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.
As the release date for The Wheel of Time moves closer, Amazon have started ramping up their marketing by releasing several images from the series.
We’re going to discuss what the images may signify, and how that relates to the books. Note that spoilers for the books and The Eye of the World especially will be present here.
The first image is a “hero shot” featuring the seven regular actors from the first series walking towards the camera. This is a publicity still taken to market the show, not an actual shot from the series (though if there was a cool explosion behind them, it’d probably work fine). From left to right, Zoë Robins as Nynaeve al’Meara, Barney Harris as Mat Cauthon, Daniel Henney as al’Lan Mandragoran, Rosamund Pike as Moiraine Damodred, Madeleine Madden as Egwene al’Vere, Marcus Rutherford as Perrin Aybara and Josha Stradowski as Rand al’Thor.
Other actors will recur in the first season (such as Hammed Animashaun as Loial, Alexandre Willaume as Thom Merrilin and Kae Alexander as Min Farshaw) but these seven will presumably be in every episode, or almost.
Weekly Wheel News, doing the Creator’s work, unearthed the metadata for the shot, confirming it comes from the sixth episode (of eight in total in the first season) and depicts the gang journeying to the Waygate, where they meet Loial (either out-of-shot in this picture, or lacking the CGI needed to insert him in the frame). The metadata asks the question “who is the Dragon?”, confirming that one goal for the TV show is to make the identity of the Dragon Reborn far less obvious than it is in the books, where it’s fairly obvious from the first page.
The second shot takes us to the ruined city of Shadar Logoth, once known as Aridhol, and depicts Lan and Moiraine taking refuge in an ill-advised location. This shot also features Mandarb, Lan’s horse (fear not! Bela is cast and will also be in the series!).
The metadata tells us this is indeed Shadar Logoth, featuring Lan escaping “a temple” with a wounded or exhausted Moiraine in his arms. Interestingly, it appears from the data that a dummy is used in this scene for Moiraine, although whether that’s a dummy or the real Rosamund Pike in the actual picture is unclear (good dummy work, if so).
The third shot features Egwene and Rand enjoying a quiet moment on their journey. It looks like this is part of a sequence for the early episodes filmed in Slovenia, depicting the countryside in the Two Rivers and western Andor.
The metadata for this shot states that it is from the very first episode and features the keywords “couple,” “mountains,”, “Soca River,” “Slovenia,” and “jump,” as well as saying that Egwene is going to do something and Rand knows what it is (jump?). It is possible this scene is from later in the episode when the gang are on their way to Taren Ferry. The word “couple” is interesting, as in the book Rand and Egwene seem to consider themselves, if not betrothed, then at least likely to become betrothed by their families, but they’re not actually together romantically. This may factor into the subplot in the books, as Rand and Egwene become aware they’re not actually going to hook up, or might indicate a change that Rand and Egwene are already together when the story opens and perhaps break up later on (since Rafe Judkins has confirmed that Rand will have his relationships with Elayne, Min and Aviendha in the show as in the books). This would be a subtle shift in the book dynamic, but might also avoid early viewers “shipping” Rand and Egwene and getting disappointed when that never comes to pass. Having them already together and then break up gets that idea out of the way. It sounds minor, but the popularity of “ships” on a show can substantially drive discussion about a show (not always for the better, but still).
The final shot is from the biggest change from the books to the TV series, a new storyline that follows the misadventures of Logain Ablar, a false Dragon. This story is referred to in the books and takes place off-page, but will be front-and-centre in the TV series. In this shot, Logain (Álvaro Morte) is held prisoner by sisters of the Aes Sedai, most notably Alanna Mosvani (Priyanka Bose) on the left and Kerene Nagashi (Clare Perkins) on the right, both sisters of the Green Ajah. In the background are two sisters of the Red Ajah. Eagle-eyed book fans will note that Kerene only appears in the prequel novel New Spring and dies long before the events of the series proper; it’ll be interesting to theorise and then see what purpose is saved by moving Kerene’s story into the main saga.
The metadata for this shot, amusingly, is incorrect and points to a shot from the third episode with Egwene and Perrin on Caralain Grass. We don’t know when the Logain shot is from, but based on other information it might be from the fourth episode.
We’re now three months or less from The Wheel of Time hitting the air, and we’ll be likely to see a trailer in the near(ish) future. As usual, follow our casting and news pages, and let us know what you think of the latest developments.