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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Review of "Shadow's Waiting"


Thom DeSimone
  • Thom DeSimone gives a full-spoiler review of Amazon Prime Video's The Wheel of Time television series, Season 1, Episode 2, "Shadow's Waiting."


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!




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In the opinion of myself and many many others the pacing of episode 2 was far to fast, it carry’s on from episode 1 in that it doesn’t really help you engage with the main characters, yes you understand white cloaks are bad, yes you get the rules but did the uninformed viewer really learn enough to start getting invested in our hero’s. It doesn’t help that the group travel for days on end without making that clear, you see them spend 2 nights before shadar with no mention that they have been traveling much longer. 
 

Matts finding of the dagger is also awkward to explain, I watched the episode with 3 people who have never read the books and that one scene instantly made them laugh at the stupidity of it, he just happened to find a dagger and take it despite the warning not 30 seconds before. 
 

Personally I also would have liked to have seen more of Fain in this episode, for the sake of a few mins you could have shown him amongst the Trollocs (as he is in the books at this point in time). That could then have led at the end to seeing him exit the city the sounds of Trollocs slowly dwindling as one by one they are killed, he looks back and walks off into the dark. The audience understand then that he is a bad guy and important. 
 

These first 2 “pilot” episodes make WOT feel like a low budget Sci Fi channel series and not the crown jewel of Amazons play list. In this day and age when streaming services are delivering quality content like See, The Boys, the Expanse and Foundation that come out of the gates running hard this is unforgivable. If Season one had a 15 episode count then we could forgive an opening couple of episodes that driver poor pacing, dialogue and effects (some of the Trolloc outfits look like a guy in a gorilla suit). But we don’t, one quarter of the season has instead been eaten up by this poor start, this feels very much like John Carter of Mars as opposed to Star Wars right now.

Edited by Sir_Charrid

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I thoroughly enjoyed episode 1 and I liked episode 2 even better. With episode 1, we see that Mat stole a gold bracelet so that he could buy laterns for his sisters. We see that Mat and his family is poor and he is a gambler. In Shadar Logoth, Mat leaves the building where Moiraine and Lan are resting after Rand and Egwene go exploring. 

A shadow of Madashar lures Mat into another building when he goes exploring. That shadow lure leads Mat to the ruby dagger. So seeing how the show has set up Mat's character, it fits his character that he is tempted to leave Perrin, Lan, and Moiraine. 

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My biggest pet peeve is that a white cloak recomends going to an Aes Sedai for healing, just after we see them killing Aes Sedais for no obvious reason.

 

The severity of the wond could have been presented to the viewers by Lan, or one of the emonds fielders question.

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8 hours ago, GanoesParan said:

I thoroughly enjoyed episode 1 and I liked episode 2 even better. With episode 1, we see that Mat stole a gold bracelet so that he could buy laterns for his sisters. We see that Mat and his family is poor and he is a gambler. In Shadar Logoth, Mat leaves the building where Moiraine and Lan are resting after Rand and Egwene go exploring. 

A shadow of Madashar lures Mat into another building when he goes exploring. That shadow lure leads Mat to the ruby dagger. So seeing how the show has set up Mat's character, it fits his character that he is tempted to leave Perrin, Lan, and Moiraine. 

In the show there is no shadow luring Matt he just finds the dagger 

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There are a number of things wrong with this episode’s portrayal of our favorite series. One of the biggest is Bornhold telling Moiraine to seek Aes Sedai assistance. Never in a million years would he do that. If the reviewer believes they did this to display the conflict between the Questioners and the Whitecloaks, I believe this could have been accomplished with as simple a thing as Geofram condemning the way Eamon killed the Yellow. A quick “why are you wasting our time with these elaborate executions? just kill the witch and let us be on our way” while Valda scowled at the back of a retreating Bornhold, would have established the same thing without destroying the essence of the Whitecloaks.  Second is Moiraine’s feigned deferential attitude towards the Whitecloaks. In the series Moiraine did not invite unnecessary attention or danger upon the group but neither did she EVER cower or stoop below the standards befitting her station as an Aes Sedai.  I disagree with the reviewers comment regarding toxic masculinity. One of the things that I love about this series and which makes it enjoyable to read repeatedly is the fact that Jordan had ridiculously strong female leads. He portrayed women in a way that demonstrated not only their capacity for kindness and nurturing. But also their intelligence, cunning, ruthlessness and raw power. While reading the series I never once got the impression that the women were any less…well anything than the men. But this series tries to pander to the whims of our current time by making the women boastfully stronger and more prevalent then the men.  In the books Jordan used Lan to “lead” the party out of the Two Rivers with his actions and his words. But it was always clear whose bidding he was doing and who was really in control. That silence, the idea that mundane trivial matters were beneath her efforts, is what made Moiraine (and subsequent Aes Sedai) such strong and effective characters. So far in this series I believe Rosamund Pike is asserting her influence to place herself too far into the spotlight and is accomplishing nothing but alienating the audience. I did however enjoy the Shadar Logoth sequence. With not having Nynaeve and Thom in the scenes, the way it played out did not seem bad to me. I believe this Matt would totally have stolen the dagger despite the warning “not 30 seconds ago”. Because he is a thieving scoundrel. The real Matt never stole a thing.  But apparently this Matt does. 🤷🏾‍♂️😡

Edited by FanofKnotai

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6 hours ago, Sir_Charrid said:

In the show there is no shadow luring Matt he just finds the dagger 

I believe if you watch that scene again that you will see a shadowy figure for just a second. 

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3 hours ago, GanoesParan said:

I believe if you watch that scene again that you will see a shadowy figure for just a second. 

It really should have been made clearer, I watched the episode with 3 people who have not read the books and all 3 of them scoffed at Matt simply wandering off despite Lans warning and stumbling across a box with a knife in it, and then picking it up. I actually had to pause the show and explain what happens in the book to try and give them some context, they all agreed that it wouldn't have taken much to replicate that in the show, so no the shadow wasn't obvious.

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6 hours ago, FanofKnotai said:

There are a number of things wrong with this episode’s portrayal of our favorite series. One of the biggest is Bornhold telling Moiraine to seek Aes Sedai assistance. Never in a million years would he do that. If the reviewer believes they did this to display the conflict between the Questioners and the Whitecloaks, I believe this could have been accomplished with as simple a thing as Geofram condemning the way Eamon killed the Yellow. A quick “why are you wasting our time with these elaborate executions? just kill the witch and let us be on our way” while Valda scowled at the back of a retreating Bornhold, would have established the same thing without destroying the essence of the Whitecloaks.  Second is Moiraine’s feigned deferential attitude towards the Whitecloaks. In the series Moiraine did not invite unnecessary attention or danger upon the group but neither did she EVER cower or stoop below the standards befitting her station as an Aes Sedai.  I disagree with the reviewers comment regarding toxic masculinity. One of the things that I love about this series and which makes it enjoyable to read repeatedly is the fact that Jordan had ridiculously strong female leads. He portrayed women in a way that demonstrated not only their capacity for kindness and nurturing. But also their intelligence, cunning, ruthlessness and raw power. While reading the series I never once got the impression that the women were any less…well anything than the men. But this series tries to pander to the whims of our current time by making the women boastfully stronger and more prevalent then the men.  In the books Jordan used Lan to “lead” the party out of the Two Rivers with his actions and his words. But it was always clear whose bidding he was doing and who was really in control. That silence, the idea that mundane trivial matters were beneath her efforts, is what made Moiraine (and subsequent Aes Sedai) such strong and effective characters. So far in this series I believe Rosamund Pike is asserting her influence to place herself too far into the spotlight and is accomplishing nothing but alienating the audience. I did however enjoy the Shadar Logoth sequence. With not having Nynaeve and Thom in the scenes, the way it played out did not seem bad to me. I believe this Matt would totally have stolen the dagger despite the warning “not 30 seconds ago”. Because he is a thieving scoundrel. The real Matt never stole a thing.  But apparently this Matt does. 🤷🏾‍♂️😡

I don't think this is Rosamund Pike, I think this is all Rafe and his creative decisions 

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Whitecloaks in the books were Not a unit to be underestimated.  They were pieces of shit but could kill anyone they wanted except aes sedai that were on guard.  I mean they could only hang 1 amyrlin seat because she was already dead by arrows.  It isn’t until gawains half brother kills the lord commander and finally takes over the whitecloaks that they actually became a military threat to the dark one!

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On 11/21/2021 at 7:49 AM, Sir_Charrid said:

In the show there is no shadow luring Matt he just finds the dagger 

Go watch again and you will see the shadow getting his attention and leading him away. 

Edited by kedryn alan
tone

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