Before we dive into The Wheel of Time proper…
Two things I keep meaning to mention that come from a specific television watching past:
- The intro reminds me of Motherland: Fort Salem if MFS had an Amazon budget.
- Fades look like Voldemort, until they open their mouths. Then they are the monster at the end of the Rick & Morty credits.
Ok, we can start now. I keep asking myself why I chose to combine episodes 3 and 4 because they are both humdingers that set up some serious foreshadowing (assuming the clues pay off.) I’ve decided it best to take this cluster character pairings. Then, I’ll take the last Logain portion on its own because HOLY SHIT.
Let us depart!
First up, Perrin and Egwene, because while there’s a good amount of character work here, we found this section least compelling overall, which isn’t saying much because these episodes are AMAZING from top to bottom.
They absolutely got the short spoke on the wheel with the terrain they had to traverse. It’s very windy and cold, and wolves are “chasing” them.
We love that she channels to start a fire when he can’t and neither makes a big deal of it. “Was that you or me?” Love their friendship and the way he looks out for her.
We kept wondering why he thought the wolves were chasing them after what he’s already experienced but wrote it off as a kind of shock until it was revealed the wolves were guiding them. Acceptable.
Egwene reminds him on their journey that it’s not Perrin’s fault Laila is dead, but we know different. Already, he is in constant struggle with the consequences of violence. To choose the hammer or the axe. His tears are quite effective at calling back to everything we know so far about his character.
Meet the Tinkers
The Tinkers are total hippies, if hippies were also Amish. We haven’t seen any electricity anywhere, so we suppose the Amish comparison only really applies to their Rumspringa.
Side note: A lot of people are very concerned with the age of 20 in this story. Is that a thing beyond the Dragon Reborn prophecy?
Anyway, she and her husband seem to be the de facto leaders of this group, though the idea that they have a real power structure is probably being derivative.
Their core values lie in the abhorrence and avoidance of violence. They don’t even have weapons in case of an attack. Instead, they follow the Way of the Leaf. Essentially everything is born and lives and dies and is reborn. Very circle of life vibes.
Her scenes with Perrin are poignant and her words and questions, even when he doesn’t answer her, gives him (and us, as the audience) bits of wisdom to ponder.
“Has your life been better or worse since you picked up that axe?” Oof, Ila goes right for the jugular. Perrin, who would clearly rather be a blacksmith than a warrior, constantly battles within himself about whether there exists the necessity for violence (and, I suspect, whether he’s prone to or might even enjoy it).
“There’s only one way to end violence. Everyone everywhere has to stop.” That line. So naive. So true. So much.
Aram, Ila’s grandson, is the cool kid of the group. He completely mocks the beliefs and lifestyle of his people. While he’s the one who explains Rumspringa to Egwene, I’m left wondering if he’s been on his and chosen to come back or whether he’s still waiting. Did I miss that somewhere along the way?
Even though he’s probably the self-proclaimed black sheep of the family, we can’t really see him leaving. That is, unless he’s pulled into an adventure with our crew!
Nynaeve has been BUSY. First she kills the trolloc who took her when she has a chance to get to the secret caves because he gets hungry once he sees another trolloc who’s been wounded. We don’t really get those guys, but they’re clearly not the smartest of beings.
Some may have noticed that the spilled trolloc blood in the pool ran into the shape of a dragon’s tooth. That’s a cool in-world reference.
Nynaeve tracks Lan all the way to Shadar Logoth, which we’ll totally give the show a pass on, because it makes not one iota of sense, best we can tell. Reason one: she was on foot and the other six were on horseback. Literally, that’s the only reason needed, we think. Anyway, who cares? Nynaeve is awesome and that’s that.
I found myself asking how many sci-fi/fantasy couples start with a sword to the throat or a gun to the head and a subsequent tying up or gagging. Spoiler: a lot. I ship the hell out of these two from that interaction alone. Sue me.
Nynaeve is so snarky and quippy, and perhaps a bit out of her league in general, but she doesn’t let that show. She’s out here making threats and really has no interest in healing Moiraine, barring the fact Moiraine can find her friends. HOWEVER, she also shows sincere worry about Lan feeling Moiraine’s pain as she treats her wound! Feels like enemies to friends to lovers, and you’ll get no complaints from us.
We love that you can see the healer in her through her facial expressions. She feels so deeply and cares for others and it’s just there beneath the surface if you’re paying attention to anything other than her words.
She also shows great insight. “That woman’s a snake” in reference to a single conversation with Liandrin shows a power all its own. You don’t develop discernment or “street smarts” simply from being able to channel. I imagine this tool will serve her well in the future.
The “you’re exactly what I thought you were” conversation is left hanging. I’m just tossing in that fact because I can’t do anything but high pitch squeal about it.
She’s pretty much out for episode three, but she does whisper something in her unconscious state. If you didn’t get it, wait a few episodes and I’ll tell you when to go back. It’ll make more of an impact later.
Her conversation with Lan and his “you always get emotional when I drink” gave me life. We love the little aspects of their bond being revealed. How they succeed or fail together. They are one in their own way.
We often appreciate Moiraine’s observational skills and the way she holds her cards so close to her chest. It makes the moments where she does things like finally acknowledge her beloved dog all the more impactful.
Mat & Rand
Rand wants to go to the White Tower because he believes Egwene will but he doesn’t really know where he’s going. “They say all roads lead there.” Mat comes in clutch with “That’s not how roads work.” ZING!! Mat getting to be the comic relief is so comforting in an insanely serious narrative. Levity is priceless.
They get to Breen’s Springand the welcome sign is a man hanging from a post with arrows sticking out of him. Mat immediately eyes a jewel on the hanging man’s side.
Their money is stolen and Rand agrees to work for a room, but Mat is looking more and more detached and depressed. Classic ne’er-do-well. The thing about Mat is you can see he tries so hard. He just has no direction and it bears down on him greatly. Not to mention he stole a cursed dagger, but we’re sure that’s fine.
Through conversation with Dana, Rand realizes how naïve he is in this little town. His life motto is “do the right thing,” but he doesn’t know what that is anymore.
They have a new and rousing journey with…
Thom the Gleeman
Sure, he steals the boys money the moment he meets them, but there’s just something about Thom. When he went to give the Aiel a proper burial, our heart ached. He explains the villagers killed the man because of his hair color. Though the Aiel are fighters by reputation, the man was not masked and therefore not a threat. But cowards tend to destroy what they don’t understand, so he was murdered. (Oh, Thom, welcome to our world.)
Thom turns his back for Mat to steal from the body. He won’t stop him, but won’t participate either. Curious. Mat apologizes to the deceased Aiel and explains he’s trying to get home to his sisters. Thom and Mat have an interesting connection from the beginning and now it appears to be because he reminds Thom so much of his nephew, Owyn, who lost his life to the One Power after being severed from it.
Thom saves the boys from Darkfriend Dana and heads East with them. They stay in a farm overnight where a Fade does this super cool thing and murders a whole family. Oh hell. At least it wasn’t actually Mat, which it appeared to be for a few seconds.
This event will surely stay with him.
I think I’m going to do a piece strictly on Logain and his savior complex, zealotry, and how he could be the hero of another tale, but let’s hit the high notes here.
The voices. I found it interesting he didn’t listen to them. He thinks they are the remnants of past lives, but he’s well aware the Dragon has been aligned with the dark in some of those lives. It oddly seemed like he was usually trying to do the right thing. To what end? Honestly, I’m not sure.
Logain was just waiting for his army to arrive to break out. My guess is he’s been draining the Aes Sedai this whole time when he could’ve broken out whenever he wanted.
Moiraine explains the voices are simply the madness overtaking him for channeling, which is kind of a let down. She tells him his power is a “pin prick of light against the raging sun that will be the Dragon Reborn.”
Nonetheless, the battle is on.
Kerene dies fighting Logain, and her warder, Stepin, is emotionally demolished. He comes into the cave in a rage and attempts to decapitate Logain, who promptly channels Stepin’s weapons (and pretty much everything else in the room) to injure everyone, except Nynaeve.
Lan’s throat is cut and he’s bleeding out. Well, Nyneave is NOT HAVING IT. In her distress, she channels (likely inadvertently) and there’s an explosion of light that heals everyone in the cave. It appears no one has ever seen a showing of the One Power such as that… like a raging sun.
The Ongoing Race for the Chosen One
Logain is clearly too old, so we tossed him out immediately, though we loved the camera play in concert with the conversation about the “five.” The fifth is now known to be Nynaeve, but our potentials assumed she was dead.
Egwene doesn’t really do much in these two episodes. Lan does ask Moiraine if Logain is as strong as Egwene, which I doubt is coincidental, but she’s looking less chosen now than she did in episode 2.
Rand has some moments that make me go hmm. There are long shots of his face held during Thom’s song that imply it may be about him. It’s also likely about the Dragon, who inevitably remembers his past lives in each new turning of the wheel. We shouldn’t ignore the strength he showed when he knocked down a door Dana said it would take 3 men to budge. Muted, since it’s not blatantly identified as channeling, but how did that happen? Lastly, we feel like he’s getting some music and sound cues that others don’t. Might be listening too hard though (or not hard enough.)
Side note: Did the murdered Aiel have red hair? Was Rand not born in the Two Rivers?
Perrin still has the wolf thing going on and I’d rule him out completely, if it weren’t for him being one of the five and us only being mid-season on the mystery.
Ah, number five herself: Nynaeve. Well it’s pretty hard to deny she’s the most obvious contender at the moment. A “raging sun.” Even Logain proclaimed it and seemed to very much deflate, as if her show of power finally convinced him he was not the Dragon Reborn. Sometimes things that are so obvious are red herrings though. We shall wait and see.
Where does your money lie for the chosen one?
- Why didn’t the Aes Sedai link before instead of using separate shields? Also, why was Liandran in there by herself at one point?
- I’ve not really addressed it, but the dream world is A LOT. So twisted and the flame faced dude is quite scary.
- Alanna made some really interesting points about thinking she was brave to choose preparation for the Last Battle, while actually believing she’d never see it.
- The Amyrlin Seat said Logain should be brought back to the White Tower for trial, but Liandrin was trying to convince people to gentle him the whole time. She’s shady. Also the Amyrlin Seat apparently has a certain disdain for Moiraine.
- When the little girl gives Mat her doll to take home to his sisters, explaining that she “protects me when everyone else is asleep,” oh Light, I knew that poor kid was a goner.
- Dana was a terribly sad character I had a great deal of empathy for, as did Rand, I noticed. She was a very “stuck in my hometown” kind of girl. It actually makes sense she’s a Darkfriend because it gives her some kind of purpose. She just wants to end everyone’s pain.
- What’s up with Gleeman? Thom says they have a fun name to distract from how dangerous they are! Spinoff adventures, please.