Read: 31 July, 2015
I’m still making my way through A Memory of Light, but I came across the New Spring graphic novel at the library and thought I would give it a try.
It’s been almost exactly a year since I first started the Wheel of Time series, beginning with the prequel (though it wasn’t published until the series was already well under way, I wanted to get the plot in order). So it’s been a while, enough time for the graphic novel to be a lovely refresher as I make my way through the culmination of the story.
I was reminded of how much I hadn’t grasped when I first read the prequel. The biggest example of this is the Aiel. Since the descriptions of them in the book compared them to demons and dark friends, and their faces were always covered, and their culture was entirely alien to all the POV characters in the book, I had assumed that they were something more like trollocs than people. It wasn’t until a subsequent book that I realized they were just meant to be another culture.
This made Lan’s chapters difficult to read. I just didn’t get them, I couldn’t picture the battles in my mind. With Moiraine, however, enough was familiar that I could find my footing pretty quickly.
Having now fully submerged myself in the Wheel of Time universe, I was able to pick up a lot more from the graphic novel. For example, I had completely forgotten that Moiraine had met Cadsuane, and knowing who Cadsuane is now, that encounter makes a lot more sense. (Same goes for Elaida.)
As for the graphic novel itself, it was fine. The art was mostly very clean (except for the last chapter and epilogue, where there’s a sudden change in style and drop in quality), and it was interesting to see how the characters were represented – even if the images don’t always agree with what I have in my head.
I also felt like the artwork was overly sexualized. Most of the women are too skinny for their organs, and they all have perfect pert breasts. It’s a little jarring to see characters who are identified almost exclusively by their intellects in the book to all be supermodels in the graphic novel.
This really comes through in Jordan’s e-mails, provided at the end of the book. In the e-mails, he is correcting errors made by the adaptation team, and frequently has to remind them to de-sexy the female characters. It’s unfortunate that, although he specifically mentions that there should not be any low necklines, and no off-the-shoulder dresses, on several occasions, and yet the final chapter (which I am given to understand was drawn after Jordan’s death) includes them anyway. I guess because he wasn’t there to to reign in the impulse for sexifying any more? It’s a shame.
That said, I did really like the way that channelling was depicted. I’ve occasionally wondered how a graphic/movie adaptation could handle Weaving, given the way it’s described in the books, and I think they did a really good job.
The dialogue was okay. They did that weird thing that I’ve noticed in comic books where they bold certain words, and I really don’t understand it. My brain always wants to put more emphasis on those words because they are in bold, but then it interrupts the rhythm of speech.
I noticed some typos, or perhaps just very poor word choices that made the dialogue more confusing that it needed to be. I think, though I may be wrong, that this occurred more frequently in the final chapter – where the artwork suffered as well. I suspect the two are related.
In all, I found it an interesting little exercise, as someone who has read most of the Wheel of Time series, to get to revisit part of the story in a different format. I couldn’t recommend it to someone who hadn’t already read the book, however. There’s just too much going on, too many subplots, and the graphic novel just doesn’t really do a very good job of providing backstory. I understand the constraints of the format, but I do think that the adaptation team could have done a better job.
Buy New Spring: the Graphic Novel from Amazon and support this blog!