Join Dragonmount on Nov 26th at 5pm PT for a live Twitter watch party of Episode 4: The Dragon Reborn! Start the episode at 5 pm and follow along for our commentary and insights. Then watch our live stream with Jason and Kathy as they dive into a spoiler filled discussion of Episode 4! You’ll find the livestream on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Youtube.
Adam Whitehead is Dragonmount's TV blogger. Adam has been writing about film and television, The Wheel of Time, and other genre fiction for over fifteen years, and was a finalist for the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer in 2020. Be sure to check out his websites, The Wertzone and Atlas of Ice and Fire (including The Wheel of Time Atlas!) as well as his Patreon. It’s finally happened. The balloon has gone up, the Eagle has landed and the hounds have been released. The first three episodes of Wheel of Time hit Amazon Prime Television on 19 November after an intense two-month period of trailers, sneak peaks and featurettes, culminating in multiple premiere events at cities across the USA and several in Europe. A question was by what standards would Amazon judge the show to be a success and if the show would hit those metrics. Streamers can be notoriously opaque about such things, although it also feels like there’s been a concerted effort recently by the likes of Netflix to deliver more data on how successful a show has been. Amazon made a surprising early statement on the show’s success yesterday, when Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke discussed the situation with industry bible Deadline. Salke was clearly delighted with the show’s early going, discussing the following points: The Wheel of Time is the most-watched Amazon series premiere of 2021, beating other high-profile shows including Invincible, Clarkson’s Farm, I Know What You Did Last Summer and The Underground Railroad. According to third-party company TV-I, The Wheel of Time was the #1 TV show through social media engagement last weekend and is the biggest Amazon Original series on social media this year. The Wheel of Time is one of the “Top 5 series launches of all time for Prime Video,” a list which includes shows such as The Grand Tour and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. The show had “tens and tens of millions of streams” in its first three days of release. The show has been most popular in the USA, India, Brazil, Canada, France and Germany. According to Parrot Analytics, The Wheel of Time has had Prime Video’s biggest opening since the Season 2 premieres of The Boys and Mirzapur in late 2019. Their analysis indicates that The Wheel of Time’s debut has outpaced that of The Witcher’s on Netflix in 2019 for global pre-release demand. Most importantly, Salke has said that the show is “trending to exceed our expectations, which were high.” Despite recent rumours to the contrary, Amazon have not yet renewed Wheel of Time for a third season. The second season is more than halfway done shooting in the Czech Republic (with additional location filming expected shortly in Morocco) but filming is expected to continue until spring, and the first season still has another five weeks to air, which will give Amazon more data about which to make a decision. However, The Wheel of Time’s success so far means that Salke and Amazon “have a good feeling the show will go on for years and years.” The success of Wheel of Time has left Amazon feeling buoyant for the release of their Lord of the Rings prequel series in September 2022 and also made them feel confident enough to announce that a TV series based on the Mass Effect video game franchise is also now in early development (though not greenlit yet). Amazon’s metrics for the success of The Wheel of Time – or any of their original programming – are interesting, and different from the old network model which required the maximum number of eyes on the screen to sell advertising. The main thing Amazon will be looking for is new sign-ups: if people were not Amazon Prime members beforehand, but they sign up and the very first thing they watch is The Wheel of Time, that’s counted as a major success and makes a renewal or continuation of the show much more likely. This is why it’s important that the show gets a place in the cultural conversation: Netflix shows like The Witcher, Bridgerton, Stranger Things and, most recently, Squid Game and Arcane have been judged to be hits because they’ve driven lots of new subscriptions. Amazon have likewise judged shows like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (and its impressive Emmy haul) and The Boys to be major successes because people sign up ahead of the new season of each show to watch it. Amazon does have other metrics for success they will be looking at. People who watch The Wheel of Time and then buy merchandise related to the property on Amazon, or start buying the books via Amazon or reading them via Kindle, will factor in as well. Critical acclaim is of course desirable, but less important than these other forms of success. Wheel of Time had a bumpy launch window, with fairly evenly split critics, but over the weekend a slew of more positive reviews drove up the Rotten Tomatoes score to 73%, ahead of the critical response for The Witcher’s first season (68%), with the possibility of further changes depending on the reception to the remaining episodes. It is, of course, still early days overall, but The Wheel of Time’s early performance bodes well for the show to continue for many years to come. As usual, please continue to follow developments on our casting and news pages and the forum and stay tuned for more info as we get it.
Aleksandra (Ola) Hill is a Polish-Canadian writer and the founder and editor-in-chief of khōréō, a magazine of speculative fiction by immigrant and diaspora writers. She won the grand prize in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Awards and is currently pursuing an MFA in writing at The New School. You can find her on Twitter at @_aleksandrahill. # TL; DR: A Marvellous Light is a delightful Edwardian fantasy and the first in a series. Centered around a murder and a mysterious curse and heavily interspersed with both humour and steamy scenes, it’s perfect for fans of Sorcerer to the Crown, Magic for Liars, and Silver in the Wood. # A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske is set in Edwardian England where magic exists, but is a secret kept by those who can use it. Robin Blyth—decidedly not a magician—is thrust into what seems to be a dead-end government job as a minor act of social revenge, only to learn that he has become a liaison between the magical and non-magical worlds since his predecessor disappeared two weeks before. It is there he meets Edwin Courcey, a gentleman from a long magical line who has very little power for himself. When Robin is cursed by a man wearing a mask made of shadows, Edwin takes it upon himself to lift it before it’s too late. There are dozens of books set in some historical version of England, so starting this story can feel like donning a particularly cozy sweater that you’ve owned for many years. While there’s a certain delight in familiar tropes, it can be hard to make these kinds of stories feel fresh. What really sold me on this particular one was the way magic is described in the books. Using it relies on “cradling” one’s spells using one’s hands. Children learn to do this using string, much like one might play a game like cat’s cradle; most adults dispense with the aid. The imagery of this made me think very much of a “modern” version of channeling that one sees in The Wheel of Time. The system itself is relatively soft, with many open questions and unknowns, but there’s a decided academic bent to it: I would love, for example, to see an illustration of the system of notation used to communicate these spells. I would also kill to be able to see the murderous hedge maze in the flesh. But not, you know, be murdered by it. That’s no fun. The magic is immersive partially because of how mundane it is. That isn’t to say that we only see individuals stirring their coffee with a levitating spoon in the book (though that does happen); rather, throughout the course of the novel, we get to see the inventiveness of magicians in all aspects of life, whether it’s home security or afternoon games for rich young adults with nothing better to do. There’s a constant feeling of play within the magic that makes it feel a million times more desirable to me. Interestingly, contracts and consent also play a large role in the magic system. To start, humans have been able to do magic due to a contract that’s been passed down through generations (which brings up a fascinating question around the distribution of magic: why do some children receive more magic than others, and some none at all?). But magic itself also has contractual constructs within it. For example, having a pen write by itself requires imbuing the pen with the desire to be helpful and setting out the terms and parameters of the spell; every spell seems to be a negotiation of sorts. A family setting up a home can also make a blood bond with the land using similar terms, asking it to accept them and receiving certain protections in return. Given Britain’s history of colonialism, this makes for an interesting perspective on what it means to have and own land as a magician and would certainly make for interesting inheritance-related shenanigans (could I run over to a friend’s house and claim it for my own if the land liked me better?). This constant focus on contracts and agreement also makes it feel utterly natural that Edwin is a particularly thoughtful romantic lead when it comes to consent. I don’t read a lot of romance, so I don’t have a strong understanding how writers have treated consent in the past, but I did appreciate how Edwin always checks for enthusiastic consent in a way that never intrudes on the scene or makes it any less steamy (I’d argue that the anticipation only adds to the effect, actually). On the note of romance: this book is heavy on romance, to an extent that I didn’t quite expect from the marketing, and there are scenes that made me double check that no one was reading over my shoulder on the subway. It certainly wasn’t a drawback for me—I loved every moment of Edwin and Robin’s growing relationship almost (but certainly not quite) as much as I loved Nynaeve and Lan’s storyline in Wheel of Time. A nerd and a himbo, an introvert and an extrovert, a magician and a non-magician—they balance each other out marvelously well on the page. The tenderness with which they treat each other’s differences is also particularly well rendered. One line that particularly struck me: “You are the most fascinating thing in this beautiful house. I’d like to introduce my fists to whoever taught you to stop talking about the things that interest you.” I don’t think I’m the only one on this site who grew up loving something (like, say, a book series that’s just now becoming a TV show) and being shut down from talking about it, so hearing someone say this—even if it was a fictional character, even if it wasn’t to me—was a balm. With all this said, however: the focus of the book lies equally on them as it does the mystery of the murder and the curse, so if you’re looking for just the latter with none of the former, this might not be the right book for you. In sum, I read this book in two sittings and wish I had the luxury to do it in one (it would’ve been if the past few weeks hadn’t been a hellish chorus of responsibilities all coming to a head). The combination of mystery, magic, and romance was utterly enthralling and perfect for the exhaustion brought on by the end of the year/everlasting pandemic. I recommend this book heartily to anyone who enjoys historical fantasy or magical mysteries, or who is looking for a steamy queer romance. It combines the humour of Sorcerer to the Crown with the academic overtones of Magic for Liars and combination of romance and magic of Silver in the Wood. A Marvellous Light is available in the Dragonmount eBook store. Find it here!
Adam Whitehead is Dragonmount's TV blogger. Adam has been writing about film and television, The Wheel of Time, and other genre fiction for over fifteen years, and was a finalist for the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer in 2020. Be sure to check out his websites, The Wertzone and Atlas of Ice and Fire (including The Wheel of Time Atlas!) as well as his Patreon. I started reading Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time novels in 1996. A quarter of a century later, I sat down at the IMAX in Waterloo, London to watch the first episode of Amazon’s lavish TV adaptation of the series. The weight of expectation is strong here. I saw The Fellowship of the Ring only five years after reading the book, and the first episode of Game of Thrones just over a decade after reading the first book in that series. But Wheel of Time has been part of my literary background for a lot longer. Can the adaptation - any adaptation - survive the weight of expectation that is thrust upon it? The answer is “maybe,” and Rafe Judkins and his team have not aimed at a close or literal adaptation of the source material which attempts to replicate the novels line-by-line. Fortunately, it’s not an ultra-loose “inspired by the source material but also not really” kind of adaptation as we’ve seen recently with BBC America’s The Watch (where any similarities with Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels are more by coincidence than design) or Apple TV+’s speculative take on Isaac Asimov’s Foundation novels. The Wheel of Time instead charts an interesting middle ground, with some scenes directly lifted from the books - and certainly each major plot beat is lifted from the source material - and others invented to flesh out character background and motivation. In many cases these changes are improvements for the visual medium: rather than hear about the enigmatic matriarchal rituals of the Women’s Circle, we see one firsthand. Instead of hearing about Mat being a chancer and gambler, we see him playing dice. And instead of Rand and Egwene agonising over whether they want to be in a relationship or not, we see them debating about whether to continue a pre-existing relationship, which raises the stakes. The most controversial change is with Perrin: a young bachelor in the books, the show opens with him as a married man, albeit one whose relationship seems to be having its own issues. These changes help make the characters distinct rather than being similar young, single men, with their differences in character and temperament only emerging over time. The most surprising thing about the first episode is how Judkins (who wrote this instalment) allows the episode to breathe. Over the course of an hour, he sets up the Aes Sedai, the curse of men who find they can channel the One Power, and the power dynamics and relationships within the village of Emond’s Field (which goes curiously unnamed, with all references being to the wider region of the Two Rivers). We explore Rand’s relationship with his father Tam, see Nynaeve’s sense of conflict at being both part of the community and, as Wisdom, outside of it, and that Mat has a problem with gambling. Another controversial choice is to make Mat’s parents troubled wastrels, with Mat showing signs of being a better man (doting on his sisters and ensuring their wellbeing) but also falling into the same temptations (as he likes a drink and a wager, but is not very good at mixing the two). I can see why these changes were made, to deepen and complicate the characters, but also the argument that these changes may veer on the cliche (and, in Perrin's case, indulging the tiresome fridging trope). Still, the measured introduction and dedication to the show’s worldbuilding and character relationships is a relief given fears that the show would have to blast through the major plot elements to get the story told in just eight short seasons. Whilst the slower start may compromise how much story can be told later on, it works very much in giving a good first impression of a show that cares about its characters, their relationships and making sure the audience can follow what’s going on. The show even strengthens book relationships, by giving Nynaeve much more of a reason to be angry at Moiraine, when the latter plays Columbo and manipulates Nynaeve into giving away invasive personal information just so she can work out her age. The show’s visual design is sumptuous, with excellent set design and some breathtaking location shooting in the Czech Republic and Slovenia. Shots of Rand and Tam descending a mountain pass with their horse and cart, or Moiraine and Lan riding across the landscape, recall the epic vistas of The Fellowship of the Ring. The show replicates the book’s evocation of Tolkien without copying him outright, though a few moments come close: Padan Fain riding into town with a gaggle of children chasing his cart will have you waiting for the fireworks to fly out. The Wheel of Time is a large and complicated story set in a large and complicated world, but the first novel, The Eye of the World, does a good job of easing readers into the setting. Judkins’ first episode does the same thing, with some elegant ways of getting worldbuilding info to the audience: rather than bald exposition about the dangers of men who can channel, the episode opens with a coterie of Red Sisters led by Liandrin hunting down two men who can channel...but in reality, it’s only one, the other a figment of his increasingly deranged imagination. A quiet Bel Tine scene has the villagers honouring the spirits of the departed, but knowing they will one day be reborn through the weavings of the Wheel, telling us this world is more a place of spiritual ideology and philosophy than religion as we know it. The quiet worldbuilding of the early going is soon offset by an impending sense of dread. Moiraine and Lan’s arrival lets us and the villagers know that Trouble is Afoot, and even an unexpected bath scene which out-Witchers the infamous tub scene from The Witcher (featuring an, I’m assured, charismatic performance by Daniel Henney as Lan) cannot lessen the feeling of doom which builds excellently in the latter third of the episode. This culminates in the infamous Trolloc attack on the village on Winternight, with a dozen of the huge beasts (realised through a near-flawless mixture of prosthetics and CGI) running amok. In a nod to the varied origins of the creatures, we see wolf-headed Trollocs attacking upright but also dropping to all fours for greater speed or mobility (though that's where the CG can occasionally creak). At first the attack is a massacre, but the Two Rivers folk soon show their steel, with the Coplins and Congars putting their differences aside to bring down one of the creatures with pikes and staffs, whilst Perrin and his wife Laila fight off an interloping band into their forge with a mixture of hammers and axes. The best bit of fight choreography comes when Tam al’Thor shows his blademaster prowess by fighting off the presumed Narg in his farm. Book purists will weep to learn that Narg’s dialogue has been removed from the show, but this is probably for the best given how incongruous it is with later Trolloc behaviour. The show finally lets loose by showing what it is capable of when Moiraine unleashes the One Power in the defence of the village. She uses Air to hurl Trollocs through the air with bone-snapping force, Fire to blast the enemy into ash and Earth to rip the ground apart around them. When the Trollocs are finally ready to overwhelm her, she uses a tornado to tear half the village apart and blast the Trollocs with a storm of masonry. It’s as impressive an action sequence as ever put on TV cameras, helped by most of the fighting and a lot of the reaction shots being done in-camera, with CGI being resolved only for specific moments that would be impossible to realise otherwise. Watching this scene in IMAX with a powerful sound system realising every explosion and scream was absurdly overwhelming. I have to confess to mixed feelings on the collateral damage: Moiraine literally tears the Winespring Inn apart to destroy the attacking Trolloc horde, and it’s unclear if she knew there was anyone inside. A scene from the second episode hints at a possible change to the Three Oaths: Moiraine indicates she can kill people inadvertently if she does not 100% know they are there or that will happen, as opposed to the books where it feels like Aes Sedai can’t channel destructive weaves indiscriminately if there’s even a chance an innocent might die in the crossfire. Whether this is a deliberate change or Moiraine was able to ascertain via some application of the Power that no innocents were in the firing line remains to be seen. After that storm of battle, the episode ends with a coda: Moiraine telling Egwene, Rand, Mat and Perrin that the Dragon has been Reborn, and it’s one of the four of them. She has to take them out of the Two Rivers quickly to draw off the Shadowspawn pursuers before they return. This is an awkward scene because it conveniently gives the youngsters and Moiraine no time to check with their parents about the circumstances of their birth or arrival, otherwise the mystery of whom the Dragon Reborn is would die a quick death. However, it does give us that iconic final shot of the team leaving the Two Rivers with the Trolloc army on their heels, as Moiraine gives us the classic catechism and Lorne Balfe’s music stirs. The first episode is a lot to take in, and purists will likely decry everything from Rand and Tam’s farm being moved (from the Westwood to a mountainous perch not far from town) to Two Rivers not being quite as cut off as in the books (there’s now an open road leading south to Ghealdan) and the insinuation that Egwene is both a ta’veren and a candidate to be the Dragon Reborn. Those more willing to accept changes for the visual medium will find much that is rewarding. The most surprising and welcome thing is that the episode doesn’t cut to the chase of explosions and battles ASAP, but spends a leisurely 40+ minutes building up characters, relationships and the world before bringing on the Shadowspawn. The vfx scenes have been hogging the attention in trailers, but it’s the quieter moments where the show sings: Tam and Rand grieving the loss of Kari, Egwene being accepted among the women of the town, Mat scrambling to afford a Bel Tine present for his sisters, and the villagers coming together to pay respects to the souls of the dead in a ceremony that seems to move even the stoic Moiraine. Lorne Balfe’s score particularly plays well in these quieter scenes and moments, though the music mix is perhaps a little too low in the released version (it was more noticeable in the IMAX). Performances are uniformly excellent, with Rosamund Pike and Daniel Henney providing real gravitas and skill as Moiraine and Lan, and Michael McElhatton convincingly going from Worst Dad Ever in Game of Thrones to Best Dad Ever here. But the youngsters also prove their mettle: Barney Harris simply walks Mat out from the page and onto the screen, Madeleine Madden has impressive screen presence and Zoë Robins excels at portraying Nynaeve's sense of responsibility and care for the rest of the community, but also her loneliness. Marcus Rutherford and Josha Stradowski are lower-key presences at this point, but so are Perrin and Rand at this point in the novel (Mat somehow manages to steal scenes when he's not even the POV character), and what we see here is promising. There are problems, and some of them feel a bit of a non sequitur at this point: the changes to Perrin don’t seem to add much to his character (especially given his limited ability to react to them in the two succeeding episodes); Padan Fain feels like a random addition to the series at this point; and the final scene where everyone has to leave abruptly without any time for exchanging seemingly vital plot and character information is somewhat contrived. The first preview scene from the episode, where Lan and Moiraine arrive in the village at night, is also awkwardly shot and paced. But beyond those scenes, Leavetakings does what it needs to do: it sets up the story in an interesting manner and leaves the viewer wanting to see more. As usual, follow our casting and news pages, and let us know what you think of the latest developments.
Thom DeSimone was a fan of The Wheel of Time long before he was first tagged to be part of the ‘official’ fandom as a Director at JordanCon, a literary convention themed for The Wheel of Time. Which is where he met the illustrious leader of Dragonmount, Jason Denzel, and the rest is as they say…history. (Note from the editor: You can see Thom in action on Dragonmount’s Wheel of Time Community Show!) A wind blew down from the mountains of mist...and carried with it the acrid smell of wood smoke. That is due to the fact that at the open of Episode 2 ‘Shadows Waiting,’ of Amazon Prime Video's sure to be mega hit series The Wheel of Time, Eamon Valda, played by the amazingly talented Abdul Salis, is sinfully snacking on a small song bird as an Aes Sedai is burned alive. (See Ortolan Bunting) I want to mention in particular the Whitecloaks in this episode because Abdul Salis’ performance as Eamon Vlada is STELLAR. You just LOVE to hate his character. For my Harry Potter fans out there, he is throwing off series Dolores Umbridge vibes. In the pages of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time the Whitecloaks are a military order with a blinding level of fanaticism dedicated to their own view of what it means to "walk in the Light." This group most resembles that of real life Knights Templar, a dash of the Spanish Inquisition, and topped off with the Klu-Klux-Klan. Amongst lines of pristine white canvas tents that are only out shone by the gleaming white armor and dress of the Whitecloaks themselves an Aes Sedai of the Yellow Ajah, whose hands were recently removed, is tied to a pole set above a recently kindled fire. The Whitecloaks of the books are, for the most part, buffoons and pose little to no threat throughout the series to the Aes Sedai or the main characters. It seems Rafe Judkins and the writing staff are setting up the Whitecloaks, to be much more of a threat. This move up the ladder for the Whitecloaks sets up much more interesting story implications for Perrin in particular later on. I am interested in seeing where it goes. Our next encounter with this particular batch of literary human garbage is when they cross paths with our heroes. At first it seemed like a good cop, and bad cop routine from Geofram Bornhold and Valda’s interaction with Moiraine and Lan, but after seeing their exchange as they part ways it really plays up an internal conflict with the Questioners and the Whitecloak regulars. Which is really driven home by Bornhold's earlier instruction to Moiraine to seek Aes Sedai healing for the wound caused by the Trolloc blade. Here I always imagined the Whitecloaks would choose death, over being touched by the one power. For themselves… or anyone really. This I feel sets up an interesting dynamic and plot for later interactions. Though I would love to talk about the Whitecloaks and the comeuppance I am sure they will receive from Moiraine and the Aes Sedai, I want to get to the ‘meat and potatoes’ of this episode, which of course are…rules. Oh you thought I was going to say Shadar Logoth. Nope. I want to talk about the rules, limitations and expectations the writers are building and breaking for us as the viewers. Best displayed by what we learn of the Aes Sedai, the One power and Moiraine herself in this episode. Are the Aes Sedai Healers? As seen in Moiraine healing the sick and injured after the events of Winternight. Are they monsters? Though we want to think they are given this moniker by the Whitecloaks for no reason. Moiraine does essentially tear down the Winespring Inn and sink a ferry, in so doing, kill the ferryman who only wanted to save his family. A necessary evil? I think so, but nonetheless questionable. Moiraine, master manipulator she is, then leads Eqwene through the events. having her come to the same conclusion herself. Objection! Leading the witness! Moiraine made a choice between the lesser of two evils. Which is still kinda evil? Not only are viewers maybe now questioning the Aes Sedai’s intent, but we also see other limitations built around them, via their ‘Three Oaths’ and to the One Power itself. Aes Sedai, and as far as we know as viewers at this point, all users of the One Power, cannot heal themselves. Also, they cannot channel the One Power if you remove the users hands, as displayed by the Sister being burned at the stake earlier not tearing the entire Whitecloak camp apart. (Personally, I think this is a set up for later, when we find out that this is only due to the fact that this is the way Aes Sedai are taught/believe the One Power works. I’m sure it will be a fun surprise when we learn Aiel and other Channelers manipulate the Power in as many different ways as there are people in the world.) Ok now yes we will talk about Shadar Logoth or, as this episode is titled ‘Shadows Waiting.’ For those who have read the books, yes, there are many differences between Amazon’s depiction of the city and what occurs with the party inside to that of the book. Though the results are the same, we learn of a corruption brought on not by the Dark One, though feared by its minions. A corruption born of very human failings. Greed, isolationism, and nationalism, which can all really be summed up as selfishness. Mashadar manifests as a creeping shadow in this adaptation but is no less terrifying and deadly. A major difference here is the absence of ‘Mordeth’ who was a physical manifestation of the corruption that permeates the city. Personally, I think a sentient Mashadar still exists. How else do you explain Mr. Cauthon being lured to a dagger? More on this in a minute. Just before Mashadar leads Mat by the nose into a dark corridor and to the very thing he is just recently lacking, a dagger. We hear whistling. Which is eerily similar to the whistling we hear leading into our first meeting with Padan Fain in the previous episode (and several other times throughout these first two episodes). This I believe is a set up from the showrunner for a later flashback of Padan Fain in the ruined city himself possibly meeting Mordeth or at least being ‘touched’ by Mashadar, aka the corruption of Shadar Logoth. Ok now back to Mat gifting his dagger to Perrin. This particular scene is poignant to me in that it gives us a deeper understanding of the loving relationship between the Emond’s Fielders. Mat essentially tells Perrin he loves him by giving this dagger. By way of the back story of how he go the dagger from Laila. As she made said dagger for Mat to ‘protect someone he loves’ and it seems Mat thinks this promise is fulfilled by giving Perrin this dagger. IE he loves Perrin. This type of loving relationship between male characters in entertainment at all, let alone fantasy, is a breath of fresh air. It’s something that has been lacking for many years. Amazon Prime Video’s the Wheel of Time seems to be doing away with the toxic masculine tropes of the past, and I could not be happier. Hopefully it does not end there. Of course, the rest of the sequence within the ruined cities walls are the separation of the party and a chase through the streets. But it is the final scene in this episode that is this blogger’s favorite! A knife to the throat of al’Lan Mandragoran with Nynaeve al’Mera at the other end fully ready to end his life to protect her people. Zoë Robins is AMAZING, Nynaeve is the perfect character for her and I CANNOT wait to see Zoe crush some of the things that goes on later in the series!
REVIEW: Episode 103: A Place of Safety To bring epic fantasy adaptations to life, carefully chosen edits must be made. There is a heavy weight of responsibility on Rafe Judkins and his team with The Wheel of Time. Our fanbase is one full of passion and entrenched with heavy expectations. To those of us initiated we know these characters better than ourselves. I encourage fans new to The Wheel of Time to dive in and join the longtime fans in the world of Robert Jordan’s creation. With all of us aware that the story we see before us is just yet another turning of the Wheel: “There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel.” Episode three, “A Place of Safety” of The Wheel of Time series by Amazon Prime Video delivers nearly an hour of epic journeys all of which point east towards Tar Valon and the White Tower. They have all escaped the clutches of Shadar Logoth and are scattered to the wind. In a shocking surprise Nynaeve al’Meara has emerged as my favorite heroine. The performance Zoë Robins delivers is fierce and convincing, but it is the subtle changes made to her story that makes Nynaeve shine. While book purists may decry the changes, I insist that in Nynaeve’s case they have only made her stronger; I harken back to episode one “Leavetaking” as she stands with her hand on her knife when the strangers arrive. For character development’s sake they ramp up her hatred for the Aes Sedai, using her former Wisdom and surrogate mothers’ dismissal from the White Tower to draw a hard line between us and them. In episode three the visual representation of Nynaeve’s strength as she escapes her trolloc captor was breathtaking. In the span of only hours her village has been attacked by beasts she had likely believed were only a myth, she had seen her people slaughtered and watched as everything around her was consumed by blood and fire. As a capstone to her induction into her new reality, she is knocked unconscious and headed for death in a trolloc’s belly. Yet, when faced with a situation that would have many giving up or paralyzed with fear she fought on. Not only to save her own life, but to carry on and save her friends. Nynaeve made use of the sacred pool to save her own life. While we do not yet know its intended use, it is a place of great importance and leant its strength to Nynaeve once again as she hid in its depths and used the trolloc’s own blade to end its life. As the camera pans out, we see the blood filling the pool and resolving into the shape of a Dragon’s Fang. Much like we saw the slaughtered sheep arranged as the Dragon’s Fang in episode one, it is another subtle reminder that the Two Rivers companions are being hunted by the dark. Up to this point we have not learned the true power of the Dark One’s reach, but there are subtle clues if you know where to look. The largest representation of his strength is seen at the end of the episode when Dana (Izuka Hoyle) is revealed to be a darkfriend and Thom (Alexandre Willaume) gives us clues to what that means. Izuka Hoyle’s performance was the standout in the episode for me. There is a massive amount of character development that takes place during her time on screen. The writing is meant to make us feel for her plight, stuck in the mining town where she was born and likely will die, but it is the fervor with which she delivers her diatribe to Rand and Mat that had me kicking my heels with excitement. Her death was necessary to allow our pair to escape, but I was crushed that we will not see the crazed light in her eyes again. One theme that we see delivered again and again is the commitment and loyalty the Two Rivers folk have to each other. Both Rand and Egwene, though separated by miles, each have the desire to make sure that the other is okay. Their relationship may be in shambles, but their love and loyalty are still strong. Even Mat who waivered the most in his desire to abandon their quest to the White Tower and return home, sticks with it when the road gets rough. If they stick to the source material, the themes of loyalty and obligation will be repeated again and again. Due to the extensive travel that takes place in “A Place of Safety” I feel that in this episode the world truly begins to expand. We start to see more of the people who inhabit the land outside the Two Rivers, with heavy handed hints of even more to come. World building on this scale must be a challenge and some of the information felt a bit forced. Such as when Thom explains to Mat more about the Aiel. The most egregious information dump happens when Perrin and Egwene meet the Tinkers. This story is highly altered from how it takes place in the book and as of yet I do not understand the why. There is an intermediary in the books who guides Perrin and Egwene instead of the wolves alone. The Tinkers, or the Traveling People are a band of pacificists and wanderers who believe that everyone should do no harm. As I read the books, they always gave me hippie vibes. They were one with nature, vegetarians who wore brightly colored clothes and welcomed everyone to their fires. Never settling in one place for too long. Their way of life was known to be intoxicating to children and youth, which was why most villages and towns didn’t not welcome them near their borders. Even in the secluded Two Rivers they had heard rumors of the Tuatha’an. This is not the case in this turning of the wheel. Visually the Tinkers are ‘darker’ than I had pictured. Their colors are more muted and their demeanor more reserved and less jovial. Perrin and Egwene have also not heard of them, and it is Aram’s (Daryl McCormack) forced telling that felt out of place. Their lack of preconceived notions seems like an interesting omission. The only conclusion I can draw is that they are attempting to illustrate how isolated the Two Rivers folk were before beginning their journey. With so much history and lore to get across on screen there are bound to be a few stumbles such as this along the way. It was not enough to bring me out of the world. So much of this episode is building for what is to come. We are being led through a world of Jordan’s creation as seen through Rafe Judkins eyes. I can see that he is trying to share with us the Power of women and the strength that can be taken when relying on others. The question that kept coming up for me is, “Who can we trust?” We know that Moiraine can speak no word that is untrue, but she never says what she intends to do with the potential Dragon reborn when she gets him or her to the White Tower. While Aes Sedai seem more well known to the Two Rivers folk than they were in the novels, the mysteries of what an Aes Sedai can do with the One Power remain a large unknown. She is currently injured and was asleep for most of this episode, but her powers could still be at work. Is it her work that causes the wolves to herd Egwene and Perrin towards the Tuatha’an? Or is it indicative of him being the Dragon? He is the only one we see have another dream this episode. Does the fact that Egwene can channel point to her as the one Moiraine seeks? Rand’s super strength that is showcased as he breaks free of Dana could be an indication that he is the one? Mat feels like the least likely candidate at this point, but we are staring to notice strange behavior from him as well. At this point we only know who the Dragon was, not who or what he or she will be. There is a bomb that drops in the last few moments that seems to shock even our characters to our core. As Dana reveals that she dreams of the FIVE of them, we are led to believe that Nynaeve should also be considered for the Dragon reborn as well. Her expanded strength may mean that she is where our eyes should be pointed in our search to decode who has been reborn as the Dragon in this turning of the Wheel. In future episodes we all need to be careful observers of the clues that are being left for us. The recent revelation that Nynaeve could be the one Moiraine was wanting, even if she does not know it yet, makes the fact that the episode bookends with Nynaeve’s appearance highly appropriate. The last words spoken this episode were delivered by the deliciously smug Liandrin Sedai. “Didn’t you hear? We captured a man calling himself the Dragon Reborn.” This puts the mission Moiraine set out to accomplish; bringing the Dragon reborn to the White Tower so that he can be guided, is in peril, as is her life. Who is this man that Liandrin captured? Book readers will have an idea, for everyone else hold tight. His expanded story line is certain to be something we can all enjoy discovering. If the menacing look in his eye is any indication, he has been captured, but not beaten.
The first three episodes of season 1 of The Wheel of Time from Amazon Prime Video are now available worldwide. The episodes became available moments after midnight GMT. This marks an incredible moment in the franchise's long history. The Eye of the World was published in 1990, with Robert Jordan beginning work on it around 1984. With that time factored in, it took longer than 40 years for the late author's work to finally appear on screen Dragonmount has extensive coverage for the show. This article will be updated when more content becomes available over the next couple days. Videos Red London Premiere Red Carpet event video Season 1 review (spoiler-free, episodes 1-6) Jason & Kathy talk about episodes 1-6 (no spoilers) Analysis of Episode 101: Leavetaking (Coming November 20) Analysis of Episode 102: Shadow's Waiting (Coming November 20) Analysis of Episode 103: A Place of Safety (Coming November 20) Podcasts Dragonmount recently launched a brand-new podcast focused on the show. Learn more here. Welcome to Dragonmount! - Introductions A New Turning of the Wheel - (Spoiler-free discussion of episodes 1-6) Discussion of Episode 101: Leavetaking (Coming November 20) Discussion of Episode 102: Shadow's Waiting (Coming November 20) Discussion of Episode 103: A Place of Safety (Coming November 20) Written Reviews Episode 101: Leavetaking (Coming November 20) Episode 102: Shadow's Waiting (Coming November 20) Episode 103: A Place of Safety (Coming November 20) Written Episode Summaries Episode 101: Leavetaking (Coming November 20) Episode 102: Shadow's Waiting (Coming November 20) Episode 103: A Place of Safety (Coming November 20) As always, full details about The Wheel of Time from Amazon Prime Video can be found on the TV section. After you watch the show, let us know what you think in the comments or on our forums.
What an amazing time to be a Wheel of Time fan! Amazon Prime Video debuted the first two episodes in select cities yesterday and many fans already got their first view of this new part of fandom life. For those less fortunate, we do have plenty of content to tide you over until the official release of the first three episodes this Friday, November 19th. First up, Thom DeSimone on The Wheel of Time Community Show has a completely spoiler-free first take of what we’ve been allowed to watch so far. You can hear his thoughts on the acting, the scenery, the special effects, and more! And Dragonmount: The Wheel of Time Podcast is back with another episode. Listen to producer Kathy Campbell, and co-hosts Rajiv Moté and myself, Maureen Carr, talk about the experiences of watching the first six episodes. This podcast is also spoiler-free, focusing more on our enthusiasm going into this and our belief that this is a new turning of the Wheel, something different from the books. Finally, Kathy Campbell and Jason Denzel let themselves unwind after a hectic day at the London premiere. They shared their experiences on the red carpet and a bit of nostalgia that lingers with a series we all have been reading for so long. There is a lot more content on the way, so stay up-to-date with all the latest content by following Dragonmount on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. How will you be watching the series premiere on Friday? Binge watching? Group gathering? Multiply viewings in one day? Let us know in the comments below!
The London premiere of The Wheel of Time TV show from Amazon Prime video is happening today! Dragonmount is proud to being you special live coverage of multiple events as the show premieres at select events in London and across the United States. LONDON PREMIERE Join Dragonmount founder Jason Denzel, along with producer Kathy Campbell as they stream live from the red carpet in London. Coverage begins around 9:45 AM U.S. Pacific Time (5:45 PM London GMT). Jason and Kathy will live-stream simultaneously to these social media accounts: Dragonmount on Instagram Live @dragonmount_ Dragonmount on YouTube Dragonmount on Facebook Dragonmount on Twitter @dragonmount The Wheel of Time on Facebook Kathy Campbell on Twitter @mrssoup Kathy Campbell on Instagram Live @mrssoup Jason Denzel on Twitter @jasondenzel Everything will be recorded and made available later. LOS ANGELES FAN SCREENING Also, happening later in the day, around 5 PM U.S. Pacific Time, Dragonmount will live stream the Los Angeles Fan Screening on Instagram Live. Kitty Rallo, Thom DeSimone, and Katy Sedai will be on stage to introduce the first two episodes of season 1. If the schedule allows, they will also live stream additional activities associated with the screening such as fan reaction interviews. The Wheel of Time premieres on Amazon Prime video on November 19. Visit our TV section of the website for full coverage, and visit our forums to discuss the show.
Amazon Prime Video announced today the upcoming release of The Wheel of Time: Origins, a series of animated short films that tell several stories set during the years and centuries before the events of the upcoming TV series. These animated films will be available on November 19, the same day that the first three episodes of season 1 of the show air. The videos will be available via Amazon X-Ray, which can be accessed via the Amazon Prime Video mobile app or the Amazon FireTV device. Here's the full announcement trailer from Amazon Prime Video: The short films are written by Rammy Park, who is also one of the writers on Season 2 of The Wheel of Time show. No other specific information about the films or the animators has been provided yet. From the video above it appears as though some of the stories will focus on the Breaking of the World, the Trolloc Wars, and the fall of Artur Hawkwing. Are you ready? What do you think these animated films will focus on? Let us know in the comments! Be sure to follow us on social media and join the discussion on our forums.
Milan Records announced today the release of a brand new soundtrack album called "The Wheel of Time: The First Turn (Amazon Original Series Soundtrack)" by acclaimed composer Lorne Balfe. It's available now worldwide from a wide assortment of music providers including Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music, YouTube, Pandora, and more. Click here for the complete list. This album is the first in a series of four planned soundtrack albums that will be released alongside season 1 of Amazon Prime Video's upcoming show. At next one will become available November 19, 2021, coinciding with the premiere of the TV show's first three episodes. Here's a list of the 14 tracks released as part of The First Turn: Mashithamel (Young Love) Moiraine Sedai Ta'maral'ailen (Web of Destiny) Aes Sedai (Servants of All) Ost Ninto Shostya (On Your Knees) Mashiara (Lost Love) Al'Naito (The Flame) Al'Cair Sei (Goldeneyes) Caisen'shar (Old Blood) Aman Syndai (Dragon Reborn) Noriv al Zaffid (Two Halves of One Whole) Al'Dival (For the Light) Wab'shar (Bonded) Mordero'Sheen (Bringers of Death) Lorne Balfe: In addition to the album’s digital release, The First Turn soundtrack will also be made available in both spatial audio and vinyl formats. Available later this in November, the spatial audio version of The First Turn album gives listeners a completely immersive listening experience with 360-degree sound and enhanced clarity. Meanwhile the album’s vinyl edition is set to arrive in 2022. Did we mention that album is available now to stream? Hurry over and download or stream it now. Take a listen and let us know what you think in the comments or on our forums. The Wheel of Time will premiere on November 19 on Amazon Prime Video. Be sure to check out our TV section of the website for complete info and coverage.