Look what’s rolled into town! Why, it’s the first trailer (finally) for Amazon’s much-anticipated fantasy television series The Wheel of Time. It’s later than we expected, given the show is currently set to premiere on November 19, but was it worth the wait?
Based on Robert Jordan’s massive, best-selling, 15-book fantasy series (the last few of which were co-written by author Brandon Sanderson after Jordan’s death in 2007), The Wheel of Time serves as the “connective tissue between Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones,” as showrunner Rafe Judkins put it at San Diego Comic-Con. We have been anxiously anticipating the trailer after a few very tiny teases and the first images being released just earlier this month. Well, what are you waiting for? Give it a watch!
The trailer delves into the bare bones of The Wheel of Time’s giant, sprawling tale: In a fantasy world where only women called Aes Sedai are allowed to use magic, the powerful sorcerer Moiraine (played by Rosamund Pike) comes across three boys and two girls — Rand al’Thor (Josha Stradowski), Mat Cauthon (Barney Harris), Perrin Aybara (Marcus Rutherfort), Nynaeve al’Meara (Zoë Robins), Egwene al’Vere (Madeleine Madden) — one of whom she suspects might be the reincarnation of the legendary Dragon, an entity so powerful he could destroy the world.
If you’re a lover of the books, you’ve likely immediately noted a discrepancy in the show. Originally, only the three male characters were seen as candidates to be the magic-wielding Dragon Reborn, as a sort of yin to the Aes Sedai’s yang. But the official synopsis makes it sound like Nyneave and Egwene are contenders as well: “Set in a sprawling, epic world where magic exists and only certain women are allowed to access it, the story follows Moiraine (Rosamund Pike), a member of the incredibly powerful all-female organisation called the Aes Sedai, as she arrives in the small town of Two Rivers. There, she embarks on a dangerous, world-spanning journey with five young men and women, one of whom is prophesied to be the Dragon Reborn, who will either save or destroy humanity.”
The trailer also leans heavily into the Aes Sedai as wholly virtuous protectors of the world. In the books, while the Aes Sedai certainly saw themselves as protectors of the world, in reality, they were callous, supercilious, and often misandric.
I’m not saying they need to be perfect angels in the TV series, but let’s just say Jordan’s portrayal of female characters left plenty of room for improvement, of which hopefully the show has taken advantage. As for the look of the show, the clips are so brief it’s hard to get a good read on it. The vivid colours are wonderful and the CG looks great, but some of the sets…well, they look very much like studio sets to me, as opposed to the beautiful, on-location scenes of Game of Thrones. Still, it’s worth remembering Amazon has liked what it’s seen of The Wheel of Time so much that it’s already filming a second season.
That’s good news for the rest of the show’s giant cast, which includes (takes a deep breath): Daniel Henney as al’Lan Mandragoran, Michael McElhatton as Tam al’Thor, Álvaro Morte as Logain Ablar, Priyanka Bose as Alanna Mosvani, Jennifer Cheon Garcia as Leane Sharif, Kate Fleetwood as Liandrin Guirale, Sophie Okonedo as Siuan Sanche, Kae Alexander as Min Farshaw, Clare Perkins as Kerene Nagashi, Orphan Black’s Maria Doyle Kennedy as Illa, and so, so, so many more. Please offer your effusive praise/constructive criticism/infuriated rants about the trailer in the comments. And, uh, don’t forget there’s a separate Wheel of Time movie trilogy also in the works now…
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