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The Hollywood Insider The Wheel of Time Review

Photo: ‘The Wheel of Time’

Amazon Prime’s latest venture is to encapsulate the richly diverse and ancient world of Robert Jordan’s fantasy series that spans across 14 novels with the series, ‘The Wheel of Time.’ Each book contains roughly 1,000 pages, with hundreds of characters leaving their imprint on an expansive fictional world. Think ‘Game of Thrones’ meets ‘Lord of the Rings’ meets, dare I say, ‘Harry Potter.’ Rosamund Pike will be leading the cast by playing the story’s heroine and female-version of Dumbledore, Aes Sedai Moiraine. Over the years, Pike has consistently proved that she is a force of nature that will undoubtedly carry the weight of such a powerful and dynamic character. Despite ‘The Wheel of Time’ attempting to follow in the giant footsteps of ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Lord of the Rings,’ there’s intimate and potent energy that might make this series stand out amongst the rest.

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Amazon Prime Studio’s series will air on November 19, with the second season already approved for renewal. Amazon Prime plans to roll out at least eight seasons that effectively bring Robert Jordan’s fantastical vision to life. It’s an incredible endeavor to try and merge the plot of 14 novels into a condensed adaptation for television. Luckily, the showrunner for ‘The Wheel of Time’ looked towards the minds of ‘Game of Thrones’ for creative advice. Similar to ‘Game of Thrones,’ the Amazon series is a show that will depict violence, gore, and excessive nudity. Rosamund Pike herself became a fan of the novels and will surely deliver another impressive performance just after her Netflix series, ‘I Care a Lot.’ After Jordan passed away in 2017, his widow commissioned writer Brandon Sanderson to finish the last three novels based on Jordan’s notes and outlines. Sanderson will ensure the series will measure up to the books since he will be a show producer.

So, What Exactly is This Wheel and What is the Show About?

Here’s a gentle introduction that will get you primed and ready for the series premiere for viewers who are just learning of Robert Jordan and his fantasy novels. Firstly, as you start watching, you’ll be quick to learn that only women can practice magic while men are strongly advised not to, or else they’ll go mad. It’s crucial to understand the presence of the Wheel. The Wheel is an eminent being that essentially turns the pages of time. The Creator conceived it, and it could flicker through seven various periods (ages) of time. In all, the Wheel is dependent on the energy of the One.

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The One extends beyond one individual; it is a collective force of those with magical abilities called the Channelers. The Channelers consist of saidar (women) and saidin (men). The women are referred to as Aes Sedai, which is organized into smaller factions. Men aren’t exactly powerless; it’s just not recommended. The series begins at the Third Age, where their nameless world is reminiscent of the dystopian aftermath following the destruction of the Second Age. The Second Age was a triumphant time in history when magical properties elevated society, and both men and women practiced magic. However, an evil presence appeared who looked to destroy all good, named the Dark One or Shai’tan. Before he could do so, Lews Therin Telamon, also known as the Dragon, disrupts his plans by capturing him before he could completely corrupt their world. Before his imprisonment, The Dark One was able to leave his mark by targeting all the men to go completely crazy and decimate all the advances made in their world. Wonderful.

Now What?

The story takes place in the region of the Two Rivers on the eve of the Harvest festival. The series creator does an excellent job creating the fictional nuances of the novels that captured the hearts of devoted readers over the decades. Those who’ve read the novels will notice that many of the youthful characters are quite aged in the series, and that is probably so the show could compete against the many sex scenes of ‘Game of Thrones.’ It’s a lot. They are now presented as young adults in their early twenties. Regardless of the slight variations from the original, the series promises to capture the compelling crusades that make this story exciting.

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Now, back to the Wheel. Remember how the Wheel casually turns through time? That means that within their world is the reality of reincarnation. Which means the Dragon is reborn again following the Second Age. Much like the ‘Harry Potter’ philosophy of a chosen one being born, the Wheel of Time features a very similar concept. There is now a prophecy that the Dragon has been reborn and is close to becoming of age. Now the fun begins. The allure of the story is the mystery of who the Dragon is. It is assumingly a young and inconspicuous commoner who will soon discover the weight of their existence. The Dragon is prophesied to have the ability to change the course of history forever.

‘The Wheel of Time’ – The Players

Finally, let’s meet the leading players who help bring this complicated story to life. It’s best to get to know the powerful Aes Sedai Moiraine Damodred (Rosamund Pike), who sets out to find the reincarnated Dragon who has the power to save the world if they so decide. She journeys to the Two Rivers, where she gathers a small group of twenty-somethings whom one of them is assumed to be the Dragon. She’s joined by her Warder, Lan Mondragoran (Daniel Henney), whose duty is to protect and defend Moiraine. Their relationship is seemingly complicated and not quite easy to pin down. It will be interesting to watch how the chemistry between them unfolds. Which surely highlights the political maneuvering within the Aes Sedai.

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The younger characters are made up of Egwene al’Vere (Madeleine Madden), Perrin Aybara (Marcus Rutherford), Rand al’Thor (Joshua Stradowski), and Mat Cauthon (Barney Harris). These newcomers will have the opportunity to prove their talents by breathing life into the dynamic characters written by Jordan.

The first season will no doubt follow the wandering of Moiraine since she’s the force that unites all these characters together. There will be notable visual influences from ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Lord of the Rings,’ but Jordan’s writing that led to the ‘The Wheel of Time’ is a culmination of 30 years of fictional precision. The series depicts the intense and active experience of fantasy dramas.

Cast: Rosamund Pike, Daniel Henney, Alvaro Morte

Creator: Rafe Judkins

Director(s): Uta Briesewitz, Wayne Yip, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Sanaa Hamri

By Gina Michele Yaniz

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Author

  • Gina Michele Yaniz is a writer and digital media content creator with a deep love for storytelling. Charmed by the notable influence of the entertainment industry, Gina is passionate about uplifting the voices of artists and celebrating powerful material. She likes to embody the philosophy of writing through a non-judgmental and a genuine perspective while expanding the perception of film industry. Along with Hollywood Insider, Gina values the responsibility the media holds and wishes to use her writing to provide meaningful content. During her free time, Gina loves to watch period pieces, stand-up comedy, and indulges on her avid interest for reading articles on self-care.

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