The Wheel of Time 1×06 “The Flame of Tar Valon” is, thus far, our favorite of the season. When we tell you we cried… how is that even possible so soon into a show? It’s one of those rare episodes where so much happens, yet somehow an hour has passed and you can’t believe it’s over.
Plus, our first major cliffhanger. Wow, what a place to leave off.
We know some of the content was no surprise to book readers, though the way it played out may have been a bit different.
Since this episode was largely self-contained around the politics and inner workings of the Aes Sedai, we’ll note a few things we noticed from Logain and the Two Rivers folks and then get to the meat of the story. We’ll pause the race for the chosen one this week, as well.
Characters outside the Aes Sedai structure:
- Logain desperately wanted to die and it’ll be interesting to see how his character evolves after Siuan essentially sentences him to life as he descends into madness.
- Mat was finally disconnected from the dagger. It was wild to watch Moraine take the evil from him and put it back into the blade. We also clocked how much it drained Lan.
- Nynaeve is so anti-authoritarian, it’s almost funny. When she tried to stand against Siuan, she sure got schooled. And Moiraine’s comment about her being a Wisdom and actually using some… oof. Nynaeve has a bit to think about after this episode.
- Egwene bringing back the rings of the fallen sisters was beautiful and such a gift, but we also noticed how her faced dropped when she was not labeled the strongest channeler in a thousand years.
- Perrin will be healed physically, but Egwene made a really good point about how their experience with the Whitecloaks was much more than outer injuries.
- Rand is ever protective of his friends and simply wants to help. He’s very much in the background right now, which we think will change. Definitely appreciated his interaction with Moiraine on the balcony though.
Yes, I used this image again. Honestly, how could I not? The grace, the beauty, the POWER.
The Amyrlin Seat
Watching Siuan’s father send her off on her own was brutal, even not initially understanding who she was. To see his fear, but also his pride in her. His acknowledgement that her power is growing and they’re in an area where she can never be herself. Talk about prejudice! And to see her as a child of color, with her father watching their home burn, giving up his boat (means of earning a living), and not knowing what he was going back to? Someone much more qualified than me could write a full dissertation on that opening alone.
From Daughter of the River, Clever as a Pike, Strong as the Tides to… Watcher of the Seals, Flame of Tar Valon, the Amyrlin Seat. Well, hello there Queen!
The way she handled Logain immediately showed us she’s not just a figurehead, but a full on BOSS bi@$h. She was not for one moment ruffled by his false bravado. She sat through massive insult only to inflict a punishment arguably worse than death, and did it all without an ounce of hesistation.
The totality of these scene has so much more nuance with what we know. When Moiraine enters, she seems apprehensive, anxious. But there is a reverence to her gaze and the tiniest quirk of a smile from Siuan. Basically, the facial acting is top notch!
The challenge must’ve been hard for Moiraine and Siuan to play, especially considering Moiraine’s “quest” has never been brought before the council. Oof at the insults. Siuan looks so squirmy when Moiraine rises from prostration.
We hate Liandrin. Hate. She is a scheming snake (even Nynaeve saw it from one conversation), but we point that out here merely to acknowledge Kate Fleetwood is AMAZING in this role. Liandrin is the WORST because Kate is the BEST.
Side note: it’s apparently quite a big deal for different color Ajahs to stand up for one another and a true insult that Liandrin brought up Siuan’s previous color at all.
This is also the first time anyone inside the Aes Sedai has acknowledged how their power affects the public at large. “[Our laws] exist to protect our people from us.” All hail the Amyrlin seat!
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Meetings
I absolutely love the scene between Moiraine and Lan in The Wheel of Time 1×06 “The Flame of Tar Valon.” He is worried because she’s masked their bond, meaning he can’t feel her, can’t protect her. And we know there are enemies circling. It soon becomes clear why she’s masked their connection, and his “give her my love” is just the icing on the cake of these two. Their relationship, quite unique between a man and a woman, is so incredibly beautiful. So Moiraine portals through her painting. Book readers are speculating a couple things from the book this mechanism may be, but I’ll hold judgment until we fully understand.
Anyway, if this didn’t side swipe new fans, we’re not sure what could. Remember when I told you I’d let you know when to go back to episode 3 if you didn’t hear or understand what Moiriane was saying in her unconscious state? Yeah, it was Siuan’s name.
We’ve been hearing from seemingly everyone how much disdain Siuan has for Moiraine, and now we know why. It’s all an act! Siuan not only knows where Moiraine’s been, she’s the one who sent her on this quest 20 years ago. They’ve been working together all along.
And, um, other things too. Twitter was certainly abuzz with adoring fans seeing this relationship made canon in a more concrete way than the books. “Pillow friends” being the only reference never quite did it for many readers. Alas, that was the limit of nineties fantasy, so it’s a huge leap to see it fleshed out (yes, I made a naked joke) on screen.
We can’t imagine these two have seen each other much over the years, so this must be such a difficult relationship to endure, but they sure connect when they have an opportunity. Wow at the heat!
They’re so comfortable with each other and slip into conversation like old ‘gal pals’ so easily. (I couldn’t resist.) Little pufferfish. Haha.
The time taken up by repetitive comments about the potential inaccuracies of prophecies is no mistake. Remember it well.
When Moiraine tells Siuan her punishment will have to be exile because she’s been ordered to stay in the tower, we know it’s going to be bad. But I don’t think we were prepared for just how bad…
Even though we knew it was staged, the exile was hard to watch. In fact, I think it was harder to watch because we knew.
The emotions between Moiraine and Siuan were overwhelming. Their fingers touching on the rod. The tears in their eyes. The interaction meaning something different to the two of them than anyone watching it. It worked on every level, thanks to truly incredible acting from Rosamund Pike and Sophie Okonedo. Oh, and don’t think we didn’t notice Moiraine gave her oath to Siuan and NOT the Amyrlin Seat. Crafty, that one.
Watching Moiraine walk out as each sister turned her back was very hard to swallow.
And here’s where I’ll say that The Wheel of Time 1×06 “The Flame of Tar Valon” was structured so well because it centered around a relationship to reveal the tower politics. Our only entry point to this world is Moiraine. Having everything focused around her for us to understand both new characters and the inner workings of the tower is so effective. It had NEW FANS weeping. (Okay, maybe it was just us. Doubtful though.)
We can’t wait to see Siuan Sanche again!
A Place For Everyone and Everyone in Their Place
The reunions in the final scene were genuine and unique to each Two Rivers friendship, which we loved. We’re glad time, however short, was made for them.
Remember when I said that Moiraine’s ability to tell A truth (not necessarily THE truth) was going to affect someone we cared about someday? Hello, someday. She’s been bending the truth HARD all episode and this is the time it’s most likely to hugely bite someone in the ass.
And bye, Mat?! Perhaps we will see him in the last two episodes on a new adventure. But if this is the Barney Harris’ last episode, he did an excellent job this season.
- Something about hearing an English accent mutter the words “you stupid boy” makes me cackle in every show.
- “Siuan Sanche waits for one woman. And it is not you.” Well, damn.
- Well those were two wildly different interpretations of “on your knees.”
- Curious about what Siuan’s tattoos mean. Especially since it’s clear she keeps getting more.
- Moiraine putting Liandrian in her place in the span of 10 seconds and then going about her business was a full on fist pump scene.
- Ships missing from the west was mentioned too many times for it to be unimportant.
- Apparently everyone’s name sings in Loial’s ears, so I’m taking that back as evidence of Rand as DR last week.
- Going into the Waygate has very Fellowship of the Ring entering the Mines of Moria energy.
- The costumes, right?!
The wheel has truly started weaving as it wills now! We were ready to throw things at the end of this one. How about you?
New episodes of The Wheel of Time are available Fridays on Amazon.