The reviews for Wheel of Time are in, so far, and there’s a definite gap between those of us that haven’t read the books and the loyal fans that have been reading Robert Jordan’s series and have been loyal to the series since they started. Those of us that don’t really have a base to start from are likely teetering on thinking that this is an enticing series so far to thinking that it’s akin to a lot of other shows that we’ve seen come along throughout the years. The funny thing is that no one is willing to admit this lest they be ostracized for over-generalizing a fact that a lot of people see but don’t want to own up to. It’s a new representation of an older story that’s been around for a while, but it’s also something that we’ve seen more than once since the same old tropes are being used over and over again in the novels we read and in the series we decided to watch. What makes even a bit of difference is our level of investment in it and what hill we’re willing to die on to defend it.
Much like anyone else I’ve got my favorites when it comes to shows and movies, and there are many people that can’t understand why, so it’s fair to take a different look at the first three episodes of this series and think that it’s worth it so far simply because it is an adventure story and, believe it or not, because it’s not quite as heavy on the magic as a lot of other fantasy shows have been. A couple of great things about the magic seen in this series thus far is that it’s not being used in a way that makes it clear that Moiraine could annihilate an entire army of Trollocs, which look like a minotaur crossbred with an Uruk-Hai from Lord of the Rings if she really wanted to. So far it’s obvious that in this series, as it’s been seen in others, that the magic she uses demands a lot of her own vitality, and that it has set rules that she and her fellow Aes Sedai, magic-using warriors, healers, and counselors must follow while they’re on the lookout for the next reincarnation of a being they call the Dragon Reborn.
Starting off in the small community of Two Rivers, where pretty much everyone knows everyone, Moiraine and her Warder, Lan, show up seeking the four individuals that she believes have been touched by the old blood. She has no clue who is the Dragon Reborn, and after a vicious Trolloc attack that nearly decimates the town, she and Lan end up taking the four individuals with them to keep the town from being attacked once again. It’s made clear that the Aes Sedai aren’t the only ones looking for these individuals, but they’re among the most peaceful, at least for now The Whitecloaks, who are seen to be firmly set against the Aes Sedai for one reason or another, are a vicious sect that is all about protecting their borders, and will kill the Aes Sedai if they find them.
In other words, this is a rather brutal world where the threats only increase and can even be seen to encompass a city since the moment that Lan takes the group into an abandoned city that the Trollocs won’t follow them into, it becomes obvious that this place is cursed beyond belief. When the darkness attempts to claim all of them, the group is separated and starts toward the east, as they were already doing before becoming separated. One could have seen this coming, since any adventure is going to become complicated when dealing with those that have strong wills and, sometimes, not a lot of common sense. What is really interesting is to check up on other reviews and see how many know what’s supposed to be happening versus what is supposed to be happening. One can’t help but think that the first three episodes have already deviated at least a little bit since it’s rather typical to find that a character doesn’t look like someone would expect, or that someone isn’t doing something that a fan would have thought they would do.
That’s the effect of translating a book to the screen, no matter if it’s the small or big screen since things are going to change, the scope is going be altered slightly or to such a degree that it might not come out the way that fans are hoping to see. But so far the story is actually interesting enough to keep a person watching, and it’s a hope that this will continue. So far it doesn’t appear to be another Game of Thrones-level story, but hey, we’re just getting started.