This has implicit spoilers, if you have never read The Wheel of Time series.
The casting has grown on me, especially Rand and Mat after seeing more of the actors. Rand looks a lot like the Michael Whelan depiction, rather than the bizarre DKS depictions on most of the covers. The big thing is he looks slightly out of place in The Two Rivers due to his reddish hair, grey-ish eyes and extreme height. As long as the Aiel are cast to look within the range of why Rand resembles an Aiel, it works. He is also able to look a bit younger than the initial picture made him look, so he can age beyond the two years the story takes.
Mat looks like Mat, especially in some of the other material beyond the initial picture I saw. He looks of The Two Rivers.
Perrin… I can live with, but the build isn’t as broad or muscular. I can see a somewhat Middle Eastern appearance being in the realm for the area.
Egwene is still the one I look at and say “that’s not Egwene.”
She and Nynaeve have deep local genes. Ignoring that because TV, they look beautiful and strong-willed. It would be worse if they’d been cast as blonde or ginger, since they most definitely aren’t.
Lan’s casting will be interesting to see, since he actually looks Asian. They could cast someone of Japanese or mixed heritage easily, or of heritage that includes Korean or Mongolian.
Anyway, you’re catering to an audience that hasn’t read the books several times, or at all, and won’t care if the casting is accurate in appearance or ethnicity (which of course is all shook up this far in our future after thousands of years and the Breaking). It would still be weird if they didn’t cast a dark black beauty as Tuon, or an older one of the same as Semirhage. It would be weird if they didn’t cast Elayne, Morgase, or, if they ever get shown, Tigraine and Ilyena, as blondes or reddish blondes. It would be weird if they didn’t cast Avienda as some shade of redhead.
All of this makes me wonder about Loial. Will he even look like an Ogier? Ogier are aliens, so there’s no need to make them look human except to save on makeup or special effects. Perhaps they’ll take some guy and slap bushy eyebrows and Spock ears on him as if he’s the token elf.
I haven’t seen what anyone else has to say about this, besides a family member who was upset that people were critical of the casting. This suggests to me that my reaction must be mild compared to some. I’m not sure Peter Dinklage is a good comparison to bad casting being good, though. To make the Imp look as he did in ASOIAF would probably have required CGI or other hoop jumping that would detract from the dragon budget. That show, is, however, a good example of how far you can diverge and still be entertaining. Characters removed. Characters that don’t exist. Characters completely different ages. My understanding is that Logain will have a much bigger/different role on the WoT show, so there’s an example already if that is accurate. Maybe they’ll remove Faile! Heh. No, she’s critical to Perrin’s arc, but a lot of that can be trimmed. Kind of like a book or so per season, so maybe 8 seasons for 14-15 books (depending whether they show us anything from New Spring as backstory), with books 8-10 being squeezed to bare essentials to play a big part in condensing it that much.