Robert Jordan’s epic saga The Wheel of Time is coming to Amazon Prime Video as a new TV series on November 19, but many long-time fans not only wonder if the show will properly honor the books, but they also wonder if new fans will get the complex plot through the adaptation.
After the extraordinary success of that other 1990s fantasy masterpiece (Game of Thrones on HBO), Amazon decided to pick up The Wheel of Time for a TV series version after NBC, Universal Pictures, and Red Eagle Entertainment all eventually dropped the development ball. It’s no secret that The Wheel of Time books were much more popular than the Game of Thrones books, but the death of Robert Jordan in 2007 made intellectual property acquisitions that much more difficult.
It’s also no secret that Jordan’s books are both intricate and complex. This means that many of its most hardcore fans feel like a TV show might water down what makes the books so great. But one fan at entertainment website Decider says this shouldn’t be a concern.
“There’s a moment in The Wheel of Time Episode 2 that finally sold me hard on Prime Video‘s lavish new fantasy series,” Decider’s Meghan O’Keefe writes. “After running away from their desolated small town, dodging the fangs of vicious monsters called Trollocs, and avoiding capture by a group of religious fundamentalists obsessed with torture, four friends begin numbly singing an old song. It’s called “Weep for Manetheren” and none of them know its meaning. Rand (Josha Stradowski), Egwene (Madeleine Madden), Mat (Barney Harris), and Perrin (Marcus Rutherford) just know it’s comforting. That’s when Rosamund Pike‘s Moraine, a member of the magical order known as Aes Sedai, monologues for three minutes on horseback about the legend of Manetheren.
“It’s an incredibly nerdy moment that I never thought I’d ever see on television,” O’Keefe admits. “An Oscar-nominated actress retells the ancient story of the courage of a fallen people. It’s quiet and powerful and impossible not to hang on her every word.”
At this point, if you’re a new fan to the series, you might be wondering why a site called Post Apocalyptic Media is covering this undoubtedly fantasy story. But without giving away the plot too much, let’s just say that the world is set thousands of years after a cataclysmic event destroyed most of society and the “re-evolution” of humanity took a slightly different turn. Most of the story takes place during a time that would be equivalent to our own history’s Middle Ages, hence the high fantasy setting. But the kicker here is that the whole thing is about to repeat itself with another apocalypse looming in the future.
In a wonderfully timely article by Medium’s Daione Sedai, it’s pointed out that The Wheel of Time series is perfect for our current situation. “In the version of reality that’s backed by science, our world, like Jordan’s, is breaking and it’s too late to stop it. If that’s the case, the only thing that really matters now is how we choose to live through the destruction. Will we rally at the eleventh hour with an all-hands-on-deck effort, however futile, to turn back the apocalypse? Or will we continue the march toward annihilation alone, wrapped in our individual cocoons of illusion and escapism?”
Either way, we have the Amazon Prime series to look forward to on November 19 to help get us through.