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 Seven, The Dark Along the Ways Review: The Blood Snow.

I was pretty excited for Episode 7 of The Wheel of Time, “The Dark Along the Ways,” because the teasers showed that this would be the episode where we finally got to see the Blood Snow, and it certainly did not disappoint.
Directed by Ciaran Donnely, the Blood Snow is the cold open for the episode, and it is the best of the series, showing an Aeilwoman fighting on the slopes of Dragonmount while going through labour.
This whole action scene is probably the best shot scene of the entire series so far.
I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, and the actress playing the Aeil, Magdalena Sittova, does a fantastic job.
Although, it is a little immersion breaking that the Aeil is able to kill so many trained soldiers while in labour.
It kind of reminded me of Mel from The Last of Us Part 2 who was also ridiculously doing death defying stunts while pregnant.
Still, I think it makes a lot more sense here because, again, the woman is Aeil, probably the best fighters in the Wheel of Time.
Also, the fight sequence is riveting and the action is great so my suspension of disbelief was ultimately maintained.

This scene expanded on the Blood Snow from the books in such an excellent fashion.

The epic fight finally ends with the Aeilwoman preparing to give birth, only to be confronted by yet another soldier, before cutting to the opening credits.
Following this cliffhanger and the credits, we go back to our main characters traveling in the Ways, with the exception of Mat, whose actor Barney Harris left so they had to write him out.
One thing that impressed me about this episode was actually how well they did so.
They did not just forget about Mat, he is brought up throughout, and there are quite a few teases for what will happen to him next season, when he is played by Donal Finn, like with Moiraine sending the Red Ajah after him.   
The only thing I found questionable about it is Moiraine’s perception of Mat, believing he would “turn to the shadow” if he were the Dragon.
When I first saw this moment I chuckled thinking, oh, Moiraine, you don’t understand Mat at all.
However, then I pondered whether this was not Moiraine misinterpreting Mat’s character but the writers and I became a bit concerned for where his character could go.
I will explain why further down in the spoiler section.
In any case, the characters continue moving on through the Ways, with Perrin eventually spotting a guiding that has been damaged by something.
This means Loial will need time to dechiper it, asking for the other’s patience, resulting in the best joke of the episode when Rand says, “if he’s asking for patience, then we’re gonna die.” 
It does feel like this joke was meant for Mat, as it seems more in character for him to say it than Rand, but I do understand why he had to be the one because of Barney Harris’ departure.
Moiraine ignores Rand’s concerns and the group decide to rest in the Ways, only for them to be attacked by a Trolloc, which is blasted off the path by Rand channeling. 
Rand doing this was done in such a subtle way that show only viewers would think it was Egwene but book readers like myself would understand it as a hint for Rand being the Dragon Reborn.

The subtle hints that Rand is the Dragon Reborn are done great.

However, this does not end the trouble, because Rand channeling summons Machin Shin, the Black Wind.
The group rush to the Waygate door to Fal Dara to escape Machin Shin, but it catches up to them before they can get out, whispering things they don’t want to accept about themselves to them.
It’s not as creepy as it was in the books but it was serviceable for what comes.
Anyway, the group is able to escape, thanks again to Nynaeve, and they arrive at Fal Dara, entering the city where they are “welcomed” by Lord Agelmar (Thomas Chaanhing), who is not happy to see Moiraine, thinking his sister Lady Amalisa (Sandra Yi Sencindiver) summoned her.
Although he does calm down when Moiraine warns him about the Trollocs in the ways.
Too late though because we see the figure who was following them in the Ways come through, and Perrin later thinks he sees Padan Fain in the city.
After this, Moiraine goes to see Min, another character I have been excited to see.
I will admit that I am not quite sure how to feel about the actress who plays her, Kae Alexander, at this point.
Her performance does feel a bit different from what I expected as a book reader, but I don’t hate it.

I think I just need to see more of Kae Alexander in Season Two before I come to a decision on how I feel about her performance.

Although I am unsure of Alexander as Min, I think the show did a really good job of showing her visions, even if the editing of this scene did become a bit weird at one point.
Her scene also ends rather ominously, as Min tells Moiraine that she saw the Amyrlin Seat will be her downfall.
From here, we move on to what is undoubtedly the worst scene of the episode.
It begins well enough, with Moiraine warning them that whoever goes to the Eye of the World and is not the Dragon Reborn will die.
However, once she and Lan leave we get the dreaded love triangle.
Why, oh, why did the writers have to resort to Perrin also having feelings for Egwene?
It just was not needed and it made the scene feel so contrived.
Thankfully, it seems this is just a single episode plotline and I really hope that it stays that way. 

I remember hearing Machin Shin telling Perrin that he loved another woman and I got very concerned at that point. Sadly, the love triangle was followed through on.

At least after the worst scene of the episode we get one of the best, with Nynaeve following Lan, watching through a window as he meets up with some close friends who call him “Dai Shan.”
The music during this moment is fantastic and I love Nynaeve and Lan’s chemistry in the show, as seen when Lan ambushes her like a ninja and invites her inside.
This eventually leads to the two of them sleeping together for the first time and Lan telling her how he is the king of a long gone kingdom, Malkier.
Their relationship has definitely progressed a lot faster and differently than it did in the books but I enjoyed it and am looking forward to seeing where it goes.
Then, we get the big moment of the episode: the reveal of the Dragon Reborn.
After reconciling with Egwene and sleeping with her, Rand returns outside and begins to accept that he is the one destined to fight the Dark One.
We see that he really did channel when he broke down the ironwood door in episode three, and when he saved Egwene earlier in the Ways.
It also revealed that Machin Shin spoke to him about being the Dragon Reborn, which made a lot of sense because I thought it was weird that he was so torn up, when all it seemed to talk to him about in the beginning was Egwene.
Rand visits Min for further confirmation and we then see how she saw a vision of his birth in the past, with Tam stumbling across Rand’s mother giving birth and helping her.
When she died, Tam took the baby to raise in the Two Rivers.
This episode really reminded me of why I loved Tam so much in the books.

Tam al’Thor is an excellent father.

Rand then goes to Moiraine and admits that he is the Dragon Reborn and the two leave for the Blight, leaving the others behind as they realize what has happened, bringing an end to the episode.
Overall, I would say that “The Dark Along the Ways” is my third favourite episode in The Wheel of Time, right behind “The Flame of Tar Valon” and the “The Dragon Reborn.”
I know I said that I considered it better than Episode Six in my previous review but a rewatch of this episode put it down lower.
It just had a few too many issues, most notably the awful love triangle scene.
This said, most of the episode was great, especially the Blood Snow and Rand coming to accept himself as the Dragon Reborn.

Book Spoilers:

So, for the book spoilers section, I will start small with Moiraine’s comment about Mat.
As I said in my previous review of Episode Six, Mat is described as someone who would run into a fire for his friends in the books, so I find the idea that he would willingly join the Dark One to be a bit absurd.
Still, he had been under the influence of the Dagger from Shadar Logoth so maybe that would explain it.
But the show has been saying there is an inherit darkness to Mat for a while, which I am not quite sure how to feel about since this was not a thing in the books.
Could Mat be a jerk at times?
Yes, especially in the first couple of books, but he quickly proves himself as a loyal friend and hero, even if he is not accepting of either of those titles.
Another character who is different from the books is Lord Agelmar, who is way more unlikeable in the show.
Still, Agelmar is not a character I really cared for in the books, he was just okay, so I’m not too bothered by the change.
I feel the same way about the Machin Shin change, with the Black Wind just speaking to the characters rather than doing anything truly threatening.
This is a small part of the books so I can let it slide.
It also leads to Rand realizing he is the Dragon Reborn, which is great.
Speaking of that, Rand accepting this is probably the biggest change in the entire episode.
Rand goes on an entire soul searching arc for the first three books and it is only at the end of that third book that he completely accepts his destiny as the Dragon Reborn.
Here, he does it much sooner, however, I think it was done in a way that is actually true to Rand’s character from the books.
Here, Rand is told that whoever goes to the Eye of the World and is not the Dragon Reborn will die.
This makes him accepting his destiny sooner make plenty of sense because he obviously does not want Egwene, Nynaeve, or Perrin to die.
It is an interesting change, which is justified well by the story telling in the episode, and I am intrigued to see where it will go in Season Two, with a Rand who fully accepts himself as the Dragon Reborn.

Rand’s relization was well done, even if it is different from the books.

The show also clearly intends to keep some of his future storylines the same, as seen when Min prophecises three beautiful women, herself, Elayne and Aviendha.
Real humble, aren’t you, Min?
However, this positive change of Rand accepting his destiny sooner could not save Episode Eight, “The Eye of the World,” which is easily the worst episode of this entire first season.

As for “The Dark Along the Ways” though, it is still one of the best episodes of the show so far, with some intriguing changes.

Wheel of Time, Episode Six, The Flame of Tar Valon, Review: More Than Pillow Friends.

Directed by Salli Richardson-Whitefield, Episode Six of The Wheel of Time, “The Flame of Tar Valon,” was an episode many fans were interested to see.
This was because it is supposedly Brandon Sanderson’s favourite episode of the season.
After seeing it, I can see why because it definitely is one of the best episodes, but I would personally put it behind Episode Four, “The Dragon Reborn,” and Episode Seven, “The Dark Along the Ways,” which I will review later.
“The Flame of Tar Valon” kicks off with the backstory of Siuan Saunche, the Amyrlin Seat, who lived in a small fishing hut with her father in Tear.
The young Siuan (Kiera Chasna) has begun to Chanel and her father warns her to be careful no one sees but this warning comes too late, as the two return to find their hut burned to the ground and a Dragon’s Fang signed into the remains.
This causes Siuan’s father to reluctantly send her to the White Tower, where she goes on to become the Amyrlin Seat many years later.
On that note, I will say that the acting for this initial scene was fantastic.
This is especially the case for Peter de Jersey, who plays Siuan’s father.
In a single scene he actually almost made me tear up during the emotional goodbye to his daughter. 

De Jersey’s performance shows how great the casting of this show is, since they made sure to get great actors for even minor roles.

After this opening, the episode cuts to the present with the Amyrlin’s trial of Logain and following interrogation of Moiraine, Liandrin, and Alanna.
The introduction of Siuan (Sophie Okonedo) is well handled, with a great transition from a panning shot to a high angle looking down, as the shot also incorporates CGI to show the grandness of the Hall of the Tower.
We then get a pretty intimidating first impression of Siuan, as Logain is brought in for his trial.
The False Dragon appears to be pointlessly trying to show strength by gloating about killing Kerene, however Siuan quickly deduces that he is trying to anger her so she will kill him.
Knowing this is what he wants because of the loss created by Logain’s gentling, the effects of which were explained by Thom in Episode Four, Siuan decides to give Logain the most fitting of punishments.
Logain will be forced to live so he can serve as an example to other False Dragons, and he is dragged off screaming out of the Hall, begging for death.
This done, Siuan turns to Moiraine, Liandrin and Alanna, berating them for violating tower law by gentling Logain without a trial.
In the end, Liandrin and Alanna are able to avoid trouble, however Moiraine is not becsause Liandrin turns the attention onto her.
Siuan demands to know where Moiraine has been all this time but she has to say nothing because, since she cannot lie, she would have to reveal she has been searching for the Dragon Reborn, which would create chaos and likely not end well for her.
So, she tells Siuan she cannot say, and the enraged Amyrlin berates her before delcaring she will decide her punishment tomorrow.
This allows Moiraine some time to track down the missing Emonds’ Fielders, the first two of which she tracks down is Rand and Mat by having Lan follow Nynaeve.
Rand leaps to Mat’s defence, afraid Moiraine will gentle him because he can channel, however it is as this point that it is revealed that the reason for Mat’s sickness is not channeling but the cursed dagger he stole from Shadar Logoth.
This was a great scene, providing more examples of the actors’ prowess.
Barney Harris’ “bless his heart, he tries,” was charmingly funny and Rosamund Pike’s “you stupid boy” was excellently delivered. 

The performances of Pike and Harris were fantastic during the dagger scene.

Moiraine saving Mat from the sickness of the cursed dagger makes Rand trust her more, whle Moiraine tells him that if Mat was ordinary then the dagger would have consumed him long ago, saying that if he touches it again he might be lost forever.
It is that this moment that Nynaeve comes in, ready to berate Moiraine, only to have this turned on her instead, as Moiraine condemns her for not informing her about the boys, especially since she knew of Mat’s condition.
Moiraine then takes it even further by stating, “if wisdom is the title you claim, I suggest you start using some.” 
What a fantastic line and an epic burn for Nynaeve.
Yet Moiraine still faces trouble, even when relaxing, as she meets one of the Blue Ajah Sitters, Maigan, who tells her that she will convince Siuan to allow Moiraine to stay at the tower.
Moiraine has no intention of staying, however, since it will be dangerous for whoever the Dragon Reborn turns out to be, especially if its Rand, Mat or Perrin.
Speaking of Perrin, though, Moiraine tracks him and Egwene down next, and Egwene gives her the rings taken by Valda, while Moiraine tells them to prepare to leave soon.
Then, we get the big twist of the episode, as Moiraine uses a Ter’angreal in the portrait seen in her room during the previous episode to transport herself to meet with Siuan.
The two are revealed to be lovers, just acting like they are at odds to avoid suspicion while they search for the Dragon Reborn.
I quite liked how this facade was slowly unveiled compared to the books where its just spoken of rather than shown.
Their romantic relationship is also something new since, in the books, they were described as once being “pillow friends” but that was the extent of it, really.

I like the change of Moiraine and Siuan’s relationship and I will get into why further in the book spoilers section.

After the reveal of their true relationship, Siuan reveals she has been dreaming about the Dark One at the Eye of the World, so Moiraine decides that Siuan must banish her so she can take whoever the Dragon turns out to be to stop him.
This plan has a slight hitch, however, because Liandrin’s own agents have uncovered the Emond’s Fielders Moiraine is hiding.
She is quick to deal with this problem, though, shutting Liandrin up by blackmailing her with the information that she is seeing a man in Northharbour.
With this done, Moiraine continues to initiate her plan, recruiting Loial’s aid, and reuniting Egwene with Nynaeve.
This also had a moment that cracked me up when Nynaeve is grumpily telling Lan as they walk into the room, “If you can’t lead the world from a room built of wood and dirt, how can you call yourself a leader?”
That is classic, stubborn Nynaeve right there.
The scene somehow only gets funnier with Moiraine’s “Siuan Saunche waits for only one woman and it’s not you,” comment, and Egwene looking prideful when Siuan says one of them is the most powerful chaneller in a thousand years, only for her to visibly deflate when Siuan says it’s Nynaeve.
I did not expect this episode to have some of the funniest moments of the series so far going in, so that was a pleasant surprise. 

“The Flame of Tar Valon” really had some great humor.

After these great jokes, the scene turns serious as Siuan informs Nynaeve and Egwene of the coming of the Last Battle, telling them the only thing that matters is what they do.
It is interesting how she only gives this conversation to Egwene and Nynaeve, potentially because she hopes the Dragon Reborn is one of them and not Rand, Mat or Perrin, since a male channeler would go insane eventually.
Once this is done, we get the most emotional scene of the episode, where Siuan is forced to banish Moiraine to protect their mission of helping the Dragon Reborn.
It is here that Moiraine repeats the exact same words to Siuan that her father did at the beginning of the episode, showing how much she loves her.
Probably the only thing that kept me from tearing up here was the funny idea of the other Aes Sedai overhearing this and realising the two have been in cahoots this whole time.
Although, I guess Moiraine whispered that part so it does make sense that no one was suspicious.
There is one part of this scene that I am not too sure of, though, but that is book spoilers so I will leave it for that section of the post.
Once Moiraine’s banishment is done, she, Lan, Loial, and the five Emond’s Fielders head for the Waygate, which Loial will use to guide them to the Eye of the World.
However, as they’re going through, Mat refuses to follow and the episode ends with him being left behind as the Waygate closes on everyone else.
If this seemed like a weird scene to you, it’s probably because Barney Harris actually left the show at this point, most likely for personal reasons, so he will not be in the rest of the series.
Donal Finn has been cast as Mat from Season Two onwards and I hope he can do just as great as job as Harris.
I would also like to praise Harris for his performance.
He was a fantastic Mat Cauthon and I am quite sad to see him go, since his performance was one of my favourites.
I hope that for whatever reasons he left the show he is able to get back on his feet and continue acting because he is quite talented.

Goodbye Barney Harris. You did an excellent job as Mat.

Overall, “The Flame of Tar Valon” is definitely one of the best episodes of The Wheel of Time so far.   
And the next one is even better. 



 

Book Spoilers:

So, let’s talk about the expansion of Moiraine and Siuan’s relationship, compared to the books.
The way I read the description of their relationship in the novels is that by being pillow friends they were in a friends with benefits agreement that stopped some time before the present story began.
In the show, however, they are going all the way with the romantic relationship and I actually quite like this change because it adds a new dynamic to both their characters.
It will also be interesting to see how this progresses, considering that Moiraine ends up with Thom in the books and Siuan ends up with Gareth Bryne.
Although, I don’t think I am alone in saying that Moiraine’s relationship with Thom came out of nowhere in the books, so I am glad she has a romantic relationship in the show that actually feels earned.
As for the thing I was unsure of during the banishment scene between Moiraine and Siuan, it was Siuan using the Oath Rod to make sure Moiraine stays banished until she calls her back.
I may be wrong about this, but making her swear on the Oath Rod would meet quite a lot of backlash in the Tower, considering how something similar happened with Elaida in the Gathering Storm, when she tried to add a new oath that everyone had to obey the Amyrlin.
So, wouldn’t Siuan ordering Moiraine away using the Oath Rod cause similar backlash from the Aahs?
Or maybe I am mistaking this and it is just the addition to the Three Oaths that they would take issue with.  
Moving on, the next member of the cast I want to talk about for the book spoilers section is Mat, specifically how he is described as having a darkness in him.
This is certainly a change from the books, considering that Siuan describes him as someone who would run into the fire for his friends and Mat proves this multiple times.
I hope this part of his character is intact when he comes back played by Donal Flinn in Season Two.
Now, I would like to talk about Liandrin again, specifically the scene where Moiraine blackmails her with her knowledge of the man she has in Northharbour.
What if this man is a Darkfriend contact of hers?
It could be Padan Fain, or someone else.
We’ll probably get a better idea of who this Darkfriend is, if he is one, next season.

I wonder how Liandrin’s connections to the Black Ajah will be revealed in the show?

About that next season, though, one specific hint gave me a feeling of dread for what is about to happen in that season.
When meeting with Moiraine, Maigan says she might be going to track ship disappearances in the west.
This is almost certainly hinting at the Seanchan, one of the best detestible people in The Wheel of Time story.
The thought of seeing them gives me both a feeling of excitement and dread for the pain and suffering they will inflict.
I would say that I quite liked a few of the changes to the books in this episode.
The only one I had a massive issue with was Mat staying behind but I’m forgiving of that because it’s understandable, considering Barney Harris had to leave.
I can definitely see why this might be Brandon Sanderson’s favourite episode of the season. 

The Wheel of Time, Episode Four, The Dragon Reborn Review: Fantastic Divergances.

Coming into Episode Four of The Wheel of Time, “The Dragon Reborn,” I was excited to see Logain’s show original storyline, but I was not prepared for how good it would be.
Directed again by Wayne Yip, “The Dragon Reborn” is undoubtedly the best episode of the season so far and the crazy thing is almost none of it is in the books.
This is mostly show original and yet I think it exceeds the scenes we have got so far that actually adapt directly from the source material.
I would call “The Dragon Reborn” a perfect example of how you do an adaptation original storyline.
You put the characters from the source material in a new situation but you still stay true to who those characters are.
“The Dragon Reborn” opens with a bang, showing just how much damage a male channeler can do in the world of The Wheel of Time, as we see Logain and his forces attacking the kingdom of Ghealdan, with the king being forced to flee.
Logain pursues, however, and we see just how different male chanelling is from female chanelling, as Logain’s is corrupted by a dark taint.
He eventually tracks down the king and confronts him and here we see who Logain is, as he genuinely believes he is the Dragon Reborn, motivated by the voices that are created by the madness of male chanellers.
Yet, despite the voices urging Logain to kill the king, saying he will betray him just like his parents and sister, he instead spares him, healing his wounds and telling him, “there’s a place for anyone at my side. Even my enemies.”
So far, I really enjoy this version of Logain the show is presenting.
Alvaro Morte does a good job of showing his charisma in how he got the king to join him, and we see he is strong enough to hold off the madness, despite still suffering from it.

The opening scene really shows why so many people followed Logain.

Once the opening credits are done, we then cut to the present at the Aes Sedai camp where Logain is being kept prisoner.
Moiraine is healed by the Aes Sedai Kerene (Clare Perkins) of the Green Ajah, who is strained in her use of the One Power because of how much energy it takes to keep Logain shielded.
Moiraine demands to be taken to see Logain, and also meets up with Liandran and another Green Ajah named Alanna (Priyanka Bose), who are shielding the False Dragon.    
Speaking of Alanna, this is another case of perfect casting as Bose is able to perfectly portray the Alanna I imagined from the books.
As for Liandrin, she wants to gentle Logain, meaning removing his ability to channel completely, but Kerene is against this, wanting Logain to be brought to the Armylin Seat at the White Tower for a trial.
Moiraine then takes up the burden of shielding him as well, and Logain’s strength is so strong that even she clearly begins to wonder if she has made a mistake and he is the Dragon Reborn.
Meanwhile, Lan is training with Kerene’s Warder, Stepin (Peter Franzen), who mentions that the Armylin Seat is not fond of Moiraine and Lan.
Upon seeing Kerene coming back, Steppin has a conversation with her in their tent about Linadrin wanting to gentle Logain gaining traction with the other Aes Sedai, pointing out how the Red Ajah have supposedly been gentling men without a trial across the land.
We know this to be true because we saw Liandrin gentle a man in the opening scene of the very first episode, showing how Kerene really underestimates her since she says even Liandrin won’t cross the Arymylin Seat, which she already is by gentling men without a trial.
After this conversation, we cut to Perrin and Egwene’s storyline, which is much better than it was in Episode Three, with numerous instances of excellent dialogue, but that’s yet to come.
Once we get the introduction to this part of the story, we then get the introduction to Rand and Mat’s, as they travel with Thom.
However, Rand is very distrustful of Thom, wondering if he killed Dana to get them to trust him and may actually be a Darkfriend, to which Mat admits would be smart.

I wonder how Rand feels about Thom after what happens later in the episode?

Mat then wonders who the fifth candidate for the Dragon Reborn is who Dana mentioned, and the shot then cuts to Logain, so the director clearly wants you to think that it’s him, only to subvert this expectation later.
Alanna and Moiraine then have a conversation, during which Alanna also seems to indicate that she thinks Logain may be the Dragon Reborn.
But, even if he is not, she thinks that his strength is a sign of the Last Battle fast approaching, and becomes concerned about what will happen if the Reds have already gentled the Dragon Reborn, a question many book readers were asking, so I liked that this concern was addressed here.
The shock of this problem also seems to affect Moiraine, as she and Alanna temporarily lose control of the shield on Logain but are able to bring him back under control.
We then see Nynaeve overlooking the camp, only to be confronted by Liandrin, who mispronounces her name in a moment that feels very meta.
Nynaeve, however, challenges Liandrian and asks what she knows about Moiraine.
Kate Fleetwood’s smug smile again shows that she was the perfect choice to play Liandrin.
The whole casting of The Wheel of Time has been excellent so far.
I cannot think of a weak member of the cast among entire the bunch.
Following Nynaeve’s demand of Liandrin, the scene changes to Rand, Mat and Thom arriving at a farm house, planning to stay the night in the barn, before they are confronted by the home owner and his family.
They are able to convince him to stay the night, unfortunately.
I say “unfortunately” because of what happens later.
Meanwhile, Liandrin’s conversation with Nynaeve is interrupted by Lan and she leaves.
For a moment, I was worried that her badmouthing of Moiraine would convince Nynaeve, which would admittedly be out of character, but Nynaeve then tells Lan that Liandrin is a snake, showing she has the same wits as her book counterpart.
Lan assures her that they will find her friends, and then, like Liandrin, offers her a place by their fire… if she doesn’t shove anyone into it.
Lan clearly understands who Nynaeve is already.

I loved the continued build up of Lan and Nynaeve’s bond.

Back with Perrin, Egwene and the Tinkerers, Ila explains to them that their people, the Tuatha’an, follow the Way of the Leaf, a peaceful way of life with no violence, even in self defence.
Perrin seems to be against this mindset but his trauma is brought back when Ila unknowingly references the death of his wife by asking him if his life has been better or worse after picking up an axe.
As night falls at the house Rand, Mat and Thom are staying at, Mat throws up, only to be met by the little girl of the family, who shows Mat her doll, Birgitte.
Meanwhile, Thom confronts Rand about Mat, concerned that he may be able to channel, explaining how he is similar to his nephew Owyn, who was gentled by the Aes Sedai and then committed suicide.
He also explains that men go insane when they channel because the Dark One corrupted the male half of the One Power.
Using Thom as a means for exposition has so far worked quite well in the show.
None of it feels forced with him, and this usage of it raises Mat up as a potential Dragon Reborn candidate.
As this is happening, Nynaeve spends the night by Lan and the other Warders’ campfire and gets to know them and the cause of the Aes Sedai, before seeing Alanna walk off with her Warders suggestively.
So, when Lan goes to bed himself at Moiraine’s tent this, of course, gets her jealous.
Inside the tent, though, Moiraine and Lan just talk, with Moiraine voicing her concern that Logain may be the actual Dragon Reborn.
Lan attempts to take responsibility for losing Egwene, Perrin, Rand and Mat but Moiraine won’t let him and Lan responds that he should not have had a drink as, because of their Warder bond, it gets her emotional.
Meanwhile, at the Tinkerer’s camp, Aram explains to Egwene about the song they are searching for, and Perrin talks with Illa about their way of life again.
She talks of how she lost her daughter and says that her way of revenge is to live a peaceful life because, “what greater revenge against violence than peace? What greater revenge against death than life?”

This was the piece of dialogue in the episode.

We then get a continuation of Egwene and Aram’s conversation, where Aram talks of how some people leave the Tinkerers and do not return, stating, “Leaf doesn’t fight the wind. And sometimes the wind blows away from the tree.”
Again, the dialogue during Perrin and Egwene’s storyline is fantastic.
Back at the barn where Rand and Mat are sleeping, concerned about his friend’s potential ability to channel, Rand assures him that he is with him, only to have yet another nightmare.
In this one, Perrin is crushing a death body with his hammer, Mat has blood stained hands, and Egwene is held captive by the man with ember eyes.
However, it seems that the Mat part of the dream was real, as Rand and Thom run into the house to find him standing in a daze around the corpses of the family who took them in.
At first, I was scared that Mat had actually killed them, but it turns out to have been the Fade, with him pointing the dagger he found at Shadar Logoth up at a dark staircase and saying, “I see you.”
Barney Harris’ delivery during this moment is incredibly creepy.

I’ve said it many time before in these reviews, but I love Barney Harris as Mat. Gonna be sad to see him go, since he was recast for season two.

Then, the Fade emerges and Thom engages it in a well choreographed fight scene to give Mat and Rand the chance to escape. 
While making their escape, Rand and Mat come across the dead body of the young girl Mat befriended, and Rand has to drag Mat away.
The next morning, Kerene confronts Liandrin about trying to have Logain gentled without a trial at Tar Valon, and Liandrin manipulatively suggest that if Logain were to break out then they would be allowed to gentle him without a trial.
However, Keren again shuts this down.
As their confrontation is happening, Nynaeve goes to talk with Lan again and finds him doing a ritual for his fallen kingdom of Malkier.
In respect, Nynaeve follows this up by repeating the old tongue saying her parents told her before they died.
Nynaeve does not know what the words mean and Lan tells her, the chemistry between them building.
And now, for the millionth time in this review, I once again have to praise the casting, with Daniel Henney and Zoë Robins portraying the bond between Lan and Nynaeve perfectly.
This heart warming scene is quickly interrupted, though, with the arrival of Logain’s army.
However, as the battle rages outside, with the King who was recruited by Logain in the beginning taking part, Logain breaks free, knocking Liandrin and Kerene unconscious.
A vichious fight ensues, with many being killed, including the King, as Lan protects Nynaeve from danger.
Then, just as Logain breaks free, Moiraine arrives, looking for proof that Logain is the Dragon Reborn.
Logain explains he can hear the past Dragons when he channels, teaching him to do better, and that this is what the Wheel wants.
Moiraine sports a relieved smile and tells Logain that the Wheel does not want anything and that the whispers Logain are hearing are because of his madness.
Liandrin and Kerene then awaken, and the two of them and Moiraine attempt to shield Logain, only for him to break through with an attack, killing Kerene when she protects Liandrin and Moiraine.
Stepin’s reaction to feeling his Aes Sedai die is palpable but it leads to a bad situation, where he tries to kill Logain, only for the False Dragon to shatter his axes, sending the shrapnel flying, badly injuring many, including Lan who’s throat is cut.
A distraught Nynaeve runs to Lan’s side, and as he lays dying in her arms, her emotional response causes her power to be revealed, as she channels in such a massive amount that she heals everyone’s fatal wounds.

This was a great reveal for Nynaeve’s strength in the One Power.

Logain clearly recognises this power is greater than his and his eyes look wet as he potentially realizes he is not the Dragon.
This relization comes much too late for him, however, as, back on her feet, Liandrian and her fellow Aes Sedai gentle Logain.     
As Logain cries on the cave floor, Stepin cradles Kerene’s body, and Lan sees he has been healed, Moiraine looks to Nynaeve, recognising her as a Dragon Reborn candidate, bringing an end to the episode.
“The Dragon Reborn” was a fantastic episode and easily the best one yet.
The acting, action and story were all top notch and it has me even more excited for the future of this adaptation. 

 

Book Spoilers:

Given that so much of this episode was show original, there is not much to discuss other than an easter eggs, a theory, and character relationships.
For these relationships, I again like how Lan and Nynaeve’s budding romance is given time to develop, rather than just being hinted at like in “The Eye of the World.”
Then there’s the mention of how Moiraine and the Armylin Seat do not get along, showing how the show is keeping with the canon of the books, where Moiraine and Suian hid their friendship to hide their plan of finding the Dragon Reborn and preparing him for the Last Battle. 
As for the easter egg, I really liked how the doll the little girl showed Mat was a hint at Birgitte, especially since she is close to if not in my top ten favourite characters from the books. 

Can’t wait to actually see the show’s version of Birgitte, who will most likely first appear in either Season Three or Four.

Although, speaking of Mat and Rand’s storyline, Thom leaving just after we meet him does not give us enough time to become as emotionally attached, like in “The Eye of the World.”
Not a huge issue but definitely a downgrade from that first book.
Now, for my theory.
Liandrin seems to suggest in the episode that they allow Logain to escape to have an excuse to gentle him.
So, what if Liandrin had a hand in freeing him?
Book readers know Liandrin is Black Ajah so it would make sense for her to sabotage Kerene, leading to her death.
I am intrigued if this will turn out to be the case as we see more from Liandrin as the show goes on. 

The Wheel of Time, Episode Three, A Place of Safety Review: A Gleeman’s Exposition.

Episode Three of The Wheel of Time, “A Place of Saftey”, is the second best episode of the first three.
It may have the best scene of these episodes but it also has one particular scene that holds it back right behind Episode Two, “Shadow’s Waiting.”
Directed by Wayne Yip, “A Place of Saftey” begins like I thought it would, by explaining how Nynaeve escaped from the Trolloc that kidnapped her in “Leavetaking.”
Waking up after the Trolloc puts her down, Nynaeve sees the monster brutally kill and start eating an injured member of its kind, showing just how merciless the Trollocs have been created to be.
Using this as a chance to escape, Nynaeve flees to the sacred rock pool to hide but is quickly tracked down by the Trolloc, forcing her to go underwater.
The Trolloc follows but that was its mistake because Nynaeve knows these waters, and is able to expertly sneak up behind it and then kill it with its own blade, the blood forming a Dragon’s Fang symbol.
Nynaeve then emerges victorious with her iconic braid flip.

We got the braid flip, now we just need the braid tug.

Following the title sequence, we then cut to the present, with Nynaeve still holding the same blade she took from the Trolloc to Lan’s throat, demanding to know where her friends are.
Lan defends Moiraine’s actions, explaining that he is the one who left the four, and now Moiraine is Nynaeve’s only hope of finding them so she needs to help her.
Unfortunately for Lan, he underestimates Nynaeve, thinking she won’t try to kill him but, oh, how wrong he is.
His surprised, “you tried to kill me” after she attempts it, only to be stopped by Lan’s skill, had me chuckling. 
Lan then knocks her out and we cut to the best storyline of the episode with Rand and Mat, as the two are leaving Shadar Logoth, still calling for Egwene and Perrin.
Mat wants to head back home but Rand wants to head to the White Tower so he can find Egwene, since he knows she will go there.
It is here they we also get some pretty good comedy, with Rand saying, “all roads lead to the White Tower” and Mat wittingly replying, “that’s not how roads work.”  
In the end, though, Mat agrees to go with Rand.
The episode then changes scenes to the weakest storyline of the episode with Egwene and Perrin, as the two are being pursued by wolves and take shelter.
There is nothing wrong with this scene, though, it’s only a later scene I have an issue with that brings this storyline down.
This first scene of Perrin and Egwene’s is actually pretty good, with Egwene continuing to test her Chanelling of the One Power, starting a fire for them to keep warm.
We then go back to Lan, Nynaeve and Moiraine, with Nynaeve waking up, tied to a tree with a gag in her mouth.
Lan ungags her to give her some water and asks if she’s ready to cooperate, and Nynaeve replies if she does Moiraine better have the answers she needs.
Then in a moment that is classic Nynaeve from the books, Lan asks if she’s in a position to make demands and Nynaeve replies, “it’s not a demand, it’s a threat.”
Zoë Robbins is continuing to do a great job as Nynaeve.
Lan does allow Nynaeve to treat Moiraine after this, though, and we get some more good interactions between them. 
Following this comes an intriguing scene where Perrin has a nightmare about the mysterious man with fire eyes, where he sees his wife’s dead body being eaten by a wolf (I will get into why this is intriguing in the book spoilers section).

Perrin sees the ember eyed man in his dreams.

However, when Perrin wakes up, we get the worst scene of the episode: the wolf chase scene.
This chase just feels very artificial, with constant cuts that make it feel like they didn’t want the audience to focus on the sketchiness of the wolf CGI.
It really drags Perrin and Egwene’s storyline down in this episode.
Well, at least we follow this scene up by cutting back to the best storyline of the episode, Rand and Mat’s, where we see them finding a small village, which serves as their titular “Place of Safety.”
This title is ironic, though, because it is made clear right fom the beginning that it is anything but safe, with Rand and Mat seeing a dead man strung up in a cage.
Mat’s desire for jewels then starts to get the better of him, as he sees something shining in the dead man’s pocket.
Yet, he has no time to snatch it, so he and Rand walk into the tavern to try and find a place to rest for the night.
The barmaid, Dana (Izuka Hoyle), alerts them to a gleeman about to perform, and it is here that we are finally introduced to a fan favouite character, Thom Merrilin (Alexandre Willaume).
On that note, I will say that Thom is much more serious and gruffer than he is in the books.
However, this is not a bad thing, as I do personally like this take on the character.
His first scene is also great, serving as a nice piece of exposition about the Dragon who broke the world.
The lyrics tell you the story and in a way that does not make it sound like you are being spoken down to, as all good exposition should.
Willaume is also a good singer, so they clearly made that a part of the casting, which was a great decision. 

Thom mostly serves as an exposition character in this episode but an excellent one at that.

Thom then talks with Rand and Mat, and it’s immediately apparent how he is different from the books, as he actually takes their money.
The two boys then manage to get a room at the tavern by doing jobs for Dana.
Or, at least, Rand does because mat is more of a jerk about it.
Although, this does lead to some good humour from Mat again.
Meanwhile Moiraine’s condition is still deteroirating, even after Nynaeve’s help, so Lan goes to find some help himsef.
From here, the scene once again changes to Perrin and Egwene, but in a much better scene than the one before because it actually explores Perrin’s guilt for killing Laila.
After following the wagon tracks to try find help, Perrin volunteers to go ahead and see if the people they’re tracking are safe.
Egwene recognises that this is because of what happened with Laila and says that it was not his fault.

Marcus Rutherford’s broken reply of “it is” is gut wrenching.
It makes me wonder if Perrin will eventually confess to what he did later in the season.
In any case, the two do follow the wagon tracks and find that their “Place of Saftey” is much better than Rand and Mat’s, as they meet up with the Tinkerers, a group of nomadic travellers, among them the family consisting of Ila (Maria Doyle Kennedy), Raen (Narinda Samra), and Aram (Daryl McCormack).
The tinkerers take the two in but their introduction is a bit shaky, appearing as if from nowhere, which is quite strange since there’s a lot of them.
We do get a brief look into their culture, though, with them looking for a song, so that is interesting.
Meanwhile, Rand and Dana grow closer, and we get another great bit of comedy, where Dana mistakes Rand and Mat for a couple and Rand corrects her saying, “if I wanted a man, I could do better.”
Later that night, Mat goes to take the jewel from the dead man in the cage but is confronted by Thom, who came to bury the man.
After Mat says he has been attacked by Trollocs before, peaking Thom’s interest, the gleeman asks Mat about his Two Rivers past, noticing his accent and other features.
After cutting down the man, Thom points out to Mat that he is of a people known as the Aeil, as seen by his clothing and red hair, unusual to see outside the Aeil Waste.
He then shows Mat an important part of their culture, as the dead man is not veiled, showing he had no murderous intent because his veil would be up if he did, proving the man meant no harm when he was murdered.

Thom again serves as a good use for exposition, teaching Mat and us about the Aeil.

Thom then allows Mat to take the jewel and a stone dog from the Aeil before the two bury him and exchange names.
While this is all happening, Rand and Dana are talking and Rand has an introspective moment where he says, “I don’t know shit.”
As a book reader, this and other moments with such words struck me as odd.
It’s not a spoiler to say that in The Wheel of Time the characters have their own swear words, like “Light” and “Blood and bloody ashes,” so it is a bit weird to hear common swear words used instead of the ones from the books.
Not a big thing but it does feel a bit weird to me.
The scene quickly turns deadly seriously, however, when Dana tries to kiss Rand, only to lock him inside the room when he rebuffs her, revealing that she knows about Egwene.
Dana is a Darkfriend who serves the Dark One and her job is to capture Rand and Mat.
When Dana was first introduced, I thought she was just going to be an innocent person who would die when minions of the Dark One showed up to kill Rand and Mat, so the reveal that she herself was one of those minions was a pleasant surprise. 
Rand tries to break down the door but Dana assures him that he will not be able to because it is made of ironwood and it would take more than three men his size to break down.
Well, unfortunately, Dana may need to take up some issues with whoever told her this because Rand is able to break the door down after a few more shoves, running outside to grab Mat.
The two flee from Dana, who has Rand’s sword, but she knows this town better than them so is easily able to cut them off.
She says she has seen all five of them in her dreams, which makes a lot of sense, since she called out to Rand and Mat when they first walked into her tavern, but only one of them can be the Dragon Reborn.
Mat takes note of the five, though, meaning it probably will not be long until they learn Nynaeve is alive.
Dana says she’s going to be like Ishamael, someone who brought the Dragon to the Dark One 3,000 years ago, while claiming the Dark One does not want to kill Rand and Mat, he only wants to break the Wheel which is what she wants.

Dana relatably shows why someone may side with the Dark One.

When Rand insists on leaving, she prepares to hold them off, saying she has already called a Fade to come and kidnap them.
But, before she can do anything, Thom kills her by throwing a knife into her neck, then insisting the two boys come with him to stay safe.
Rand is reluctant but eventually agrees, along with Mat, and retrieves his sword.
As the shot pans across Dana’s blood, it fades into a fantastic transition to the landscape Lan and Nynaeve are travelling on with a still sick Moiraine.

They meet up with a group of Aes Sedai, lead by Liandrin, who reveals they have caught someone claiming to be the Dragon Reborn, a man named Logain (Alvaro Morte), whose reveal serves as the cliffhanger for episode three. 

I was quite excited to see Logain since his arc is fantastic in the books.

Overall, “A Place of Saftey” was another good episode.
It has the best storyline of the first three, with Rand and Mat’s story, even if it is weakened slightly by the problems of the Perrin and Egwene scenes. 

Book Spoilers:
You know, I really should have seen Dana being a Dark Friend coming.
After all, Rand and Mat are attacked by many of them after fleeing Shadar Logoth in the first book.
I guess these events just happened so quickly in the who compared to “The Eye of the World” that I just forgot it would happen.
Although, this did make its eventual reveal nicer.
Another great thing about this storyline was the many instances of foreshadowing for Rand being the Dragon Reborn.
The shot focuses on him at one point when Thom is singing about the Dragon, Thom points out the Aeil hair colour, which is the same is Rand’s, and, most obviously, Rand knocks down a door down that is strong enough to trap three men his size.
That last one is probably the first instance of Rand channeling. 

This being Rand’s first instance chanelling was a good idea because for show only fans it raises questions, while not being too obvious that he is the Dragon Reborn.

Then there’s Rand’s reaction to Thom killing Dana, which I also found to be interesting because of how it connects to Rand from the books.
Book Rand hated hurting women and this came back to bite him a couple of times when he underestimated some of the female Foresaken, like Semirhage, and I think Rand’s angry reaction to Dana’s death was a representation of that.
It’s also clear how the cursed dagger is starting to corrupt Mat, with him being a jerk compared to the previous episode where he comforted Perrin.
Another thing I liked was how the Lan and Nynaeve scenes were handled.
In “The Eye of the World,” their relationship was merely hinted at before its reveal.
I did pick up these hints but I understand some did not so it’s good that they’re being more obvious with its build up here.
Back to the Perrin and Egwene storyline, I was a bit sad to see that Elyas did not show up.
There has been no news about his casting, so I did not expect him to appear but it was still unfortunate.
I wonder how Perrin is going to even learn about his ability since he does not have someone to teach him, like in the books.
Then, there’s Perrin’s nightmare about Laila, which is interesting because the wolves are on the side of the Light in the Wheel of Time, so it does not make much sense for them to be eating someone in the Wolf Dream… unless Laila was a Dark Friend.
This could be potential evidence for that theory but if it is true it is just a matter of how it will be revealed.
Maybe Padan Fain could reveal it to Perrin whenever he shows up again? 

Either Dana is a Darkfriend or the wolf eating her is a plot hole.

As for Logain, the ending made me quite excited for his show storyline, especially after seeing how he achieved his glory in “A Memory of Light.”
I wish he got more POV chapters in the books so the show could really do a good job of making him standout if they focus on him.  

The Wheel of Time, Episode Two, Shadow’s Waiting Review: Monsters of Men and the Shadow.

Episode Two of The Wheel of Time, “Shadow’s Waiting,” is, in my opinion, the best of the first three episodes released by Amazon Prime.
Directed again by Uta Briesewitz, it follows up the first episode much better, delivering a well-paced story that highlights many of the characters, both new and from the first episode, greatly.
These new characters who are greatly highlighted are the Whitecloaks, who we first see in the beginning scene, before the opening titles.
We are introduced to one of the Questioner Whitecloaks, Eamon Valda, whose actor, Abdul Salis, chews on the scenery, just like Valda chews on the cooked bird, which cuts up the inside of his mouth, all the while he monologues to the Yellow Ajah Aes Sedai he is burning at the stake.
“An Aes Sedai should know above all others that sometimes brutality is the only path to mercy.”
You can really see why the boy who brought him the dish was clearly terrified of him.

Salis is clearly enjoying playing the sadistic Valda.

Once this gruesome introduction to the Whitecloaks and Valda is done with, we get our first look at the show’s opening, and it is really good, showing how the weaves of the Wheel of Time create the pattern that shapes the world, with the Aes Sedai being woven as well.
From here, we go back to our main cast, with Moiraine and Lan leading Egwene, Rand, Mat and Perrin out of the Two Rivers, Trollocs in hot pursuit.
The Trolloc CGI still looks a little iffy at times but, for the most part, I like the way they are animated, with many Trollocs running on all fours.
It is only through crossing the river by paying a ferryman that they are able to temporarily escape from the army of the shadow.
Seeing the Trollocs advance towards the riverfront, hundreds in number, was a chilling sight, made even creepier by the arrival of the Mydraal as the Trollocs part for it, only for the creature to snarl as the main characters retreat.
The ferryman wants to go back for his son but Moiraine tells him she cannot allow it because that will give the Fade a way to get the Trollocs across to continue the pursuit.
Lan cuts the small ferry away, sending it adrift, and Moiraine creates a whirlpool to destroy it, only for the ferryman to jump after it and drown.
This shows just how ruthless Moiraine has decided she needs to be in this situation and really brings to mind Valda’s comment about brutality being the path to mercy.
Moiraine was brutal in creating the circumstances that killed the innocent ferryman, however, this was also merciful because it saved the five Emond’s Fielders and potentially the entire world because one of them is the Dragon Reborn destined to fight the Dark One.
Afterwards, we see the group resting now that they have put a distance between them and the Trolloc army.
Things are tense but that night Moiraine talks with Egwene, seeing the potential in her power and telling her about the Three Oaths of the Aes Sedai, making sure to note that the wording is important.
“One: To speak no word that is not true. Two: To make no weapon with which one person may kill another. Three: Never to use the One Power as a weapon, except in the last extreme defence of her life, or the life of her Warder, or another Aes Sedai.”
Using these oaths to show Egwene how serious she is, Moiraine offers her a place among the Aes Sedai and shows her how to channel.
No spoilers from the books, but I personally found this to be a perfect adaptation of Moiraine and Egwene’s interactions in Book One.
However, such an interesting and character building scene then turns into a literal nightmare when Rand dreams of coughing up a dead bat and then sees a mysterious man with eyes of fire

The ember-eyed man watches the Emond’s Fielders in their dreams.

Rand wakes up, only to find that this nightmare has influenced the real world, as dead bats now litter their campsite, with all three Emond’s Fielders having dreamed of the same thing.
Unfortunately, Rand thinks it is Moiraine who made them dream this and goes to confront her but Lan steps in the way and even the stoic Warder looks slightly afraid, showing how grim the situation is.
Rand continues to berate Moiraine as she commands that they leave, with some great acting from Josha Stradowski, and this creates a further rift between him and Egwene.
However, the tension is lifted slightly by Mat’s jokes: “The lady does shoot fireballs, so let’s try to stay on her goodside.”
Barney Harris is continuing to nail his performance as Mat.
Yet, as the group go to catch up with Moiraine and Lan, we see that Lan was hiding and watching them, proving Rand right that Moiraine would not willingly let them go with so much at risk.
And then who should show up but the Whitecloaks.
This scene is especially interesting when you consider Moiraine’s conversation with Egwene about her oath not to lie.
Watch this scene with that oath in mind and you will learn quite a few things about Moiraine in what is an excellent case of subtle exposition.
Things seem to be going well with this group of White Cloaks’ leader, Geofram Bornhald (Stuart Graham), until Valda walks up, intent on interrogating Moiraine.
As he’s searching her, likely looking for her ring that Lan is hiding, Lan admits to being from the Borderlands where he learned that men should keep their hands to themselves or risk losing them.
Valda then chuckles, probably remember how he cut off the poor Aes Sedai woman’s hands before he burned her alive.
However, Moiraine gets them out of this situation when Valda accidentally touches the injury she recieved in the battle during “Leavetaking,” diverting the Whitecloaks’ attention away from them to the Trollocs.
It is here we get an interesting piece of information about the Whitecloaks, as Bornhald suggests Moiraine finds an Aes Sedai to heal her, showing that not all of them are as fanatical as Valda.

This scene makes it clear that there are differences in the White Cloaks.

With the group being allowed to pass freely, Egwene confronts Moiraine about lying to the Whitecloaks but Moiraine points out that she did not lie, she just told a different version of the truth, showing that when you speak to an Aes Sedai you need to listen carefully.
Later, noticing Moiraine is looking worse, Mat seeks to lighten the mood, singing a song about someone named Manetheren, to which the others join in.
Moiraine then reveals that Manetheren was not a person but a place, and tells the story of how the city bravely fought in the Trolloc Wars for thirteen days before their army was entirely wiped out.
The king, Aemon, died and in anguish, Queen Eldrene used the One Power to destroy the Trolloc army but weilded so much that it killed her, with only the children and their keepers sent into the mountains surviving.
This tale was very harrowingly told by Rosamund Pike and a great adaptation from the books.
As the group once again stop to rest, Moiraine guesses that Lan is trying to guide them towards the cursed city of Shadar Lagoth to ward off the Trollocs.
However, Moiraine points out that this would be too dangerous.
As the group are gathering fire wood, Rand and Egwene start to reconnect, and Perrin goes off on his own, only to be confronted by a pack of wolves.
One would think this would spell disaster for Perrin, especially since he is wounded, but, no, the wolves only lick his wound and then leave.
Just like in Episode One, I have to commend the soundtrack of this show, with the OST “Golden Eyes,” which is played during this scene, being especially good.

I’m interested in how Perrin’s story will be adapted, especially because of the changes from the books.

The next scene shows the group hunkering down for the night, Moiraine’s condition continuing to worsen, only for Egwene to wake up, potentially from another nightmare about the man with eyes like embers, only to see the Fade and Trollocs have found them once more.
Left with no choice, Lan leads them all to Shadar Logoth, which the Trollocs refuse to enter.
Lan then explains the history of the city, the name of which means the titular “Shadow’s Waiting,” telling them of how it was one of the cities which promised Manetheren aid, only for the citizens to lock themselves behind their walls, yet they were supposedly consumed by the evil inside.
After Rand and Egwene observe the cursed city from a tall building, we get one of my favourite moments in the episode, as Mat sits next to Perrin and comforts him about Laila’s death, giving him a knife she made, probably thinking Mat could use it to help Perrin.
It is not just Barney Harris who is great in this scene, though, but Marcus Rutherford as well.
He brings a gentle nature to Perrin’s grief, which is really in character from the books.
Unfortunately, now Mat is without a knife, and it is at this moment when something leads him to a sketchy looking dagger, which he takes with him, disregarding Lan’s warning.

Mat, buddy, you’re a good character, but why, oh why did you stupidly take something when you were told not to?

It is then that they are attacked by the Mashadar, the evil which apparently consumed the city.
It kills one of their horses, and seperates the group.

Rand and Mat are stuck togethor, as are Egwene and Perrin, while Lan also gets an unconcious Moiraine out of the city, who has enough lucidity to wake up and tell him he has potentially killed them all by taking them to Shadar Logoth.
Thankfully, this story is just beginning so the characters all have plot armour.
That does not make the chase with the Mashadar any less engaging though, as the three seperate groups manage to escape Shadar Logoth, only for Lan to be taken unaware by Nynave, who says that if he doesn’t lead her to the others then she will slit his throat. 

Nynaeve is back!

This brings an end to the best of the three currently released episodes.
Does “Shadow’s Waiting” have the best moment of these episodes?
No, but it is the most consistantly good of the three, delivering both well adapted scenes from the book and interesting show original scenes, along with great performances from the cast.

Book Spoilers:
I don’t really have much to say, compared to the first review.
There were quite a few book changes but I actually enjoyed them for the most part.
Not saying that they were better than the book, as for some of these that still remains to be seen, but these changes were enjoyable to view playing out.
First of all, I quite liked how scarier the show Whitecloaks are compared to their book counterparts.
I could never take them quite seriously in the books because of how buffoonish they could be, but the show really raised their threat level, especially with Valda.
I like how he was introduced much earlier in the story as well.
Maybe he will be merged with other Whitecloak characters from the books so we can have a single antagonist in the Whitecloaks to focus on, rather than multiple?
Another big change from the books was the story of Manetheren coming during the main characters’ journey, rather than in the Two Rivers.
Moiraine tells the people of Emond’s Field their history before she leaves and the importance of this branches out into the other books. 

“Wheep for Manetheren” indeed.

It makes me wonder how the characters in Emond’s Field will learn of their history in the future.
Maybe Perrin will tell them about it when the show gets to adapting The Shadow Rising, another thing I cannot wait to see because Perrin’s story in that book is excellent.
Then there’s the changes to Shadar Logoth, with no Mordeth leading Mat to the dagger, which later becomes relevant to Padan Fain.
They’re probably going to switch this up for the show.
Finally, one detail I found funny as a book reader was when Mat talks of how Nynaeve would make Moiraine’s life a misery if she were here, which is funny because this is exactly what happens in the books since Nynaeve was not taken by the Trollocs there.
Cannot wait to see how the two women will interact in the future and how this will compare to the books.
Overall, “Shadow’s Waiting” is a really good episode that I thought made some good changes, or at the very least changes that can be shaped in different ways that will still make sense. 

The Wheel of Time, Episode One, Leavetaking Review: Winter Night, Bloody Night.

After much anticipation, Amazon Prime has finally dropped the first three The Wheel of Time episodes, and I could not have been more excited for them.
I am currently doing my first read through of Robert Jordan’s series and I just finished Towers of Midnight, so I only need to read the final book, A Memory of Light, to know everything.
Knowing that, I think it would be fair of me to separate show spoilers from book spoilers.
So, these reviews will have two sections.
Section one will only be discussing what happens in the episode, and section two will discuss the book changes and what I think of them. 


Episode Review: No Book Spoilers.
I can remember constantly checking the Amazon Prime website every hour on the day of release because I was so eager to see this show.
So, when I saw the episodes were out, I immediately clicked on the first episode, “Leavetaking,” sat back, and enjoyed.
Was “Leavetaking” a perfect episode?
No, there are a lot of issues I have with this first episode, but it certainly was not bad and had a lot of excellent moments.
Directed by Uta Brieswitz, The episode opens with the Aes Sedai Moiraine (Rosamund Pike) and her Warder Lan (Daniel Henney) preparing for their journey to find the Dragon Reborn, the reincarnation of the man who caused the Breaking of the World and is prophesied to face the Dark One.
I, personally, did not really care for this opening because I think it would have been more interesting to slowly figure out why Moiraine is searching for this one person.
Plus, I think there was another scene that should have been the opening, which has not been shown yet, but that’s book spoilers. 

Kind of wish the show had more trust in the audience to slowly figure out things on their own rather than blatantly tell them.

Following this, we get a chase where two men are being pursued by a woman in red (Kate Fleetwood).
This woman in red, who is not named yet, is perfectly cast in my opinion.
Exactly how I imagined her from the book in all her cruelty.
We also get a good display of the madness the man suffers from, since his friend is revealed to have been in his head, before the women do something to him.
This is not shown and will likely be expanded upon later.
We also see that Moiraine and Lan were watching this happen and, unfortunately, this is the worst scene in all three episodes and it’s all because of one line.
Moiraine says they are going to continue their search at the Two Rivers because “there are rumors of four ta’veren there.”
This line makes absolutely no sense and opens a ton of plot holes.
It was just a really sloppy excuse to get them to go to the Two Rivers when the book justification for it was perfectly fine.
I will get into why this line is so bad in the book spoiler section.
The moment following this horrible moment, though, does a great job of respecting the lore, as we get a landscape shot as Moiraine and Lan ride off, showing what looks like remnants of destroyed buildings reclaimed by nature, showing that this is a post apocalyptic earth.
We then get the title, followed by the introduction to two characters, Egwene (Madeleine Madden) and Nynaeve (Zoë Robbins) at a river, where Egwene goes through a ritual to welcome her into the Woman’s Circle.
Following this, we get an introduction to Rand (Josha Stradowski) and his father Tam (Michael McElhatton), and also Perrin (Marcus Rutherford) and Mat (Barney Harris).
And this is the point where I praise the casting.
Even only after three episodes, I can definitely say that the casting directors chose the right actors to play these characters.
All of the performances are fantastic.
If I had to pick a favourite though it would be Barney Harris as Mat.
This sucks because he is being recast for Season Two for as of now unknown reasons.
Still, at least we have an entire season of his performance to look forward to.

I alrady like this Mat more than the one in the first few books.

Anyway, once the introduction to these characters has been done, we get the arrival of Moiraine and Lan.
The people’s reactions to Moiraine shows the fear towards the Aes Sedai in this world. 
A lot of people call this scene clunky but I did not have too much of an issue with it, personally. We then get a showcase of Rand and Egwene’s relationship, with them being romantically involved but there is also tension because of Egwene potentially becoming a Wisdom.

There is also a moment of Moiraine and Lan in a bathtub showing how close the Aes Sedai Warder bond is, with them being close but not in a sexual way.
All is not well, though, because we see the arrival of a mysterious and threatening figure in the night.
This is contrasted by the arrival of the cheery arrival of peddler Padan Fain (Johann Myers), as we get another look at the characters’ day to day lives.
We see Mat having to steal to provide for his sisters, Egwene telling Rand she has decided to become a Wisdom and Rand reluctantly accepting it, along with Moiraine subtly interrogating Nynaeve.
The latter scene involves a lot of great subtext, as we as the viewers can see that Moiraine is trying to gage Nynaeve’s candidacy for being the Dragon Reborn, while Nynaeve hits back with the story of the prior Wisdom who raised her, showing her fierce and stubborn nature.
Then, as Lan discovers symbols of a dragon fang made out of animal carcasses, he deduces that Trollocs are coming soon.
Sure enough, we get Winter’s Night, which is just as bloody as I expected it to be.
The moment Egwene started dancing with some random person and there were focuses on this guy, I was like, well, he’s gonna die.
Sure enough, an axe is thrown through his back, coming out of his chest, and the Trollocs invade.

Trollocs are amazing, some questionable CGI at times excluded.

Chaos ensues with great usage of shaky cam, as Egwene and Nynaeve take cover, Perrin and his wife Laila (Helena Westerman) shelter people at their forge, and Padan Fain leaves as the mysterious rider watches over the chaos.
We then get one of my favourite scenes of the episode, where Mat meets up with his terrible parents, only to learn that have lost his sisters.
After angrily demanding where they are, he runs through the bloody massacre in a thrilling tracking shot, all to find his sisters.
This is why I already like this Mat a lot better than the one in the first few books.
It wasn’t until Book Three that I came to like him but these first three episodes made him my favourite character in the show so far.
We then get a great fight with Rand and Tam being attacked by a Trolloc, with Tam retrieving the heron marked blade, a moment that gave me chills.
Tam’s fight with the Trolloc, short as it is, is enthralling and gives a really good sense of his experience with the weapon.
Unfortunately, the Trolloc wounds him and Rand has to save him before trying to get his father to safety.
Back at the village, the massacre is still ongoing, and a Trolloc runs up to kill Nynaeve and Egwene, Nynaeve meeting its roar with one of her own, which is a great moment for her.
Just as it seems they are done for, Moiraine and Lan arrive, killing many Trollocs, perfectly synchronised as an Aes Sedai and her Warder.

Moiraine and Lan working in tandem to defeat the Trollocs was a sight to behold.

It’s not just the action and choreography that are excellent here, but the music as well, especially with how it’s in the old tongue.
It’s not just Moiraine and Lan taking care of things, though, because we also see the Emonds’ Fielders fighting back, with a group of women taking down a Trolloc, showing just how tough Two Rivers folk can be.
All is not well, however, because Nynaeve is captured by a Trolloc and, in a brutal scene, Perrin gets so lost in rage as he kills a Trolloc that he accidentally kills Laila.
Is this a moment of fridging?
Yes, but it is sure to influence Perrin’s character arc in the future of the story.
Moiraine is also injured but pulls through in the face of a hoard of Trollocs, using much of her strength to throw chunks of buildings at them, eventually killing every last one.
Although, it is kind of weird how the Trollocs just walk towards Moiraine instead of rushing to kill her as they’re being slaughtered.
Another minor issue I had is that the Trolloc CGI could be a little off at times during the massacre.
It was mostly good CGI though.
Most of Winter’s Night was pretty on point, being a horrifying display, as it should be.
Then we get the last scene of the episode, as Rand arrives with Tam who Moiraine heals, before revealing that the Trollocs are after Rand, Egwene, Mat and Perrin because of them is the Dragon Reborn and they need to leave if they want to protect their families.
This moment is a little quick for my liking but it is serviceable.

I feel like we could have used a bit more time to see the characters leaving the Two Rivers.

Although I do like the episode overall, it does rush in quite a few places, so I wish this episode had either been extended or divided into two.
At least it ends with the iconic narration “The Wheel of Time turns and ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth. And even myth is long forgotten, when the age that gave it birth comes again. In one age, called the Third Age by some, a wind rose in the mountains of mist. The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning.”
All in all, “Leavetaking” was a good beginning to The Wheel of Time show.
It does have its issues, and does not quite live up to some of the story’s version of events, which I will get into in the book spoiler section below, but it is still a good start that had me excited to watch the other two episodes. 


Book Spoiler Section:
So, first I will get into why that scene where Moiraine says “there are rumors of four ta’veren” is such a terrible moment.
As I said, it raises many questions and plot holes, one of the biggest of which is just who in the light started these rumors and how they knew about Rand, Egwene, Perrin and Mat being ta’veren?
Ta’veren are extremely rare so it would take someone with a large amount of knowledge about them to recognise that Rand and the others were ones.
Not only this but why would someone so knowledgable spread rumors about the ta’veren?
Ta’veren are people who the Wheel of Time weaves into changing the world, so wouldn’t this hypothetical person who spread the rumors tell someone important about them rather than just telling random people?
Most baffling of all, how would this person even recognise Rand, Egwene, Perrin and Mat as being ta’veren in the first place?
Even if they were knowledgable about them, Rand and the others are showing no signs of being ta’veren at this point.
Look at Mat, for example.
Him being a ta’veren makes him extremely lucky, and yet in the episode he is shown to have terrible luck at this point, losing a gambling match.
What knowledgable person would look at Mat in that scene and go, “yep, that’s a ta’veren if I ever saw one!”
See what I mean?
They should have just used the book explanation that Moiraine and Lan tracked them all down after years of hard work, rather than a rumor that makes zero sense when you consider what being a ta’veren is.

Amazing how one line of dialogue can create so many plot holes.

As for other changes, I was a bit disappointed that the prologue which introduced Lews Therin, the original Dragon, and showed his death creating Dragon Mount was not the opening to the show.
That would have been a lot better than the opening we got where Moiraine just says exposition about what their mission is.
There are other things I wanted to see, like Rand and Tam’s discussion, Rand learning he’s not Tam’s son, Moiraine posing as a noble lady rather than an Aes Sedai to get more information.
I do get why some of these were not included though, most of all Rand learning he was adopted because they’re clearly trying to keep the Dragon Reborn identity a mystery.
It’s also pretty clear they’re using Egwene as a red herring before they reveal Rand is the Dragon Reborn, as can be seen when they cut to Egwene after Moiraine talks about who it could be.
As for Rand and Tam’s discussion, although I did miss it, I can’t deny that it’s replacement was fantastic, with it feeling so much like a reference to the ending of The Gathering Storm, a beautiful piece of foreshadowing whether intentional or not.
Other changes include Rand and Egwene being romantically involved, rather than just interested in each other, Mat’s parents being jerks and Perrin having a wife and then killing her.
When it comes to Rand and Egwene’s relationship, I think this works because it could make what comes after for them in the future of the story more meaningful and impactful.
For the Mat change, I actually like this because it gives Mat much more depth than in the books at this point, which he really needed.
As for Perrin having a wife and killing her, I think they added this to make his aversion towards his eventual wolf powers make more sense and feel fleshed out.
There is also am interesting theory about Laila being a Dark Friend, since she had her weapon raised when Perrin accidentally killed her.

It will be interesting how this massive change to Perrin’s character influences him in the show.

Another thing I wanted to mention in the spoiler free section but could not was Padan Fain.
They did a great job of hinting at his menacing nature.
I absolutely loved how we got the introduction to the Mydraal with the sinister music, only to cut to Fain whistling that tune as he enters Emond’s Field.
I’ve found Fain to be a bit of an annoying gimmick villain after Book Two, so I hope the show improves on him, like they are so far doing with Mat.
Overall, I like some of the changes and I dislike some of the changes.
“Leavetaking” is still a good episode and the next two are even better.          

 

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.