14 Jan 2022

Science Fiction and Fantasy Fridays: Adaptation Review of THE WHEEL OF TIME by Robert Jordan

Science Fiction and Fantasy Fridays introduces readers who are unfamiliar with the Adult SF/F genre to books, authors, and discussions all about the vast expanse of the world of Adult SF/F!


The Wheel of Time is an American epic fantasy television series released through Amazon Prime Video. The series is based on Robert Jordan's novel series of the same name and is produced by Sony Pictures Television and Amazon Studios, with Rafe Judkins serving as showrunner.
The first season, consisting of eight episodes, premiered on Prime Video on November 19, 2021, with the first three episodes released immediately and the remaining five on a weekly basis after that, culminating in the season finale on December 24, 2021. A second season was announced in May 2021.

The Wheel of Time is a high fantasy series that explores the dualism of light and dark and the pursuit of the Dragon — the person fated to both save and destroy the world. Robert Jordan’s 15-book series (including a prequel) has attracted millions of fantasy fans throughout the years, but naturally, in a television adaptation rumored to span eight seasons, some changes are necessary.

Episode Ratings

Episode One:
Episode Two:
Episode Three:
Episode Four:
Episode Five:
Episode Six:
Episode Seven:
Episode Eight:


Ooof. That's all I can say about this one. I tried to stay away from a lot of talk on Twitter and a lot of the spoilers but I'm SO mad. Be warned that I WILL be spoiling the show (and the books, as well). Watching the show, I seriously wondered if people read books 5-10 (since I always joke you don't really need to), but then I read an interview where a lot of the writers hadn't even read book one!!!! Why!!!!

When The Wheel of Time was announced, I was fairly meh about it. I'm not the biggest lover of the books, but thought it would be nice to see them on a screen instead of listening to them as audiobooks over and over again. When the cast was announced, I was even more excited because they took a descriptive white cast (set in a mostly Asian area) and made it very diverse. It was great! So that got me hyped. I watched the trailers and thought it looked pretty good.

But then I watched the show.

For starters, I am very disappointed with a few things overall which made me really dislike the show:
  1. Perrin's character overall,
  2. Mat's (potentially) lost arc,
  3. Not travelling to Caemlyn, and
  4. Inclusion of random other locations and characters.
I'll go into more details about those, but let me tell you what I did like - mostly the visual effects, the costume design, and the inclusion of Lan and Nynaeve's romance. Honestly, I hope the visual effects team wins a lot of awards because the look of everything was incredible.

I also really liked a lot of the "side" characters - The Dark One, Loial, Min, etc. because they were so well designed, characterized, and done. I could easily see the connections between the characters in the book and the characters on the screen without too many differences (or differences that were okay enough that I didn't care enough).

I was more neutral about everyone else and everything else. I understand that this is a different medium than books - and like I said - the books are bland and boring from 5-9/10 so I wasn't hoping for a one to one of the books to the TV show. But it just straight up doesn't make sense to me that there would be inclusion of NEW things when there is already an overabundance of things to deal with.

Okay, back to where we need to be. The rage.

Perrin Deserves Better

Let's start with Perrin. My sweet, gentle giant of a man. Who gets completely fucked up in the first EPISODE, let alone the first SEASON. Perrin, in the books, ends up marrying someone but it is not someone from the Two Rivers and he definitely isn't married to start the series.

Marrying Perrin only to fridge his wife was such a STUPID thing to do. Perrin doesn't need a "tragic" backstory - he's just quiet and introverted and likes to make things with his hands. Just leave him be! Also, it seems like they might be smushing some of Mat's character with Perrin's which I'm not happy about.

I also hope that in Season Two, they give him his perma-golden eyes since we've only seen a glimpse of it thus far. There definitely was not enough of him and his connection to the wolves in this - or at least not enough of a direct mention because they decided to make the "Dragon Reborn" a mystery (for some reason).

Mat Deserves Better

While Mat has retained his gambling proclivities in the show, there’s a darkness to his background. He cares for his neglected sisters, thanks to an alcoholic mother and philandering father — a far cry from the wholesome family fleshed out in the books.  

And, to spoil the books, Mat becomes like the greatest general known to mankind because he blows the horn and retains the knowledge of all the generals before him once he has cleared his quest.

But this is all a far cry from the fact that it doesn't even make sense that Mat has already been saved from the dagger or how the dagger wasn't stolen from him?? In Shadar Logoth, we don't meet Mordeth, which doesn't make sense at all because it plays SUCH a role in developing the characters, especially Mat. While the city is faithfully recreated, Mat finding the dagger in moonlight was dumb.

Then Moiraine is able to cure him of the dagger with ease even though it takes a full circle of Aes Sedai to try to separate Mat from the power and evil of the ruby dagger in the books. And that's AFTER he has it stolen, which causes even more corruption to him AND is what causes him to blow the horn!

I also think it's dumb that he split from the group. There was literally no reason for that to happen.

Caemlyn Deserves Better

In The Eye of the World book, we don’t even go near Tar Valon. Instead, the group heads for Caemlyn to all meet back up before moving on to Fal Dara. In the show, we are given a front-row seat to the White Tower and its Aes Sedai inhabitants. I'm not saying it was a bad choice, per se, but I think it stems from the idea that we don't see enough fawning over Rand.

I can't believe I'm saying this, since Rand is very clearly a self-insert, but the big thing of The Wheel of Time is that Rand has a magnetism to him because he is the Dragon Reborn. And this just isn't shown - I think mostly because the show is really playing up the Egwene romance line (why).

It is dumb that we went to Tar Valon to see Logain (who has a big role in the later books and like zero role right now) and that Moiraine was exiled?? Just go see Elaine in Caemlyn, please.

The Source Material Deserves Better

I can't believe that I, the person who says to read the first 4 and the last 4 books of this series, is saying this, but ... the books deserved a more true adaptation. I'm not saying every line, scene, random town, etc. needed to be included, and I agree with the need to not have travelogue after travelogue. But that doesn't mean that instead of that, we should just make up our own stuff and include it?

Dana was fine but there were other perfectly good towns that Mat and Rand travelled to that they could have used instead to showcase all of the same things. It doesn't make sense to include things that you create yourself when, again, there are 14 books with over 10,000 pages of content. Speed things along, PLEASE, but don't add things just to add them. That makes no sense to me.

I also disliked the change that men and women (not just "any gender," but still a specific binary) could be the Dragon Reborn. There are plot reasons that I actually agree with that it is a man. Adding in that it could be a woman, only to add to the mystery, and then still have it be Rand (as it should be, obviously), doesn't do what the show thinks it does for feminism lol.

TLDR: So disappointing. I was really disappointed with the major character changes they made and the way the show runner talked multiple times in interviews about needing to cut things but then adding in original content. As if you need original content in a 14 book, 10000+ page series. I am not sure if I'll continue but it depends on how much I am pressured by the fiance.

Have you watched this series or read the books? Are you going to?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for commenting! I cherish each and every comment. If you leave me a link to your blog, I will do my best to comment back!