An episode full of Aes Sedai politics.

Wheel of Time - S1E6: The Flame of Tar Valon

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Wheel of Time - S1E6: The Flame of Tar Valon

An episode full of Aes Sedai politics.

Well I didn’t think I was finished writing this but it’s almost time for next week’s episode so I better post this anyway.

Summary

I wondered if they were going to go into Aes Sedai politics, and sure enough, they did. For an episode, at least.

The Amyrlin Seat, Siuan Sanche, returns and metes out justice upon Liandrin for gentling Logain without a trial, and Morraine for … wait, why again? I think for refusing to answer some questions. Morraine got the far harsher punishment.

But in a shocking twist, it turns out Siuan and Morraine are working together behind the scenes. And by “working together” I mean conspiratorially and also romantically. But it doesn’t matter because Morraine is still exiled from the Tower.

So Morraine gets back together with The Band From Two Rivers and heads for The Ways, secret passages that will take them straight to a confrontation with The Dark One. She convinced the Two Rivers kids that they have to fight The Dark One now while he’s weak, even though most of them will probably die. For some reason, they all said sure.

But just before The Ways closes up, Mat mysteriously decides to stay behind.

Reactions

Another fairly slow-paced episode. Not much to talk about without going into book spoilers, for reasons that should be obvious to book readers.

The first prologue scene was pretty good but it seemed like unnecessary character development at this point in the show. Especially for a character who is presumably only going to be in just this one episode. You’d think maybe they would spend more time developing the main cast?

I’m surprised they’ve spent so much time on Logain’s story in this first season. It can only be to setup something for later, which seems like quite a gamble. But they’re already working on a second season, so I guess it worked out.

The White Tower feels very empty in the show. I mean physically: It doesn’t look like anyone lives there. The halls are empty, the rooms are empty. It’s just the handful of characters we’ve seen. Similar to Star Trek, where the Enterprise is basically empty except the main cast.

What happened to the dagger? Did they just leave it on the floor under a towel?

As a side note, I have no sense whatsoever whether this show is doing well or not. I don’t see many people talking about it, and it’s somewhat far down the list of shows that Amazon Prime recommends to me. But apparently they’re already filming a second season, so I guess it doesn’t matter.

Best Scene

Nothing really stood out to me, so I guess Morraine’s exile. Again, there’s a lot of subtext that isn’t necessarily obvious on first viewing. All the sisters turning their backs on the exiled one is a powerful visual metaphor.

Best Line

I didn’t make a note of any and I don’t remember any at the time of this writing. Oh, I remember one now.

Lan: “Nice to see you too,” or something like that.

Characters

Morraine. She really doesn’t have much of a moral compass when it comes to putting kids in danger. By which I mean she doesn’t seem to mind dragging all the Two Rivers kids to their certain doom she can get want she wants (ie. defeating The Dark One). I like how ambiguously Machiavellian she is.

Lan. Wasn’t in this episode much.

Rand. I almost never register this character’s existence. I think he drew a sword on Lan, which was quite silly.

Mat. Yay, the evil dagger is gone. But wait, why isn’t he going into The Ways? Maybe he’s going back to find that doll he dropped.

Perrin. Did he have any lines this week? I only remember him lying on a bed.

Egwene. Not much development. Shouldn’t they have turned her into a Novice at the Tower?

Nynaeve. Other than some sassy conversations with Aes Sedia, I don’t remember her doing much in this episode either.

Thom Merrilin. I mean seriously, where is he?

Liandrin Sedai. They’ve definitely set her up as the main villain of the show, among the Aes Sedai, at least. The actual villain, The Dark One, has been a bit of a No Show in the series.

Loiel the Ogier. I think I spelled his name wrong last time. Or maybe this time. I just see a guy in a lot of creature makeup when I look at him, like a Klingon, who can’t turn his head. Not really invested in him as a character at all.

The Amyrlin Seat, Siaun Sanche. Did pretty well, I thought. Once again I have to say that the supporting actors are considerably more interesting than any of the Two Rivers folks.

Book Spoilers

So yeah, none of that happened in the book. At least not in the first book. In my re-read, they have just entered The Ways, which is very late in the book. And they went there from Caemlyn. So they never passed through Tar Valon at all in the first book. That’s why there’s not much to talk about except book spoilers. :)

I thought that Elayne joined The Band of Merry Two Rivers Folk in Caemlyn, but it turns out she didn’t. She must have become a major character some time later, probably in whichever book the girls became Novices at the Tower. (I don’t remember when that was.)

It would have been extremely weird for a couple of channelers (Egwene and Nynaeve) to wander in and out of Tar Valon without being compelled into Novice service like they did in the show. The Aes Sedai are very possessive of young channelers.

I have an extremely vague memory of Morraine and Siaun Sanche conspiring together, but I feel like we only learned that in flashbacks many, many books later. Like four or five or six or seven or a million books later.

I also have vague memories of someone being exiled from the Tower with an Oath Rod, but I don’t remember it being Morraine. It could have been her, or it could have been Siaun Sanche herself. The Amyrlin has a rough road ahead of her if they follow the books. Lots and lots of turmoil at the White Tower is coming up–like fourteen books worth. There was so much Aes Sedai politics over the course of those books that it’s impossible to remember all the nuances. It all runs together in my head.

I didn’t think Loiel went with them into The Ways, but it turns out he did. (In the book, they took their horses with them. They didn’t just leave them wandering around in a field to die like they did in the show.)

I don’t remember much of anything that happened in the first book in and after The Ways. I remember the end of that first book feeling extremely rushed and hard to follow in comparison to what came before. To this day I still have no idea who or what “The Green Man” is, a thing that seemed to appear out of nowhere late in the first book and then disappeared forever.

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