Amazon’s new TV show “The Wheel of Time” is finally slated to premiere on Prime Video on Nov. 19. Fans have been eagerly anticipating the release of the new series since its announcement two years ago. “The Wheel of Time” is a high fantasy series that spans 14 novels, not including the prequel and companion books.
“The Wheel of Time” Book Series
The first book in the series, “The Eye of the World,” was published in 1990 to critical and commercial success. Robert Jordan, the author of the series, went on to write several more books until he passed away in 2007, leaving the series incomplete. Fellow author Brandon Sanderson picked up where Jordan left off and completed the last three books in the series.
Besides being the starting point of the story’s richly detailed setting, “The Eye of the World” is regarded as a classic in its genre. The book alone boasts over 200,000 five-star ratings on Goodreads with many of the reviewers in awe of Jordan’s foreshadowing and writing style.
“The Wheel of Time” is often compared to “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien, and Jordan even admitted to taking inspiration from the classic fantasy series. Many fans say Jordan was able to take Tolkien’s concept and improve on it, but critics argue the series is too derivative and essentially a “The Lord of the Rings” rip-off.
Either way, the new show will give Jordan’s novels a chance to come alive on the screen and join the ranks of other big-name fantasy series, including the “Game of Thrones” TV show and the “The Lord of the Rings” movies.
For newer fans who might not have already read the books, it may help to have a general idea of the story’s plot before they dive into the show. The first season of the show will, of course, cover the first book as well as parts of the second and third books. Without giving away too many spoilers, let’s get a gist of how the story begins.
The first chapter of “The Wheel of Time” begins in the quaint village of Emond’s Field. The village resides in the Two Rivers region in the country of Andor. It’s rustic, and the location is so remote that its villagers have little to no knowledge of the outside world. They usually rely on travelers called “Gleemen” who tell exciting stories of the land beyond their town, but Gleemen rarely go out of their way to visit the village.
It is here in Emond’s Field where readers are introduced to the main cast of the story:
- Moiraine Damodred (played by Rosamund Pike): An Aes Sedai who visits Emond’s Field in search of the “Dragon Reborn.”
- Rand al’Thor (played by Josha Stradowski): An unassuming boy who lives with his father on a farm close to Emond’s Field.
- Matrim (Mat) Cauthon (played by Barney Harris): A mischievous boy who often pranks other villagers and is close friends with Rand and Perrin.
- Perrin Aybara (played by Marcus Rutherford): A young blacksmith’s apprentice and close friend of Rand and Mat.
- Egwene al’Vere (played by Madeleine Madden): The mayor’s daughter who is also Rand’s love interest.
- al’Lan (Lan) Mandragoran (played by Daniel Henney): Moiraine’s Warder and travel companion with a seemingly mysterious past.
- Nynaeve al’Meara (played by Zoë Robins): The Wisdom of Emond’s Field and the leader of the local Women’s Circle.
The core cast of “The Eye of the World” is already pretty substantial, and the book introduces more characters along the way. However, the aforementioned characters have the biggest impact on the story as a whole and are worth paying the most attention to at the beginning of the show.
The story really begins to ramp up the night before the Bel Tine celebration when Trollocs — half-human, half-animal creatures with a taste for human flesh — attack and burn down the village. The Trollocs were targeting something while on their rampage, but no one is really sure what. Moiraine suspects they are after one of the young villagers, as there is a chance one of them may be the Dragon Reborn, and urges them to leave the village before the Trollocs come back a second time. The Dragon Reborn is hesitant to leave the one place they have known their entire lives, but they have to make the decision to leave or risk putting the village in danger once again.
“The Wheel of Time” TV Show
The official trailer for “The Wheel of Time” recently dropped along with a special 360-degree version, and so far, fan reactions have been pretty optimistic. The trailer emphasizes Moiraine’s character in her role as an Aes Sedai and her mission to locate the Dragon Reborn.
The Aes Sedai is an organization of women with the ability to “channel.” “Channeling” involves tapping into something called the “One Power,” which is derived from the “True Source,” in order to conjure up magical abilities and manipulate the environment.
Although Aes Sedai are powerful, they are virtually untrusted by people everywhere. Moiraine’s true motives are often questioned in the book, and according to an interview by IGN with Rosamund Pike last month, this distrust is also heavily reflected in the show. “In our show, she’s designed to keep an audience guessing as to her motives,” Pike said. “She’s someone you always have to be on your toes with.”
One clear objective Moiraine has, however, is her dedication to find and protect the Dragon Reborn. Moiraine, like the Dragon, will have the ability to stand and fight back against the Dark One’s army, which is determined to destroy the world.
One major recent revelation about the show is its dedication to using practical effects wherever possible, only using CGI to make enhancements if absolutely necessary. Rafe Judkins, the executive producer of the show, answered a question that asked how much of the Myrddraal will be practical effects during a Q&A session hosted by the official “The Wheel of Time” Twitter account. He responded that they will use as many practical effects as possible, which he tends to favor over full CGI effects.
Other announcements revealed in the Q&A include that composer Lorne Balfe will be in charge of the show’s score. Balfe is known for several works in films such as “The Dark Knight,” “The Tomorrow War,” “Black Widow” and other miscellaneous TV and video game titles.
According to Writers Guild of America West, the first season of the show will comprise six episodes that last about an hour each. Once the show premiers on Amazon Prime Video, new episodes will be released on a weekly basis until the season finale on Dec. 24.
Meanwhile, Amazon has hyped up “The Wheel of Time” through teaser trailers, sneak peeks and other bonus content that can be viewed on Prime Video’s YouTube channel. Season 2 has also recently been confirmed to be currently in the works, so fans can anticipate more of the show after the first season ends.