Scent of a Gamer

From the computer to the tabletop, this is all about games. Updated each week-end.

A good start: a review of the Wheel of Time

Wheel of Time opened on Amazon Prime last week, and I have now watched all three episodes available so far. I wanted to share my thoughts on this show that is being somewhat lazily-billed as the new Game of Thrones.

Fine, both are fantasy shows designed to appeal to broad audiences. Both are based on long-running fantasy book series. Both series have a huge cast that could never be translated to a TV show. Both… okay maybe that’s not such as lazy comparison after all.

To sum up before you get dragged in to the res tof the words here: I think the show is off to a good start, and look forward to the episodes to come. The casting of Rosamund Pike as Moiraine is excellent and I haven’t seen anyone who I thought was ‘wrong’ for their character.

The worldbuilding is mainly done through some excellent cinematography, and even after three episodes I think the audience are getting the sense that this is different to Game of Thrones. Magic is very much a reality here (dragons, not so much). Rather than a thriving nest of vipers, this world is more post-apocalyptic, with centuries old ruins people have forgotten the origins of, and human settlements separated by vast wilderness of not much, along with ancient terrors best avoided.

Speaking of terrors, they come for our cast soon enough. A rustic village has a strange visitor (Moiraine) and soon enough it’s attacked by beasts people did not think were real. Like Moiraine, they have come for someone in the village. Moiraine isn’t sure who, but she has narrowed it down to four.

After the attack, Moiraine convinces them to travel with her to lands unknown, leaving their old life behind.

The episodes to date have set up Moiraine as a cryptic manipulator with her own agenda, and our five hapless rubes from the countryside are tagging along because what other choice do they have? One of them is indeed the mythical Dragon Reborn (note: not an actual dragon, just a title).

The world has been teased, along with some of the players and stakes. Not everyone thinks Moiraine’s order is a force for good, and there are those who actively hunt them, even as they hunt men with magical powers.

One aspect of the world that could have come through clearer is the current state of magical play. Some people are born with magical abilities which can be trained, however men and women draw on this power differently, and thanks to an ancient curse every man who draws on this power will become homicidally mad from doing so. Which is why they are hunted down and ‘gentled’ -their magical powers cut from them- by the Aes Sedai.

Of course the Dragon Reborn will be a man with magical abilities so careful what you do to those you catch.

Overall

If you’re here for the show with no previous background, enjoy the characters, and watch out for people who will become more significant later on (Liandrin Sedai and Thom Merrilin, for two). The world building will come at pace, and I’m actually surprised no maps have yet featured.

If you’re a book reader, I think you need to prepare for the reality that not every character is going to make it into this show. I haven’t seen anyone playing snakes and foxes yet, but we’ll see about that. If you can put aside the need to see everything from the books translated to the screen, you can probably relax and enjoy the show.

5 comments on “A good start: a review of the Wheel of Time

  1. Bookstooge
    November 25, 2021

    Or if you’re a book reader and actually like the story as Jordan told it, prepare to be mindraped by the incompetence and idiocy of the producers who don’t know their ass from their nostrils and wouldn’t know the story if the entire 14 books fell

    Yeah, watch out for those kind of book readers, they’ll totally ruin your experience 😉

    Like

  2. grumpygnome101
    November 25, 2021

    On my first viewing of first episode I was pretty disappointed with the deviations from the book, or atleast how I remembered the book. A second viewing with Mrs. GG so she could catch up and seeing the following two episodes I was able to get over the shock I first felt. I have tried to just enjoy the things I like and not get too bogged down in the changes.

    I can see why so many folks like the new Thom but this version is so much darker than how I saw him in the books. It seems an unnecessary change.

    Liked by 2 people

    • davekay
      November 26, 2021

      I can’t imagine this Thom juggling or doing sudden handstands, that’s for sure!

      Like

  3. John@justneedsvarnish
    November 26, 2021

    I’m thinking that I may just have an advantage in not having read the books! Thanks for the review, Dave! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • davekay
      November 26, 2021

      Yes, there are points where, having read the books first, you might be ‘hang on, that’s not…’ which can be offputting, even though it is only to be expected.

      Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on November 25, 2021 by in Review and tagged , , .
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