Thoughts on Wheel of Time Episode Six

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I watched episode six just after episode five, but I didn’t want to post both commentaries at once. A week or so before I watched I saw friends commenting about episode six on Facebook. Some were people who had been more content with the TV version up until now than I have been, but who were dismayed by stuff in this episode. I guess I really am worn out on outrage, because I didn’t feel substantially different about this one than I did about episode five. But do I have some growing feelings of disappointment about the arc of where we are with some character development/relationships at this point in the show.

As ever I attempt to keep my as I watched comments safe to read. I try to allude to events in later books in a way that someone familiar with them will get what I’m talking about without revealing to much to someone who doesn’t. But I am human and I definitely do discuss general world building stuff, so proceed past this point at your own peril. 

Spoiler alert news featureJust as I have given up on being outraged about everything, I have given up on finding new versions of the above graphic.

It’s interesting to see how they’re working to build suspense about things that are not as suspenseful for book readers. Assuming they don’t go radically off-plot. I guess I mean it’s interesting to see a little behind the curtain as it were.

If any of the older characters were to have a flashback to their youth, Siuan is the right one. She makes much of it in the books and does keep it alive in her mind.

A foul mouth and loads of fish sayings! That is core Siuan.

Moiraine in the Hall looks much more as described in the books, wearing the forehead gem jewellery and a fancier dress. I’m not saying she should be done up to the nines for the road trips, but in the book she stands out visually from the others by virtue of her accessories, and finer quality dress. As we learn in this episode, she is of noble birth on top of being an Aes Sedai. (I have just now realized that autocorrect has been removing the first i in Moiraine’s name on me this whole time!)

The Hall looks pretty cool. The Sitters in a circle and the Ajah colours on the floor and the general lofty architecture all work for me visually. 

Wait, what, where’s the Amrylin stole? It would be such an easy visual aid to show who is the Amyrlin (including in crowd scenes) as well as when the Amyrlin is on-duty versus off-duty. (The books do this frequently. When the Amyrlin is speaking informally with friends she’ll often remove the stole to indicate she’s speaking as herself not her role.) Why leave that out? Those weird dress flaps are NOT the stole. (Though the general elaborateness of the dress and hair for the Amyrlin sitting in session looks pretty cool.)

Deia2bThe Amyrlin’s stole as depicted by Richard M. Boye. And a lot closer to as described by Robert Jordan.

The Keeper is also supposed to wear a stole that would be a handy visual aid and perfect for a TV show. In her case it’s the colour of her Ajah. The role is not indicated by the wearing of a weird looking dress. The ringing of the staff is cool though.

I thought the madness the Taint causes for men didn’t increase after gentling since they’re no longer in direct contact with the Source of magic. I guess in this version it does.

Liandrin is finally wearing all of her braids!

“Sis.” “Sis”?!? No.

In the books lots of Aes Sedai travel and spend little time in the Tower, or even are stationed or choose to work outside of it. This is generally done with the agreement of the Amyrlin and their Ajahs, but they’re a pretty independent lot and they don’t all care about politicking in in the Tower.

Siuan is awesome!

Maybe the show is waiting to explain severing for a bit, but since it’s been obliquely referenced a few times it almost seems past time to explain something about getting severed from the Source. (I am half wondering if a few events are going to occur by the end of season one that take place later in the books that would bring up more discussion of these topics.) Skip the rest of this paragraph if you’d rather wait for the show to explain it. Male and female channellers both experience a powerful sense of vitality when they touch the source and channel. That feeling is almost like an addictive drug, and part of learning to use magic is learning to have the self-restraint not to use magic constantly. People can be permanently cut off from the source in two different ways. Other channellers can use magic to disable their ability. This is called gentling for men, and stilling for women. The Amyrlin in this episode is cranky because this was done to Logain in the field instead of after a fair trial as Tower law dictates. The other way people get cut off from the source is burning out, which occurs when someone draws in more of the Power than they can handle. However it happens, the light goes out of the world for a channeler who is severed. Many people fall into a deep enough depression that they just give up and die within a few years. So Logain pretty much is trying for suicide by cop when he taunts the Amyrlin because he’s super depressed and feels life isn’t worth living, not because he’s captive.

There are ways to channel more of the Power than you can normally, through the use of objects called angreal. We’ve seen one onscreen, a little ivory figure that Moiraine grabs (I think in episode one), but they haven’t been explained yet. Basically that’s all they are, amplifiers of magic ability. Though some can amplify it a lot, and IIRC you can combo them.

You should be in Caemlyn Basel Gill. This whole inn should be in Caemlyn. How can you be a good Queen’s man from Tar Valon?

The Healing of Mat was very dramatic scene in the show, but as an event it was kind of abrupt and less significant/challenging by far than in the books where it took a circle of strong Channellers to do it. There’s also an element here that is not addressed on screen but is highly plot significant. Pretty sure they’ll circle back around to that.

I think you’re being overconfident Egwene, Valda didn’t look very dead to me, and you didn’t really have time to check.

I think the Tower would look better if the secondary buildings around it were much shorter.

400px FairviewGoatTower

Is that Siuan’s actual bedchamber or a magic ter’angreal room? Ter’angreal are the other type of “magic item”. Each ter’angreal has a very specific use. Some require that a user channel magic into them to activate, others might work for anyone in the correct circumstance. They range from powerful to frivolous. What I can’t figure out here is if the picture Moiraine uses is a pair and each takes the users to a magically created room, or if the picture transports Moiraine to Siuan’s room. I suspect the former. We see another one in this episode, the Oath Rod Moiraine and Siuan use. That will definitely come up again and probably be explained more clearly in the show.

Oh, now I see why Moraine masked the bond… (The convo was quick in the show. Masking the bond is a way to hide what an Aes Sedai is experiencing/feeling from her Warder, and this scene is one reason that would be done.)

I suspect that this rendezvous is one of the things that upset other book readers. I’m not particularly phased about this relationship in and of itself, but I am left to wonder what happens to the book relationships that occurred with these characters since in both cases involve rather significant plot points and characters.

Things you might have mentioned earlier Moraine!

Still bummed about the excision of Caemlyn. I guess it falls into the category of being too much about characters we would meet only in passing now but much more later, and they didn’t want to risk hiring people who wouldn’t be as committed and might get pulled into other projects and not be available when their roles are more significant.

There’s some properly Jordanian foreshadowing with Moraine and Egwene talking in the Hall.

Nynaeve can say FU with her eyes, that’s some good acting.

This does not fit my mental picture of a Waygate at all. It should look as much like nature as carved stone can. This doesn’t reflect the personality of the Ogier at all.

Perrin’s got you there Mat.

We better see Bela again!

On top of not looking right the Waygate is opened with the Power? So they don’t have anything to do with the Ogier in this version? Then why bring Loial? (Presumably he still knows more about navigating it than anyone else, but why would Moraine know that if they’re not tied to the Ogier?) I am somewhat irked by this whole thing.

Keith hardy UR6DHvW 6eY unsplashPhoto by Keith Hardy on Unsplash. This isn’t quite the book one, but it’s so much better than the show one!

Mat staying behind is probably the other thing that annoyed my fellow book readers. I knew going in that the actor had left the show, though I hadn’t realized until a few weeks ago that he left in the middle of the season. (Which had a protracted shooting due to, you know, so this episode was the end of the first block of shooting.) I also heard he’s been recast, so I don’t think all his plot lines are off the table, but they’re going to have to go even further astray than they already were for the rest of this season.

Now I’m worrying about whether we’re going to see anything of Shienar or if it really is straight to the Eye. They already did some of the stuff that happened in Shienar, but there is other plot, character, and world building stuff that would happen there.

The status of some character relationships and skills is kind of bugging me. A lot of time has been spent on the feelings between Egwene and Rand. (Honestly I feel like more is spent on it in the series than in the books, where they pretty much accept it’s not to be for them soon after leaving the Two Rivers and it’s just slightly sad fond memories or longing for what could have been after that.) A fair amount of time has been spent on Lan and Nynaeve’s attraction. Episode five spent a lot of time on the Warder-Aes Sedai bond, and this one set up Siuan and Moiraine being closer than almost anyone realizes.

But friendship is a big thing in the books, and I feel it has been given short shrift. Lan and Rand haven’t had a chance to build something of a relationship, which relates to Rand starting to learn fighting skills, but talking with Lan also has a lot of effect on his philosophy towards events throughout the whole of the books. We’ve seen Loial on screen, but I didn’t get much sense of he and Rand spending much time together and becoming friends. It’s not as close as the friends since we were kids thing the young people from Two Rivers have going, but there’s a friendship there. A lot of characters have been excised or combined (and would have to be), I’d like to see a bit more time spent on the relationships with the ones that are being featured.

One of the things I think is a bit of a weakness in the books is how there are a half dozen or more fairly young people who end up being super powerful and skilled, and with the wisdom and position to significantly influence world events. (I will have a link to some interesting trivia on this in my thoughts for episode eight.) It strikes me as a little too much even in the books, but Jordan at least takes a lot of effort to set it up as not totally out of the blue. Rand studies the sword and strategy intently, beginning with his travels with Lan at this stage. Egwene gets a lot of training in the use of the Power (and other things), beginning with Moiraine teaching her on the journey. Elayne and Aviendha (currently Sir Not Appearing in Season One characters) have trained from birth for their roles with some highly skilled older and wiser people. Yeah, the Wheel weaves as it will, and yeah some of what happens is prophesied destiny, but the people involved have at least studied and practiced and tried for some time, they’re not just instantly amazing when the moment calls for it. I fear the show is going to go with instantly amazing because destiny since they aren’t doing much to establish that anyone is training.

I guess it falls under not enough time yet, but I’m disappointed that we have had so little information about Ajahs other than the Blue and Red. There’s a reference to the Yellow being for women who specialize in Healing with the Power, but it was brief enough non-book readers might not have caught it. On a personal basis I’m sad we haven’t had any introduction to the Browns, cause I relate to them. I’d love to see Verin, but I doubt that’s going to happen in season one.

2photo pots vT9SSvrAncY unsplash cropPhoto by 2Photo Pots on Unsplash.

4 thoughts on “Thoughts on Wheel of Time Episode Six”

  1. I had worried about Mat through the last two episodes. Do we know if there is a new actor taking his place or are they just removing him entirely from the storyline?

    I also agree there is too little learning and friendship building going on in the episodes. Loial and Rand should have had days alone IN CAMELYN to get to know one another while Mat was sick.

    I did see some reference to the Grey sisters who are peacemakers and people who meditate, but it was so very brief. I’ve only “read” up through Gathering Storm and am fast listening to the last two books right now. I really would like to see how they portray someone so important like Verin.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There is a new actor, I think they’ve already filmed with him. I had heard he was leaving, I initially thought at the end of this season, but a comment on one of my other summaries got me curious so I looked it up and realized he was out the rest of this season. It’s too bad, I liked the guy’s portrayal, and Mat is definitely not my favourite character, so that’s saying something!

      Like

    2. And yeah, I’m champing at the bit to get to see Verin! I was figuring it wouldn’t end up happening this season, alas.

      Like

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