Amazon Studios’ new series The Wheel of Time is taking its position on the slate of epic fantasy series. It’s working up to be something to behold. Rafe Judkins’ series will inevitably be compared to HBO’s Game of Thrones and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. But Robert Jordans’ book series is unlike either of them. It’s a show that features both common tropes (like the Chosen One and the Dark One) and amazing high fantasy. There are also new mythologies and new tales that help set it apart from other fantasy series.
Who’s Who In The Wheel of Time?
Moiraine Damodred (Rosamund Pike) and her Warder, Lan Mondragoran (Daniel Henney) are on a quest to find the Dragon Reborn. Aes Sedai is an all female organization. Moiraine is a member of this organization. The Dragon Reborn is the prophesied reincarnation of an Aes Sedai sister. Over the course of Moiraine’s journey, she arrives at the small town of Two Rivers. There she meets five people that she suspects might be the Dragon Reborn. She finds Egwene al’Vere (Madeleine Madden), Rand al’Thor (Josha Stradowski), Nynaeve al’Meara (Zoë Robins), Perrin Aybara (Marcus Rutherford) and Mat Cauthon (Barney Harris). The Dark Ones attack the small town where the five live. Moiraine asks them to join her quest after saving them, knowing they are likely important.
The Wheel of Time: What’s What?
A wheel turns through time, that’s the primary concept behind the world of The Wheel of Time. The Wheel weaves the Pattern and thus wills it to happen. The Wheel turns to the power of the True Source, which is the source of the One Power. Channelers are those who wield the One Power. Saidar women and Saidin men are the two groups of Channelers. Throughout time, the Dark One influenced the world and started a war that devastated the world. The men of Aes Sedai are driven mad when the Dark One was imprisoned by a powerful Aes Sedai. Hence today the Aes Sedai hunt down men who wield the One Power.
Every fantasy show has a juggernaut of details and characters that go into so many details of the world. Prophecies and legends about death and reincarnation are at the heart of the series. Each of the characters struggles with Moiraine’s pursuit of finding the Dragon Reborn, and they go through perilous journeys and conflicts to save each other’s lives. When Moiraine meets Nynaeve, the Wisdom of the Women’s Circle, Moiraine doesn’t believe that she could be the reinstated figure. Misplaced in her own home, Nynaeve struggles. She was orphaned at a young age and while she carries the Wisdom with her, there is a feeling that Nynaeve is special.
How Did We End Up Here?
Confronted by enemies from every side, Moiraine, Lan and the group travel to the White Tower. Attacked by a dark and ominous creature, they are separated and forced to reach the White Tower on their own. Rand and Mat are confronted by people who want to kill them. Mat is sick after picking up the dagger in the cursed city, which increases his hostility and paranoia.
Meanwhile, Perrin is struggling with the death of his wife, as Egwene is trying to find her way back to Rand. They meet a group of people that help protect themselves from the Children of the Light, who kills anyone with the One Power. Despite the conflicts, they are able to find each other in the end, and are one step close to helping Moiraine to defeat the Dark Ones and his army from capturing the next Aes Sedai.
The ensemble cast is outstanding. Pike’s performance as the powerful Aes Sedai is amazing. She switches her character from intimidating to someone who has a big heart for the people around her. It’s marvellous watching Pike perform this role and sometimes adding witty lines that are worth a chuckle or two. The rest of the cast is just as wonderful and equally talented but the one that stands out is Madden and Robins. The relationship between Madden and Robins is wonderfully portrayed with real earnestness.
Like all fantasy shows, The Wheel of Time takes the majority of its time focusing on the quest for thethe Chosen One and the Dark One. Things speed up towards the end of the season, despite a muddled middle. The Wheel of Time is an adventurous and worthy watch if the audience enjoys cliched tropes and fantasy elements. Belong and learning to deal with conflicts together is an important message throughout the show. The characters join Moiraine on a long journey to save their world from dangerous enemies. If you’re looking for the next high profile fantasy series, The Wheel of Time is for you.
For more from Nuha, please check out her review of Cowboy Bebop here!