Review: The Wheel of Time (Spoilers)
I wanted to love Amazon’s Wheel of Time TV Series.
The previews made the show look so exciting. Magic, great cast, adventure – it had me counting down the days. So much so, I picked up the first book, “Eye of the World,” in preparation.
Having only read the first one, I don’t count myself a huge WoT fan. But I did enjoy it. And was eager to watch the show.
I watched all of the trailers and the cast interviews and the bloggers. After not being into TV much this past year, I was really into this one.
But sadly, it didn’t live up to the hype. I ended up yelling at the TV half of the time.
There have been lots of reviews. Much of what I’m going to say has already been said so I’ll try to be brief with my thoughts.
First, a positive. I enjoyed Nynaeve and Lan’s onscreen relationship. This is played offscreen in the book, and since Robert Jordan gave lots of detail on everything else, this was one area I think the book missed out on.
Also, I think despite the plot of the show, the acting was done well.
On to the areas I think could have been done better.
I agree with other reviewers who mentioned pacing, especially with the first few episodes. And Perrin’s wife – I hated it. And things being added that didn’t need to be added, especially since there was lack of time to tell this season’s story adequately. And things moving too fast to fully explain what needed to be explained. And of course the downplaying of the male characters.
Here are a few examples I think encompass what is wrong with the series.
- The timeline of them leaving the Two Rivers didn’t make sense. There was no reason for them to believe that they were the ones the trollocs were after. And none of the villagers tried to stop them from leaving.
- Why did Egwene have to be grouped in with the boys as a possible dragon reborn? I liked in the book that she left with them because she saw an opportunity and took control of her own fate. She had her own special traits and didn’t need anything extra added.
- What happened between the time Nynaeve killed the trolloc until she caught up with Lan and Moiraine? She had to have gone back to the village to find out the group had left. At that point, did she help heal the sick? How in the world did she catch up to them if she did? And if she didn’t, why would she go after the group and not help them? In the book, the attack happened at night. It wasn’t until the next night that the group left. Nynaeve went after them the following morning, after she’d tended the injured, because she felt it was her duty to bring them back. She didn’t catch up with them until they had stayed at an inn for a couple of days.
- Nynaeve killing the trolloc looked cool. And at first I liked it, but it kind of made her into a wonder woman figure. It would have shown her bravery more if she left on her own in search of the group without the knowledge that she could single handedly kill a trolloc.
- I also liked the scene where Nynaeve healed everyone. It packed an emotional punch that the series needed. However… it’s a major power creep/scaling problem. I think they could have accomplished the same goal with a tamed down version. If she had just healed Lan, it would have scaled better.
- If Moiraine had something that could magnify her power 100 times, and she’s pretty powerful, why couldn’t she have just used it? The show didn’t set Rand up as more powerful than she was.
- Perrin’s eyes should have been explained by the time the season was over. They spent too much time on it for it not to be explained. Yes, it was hinted at, but we didn’t get a payoff.
- What happened to the tinkers? I wasn’t sure if they were beat up or killed. If they were beat up, where did they go? Did they do anything else to try to help? If they were killed? Then the white cloaks are a bigger immediate threat than the dark one. And seeing how easily the white cloaks overcame the tinkers, why would Perrin still struggle with the way of the leaf?
- And why were the white cloaks so close to Tar Valon? Some cities were more friendly to them, but not Tar Valon. If just one tinker had run away they could have gotten help. And they didn’t give a reason for suspecting Egwene and Perrin other than having seen them before. Plus, the last time we saw the white cloaks they were headed in the opposite direction. (In my opinion, they should have parted ways with the Tinkers. Then came across the white cloaks in the middle of no where. It could be explained as part of their patrol, maybe in saying goodbye to the tinkers they could have mentioned this area was heavily patrolled. The white cloaks see the wolves in the distance and also remember them which would give more reason to suspect them as dark friends.)
- Loial was pointless since they didn’t need him to open the gate. And the costuming was lacking. If they couldn’t make him look decent, his little involvement could have been written out.
- The warder funeral was over the top and had no payout on this season. Too much time spent on it.
- The last episode had so many WTF moments. The power escalation with the women who weren’t supposed to know how to intentionally channel. Perrin not doing anything. Rand not doing the dragon thing.
- Strength doesn’t always have to be physical, and it should progress throughout the series. At this point, you could just put Nynaeve and Egwene against the dark one. They can manage by themselves.
- It should be an ensemble cast. Use them all please. You shouldn’t have to take away from one character’s strength to build up another.
- Stop fake killing off the characters.
- A lot of the show looked cool, but if you think about it, the puzzle pieces don’t go together.
I’ve listened to some of the reasons for changes and they make sense. For example, the added scenes about politics in the white tower. They added these because they didn’t want future seasons to feel jarring when it switches from a journey story to more of a political one. They wanted to add some of those elements earlier. Makes sense. But I think they were heavy handed with these elements.
They had good ideas, just didn’t execute them as well as I feel they could have. And I think that’s what it comes down to. My husband who didn’t read the book thought the season was okay. But he didn’t know what it could have been.
And to be clear, I don’t think the show was horrible. It had it’s moments. And even though I didn’t care for the changes made, I do not agree with anyone hating on the individual people involved. At the end of the day it’s a TV show.
What are your thoughts? Agree? Disagree?