Wheel of Time - S1E8: The Eye of the World

Wheel of Time - S1E8: The Eye of the World

The final episode of the first season ends with a bang.

Summary

Rand and Morraine traverse The Blight to reach The Eye of the World while Lan tries to follow. Rand fights/talks to The Dark One, while the army of Fal Dara fights off a Trolloc invasion. Nynaeve and Egwene nearly burn themselves up channeling in the battle. Padan Fain re-appears and steals a Horn, and Perrin … just kind of stands around watching.

Reactions

A good episode to end the season, if not great. I think the show peaked in episode four.

I really enjoyed the scenes with the brother and sister rulers in Fal Dara and all they did to try to save their city and people. I don’t remember their names. It was Lord Agelmar Jagad and Lady Amalisa Jagad.

I mentioned last time they hadn’t done a very good job of setting the stakes for this last episode, but the scenes with Lord Agelmar and Lady Amalisa, and the sacrifices they were willing to make to defend their city, served that purpose fairly well. I would have liked to see more of that leading up to this episode.

Rand’s “battle” with The Dark One was fairly anti-climactic. The Dark One doesn’t seem that bad to me. He seems perfectly reasonable. He just wants what’s best for Rand. Why all the fuss? :)

Loiel dead?!? Gasp!

Morraine can’t channel?!? Gasp!

To wrap up my thoughts on the entire first season, I still wouldn’t call it anything more than “good enough,” but it was entertaining to me personally. But I imagine that’s mainly because I read all the books and I could fill in all the blanks. I have a hard time imagining someone who didn’t read the books would enjoy it as much.

The show suffered a bit–as almost all streaming shows suffer from now–from a lack of continuity and cohesiveness from episode to episode. Presumably in order to shove these shows out the door as fast and cheap as possible, they tend to rotate directors and writers every episode or two, and they all have different ideas of what to focus on.

So we end up with an entire episode on Aes Sedai politics, which was good as a stand-alone episode, but it didn’t exactly fit with the season as a whole, which was supposed to be about which of the Two Rivers Kids was The Dragon Reborn. And we get a whole episode dealing with the bond between an Aes Sedai and her Warder, which was a good episode, but it seemed like it might have fit better in a season 2 or 3 or 4. And we get a cool prologue of an Aiel fight sequence, which was very cool, but again, it only barely related to the overall season arc.

It was like nobody was in charge of making sure the episodes fit together, and all the different writers and directors were left to their own devices.

Hopefully, if the show becomes a hit, they can tighten all that up going forward.

Best Scene

For me, probably the scene with Lord Agelmar and Lady Amalisa in that room with the armor. I’m not sure what it says about the series when the best scenes so far have been the ones that didn’t involve the regular characters or storyline.

I thought the channelers blasting the heck out of those Trollocs was pretty cool. That’s the kind of magic I like to see in fantasy: The kind that levels armies. The wild magic of an uncontrolled nuclear reaction.

I liked most all of the scenes surrounding the battle of Fal Dara, though they suffered a bit from lack of budget or time or something in the area of Trolloc-rendering. I liked those parts a lot better than Rand dealing with The Dark One, which seemed a bit anticlimactic.

Best Line

Loiel: “I’m standing…” In response to Perrin asking, “How can we just sit here while everyone else is fighting?”

Characters

Morraine. Largely a passive observer in this particular episode, unfortunately. Somehow she looks different in each episode to me. Maybe it’s because they keep changing her hair style from show to show. Perhaps that’s the only way they can show the “ageless” look of Aes Sedai. Overall in the first season, she’s definitely been the standout character in the show, the anchor that’s holding everything together.

Lan. Lan spent the whole episode sidelined in The Blight, not being a factor, for a change. Overall I liked his character a lot in the first season, something I wasn’t expecting. He’s also an anchor of the series, and they need to keep putting him in as many scenes as they can.

Rand. Well, he’s come a long way since that first episode as a character. He’s almost tolerable now. Almost. This is the point in the books, though, when he really became obstinately insufferable, so it’ll be interesting to see how it goes in the series. The whole “tell them I’m dead, I’m going on a sabbatical” thing doesn’t bode well.

Mat. MIA. Don’t miss him, to be honest. His character hasn’t developed much. Perhaps that’s why the actor left.

Perrin. Still not doing much. They haven’t explored Perrin’s character much yet so it’s hard to have much of an opinion on where they’re going with him. He had the “inciting incident(s)” in his character arc and … that’s it so far. Otherwise he stands in the corner brooding.

Egwene. Like Perrin, I don’t know what to make of her character yet, because they haven’t explored it much. Each character gets so little screen time because of the sprawling nature of the material that it’s hard to get to know any of them, and they seem content to leave them languishing. I can’t think of any significant ways that Egwene has changed over the course of the series so far. I’m not even sure she’s had an “inciting incident” for her character yet.

Nynaeve. So she died and then … got better? I didn’t understand what happened there at the end. Did Egwene heal her? It looked like hand-waving plot magic to me. Anyway, Nynaeve definitely got most of the character development in the first season. She’s the only Two Rivers Kid so far that’s made a real impact on the show.

Thom Merrilin. MIA. I’m starting to think he isn’t coming back in this first season. He’s probably destined for “occasional guest star” status.

Loiel the Ogier. KIA. Didn’t see that coming. I didn’t like him much anyway, but now I might miss him if he’s gone. :) But I fully expect them to hand-wave him back to life in the next season if he was a popular character. They seem to be demonstrating a willingness to use plot magic whenever necessary (something that was meticulously avoided in the books, I might add).

Padan Fain. Chief exposition deliverer in this episode, while Perrin just stood there sheepishly listening. Are they setting him up as a long-term villain?

Book Spoilers

They’ve alluded to the “past is the future” a few times in the series so far. We saw skyscrapers covered with vines. And now we’ve seen a futuristic city with flying cars from “3000 years ago.” I vaguely remember that from the books, but it was only barely mentioned here and there. (Somewhat like the Shannara books.)

I’ve finished the audiobook of The Eye of the World, so I have the full scoop on everything now.

I didn’t remember Rand and Morraine going to The Eye of The World alone at all, and in fact, they didn’t. Most everything that happened there at the end in the show was different in the book. Extremely different. The mysterious and mostly unexplained Green Man was there, along with a couple of Forsaken, and a big pool of saidin. Morraine battled it out with a Forsaken (largely off-screen). The Dark One wasn’t there. Lan got his butt kicked and Nynaeve did as well. Rand channeled and teleported to The Gap and defeated the Trolloc invasion by himself.

The scene with Rand and Egwene and the baby on the homestead seemed familiar to me somehow, but it wasn’t in the first book. Rand only ever talked to The Dark One in some dreams. (So many things in the show seem familiar, I think, because the books are so long and comprehensive that literally anything and everything happened in them at one time or another.)

I thought that a significant part of the last episode’s events back in Fal Dara actually occurred in the second book. Padan Fain and The Horn of Valere, for example, and that big battle. (The Horn of Valere, incidentally, was discovered at The Eye of The World–it was the main thing they brought back.) (Padan Fain, also incidentally, was a gibbering wreck of a Gollum character at the end of the first book, nothing at all like we saw in the show.)

At least, I didn’t remember any battles at the end of the first book. But there were a ton of battles like that in the books, and it’s impossible to remember them all. It turns out there was a battle in The Gap at the end of the first book, but it was a background, offscreen, offhandedly-mentioned event, until Rand teleported into the middle of it and blew up all the Trollocs with the One Power.

Lord Agelmar was in the first book, but mostly as a background character, trying to convince Morraine to stay in Fal Dara and help fight Trollocs. I don’t think Lady Amalisa was mentioned at all in the first book (0 search results). Certainly not leading channelers in any battles. They must have heavily embellished that or lifted it from somewhere else in the series. (But I liked that they did. Otherwise the last episode would have been somewhat dull.)

Were they saying Morraine had been stilled by The Dark One there at the end?? That certainly didn’t happen in the first book. At least not that I remember. She fought a long painful battle with one of the Forsaken at The Eye of the World, but they left the impression she was fine afterward. Or she left that impression.

Then again, she’s a very mysterious character who hides a lot, so it’s entirely possible she didn’t channel any further after the first book and I just didn’t notice. (I honestly don’t remember Morraine having much of a central presence after the first book.) Or perhaps in the series, they’re planning to have her follow what was Siaun Sanche’s journey in the books, which would actually be quite a bit better for the longevity of her character.

And it looked like they were strongly implying there that Rand blasting The Dark One is what broke the seal on his prison and let him out. He definitely smirked before he disappeared. I don’t remember if that was the way of things in the books or not. I don’t think so, because Rand did all his channeling elsewhere, against Trollocs, not against The Dark One.

Was that even The Dark One in the show? Maybe it was one of the Forsaken? I don’t remember The Dark One being, you know, corporeal.

The end of the first book was quite confusing, to be honest. I remember thinking that the first time I read it, and it was no less confusing the second time in audiobook form.

Anyway, it looked like Min had gotten onto a caravan heading out of Fal Dara. It reminded me of the caravan that went into the Aiel Wastes in the fifth book. I think it was Min that went on that journey? I feel like Padan Fain might have been on that caravan too? Or a Forsaken in disguised perhaps? And Morraine and maybe Mat? I don’t remember. Like I’ve said before, everything in the books runs together and I have little sense of a distinct timeline in my memory.

That was the Seanchan rolling up on the Western shore there at the end, one of the many interesting but ultimately unrelated storylines that tended to derail the books for quite some lengthy amounts of time. I don’t remember them arriving in the second book, but I might be wrong. Who can remember? I do remember some fairly iffy cultural subjects around those people that I’ll be interested to see how they handle in the television show.

Thom Merrilin never came back, much to my surprise. It turns out he didn’t return in the first book either. But Morraine did mention once in The Ways that she thought he was still alive.

I started the second audiobook, which, for the record, begins with a prologue of “Bors” at a meeting of Darkfriends. Then Rand sneaks out of Fal Dara just as the Amyrlin Seat, Siuan Sanche, arrives (I will never be able to spell “Amyrlin” or “Siuan” correctly on the first try, ever). No Seachchan so far.

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