Wheel of Time: The Eye of the World   Books Included 
December 24, 2021 4:06 AM - Season 1, Episode 8 - Subscribe

For twenty years, Moiraine has dreamed and worked towards this moment. But she can't stop the Dragon Reborn from seeing the appeal of the Dark.
posted by lazaruslong (41 comments total)
I wasn't expecting this episode for a while yet.

The last battle had some pretty strong legion vibes. I was fully expecting them to break out in song.

I have some questions about how things line up with the books - I don't remember Moiraine's state of being after the eye of the world, and I don't remember Rand walking off alone. I also hope something happens for Loial!

Overall, this was a series that I firmly believed could not be adapted to the screen, and they did a really good job! Very watchable - and I would have watched it even if it were quite bad. Their carpenters need to be in the title credits.
posted by Acari at 8:17 AM on December 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

I just relistened to the audiobook for this, since my memories of the series were pretty vague after all this time, so to answer your book question, Moiraine was definitely not stilled after the Eye, and Rand went back to Shienar with the rest of them.

The stepwell as the visual for the Eye was neat. Not entirely sure how I feel about the Dark One treatment; if Big Evil is just chatting away blithely, it feels much less like an eternal threat. It’s nice that Lan gets to be a more developed character in this version, though - the book version seemed like such a cardboard stoic cutout that I never understood what Nynaeve saw in him.
posted by tautological at 8:37 AM on December 24, 2021 [4 favorites]

We're all thinking that's still Ishmael and not the Dark One, though, right?
posted by lazaruslong at 12:50 PM on December 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

They might just be eliding most of the Forsaken - I honestly don’t think I remember any of them as individuals with the exception of Lanfear and… maybe whichever one he got into a sword fight with in the Heart of Tear? Especially if they’re dumping most of the politics, I’m not sure what there is for most of them to do.
posted by tautological at 1:09 PM on December 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

It has to be one of the forsaken. I'm betting on / hoping for a bigger visit to the past next season where we can meet them.
(I kind of hope there are like 3-5 of them so I don't have to keep a roster and suspect every new character all of the time like in the books).

Also, the seanchan are such dicks.
posted by Acari at 5:12 PM on December 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Ishamael was the only one that got namechecked earlier, it's got to be him. I thought that characterization was great fun. (There were 8 Forsaken statues in Steppin's altar in Ep 5, which seems like a manageable number, though I wouldn't count out there being at least one more hidden.)

My favorite moment was Rand telling Moiraine not to go down the Eye and her just subtly shaking her head "no." So much weight in that little movement.

I really liked this season overall, though this ep had some very odd choices. Going to lay most of the awkwardness at the feet of COVID (no big crowds and no practical Trollocs!) and Mat's actor leaving. So they did the best they reasonably could to wrap up book 1 and set up the next season, which I am hyped for.
posted by Wulfhere at 7:16 PM on December 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

You’re right, I had forgotten about that altar scene with Stepin. Guess we get them after all!
posted by tautological at 8:01 AM on December 25, 2021

God. I am absolutely on team Weeps Brokenly at this point, with cool things mostly being visual or small tweaks and not the plotting.

Better things:

I like that they show the lost age was actually really cool and good for people, there was a loss to the Breaking of the World.
Lan parting with Nynaeve was also way less fedora~y, though I felt like at the time in the books he had that conversation, he gave her the ring of Malkier. However with less political stuff, it also would likely be less important anyway.
The arrow in the eye thing was an amazing visual and I like that they made the Dark One more of a college professor look rather than Amateur D&D night.

Complicated things: I love that Rand is far more consent based about Egwene’s choices, though I’m not sure how I feel about the decision to give him rather than Egwene the choice to turn away from Joiya (happens to her when becoming Accepted). Similarly, I think it makes more sense for Shienar to have the horn hidden rather than it being in a magical tree wonderland; however, I wonder if this means we won’t see Hunters for the Horn.


Killing Loial and stilling Moiraine is wild. The only thing I can think is that it makes her less able to save Siuan from the eventual coup.
posted by corb at 1:09 AM on December 26, 2021 [2 favorites]

I'm not convinced Loial is dead -- he sure got stabbed real good, but we didn't get a death scene. We know that Ogier are magic resistant, so I think he's gonna make a comeback.

I think Moiraine being stilled might be so that they can move up Nynaeve's discovery of how to heal stilling from much later with Logain to next season (maybe a mid season big beat) with her healing Moiraine.

I LOVE that they actually showed the Age of Legends. In the books we get a sense of the overall technology level (hoverflies == helicopters) but to my memory it's really vague. I think Mat's League of a Thousand General Brain Ghosts may have mentioned wanting some tech from that age for a battle (?) but we don't get much else. Rand in Rhuidean I think, too.

Just some theories!
posted by lazaruslong at 6:11 AM on December 26, 2021

Oh! Also I'm only like....85% sure that Moiraine was stilled. The animation when Shai'Ishmael does it looked pretty similar to the shield used on Logaine earlier, and after he does it, he says something like "to be able to sense the power and not touch it..."

I can't recall if stilled women were still able to sense the power? Maybe so?

If she isn't stilled, it may just be that Shai'Ishmael tied off the weave. I don't think the Aes Sedai in this age have learned to tie off weaves yet, so she might think she was stilled but in reality is just shielded with tied weaves.
posted by lazaruslong at 6:13 AM on December 26, 2021

Between Loial, Moiraine, and Nynaeve right after the burnout, I half thought we were going to get an early introduction to balefire and just reset.
posted by Nothing at 6:16 AM on December 26, 2021 [2 favorites]

Stilled women can sense the power, I am pretty sure. I also agree that there are a lot of seemingly-dead characters that Nynaeve will probably heal in ep 1 season 2.

My elaborate theory of next season is somewhat thrown by the change to Rand and Moraine, but I gotta say, I am in. This is great.
posted by restless_nomad at 12:38 PM on December 26, 2021 [1 favorite]

Loial sure isn't dead, just stabbded good. He'll be fine, just needs to walk it off.

Nynaeve, on the other hand... she should be dead?
I.. didn't recall Egwene being able to literally bring people back to life being a book thing?
posted by coriolisdave at 5:52 PM on December 26, 2021 [2 favorites]

I was watching those crossbow really closely, they seemed to be able to be reloaded pretty fast, but that might be one thing that'll not make it to the show.

It got a bit better by the end of the season, but it's a bit meh, but it might just be because I'm comparing to the latter season GOT production values which were something. 3

Will Elayne be in S02?
posted by WaterAndPixels at 9:01 PM on December 26, 2021 [1 favorite]

Okay, 3+5 forsaken. Deal.

Loial had better survive!
And as for Moiraine, I think either option (stilled or shielded with a tied off weave) presents good opportunities for next season.
I personally hope it's a tied weave. That way stilling can still be terrifying, and someone can learn about how to do persistent magic.
Otherwise, though, I guess we can have Rand learning how to channel from our boy Logain.
posted by Acari at 7:13 AM on December 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

Not sure what the rules about spoilers are in these threads, but the credits reveal the answer about whether the person we’re seeing is Ishamael or a personification of the Dark One.
posted by schmod at 4:28 PM on December 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

I just finished book 2 before watching this ep. Is this the last ep in the season? Well, either way, I think Egwene and Nynaeve and Min will go to Tar Valon, then Liandrin will send them to Tomen Head just like in the books. What a simple plot thread. The men however have a much more complicated story - but much of it is waiting around, double-plotting, and then thousand-league-booting across the continent.

So, I think Perrin and Hurin will be sent with Ingtar to find the horn. Or perhaps it will be Perrin's time to shine, and he will replace Hurin. With Loial. Rand will fall asleep by a rock, meet Selene in the teleport land, ambush Padden Fain, lose the horn, meet Thom (and lose him again), then meet up with Perrin, take the warp stone to Tomen Head, etc.

I quite enjoyed Cairhien but honestly I think they will skip that whole section.
posted by rebent at 7:28 PM on December 27, 2021 [2 favorites]

Interesting. I had forgotten the Selene subplot, and I think that makes a lot of sense for what they're doing with Rand. My pet theory is that they're going to move the breaking of the White Tower up a book or so and it'll happen when Egwene and Nynaeve are in the tower the first time, and so that will look different. (I have big questions about how/if they're going to handle the Egwene-enslaved subplot) My theory is predicated on the fact that books 2 and 3 are structurally identical, and you could have everyone end up in Tear rather than Toman Head by the end of the season and compress a lot of stuff that is extremely compressible.

That said, I still have no idea what they're doing with Moiraine and so I don't have as much faith in my theory as I did at the end of ep 7.
posted by restless_nomad at 7:12 AM on December 28, 2021 [2 favorites]

Also, just for fun, my theory about which Forsaken we see (assuming they get to make the whole 8ish-season series) - Ishamael for sure (I have not checked the credits but I do remember the character description for Elan Morin Tedronai and I am very confident that's who we have met), Lanfear, obvs, Moghedien unless they go a really different direction with the Three Women plotline, likely Rahvin, briefly, also likely Asmodean, briefly. The remaining three could be a couple different ones, but Balthamel/Aginor could be comfortably combined if needed, and probably Demandred/Sammael. Drop Be'lal entirely (minor villain, no recurrences), drop Graendal, pick one of Mesaana and Semirhage, and there's your 8 out of 13. (Alternately, drop both Balthamel and Aginor and keep both Mesaana and Semirhage, depending on exactly what they're doing later on. I don't know that the Tweedledum and Tweedledee resurrected pair is really worth keeping but my memories of their specific acts has grown hazy.)
posted by restless_nomad at 8:05 AM on December 28, 2021 [2 favorites]

The more that I think about it, the more that I don’t understand what’s going on with Moiraine.

Putting aside whether or not she’s been stilled, why did she just let Rand go? No pearls of wisdom before he departed? No attempts to let him stay? Why didn’t she refuse to grant his ridiculous wish to tell his friends that he died?

I guess it’s necessary for whatever plot direction the writers want to take, but it feels weak and unexplained.
posted by schmod at 8:57 AM on December 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

She just asked him to do a very big thing and possibly die. He agreed and did the best job he could.

He doesn't want to go insane and kill his loved ones, and wants to just disappear. Working under the assumption that his job is done, that seems like it's entirely his business.
posted by Acari at 2:02 PM on December 28, 2021

But she can't actually tell his friends that he died if they ask directly, so the group really needs to work on recruiting like David Mitchell or someone good at ferreting out evasiveness.
posted by Acari at 2:04 PM on December 28, 2021

Well in the books, oaths sworn on the oath rod are removed by stilling, which means both that Moiraine can now lie and can rush to her girlfriend's aid without paperwork. I suspect that might be relevant, but I really don't know.
posted by restless_nomad at 2:54 PM on December 28, 2021 [3 favorites]

quite enjoyed Cairhien but honestly I think they will skip that whole section

Yeah, I really loved the political plotting but I am coming to understand that they really can’t show it to us without introducing a whole new range of characters.

I am honestly kind of disappointed that 8 episodes is the new cool thing for prestige TV, this really would be better handled I think with 15 or so.
posted by corb at 3:16 PM on December 28, 2021 [4 favorites]

I am honestly kind of disappointed that 8 episodes is the new cool thing for prestige TV, this really would be better handled I think with 15 or so.
they should just add the clock from 24 to the beginning and end of every high-budget show on Netflix/Amazon, because that’s what the frantic pacing is making everything feel like.
posted by schmod at 4:35 PM on December 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

I’d guess Moraine letting Rand go and disappear is foreshadowing of what’ll happen at the last battle, this is pretty much how the books end.

I’d definitely be in for a 24 episodes per season serie if they can work more of the plot in. But if you’re trying to sell subscriptions to your service it might not really help you to have so much more episodes and it costs three times as much. On TV more episodes is more commercial breaks and that was were you got your money.

I wonder how the serie feels to somebody who hasn’t read the books, there’s a definite lack of surprise for me and the constant clash of what I imagined vs what I’m seeing.
posted by WaterAndPixels at 4:47 PM on December 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

My theory is Rand is headed for the Aiel Waste. Next season he's gonna kick it with Avienda and Asmodean and end up in Rhuidean. So I guess Nynaeve and Egwene go to the White Tower and Perrin and Mat? and Loial (and Moiraine and Lan?) chase after Fain and the horn.

Just like in the book, everyone is assuming Ishamael is the Dark One. You don't really even get a sense of who the Forsaken are until book 2, and I think that will be true in Season 2 as well.

Calling Lews Therin "the Dragon Reborn" is weird even if it's technically true. Imagine being the one soul that perpetually fucks up and/or fixes the world every time you're reborn. Looking forward to him starting to haunt and/or possess Rand.

8 episodes is not long enough to properly tell this story, at least not the way they did. They already made big cuts and it still wasn't enough to make the season feel rushed. Just two more episodes worth of cheaper character development scenes would have gone a long way.

The Seanchan: Fuck that little girl in particular.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:39 PM on December 29, 2021

Calling Lews Therin "the Dragon Reborn" is weird even if it's technically true. Imagine being the one soul that perpetually fucks up and/or fixes the world every time you're reborn.

Wasn't Lews Therin just... The Dragon?
(First of his name, King of the Vandals and the First Blem?)
posted by coriolisdave at 10:02 PM on December 29, 2021

Depends on how seriously you take the idea that the show is a different turning of the Wheel than the books.
posted by restless_nomad at 5:38 AM on December 30, 2021 [1 favorite]

I think the show was a little more explicit that Lews Therin was not the first Dragon. I don’t remember that at all from the books, and it seems like one of the few details that I’d have remembered.

All of this has happened before, and will happen again.

Rand sulks off into woods, and starts channeling to build a cylon…
posted by schmod at 3:04 PM on December 30, 2021

I don't believe we ever find out where the "Dragon" title comes from, in the books, largely because we don't get much if any Age of Legends POV and the few people who might know are... busy. And mostly evil.
posted by restless_nomad at 5:03 AM on December 31, 2021 [1 favorite]

in the books, each time the dragon is reborn, it is given the power to destroy the world or remake it for the better. So, Lews was the most recent dragon reborn.
posted by rebent at 7:25 PM on January 1, 2022 [1 favorite]

Finally caught up on this. Some interesting choices and departures from the books...

-"all four of them are connected" - the books continually came back to Mat, Perrin and Rand needing each other in various ways; maybe this iteration is about Nynaeve, Egwene, Perrin and Rand, leaving Mat aside? Maybe the recasting means that Mat's role will be diminished.

-Feels like they've pushed Perrin & Aram's arcs together somewhat; Perrin is struggling with the Way of the Leaf and watched Loial get hurt/killed. I don't know, I found Perrin rather tedious in the books and I'm not too impressed with show Perrin at this point either.

-the comment Fain made about some of them maybe turning to the Dark has me wondering about Egwene bringing Nynaeve back from dead (or close to it); the Dark One is also known as the Lord of the Grave , which is why he could bring the Forsaken back - did he just spin one of the Forsaken back out into the world, or are we just seeing the wonder girls do amazing and unbelievable things with the Power already?

-The Blight was not at all how I pictured it. Really enjoyed the fact that the Dark One/Ishmael was more about conversation than anything else; he doesn't need to do violence - he has minions for that.
posted by nubs at 9:05 AM on January 4, 2022 [3 favorites]

-The Blight was not at all how I pictured it. Really enjoyed the fact that the Dark One/Ishmael was more about conversation than anything else; he doesn't need to do violence - he has minions for that.

I'll be honest, I was 100% picturing The Plaguelands from World of Warcraft.

the comment Fain made about some of them maybe turning to the Dark

Yeah, I noticed they showed Mat when they said this, honestly having one of the team working for the dark would be an interesting development and pretty different to how the books play out, where folks aren't always working together but rarely directly oppose each other. Maybe Mat will keep toying with the dark until he gets his Balefire resurrection and decides to come back to the light for good.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 11:40 AM on January 4, 2022 [1 favorite]

If Moiraine was stilled then it isn't as if she could have stopped Rand anyway.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:27 AM on February 28, 2022

After this episode I read the books. Took a bit longer than I expected (15 books in 6 months, roughly)

It was good! I hope they shorten it for the TV show, though. Unless... They double it? I hope they can make it work!
posted by rebent at 3:22 PM on June 14, 2022 [2 favorites]

Was this your full time job somehow??
It took me from elementary school until middle age!
posted by Acari at 8:42 PM on June 15, 2022

Ha! Not a full time job, but I sure didn't make much progress with most my other hobbies. Many nugs were smoked, many dishes went unwashed.

Reading it all in one go was really delightful. The series got much better as it went along, especially once the new author started helping out.

I noticed early on that the original author had fascinating technique for moving the story forward - no matter the situation, everything was described in the negative - about how things could have been better. Or, every character was expecting that something bad would happen, or that they were the best person in the room. POV characters were constantly "tricked" by the narrative, with the narrator talking about how foolish they were for expecting a friend to lie to them, or how foolish they were for not seeing through their friends' lies! Nobody could do anything right except for the Chosen - which made them a constant favorite for me.

Also - holy hell, the corporal punishment. Aes Sedai whipping each other into submission. Aiel torturing students into submission. Sexuality in total was treated horribly. And slavery/servitude was treated like "Oh, this might work if people wanted it to..."
posted by rebent at 6:53 AM on June 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

The series got much better as it went along

This is not the usual reaction to the books.
posted by nubs at 8:46 AM on June 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

books 1 and 2 were like "Oh, this is an interesting story." Books 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 were like "my gooodddddd come onnnnnn". books 10, 11, 12 were like "Oh, ok, I think I see what he's doing now." and books 14, 15, and 16 had help from a better writer.
posted by rebent at 10:28 AM on June 16, 2022 [2 favorites]

Yeah that was my experience as well. It’s not an uncommon characterization.

The only time I got through them all been close to that fast was on audiobook while doing other stuff too. Very impressive!
posted by lazaruslong at 11:41 AM on June 16, 2022

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