Wheel of Time: “The Flame of Tar Valon” Recap

With only two episodes left to go now, the current episode, The Flame of Tar Valon, begins with a vague origin story for the Siuan Sanche, the woman would eventually become the Amyrlin Seat, the head of the Aes Sedai and the one they all defer to. This very female-centric world makes it clear that men are not allowed to wield the same power as women, as the propensity for madness is great enough that the danger is too great to allow a man to channel. What’s amusing about this, even though they might have good point, is that the resulting clash that appears to happen between members of the Aes Sedai, especially between Liandrin’s people and everyone else, makes it appear that women are not only deadlier when in possession of this power, but are far more vindictive. When brought before the Amyrlin Seat to answer for why Logain was gentled in the battle that saw the death of Kerene, Liandrin makes it clear that she’s not much of a team player when she makes it known that Logain needed to be gentled, or the lives of their sisters would have been forfeited. 

The problem is that Liandrin doesn’t stop there as she goes on about Nynaeve and her ability to channel, making it clear that she’s far more powerful than anyone could guess. In short, Liandrin is a tattletale that would likely do or say whatever she could get away with in order to curry favor with her superiors. But Siuan made it clear that she would deal with each transgression in its own time, addressing Liandrin’s accusation of Moiraine’s wanderings and the assumption that she knows more about the problems that the many lands are facing than she’s letting on. With everything that’s happened to this point, one would hope to see the Aes Sedia stand united, but that might be too simple. 

When it’s discovered, by the audience at least, that Siuan and Moiraine are lovers, the situation becomes a little clearer since they’ve been working to find the Dragon Reborn, and upon telling Siuan that she’s found five that fit the distinction, even if one of them is too old for the prophecy, Moiraine makes it clear that she needs to be exiled in order to do what needs to be done. It’s with a heavy heart that Siuan does exile Moiraine in public, freeing her to do as she must. Before this, however, Moiraine does catch up with Mat and Rand, and Perrin and Egwene, finding out what they’ve been up to and what happened to the Children of the Light as Egwene returns the Aes Sedai rings that had been collected. After hearing of how Perrin’s eyes glowed gold during the wolf attack that decimated the Children of the Light, Moiraine tells Egwene to say nothing to anyone. Not long before that, she’d already relieved Mat of the cursed dagger that he took from Shadar Logoth, revealing to Rand that the dagger had been feeding on Mat’s own inner darkness, meaning that Mat is far stronger than he should be. All of this tends to mean that things are not going the way that Moiraine expected.

It’s only as the group is making their way into the portal that Moiraine opens to access the Ways, pathways that can help the group, consisting of those from Two Rivers, Lan, Moiraine, the ever-helpful Loial, that Mat refuses to walk into the portal, allowing it to close as the others watch. This kind of indicates that Mat is going to be something of a problem moving forward and that he could be someone to watch out for, at least for those of us that haven’t read the books yet. As for those that have read the books, it does appear that after watching and reading several reviews that the story is being collapsed in a way, or smooshed, as someone managed to put it, in order to move the tale along quicker and without as much information as the books contain. Plus, as it should have already been surmised four episodes ago, things are going to be changed around, characters aren’t going to look one hundred percent accurate, and storylines are bound to be rearranged to fit the live-action mold. 

A lot of us have noticed this with one movie or show in the past since the live-action treatment doesn’t always follow the source material to the letter. But all the same, the story has been enjoyable enough at this point, and it’s been made clear that as powerful as the Aes Sedai are, they’re not exactly as unified as they should be. As for the other characters, they all have various issues to work past, but one can’t help but wonder what Mat is going to be doing in the next couple of episodes.  Those that have already read the books probably know, but it’d be great if they didn’t tell anyone. 

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