'Wheel of Time' Cast on What Sets the Series Apart From 'Game of Thrones'

The Wheel of Time premieres in just over a week, and critics are chomping at the bit to begin comparing the series to Game of Thrones. Stars Josha Stradowski and Marcus Rutherford feel there are some key similarities and differences between the two series, they said in a recent press junket. In the end, they hope their new show stands on its own.

I asked Stradowski and Rutherford what they thought Game of Thrones fans might like most about The Wheel of Time - be they similarities or differences. Rutherford's initial response was that "the world is very, very expansive" in The Wheel of Time — "maybe even more so in terms of like... in Robert Jordan's books, there's so many different cultures and so many different kind of landscapes and cities and towns that the characters go to."

Jordan's fictional world is famously huge and detailed, and unlike George R.R. Martin, he wrote a dozen books exploring every nook and cranny of it he could. On the other hand, Rutherford predicts that fans will appreciate Jordan's different approach to magic and politics.

"I think what's kind of different is this element of the power balance between the genders, and within the magic system, women being the only ones who are allowed access to it. I think that's something quite refreshing within our series," he said.

Out of all the fantasy novel adaptations and swords-and-sorcery shows that have sprung up in the last few years, Wheel of Time gets compared to Game of Thrones more than any other - and for good reason. Jordan and Martin were contemporaries, with The Wheel of Time and A Song of Ice and Fire being published right around the same time. Martin named two minor characters in his series after Jordan, and when Jordan passed away in 2007, Martin famously wrote a eulogy for his colleague on his blog that is beloved by fans to this day.

"He was also unfailingly generous towards other fantasists, always ready to offer them support and encouragement. My own ICE & FIRE series might never have found its audience without the cover quote that [Jordan] was so kind as to provide, back when A GAME OF THRONES was first published," Martin wrote. "I will always be grateful to him for that."

Still, many fans are tired of hearing every new fantasy show compared to Game of Thrones — especially die-hard fans of the books that are now being adapted. Some say that it is reductive to the genre as a whole and will limit the scope of this burgeoning field of adaptations.

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For better or worse, the comparisons will come as The Wheel of Time turns. The series premieres on Friday, Nov. 19, on Amazon Video. Jordan's books are available now in print, digital and audiobook formats wherever books are sold.