Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time is coming to Amazon Prime, and here are all the major takeaways from the second trailer. Legendary author Robert Jordan originally planned Wheel of Time to be a six-book series, but it expanded to become one of the greatest franchises of his life. Sadly, Jordan passed away in 2007 while working on the final book, and it fell to Brandon Sanderson – who had become a writer because of Jordan’s inspiration – to wrap the story up in his honor. Now Wheel of Time is becoming a lavish TV series for Amazon Prime, joining the ranks of other sweeping epic stories like Dune and Foundation that had previously been thought impossible to adapt.
Wheel of Time introduces viewers to one of the deepest, most intricate and well-thought-out fantasy worlds ever created. Amazon clearly believes this is just the right time, with Game of Thrones having left a gap in the epic fantasy market. Trailers for Wheel of Time have stressed the depth of world-building, offering tantalizing glimpses of arcane rituals and ominous prophecies without taking the time to explain them. In marketing terms, it’s something of a gamble; while anyone familiar with the books will be thrilled, new viewers may well find the Wheel of Time trailers a little inexplicable.
Given the beauty of the production, though, it is to be hoped Wheel of Time will prove to be a truly immersive example of world-building. Here are all the main takeaways from the second Wheel of Time trailer – ranging from the Prophecy of the Dragon Reborn to the Dark One who threatens to burn the world.
1. Moiraine Sedai Swears The Aes Sedai Oath
The second Wheel of Time trailer opens with Moiraine, the sorceress – or Aes Sedai, in Robert Jordan’s world – who will drive much of the narrative. The trailer shows the moment she was raised from an Accepted (or initiate) to a full Aes Sedai, a process that involves holding a sacred Oath Rod that magically binds her to keep to these promises. The three oaths have been modified slightly from the books, and in the Wheel of Time Amazon Prime series are:
“I swear to speak no word that is not true.
To make no weapon with which one person may kill another.
And never to use the One Power as a weapon.“
The Three Oaths were introduced to reassure people that the Aes Sedai would not abuse their powers. Of course, in reality, they do not constrain the Aes Sedai as much as most believe. An Aes Sedai may not speak a lie, but that does not mean they cannot be deceptive, and Aes Sedai swiftly learn to excel at evasion and half-truths. They are able to construct weapons, just not lethal ones, and, while they may not use the One Power as a weapon, they often use it to weaponize things around them. Interestingly, the last of the three has qualifications in the books: “except in the last defense of my life, the life of my warder, or the life of another sister.” The absence of these qualifications in the Wheel of Time trailer may be significant, suggesting their actions are a little more constrained.
2. Restraining Logain, the False Dragon
In Wheel of Time, the magic of the world, known as the One Power, is split into two halves, saidar and saidin. Saidar is the feminine part, wielded by the Aes Sedai, and saidin is the masculine half, under the sway of a devilish figure known as the Dark One. The Aes Sedai keep an eye out for men who control the One Power, because they will grow insane and become incredibly destructive. These beings, who often become called “False Dragons,” in reference to a prophecy of one man who will control saidin and oppose the Dark One, are restrained by the Aes Sedai and their powers are taken away. Logain is the last of the False Dragons, and he ultimately becomes a John the Baptist figure to the true Dragon.
3. Why Moiraine & Lan Go To Two Rivers
Moiraine Sedai becomes aware the time of the True Dragon is approaching, and – having apparently participated in the capture of Logain – she decides to go to Two Rivers. She explains that “the Old Blood runs deep in those mountains.” In Wheel of Time, there is an apparently genetic predisposition towards mastery of the One Power, and the older bloodlines are often stronger in its use. According to the prophecy of the Dragon, the Karaethon Cycle, the Dragon “will be of the ancient blood, and raised by the old blood.“
4. Introducing the Ta’veren – Wheel of Time’s Chosen Ones
In the books, Moiraine arrives at Two Rivers and is taken aback to discover three ta’veren – people who are central to the Web of Destiny and who influence the lives of those around them in order to transform the world. These three are Rand, Mat, and Perrin, and the events of Wheel of Time largely orbit around them. No-one is born a ta’veren; rather, they are chosen by the Pattern when there is a need, and they only remain a ta’veren until they have fulfilled their purpose. Life is very unsettling indeed for a ta’veren, because anything can happen around them.
5. The Threat of the Dark One Explained
The voiceover in the Wheel of Time second trailer introduces the main villain, the Dark One. Essentially Wheel of Time‘s version of the Devil, the Dark One is a force of chaos and destruction who desires to remake all of creation in his own twisted image. He is said to have been restrained at the dawn of time by the Creator, but he has always reached out from his prison, attempting to find a way to escape and destroy all that exists. The prophecy of the Dragon, contained within the legendary Karaethon Cycle, foretells the Dark One’s return.
“And it shall come to pass that what men made shall be shattered,
and the Shadow shall lie across the Pattern of the Age,
and the Dark One shall once more lay his hand upon the world of man.
Women shall weep and men quail as the nations of the earth are rent like rotting cloth.
Neither shall anything stand or abide…“
6. Wheel of Time Makes A Major Change To The Books
The Wheel of Time second trailer reveals a major change from the books, with Moiraine revealing all five of the people she has taken from Two Rivers – the three men and the two women, Egwene and Ninaeve – are all ta’veren. What’s more, it seems Moiraine has no idea who among them is the Dragon Reborn, and so she has taken all of them to Tar Valon, where the Aes Sedai are based, in order to be tested. This is a dramatic change to the lore, making Egwene and Ninaeve just as important to the plot, and it’s a welcome one. Moiraine’s inability to figure out which of the five is the Dragon Reborn raises a lot of questions about the saidar/saidin aspect of the One Power; in Robert Jordan’s books, it was essential the dragon be a man because he wielded saidin.
7. A Confrontation at Shadar Logoth
The journey to Tar Valon is a dangerous one, with the ta’veren pursued by the Dark One’s agents. They unwisely seek sanctuary in the ruins of the city of Shadar Logoth, which fell under the Dark One’s influence long ago when its inhabitants’ zeal for the light turned them upon one another. Moiraine and the ta’veren spend the night at Tar Valon, because even Trollocs will not venture there, but they uncover dark powers. Mat in particular acquires a foul dagger, seen in the first Wheel of Time trailer, which brings death with a scratch unless an Aes Sedai intervenes.
8. The Prophecy of the Dragon Reborn
Moiraine is convinced one of the five ta’veren is in fact the Dragon Reborn, the one prophecied to battle against the Dark One at the coming Last Battle. As the prophecy states:
“Yet one shall be born to face the Shadow,
born once more as he was born before,
and shall be born again, time without end.
The Dragon shall be Reborn,
and there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth at his rebirth.
In sackcloth and ashes shall he clothe the people,
and he shall break the world again by his coming,
tearing apart all ties that bind.
Like the unfettered dawn shall he blind us, and burn us,
yet shall the Dragon Reborn confront the Shadow at the Last Battle,
and his blood shall give us the Light.
Let tears flow, O ye people of the world.
Weep for your salvation.“
9. The Dark One Will Burn the World
According to Moiraine, the Dark One’s goal is to burn the world. What she may well not tell the five ta’veren, however, is that the alternative is for the world to be broken. The Karaethon Cycle is quite clear that the Dragon will burn turmoil and destruction in his wake as well:
“With his coming are the dread fires born again.
The hills burn, and the land turns sere.
The tides of men run out, and the hours dwindle.
The wall is pierced, and the veil of parting raised.
Storms rumble beyond the horizon, and the fires of heaven purge the earth.
There is no salvation without destruction, no hope this side of death.“
The crucial difference is that the Dark One’s fire brings only destruction, whereas the Dragon will be an agent of rebirth. The Dragon does not offer a future in which the world is spared destruction at the hands of the Dark One, but rather one in which it will be destroyed and reborn.
10. Wheel of Time Will Transform Its Heroes
The second Wheel of Time trailer ends with a warning that the heroes will never go home again. In truth, the magic of Robert Jordan’s fantasy story is that every one of these characters embarks on a transformative character journey. By the time they have played their destined part, they will have been changed so much they would never fit in back home again. This is the promise of Amazon Prime’s Wheel of Time: to recreate an epic story for the small screen, welcoming viewers to be part of this transformation.
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