Wheel of Time: Dark Along the Ways   Books Included 
December 20, 2021 12:45 AM - Season 1, Episode 7 - Subscribe

Moiraine and her charges are diverted from their path by an unexpected encounter, revealing Moiraine's true goal, Lan's past, the fractures that have grown in the group, and the identity of the Dragon Reborn.
posted by lazaruslong (14 comments total)
 
A lot of interesting divergences from the books in this episode, notably Min finally shows up but in a different place, and seeing some different things and some similar things. What's up with that baby? I don't recall Rand ever reproducing.

The Ways were done dirty, IMO. Suitably dark and decayed in a magical way, but nothing about the architecture looked like something that had once been beautiful. I dislike that channeling is required to open a Waygate, in the books the Ways were pretty obviously based on the mines of Moria right down to hidden doors that require the right knowledge to open. Machin Shin also not great, but I did welcome the chance at getting some interiority from the characters.

Fast-tracking Nynaeve and Lan is certainly a choice. As I recall she didn't have much to do until she starts training as an Aes Sedai, but I suppose there's not much reason why it can't be moved up, and it adds a nice romance subplot. It's certainly better than the dumb Rand/Egwene/Perrin love triangle.

Dunno how I feel about Rand admitting he's the Dragon Reborn. In the books it was always extremely obvious despite the fact he doesn't fully admit it to himself until book 3. This is better than him spending two books going "Naw it couldn't be me, despite the multiple amazing things I have done and the prophecies I've fulfilled." At the same time, have they even mentioned that his parentage on the slopes of Dragonmount matters? They show that actually he's been the one channeling the One Power, but have they done anything to differentiate him from any other False Dragon?
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 7:23 AM on December 20, 2021 [2 favorites]


What's up with that baby? I don't recall Rand ever reproducing.

Haha perhaps you blocked that out since the plotline was...not great? Elayne got pregnant with Rand's babies (twins) and trusted Min's viewing of them to mean that Elayne was more or less impervious to all harm until she gave birth.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:07 AM on December 20, 2021 [4 favorites]


have they done anything to differentiate him from any other False Dragon?
No. Apart from... having him be a main character. And being born in unusual circumstances to the world's most impressive mom.
I think it's interesting to hear people say "oh - Rand is the bad guy!". Not a bad interpretation of events, I guess.

I'm most interested in Min. She was one of my favourites and I don't really remember details. I think there was a very sloooow burn in the books that Rand was oblivious of? I didn't expect to see her so soon! It makes me want to see Aviendha ASAP. Maybe just totally unexplained scenes of her searching for the (whatever his title was for the aiel - chief of chiefs?) and quipping about soft wetlanders.
posted by Acari at 10:41 AM on December 20, 2021 [1 favorite]


Min shows up much earlier in the books - she meets up with the group in Baerlon, before the whole debacle in Shadar Logoth. She subsequently turns back up in book 2 at the White Tower, I think.

Min is a slow burn, to be sure, but then Rand is pretty much oblivious about women throughout the books - Perrin and Mat are much better with women than Rand. Though Perrin is pretty sure that Rand and Mat are better with women. And Mat, well, Mat just wants a pretty girl to dangle on his knee but they are so complicated!

I think it's interesting to hear people say "oh - Rand is the bad guy!" Not a bad interpretation of events, I guess.

I mean, he kind of is - even if he saves the world from the Dark One, he still causes massive upheaval in most places and changes the world; it's not a physical breaking, but certainly a societal one in many places. Even the Aiel dread him, knowing that he will only save a remnant of a remnant.
posted by nubs at 2:07 PM on December 20, 2021 [2 favorites]


I think this episode basically broke me.

First, Machin Shin as basically a mildly bad day on Twitter was an unusual choice. I am frustrated at Nynaeve being able to do, at this point in the story, insanely amazing shit - I'm not sure where they're going to go with her magic moving forward and it feels like it kind of kills the progression. I'm assuming it's there just to make the Rand-is-the-dragon thing a shock reveal?

In terms of Lan and Nynaeve getting together earlier, it's the CW so they were always going to sex it up, and honestly, I feel like Lan's "m'lady i would never dishonor you with the torment of my death" was a little much even for the 90s and would absolutely get him tossed out a window now. I do feel like it was a huge part of the character, but also, Lan through modern eyes would have so many red flags it's unreal.


The Perrin-Egwene-Rand love triangle honestly makes me want to scream though. First, it makes Perrin worse and his killing of Laila worse. The idea that he was secretly pining for Egwene this whole time and kind of didn't want to be married to his actual wife is just gross, and it also takes away the great friendship comraderie that he and Egwene built out on their own. I understand that it may have been an attempt to fill in for things that would have been filled in by Mat, who I understood left filming by this point, but it's still just really upsetting.

I think one thing that I really am realizing, especially after this episode, is that they're just not really going to be doing much of the actual politicking, which is disappointing because that's pretty much my favorite part.

I'm also really wondering what they're doing with Min, especially in terms of the casting. The actress who plays her is about ten years older than the actor who plays Rand. I'm worried they're either going to kill the romance there entirely, or that she'll be given short shrift as a result.
posted by corb at 1:08 AM on December 21, 2021 [2 favorites]


The Perrin-Egwene-Rand love triangle honestly makes me want to scream though. First, it makes Perrin worse and his killing of Laila worse. The idea that he was secretly pining for Egwene this whole time and kind of didn't want to be married to his actual wife is just gross, and it also takes away the great friendship comraderie that he and Egwene built out on their own. I understand that it may have been an attempt to fill in for things that would have been filled in by Mat, who I understood left filming by this point, but it's still just really upsetting.

Huh. Maybe I missed something entirely (which would not be too surprising, the edibles here in Holland are great) but I didn't get the sense that there actually is a love triangle. Instead, it was just this version of Machin Shin sowing doubt among the fellowship, and Nynaeve making an assumption or misjudgement and speaking without thinking. I took Perrin's pushback of "The only woman I've ever loved is my wife" to be the honest truth.
posted by lazaruslong at 3:17 AM on December 21, 2021 [6 favorites]


Regarding Min and the romance there, yeah, I'm really interested to see what they do with all three of Rand's harem. I have a really hard time seeing how they could make the Elayne / Min / Aviendah / Rand quad work for the audience.
posted by lazaruslong at 3:19 AM on December 21, 2021 [1 favorite]


I am frustrated at Nynaeve being able to do, at this point in the story, insanely amazing shit

Except she has no control over it, which tracks with the books. I'm not crazy about it, but I get what they're doing. Honestly, for somebody who hasn't read the books I'd think this makes sense: she loses control of her temper and just blows up in a supernova of the One Power. If you think about her first encounter with the Seanchan, it's extremely similar.

I will say that I was a bit disappointed in Machin Shin, but I think what I had pictured would be difficult to portray cinematically. Using it as an opportunity for some interior dialog feels like a wise storytelling choice.

The opening scene was baller as hell. I'm very much on board with this show, even as it continues to depart pretty significantly from the books. My biggest concern is the treatment of Padan Fain. They're letting the pre-show recaps do a TON of heavy lifting on him - basically, he was in the Two Rivers during the attack on Bel Tine - and we're just not getting anything else.
posted by rocketman at 6:57 AM on December 21, 2021 [3 favorites]


On the other hand, Nynaeve does tug on her braid in this episode, so it's impossible to say if it's bad or not.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 11:13 AM on December 21, 2021 [5 favorites]


The Ways looked like if the Hobbit movie came with a hex grid.
posted by tautological at 8:25 PM on December 21, 2021 [2 favorites]


I have a really hard time seeing how they could make the Elayne / Min / Aviendah / Rand quad work for the audience.

Yeah, I think it will be really hard to do when you don't get the internal monologuing.

Does anyone know by the way if we'll get the next episode this week, or because of the holiday it's pushed to next?
posted by corb at 1:57 PM on December 23, 2021 [1 favorite]


99% certain we get it today!! I’m so excited!
posted by lazaruslong at 9:49 PM on December 23, 2021 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure they just borrowed the hell set from Lucifer for the Ways
posted by Jacen at 2:39 AM on December 27, 2021


So, hmm, did they just wholesale write Nat out of the last two episodes because Barney Harris wouldn’t get vaccinated? I read the role has been recast and everyone is being very tight-lipped but the timing is suspicious.
posted by bq at 10:20 AM on March 28


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