Amazon’s The Wheel of Time is just another example where the central story gets lost amidst overwhelming world-building. We haven’t read the books, but the show seems like a simplified version of The Lord of the Rings. We are not saying that the show is heavily inspired by Tolkien’s writing, but maybe the one who published it first won the battle. Similar to LOTR, the entire conflict is to stop the evil known as the Dark One. In this universe, there are humans, Orc-like creatures, Trollocs, and sorcerers (both good and evil) who are hunting for a prophesied individual, “The Dragon Reborn,” who will have the power to stop the Dark One. We are just glad that the Dragon reborn is not a ring and is certainly a human who can differentiate between good and evil, and their decision will decide the fate of the world. So, if you have seen the show in the past and have blurred memories of the events of Season 1, here is a detailed recap of The Wheel of Time. We hope it will give you enough information to catch Season 2 about to stream on Prime Video soon enough.
The hunt begins
The screen opens with a voiceover of Moiraine Damodred because she is the A-list star in the show. Through her ambiguous words, we find out that a “dragon” is born every three thousand years, and the last one, Lews Therin Telamon, broke the world in his arrogance and sent it back a thousand years. We are finally introduced to Lews Therin in episode 8, where he tries to convince Latra Posae Decume, head of Aes Sedai, to help him capture the Dark Age. Through their conversation, we perceive that Lews was ignorant and arrogant enough to think he could cage evil forever, but his plan didn’t work out, which probably broke the world, and here we are back in the Middle Ages, riding horses and playing with bows and arrows.
As per the show, Aes Sedai is a powerful sect led by women who can harness the “One Power” and use it to “channel.” Basically, through channeling, the women can perform magic, which generally involves elements of nature. The Aes Sedai is divided into three broad Ajah, each represented by a different color. Rosamund Pike’s character belongs to Blue Ajah, the spy who gathers information about incoming threats. But Moiraine is on a secret mission of her own. She has heard of the return of the “dragon” and wants to secure the child before the darkness does.
Moiraine and her protector, Lan Mandragoran, also known as Warder, arrive at a small village during the celebration of Bel Tine. Upon their arrival, we are introduced to the five main characters of the show. The first one is Egwene, who wants to become Aes Sedai later in the show but is grappling with her decision throughout. The second one is Nynaeve, who is called the Wisdom and has healing powers. She goes on to become one of the most powerful channelers in a thousand years, but Nynaeve is distrustful of Aes Sedai, especially Moiraine. She falls in love with Lan by the end of Season 1, but she knows that their relationship will have no future, as Wisdom cannot marry or start a family.
The third one, Rand al’Thor, is the most important character and is deemed the protagonist of the show. He lives with his father, Tam, in a small cabin in the mountains, and is in love with Egwene. Their relationship takes a rough turn when Egwene shares her decision to become a Wisdom, which means she cannot start a family with Rand. He also finds out that his real mother died in a battle, and the person he is staying with is not his real father. Basically, there are too many conflicts in Rand’s character arc that help him transform into a better person.
The fourth one is Perrin Aybara, who accidentally kills his wife during the Trolloc attacks that happen soon after Moiraine’s arrival in the village. Perrin struggles with the loss and guilt of killing his own wife throughout Season 1. He is secretly in love with Egwene, as suggested by the show. Last but not least, a petty thief and gambler named Mat Cauthon, who doesn’t mind stealing from the dead; his only purpose in life is to look after his two preteen sisters, as he is certain that his womanizer father and disillusioned mother won’t be able to look after the family.
Journey to the White Tower
As Moiraine arrives looking for the “Dragon Reborn,” an army of Trollocs led by The Fade (the Dark One’s faceless creatures) attack the village. Moiraine uses her powers to stop the first wave, but she gets heavily wounded in the battle. The next day, she asks the four coming-of-age individuals, Mat, Rand, Egwene, and Perrin, to travel to the White Tower, the stronghold of Aes Sedai, where they will be safe from all threats. Without much choice in their hands, the teenagers agree to follow Moiraine.
A fierce wave of Trollocs chases Moiraine and her group as they run for the White Tower. They seek shelter in a deserted ghost city called Shadar Logoth, where a dark shadow tries to consume the new visitors. The group tries to get away from the darkness and, in the process, gets separated from each other, promising to regroup at the White Tower. Later on, Moiraine is infected with Trolloc poison and is on the verge of death when Nynaeve, who was abducted by one of the Trolloc during the attack, ends up tracking Moiraine and helping her heal the infectious wound.
As Moiraine and Lan arrive at the Aes Sedai camp, they get to know about a false “Dragon Reborn” named Logain Ablar, who has the ability to channel the One Power. It is established in the show that any male who tries to draw Power from the One Power ends up falling into a pit of madness. In simple words, they get delusional, start to hurt people around them, and thus, need to be cut off from the power source.
The story runs pretty fast after the sixth episode of The Wheel of Time. The group reassembles at the White Tower, where we are introduced to Siuan Sanche, Moiraine’s secret lover and the one who sits on the Amyrlin Seat, meaning she is the chosen leader of Aes Sedai. Moiraine informs her lover that she has found the real Dragon Reborn and needs to take them to the Dark One’s prison, The Eye of the World, so that they can stop him from spreading his powers for the next three thousand years. However, Moiraine is still not sure which of the five individuals is the real Dragon, so she takes a chance on all five of them. The catch here is that anyone who comes in between the Dark One and the Dragon will perish, meaning that except for the Dragon, everyone else is going to die. While the conflict weighs on Moiraine’s heart, she is ready to make the sacrifice to protect the world from a more devastating threat. So, in an episode that really elevates the crescendo of the entire show, Moiraine requests that Siuan send her into exile and never allow her to return until she is called back by the Amyrlin Seat.
Moiraine and the group assemble near the Waygate, which is an ancient pathway that can minimize their route to the Dark One’s prison. The group steps inside the gate, except for Mat, who chooses to remain behind. At this point, even Moiraine is a bit certain that Mat is not the Dragon, so she doesn’t mind leaving him behind. The group makes the leap and ends up near the city of Fal Dara, the closest human resident from the Blight, the rot that spreads from the Dark One’s Prison and consumes everything in its path.
Fall of Fal Dara
Lan Mandragoran meets some old friends in the city, and through the entire conversation, we find out that Lan belonged to a line of royals whose kingdom was destroyed by the Dark One’s Blight, and therefore, he came to be known as the king without a kingdom. Rand also meets a sorcerer in the city who reveals to him his lineage, which makes Rand certain that he is the one Moiraine has been looking for, and without further ado, he reveals his true identity to her so that his friends don’t have to face the Dark One and die in the battle.
Moiraine secretly escapes to the Dark One’s Prison with Rand while an army of Trollocs and Fade attack Fal Dara and kill almost everyone except for our heroes, who, as usual, survive the attack. Inside The Eye of the World, Rand finally comes across his ultimate nemesis, who traps him into a dream where he imagines a peaceful life with Egwene like he had always wanted. However, he suddenly comes to the conclusion that it was the life Rand wanted and that it wasn’t the choice that Egwene might have made, and therefore, he has no right to impose his own decisions on other people. It is the work of evil to tame people and make them do things against their will, and Rand soon realizes that he cannot assert his wish over someone’s autonomy for his own happiness. With this transformation, Rand is finally able to come out of the Dark One’s illusions and start channeling into a sa’angreal that boosts his Power a thousand folds and helps him defeat the Dark One momentarily.
The Aftermath of the Battle
As established before in the series, the men who try to channel One Power often lose their minds and start to hurt the people they love. Our hero, too, comes to that realization and, therefore, seeks one last favor from Moiraine to tell the world that he died in the battle against the Dark One. Moiraine, being an Aes Sedai and bound by an oath, cannot lie, but she manages to fulfill Rand’s last wish. However, we soon find out that the Dark One has corrupted Moiraine’s body, and she cannot touch the source, or it may have some really devastating effect that is not revealed by the end of the season. Additionally, Moiraine informs Lan that this wasn’t the last battle with the evil one but just the beginning, and we are not surprised as there is an entire series of books out there, and the character needs to fight evil, or they’ll be enjoying beer in the tavern.
The Curious Case of Padan Fain
Just when we’re about to give up hope that the show will give us an intriguing traitor, Padan Fain makes his grand entrance. He has been spying on the potential Dragon Reborn for a long time and has also made acquaintances with Mat because he was an easy target. We believe it was Fain who informed the Fades about the arrival of Moiraine in the village, which is why the army showed up so soon and attacked the village in order to kidnap the chosen ones and bring them to the Dark One. Additionally, the man had been following these five kids throughout their journey to the White Tower and somehow arrived at Fal Dara, following their lead.
But why did Fades attack Fal Dara? We believe the Dark Ones have been trying to secure the Horn of Bloody Valere. It is a special artifact that needs to be blown during the last battle and will revive the heroes of the past who will aid the Dragon against evil. But Fain has stolen it from the King’s Chamber, therefore achieving an advantage in the battle to come. Additionally, Fain says that all five children are the focal points of the wheel, which means each one of them will play an important role in the upcoming season, and their choices will shape the narrative. As he speaks of darkness and balance in the world, the scene shifts to Mat, implying that he joins the dark forces in an upcoming season, thereby betraying his own friends. The first season of The Wheel of Time ended on a cliffhanger without revealing the fate of Moiraine’s five individuals, which is most likely going to be the central conflict of the second season. Which side will these children choose: the good or the evil? Their choices can either make the world or break it again. Will Moiraine be able to guide them toward the right path? We will find out soon enough.