Wheel of Time might seem out of place on a site devoted to blood, guts, and glorious bone breaking. It won’t seem out of place if you’ve read the books, of course. And if you haven’t read the books but you’re a horror freak, the show might have more to offer you than you realized.
So let’s discuss the first episode today. Hopefully, if you’re new to Wheel of Time I can give you some basics.
We start in a small village called the Two Rivers. There we meet Perrin, Mat, Rand, Nynaeve and Egwene. Egwene has just come of age and is going through a ceremony to induct her into the women’s group of the village.
This includes tossing her ass over a cliff into a river. After surviving this, she’s allowed to braid her hair and be considered a woman.
That evening, a woman named Moiraine appears at the village tavern. Everyone recognizes her as an Aes Sedai, a group of magic-users the world over.
It’s a group of women who channel. And those phrases are super important. Channeling is the magical structure of this world, also known as channeling the one power. And only women are supposed to do it.
Men can do it. But they tend to go insane and do things like breaking the actual world when they do. So to say it’s frowned upon is an understatement.
Moiraine is looking for one called the Dragon Reborn. The first Dragon, a man who could channel, did that whole breaking the world thing I was talking about. The Dragon Reborn will either heal the world from that last break or break it all over again.
Nobody knows! Nobody knows who it is, either. Moiraine thinks the Dragon Reborn is in the Two Rivers, for lots of deep and mythical reasons we’ll get to soon. The problem is, it could be one of any of our main characters in the village.
I understand this is a lot to take in. Much of this first episode was doing as much world-building as fast as possible while still trying to tell a good story. There’s a lot to this world.
There’s also a lot of blood.
During a Beltaine festival, the village is attacked by a pack of creatures called Trollocs.
Let me assure you, if you were a bit bored with the episode up until now, you will no longer be. This fight scene was amazing. It was fast, gory, and violent. The Trollocs have no mercy in them. But the people of the village are not ones to shy away from kicking some ass. Even if they’ve never seen the things they’re battling before. Men and women alike grab whatever weapon they’ve got nearby, and they hold their own.
Moiraine manages to defeat whatever Trollocs the villagers don’t rip to bits. But she’s injured in the battle. She explains to Rand, Perrin, Mat, and Egwene that they’ve got to go with her to the Aes Sedie stronghold called the White Tower. If they don’t, something way worse than the Trollocs is going to come calling.
This first episode started a bit slow, but I was ready for that. If you’re expecting this to be Game of Thrones with more magic, you’re wrong. If you thought this was Lord of The Rings but it passes the Bechdel test, that’s closer but still wrong. We needed this episode and more to start getting a feel for this world. So if you never read the book, you at least have enough of an idea of what’s going on to not be lost.
And please don’t allow yourself to get lost. This is a terrific story. And I hope you’re along for the ride with me to experience it.
If you haven’t seen the show yet, here’s a link to check it out.
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