For those of you that have been keeping up with The Wheel of Time show on Amazon Prime, there’s certainly a lot to unpack.
If you’re a fan of the books, you know that the last few episodes of the new fantasy TV series took a hard left from the source content.
In this article, we’ll break down the biggest departures from the story that we’ve seen in the first season of The Wheel of Time show, as well as predictions for the next installment.
(Spoilers ahead for The Eye of the World and the first season of The Wheel of Time TV show.)
If you read our previous post on The Wheel of Time, we talked about how there are some characters missing from the first season of the show. And not like Tom Bombadil characters, like, really important characters.
Within the first few episodes, it becomes clear that the showrunners had to make certain choices to omit characters or alter their story arcs to fit into the 8-episode format.
To be fair, The Eye of the World is a big book, and Robert Jordan was notorious for adding plenty of new characters along the journey. Some of which aren’t as critical as others.
However, The Wheel of Time show has hopped and skipped over what should have been at least one episode’s worth of content.
After the group separates at Shador Logoth, the doomed city, Rand and Mat travel to the city of Caemyln, having been saved from a Fade by Thom Merrilin.
In the city, we’re introduced to a number of important characters, including:
- Elayne Trakand, heir to the kingdom of Andor
- Gawyn Trakand, Elayne’s brother
- Galad Damodred, half-brother to the Trakand, a strong warrior
- Queen Morgase, Elayne and Gawyn’s mother, Queen of Andor
- Elaida, an Aes Sedai of the Red Ajah, advisor to the throne of Andor
- Gareth Bryne, Captain-General of the Queen’s Guard
Very early on in The Wheel of Time show, we’re introduced to the false Dragons, chief among them Logain Ablar. That storyline was altered because Rand and Mat actually meet Logain in Caemlyn, but in the show he’s gentled at about the midpoint and imprisoned in the White Tower.
The glossing over of Caemyln doesn’t bode well for the rest of the show. Elayne, Gawyn, and Galad are all crucial characters throughout the rest of the books, and Elaida is a long-standing Aes Sedai who becomes more important as revelations at the White Tower unfold.
Plus, we’re missing Elyas Machera, the wolf man who guides Perrin and Egwene to safety after Shadar Logoth. He is a vastly important catalyst for Perrin’s arc, which was woefully forgotten in the show.
What Happened at The Eye of The World?
It’s been some time since I read The Eye of the World, but one thing I never forgot was the importance of that titular element. In The Wheel of Time show, the Eye is portrayed as the Dark One’s prison, when in reality, it is a vault of sorts, as well as a well of untarnished power.
The Eye of the World contains one of the seals to the Dark One’s prison, the shiny stone Moiraine holds at the end of the last episode. It’s known as cuendillar and is extremely rare, coming from the Age of Legends, thousands of years before the show takes place.
Also in the vault are the Dragon Banner of Lews Therin Telamon, which was woefully absent in the show, and the Horn of Valere, which has mysteriously made its way into the throne room at Fal Dara.
Both of these items are of great importance later on in the series, as they call back to the ages past. Hopefully, the Horn of Valere, a major aspect of The Great Hunt, remains so in the show.
But after watching the season finale, you might be wondering, what actually happened at The Eye of the World? Is the Dark One dead? Where will Rand go? Has Moirainne actually been cut off from the One Power?
Let’s break it down:
In the book, the whole group travels to the Eye of the World, where they meet Someshta, essentially a mystic tree man guardian of the vault. The group is attacked by the servants of the Dark One, including the Forsaken Aginor, Balthamel, and Ishamael. (The Forsaken are the Dark One’s top followers, all of which are like semi-undead evil channelers).
Rand uses the One Power to defeat Aginor, and harnesses the power of the Eye to thwart the trollocs and Ishamael, and that’s how Moirainne knows he’s the Dragon Reborn.
But, in The Wheel of Time show, that’s not what goes down.
Rand and Moirainne trek into the Blight, where Rand is confronted by who he thinks is the Dark One. And I hope you didn’t think that was the Dark One too, because you’d be wrong.
That mysterious dream man with the flaming eyes was Ba’alzamon, a disguise worn by Ishamael, the most powerful of the Forsaken. He attempts to trick Rand into freeing the Dark One from his prison, and is eventually blown away by Rand’s sheer power.
But, not before Ishamael seemingly stilled Moirainne. This is perhaps the biggest “oh-no” moment at the end of the series. Moirainne is not stilled in the books, and she continues to channel throughout the series, to critical effect. It’s unclear what the future holds for her, just as it’s unclear how the story will change now that Rand has set out on his own, presumably to travel to the Aiel Waste.
What’s Up Next for The Wheel of Time Show?
A lot of the setup needed for The Great Hunt, the next installment of the book series, was altered in The Wheel of Time show. Though, the Seanchan are revealed at the very end of the season finale, which does hint that they’ll play a part in the second season.
Is Loial dead? He certainly cannot be, because he, too, plays a big role later on. And what about Mat? Did Moirainne really set the Red Ajah on him? Will Egwene and Nynaeve return to Tar Valon to be trained as Aes Sedai?
Only time will tell, but if the first season of The Wheel of Time show was any hint, I think fans of the books are in for a few frustrating years. The series has great production value and it’s great to see the books finally make it to the big screen, but adapting the first book in any series is always the foundation for the rest of the show.
I hope the showrunners can pull it off, because frankly, I’m a little worried. Glossing over so many important characters (like Elayne, who has a much larger role in the second book) and altering the timelines hasn’t given me confidence that the show will succeed.
But, for the time being, it’s something fun to watch, albeit sometimes infuriating, and I’m anxious to see where the series goes from here.