Hello my Wheel of Time fans and curious non-readers. Here is my Non-spoiler review of Amazon’s adaptation Season 1; episode 1-3. Go here if you want to see my last post about things to know before the show. This will be me as a die-hard fan judging the show itself. I will probably follow up after I have seen the whole season as well. What do I think so far??? The short answer is that it’s very good. I never rate books, but for a show, sure….I will at the end.
The best thing about the show so far is that it’s BIG F-Fantasy. They do not try to hide the fact magic is prominent and used in this world. I will also say the magic looks very good. I honestly cannot put into words how I pictured it would look from the books, but it works. The One Power are weaves and the spells are being weaved. The only thing that may confuse those that never read the book is how there are different flows of magic using different elements: Earth, Spirit, Water, Air, and Fire. It is hard to tell exactly how it works being that the weaves are the same color. I have seen a lot of new people think it is Light magic because Moiraine calls on the Light for help. Hopefully that gets ironed out in future episodes.
The characters are aged up compared to the books so they are a bit more mature. Their lives have also advanced some that do make sense in this adaptation that wouldn’t be in the books at their slightly younger ages. I do not agree with how some of these are setup , but not against them either. It will depend on how it all plays out; I do have ideas of how it can work for the better depending on how it is all developed. With that in mind I can tell who all the characters are. For non-readers you would have no way of knowing. So far the characters are quite interesting. I love Moiraine, played by Rosamund Pike, she is amazing; perfect in how she displays the character. Nynaeve and Tam are great too. The rest are doing a good job and I cannot wait to see how Mat is developed this season. I am sad Barney is leaving after season1 because so far he’s owning Mat. Either way I adore the cast as they are playing them so far. My nitpick is the writers are not using “in world” curses or lingo. It seems they will modernize the language more which I will probably learn to get used to.
The Dark One’s creatures so far are great. The Trollocs or mutated beast-men look amazing. Sometimes the CGI aspects stutter a bit in terms of quality, but for a TV show they look very good overall. The practical effects are amazing. The Eyeless Ones or Fades as they have called them a lot in the show are scary. Though we haven’t seen them fight yet; that will be something to see I hope. I have to give props when there’s magic flying around with beast men, and humans fighting it has moments where I’m like oh man they are overdoing it with how much the SFX team can handle, but then it evens out and flows well. Props for managing all that. I think the only thing that looked odd was the dark figure in their dreams. I know who it is, but non-readers do not. I will say it looks a bit like they were not sure where to go with it and didn’t iron out the details. Not too important since he appears in dreams. I have heard new watchers call it the alien thing though.
The flow of the show is fine. There are things added in that take up time that wasn’t part of the books. I have to see how they play out before I judge though. Sometimes I feel like we need to spend more time with characters than we get to, but overall I think it can be okay if the pacing is managed well between all the main characters as they grow. The biggest issue I’m hearing is that non-readers are getting a bit lost in the lore and world. The main plot seems to be understood, but the whys and hows people are struggling with. I can see that easily. I will say Game of Thrones lost people for a bit too so not worried currently. Though this series has way more to teach us and for people to digest. It worries me that people may get frustrated and quit too early. Amazon does have lore mini videos people may not know about that can help too. Check those out.
The cinematography has been anywhere from good to amazing. The sound/music is perfect. The writing is good and interactions flow pretty naturally especially when Moiraine is involved. Rosamund is just brilliant with every word, movement, and action she does. In terms of my nitpicks about the show vs. books that will not be here. I will say as a fantasy show so far it’s a 8/10 for me at this point. I cannot wait for the next episodes already. Cast is great. Special effects team is being pushed hard. Costume designs are working for a fantasy setting without a solid point of reference in our world. I also have to give a nod to the showrunners who are trying to tackle this gigantic piece of source material with a TV show, ambitious. They still have much to prove especially with pacing and character development; they can win me all the way over though.
Also…I feel I need to address that the show is being review bombed by book purists who do not understand adaptation. There is also some misogyny & racism involved that we still have to deal with in today’s world too. Judge for yourself as I do not pay much attention to reviews because of issues like this as shows become less male and Caucasian dominant. However; that actually makes sense in this world. It isn’t “woke” casting or story changes. As a big fan of the books, women are the powerful mages and skin color isn’t really a part of the series except with a few people. Though no I am not saying if you do not like it then you are like these people. Not everything is for everyone. I know many who loved Shadow and Bone, but I started it months ago and still have not finished it…I will… I promise. If it doesn’t click for you; thanks for giving it a try. As for book purists, the only way a play by play of this series could ever work is a very long and expensive anime series. You could also just re-read the books which have flaws in them too that I hope get ironed out in the show actually. Regardless, go watch it and tell me what you think. I will did a spoiler review (of episodes 1-4) on my own blog and that is linked here.