Wheel of Time on TV and a Chance at Diversity

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With the buzz last month that the late Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time is moving forward at Sony Pictures, could we be looking at the most diverse fantasy story (so far) to make its way into popular media?

Maybe. Or maybe not.

As the dice tumble and wheel turns, let’s discuss right quick.

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Fantasy’s “Othering” Fetish

300_immortalsA minor kerfuffle on race and representation was kicked up following last Sunday’s season finale of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Most noticeably, the barely restrained tilt towards Orientalism and the “great white emancipator” finally crossed the red line with the episode “Mhysa.” By week’s end, more than a few articles appeared in criticism, most noticeably comedian Aamer Rahman who pointed out why the Khaleesi’s entire storyline has been “messed up” from the jump. The reactions to this were typical: Denials. Charges of political correctness run amok. And of course, lots’ o’ geek-splainin’. But anyone barely acquainted with modern fantasy literature knows that from black-veiled Haradrim to the Ever Victorious Seanchan to the slavers of Yunkai, the genre has had a long love affair with exotic and dangerous “others.”

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A Farewell to Trollocs

A-Memory-of-LightA Memory of Light, the 14th and final installment in Robert Jordan’s massive fantasy tome The Wheel of Time is finally here. Tarmon Gai’don is finally here. The armies are marching for Shayol Ghul. The forces of the Dark and the Light will do battle. This is it. This is what all those thousands of pages have been leading up to. I should be ecstatic, elated–spitting out balefire in celebration. So then, why am I so bummed?

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