The Wheel of Time is an adaptation of Robert Jordan’s best-selling fantasy series of the same name, helmed by showrunner Rafe Judkins (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and starring Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl, Die Another Day) on Amazon Prime.
This review will have major spoilers for the entirety of Season 2 so proceed with caution.
A secret meeting of Darkfriends takes place where Ishamael, the Dark One’s most powerful servant and Forsaken, decides to observe Rand Al’Thor, the Dragon Reborn, instead of killing him. After the events at the Eye, Moiraine has been residing with Adeleas and Verin, her fellow Aes Sedai, gathering information while struggling to come to terms with the loss of the One Power. Meanwhile, Egwene and Nynaeve have joined the Novice book at the White Tower. Egwene is determined to succeed but is frustrated by the lack of recognition, while Nynaeve is struggling with a power block, only channeling when she is angry or afraid. Liandrin offers to train Nynaeve, but the other Aes Sedai are hesitant because Liandrin’s previous teachings had caused the deaths of novices. Perrin and Loial have joined a company of Shienarans led by Ingtar Shinowa to search for the Horn, which Padan Fain has stolen, joined by Elyas, a “sniffer” who shows interest in Perrin. Egwene and Nynaeve miss Mat, Perrin, and Rand, who they believe is dead. However, Liandrin has imprisoned Mat in the Tower at Moiraine’s request while Rand is hiding. Moiraine leaves to follow up on her plans alone but is attacked by three Fades. Lan tries to save her, but they are both injured. Verin and Adeleas intervene, rescuing them.
Moiraine and Lan recover after the attack from the Fades, and prepare to leave for the White Tower despite Moiraine being exiled by the Amyrlin. While on their way there, Verin deduces that Moiraine found the Dragon Reborn, and intends to serve him no matter what. Meanwhile, Rand has gone into hiding at the Foregate in Cairhien, and been taken in by an innkeeper named Selene whom he has developed a romantic relationship with. He works at an asylum and manages to gain access to the False Dragon Logain, a patient there. At the White Tower, Liandrin pushes for Nynaeve to undergo the testing and become an Accepted, which would allow Liandrin to train her. Alanna protests but leaves the Tower to aid Moiraine. Meanwhile, Egwene befriends Elayne Trakand, the daughter-heir of Andor and fellow Novice. Nynaeve follows Liandrin through a secret passage in the Tower, and sees her caring for a sick man. Mat befriends Min, who Liandrin has also locked up, and Min has a vision of Mat stabbing Rand, which she keeps to herself. Moiraine releases Lan from her service, claiming that he can’t protect her anymore, and has Alanna and her warders escort him to the Tower. Perrin and the Shienarans find the site of a massacre where innocent people have been slaughtered and a Fade nailed to a wall. They later arrive at a small village, which is attacked by a Seanchan force soon after. Perrin, Loial, and the Shienarans are captured, as the Seanchan leader Suroth arrives along with Ishamael.
Rand asks Logain to teach him how to control the One Power without going mad. However, Logain agrees to help only if Rand brings him a bottle of Ghealdan wine. Rand accompanies Selene to a party for Cairhienin nobles to get the wine. After Rand receives the wine, Logain reveals that the Power can’t be controlled. Later, Rand accidentally sets fire to Selene’s inn with the One Power. Perrin and the Shienarans are commanded to swear fealty to the Seanchan. One of the Shienarans, Uno, refuses and is gruesomely executed, forcing the others to give in. Ishamael becomes interested in Perrin and encourages him to unleash his inner beast, but Elyas and a pack of wolves save Perrin. Nynaeve undergoes her Accepted test, which involves facing trials inside ter’angreal Arches. However, she seemingly fails after choosing a life with Lan inside the Arches over becoming an Aes Sedai. Liandrin and the other Aes Sedai believe Nynaeve to be dead, and Elayne has to comfort a grieving Egwene. Liandrin releases Mat, seemingly to comfort Egwene (which he opts not to do), but also has Min follow him. Inside the Arches, Nynaeve’s life with Lan is ruined by a Trolloc attack, and she escapes back to the real world, where a shocked Egwene embraces her.
Moiraine arrives in Cairhien, where she meets Logain, and offers to end his life if he first helps her train Rand. In the White Tower, Nynaeve has been raised as an Accepted following her trial in the Arches. Liandrin tells Nynaeve of Perrin’s capture by the Seanchan, which leads to Nynaeve, Egwene, and Elayne sneaking out of the tower to mount a rescue. They are, however, quickly ambushed and subdued by Liandrin. Meanwhile, Perrin and Elyas look for the Shienarans and Loial, and Perrin bonds with the wolf Hopper, and learns that he is what is called a Wolfbrother. Min is approached at an inn by Ishamael, who reveals he is working with Liandrin, and offers to rid her of her visions if she brings Mat to Cairhien. Lan stays with Alanna and her warders, who attempt to help him through losing his bond with Moiraine. Alanna finds a prophecy that reveals that the Forsaken Lanfear has returned to the world. Meanwhile, Rand and Selene have left Cairhien for a trip to the countryside, where a Fade attacks them. Rand kills it with the One Power, and confesses his love for Selene, who chooses to stay with him despite his ability to channel, and eventually reveals that she also has the ability. Before she can do anything, Moiraine arrives (given Rand’s location by her sister Anvaere) and stabs Selene, who she reveals is Lanfear. Rand and Moiraine flee as Lanfear starts to recover from her wounds.
Perrin and Hopper leave Elyas to save Loial and the Shienarans. Perrin then returns to the town where they were attacked, which has now been seized by Whitecloaks led by Dain Bornhald and Eamon Valda. During the following fight, Perrin saves Aviendha, a young Aiel woman they had imprisoned, and spares Bornhald’s life. Aviendha pledges to help Perrin rescue the others as she is indebted to him for saving her. Meanwhile, Suroth is demoted for disobeying the orders of the Seanchan leader Turak. However, Ishamael gains his favor by delivering him the Horn of Valere. Later, Suroth receives Nynaeve, Elayne and Egwene as damane from Liandrin, who acts on Ishamael’s orders. However, Elayne and Nynaeve manage to escape and are taken in by Ryma, an Aes Sedai hiding in Falme. Egwene is leashed and presented to Turak by Suroth. Verin arrives at the White Tower to investigate the disappearance of the three girls. This leads her to evidence for the existence of the Black Ajah, Aes Sedai sworn to the Shadow. Rand and Moiraine manage to escape Lanfear and take refuge with Anvaere and her son Barthanes. Moiraine decides to have Rand enter Tel’aran’rhiod, the World of Dreams, where he might be able to learn what Ishamael is planning. Upon entering, Rand finds himself immediately captured by a waiting Lanfear.
In Falme, Renna, a sul’dam, tries to break Egwene and make her understand that she is nothing but a damane, a magic user who needs to be leashed and controlled by sul’dam through the a’dam, a collar used to control damane. Renna demonstrates to Egwene how sul’dam control damane, and slowly breaks her through physical and psychological torture. Meanwhile, Nynaeve and Elayne hide with Ryma in Falme, and they try to open an a’dam to rescue Egwene. Unfortunately, Nynaeve channels too much during their attempts, alerting the Seanchan, who come for them. Ryma fights the Seanchan to protect Elane and Nynaeve, but is captured as a damane. In Tel’aran’rhiod, Lanfear tries to convince Rand to join her by promising to protect him from Ishamael and showing him that Egwene is in Falme. She also tells Rand that she will kill Moiraine if she sees them together. At the same time, Mat and Min arrive in Cairhien, and Rand and Mat meet in the Foregate and catch up on their adventures. Rand tells Mat that Egwene has been captured in Falme. However, Min warns Mat that Ishamael intends for him to go to Falme with Rand, where he may try to kill Rand. This causes Mat to avoid leaving with Rand. Meanwhile, Siuan Sanche, the Amyrlin Seat, summons Moiraine for an audience after Lan warns Siuan of Moiraine’s actions. Before Rand can leave to attempt a rescue mission, he is intercepted by Lan, Alanna, and her warders, who tell him they can’t let him leave.
Mat is abducted from Cairhien by Lanfear and brought to Ishamael in Falme, who gives him a tea that shows him visions of himself as a murderer. Nynaeve and Elayne manages to use the a’dam to take a sul’dam captive after learning from Loial that only sul’dams can approach the kennels where Egwene is held. Perrin and Aviendha meet up with two other Aiel warriors, Bain and Chiad, who join them in their journey to Falme. In Cairhien, Rand is brought to Siuan Sanche, who takes him captive, intending to use him as a weapon against the Dark One. Barthanes is revealed to be a Darkfriend, and tasked by Liandrin with killing Moiraine, but Anvaere uncovers the plot and locks him in a cell. Lan learns from Logain that Ishamael didn’t still Moiraine, but shielded her. Rand persuades Lanfear to help him get to Falme, and she assaults the Foregate to distract Siuan, allowing Moiraine and Lan to escape with Rand, who uses the One Power to cut the shield around Moiraine, allowing her to channel again. Siuan finds them as they are about to leave Cairhien through a Waygate, but she is ambushed by Lanfear, who easily defeats her and opens the gate, allowing Rand, Moiraine and Lan to leave for Falme.
Lanfear throws Moiraine and Lan out of the Ways outside of Falme before transporting herself and Rand into the city where Rand confronts and kills Turak and his men. Lanfear alerts Ishamael to Rand’s presence, making him realize she has betrayed him. Ishamael has Padan Fain deliver Mat the dagger from Shadar Logoth to kill Rand with, but Mat refuses to take it and escapes. The Whitecloaks led by Dain and his father Geofram attack Falme in an attempt to eradicate the Seanchan. During the chaos, Ingtar, Loial and Masema escape with the Horn of Valere and join the battle alongside Mat, Perrin and the Aiel, and Ingtar is killed. Egwene manages to break free from her a’dam and kill Renna. Mat is forced to blow the Horn, summoning the Heroes of the Horn and turning the tide of battle, while Perrin kills Geofram in a rage due to him killing Hopper. Rand, Egwene, Nynaeve, Perrin and Mat reunite and are confronted by Ishamael who has Rand shielded from the One Power and tricks Mat into wounding Rand. While Egwene and Perrin fight Ishamael, Moiraine frees Rand from the shield, allowing him to slay Ishamael. Rand is proclaimed the Dragon Reborn before the whole city. After the battle, Lanfear is confronted by Moghedien, another of the Forsaken, and learns all Forsaken have been set free.
After a difficult launch to the series, wherein the show was beset by the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the abrupt departure of a cast member, Season 2 gives the audience a glimpse of what the final product is actually intended to be. There were hurdles to clear, though. The issues from the first season bled over into the second, with the writers forced to get story arcs back on track after abrupt pandemic and cast change related re-writes at the end of Season 1 dramatically took the story off its rails.
For the most part, I thought Season 2 found its footing. The story somewhat followed the major plot beats of The Great Hunt, and by the end of the season, the characters were largely in the correct geography, having accomplished tasks which were similar to their same tasks from the books. Tonally, the series seems to be aiming for the space between the grit and realism of Game of Thrones and the high fantasy realm of Lord of the Rings. The cast of the show is excellent, with particularly strong performances this season from Madeleine Madden (Egwene) and season 2 newcomer Natasha O’Keeffe (Lanfear.)
Though the writing for Season 2 shows improvement, there were still big problems, in my opinion. The central story arc of the season was Moiraine’s releasing Lan from his Warder bond, his grappling with that choice, and then their reunification. None of this really aided the overall plot. Lan did not need to split with Moiraine for her to be freed from Ishamael’s shield. That could have and would have happened if and when Rand ever looked at Moiraine while he was holding the One Power. Moiraine and Lan did not need to split for the truth about Barthanes to be revealed – nor did the story really even need to delve that far into the politics of Cairhien just yet. Moiraine and Lan did not need to split for Moiraine and Siuan to find themselves at odds – though I will admit at least that it facilitated that confrontation occurring sooner than would have otherwise. Lan and Moiraine could have gone together to Cairhien and also rescued Rand from Selene, hitting nearly all of their plot points from this season, without a breakup. So why do we pretend these two old allies don’t know each other? Is the plot lesson that Lan learned he was willing to submit to Moiraine? If so, why did he need to learn that? We saw no evidence before that this was a struggle. Maybe if he had really struggled over a desire to stay with Nynaeve, instead, but we did not get that story for him. Is the lesson that Moiraine learned that she needs *some* help? I don’t even think it’s completely clear that she learned that lesson, or that she needed to learn it. She has been partners with Lan for decades. The entire arc seemed as though it existed solely to give Moiraine and Lan something to do. It’s probably not much of a surprise then that this entire arc is not in the source material.
Mat’s plot arc made more sense, but I did not think it was well executed. He is supposed to be struggling with self-doubt regarding his susceptibility to the Dark. However, the plot never successfully sells the darkness in him that the characters around him discuss. He’s actually charming and friendly with both Min and in his reunion with Rand. Mat does not verbalize that type of self-doubt very much with Min. The payoff of his true self’s identity, after he blows the Horn, did not land powerfully because it was not set up properly. The source material does not support a “dark” Mat. Weirdly, the show has done a much better job of setting up Dark Perrin than Dark Mat.
On the topic of the Horn, the series picks up with Shienarans and Perrin searching for it. I thought the story would have benefitted from more dialogue on the significance of the Horn, and the immense danger of it being in the wrong hands. Despite the Horn being allegedly the central plot device of this season, I almost forgot about it for a couple of episodes in the back half of the season. The characters should have been in awe of this object, and worrying over it, but they did not seem to be. Then it was retaken off screen and once it was blown, the appearance of the Heroes felt small, rather than epic. That scene had issues with how they chose to film it, but also, the moment was undercut by the injection of humor from the revelation that Uno is a Hero. The problem is that the Uno of the series had never done anything to earn that honor, so this inclusion just felt odd and distracting. For a show that has been compared often to Game of Thrones, the blowing of the Horn of Valere should have been a Daenerys walks into the funeral pyre type of moment. It should have been an Aragorn summons the army of the dead moment. Instead it was just another thing that happened.
That kind of gets to one of the biggest problems with the series. When the story calls for something big and epic, it continues to deliver medium and underwhelming (ex: nearly everything Lan did all season, Rand’s defeats of Turak and Ishamael, the Heroes of the Horn themselves, the defeat of the Seanchan army, Rand’s proclamation as Dragon over Falme, etc.) The books were known for their big moments and the show is failing to provide those despite abundant opportunities to do so. That is not to say that the show does not produce good scenes. It does. It is just not delivering *great* scenes.
Missing the mark on some big moments might be more forgivable if the dialogue was excellent and memorable, but unfortunately, it is not. Most of the spoken words in the series were largely there to get from point A to point B, lost immediately once they were spoken, and it felt like a bit of a waste of some very skilled actors. There has not yet been a Wheel of Time equivalent to Littlefinger opining on the nature of the realm, or Tyrion telling off his friends and family while on trial, or Gandalf discussing pity and fate with Frodo. Fares Fares is a tremendous actor and I think he would have absolutely nailed a dynamite monologue on nihilism, but the screenplays never really gave him something great to deliver. Rosamund Pike’s scenes with Lindsay Duncan and Sophie Okonedo were good, but could have been elevated dramatically into something quotable if they had delivered memorable conversations on duty, family, or love, but largely failed to so do.
For the most part, it seems that the Wheel of Time is an epic fantasy series that is afraid to be epic. It is certainly not a bad show, and I will detail a lot of what I liked about it below, but it it far too timid and restrained. The cast does an excellent job with what they have to work with, and the visuals for season 2 reflected its big budget quite well, but when the series has opportunities to take itself most seriously, it largely fails to do so. The writers just do not seem to trust the source material enough to let it stand out.
Perhaps the show is also the victim of expectations. It is a project by Amazon with a massive budget and big names attached to it. The underlying source material is one of the most acclaimed fantasy series of all time. The natural comparisons – which the show encouraged – were Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings, and those bars were probably just too high to reach. Sometimes “alright” can be more difficult to enjoy when the audience knows that it should be “great.”
What I Thought Season 2 Did Well:
With most of Season 1’s standouts returning, Season 2 had the unenviable job of casting the character of Lanfear and re-casting Mat Cauthon. I thought both choices were absolute home runs.
In the source material, Lanfear is simultaneously terrifying and supernaturally seductive. She is Jordan’s take on a Lilith or succubus character. Fans of the books have debated for literal decades about whether it would be possible to cast the character as described. In the 1990s, Angelina Jolie was a popular fancast for the Lanfear role. I *really* liked Natasha O’Keefe’s interpretation of the character. The show did not aim for anything supernatural in her appearance, but she is beautiful, with an air of both charisma and danger. The story has not yet provided us a reason to see her in a terrifying state, but from what I have seen thus far, I think she will do a great job when given that opportunity.
Dònal Finn really embodied Mat well, though the story did not give him much to do. We did get a glimpse of the book version of the character during his escape from Fain’s jail and it was one of my favorite moments from the season. If the writers give him more to do, I have confidence he’ll make the source material fans happy.
- The Tone
The Wheel of Time continues to live tonally in between the high fantasy world of Tolkien and the grim and gritty fantasy of Martin. That is the space occupied by Jordan’s books and the series successfully lands there as well.
- Getting the story back on the rails
We will never know the degree to which the circumstances surrounding Season 1 impacted its story-telling. Unfortunately, Season 1 ended with a lot of deviation from the source material due to the pandemic and an unexpected cast resignation. Season 2, by contrast, moved back toward the source material, which should allow (hopefully) for easier and more successful adaptation choices going forward in future seasons.
- Nynaeve’s Accepted testing
This was one of the standout moments from Season 2 and as a fan of this same scene from the books, I was really pleased with its presentation in the series. Zoë Robins has been an excellent Nynaeve thus far, really bringing humanity to a character in the story who is a strange mix of strong-willed, angry, and profoundly empathetic.
- The absolute horror of the Seanchan’s slavery system
One of the hardest sections of Jordan’s books to get through – because it is so gut-wrenching – is Egwene’s captivity as a damane. The show brought that to life and the acting in those scenes is powerful and hard to watch (for the right reasons.) Not only is Madden absurdly good as Egwene in those scenes, I think Xelia Mendes-Jones is equally strong as Renna. If there is one thing for the entire Wheel of Time team to be truly proud of in Season 2, it is this sequence of scenes.
What I Thought Season 2 Did Poorly:
While the show did well in fleshing out a few of the characters (Egwene in particular) it really struggled with others.
Rand: The most powerful channeler of all time has demonstrated that how through two seasons? I feel cheated. Two seasons in, “show me, don’t tell me” applies with Rand in a big way. Further, the assumed hero of the series has done what that is heroic so far… convinced his friends that he died? Released the Forsaken by accident? Slept with an evil demi-goddess for a few months? Season 2 had multiple opportunities to give Rand big moments to be heroic and just decided not to do it. (No, Indiana Jones-ing Turak with the One Power and stabbing Ishamael (after Egwene does the much more epic work of fending him off) does not count.
Perrin: Do we know him better now than we did at the start the series? Maybe a little? He knows himself somewhat better, I think, but that is not of much use to me as a viewer. He barely talks and he goes berserk in a fight.
Lan: Lan spends most of this season moping around. He ultimately betrays Moiraine – leading to her confrontation with Siuan – before getting his bond with her restored. His arc felt very circular and did not add much to the plot. Further, the arc made no sense. He and Moiraine acted as though they did not really know each other. The first season of the show gave us a completely different picture. In addition, this is a swords and sorcery show and THE swords guy has barely done anything to demonstrate that in nearly two seasons. Again, I feel cheated.
Mat: As I mentioned already, the “Mat might be a bad guy” arc just was not sold very well. He was in jail. He was out of jail. In jail again. He escaped (which was his one good moment) and then he stabbed Rand by accident. As a result, I did not feel the relief payoff that I should have when he learned that he is actually a reborn Hero of the Horn. The writing team seemed to approach this as though the audience would keep Season 1, Eps 1-6 in mind, but “Mat’s Darkness” really needed to be revisited more directly both in conversation and in action.
Ingtar: We barely knew him. His death had little impact on the story.
Siuan: The ferocity with which she turned on Moiraine felt a lot like a character assassination from the writers. It is not only that it was a major deviation from the source material, but also that it did not fit within what the show has presented so far. Why did the woman we met in Season 1 act this way in Season 2? There are possible in-story explanations, but it is difficult to imagine that any of them will be satisfying. We will just have to see.
Ishamael: In the source material, this character is a nihilist who yearns for oblivion. The show delivers on that side of him. However, in the source material, Ishamael is also an insane, sadistic, dream-haunting sociopath. He is the worst and most powerful of the Forsaken. He represents an enormous challenge that Rand has to rise to meet. Leaving out his murderous and mad characteristics in the series means the show’s version of the character does not remotely resemble a “big bad.” Even within the show’s own history, Ishamael’s actual history is the equivalent to that of a living devil. We simply did not get that version of the character in Season 2. If your big bad is a chess player, and a philosopher, you still have to give the audience a reason to be scared of what he is. You have to make the protagonist ultimately a better chess player and a better philosopher. The show failed to do that. That robbed Rand (and the audience) of a payoff when Rand seemingly defeats him.
Broadly, two seasons in, the series has done a good job with its female characters. It has done frankly an awful job with its male characters. This is something the showrunner and Amazon Studios (they’re shelling out the money) should evaluate. If the writing team has a major blind spot, and that blind spot is holding the series back from being a much bigger success, then the time to sort that out will be time well spent. Unfortunately, though, it might already be too late.
- The One Power use / power levels / etc. doesn’t make sense
Egwene fended off Ishamael? Moiraine took out an entire fleet of ships, filled with powerful damane, by herself… from a mile away? Why don’t any of the Aes Sedai trainees seem to need actual training to use the power so effectively? Logain is gentled but can still see weaves on Moiraine? I think the series is getting around the details and rules of its own magic system by ignoring them. That will bother book fans before the series fans, but the series fans will eventually catch up to that confusion, too.
- A lack of gravity, menace, and… fantasy
Just because the show is tonally in a sweet spot between Tolkien and Martin doesn’t mean it should avoid high fantasy concepts or grit, when those things are called for from the story. The blowing of the Horn of Valere was a letdown, visually, and tonally. It did not reach for high fantasy heights and deliver an ethereal army of the dead look. Instead, the writers interjected a pretty boring and undeveloped cast of Heroes as well as a non-canonical joke with Uno being in their group. That scene just fell very flat for me.
The Seanchan did not deliver, except for the one-on-one scenes between Renna and Egwene. They never struck me as a serious people or a serious threat, so much as they just resembled a weird group of people wearing costumes. Rand wiped out Turak in five seconds. Moiraine wiped out the damane easily, on her own, from far away. Taking the Horn from them was so easy that we didn’t even see it happen on screen. It would have helped the Seanchan scenes immensely if their leaders had felt like leaders, if their civilization’s world view had been explained, or failing on those two points, an actual threat. Suroth in particular lacked gravitas when on screen and Turak was not much better.
The series really drops the ball with Ishamael. He is supposed to be one of the most dangerous and evil men who ever lived. The fact that he is walking the earth is supposed to be frightening. Did we really see that?
As a general complaint, everything about the show’s fighting scenes just looks a little too clean, too small, and too hesitant. This series was heavily influenced by Arthurian legend and the adaptation seems afraid to emphasize swords.
- Lack of Respect for the Source Material
I’m going to put a list together of adaptation choices that bothered me the most. This is not a complete list.
1. Rand not only sleeps with Lanfear, he falls in love with her. Bok Rand would never. The fact that he would never is an important distinguisher between Third Age Rand and his Age of Legends prior self. He’s supposed to be a hero, remember?
2. Egwene *kills* Renna. Her book counter-part might have, if given the opportunity, but it’s a big characterization change to make her a killer in that way. I don’t like it and it wasn’t necessary.
3. On a related note, I hated that she rescued herself. It robbed Nynaeve and Elayne of a big moment (and caused their arcs to sort of fizzle out) and it also diminishes the the Seanchan for that self-rescue to even be possible. This was a bad and short-sighted adaptation choice, made I think to give Egwene a revenge scene.
4. I have hated pretty much everything the shown has done with Min so far. Other than the fact she can see viewings, she does not feel like Book Min yet, at all. In particular, I want to point out that Book Min would never work for Liandrin or Ishamael.
5. I have hated nearly everything the show has done with Lan so far, too. Even within the show’s own story logic, a weak and floating Lan makes no sense. He’s been around the block too many times – with Moiraine and before her – to act in the maner that they’re writing him. We saw that in Season 1.
The character that was modeled on Lancelot, the one that is supposed to be the best fighter in the world, has not remotely resembled his book counter-part. Book Lan was someone who has seen and done everything already. He’s universally respected and feared, a mentor figure, and an uncrowned king. The series has made him unnecessarily weak both in his fighting skill and his mental toughness. A character like the actual book Lan would help the show immensely. With no Thom in the story this season, the show has a gaping hole in the “male mentor figure” department.
6. Fain, Mat, and the Dagger. These changes have not made sense to me. Was there a point to having Fain nail the myrddraal to the wall during the chase? Is he resisting Ishamael while seeming to work for him? Why? How? They haven’t set up an answer to either of those questions. Mat’s cleansing from the dagger last season was way too quick and easy, but it was still obvious that being near it was bad. Now he’s going to just carry it around on a stick, use it as a weapon, not touch it and be fine? This needs to be resolved. It’s needlessly confusing and inconsistent.
7. The season modeled on The Great Hunt largely omitted the Hunt for the Horn. Even the final recovery of the Horn (by Loial?) was done off screen. Why would you cut the actual recovery of the Horn of Valere from the show?
The musical score for the show was good but largely unremarkable in my opinion. I was really pleased though to see the return of the intro sequence before the finale. Inasmuch as cutting that out adds a few minutes of story to each episode’s runtime, the failure to set the mood for the show was noticeable this season.
The Wheel of Time is not a bad show, but it’s also not a good show – at least not yet. I believe it can be an enjoyable show, but that probably requires lowering expectations from the comparison to Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings. The writing is not at that level and likely never will be. The book fans may also need to accept that the showrunner and writers are not interested in making an “as faithful as possible” adaptation. They seem to view the series as “anther turning o the Wheel” which will have many resemblances to the source material, but also a lot of key differences, too. That might be disappointing to serious fans of the books who have been waiting thirty years for this adaptation. However, that is what we have with this series. There is no other adaptation in the works. If you can make that adjustment mentally, then you will still get a chance to see some great moments from the books brought to life, along with the changes and differences, too. Hopefully the changes eventually grow into a good story in their own right.