Wheel of Time on Amazon - SPOILERS

I’ll get around to it at some point…no idea when right now.

I’m glad there weren’t spoilers in here for season 2 yet! For some reason I had October 1 in my mind and not September 1. Excited to watch them

Just finished episode 4.

I don’t care about the deviations from the book. This season is MUCH better than the first.

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Wife and I just finished episode 4 last night as well. Still trying to get used to the new Mat, and trying hard to not let the large deviations from the book not bother me. I did not go back and rewatch season 1, but I think they changed how they show channeling? It seems better now to me, but I don’t know if there was actually a change or not.

I’m only through episode 2 of season 2, but I think they are trying to show the element(s) being channeled this season vs light/dark from last season?

They updated the CGX for channeling. In Season 1, it was all white. In Season 2, the flows are colored, possibly to indicate which element(s) are being channeled.

Whether they’re doing this in parallel with the channelers from the Two Rivers gaining experience, or just because they had an extra year to work on the CGX is debatable.

In Season 1, they showed white if it was the one power, and overlayed black to show the Dark One’s taint when “normal” male channelers channeled.

In Season 2, Episodes 1-3, I think we only see non-tainted channeling. However, in Episode 4 there will be one notable instance of the taint reappearing.

Season 1 followed the book closely enough that when they deviated, it annoyed me. That, combined with the pacing issues, and other headaches that were presumably due to the challenges of filming during COVID (there was a gap in filming between episodes 6 and 7, and episodes 7 & 8 were filmed with stringent COVID protocols)…made Season 1 (especially towards the end) painful for me to watch.

Season 2…the improved production values and CGX, better pacing, and the fact that they’re fleshing out some characters that Jordan had written rather mono-dimensionally, are helping a lot.

They’re deviating more from the books…and if anything, that’s helping me get over the deviations. There’s enough separation now that I can almost treat the show and the book as two separate stories (albeit ones with similar characters and same general storyline).

Thinking a little more about this…and because my query is taking so damn long to refresh… so far in Season 2, there have only been two things that bothered me (putting this behind spoiler tags, for the obvious reason):

  • They’ve merged Vandene and Verin. The merging is not, in and of itself, a problem. However they’ve lost Verin’s outward appearance of being scatterbrained/unfocused. That she intentionally exaggerated that trait/stereotype for various reasons is one of the things I loved about her character in the books.

  • High Lady’s Suroth’s appearance in the village in Episode 2. The platform and the da’covale contingent supporting it, was excessive given the nature of the patrol, the size of the village, etc. It was sufficiently unrealistic enough to bring me back to reality, as opposed to most of the rest of the season, where I’ve been able to suspend disbelief and just enjoy the ride. If she had been making an appearance in a city, or had there been more of an impression of a huge army, or if she had merely been riding in a “normal” palanquin and then be presented on a platform erected for the purpose (a few boards and supports, perhaps ornately decorated, but still practical/portable)… I would have maintained suspension of disbelief uninterrupted.

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Have they merged Elayne and Avienda??? The red hair on Elayne is throwing me. Wasn’t she originally blond?


I agree she has red hair!! My wife says that it’s blonde, but I think she’s swayed by the fact that it was blond in the books.

Re character merger

No. The preview for Episode 5 teases the introduction of Aviendha.

It does look like that Aviendha and Gaul are being combined, however.

Re hair color

In the books Elayne has red gold curls.

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I’m not a book reader. The casting, in general, for this show is distracting. Are they trying to more or less cast each character as was originally written and described? Does anyone else catch how many of the white female characters share the same characteristic facial structure of being quite rectangular with unusually sharply pointed features such as nose shape and jawline?

Rose Pike
Kate Fleetwood
Natasha Okeefe

And as a non book reader, I am having a hard time really understanding the hierarchy of villiains.

This was an issue for me in the early books as well. And they keep adding more.

Part of the challenge is that in the books, and moreso in the show, different groups or individuals have different levels of villany.

Here’s a cheat sheet of potentially villanous groups/individuals who have been introduced so far in the show. I will spoil parts of Season 1, but will not intentionally spoil stuff from further on in the books than the current episode:

Cheat sheet, with minor spoilers

The Dark One = WoT’s equivalent of the devil. I forget how much of the story of the Dark One has been discussed in the show, but it’s been locked away for 3000 years at the start of the show

The Forsaken = a group of some of the most powerful channelers of the prior age who swore themselves to the Dark One in the last age. They were sealed up in the Dark One’s prison in the closing battles of the last age. Among themselves, they’re referred to as “the Chosen”.

Trollocs and myrddraal = Monsters in service to the Dark One. I don’t think their origins have yet been discussed in the show. At least one other kind of monster had been introduced by this point in the books, but they haven’t (yet?) been introduced, except perhaps as a passing comment, in the show.

Darkfriends = normal humans who have sworn themselves to the Dark. Darkfriends can be found in every land, in almost every organization. The show seems to be putting more energy into explaining at least some darkfriends’ motivations than the books did.

Padan Fain = a particularly dark darkfriend who has appeared in several episodes.

Mashadar and Machin Shin = semicorporeal manifestations of madness that were present in Shadar Logoth and the Ways, respectively. They were significant for story arc purposes in the books, but I suspect they won’t have that same significance in the show.

Men who can channel = one unintended consequence of the War of Power which culminated in the Dark One and the Forsaken being locked away at the end of the prior age was that in the process, the Dark One tainted the male half of the One Power. Most male channelers go mad from the taint, and that madness caused “the breaking”, a cataclysm that rearranged the geography of the world after the end of the War of Power.

The Dragon, aka Lewis Therin = the most powerful male channeler at the end of the prior age, who led the world against the Dark One, the Forsaken, and their armies. He went mad after the male half of the One Power was tainted, killing everyone remotely related to him, earning himself the nickname “kinslayer”. In a moment of clarity, he realized what he had done, and suicided by drawing too much of the One Power. The resulting volcano overlooks Tar Valon. He was prophesied to be reborn to fight the Dark One again at the end of the current age.

Logain = a male channeler who was claiming to be the Dragon Reborn before the start of the show. He had raised a band of followers and was fighting through the land of Murandy, but was captured by the Aes Sedai during Season 1.

Aes Sedai = today, an organization of female channelers based in Tar Valon. In the lands in which the WoT is mostly set (known as “Randland” in WoT fandom), they wield a great deal of power and influence over the various nations. In the books, many people view Aes Sedai as villains, but the show has not taken quite the same tack.

Aes Sedai are led by the Amyrlin Seat, and are officially subdivided into seven ajahs designated by color. Each ajah has a particular focus. Of note for this list, the Red Ajah seeks out men who can channel, with the intent of capturing and “gentling” men. (“Gentling” = one word for removing a channeler’s ability to channel.) The ruthlessness of the Red Ajah in pursuing their mission is widely known.

There are rumors of a Black Ajah, made up of Aes Sedai who are also darkfriends.

Whitecloaks = formally known as “Children of the Light”, a military organization that claims to serve the Light and to seek to root out darkfriends throughout Randland. They have a bad reputation to the level of zeal with which many whitecloaks pursue their mission. They view Aes Sedai as witches and darkfriends.

Questioners = a subset of Whitecloaks who focus on interrogating suspected darkfriends, in the hopes of extracting a confession as part of bringing their subjects back to the Light.

Aiel = a group of people who live in the wastelands to the east of Randland. They are known for their ruthlessness as fighters, and are generally considered “enemies” in Randland. They invaded Randland around the time that Rand, Perrin, and Matt were born. Although was a passing mention of the Aiel in Season 1, the show is just starting to introduce them as of S2E5.

Seanchan = From what we know so far in the show, these are a group of people who have recently arrived in an armada on the west cost of Randland. Their female channelers are known as Damanae, who function as slaves, controlled by Suldam. They believe that any woman who can channel should be controlled as damanae. Their general intentions are touched upon in S2E5. Their full origin story and motivations are made clearer several books later in the series.

Wolfbrothers = Men who can talk to wolves. The concept has just been clarified in S2E5, although it was introduced mid-way through book 1. Most people we’ve met in the show know nothing about wolfbrothers, although as of S2E5 we know of two. Some viewers of the show might currently wonder if wolfbrothers are villains.

The above list doesn’t mention the various Randland nationalities that have been introduced so far, or a couple of groups that have not yet been introduced in the show.

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This is a pretty good recap. I made a good run in the last couple years to get through the first 7 books, but haven’t picked them back up in awhile. One day I’ll have both time and energy to read for fun and not immediately fall asleep again.

Books 8 and 9 (and to a lesser extent, 7 and 10) are collectively known as “the slog” by some in WoT fandom.

I generally re-read the series before each book came out, and it was hard for me to push through the slog; I only did because, given how Robert Jordan wrote and the various story arcs that run through the series, I didn’t want to miss details that would be relevant in the new book.

It looks like I’ve started another re-read of the series. (I spent a lot of time Thursday-Sunday sitting in a hospital with my wife; after I streamed episode 5, I just moved on to the books as a distraction while waiting.) I suspect that I might merely skim or even skip a few books after I get through Book 6, rather than do the full slog.

The worst for me was…

major spoilers ahead

Winter’s Heart, book 9, was amazing when it came out (I was a teenager). I mean, at the end of the book Rand cleanses the source!!! And then book 10 came out… and it sucked. I hated book 10. It barely even talked about the source being cleansed, and I remember it being from some new characters POV. It’s been quite a while since I’ve reread the season, so I could be remembering things wrong, but my memory is being super excited about the end of book 9, and then just hating book 10.

Thanks M_S, that was a good summary, but I’ve still got questions

Is Suldam the black guy with the long fingernails?

And the Damanae are the ones with the jumpsuits and gold binkies?

And what is the name of the woman that had her nails chopped off?

And I think that S2E5 made clear that Liandran is Black Ajah (whilst still Red ajah too). So what are the relative positions of Ishmael, Liandran, and Shortened-Nails chick?

And the one green Aes Sedai with two warders, they are basically a throuple, right? They seem to be going to great lenghths to keep the sex content quite low in this show. GoT would have just shown those 3 in a bed somewhere, getting busy.

Damane are women who can channel that are leased by the Seanchen - so yes, the ones with the gold binkies and collars.

A Suldam is the woman who holds the leash of a Damane - so they control the Damane.

Ishamael is one of the chosen - according to the show, it’s the Dark One’s greatest lieutenant (or leftenant if you go by Moiraine’s pronunciation in the show). The other two ladies are dark friends.

And yes, the Aes Sedai and her warders are getting it on. It’s hinted at in the books that this type of thing happens, but never comes to the foreground of the story.

Pretty sure that whole post is spoiler free, as long as you’re caught up with the show.

And Moraine and Lan are not/never were romantically or intimately involved, right? I have never been quite sure that they were only a working relationship, not a bedspring squeaking relationship that is so subtlety referred to that you might not understand that it happened.

Because he currently (S2E5) seems like a whiney simp that has been dumped.

There was once a scene of them taking a bath together, where she channeled the water warmer.