My Wheel of Time Book Ranking.

Last year, I finished reading Robert Jordan’s epic fantasy series The Wheel of Time, and it was quite the experience.
Spanning 15 books, released from 1990 to 2013, Robert Jordan was unfortunately only able to complete 11 books and a prequel before his tragic passing, after which Brandon Sanderson took over to finish Jordan’s work, based off the notes he had left behind.
It is quite a commitment to read these books, with thousands of pages to read and many characters to keep track of, with it taking me almost a year to complete the entire series.
This was time well spent, in my opinion, because The Wheel of Time is now among my favourite novel series of all time.
Therefore, I decided to rank all of the books from the weakest to the best.
Keep in mind, though, that this is solely based off my first read through of the series, so my opinion could change after a second read through.
Also, this ranking will contain spoilers for the entire series, so if you haven’t read the books, then don’t read this.
With that out of the way, I’ll start with what I beleive to be the weakest book in The Wheel of Time series, and I’m sure that those of you who have read the books can guess which one it is.   

15. Book Ten – Crossroads of Twilight.

No surprise, the book that most fans seem to agree is the weakest book of the series is the one that I rank right at the bottom.
Coming right at the end of “the slog” section of the novels, I had heard Crossroads of Twilight would be the hardest to get through.
Honestly, before this point, I had actually been enjoying the books of the so-called slog.
Sure, they weren’t up to par with what came before, but they were still enjoyable reads.
Unfortunately, this was not the case for Crossroads of Twilight for me, as I can firmly state it is the only book in the series that I did not like.
One of the biggest reasons for this is that it feels like almost nothing happens in this book.
I remember getting to page 350, setting the book down for a second, and going, “Wow, pretty much nothing of interest has happened, yet.”
This is not helped by how boring a lot of the POV characters are in this book.
Perrin’s storyline of trying to save Faile from the Shaido is still dragging its feet with very little progression.
Worst of all are the Elayne chapters.
My god, were her chapters difficult to get through.
She literally spends a significant portion of one chapter in a bath being told things.
However, this does not mean Crossroads of Twilight is devoid of good qualities.
The ending to the book is actually pretty great.
We get a phenomenal Perrin chapter, where he finally begins to grow in an interesting way, rather than meandering his way through the story, like he was beforehand.
Then there is Egwene getting capture right at the end, which kickstarts her phenominal storyline of gaining the White Tower’s support from the inside.
Sadly, these great moments come right at the end, and they don’t really redeem what came before, since it’s mostly just set up.
And that is Crossroads of Twilight’s main problem.
It’s mostly boring setup and it ends just as it’s starting to get good.   

14. Book Eight – The Path of Daggers.

I heard a lot of bad things about The Path of Daggers before I read it.
People kept telling me that it was among the weakest of the series, alongside Crossroads of Twilight.
You know what, though?
I’m glad I heard these negative things about this book, because it made me appreicate its great moments all the more.
Yes, I do consider The Path of Daggers to be the second weakest book in The Wheel of Time, but this book was still a decent read for me.
I will get the negatives I have out of the way first, so I can end on the positives for this one.
For starters, this is where the Bowl of the Winds storyline comes to a conclusion and this was never a storyline I really cared about, so when the beginning of the book was largely centered around it, it did not make for a good beginning. 
This was also the book where Egwene’s journey to the White Tower began to tire me out.
Sure, I liked her political manuvering, but it began to feel like it was taking forever to get to the Tower.
Also it was a shame to see that there was no Mat POV in this book, especially since his story ended on a cliffhanger in A Crown of Swords.
Then there’s the climax of the book which, while not bad, is a little anti-climactic when you compare it to the other endings in the series.
Now, onto the good.
For starters, I actually like Perrin’s chapters here.
Sure, it does end with the infamous Faile kidnapping plot starting, but I liked seeing Perrin deal with Masema’s men and meet up with Elyas again.
Then, there was Rand, who can always be counted on to be an interesting character and this book is no exception, with him delivering the best scene, when he uses Callandor and loses control, decimating his own forces.
These things made me appreicate The Path of Daggers, even if it is one of the series’ weakest.  

13. Book Seven – A Crown of Swords.

This placement may come as a bit of a surprise for some because I have seen A Crown of Swords ranked in many different places on many different lists.
Some rank it high, some rank it in the middle, and some rank it low.
Sadly, it’s low for me, although I will admit this is mostly for a personal reason, this being that I just did not find a lot of the storyline’s this book covered to be that interesting.
As I said, the Bowl of the Winds was never a plotline I really cared for, and I especially did not like the way Mat played into it, with him getting raped by Tylin.
Now, I have heard that Robert Jordan intended this to be a commentary on how the rape of men by women is often unjustly mocked, which is a good thing to point out, but I believe it’s mishandled.
With the way the female characters laugh at Mat about it, it feels more like Jordan is just depicting Mat being shamed, rather than making an effective commentary about it.
Another personal reason that I have for ranking A Crown of Swords so low is that I never really cared about the Sea Folk culture either, and a large part of this book is Rand recruiting them.
Not to mention that this is the book where I noticed that a lot of great characters, like Thom and Loial, had been pushed to the side, which was frustrating.
There is still a lot of good things about A Crown of Swords, though.
For starters, the climax, although a bit rushed, is great, being the first time Rand and Moridin meet and interact, working togethor to kill Sammael.
Another thing I loved was a lot of the character relationships.
Lan and Nynaeve’s romantic progression is excellent.
However, my favourite character dynamic in this book, and one I was not at all expecting, was the emerging friendship between Mat and Birgitte.
My favourite scene in A Crown of Swords is actually the two of them becoming friends.
They just have such great chemistry and it leads to a lot of funny moments.
I needed more scenes in the series of these two hanging out, getting drunk, and just being best buds.   
So, despite having a lot of personal issues with A Crown of Swords, it still has a lot of redeeming qualities.

12: Book Nine – Winter’s Heart.

I’ll be honest here.
If it was not for one thing about Winter’s Heart, then this book would not be above A Crown of Swords and The Path of Daggers.
I found most of this book to be a difficult read, with a lot of slow moments that failed to grab my interest. 
The weakest chapters of this book were once again the Perrin and Elayne chapters.
Their whole storylines about rescuing Faile and trying to gain the Lion Throne are some of the weakest in the entire series, and this is really where I began to feel how much they dragged, before that dragging became insufferable during Crossroads of Twilight. 
Then there’s Rand, who sets out to cleanse Saidin at the beginning of the book, however, rather than the story naturally moving towards that point, Rand just spends most of it hunting down the traitor Asha’man, making his story feel kind of disjointed.
At least Mat is back after his absense in The Path of Daggers, and we finally get the beginning of the Daughter of Nine Moons storyline that had been teased, with him meeting Tuon.
Mat’s character development was quite good in this book, and I really liked how he ended up freeing those Seanchan captives.
Another thing that I loved was the scene where Rand admits his love for Min, Aviendha and Elayne.
The reason I loved this scene was because of how awkwardly funny it was, with Nynaeve, Birgitte and Alanna’s reactions leaving me in stitches.
However, these moments were not enough to redeem the book for me.
So, why is it above The Path of Daggers and A Crown of Swords?
The ending.
That. Ending.
The final chapter of the novel, where Rand and Nynaeve cleanse Saidin from the Dark One’s taint, while their allies fight off the Foresaken is absolutely incredible and one of the best climaxes, no, the best chapters in The Wheel of Time.
It took me from feeling quite lukewarm about this book, to making me think it was worth reading all its difficult parts just to get to that conclusion. 
The ending of Winter’s Heart is one of the best endings of the entire series, and it was enough to push the book up two spots, where it now rests at number 12. 

11. Prequel Novel – New Spring. 

I read New Spring before Knife of Dreams and I definitley think this was a good time for me to do so because it added more meaning to Lan’s actions in that book. 
New Spring is a prequel novel that covers the beginning of Moiraine’s search for the Dragon Reborn, leading to her meeting Lan.
Getting insight into both of these characters’ pasts was great and, like I said, furthered my understanding of them in later books.
I also quite enjoyed seeing moments that had been mentioned previously in the series, like Lan throwing Moiraine into a lake.
It was a joy to read these two characters start off as suspicious towards one another before slowing beginning to build trust.
There is a section of this book that drags considerably, when Moiraine begins her search for the Dragon Reborn with Siuan’s help.
However, once she begins her search alone and we get Lan back into the picture, the story picks up again.
Sure, New Spring is pretty inconsequential in the grand scheme of the story but it is a good read that expands on future character motivation and fills in the blanks for some of the backstory.
Reading it made me sad that Robert Jordan was never able to publish other prequel novels, if he intended to do so before his tragic passing.      

10. Book One – The Eye of the World.

The book that started it all, The Eye of the World impressed me quite a bit when I first read it.
This was because of how it both fit the Tolkein formula, yet also diverted from it.
Of all the fantasy novels I have read, many of them have a Lord of the Rings archetype to the point that some have appeared as little more than rip offs.
Robert Jordan, however, was able to put his own spin on this formula, creating quite a few surprises for me, like the attack on Emond’s Field during Winternight.
I was expecting the typical Gandalf stand-in to announce Rand as the chosen one and demand they leave before the evil forces attacked.
What I got instead was Moiraine not knowing it was Rand yet, the Trollocs attacking, and Moiraine then going into the interesting history of the supposedly simple village with the tale of the fall of Manetheren.
The Eye of the World continued to surprise me as it went on, endearing many of the characters to me, most notably Perrin, with his wolf storyline, and Thom, with his heroic supposed last stand to defend Mat and Ran.
Although I did find myself quite confused about what exactly was going on with the ending at first.
Still, The Eye of the World was a great start for the series, with Robert Jordan using Tolkein influences to lay the groundwork, from which he would truly forge the Wheel of Time’s identity with The Great Hunt.  

9. Book Three – The Dragon Reborn.

The Dragon Reborn is a novel I hear getting a lot of praise compared to the other books in the series, so it may come as a surprise that I rank it at number nine.
I did enjoy The Dragon Reborn, it’s just that I found the other books to be more interesting, as there were a couple of things holding this one back, like the final fight.
It is yet another battle between Rand and Ba’alzamon and by that point I was kind of tired of them, wondering if every book was going to end with the same thing which, thankfully, did not happen.
As for the positives that placed this book in its position, one thing that I appreciate about The Dragon Reborn was how it handled Mat.
Reading The Eye of the World and The Great Hunt, I was quite confused about why Mat was many people’s favourite character, since he did not leave a very favourable impression in those two books.
Then I read The Dragon Reborn and I began to get it.
Mat is definitely the standout of this book, starting off great with his quarterstaff fight against Gawyn and Galad and eventually saving Egwene, Nynaeve and Elayne from the Black Ajah’s prison… which he is berated for.
Well, I can’t say that moment doesn’t tie into the common motif of men and women being at odds in this series.
While I did not find the three girls’ part of the story to be as interesting (or likeable), I can say that Perrin again shined in this book, with his story leading to him meeting both Faile and Gaul.
I also thought this book’s pacing and structure was top notch, as it all builds up to the finale of Rand taking Callandor, even if I was tired of the Ba’alzamon fights by that point.
It is Mat who truly stands out in The Dragon Reborn, with his emergence as one of the most likeable characters of the series being the key part of this book to stick in my head. 

8. Book Six – Lord of Chaos. 

Much like The Dragon Reborn, Lord of Chaos may be another book people are surprised to see ranked low because it is commonly viewed as having one of the greatest climaxes in The Wheel of Time.
I cannot argue with this sentiment at all, as the battle at Dumai’s Wells was incredible to read through for the first time, especially with how it all tied into the growth of Rand’s character and his connection with Lews Therin.
Rand is definitley the highlight of Lord of Chaos, with every single chapter of his being compelling to the point that I got excited every time I would turn the page and see that the next chapter’s POV would be his.
Along with his confinement by the Aes Sedai, leading to the ending battle, and his inner conversations with Lews Therin, another thing that was handled excellently in my opinion was the mental assault Alanna subjects him to by forcibly bonding him as her Warder.
This was handled much better than the sexual assault Mat endured in Crown of Swords, with it being treated as the disgusting act it is.
Rand really has to fight his way through trial after trial in this book, both physically and mentally.
Lord of Chaos was the book that made me go, “okay, maybe Rand is one of the greatest fantasy protagonists of all time.”
So, if I enjoyed Rand’s POV chapters and the final battle in Lord of Chaos so much, then why is it only at number eight?
Well, because of everything else.
Lord of Chaos is where the story began to drag a bit for me, with a lot of the other characters’ stories in this book just not being as interesting to me.
Not to mention I felt that some of the characters’ storylines were a bit abrupt, especially with Egwene becoming the Armylin Seat, although I do know that was the point.
Also, Lord of Chaos has what is probably my least favourite moment of the entire series, which is Egwene stumbling into a dream of Gawyn saving her from Rand and suddenly deciding she loves him out of nowhere.
It’s one of the most abrupt and out of nowhere love confessions I’ve seen in fiction.
Despite these issues, Lord of Chaos still has plenty of brilliant moments, with its compelling Rand chapters and one of the best endings to any book in the series.

7. Book Five – The Fires of Heaven.

The Fires of Heaven is a book that I find to be fairly underrated in the series.
Picking up after Rand becomes acknowledged as the Car’a’carn by all of the Aeil except the Shaido, The Fires of Heaven mainly follows Rand’s journey to stop Couladin from pillaging the land. 
Much like Lord of Chaos, Rand’s chapters are great, especially the ones with Asmodean, the Foresaken who was forced to serve him at the end of The Shadow Rising.
Conversations between these two characters are always excellent, with some of my favourite instances of dialogue in the series coming from their conversations.
It is a shame that Asmodean dies at the end of this book, as I was looking forward to seeing if a former Foresaken could be redeemed.
Him dying at the end does not change how great his scenes with Rand are.
Neither Rand nor Asmodean are the best characters in this book, though.
No, in my opinion, that title is shared between Mat and Moiraine.
The Fires of Heaven has what is probably my favourite Mat moment of the entire series, where he unintentionally forms the Band of the Red Hand and rallies them to enter the battle, killing Couladin himself.
Then, there’s Moiraine, who sacrifices herself to defeat Lanfear.
Moiraine being revealed to have survived in Towers of Midnight does not diminish the impact this moment had on me, with her letter to Rand making me tear up for the first time when reading The Wheel of Time.
This all builds into an excellent final battle with Rhavin, resulting in Rand using Balefire to revive his friends, this taboo form of chanelling being referenced by the title of the novel.
As for issues, I do think that Nynaeve and Elayne’s circus storyline is pretty annoying, although there are some great moments like Birgitte being ripped from the pattern.
Also, the cliffhanger of the novel is a false one, with Morgase being built up to go against Rand, only for her subsequent storyline to be pretty disappointing.
Probably the biggest issue though was Perrin’s absence, after his incredible storyline in The Shadow Rising.
These things held The Fires of Heaven back but, otherwise, I loved this book.

6. Book 13 – Towers of Midnight.

The second book in the series written by Brandon Sanderson after Robert Jordan’s passing, Towers of Midnight is probably the weakest of the three written by him.
That said, its ranking shows that I still consider it to be one of the better books.
Perrin and Mat take up most of the page time here and Mat’s storyline is especially fantastic.
This was a relief when reading because Sanderson did struggle to write Mat a bit in The Gathering Storm.
Mostly everything about Mat in this book was great, with him finally finishing off the Gholam and then rescuing Moiraine with Thom and Noal (Jain Fairstrider).
He even gets another drinking scene with Birgitte, so that was an instant plus for me.
As for Perrin, Sanderson also did a great job of developing his character, as he forges his hammer Mah’alleinir, battles Slayer in the Wolf Dream, unfortunately leading to Hopper’s demise, and brings the White Cloaks to his side, Galad among them.
Speaking of, one thing I knew coming into Towers of Midnight was that there would be a chapter focusing on a tiral that not a lot of readers liked.
So, I was quite surprised to get to this chapter and find that it did not bother me.
Sure, it is nothing great but it is serviceable for the plot.
Another complaint I have heard is that Egwene’s conflict with Rand is frustrating but, personally speaking, I was still able to see where the characters were coming from.
Egwene’s storyline at the White Tower was my least favourite one of the book though, so that was a surprise, considering how much I adored her POV in The Gathering Storm.
As for Rand, what little content he got was excellent.
Aviendha’s storyline about the potential dark future of the Aeil and the Seanchan was also quite chilling and raised a lot of interesting questions that we still don’t know the answers to, but in a way that I actually like.
My only major criticism is with the Elayne chapters, as she is quite insufferable initially, although she does get better.
Other than that, and a few minor things, I greatly enjoyed this novel.
Towers of Midnight was a great penultimate book heading into the epic conclusion for the series.    

5. Book Eleven – Knife of Dreams. 

I have often heard Knife of Dreams described as Robert Jordan’s swan song and I think that this is an apt description.
This was the final book Jordan completed before his tragic passing, leaving Brandon Sanderson to finish his great work.
In my opinion, Jordan went out with a bang, his final book being a massive improvement from Crossroads of Twilight.
One bit of praise I did give to that book, though, was that Perrin’s storyline picked up at the end.
Well, Jordan carries through with that, as Perrin’s POV chapters in this book are excellent.
This was a surprise to me, since I found the whole rescuing Faile from the Shaido plotline to be quite boring in Winter’s Heart and Crossroads of Twilight.
The conclusion for it in Knife of Dreams was fantastic, with a lot of tragedy to it as well, like with the death of Arram.
It was also quite sad to see how brutal Perrin had to become to save Faile.
Just like in Towers of Midnight, Mat also shares the biggest amount of page time with Perrin, as he continues to travel with Tuon, their relationship slowly growing.
In Crossroads of Twilight, I was unsure about their relationship, but I felt their chemistry completely in Knife of Dreams.
This leads to the moment where Tuon completes the marriage ceremony, a moment that had me laughing harder than any other joke in the series.
We also see Mat’s strategic military genius on full display, as he uses the Dragons Aludra created to fight the Seanchan.
However, just as I said that Knife of Dreams was similar to Towers of Midnight through how both Perrin and Mat got the most POV chapters, another unfortunate similarity is the quality of the Elayne chapters.
Knife of Dreams in the book that I found Elayne to be at her most insufferable, with her getting two Aes Sedai killed and not even feeling any guilt for it.
Sure, it does all end in an admittedly pretty good battle, but I for one breathed a sigh of releif when her storyline came to an end.
The rest of Knife of Dreams is excellent, though, with Rand’s brief storyline ending in brutal fashion, as he loses a hand to Semirhage who then reveals to everyone that he is hearing Lews Therin’s voice in his head.
I saved the best part of the book for last, and this undoubtedly the chapter where Nynaeve rallies the men of Malkier to rush to Lan’s aid, rising the Golden Crane.
This was the second chapter in The Wheel of Time which made me cry and it is my favourite Nynaeve moment by a landslide.
Knife of Dreams is definitley Robert Jordan’s swan song and it made me wonder what his ending for the series would have looked like, even if I am glad that Brandon Sanderson was able to step in to complete his work.    

4. Book Fourteen – A Memory of Light.

The final book in The Wheel of Time, A Memory of Light finishes the story with a bang as Tarmon Gai’don, the Last Battle, finally arrives.
This is the epic final battle that the series has been building to from the beginning.
Does Brandon Sanderson nail it?
Well, judging by A Memory of Light’s placing on this list as the fourth best book in The Wheel of Time, the answer is obviously yes.
The build up to the Last Battle is excellent, with numerous great moments such as Talmanes’ last stand in Camelyn, Moiraine returning to help Rand install his Dragon’s Peace, Rand meeting with Mat and Tam again, and Logain’s rescue from the Black Tower.  
It is the Last Battle that is the true highlight, with an over two hundred page chapter dedicated to it, with the three Ta’veren fighting in their own ways, with Mat taking command of the entire army, Perrin protecting Rand from Slayer in Tel’aran’rhoid, and Rand fighting the Dark One himself in a metaphysical battle of wills.
As the battle unfolds, we get numerous tragic deaths, like those of Birgitte, Suian Sanche and Garethe Bryne, along with many heroic moments, like Olver blowing the Horn of Valere, leading to the dead heroes returning to help win the battle, along with Birgitte coming back to save Elayne.
Most heroic of all is Lan’s battle with Demandred, which had me cheering when he killed the Foresaken, left sad when it looked like he died, only for me to go back to cheering when he arose victorious, presenting Demandred’s head.
A Memory of Light made me emotional numerous time, with me tearing up three times when reading.
The first of these times was when Egwene sacrificed herself.
Apparently, Egwene was one of the characters who Robert Jordan had extensive notes on and that really shows in the best of ways.
The second time I teared up was when reading how Logain obtained his prophesied glory.
Going into the book, I thought he would achieve this glory through a noble sacrifice but to see it be something as simple as saving children, gaining the respect and admiration of the people, something Logain did not think was possible, brought a tear to my eye.
The final time I cried was when I read the ending and realized that I would never experience a first read through of The Wheel of Time again.
As for the ending itself, I loved it.
The conclusion to Rand’s character, transferring his soul into Moridin’s body,  and the unresolved mystery of how he lit his pipe was excellent, not to mention how great of an idea it was for the final line to parallel the opening to every Wheel of Time novel.
As for criticisms, I suppose Padan Fain’s ending was a bit of a disappointment, but I had never really been interested in him since the Great Hunt so that was not much of an issue for me.
Otherwise, A Memory of Light was a fantastic way to end this story and I, and many others, are thankful to Brandon Sanderson for bringing Robert Jordan’s great work to a satisfying close.   

3. Book Four – The Shadow Rising. 

The Shadow Rising is viewed by many readers as the greatest book in The Wheel of Time.
After finishing it, I could see why that is the case, even though it is not my personal favourite, since I like the two above it more.
The Shadow Rising starts off strong, with the bubble of evil attacking Rand, Mat and Perrin in different ways, followed by Lanfear confronting Rand.
This lead to one of the first moments of Lew Therin peeking through Rand outwardly, as he actively recalls the past, a moment that gave me chills, almost as much as when Rand fruitlessly tried reviving the girl killed in the following Trolloc raid.
From here, our heroes’ stories diverge with Rand and Mat traveling to the Aeil Waste to recruit the Aeil, Perrin going back to Emond’s Field to save their people from the White Cloaks, and Nynaeve and Elayne continue their hunt for the Black Ajah, leading to a confrotation with Moghidien.
I will start with Perrin’s storyline, since it is undoubtedly one of the best in The Wheel of Time.
At this point in the story, Perrin was my favourite character, so imagine just how much motr his amazing story made me love him as he strived to save his people from both the White Cloaks and the Trollocs, all while reeling from the loss of his family.
This all leads to the Battle of Emond’s Field, another great battle in the series, where Perrin bests the Trollocs with Faile’s help, leading to him dismissing the White Cloaks and becoming the unwilling Lord of the Two Rivers, along with having his first encounter with Slayer.
Rand and Mat’s venture into Rhuidean is almost just as interesting, with Rand learning about the true history of the Aeil with one of the most interesting displays of flashbacks I have seen in a novel.
Then there’s Mat’s confrontation with the Eelfinn, leading to him having the blanks in his memory filled by those of ancient generals, eventually leading to his great development in The Fires of Heaven.
This kickstarts their journey to recruit the Aeil, leading to Rand unknowingly having his first encounter with Asmodean, beginning their fantastic dialogue exchanges, eventually culminating in their final fight where Rand and Lanfear force the Foresaken to teach Rand how to channel.
Then there is Nynaeve and Elayne’s story which, while I personally did not find it to be as interesting as the other two, introduced many interesting elements, like some of the terrifying powers the Foresaken have, with Moghidien using compulsion to get information out of them.
Nynaeve gets back at her, however, taking on the Foresaken at the end of her storyline, though certainly not for the last time.
Finally, there is the beginning of the White Tower conflict, as Suian is deposed and stilled, leading to Min having to rescue her and Leanne, before escaping with Logain, in turn setting up his glory plotline, another storyline that greatly intrigued me to the end.
Of all of these storylines, though, I have made it clear that it is Perrin’s one that shines the most, as I was excited every time I would turn the page and see it was his POV chapter next.
The Shadow Rising is a fantastic read, one which I can see why so many people rank it as their favourite.       

2. Book Twelve – The Gathering Storm. 

The first book released by Brandon Sanderson after Robert Jordan passed, I am sure a lot of readers were nervous to see whether Sanderson could pull off telling the story Jordan was supposed to finish.
Well, after reading The Gathering Storm and staring at nothing in astonishment for a few minutes, I concluded that no other writer was a better choice to conclude Jordan’s story after his passing than Sanderson.
While The Shadow Rising has one of the greatest storylines in the entirety of The Wheel of Time, The Gathering Storm has two of them, those being the storylines of Rand and Egwene, both of which are just spectacular.
Rand’s descent down a darker path in this book is haunting, as he closes himself off after being compelled by Semirhage to almost kill Min, leading to him accessing the True Power and turning it on the Foresaken.
This all eventually leads to one of Rand’s darkest moments as, after killing a fortress full of compulsed people in an attempt kill Graendal, Cadsuane sends his father Tam to try and talk some sense into him.
At first, this is quite the emotional scene, with me again tearing up at the father and son reunion, only for it to turn horrifying when Rand loses control and nearly murders Tam.
However, Rand’s darkest moment quickly leads to one of his most triumphant and moving as, when he goes to Dragonmount to destroy the Pattern with the Chodean Kal, Lews Therin proposes that they were reborn to have a second chance and love again.
Renewed with hope, Rand destroys the Chodean Kal and laughs joyfully, now fully prepared to take on the Dark One.
This descent into darkness and then rise into light is one of Rand’s best arcs and just as good as it is Egwene’s rise to power in the White Tower, as she slowly undermines Elaida’s rule, before proving herself in the fight against the Seanchan.
She has multiple fantastic moments, probably my favourite of which is her burn against Eladia, stating that she would call her a Darkfriend if not for the fact that the Dark One would probably be too embarrassed to associate with her.
What is truly amazing about The Gathering Storm, though, is that despite Rand and Egwene having some of their best storylines, they are not the best character in this novel.
No, in my opinion, that title goes to a character who does not have much page time but is still incredibly important: Verin Mathwin.
Verin exposing herself as a double agent Black Ajah to Egwene and then sacrificing herself to make sure she has the means to expose all of the black sisters was incredible to read and, much like Rand’s reunion with his father, made me cry.
Verin went from a character I liked, but nowhere near my top ten, to one of my favourite characters in The Wheel of Time in just a single chapter.
She is not the only character I was glad to see get the spotlight they deserve because Aviendha also finally gets page time again.
Also there is no page time for Elayne so that was a relief after how annoying I found her to be in Knife of Dreams.
One criticism I do have for The Gathering Storm, which keeps it from the top spot, is Sanderson’s writing of Mat.
It has been pointed out by many people, Sanderson included, that he struggled writing Mat and it shows here because he does sound noticeably different.
That said, I did quite enjoy his storyline in this book, with his stay in Hinderstap being especially horrifying.
Aside from the issues with Mat’s character, The Gathering Storm is a fantastic read and was a phenomenal start for Brandon Sanderson in picking up from where Robert Jordan left off. 

1. Book Two – The Great Hunt. 

My favourite novel in The Wheel of Time is without a doubt the second book, The Great Hunt.
This is the one where Robert Jordan truly forged The Wheel of Time’s identity.
In The Eye of the World, he showed that he could take influence from Tolkein while being different and in The Great Hunt he diverges completely to do his own thing, with fantastic results.
The novel begins with Rand finally being told by Moiraine, Suian and Verin that he is the Dragon Reborn, something he is understandably unwilling to accept.
He hardly has any time to grapple with this however because the Horn of Valere is then stolen by Padan Fain who is quite the scary antagonist here.
Later on in the series, I came to view Fain as little more than a caricature but he is honestly terrifying in The Great Hunt.
He is not the only amazing antagonist in this novel, though, because this is also where Jordan introduces the Seanchan,
I cannot remember a time when I have hated a fictional fantasy culture more than them.
Jordan did a fantastic job of making them despicable, by perfectly portraying their disgusting tradition of enslaving women who can channel and quite literally erasing their entire identity and replacing it with something that consitutes as a pet at best and an object at worst.
While this made me despise the Seanchan, it did the opposite for Egwene, as this book truly endered her to me as she struggled against them.
The moment when she tells Min to remember her and another captured woman’s names before they are removed by the Seanchan’s torture was haunting.
As for Rand, his journey to recover the Horn of Valere is also phenomenal, as he begins his struggle with the weight of his destiny.
This results in my favourite moment of the entire series, where Rand’s use of the Portal Stones results in him experiencing potential alternate versions of himself with futures that all end in tragedy, as the Dark One always wins and always whispers in his mind, “I win again, Lews Therin.”

What makes this moment even more impactful is to look back on it and realize that Jordan was foreshadowing a lot of important events through these alternate universe visions, like Egwene becoming the Armylin Seat.
Other stellar scenes include Nynaeve’s initiation into the accepted, Thom’s return and, of course, Ingtar revealing he is a Darkfriend before returning to the Light and sacrificing himself.
Speaking of Ingtar, him and Hurin are great new characters, and I wish we got to see more of Hurin, since I feel he was underused.
Ingtar’s sacrifice is just a part of thel battle at Falme, where Mat is unexpectedly the one to blow the Horn of Valere, and Rand has his second face off against Ba’alzamon, which is my favourite of the three.
“I will never serve you, Father of Lies. In a thousand lives, I never have. I’m sure of it. Come. It is time to die.”
It was hard not to cheer at this moment when Rand seems to finally accept his identity as the Dragon Reborn and fight Ba’alzamon in the sky.
As for criticisms, I would say that, at the time, it was difficult not to get frustrated at Rand for not finding Selene suspicious when she was so obviously Lanfear.
However, after reading further into the series and seeing Rand’s naive perception of women and the dangers this ultimately puts him and his friend in, I recognize it as a good character flaw that he has to overcome.
Overall, The Great Hunt is an amazing book, one which truly forged the series’ identity and set the stage for what was to come with some of the best moments of the series.
Thus, it is my favourite book in The Wheel of Time.   

The Wheel of Time, Episode Eight, The Eye of the World, Review: What in the Blood and Bloody Ashes was This?

Although I have had some issues with Amazon Prime’s adaptation of The Wheel of Time, mostly to do with the premiere episode, I overall enjoyed the show up to Episode Seven… then I watched Episode Eight. 
Directed by Ciarian Donnely again, this episode, titled “The Eye of the World”, is without question the weakest of the season, so far.
This is especially bad considering this is the first season’s finale, and I am really hoping it is not an indication of the quality of future seasons.
Admittedly, when “The Eye of the World” first started, I was pretty excited for it.
The reason for this is that the cold open for the episode is our first introduction to Rand’s prior life, Lews Therin Talamon (Alexander Karim), the Dragon Reborn… wait “reborn?”
Yeah, that was the first sign of trouble in the episode because there are quite a few inaccuracies to the most simple parts of the lore in this opening scene, like Lews Therin’s title, and Latra (Katie Brayben) somehow knowing the Dark One would taint the male half of the One Power.
Seriously, how the heck did she predict that?
Although, I was able to look past these issues during my first watch of the episode because I liked how the scene was performed in old tongue.
It really showed a commitment to the world building of the lore, even if some parts of it were contradicted. 
We even get a good look at the futuristic setting of the Third Age, which looks oddly good for a time when the Dark One threatened the world.
However, I guess they did need to show how far the world had fallen since the Breaking of the World, so it’s not too much of an issue. 

There are some issues with Lews Therin’s first scene in the show but overall I liked it.

We then pick up with our two sets of characters, as Rand and Moiraine make their way through the Blight, towards the Eye of the World, and Lan and the Emond’s Fielders reel from the revelation that Rand is the Dragon Reborn.
Lan’s top priority, though, is locating Moiraine, and Nynaeve informs him of how to do so because of a “tell” she has.
What this tell is and how Lan has not noticed it after decades of being Moiraine’s Warder is never explained.
Another issue is a line Lan says that is translated right from the books.
As he is saying goodbye to Nynaeve, he tells her, “I will hate the man you choose. Because he is not me. And I will love him if he makes you smile. You are as beautiful as the sunrise. You are as fierce as a warrior. You are a lioness, Wisdom.” 
Now, while this is a book accurate line, for the most part, I just don’t think it works here because it feels entirely different from the context of what is happening in this scene.
In the books, Lan has quite a different personality, so the reasons for him telling Nynaeve this are for meant to mean something else and thus the line does not match up with the show conversation.
Sure, the quote has been changed slightly to try and make more sense for the show but it still does not quite work right.
Then there’s the dialogue.
Again, it’s true to the book, however the issue is that the dialogue for this adaptation has been more modern so to hear this old fashioned love declaration feels rather strange.
Speaking of strange, we then get our first look at the Dark One, who visits Rand in a dream and, honestly, I personally did not find him to be that intimidating.
To be fair, I think it’s an issue with the costuming, rather than the acting of Fares Fares.
The way his shirt goes down below his jacket makes him look like he got out of bed late, realized he had to go terrorize Rand, and haphazardly put on whatever was there to make it in time. 

The Father of Lies is kind of hard to take seriously with this costuming.

Also, I’m pretty sure there are some things about this dream scene that contradict key aspects of the series’ lore.
This, and the Moiraine fake out death was obvious and annyoing.
Unfortunately, this is not the last we’ll see of one in the episode, as can be seen with one of Min’s visions of Nynaeve “dying.”
Upon waking, Rand is informed by Moiraine about her plan for him to use a sa’angreal to seal the Dark One away again.
Again, though, that’s not how it works in the books but whatever.
They do not have a lot of time, though, because the Dark One is sending his most terrifying force against Fal Dara. 
No, not Trollocs, no, not Mydraals, but terrible CGI!
Seriously, what in the light was up with the Trolloc CGI in this episode?
Sure, some of the Trollocs did look pretty iffy in previous episodes but the ones here looked so abysmal that it broke all my immersion.
It looked like Sharknado quality, I’m not kidding. 

See?

To be fair, though, this could have been an issue because of COVID, so it is understandable if that’s the case.
Rushing to meet the terrible CGI Trollocs is the show’s unlikeable version of Lord Agelmar, who has left his sister, Lady Amilisa, to defend the city if he falls, which in hindsight is a really stupid decision, but I’ll explain why later.
As this is happening, Rand and Moiraine descend into the Eye, only for Rand to be drawn into a dream world where the Dark One shows him his ideal life with Egwene, offering it in return for serving him. 
The Dark One also confronts Moiraine out in the real world but easily cuts her off from the One Power, seemingly permanently.
Meanwhile, at Fal Dara, Egwene and Nynaeve join Lady Amilisa and two others to protect Fal Dara, while Perrin despairs over not knowing how to help.
Loial inspires him with a pretty good inspiring line, “if you want to help but don’t know how, all you need to do is ask.”

I’m still loving Hammed Animashaun’s portrayal of Loial, even if he has not had as much characterization as in the books.

Loial’s advice leads to him and Perrin helping uncover the Horn of Valere from under Lord Agelmar’s throne, however, this is not exactly a good thing because Padan Fain arrives with two Mydraal to steal the horn.
I quite enjoyed the brutal way he enters the scene, resulting in the death of two women, since it shows how big of a threat he is.
Although, the scene of him actually stealing the horn and then talking to Perrin is a little clumsy.
Fain pretty much stabs Loial, monologues to Perrin, and then leaves with Perrin having nothing to do other than stand there and listen.
The scene with Nynaeve and Egwene is not much better, unfortunately.
After Lord Agelmar is seemingly killed and the Trollocs break through, rushing to attack Fal Dara, Lady Amilisa links with the five other channelers, completely obliterating the Trolloc army.
This is why I said it was stupid for Agelmar to leave the city’s defences to his sister.
If five untrained women channeling can generate enough power to destroy an entire Trolloc army then why in the blood and ashes would you not put them on the front lines?
Not doing so just wastes lives.
Also, again, these women are untrained, so it leaves a whole lot of plot holes, like why the trained Aes Sedai did not easily destroy Logain’s army in Episode Four?
And then there’s the already mentioned second fake out death.
After Amilisa and the other two women who can channel are killed from using too much power, Nynaeve appears to die as well before she and Egwene can break free from their hold on the One Power.
Egwene then magically heals Nynaeve pretty much instantly.
What was the point of this?
It just feels like unnecessary drama.

I’m really hoping that this show quits it with the fake out deaths.

At least the fight at the Eye of the World has a somewhat satisfying conclusion, with Rand breaking free from the Dark One’s manipulations because of his love for the real Egwene, and blasting him away.
With this battle now done, Rand decides to leave, saying he can feel the madness that all male channelers suffer from.
It would have been nice if we could have seen this madness but Rafe Judkins apparently decided to just have Rand say he could feel it.
Moiraine promises to tell everyone Rand has died as he leaves and Lan then arrives after having done pretty much nothing in this final episode.
She tells Lan that Rand is “gone” and confirms that she can no longer channel, before proclaiming that this was not the last battle but the first of many to come.
The final scene of the episode then sees a little girl playing on a beach, only to witness an invading army approaching. 
This army uses their channelers to send out a tsunami onto the beach, killing the girl.

Such a show of force is honestly kind of dumb though because, unless I’m mistaken, that beach looked pretty barren.
So, were they just trying to kill one girl?
Clearly not but that’s the way it appeared.
It seems that Judkins wanted this new culture to be scary yet he did not think of a logical reason for their actions beyond this. 

“Look, a little girl! Let’s create a giant tsunami just to kill her and no one else because we’re the big, scary bad guys!”

And so this awkward feeling scene brings an end to what is undoubtedly the weakest episode of Season One by a large margin.
This episode is just full of issues.
To be fair, there are good things, like the score and acting for the most part.
It’s just that the decisions made for this episode’s story really baffle me, especially as a reader of the books.
Overall though, I would say this adaptation was decent.
If I were to rank all the episodes from weakest to best it would go Episode Eight, Episode One, Episode Five, Episode Three, Episode Two, Episode Seven, Episode Six, and best of all Episode Four. 

 

Book Spoilers: 

I said that, as a book reader, a lot of the changes this episode baffled me, and this bafflement started right from the opening scene.
Why is Lews Therin known as the Dragon Reborn and not just the Dragon?
The Dragon Reborn is Rand’s title.
It’s a small inconsistency from the books but a weird one.
It gets even weirder when both Moiraine and Rand die in Rand’s dream.
If this is Tel’aran’rhiod, then both of them should be dead since they died in their dreams.
Although maybe this is somehow just a regular dream that Ishamael is invading.
Speaking of, I wish they had just revealed that the one Rand fought was not the Dark One but Ishamael.
As I said, the costuming made it difficult for me to take him seriously, and this would have been worse if I was a show only viewer, since I would find him unthreatening as the Dark One.
So, is the show just going to temporarily kill him off whenever the Dragon Reborn is adapted, and then reveal he wasn’t the Dark One as well?
That felt cheap on my first read through of the books and I hope it is changed.
This said, I did like the change of it being Ishamael that Rand fought at the Eye, instead of Aginor and Bathamel.
As for the other changes of the episode, another significant one was how much less of a deal the Eye of the World and the battle of Tarwin’s Gap were.
I think they’re substituting the Eye for a seal for the Dark One’s prison here, which is fine, but the battle of Tarwin’s Gap was not handled well because Rand did not have a part in it.
That battle in the book, confusing as it was, showed off Rand’s power as the Dragon Reborn and why he was such a big deal.
Overall, the show does not really show why the Dragon Reborn is so revered and feared at the same time because Rand seems just like a normal male channeler at this point.

The power and threat the Dragon Reborns poses to the world is not seen in this adaptation, at least not yet.

All of the prophecies have clearly been thrown out the window as well, since Moiraine went through with this plan to bring just Rand to the Eye of the World, thinking it was the Last Battle.
So, what happened to all the other prophecies that Rand and the others spent multiple books fullfiling?         
Is Rand going to go grab Callandor just because he feels like it now?
Coming back to the Eye, though, the Horn of Valere is no longer there but under Agelmar’s throne.
What?
Another strange change, and it leads to another one with Loial being stabbed by Padan Fain.
Which reminds me, they never explained why Loial went with Rand and the others in the first place, so his actions don’t really make sense in the show because he has no motivation.
Also, him being stabbed by Fain with the Shadar Logoth Dagger seems to suggest that he will take on Mat’s role in the Great Hunt, since Barney Harris left.
As for Mat himself, Fain again implies that Mat could turn to the shadow, another instance of the show seeming to misunderstand Mat as a character.
Sure, Mat is a trouble maker, but he never had an inherent darkness in the books that drew him to the Shadow.

I loved Barney Harris’ performance as Mat this season and I’m sad to see him go but, man, did they have to portray him like a potential villain at times? That is just not Mat.

Then there’s Moiraine being stilled, which is another controversial divergance.
However, I’m not sure if she was stilled or just kept from touching the One Power, like Moghidien did to Liandrin in the books.
Either way, it’s a massive departure from her character, one which I hope turns out for the better in season two but, after the quality of this episode’s changes from the source material, I’m concerned.
I have liked some of the chages in previous episodes, like the extension of Logain’s storyline and Moiraine and Suian’s relationship, but the changes in Episode Eight really dropped the ball.
“The Eye of the World” is a weak ending for an otherwise alright adaptation of the first book in Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series. 

The Wheel of Time, Episode Five, Blood Calls Blood Review: A Fantastic Easter Egg.

If I were to rank the Wheel of Time episodes we have so far, then Episode Five, “Blood Calls Blood,” would be one of the weaker episodes, only above the first episode “Leavetaking.”
I did enjoy “Blood Calls Blood,” it’s just that the episode is a bit of a mixed bag for me, containing many fantastic moments but also many questionable moments.
Directed by Salli Richardson-Whitefield, the episode begins with the aftermath of the brilliant Episode Four, “The Dragon Reborn,” with the Aes Sedai and their Warders mourning not just their fallen but also the fallen in Logain’s army, including the king he brought to his side.
The main focus, however, is definitely on Stepin, who is wracked with grief over the death of Kerene, as he buries her and removes her ring.
Although, in the first sign of some of the issues this episode would have later on, it is weird how shallow the graves are.
That said, there are also many good parts to this scene, along with the display Stepin’s grief, like Nynaeve tugging her braid, a moment show only fans will probably not take much note of but, for book readers, it is a nice touch for her character in the novels.
As well as this, the weather itself is also a great part of this scene, showing how much time is passing, taken even further with how the episode cuts to a month later after the opening credits.
What’s more, many of the characters also display signs of how much time has passed, specifically with Rand and Perrin, as their hair has grown considerably in the month timeskip.  
Not only this, but all three groups of main characters have now made their way to the White Tower.

The CGI for Tar Valon and Dragonmount is great.

Moiraine’s group arrives without issue, except for Nynaeve still creating trouble for Moiraine by telling her she should be careful of her.
Yet, the arrival is much grimmer for Rand and Mat, because Mat’s condition is still deteriorating, with him being scared that he may have actually killed that family at the farm, but Rand insists he did not.
Sadly, though, if Rand and Mat’s situation is bad, then Perrin and Egwene’s is 100 times worse, as they are captured by Valda and the White Cloaks, probably the last group of people you want to be captured by… well, at least of the groups we have been introduced to so far.
Back to Egwene and Perrin, the Tinker’s try to help them escape, with Aram leading the way, but the White Cloaks are brutally efficient in their capture of them.
We then go from a scene of chaos to a scene of calm, as Rand is investigating a library at the inn they are staying at, when he is confronted by a kind hearted Ogier named Loial, another fan favourite from the books.
Now, I’ll be honest, I saw some leaked images for Loial long before I saw this episode and I was not impressed.
The practical effects just made him look too cheesy.
That said, I really should have waited to see him in motion before I judged because, after watching Loial’s scenes in “Blood Calls Blood,” I actually think he looks pretty good.
Certainly not how I or many others probably imagined him, but good.
Then there’s his actor, Hammed Animashaun, who knocks it completely out of stedding.
As soon as he started talking, I was like, “well, there’s another example of perfect casting in this show.”

I cannot wait to see more of this version of Loial.

Seriously, the casting director deserves a raise for how amazing of a job they did choosing actors to play these characters.
Loial’s charming nature also works a lot like Thom’s did in Episodes Three and Four.
In those episodes, his personality allowed him to deliver exposition in a way that did not feel like we were being spoken down to, and Loial does exactly this.
He even brings up how Rand looks like an Aeilman, the group of people whose culture Thom introduced to us in “A Place of Saftey.”
But this pleasant conversation is interrupted when Loial informs Rand they are bringing the defeated Logain to show to the people, and Rand sees Mat going to look.
He chases after his friend, eventually finding him looking at the scene from a balcony, only for Logain to look right at Mat and burst into manic laughter.
This causes Mat to try and make a deal with Rand, saying one will kill the other if they ever start channeling.
It is at this point, that I have to mention the easter eggs in Rand and Mat’s storyline because, oh blood and bloody ashes, were these amazing.
I’ll go into more detail about what these easter eggs were in the spoiler section so not to spoil any potential show only viewers that may read this, but know that they are by far my favourite moment of the episode.
It is an incredible showcase of subtlety.
Following this scene between Rand and Mat, we go back to the White Tower, where Stepin is preparing for the ceremony to send off Kerene.
He tells the story of his past and how it lead to meeting Kerene in a tragic performance from Peter Franzen.
We then see the actual ceremony, where Stephin kisses Kerene’s ring and then melts it in a flaming pit overlooking the city.
Once this ceremony is over, Lan goes to Moiraine, stroking her ring and showing just how deep the Warder bond goes.

The Stepin storyline teaches us a lot about a Warder’s bond with their Aes Sedai.

However, this touching scene then cuts to a grim one as Egwene is stipped by the Whitecloaks, scrubbed down and redressed in a violating scene, that shows the sickness of Valda, as he has her tied to a chair and Perrin tied down over a board.
Valda’s intuition is unfortunately sharp, as he deduces Egwene is not an Aes Sedai through her lying, but still knows she can channel.
So, he begins to cruely torture Perrin in front of her, telling her he will kill him if she does not channel and kill her if she can, leaving the decision of who dies to them.
It is during this brutal torture, that we also get a glimpse of Perrin’s abilities, as his eyes glow golden, before Valda leaves them. 

Really liking the look of Perrin’s golden eyes here.

The episode then leaves them temporarily to cut to Nynaeve, who is greeted by Stepin asking for something to help him sleep.
When it is actually revealed what Stepin intends to do with this sleeping medicine, the scene becomes much more chilling on rewatch but, on first viewing, it merey serves as a means for these two characters to bond, and for Nynaeve to be allowed a way out.
She is quickly confronted by Liandrin with her scheming but Nynaeve is naturally still resistant to her manipulations.
Up until this point, the episode is great, with many standout moments, like Loial’s introduction, the easter eggs during Rand and Mat’s storyline, and the gruesome display of Valda’s brutality against Perrin and Egwene.
However, it is here that we get the first of the problems that bring “Blood Calls Blood” down for me.
The first of these problems is the scene after Nynaeve and Liandrin’s encounter, which sees Loial lead Nynaeve to Rand and Mat.
The reason this scene does not work for me is because of how abrupt it is.
Nynaeve is exploring the tower in one scene, and in the next she has been taken to Rand and Mat.
It is like there was an entire scene of Nynaeve meeting Loial that was cut.
At least it does lead to a further display of Mat’s corruption when he violently pushes Nynaeve awat, and we also get Nynaeve’s touching story of how Egwene pulled through from a deadly infection, potentially hinting at how she first began to channel.
What follows is the the next scene of Perrin and Egwene, which is equal parts fantastic and badly shot.
To be fair, the fantastic stuff does come first, with some excellent acting from Marcus Rutherford and Madeleine Madden, as Perrin confesses to accidentally killing his wife, in an attempt to get Egwene to agree with his decision to sacrifice himself.
I may still feel conflicted about the whole Perrin killing his wife storyline but Rutherford’s acting really sold this moment.

This was an emotional moment from Perrin.

Egwene then uses her chanelling to free Perrin while distracting Valda, causing Perrin to lunge forward, eyes pure golden, as wolves howl around them.
Valda is naturally terrified of Perrin, allowing Egwene the chance to break free and stab the Questioner.
The two then run outside and it is here that the bad shots unfortunately come into play.
I thought the shots of the wolves in “A Place of Saftey” were pretty bad and these ones are much the same, with constant cuts to try and hide the miniature size of the wolves, making the whole action scene look like a bad made for TV movie.
This really sticks out like a sore thumb when the rest of the episode is so well made.
On a more interesting note, though, Egwene has taken back the rings Valda stole from the Aes Sedai he murdered so that is a plus, since it should be able to get them into the White Tower.
Speaking of the tower, inside we see more of Linadrin’s scheming, this time against Moiraine, but Liandrin should have known this would not turn out in her favor.
Then we see Lan observing Stepin performing a ritual to ward off the evil of the Foresaken, people who served the Dark One, including Ishamael.
There seems to be eight of these Foresaken, and they were all sealed away by the previous Dragon. 

It will be interesting to see which of the Foresaken from the books are kept and which are removed.

Following this, we see Moiraine talking with Alanna, as she is worried about dying and leaving Lan without her.
Alanna reassures her but points out they have bigger things to worry about, like the Amyrlin Seat, Siuan Sanche, wanting blood for them gentling Logain without a trial.
Moiraine assures her the situation is under control, but between the Amyrin and Liandrin, Alanna is concerned.
We then get the scene right before disaster, as Lan drinks with Steppin, who questions him about Nynaeve’s obvious feelings for him.
Lan naturally resists such ideas, which is perfectly in character for him at this point.
Stepin is supportive, however, saying that without it life is intolerable.
These words take on so much more meaning when Lan discovers Stepin has killed himself the next morning after drugging him.
It was Stepin’s final goodbye to Lan, encouraging him to embrace Nynaeve’s feelings.
Then comes the final scene of the episode, the funeral for Stepin, where Lan is given the role of expressing everyone’s grief, in a wonderful display of custom for the show.
Both Rosamund Pike and Daniel Henney’s acting during this scene make it very emotional, and really drew me into the scene.
Many are unsure about it because of how stoic Lan was in the books compared to this but I think it works… until the last show.
That last damn shot.
As Lan is weeping, he suddenly rips open his robe, baring his chest in such a melodramatic moment that it made me laugh out loud.
He looked like a rock star baring his chest to make the fans go wild or something.
It ruined the moment.

This was the moment I went from feeling sad to laughing my head off.

If the episode had ended before this shot, the scene would have been great but, unfortunately, they decided to include this over dramatic moment, ending the episode on an unintentionally hilarious moment rather than the emotional one they were going for.
It is scenes like this, Nynaeve’s abrupt arrival, and the cheesy shot composition of Perrin and Egwene’s escape that really brought this episode down for me.
Still, the rest of the episode is legitimaely great and I have heard rumors that the next one, which I have not watched yet, is one of the best of the season so I have that to look forward to. 

 

 

 

Book Spoiler Section:

Alright, so let’s talk about those fantastic Padan Fain easter eggs.
I remember watching the scene where Logain is paraded through the streets, hearing laughter, and then briefly seeing Padan Fain sleeking off before the shot cut.
Que a moment of panic from me as I quickly fast forward back to see if I had seen that right and, sure enough, there he is, hidden in the background.
He even appears in an earlier shot when Rand and Mat are entering the inn, whistling his chilling tune as he watches them.
I love how they are subtly pointing to Fain’s pursuit of Rand, rather than making it obvious, like it kind of was in the first book.
It makes me hopeful for Fain’s future in the show as well, since he became a weak antagonist for me after the Great Hunt.

Seeing this Padan Fain cameo made me lose my mind.

As for another antagonist, Valda, I found his portrayal interesting.
I had heard theories that he would be merged with the Darkfriend White Cloak Carridin, but his speech about the Light to Egwene while he is torturing Perrin makes me think that is unlikely.
Another thing I loved was how the show is continuing to misdirect show only viewers about the identity of the Dragon Reborn.
They’ll see Logain laughing while the focus is on Mat and think he is the Dragon Reborn, and won’t realise that Logain was actually laughing at Rand until later.
Rand also saying he recognises Dragon Mount was a nice touch.
As for Stepin’s scenes, these moments are entirely show original, and I quite liked what they did for the world building by showcasing the bond between an Aes Sedai and her Warder, which we will hopefully see more of when we get to Moiraine’s sacrifice, whenever “The Fires of Heaven” is adapted.
There’s also the mention of the Foresaken, foreshadowing their arrival, which I am also excited for.
However, there are only eight of them instead of thirteen from the looks of things, so some of them will most likely be merged together.
Along with Ishamael I can clearly recognise Graendal, Semirhage and Asmodean, among a few others, so it will be interesting to see which Foresaken makes the cut in the future of the show.
Overall, the book changes and divergances were quite good this episode, despite “Blood Calls Blood’s” issues.  

The Wheel of Time Second Trailer Reaction: Terrifying Trollocs!

It will not be long until the Amazon Prime adaptation of Robert Jordan’s epic fantasy series The Wheel of Time begins airing and I could not be more excited for it.
I recently finished Book Nine, Winter’s Heart, and am planning to rank the books when I actually finish the rest of them.
Until then, I will be reviewing every episode of the adaptation when it comes out on November 19.
In anticipation of this date, a new trailer was recently released and it is interesting to say the least.
By that I mean there is a lot to love about this trailer but also a few things book readers are concerned about.
Before I talk about it, though, just in case any people happen to read this who have not read the books, I will keep most of this post spoiler free.
I will have a spoiler section at the bottom where I talk about certain things from the books but, until then, this will remain spoiler free except for what we see in the trailer, character names and place names.
The trailer begins with Moirainne swearing the oaths of the Aes Sedai, “to speak no word that is not true, to make no weapon with which one person may kill another, and to never use the one power as a weapon.”
From here, the trailer cuts to her containing the captive named Logain as a Warder tells someone that Aes Sedai means “servants of all,” setting up the role they are supposed to serve in the world to the viewer.
Then we see exactly what Moiraine’s goal is, with her and her Warder, Lan, heading to the Two Rivers in search of someone, followed by brief shots of our five Emond’s Fielders, Nynaeve, Egwene, Rand, Perrin and Mat.
Speaking of Mat, unfortunately news has come out that Barney Harris will not be returning for Season Two and Donal Finn will be replacing him.
The reasons for why this recasting happened is not currently known.
Nonetheless, it is a shame considering that, from the trailers, Harris looks to be a pretty good pick for Mat. 

Let’s just hope he does a great job in this season and that Finn also follows up his performance well in subsequent seasons.

Hopefully the transition between Mats from seasons one to two works well.

Back to the trailer, we get a brief shot of one of the monsters hunting our characters, A Mydraal, and Moiraine says that the reason such monsters are appearing is because “the Dark One is waking, but there will be one who can stand against him and it’s one of the five of you.”
This is definitely the most controversial part of the trailer for book fans but I will get into the reason why in the spoiler section down below.
After this controversial moment, however, came a part of the trailer that I think most book readers can agree looks perfect: the Trollocs.
I said they looked great in the few glimpses we got from the first trailer and I felt validated watching this new trailer for the first time.
It looks like they’re mostly practical as well, giving the Trollocs an especially dangerous feeling.
I cannot wait to see the moment when the Trolloc (maybe Narg?) breaks into Rand and Tam’s home, causing a fight to ensue.

The Tollocs look terrifying.

We then see Lan riding off, carrying someone who appears to be an unconscious Moiraine, before the scene cuts to them arriving at the borderland city of Fal Dara and possibly meeting Lord Agelmar.     
This is followed up by the much more gruesome sight of an Aes Sedai from the Yellow Ajah, bening burned alive at the stake by a White Cloak, Aemon Valda, who has a bunch of Aes Sedai rings, and drinks smugly at the sight of the burning woman, the reflection of this clear in his cup.
Next, we have the unusual sight of Lan crying, beating his chest, and Moiraine crying with him, with Egwene.
Rand then says he can’t lose Egwene, followed by a shot of her and Perrin being surrounded by White Cloaks, raising the intensity of the trailer since we just saw one burn a woman alive.
Egwene insists that Rand won’t lose her, and then we get brief glimpses of two other characters, Loial at a Waygate with the main group, and Thom fighting off what appears to be a Mydraal.
We then see more action shots of Moiraine fighting Trollocs with the One Power, Logain’s prison melting, Logain holding off an attack, Alanna fighting with her Warders ducking, and Rand preparing to let loose an arrow.
Most iconic of all, though, are the shots of an Aeil fighting a knight in the blood snow. 

Cannot wait to see what the context of this particular fight is because, if it’s in the books, I haven’t reached this part yet.

The title is then brought in with the just as iconic line from Moiraine, “The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills.”
The trailer then finally ends with Perrin asking Egwene if she thinks they will ever go back home, followed by more action shots, and Egwene saying no.
This trailer was great.
I liked it even more than the first because it really gave an idea of what to expect from the show and got me excited for many scenes, like the Trolloc attack.
Also, if you watched the special version of the trailer and moved the screen around, you will see various old tongue words and a face with fire eyes, which got me even more hyped for it.
Explanation for the face down below.
As for the rest of the trailer, it was fantastic and I cannot wait for this show to come out so I can review each episode as I watch them. 

 

Spoiler Section:

That face was definitely Ba’alzamon and it has me quite intrigued to see how he will be implemented in the show.
Now, for the rest of the book moments I wanted to discuss but could not because of spoilers.
For starters, I find it interesting how the White Cloaks are looking to be much more vicious in the show than they were in the books.
The White Cloaks in the novels are kind of a bunch of bumbling idiot fanatics.
The show looks to be changing that by having Valda burn the Aes Sedai at the stake.

The White Cloaks really do look like smug villains in this and I am all for it.

Although, numerous people have raised concerns over how this would even be feasible and allowed in the world of The Wheel of Time.
Another thing people have raised issues about is Lan being so emotional in that one scene where he is beating his chest.
Lan is usually such a stoic character so this scene struck most book readers as an odd misunderstanding of the character.
Showrunner Rafe Judkins has said this is because of Moiraine’s Warder bond with him, which could explain it in context, so we will have to wait and see how it is portrayed.
Now for the most controversial part of the trailer, Egwene and Nynaeve being added to potential candidates for the Dragon Reborn.
In the novels, Rand, Mat and Perrin were the only ta’veren and Dragon Reborn candidates.
However, the show looks to be adding Egwene and Nynaeve and, in another teaser, Moiraine even states that the prophecies of the Dragon do not state whether the Dragon Reborn is a man or a woman.
This changes a huge part of the lore because in the novels the Dragon Rebrorn is stated in the prophecies to be a man, which is a big deal because all male channelers eventually go insane because of the taint of Saidin, which we see when Logain channels in the trailer.

You can see the taint of Saidan (or corruption as it will be called in the show) when Logain channels to protect himself from this knife attack.

The possibility of a woman being the Dragon Reborn would remove a lot of the stigma and fear around them because they could be much less dangerous than a male one would be, potenitally causing some plot holes.
Still, this possible contradiction in lore could be worked around, and I expect the writers did this to create more of a mystery for who the Dragon Reborn is.
Maybe they’ll set up Egwene to be it, creating hope through the Dragon Reborn being a woman, only to rip that hope away when it is eventually revealed to be Rand, causing panic to spread because the saviour of the world is doomed to go insane and could destroy them all.
So, let’s try not to judge this or any of the other changes until we see them in the show with context because they could be implemented well.
For example, I am quite interested to see how Logain’s show original storyline could play out.
It could serve to hype up his character more for his storyline, which I am still waiting to pay off in the books but it looks to be getting there eventually.
Overall, I find many of these changes to be intriguing, even if some of them are a little worrying.
Either way, it does not decrease my excitement for this show.
As Moiraine said, “The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills,” and it will either weave this show to be good or it won’t.
Time will tell.    

The Wheel of Time Trailer Reaction: Let’s Hope the Wheel Weaves it to be Good.

Warning: This will discuss spoilers for Book One and beyond for the Wheel of Time. So, if you don’t want to know some stuff going into the show then don’t read this.

The Wheel of Time turns and adaptations come and pass.
Well, now Amazon Prime is delivering their own Wheel of Time show developed by Rafe Judkins. 
For those unaware, The Wheel of Time is a 15 book epic fantasy series created and written by Robert Jordan, until his unfortunate passing due to a terminal illness, after which Brandon Sanderson finished the story based on Jordan’s notes. 
I first got into the Wheel of Time based on the recommendation of a book YouTuber I watch named Daniel Greene and have just finished the seventh book in the series, A Crown of Swords.
So far, I am loving this story and its characters, and I was very excited to watch the trailer to get an indication of how the books would be adapted. 
And the trailer did not disappoint, beginning with two important characters, Nynaeve al’Meara (played by Zoë Robins), and Egwene al’Vere (Madeleine Madden).
Nynaeve appears to be training Egwene in the Wisdom ways, and by that I mean tossing her off a damn cliff and into the water.
Following this, we get our first look at Emond’s Field, with the narration of the lines accompanying the beginning of every book playing, “the Wheel of Time turns and ages come and pass.” 
With these lines, we get our first good look at our three ta’veren, Rand al’Thor (Josha Stadowski), Mat Cauthon (Barney Harris), and Perrin Aybara (Marcus Rutherford), and the three of them look great, especially Mat, who really seems to give off the trouble making spirit he has in the books. 

This shot appears to perfectly encapsulate Rand, Mat and Perrin’s personalities. I hope the actors can bring them to life.

There is also some romantic tension between Rand and Egwene setup, which is explored further in the trailer. 
After some traveling shots we get another interesting moment where we see a Warder kissing an Aes Sedai ring, possibly meaning her death in a potential show only storyline I will get into later.
Then we get a shot of Egwene emerging from the water, covered in numerous colours, which is the best shot of the trailer once you understand the symbolism at play. 
It took me watching a breakdown from Daniel Greene to get it but when he hinted at the symbolism it floored me. 
If you read Book Six, Lord of Chaos, you will definitley understand what this brief moment is foreshadowing, especially with the narration about legends.

The foreshadowing in this image for Egwene’s character is truly great.

We then get our first look at Tar Valon, the home of the Aes Sedai, with Dragon Mount in the background and it looks fantastic.
The CGI is truly top notch here. 
Afterwards, we get our first shot of the character the trailer wants you to believe is the protaganist, Moiraine (Rosamund Pike), arriving at Emond’s Field, explaining the one power and how the women of the Aes Sedai use it to protect the world. 
Funny how they show the Red Ajah with Liandrin (Kate Fleetwood) while she narrates about this. 
But what she says is given weight by the showcasing of the Amyrlin Seat, Siuan Sanche (Sophie Okonedo) and her Keeper Leane Sharif (Jennifer Cheon Garcia), who all seems to appear much earlier than they do in the books. 
We also get a lot of displays of the one power, with another Aes Sedai healing Moiraine and one stopping a bunch of arrows thrown at them, with Lan (Daniel Henney), who is Moiraine’s Warder, guarding Nynaeve. 
So, the trailer already seems to be dropping hints at their future relationship. 
A sequence of shots then follow, most importantly from Shadar Logoth, where we see Mat with the cursed dagger and the Mashadar pursuing the characters. 
Then we get Mat looking away from what looks like a dead Aeil in a cage, maybe foreshadowing how Perrin meets Gaul in Book Three, The Dragon Reborn.
Speaking of Perrin, we then see him being confronted by a wolf, most likely Hopper, which has me very excited because I love that storyline from the first book, Perrin being my favourite character in The Wheel of Time so far. 

I can’t wait to see Perrin’s storyline adapted. I wonder if we’ll get to see Elyas and the White Cloaks as well?

Curiously, we then see an almost undressed Rand and Egwene sitting togethor, suggesting they will be a lot more romantic than they were in The Eye of the World. 
Although the narration does hint at this not lasting.
The one narrating this is Tam (Michael McElhatton), Rand’s father. 
We then get a bird’s eye view of Winter’s Night, which transitions perfectly into Aes Sedai saying goodbye to their dead. 
This second shot is not connected to Winter’s Night but it does foreshadow what will happen there. 
We then get our first look at a Myrddraal, looking very creepy, as Lan warns someone, probably Rand, that the Dark One is after him and his freinds.
This is quickly followed by shots of a terrified Mat and suprisingly calm looking Rand being pursued by the Mydraal riding a skull masked horse and leading an army of Trollocs. 
Then we get shots of Nynaeve and Lan stuck in a fight, which takes on intersting meaning when we see the False Dragon Logain (Alexandre Willaume) appearing to break free from his captivity under the Red Ajah. 
Therefore, the people fighting Lan and Nynaeve might be his followers. 
This seems to showcase a brand new storyline for Logain, which I am all for because I am very interested to see where his character will go in the books, especially with how Min prophesied his future glory, whatever that means. 

I am excited to see where Logain will go as a character both in the books and in the show.

I am also guessing that this escape attempt will result in the Aes Sedai death we see the Warder mourning near the beginning of the trailer. 
We then see Siuan telling Moirane that the Last Battle is coming, followed by some fantastic footage of the Trollocs in shadow. 
Coming into the trailer, I was kind of concerned that the Trollocs would look goofy but they actually appear pretty terrifying. 
More fighting shots follow, before we see our characters heading towards a Waygate out in the wilderness.
This is followed by our first clear look at a Myrddraal. with its hairless, eyeless face, and mouth full of serated teeth. 
Like the Trollocs, the Myrddraal looks horrifying and I cannot wait to see more of it. 

Look at how many teeth that Myrddraal has! That’s a whole lot of nope right there.

The final shots of the trailer then show Moiraine channeling against the army of Trollocs controlled by the Myddraal, and Lan fighting alongside her in some epic action shots, as Moiraine calls down a bolt of lightening to end the battle. 
With that, we get the offical logo for The Wheel of Time and a release date, November 19th.
This trailer was great. 
The cast looks well chosen, the CGI and fight scenes look good, it teased an interesting show original storyline with Logain, and even the music of of the trailer is well done, with Lorne Balfe being announced as the series’ composer. 
That last fact is another thing I am pretty excited for because I quite enjoyed his score for the His Dark Materials adaptation.
Overall, though, I can say that I am very excited for The Wheel of Time adaptation after this trailer.
Fingers crossed that these fantastic books can be done justice.