore another heron etched into the steel. Short quillons, worked to look like braid, flanked the hilt. It seemed almost fragile compared with the swords of the merchants’ guards; most of those were double-edged, and thick enough to chop down a tree.
Tam's Heron marked sword is one of the most important props the show would need to make. There are several details about it that have consequences later on and there is even an official replica, not of Tam's sword, but one that shows the style of sword Jordan pictured.
There is also an unofficial custom replica of Tam's sword, which matches Jordan's description.
With actual physical blades to look at, it should have been a cinch for the prop department.
The sword in these photo's is not confirmed to be Tam's sword, but it does appear to be the only sword in shot and the location does look like a probable place for Rand to rest his sword while practicing archery.
From what we can see, the general shape seems close and that could be a heron engraved on a bronze plaque on the scabbard. The guard/quillons clearly do not match, being more in the style of a Katana. The major discrepancy though, is the lack of a Heron on the hilt. The shape of the hilt and the wrapping would also make it hard for there to be one on the side we can't see.
Twice and twice shall he be marked, twice to live and twice to die. Once the heron, to set his path. Twice the heron, to name him true. Once the Dragon, for remembrance lost. Twice the Dragon, for the price he must pay.
No Heron on the hilt means dropping this part of the Karaethon Cycle, rewording it or having the scabbard herons being what brands him. The last option is a minor change and makes sense for his off-hand, but a swordsman usually doesn't hold there scabbard with their sword hand, which means the writers need to manufacture a reason for him to do so and not make it look awkward. It would surely be easier to just stick with Jordan's description and honor his vision of the sword.
Writing as Robert Jordan, James Rigney made knowledge his stock in trade. In order to write effectively about men and non-men who fought with swords and lances, he hefted them, he swung them. He studied what life is like for a man who makes his meat and beer with a battle axe. He would hold a spear or sword and contemplate the use of it in combat. Some swords are better in small areas, whereas long swords are better suited for larger space. He’d use them to learn about things like that. Einstein is quoted as saying, “I have no particular talent. I am only passionately curious.” RJ, Jim was that, and more.
Jordan was an avid weapons collector and connoisseur, he took his weapons seriously. It would be disappointing to see the writers not respect that for one of the most iconic weapons in the series.
These changes are of course only things that hard core book freaks will care about. The casual reader and new viewers, who will make up the overwhelming majority of the audience, would likely roll their eyes at anyone who raised these differences, but for those that might be slightly obsessed with the series, these changes combined with other known deviations from the books can be a cause for concern.
These concerns could very well be based on incomplete knowledge and wrong assumptions. We will need to WAFO to know for sure!
That doesn't mean they shouldn't be voiced though or that people voicing concern should be ridiculed, shunned or downvoted into oblivion. Being a passionate fan doesn't always lend its self well to stepping back and seeing things objectively or to being able to articulate concerns clearly.
Have a little compassion for our poor tortured souls. Give us a hug not a boot out the door.