A 100% faithful adaptation of The wheel of time was never going to be possible. Robert Jordan’s epic fantasy series spans 14 books – 15 if you count the prequel – totaling over 4 million words. It’s just too much material to fit in a TV show. Naturally, the Amazon Prime Video version of The wheel of time cuts a lot of its raw material.
This first season is mainly inspired by the first volume of the series, Eye of the world. However, Showrunner Rafe Judkins confirmed that this first season will also cover elements of the second and third volumes, The big hunt and The rebirth of the dragon.
Despite a significant number of changes, the story of The wheel of time remains the same at its core. Moiraine (Rosamund Pike), a member of the powerful all-female order Aes Sedai, embarks on a massive journey with five young men and women, each of whom could be the mighty Dragon Reborn prophesied to save the world or destroy it. There is a little more than that. So, be sure to check out our Practical dandy Wheel of time to guide to take all your marks.
Here are the biggest changes The Wheel of time made from the books so far. The following contains huge spoilers for the books and the series, so please consider yourself warned.
The rebirth of the dragon
Episode 1, “Leavetaking,” opens with a bit of voiceover that immediately changes something about the central figure of Dragon Reborn. Moiraine reveals that the Dragon – originally a man named Lews Therin Telamon – has reincarnated, but no one knows if he was born again as a male or female. In the books, there is no uncertainty: the Dragon is (rightly) assumed to be a man.
I doubt The wheel of time will change the identity of the Dragon, as that would have massive repercussions down the line. All of this deviation from the book expands the mystery of who the Dragon could be by adding women like Egwene (Madeleine Madden) and Nynaeve (Zoë Robins) into the mix – something I’m not at all crazy about.
A beautiful scene that we did not have in the books.
Credit: Jan Thijs
The most of Eye of the world is told from the perspective of Shepherd Rand (Josha Stradowski), which makes it pretty obvious that he’s the main character (aka the dragon). To make us guess, The wheel of time positions Moiraine as our leader, at least for the first few episodes. This choice makes it possible to better understand the stakes of his quest.
By not just focusing on Rand, we also learn more about the lives of the other characters in Two Rivers. We see Egwene’s induction into the Women’s Circle, an addition Rand wouldn’t have been able to relate. We also get a glimpse into the troubled family life of Mat (Barney Harris) and Perrin (Marcus Rutherford) ‘s relationship with his wife. Speaking of…
Perrin is married?
Yes, but not for long! Perrin’s wife, Laila (Helena Westerman) is a new character, who quickly becomes a new corpse in one of the most unnecessary page-to-screen changes in the series. When we first meet Laila, it’s clear her marriage to Perrin is strained. However, before we can learn more info or even get a little resolution, Perrin accidentally kills her when the Trollocs attack. His death is a classic example of “fry“, when a character – mostly a woman – exists only to die or suffer in order to bolster the emotional arc of a more central character. It’s a cheap tactic that could have been easily avoided. Perrin could have been avoided. have a strong emotional response to literally anything else, like, dunno, her house burned down or Nynaeve kidnapped?
Nynaeve being what now?
Don’t worry, Nynaeve is fine. She has just been taken by a Trolloc, making everyone believe that she is dead. In the books, she survives the attack without being kidnapped, but she doesn’t leave Two Rivers with the rest of the group. She later pursues them, believing them in danger because of Moiraine and finds them in Baerlon. It’s a little harder for her to do on the show because …
First of many stops on our group’s trip to Tar Valon, Baerlon was completely removed from The wheel of time. For so many Eye of the world is just the group walking from place to place, it makes sense that some of those places were cut. However, we are missing a few key encounters, like the aforementioned Nynaeve reunion. Additionally, the role of sleazy Padan Fain (Johann Myers) appears to have been reduced to just one appearance (so far). We also lose the encounter with Min, whose strange ability to read people’s auras gives big clues to the dragon’s identity. We’re sure we’ll see Min at some point, given that Kae Alexander was cast for the role.
Mordeth and Mashadar
Put down that Mat dagger!
Credit: Jan Thijs
Shadar Logoth’s streak in Episode 2, “Shadow’s Waiting,” plays out a little differently on the show than it does in the books, but the main beats remain the same. We learn about the history of the abandoned city. Mat steals a ruby-hilted dagger, and the shadowy entity known as Mashadar separates the group as they escape. In Eye of the world, we get the extra step of Mat, Rand, and Perrin meeting a mysterious man named Mordeth, who tries to get them to move treasure for him. He attacks them later, only retreating when he realizes Mat has taken the dagger.
We meet the mysterious gleeman Thom Merrilin (Alexandre Willaume) in The wheel of timethe third episode of “A Place of Safety”. Jordan introduces Thom much earlier in Eye of the world. He arrives in Deux-Rivières as an entertainment for the Bel Tine festival and accompanies the group when they leave after the attack. He also advises Rand, Mat and Perrin to hide their mysterious dreams from Moiraine. When the group splits up at Shadar Logoth, he escapes with Rand and Mat. So presenting it now still means we could see how this trio interacts with each other. It also means we had one less character to worry about remembering in the first few episodes. Now that we know our seven protagonists better, we can spend some time familiarizing ourselves with the supporting actors.
A new Darkfriend
Episode 3, “A Place of Safety”, sees Rand and Mat threatened by a Darkfriend, a human who has been influenced by the Dark One. That Darkfriend is Dana (Izuka Hoyle) – not to be confused with Dena, Thom’s lover in the books. He’s a whole new character. But lapping has roots in The eye of the world, where Mat and Rand meet Darkfriends like the merchant Howal Gode on their journey.
Meeting with the Tuatha’an
The wolves follow Perrin and Egwene after Shadar Logoth, chasing them until they encounter the nomadic Tuatha’an people. While this meeting takes place in Eye of the world, this comes after Perrin and Egwene hang out with a character named Elyas. Elyas is a wolf-brother who teaches Perrin about his own relationship with wolves. The wheel of time clearly foreshadows the story of Perrin’s wolf-brother. But as Elyas’ cast has yet to be confirmed, it looks like he won’t be one of them.
Liandrin and Logain
Ajah Rouge is here, and they want blood.
Credit: Jan Thijs
In The wheel of timeIn the third episode of, Moiraine, Nynaeve and Lan (Daniel Henney) cross paths with Liandrin (Kate Fleetwood), an Aes Sedai from Red Ajah, and Logain (Álvaro Morte), an imprisoned man claiming to be the Dragon Reborn.
Liandrin is not presented before The wheel of timethe second book of, The big hunt, which means this whole scene is new material. However, some parts are based on events that occur in Eye of the world. The Aes Sedai imprison Logain and take him to the town of Caemlyn, but we never see the actual imprisonment or the journey to Caemlyn ourselves. One of the many advantages of adapting The wheel of time is that we experience battles and scenes that take place outside the page for the first time – like Logain’s experience with the Aes Sedai.
We will update this post as more episodes of The wheel of time stream on Amazon Prime Video and potentially deviate even further from Jordan’s books.
The wheel of time now airs on Amazon Prime with new episodes every week.