Season one of Amazon Prime Video’s adaptation of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time has two episodes left. The show has departed in significant enough ways from the books that I don’t know how the season will end–and that means that it’s time for SPECULATION THAT I ALWAYS GET WRONG. That’s how I have fun with this stuff–seeing how well I can glom onto what the showrunners are doing. There will be SPOILERS for season 1, episodes 1 through 6 of Prime Video’s The Wheel of Time, and some spoilers from Robert Jordan’s The Eye of the World. (This post will be updated with what I got right and wrong after the episodes air.)
[UPDATED with the results of Episode 7]
[UPDATED with the results of Episode 8]
I predict that episodes 7 and 8 will have the following tentpole events:
- Journey through the Ways [RIGHT, obviously]
- Mustering at Fal Dara [Somewhat RIGHT, obviously]
- Journey to the Eye of the World [RIGHT]
- Ishamael’s Trap [RIGHT]
Journey through the Ways
We’ve caught a glimpse of the Ways at the end of Episode 6: dark, stormy, and full of stone markers. We’ll get the same set of oppressive darkness pressing in on the party as in the books, but it looks like it’ll be a stormy atmosphere instead of dead, sound-eating silence. There will be time to talk, and as Moiraine indicated, all the individual stories can be told on the journey.
The first topic of conversation ought to be Mat staying behind. [RIGHT] I expect Perrin to be particularly hard-hit [WRONG, it’s Rand]; their interactions were the closest and warmest, and when Perrin looks at the dagger Laila made for Mat, it’ll be hard for him not to feel Mat’s staying behind as a betrayal [WRONG, not one glance at that dagger]. All the Two Rivers folk will. Moiraine and Lan will probably dismiss it as the Wheel weaving as the Wheel wills [RIGHT, but even further, Moiraine thinks Mat is evil]. From what some of the insiders have been saying, the pandemic shut down filming between episodes 6 and 7, and episode 6 is the last one in which Barney Harris, the actor who plays Mat Cauthon, appears. So this is a deviation from the book forced by the pandemic, but honestly, Mat didn’t have much to do at the end of The Eye of the World. But it also means we won’t see him connecting with Thom, encountering Padan Fain, or executing a Han Solo-at-the-Death Star redemption save at the last minute. If Mat didn’t go into the Ways because he sensed the same sort of evil there as in Shadar Logoth–in the books, Mashadar and Machin Shin sense a kinship–we won’t know this season. But Moiraine said it would be especially dangerous for Mat to touch the ruby-hilted dagger again, so we can extrapolate that the corruption in the Ways would be similarly dangerous to him in particular. Maybe we’ll find out in Season Two.
The Ways will be a time for the Two Rivers folks to come clean about their secrets, and this close to the end of the season, come clean they will [RIGHT, but not through conversation–Machin Shin has become the Exposition Monster]. Nynaeve will talk about how she intends to use her strength in the Power to protect her people [WRONG]. Egwene will admit that she killed Child Valda [WRONG]. Perrin will reveal the connection he feels with wolves [WRONG]. Rand will think back at the couple of doors he’s broken down, and wonder what he’s doing on this journey [Well, sort of RIGHT]. But all will pledge fidelity to support and defend each other, whatever happens. This might be the opportunity for Lan to ask Rand about his sword, and tell him the meaning of the herons that mark it [WRONG]. Moiraine may give Egwene some more lessons [WRONG], hoping Nynaeve listens in, and she may remark that Egwene has the potential for great strength as well [WRONG, and Egwene could have used the affirmation].
Loial will guide the group past pitfalls and broken paths to the Waygate at Fal Dara, and that’s when Machin Shin, the Black Wind, will attack [RIGHT]. Mashadar at Shadar Logoth was reinvented for the show to mirror the taint, er, corruption on saidin, and I suspect Machin Shin, too, will also be an oozy, Venom-like blackness, accompanied by unintelligible whispering [WRONG, it’s a silvery-black bug swarm that whispers painful truths]. Moiraine will link with Nynaeve and Egwene and try to hold it back [WRONG] and, feeling terrified and impotent, Rand will do… something to push back the Black Wind [WRONG, it’s Nynaeve]. Or to open the Waygate. It won’t seem like him. Everyone will think it was Moiraine. But Moiraine will suspect, and give Rand a searching look [WRONG, but Rand does do a little channeling in the Ways].
Mustering at Fal Dara
The fortress of Fal Dara lies beyond the Waygate, and the party will be greeted by Lord Agelmar [RIGHT]. Agelmar will note that the Blight is quiet… too quiet. Or the opposite, that Trollocs and Fades are mustering in unprecedented numbers, like they’re preparing for something. [WRONG–he’ll complain that he doesn’t need Aes Sedai help.] Nynaeve will learn about Lan’s history as the uncrowned king of dead Malkier [RIGHT]. Perrin will learn of Lan’s cousin Isam, son of Malkier’s betrayer, a famous wolf-hunter who disappeared into the Blight [WRONG].
Actor Kae Alexander has been cast as Min Farshaw in season one, and has yet to appear, so she’ll probably show up here [RIGHT]. Min is a seer of high honor at the Blightborder [a little RIGHT]; her visions have protected the world of humans as much as Shienaran steel [WRONG, Agelmar is too arrogant to use her]. She will reveal her ability to read the Pattern to Rand [RIGHT kind of], and give him the following prophecies:
- Rand and Egwene are not meant for each other [WRONG–Machin Shin revealed that]. (From her point of view, we’ll see a vision of Rand and Min as lovers, but she won’t share that [MAYBE–that baby had black hair].)
- Perrin leads a great wolfpack, and a falcon sits on his shoulder. Sometimes he carries an axe, and sometimes a hammer, and the choice seems important. [WRONG, WRONG, and WRONG]
- Egwene will bear the stripes of all the Ajah colors, and Aes Sedai will kneel before her. Maybe this will be where we see Egwene rising from the sacred pool, though that seems like a cut scene. [WRONG]
- Moiraine will fall into darkness, but a fisherwoman will lift her blue jewel out of the shadow. (Siuan, not Thom. Or maybe this will be Mat’s plotline.) [WRONG, but the Amyrlin will be her downfall]
- Lan will die without Nynaeve.
- Rand has glory and darkness in equal measure in his future. [WRONG]
- All these people are important to holding back the Shadow. Without any one, the Shadow wins. [RIGHT, nearly–the “sparks” viewing]
Either Moiraine will convince Lord Agelmar to prepare to strike the Eye of the World [WRONG], or Agelmar will reveal a dream telling him to do the same [WRONG]. The group will travel to the Eye of the World with the Shienaran army at their back. This is a desperate plan to catch the Dark One while he is weak, and with the Dragon among them, whoever it is, they surely have a chance. [WRONG. The show leaned into the idea that only the Dragon and the Dark One could be at their confrontation, anyone else would not survive.]
Journey to the Eye of the World
Beyond Tarwin’s Gap is the Blight. For budget reasons, and because the show seems to be unifying all its evil monsters into black goo, its evil will probably look more like Shadar Logoth than a sprawl of mutated horrors. [WRONG. The Blight is a mangrove root forest.] The farther they go into the Blight, the more they become aware that armies of Trollocs and Fades are surrounding them. Herding them toward the Eye of the World. [WRONG] Min sees the trap, but she also knows it must be sprung if the world is to have a chance. [WRONG] But as she scans the Shienaran army, she knows that many of the soldiers are going to die. [RIGHT] The Trollocs, Fades, and Blighted landscape close in and kill, despite the soldiers, despite Moiraine’s and Nynaeve’s channeling. [WRONG] But at last they come to the Eye of the World.
In this adaptation, the Eye of the World is a massive doorway in a cliff wall. Think of the finale of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the door that holds back the Dweller In Darkness. [WRONG] The ancient symbol of the Aes Sedai, the white flame and the black fang, forms a seal on the door. [RIGHT] An ocean of Fades and Trollocs surround the group and the Shienaran army, forcing them to the Eye. [WRONG] In front of the door stands a man with ember eyes who introduces himself as Ishamael, the chief of the Forsaken and hero of the Shadow himself. [RIGHT] He will boast how he has moved all the threads in the Pattern to bring the Dragon here, and now the Dragon will kneel before the Dark One. [WRONG]
Moiraine, Nynaeve, and Egwene will hurl the One Power at him [One-third RIGHT], and Ishamael will shrug it off [RIGHT]. Rand will fire arrows [RIGHT], Perrin will charge with an axe he got from Lord Agelmar [RIGHT, but at Padan Fain, not Ishamael], and Lan will charge with his sword, for the honor of lost Malkier [WRONG]. Ishamael will laugh [WRONG, this Ishamael is more a reasonable guy offering another option, not a gloating demigod]. Out of arrows, Rand will heft his father’s sword [RIGHT]. Ishamael will heat it with the power, and the heron marks will brand Rand’s skin [WRONG, but it could have happened!]. Ishamael will sneer. “There you are.”
Ishamael will use the Power to torture the Two Rivers folk, especially Egwene [WRONG, but he does wall off Moiraine]. Panicked and desperate, Rand will seize the One Power and channel something by pure instinct [RIGHT]. Ishamael will disappear [RIGHT] with mocking laughter, and Rand’s weave splits the seal on the huge door [RIGHT]. Moiraine, realizing what is happening, throws herself at the door, trying to keep it closed, but out of a crack, dark tendrils seize her and drag her inside [WRONG]. Lan goes berserk and tries to follow, but something hurls him back [WRONG]. Nynaeve runs to help him [WRONG].
Out of the doorway, shadow-clad figures emerge–their shadow-facades looking like the Tiki figurines of the Forsaken, for that is who they are. [WRONG] How many Forsaken? I’m going to say fewer than the 13 of the books. The same number of idols Stepin had. Rand, or perhaps Rand and Nynaeve, channel a massive burst of Power that slams the door shut and radiates outward, destroying Shadowspawn in waves of fire, lightning, and earthquakes [WRONG]. When the dust settles, the Forsaken have vanished, the Trollocs and Fades are massacred, and the Shienarans are looking in wonder at Rand al’Thor, shining like the Light itself [WRONG].
“All hail the Dragon Reborn!” shout the Shienarans [WRONG] while Rand looks horrified, Egwene and Perrin have complex reactions, and Nynaeve tends to Lan, who is in anguish, saying “I can’t feel her anymore.” [Kind of RIGHT] (I’m assuming so much time was spent with Stepin in Episode 5 to set up this situation with Lan.)
I’ll be disappointed if there isn’t an epilogue, a set of scenes that tease season two. Some things I’m anticipating:
- Liandrin meets a man in North Harbor. She is instructing a sneering man that he will declare himself the Dragon Reborn, and allow himself to be taken by the Red Ajah. But she promises to engineer his escape before he can be gentled before the Amyrlin, and Liandrin tells him to go on a rampage. “Let the Lord of Chaos rule,” she says. [WRONG] Then out of the shadows steps Padan Fain, fingering the dagger from Shadar Logoth [RIGHT]. “As the Great Lord commands,” he says.
- We see Mat, from the back (different actor), dicing with some adventurous-looking sorts in a tavern. As Mat wins a toss, one of the adventurers says they could use someone with his luck as they hunt for the Horn of Valere. [WRONG]
- A Sea Folk vessel is being chased by another ship, and the Windfinders are trying to channel into the sails, but they cannot outrun their pursuer. Fireballs explode on the Sea Folk sails, and we see sul’dam and leashed damane channeling to disable the Sea Folk vessel. [Mostly RIGHT]