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The following article is the script that was used for the above video with some minor edits:
Amazon Prime has once again teased us, this time with a reveal of an iconic weapon from the books that will make an appearance in the upcoming Wheel of Time TV Show. The Ruby-hilted Dagger. Let’s get right into it.
But first, SPOILER WARNING! This article will discuss plot elements related to the first three books (The Eye of the World, The Great Hunt, The Dragon Reborn) of the Wheel of Time series and will also discuss potential spoilers for the upcoming WoTonPrime TV Show. If you wish to remain completely spoiler free before the TV show release, this article is definitely not for you! You have been warned!
Okay, watch the original teaser here:
My initial reaction right out of the gate was, “AWESOME! This is our first look at what appears to be ACTUAL footage from the show!”
Now, I could be wrong about this, but let’s review briefly the other teasers we’ve received so far:
First we got an animated still image of The Winespring Inn set.
I unraveled this at length in a video where I think I proved that this was not actual footage.
Then there was an audio teaser with an animated graphic.
I unraveled that as well.
A prop reveal of the Heron-marked sword came next.
The shot in that teaser seems to be more of a promotional shot and is not likely actual footage from the show. I actually did two videos about the heron-marked sword, and I unraveled the teaser in the middle of the “spoiler” video.
There was another prop reveal teaser of Thom’s guitar which is not in the books and which I did not create a breakdown for; though I plan on discussing this in some detail in an upcoming video all about changes that we can expect in the tv show. The setting in the background of this clip is likely a real set from the show and is clearly footage, but, like the heron-marked sword teaser, it feels more like a promotional ad and not a real shot from the show.
The last teaser before this one included a series of animated concept art images, which I absolutely loved and discussed in detail as well!
Here's my breakdown of that teaser:
And now, this ruby-hilted dagger teaser! Actual footage of Barney Harris, the actor who plays Mat Cauthon, opening a mysterious box and picking up the ruby-encrusted dagger! We also get a little line of dialogue of Mat saying, “Alright, let’s make a deal.”
In my opinion WoTonPrime has knocked it out of the park, once again, by not only giving us fans awesome teasers to discuss, but by also making their teasers and announcements very accessible to all people, by including subtitles and video descriptions in their twitter announcements.
The initial tweet with the video says “Where the Shadow waits.” This gave me chills, because the name of the chapter in the Eye of the World where this scene happens in Shadar Logoth is called “Shadow’s Waiting.” We also know that the second episode of the TV show is entitled “Shadow’s Waiting.”
Okay, the first video description says:
Video Description (1/3): The video starts with ominous sounds over a black screen, then a script page that’s mostly blurred appears. The visible line reads “And inside, he sees something protected from the ravages of time - a ruby-encrusted dagger"
So far all of Amazon’s WoT teasers except for the audio teaser have started with a blurred image or video of text from either the books or from the scripts of the show. I love this tradition as it shows that all of the visual elements of the show are inspired by the writing.
Actually, in this clip, there is more text visible than just what is mentioned in WoTonPrime’s tweet.
The camera depth of field shifts in this opening scene, first revealing a paragraph that says, “He moves toward it, blowing dust away. The iron is rusted and decayed, and CRACKS away as he OPENS the case --”
Then the following text is revealed, “-- and inside, he sees something protected from the ravages of time -- a RUBY-ENCRUSTED DAGGER. It must be worth more than anything he’s seen before. He picks it up, looks at it, and then --”
Now, typically when something appears in ALL CAPS in a screenplay, that means that it is an important action or that the prop or item is appearing in the script for the first time. It is very likely that this is the first time that we see the Ruby-hilted dagger.
A few things are interesting to me about this script description.
First, this is not a scene from the book, or at least, the focus on how Mat obtains the dagger is very different from the book. Let’s recap the scene as it happens in chapter 19 of The Eye of the World.
The following description is from Rand’s point-of-view.
“Here, too, light came from a few torches staining the ceiling with their smoke and giving everyone more than one shadow, but that light was reflected a thousand times by the gems and gold piled on the floor, mounds of coins and jewelry, goblets and plates and platters, gilded, gem-encrusted swords and daggers, all heaped together carelessly in waist-high mounds.”
Notice that there were many gem-encrusted swords and daggers, all heaped together carelessly.
Mat practically dives into one of the piles of treasure and begins digging around, saying they need sacs to carry everything.
Rand notes out loud that Mordeth doesn’t have a shadow. The book says,
“A goblet fell from Mat’s hand with a crash.”
So, at this point, Mat still doesn’t have the dagger in his hand.
Then Mordeth freaks out and swells up like a balloon, scaring the boys. They fumble for weapons and Rand notes the following:
“Mat peered around the side of a treasure pile, clutching a dagger snatched from the trove.”
Mordeth then turns to thin tendrils of fog and disappears through cracks in the walls.
The boys escape together and Rand doesn’t discover that Mat kept the dagger until days later when they are on Bayle Domon’s ship.
Second, the script and clip indicate that Mat is possibly alone, or at least in a lower pressure situation when he finds the dagger. The dagger is in a golden box that appears to be almost on a pedestal or something, and doesn’t seem to be in a well-lit room surrounded by gold and other treasure. The fact that the script notes that “it must be worth more than anything he’s seen before” also implies that Mat probably doesn’t encounter piles and piles of treasure.
Third, this is not a huge thing, but notice that it is called a ruby-encrusted dagger, not a ruby-hilted dagger. As we’ll see later in this breakdown, the dagger doesn’t quite match the description of the dagger that Mat finds in Shadar Logoth in the books. Most noticeably different is the fact that the ruby is at the top of the hilt and not at the pommel or bottom of the hilt as it is described in the book. We’ll talk more about the differences as we continue.
Fourth, one more observation based on the script. After Mat pics up the dagger in the script, it says “and then...” So, something happens. In the video clip, we can hear Mat’s voice saying “Alright, let’s make a deal” in this moment. We’ll talk more about this line later, but I wanted to point out here that if there were dialogue during this scene in the script, the script itself would look different, as dialogue is always displayed in screenplays with the person’s name above a larger margined area of dialogue. It looks to me like after he picks up the dagger and “something happens” that there is no visible dialogue here. I think this line here might say “EXT.” or “INT.” which implies a scene change or shift to another POV. I really can’t make this out, but this looks like a scene break… if that’s the case, this dialogue from Mat could still happen when we cut back to a scene with him and the dagger, but I just wanted to note that the dialogue as heard in the clip does not appear to be scripted here at the moment that he picks up the dagger. I think the dialogue is likely from a scene that is not directly related to the clip in the teaser.
Okay, moving on.
Video Description 2 says,
“The script dissolves to show a dark hallway inside a massive stone structure. A dim light shines through a window, showing rubble lying on the floor.”
Not much to say here, but this is very likely a scene from inside the building or room where Mat is. If not the exact location as the dagger, certainly this is an interior shot or image of a building in Shadar Logoth. I love the foggy eerie feeling of the shot, but I also think that this version of the shot as shown in the teaser has a zoom added to it in post production, probably to give the teaser a more ominous feeling. I do hope that bright foggy look outside the window is a hint at Mashadar.
One other minor thing to note is that this may have been shot in this old church in Vysluni during Block 1 of production sometime between September and the first half of November in 2019. To learn more about the show’s production, watch Geeky Eri’s amazing video where she breaks down everything we know about Block 1 or visit wotseries.com
Video description 3 says,
"We then see a man’s hands opening a gold box. From the box, he removes the dagger as a voice says “alright, let’s make a deal.” The video then ends with a shot of something mysterious that quickly fades to black."
Okay, this one needs to be broken into parts.
First, let’s talk about this shot:
This has got to be Barney Harris. The long wavy hair definitely matches how he looked during filming of Block 1.
Also, I love the ragged look of his sleeves. It feels like his wardrobe has seen a lot of travel and isn’t very well taken care of, which makes perfect sense for Mat. The golden box that Mat unlatches is something totally unique to the tv show that isn’t in the book. The scene before with the script describes the box as “The iron is rusted and decayed, and CRACKS away as he OPENS the case --” but I’m not really seeing much decay or cracking happening in the shot as the scene progresses. To be fair, we don’t actually see him open the case as it fades to black instead.
Okay, let’s talk about the box. I love the intricate designs on the case. Adding some brightness and contrast, you can see the intricate details a bit better.
It reminds me of spreading tendrils of fog, and there are some bits that when zoomed in look a bit like eyes to me, which is fitting considering that Shadar Logoth is filled with “unseen eyes.” Did you notice any other designs or images in the box?
In the next shot, we see Mat remove the dagger from the box and we hear a voice saying “Alright. Let’s make a deal.” As I mentioned before, I don’t think he actually will say these words during this scene. This feels more like a line of dialogue that probably is Mat talking during a different scene or moment that has been edited into this shot. As for the words themselves, obviously this sounds like something Mat would say, like making a “bet” or a deal. There has been quite a bit of conversation amongst fans about whether or not Mat is talking to somebody, or if he is talking to the dagger, to himself, to Mordeth, or if maybe the dagger is speaking to him. Maybe Padan Fain will also make an appearance or be lurking in the shadows during this scene.
I think they’re obviously treating this scene where Mat takes the dagger more seriously and giving it more focus than Robert Jordan did in the books. My favorite theory is that Mat is alone during this moment, not with Rand and Perrin. We’ve seen this concept art of a single loan rider in Shadar Logoth.
Maybe the Emond’s Fielders get separated earlier, before they enter the city, and Mat finds himself alone confronting a man who is offering to help him for a price. I like to think that Mat will probably make a deal with Mordeth, telling him something like, “Alright. I want this dagger, and you want me to help you get out of the city, let’s make a deal.” I think this will play nicer for new fans because often new readers of the books do not like Mat at first based on his immature rash decision making. Showing Mat being manipulated and infected so-to-speak by Mordeth will make Mat more tolerable as a character in the first season. What do you think? Do you think Mat is talking to Mordeth in this scene or to somebody else?
Okay, now let’s talk in detail about the dagger. Here is the description of the ruby-hilted dagger from Rand’s point-of-view the first time he sees Mat holding it.
“A curved dagger with a gold scabbard worked in strange symbols. Fine gold wire wrapped the hilt, which was capped by a ruby as big as Rand's thumbnail, and the quillons were golden-scaled serpents baring their fangs.”
Let’s go through each of these and see how they compare to the design of the dagger in this teaser.
Curved dagger? Check!
I feel like it’s not as curved as I imagined it or shaped the same way as the chapter icon, but it does have a slight curve at the top and we know chapter icons don’t always match Robert Jordan’s descriptions.
Gold scabbard or sheath worked in strange symbols? Check!
When I first saw this I was confused by the blade of the knife, but I now realize the blade is likely sheathed in this scabbard. Blades don’t bubble over the way this does. A quick google search shows many dagger sheaths that have a similar look. I can’t wait to see what the actual blade looks like. What if it is a dark obsidian? Or it looks like normal steel until it cuts someone, then it goes black? That would be so cool! Also, if the blade were bare at this moment, I don’t think Mat would have picked it up this way. He’s certainly not immune to the dagger and I assume even a tiny cut from that blade would be lethal to him.
Fine gold wire wrapped around the hilt? Nope.
At least, not that I can see. It’s hard to make out details, but I don’t see fine gold wire. Adding some brightness and contrast, I can see the details of the hilt a bit better, but not enough to make out anything significant. The lines and details remind me of the eyes and possible fog-like curves that were on the outside of the box.
Hilt capped by a ruby as big as Rand’s thumbnail? Nope.
It does have a ruby, but not at the end of the pommel or capped on the hilt, but it still is technically on the hilt. However, if this ruby matches the book description, then Rand must have huge thumbnails. I’m not complaining. I love the deep red glow of the ruby.
Quillons shaped like golden-scaled serpents baring their fangs? Maybe?
It’s hard to make out the details in this highly compressed Twitter video of the teaser, but I don’t see anything that resembles serpents baring their fangs. Maybe the pommel is like an open snake mouth or something?
This is a bit of a tangent, but I really wish that WoTonPrime would release higher quality versions of these teasers for us to use on YouTube or another platform. Twitter really likes to remove a LOT of quality from videos, which really bothers me.
Anyway, moving on.
So, as Mat picks up the dagger, there is a bit of a reflection or glare that shines from the hilt. Then the glint flares up and the shot quickly transitions to what WoTonPrime calls “something mysterious that quickly fades to black.”
Everyone is going nuts about this. I think it looks like a ring or a closeup of some shape that might appear in the opening title sequence of the show? Similar to the rings with shapes in the Game of Thrones titles?
I can say for sure that the lens flare “glint” effect was added in post, and was definitely not actually there in the shot of the dagger. I can literally remake this exact effect using After Effects and Optical Flares. This was added in post…
The more I look at this mysterious something and mess around with the levels, the harder it is for me to determine what it is. Come on Amazon! We need higher quality videos to comb through!
Here are some ideas that I’ve seen online:
It could be a Dragon face or serpent.
It could be a ring. It could be the Great Serpent Ring of the A