Gavin Baker @GavinSBaker Husband, Becky Painter. CIO, Atreides Management. Former PM, Fidelity OTC fund. investorfieldguide.com/baker/ No investment advice, views all my own. Feb. 02, 2020 3 min read

1) Secretly hoping that there will be a short “Wheel of Time” ad during the Super Bowl. If well done, high confidence that this will be much bigger than the “Witcher” and the first true must see TV on Prime Video.

Also a story about nerd alpha, Carl Icahn and the Hunger Games.

2) I started rereading Game of Thrones, i.e. “A Song of Ice and Fire,” from the beginning every time a new book came out starting in 1999 with “Clash of Kings.” The “Wheel of Time” novels are even longer and I read the first book seven times as a result of the same process.

3) To the best of my knowledge, “Wheel of Time” had dramatically outsold “Game of Thrones” until the HBO series took GoT to a new level.

Really think the show could be huge: deep, richly imagined world with great characters and thousands of years of history, mystery, etc.

4) For anyone tempted, it is roughly 15k pages, the author died before finishing the series himself and the series really dips in the middle. Brandon Sanderson was brought in to finish the series and did a solid job. Writing style more David Eddings than GRRM.

5) But still moments of awesomeness. The sword fight between Rand and the Seanchan blademaster Turak Aladon at the end of the first book might be the greatest fight scene in any fantasy novel.

“Let us see what it takes to earn the heron on this side of the ocean.”

6) Re: Carl Icahn, the “Hunger Games” and alpha from nerdiness (or any sort of Peter Lynch personal knowledge).

Even if “Wheel of Time” is a massive success it is unlikely to move the needle for Amazon at $1 trillionish in market cap. But sometimes these insights can matter

7) In 2011, Icahn had an activist position in Lionsgate. He eventually got frustrated and sold his entire stake via a block (or maybe more than one; I can’t remember) after reaching a settlement with the company.

8) I wasn’t interested until a similarly nerdy PM friend came by a few mins after the block went up. He told me that Lionsgate was making a series of movies based on “The Hunger Games,” which he knew I had read and loved.

9) I thought this would be the next Harry Potter and it was easy to value it at 75% to 150% of the entire market cap of Lionsgate at the time. I had seen Jennifer Lawrence in “Winter’s Bone” and knew she was a super talented actress who was well cast as Katniss Everdeen.

10) The PM who told me about the Hunger Games, another friend and I took down the overwhelming majority of the Icahn block right around $7. I am reasonably confident that Icahn had not read the “Hunger Games,” but one never knows.

11) Lionsgate then went up 3x in 3 years based on the Hunger Games. So being a super nerd really can generate alpha from time to time. Although I did owe it all to my friend who had also read the books and knew that Lionsgate was making the movies.

12) Haven’t thought about LGF in years - thinking about “Wheel of Time” made me remember. Amazing that it has essentially round tripped!

Also curious to hear if anyone thinks another fantasy/sci-fi series in development for streaming has more potential than “Wheel of Time?”


You can follow @GavinSBaker.



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