With the hype around the upcoming Lord of the Rings show (check out our predictions), House of the Dragon (see our predictions) and the billion shows announced by Disney recently, it can be easy to overlook another massive fantasy book series that is being adapted for the small screen. That series is The Wheel of Time. Set to be released on Amazon Prime, it really looks like Amazon is pushing hard for a smash hit fantasy TV series, along with Lord of the Rings. I think it is fair to say though that Wheel of Time is less well known than Lord of the Rings outside the fantasy geek world, so you might be wondering, is it worth getting excited about? Well, the answer is a big fat yes. So, in this Wheel of Time TV series preview, I’ll explain what I think you need to know before watching the show and what we know so far.
Don’t worry, this article will be spoiler-free.
The World of The Wheel of Time
“The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and Pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again”
The Wheel of Time is a wheel with seven spokes, each spoke being an Age. As the Wheel turns, an Age will pass into the past, around the Wheel until it is once again the future and then, eventually, the present again. When the Wheel turns, it weaves people like threads until it forms the Pattern of an Age, sometimes using certain people to help weave the pattern around them (these people are known as ta’veren). Each Age “spoke” is weaved essentially the same but with differences woven throughout. All of this is a poetic, beautiful way of saying “same old shit, different day”. Don’t get too caught up in this, but just remember that the wheel is trying to weave events again, characters from the past start to resurface in different forms later on and the battle of good and evil has been raging round and round in a loop since the Creator imprisoned the Dark One at the moment of creation.
The Magic Of The Wheel Of Time
Magic is present in this world, in the form of the One Power, drawn from the True Source (which turns the Wheel of Time). The One Power has different “threads” called the Five Powers, which are your standard elemental stuff (Water, Air, Earth, Fire, alongside Spirit). By grasping some of the threads, or channelling as it is called in this world, you can do magical whatnot, such as make fire, bind people with wind and heal etc.
People who channel are called Aes Sedai, split between men and women. This is because the True Source is split between a male half (Saidin) and a female half (Saidar). Women who can channel the female half are taught to use their gift in the city of Tar Valon. The male half of the True Source was corrupted by the Dark One when he was last reimprisoned, which was done by Lews Therin Telamon (the Dragon) and the Hundred Companions (a load of male Aes Sedai). This taint causes male Aes Sedai to go mad, resulting in Lews and his homies actually breaking the world, causing earthquakes, new mountains and mass flooding. Because of this madness, men who can channel are hunted down and blocked off from the True Source (called gentling) by female Aes Sedai. This is essentially a death sentence though as many lose the will to live without the True Source.
The Plot Of The Wheel Of Time
Our story begins in a village called Emond’s Field, which is the back end of nowhere. Rand al’Thor, Matrim Cauthon and Perrin Aybara are three lads of the same age who are living their normal lives, when it becomes evident that the Dark One has sent his agents to capture one of the three lads, believing that one is Lews Therin reborn (also known as the Dragon Reborn). Luckily, an Aes Sedai called Moiraine and her warder (Warrior bodyguard) Lan are there to whisk them away from trouble. They are also joined by Egwene (a local girl all but promised to Rand for marriage since they were children) and Thom Merrilin (a travelling entertainer, called a Gleeman). The village isn’t happy with the disappearance of their residents though, especially Nynaeve al’Meara, who is the village Wisdom (or Wise-Women, essentially the village doctor).
The Wheel of Time TV Series: What We Know So Far
Filming for the series actually started back in September 2019 but was postponed in March 2020 by everyone’s least favourite virus. Amazon is currently planning for a 2021 release, however with Covid-19 doing its best annoying relative that nobody wants to be around impression, who knows when it will be released. Eight episodes have been greenlit for season one and I think that the series will roughly follow the plot of the first book in the series “The Eye of the World”. There is plenty for them to do though, as the series is 14 books long, not including a prequel novel. Whether this means we are in for 14 series, less if they squeeze some of the books together or more if they do a Hobbit style book scraping, is yet to be determined. One thing is certain though, which is we won’t get an ending that hasn’t been written in book form yet, like we did with the disappointing climax of Game of Thrones. Despite the author, Robert Jordan, dying before finishing the series, the series was written to completion by acclaimed author and Wheel of Time fan, Brandon Sanderson.
The Wheel of Time TV Series Confirmed Cast
We have a good deal of cast already announced, which has caused some confusion among Wheel of Time fans as some of the characters listed are not in the initial book, so we could be looking at maybe some flashbacks, small parts of the story being expanded or other plot fiddling. Most famous of the cast is Rosamund Pike, best known for “Die Another Day” and “Gone Girl”, who is set to play Moiraine, which I think is an excellent casting choice. Josha Stradowski, Marcus Rutherford and Barney Harris will play Rand, Perrin and Mat respectively. Madeleine Madden is to play Egwene, Daniel Henney will play Lan, Zoë Robins will play Nynaeve and Alexandre Willaume is cast as Thom Merrilin.
Most of these actors are unknown quantities to me, but I find it incredibly exciting to see new actors landing big, career-making roles like this. A couple of actors that are also worth mentioning are Michael McElhatton (Roose Bolton in Game of Thrones), who is playing Rand’s father, Tam Al’Thor and Kate Fleetwood, who has had minor roles in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Les Misérables and Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, and is set to star as Liandrin, an Aes Sedai.
FinalBoss Final Thoughts
I am by no means an expert in The Wheel of Time lore, as I am only on book five. What I have read so far is definitely proof to me that the series is worth adapting. Books three and four are especially epic and I can’t wait to see how they will conceptualise some of the plot devices and what sort of “feel” the show is going to have. Are we in for a dark, Game of Thrones-style show? Will we go slightly softer but still with an element of darkness, like Harry Potter? Or will we have something completely different? One thing is for sure, I can’t wait for the journey to begin.
“There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning”
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