Channeling, Magic & The One Power: How do you picture it?


#1

One aspect of the TV show that will undoubtedly get it’s fair share of scrutiny, is the artistic choices on how to depict channeling.

What the books tell us (from WoT wiki)
Channelers will describe the experience of “seeing” the flows visually, despite the non-visible nature of the flows. Seeing the flows take shape into weaves is how one learns and memorizes the techniques of manipulating the Power. The flows appear smooth and nearly transparent, faintly tinged with color according to which of the Five Powers is involved. Fire appears red, Water appears blue, Earth appears green, Air appears yellow, and Spirit appears white.

The strength of a flow is evident to a channeler by its size, be it a trickle of power or cable-thick strands. Again, this is a misleading way of describing it to non-channelers, as very thin strands can be quite fine and powerful while thicker ones less forceful. These flows appear to emanate from the body of the channeler, except to the channeler him or herself. To the person channeling, the flow appears to originate in close proximity.

Perspective
The audience is likely to remain in 3rd person which leads me to think we see channeling from the point of view of a non-channeler. That is, we see people fly across a room and get pinned against a wall, but no colors or weaves. Is there a tasteful way to show channeling from a first person perspective? Maybe you can establish rules that allow you to show the colors and the weaves from the main characters perspective when: a scene only includes channels (same side), in the dreamworld, during private lessons, etc.

Examples
Here are a few early encounters of channeling in EotW to consider.

  1. Moiraine using her angreal to heal Tam in the Winespring Inn - (Nothing to see here except Moriaines acting)
  2. Moiraine compelling various townsfolk - (acting ability only)
  3. Rand urging Bella to run, possibly his first channeling (Rand’s acting ability and facial expression, maybe a quick action scene that shows the hair on Rand’s arm standing up?)
  4. Moiraine creating fog and sinking the ferry (CGI fog, water and ferry movement only)
  5. Egwene lighting a candle in a private lesson with Moriane, before Rand snoops - (Maybe a tiny glimmer of color?)
  6. Moiraine turning into a giant and stepping over a city wall, past white cloaks - (Ohh goodness I hate this scene. Please don’t get giant. Cast a giant shadow for the sake of striking fear, use the power to amplify your voice, push white-cloaks with the power and ride through the gate at the last second, but please don’t physically 10x your size to step over.)

What are your thoughts?


#2

I think Nynaeve’s confrontation with Moghedien might be a good way to show it in the series. It is referred that a non channeler who walks into the room would only see two women facing each other. If someone is channeling in the presence of a non channeler, it might be useful to show both perspectives so as to make plain that it cannot be seen by all.
So, considering those examples, I’d say there’s absolutely no need to show the weaves.

Then there’s also the matter of the result. For instance, producing a fireball in a channeler’s point of view, is there a weave to show or just the fireball going? I’m thinking about the moment the Seanchan show up at the Kin’s Farm and the Aes Sedai start blasting them right away.

I think seeing the weaves would be better, though not at all times. If you see the person glowing (women’s case), then you can see the weaves. I kind of picture them like they do it in the New Spring graphic novel


#3

This is kinda how I pictured the weaves different colors of not completely solid threads


#4

@Mahalleinir , yeah that’s how Narg has always pictured it. Like looking through a rainbow. Great find on the picture :smiley: Forward that to Rafe :cowboy_hat_face:

Narg pictures that scene with Rand noticing Bela is starting to flag and fall back, we get a close up of Rand(muttering to himself) urging Bela to Run and not fall back while at the same time the score/sound effect invokes the “His bones felt as if they were freezing, ready to split open” feeling Rand experiences. Of course we don’t won’t to make it to obvious Rand channeled, as that ruins the fun of the audience trying to piece things together later on(Rand acting funny with the Whitecloaks, Nynaeves chat with Moiraine about channeling side effects, Rand on the boat and his sickness after 4 Kings).

Narg agrees that we should see both perspectives. Any scene involving a channeler, trying to shield or sever another, we need to see the weaves. Narg thinks it would be awesome seeing Nynaeve’s weave alternating between a sharp cutting edge to just a shield as it slides home.


#5

The dream world has the same problem in another way. We see an environment changing for itself for no apparent reason and people are attacked without aggression.

Perhaps there is a way to present the world from a person’s personal point of view and to show the world as made of many paintings that are not completely real, and this person adds a little color to the painting and the picture changes. So you can look at a patient and see a painting of pale skin or a warp of heat around it. The healer tries to change these colors.But the harder the disease, the harder it is to change the painting, the deeper the colors and the more complex the painting.


#6

I envision the Dreamworld, to be depicted from the character POV, with the edges of our screen blurred a bit, while everything is black and white with color added for dramatic effect. Not sure if that would necessarily work if they had an entire episode done that way.

As far as the weaves I think they are going to need several depictions of it because though I think Mahalleinir is the best representation I don’t think it fits all uses of the power.


#7

I do not really care what it looks like, I care more about the problem in the world of dreams. There is no need for channeling in order to influence the world, so there is nothing that can show us who is behind the change.


#8

I agree, seeing the weaves will make channeling more visually interesting. Especially in the women’s case, as they do see the glow of channeling. If you set this up correctly, then the visuals can work for you later in the series. For instance, the glow of channeling can suddenly appear around a person in a crowd and the audience can have the eerie sensation of recognizing something bad happening before it actually does.

Balancing this throughout the series, I think the audience perspective should progress along with Rand and Egwene. In the beginning there is no channeling CGI added, only the raw outcomes. Glimmers and sparks appear as they begin to learn about channeling, and even then, only in specific circumstances. Gradually more and more glowing, colors and weaving are added as their knowledge of the subject grows. Bonus: this methodology corresponds with a growing audience and budgets.

Great pic Mahalleinir. Added this to my notes :smile:

Narg, Rand’s first channeling does need to be subtle. A whisper and music, that feels right. Excellent point.

And the dreamworld. This should be a whole other topic. These sequences include a lot of visualizations and exotic locations, locations and sets that won’t come until future seasons. These brief sequences will require a lot of work to do correctly, to spark intrigue in the audience. I’m hoping for an artistic and surrealist style. And since Rand will likely have his first dream in episode 2, the dream style needs to be sorted out early.


#9

It looks very beautiful but has a few problems with it. How can we distinguish between saidar and saidin power? And how the power of darkness looks. And how does a strong chaneler and wick one look different?When two fight, most of the war is not visible. So we just see a lot of color that does nothing?


#10

Why do you need to? If you’re seeing the weaves, you’ll see who there coming from.

If there using the true source/power, either all black or all the colours have a black tinge?

Not sure there needs to be a difference in how they look but they could just make the weaves more transparent for weaker channelers.

Well if there flinging fireballs, lightning or anything else substantial you only need to see the “practical” effect, not the weaves. The only times Narg thinks you need to see weaves, is when showing a learning scene, using spirit to shield or sever and occasionally in other scenes when Rand or someone else is making something(you see weaves from his perspective and then you switch to what other people are seeing).


#11

I think you just show the female half of the power with bright beautiful colors and the male half with darker syrupy sickly colors that represent the taint.


#12

Do we need to have both True Power and One Power in the TV series?

I think the True Power will be cut from the story because it’ll be confusing and will need an info-dump scene where one character explains to the other what the True Power is and how it’s different from the One Power. I just don’t think the two are different enough. I think they can find a way to make the story work without the True Power.

Thoughts?


#13

I’m not convinced the weaves need to be shown at all. The 3rd person perspective (audience) would not be able to see the weaves unless they were special channelers themselves.

If they are depicted, I am intrigued by the idea of visually distinguishing the male & female halves.

With EotW as season one, I don’t think we see male channeling until the last episode with Aginor and Balthamel. So the costs to introduce tainted channeling weaves could be minimal for season one. And if you decided to cut them going forward, be it artistic or costs, the differences could be explained that this was Forsaken and/or that they were taping into the pool.


#14

I just hope they cut the part where Moiraine projects herself into a giant and steps over the gates. I never liked that scene and glad RJ never revisited it.


#15

Yes, I think of this early scene as RJs Thomb Bomadil moment. I’m not sure he fully fleshed out the role and scope of his magic system when he wrote that. There would be a lot less problems if the Aes Sedai could become Godzilla women at will.


#16

I always pictured weaves like laces of many tiny threads of many colors.

If anyone has watched Doctor Who’s 7th season, Doctor’s timeline thingie in that episode would actually look quite like how I picture weavings.

IMG_4398

Like this thing here on right side. Saidin weaves are like that generally. One main thread with no other threada growing from it while saidar I picture has side threads growing too.


#17

I’m not sure showing the weaves is going to be very practical, especially when it goes beyond a handful of channellers; the battle of Dumai’s Wells has hundred of channellers, women as well as men, and showing every weave is gonna be distracting at best, and at worst ruin one of the most powerful, pivotal moments in the series.

If it was me trying to decide how to show channelling was taking place, id use a mix of lighting and shading, white noise (higher, softer tones for female channelling, deeper, more menacing thrum for males), and possibly slightly over exaggerated motions with the arms and hands (violent chopping motion to signify cutting the threads, throwing a net or ball, left palm up, finger outspread as wide as then can for a protective shield, etc)

This also does have the benefit of being able to hide the few time rand channels without knowing about it; the audience will hear the noise and simply pass it off as trying to build suspense


#18

I don’t really see that as a problem. Part of the Battle is seen in Perrin’s and Gawyn’s POVs. That would have no need for weaves, obviously. I would have the Rand parts include only Rand’s weaves and maybe those of the closest male channelers. That would not make it confusing. The rest of the One Power I would only show the effects, like fireballs and the dome and the lightning