So here we are with The Wheel of Time Season finale review. I have to say I was more than a little disappointed by this. So far as a book fan, I have been fairly positive on this opening season and the changes made for the show. However in this Season finale I feel like some of the decisions went too far. Normally, I cover show SPOILERS but no book SPOILERS. However I need to have a small rant for any book fans and will be tagging the section accordingly below.
Here is a good start point. The climax of the opening book in this series I found weird and unsatisfying. My thoughts were, “is that it? Where does the story go from here that could take 14 books more?” The story does improve or I’d never have finished the series within a year. Therefore my one hope from this season finale was that the ending would’ve improved. After now seeing it, I think the showrunners have somehow managed to craft a weirder and more confusing ending than even the books managed and I’m not happy about it.
I think much of the problems with this finale were the absence of Matt Cauthon as actor Barney Harris was not around for filming the final two episodes and was recast for Season 2. For me, everything they gave Perrin to do in this finale, was clearly written for Matt. What connection does Perrin really have with Padan Fain, but Matt, is a different story. Clearly that is the ruby dagger that Fain has in his possession that Matt did have. How did Fain get it? When did Fain get it? And did he just stab Loial with it? I’m guessing Loial gets healed in Season 2 because if they killed off Loial then I’m done with this show already.
However any book fan will know that being stabbed by that blade, and not a normal blade would surely make Loial dead, even the One Power can’t heal that. If Perrin was given Matt’s role to perform, I have to ask what was the plan for Perrin then? Because right now in a full season I think Perrin has said about five words and I’m not getting any sense of the journey his character goes on.
Moiraine Has A Tell?
Ok, so Nynaeave tells Lan she tracked Moiraine and not him, and that he can track her too because she has a tell. Of course the showrunner just made this up to give Lan an excuse to go running through the Blight on his own. There is no tell and if there was, they will never explain it, and that’s bad writing. That’s the writers saying the audience will be too dumb to see through that and going with it. Sorry, but are your average Fantasy fans dumbo’s who can’t follow complicated plots? Nope, by and large I tend to find most fantasy readers pretty intelligent people.
Would it not have been better to keep Lan at Tarwin’s Gap so we could see him fight? I guess the answer is because they decided to have the Trollocs wipe out all of Agelmar’s forces, they needed Lan to be elsewhere. Then why not do the simply thing and have Lan disappear with Moiraine and Rand initially?
The burn out scenes didn’t work for me. For one, why was Lady Amelisa who was too weak to even be trained at the White Tower leading the attack. So there was only three Channellers in all of Fal Dara? That could have easily been improved by having 1-2 of the Green Ajah set up around Fal Dar, since you know, they are the Battle Ajah. But I guess the showrunners decided to have Fal Dara not talking to the White Tower for some reason? Sigh.
However what really burned by breaches as that the books make it clear you cannot burn out whilst drawing from others in a linked circle. Even then, even then, it would have made more sense for Egwene to start burning out and Nynaeve to pull the control from Amelisa and heal Egwene instead of the other way around.
The events of the Eye between Rand and the character (who I will for now simply call Bad Guy, as anymore would be spoilers) were fine. However I have already seen non book readers left in confusion. Did Rand defeat the Dark One, is Moiraine stilled, what actually happened, and where is Rand going? To answer these questions would be getting into SPOILER territory for Season 2 and I’m not going to do that. However this is where I think the books could have been improved on, because those are the feelings I had at the end of the book.
Finally, that teaser for Season 2 when the ships are coming to the Western shore. I’ll name those forces as the Seanchan without explaining anything about them. But why did they make a giant Tsunami to take out one little girl sat on a beach? If not for her, what other reasons were there for this show of power? My only explanation is that someone in the writing team said, ‘hey wouldn’t it be cool if we…’ and were allowed to run with it.
If you were determined to do that, then simply have a garrison stationed with actual troops watching these ships arrive and reacting to it and then the giant wave would have made sense?
Overall, I have to say that earlier in the season I praised the team for improving upon book 1 by adding things in from other books. However I have to say that instead if improving on this climax you made it worse. It also looked cheap, the CGI looked rushed and the script felt like it was all rushed along without too much planning. Perhaps due to Barney Harris’ absence, I don’t know?
My worry in Season 2 is that Showrunner Rafe Judkins see’s all the praise he has been getting, takes his bigger budget and then gets a big ego. ‘Meh, what did Robert Jordan know? I’m going to make this story better than he did.’ Big mistake to ever think like that Rafe, big mistake and I felt like this finale was a glimpse of that. Stick to the books where possible and only deviate when you really have to cut down on characters or budgetary concerns.
I know a lot of books fans hated the changes so much they gave up on Episode 21. However there was a huge amount of good will from some book readers also who were willing to give this series a fighting chance. This finale has caused many of them to give up on The Wheel of Time and that’s not good. So far I have heard non book fans who liked it and some who didn’t. However I’ve yet to come across a book reader who liked this finale and that is extremely worrying for a big season finale.
I loved the cold open with Lews Therin Telamon, and yet I also hoped it would be the books prologue and it was not. That would have worked even better for me. So yeah, I didn’t love much of this one no.
Let us know what you thought of The Wheel of Time Season finale below. But no book SPOILERS please!
Stop reading now if you are a show only fan!
For the Book Fans
This will have book spoilers right through to the end of the series, so please do not scroll past this image if you are a show only fan. Thanks. The Wheel of Time Season finale definitely has some points worth discussing though with other book fans.
BOOK SPOILERS BELOW
I’ll make this fairly short and sweet and just list things that annoyed me.
Why not explain to Rand and Moiraine that this is not the DO and it is in fact Ishy? One of the issues with the book could have easily been resolved by having Rand and Moiraine realize this was not the Last Battle by a long shot. Instead Moiraine just suspects it. And why would Moiraine just let Rand wander off on his own? The we get to Moraine being stilled, that’s surely not true? It seemed to me like Ishy put a shield on her and then tied off the weave so she is blocked from the source. Obviously Moiriane doesn’t know how this works yet. However, surely Rand would see the shield on her, no? Unless Ishy inverted the weaves and Rand can’t see it? Very strange.
Loial stabbed by the ruby dagger? In the books that would be certain death. I hope they haven’t just killed off Loial. My guess is that Nynaeve will appear and heal all of them start of Season 2. However that’s a trope they’ve used twice already this season and it’s time to move on from that. Surely Uno and Ingtar are not dead? Ingtar especially given what we book readers know about him. But killing of one of the five great captains at the end of Season 1 in Agelmar, and also making him a pretty crap captain? I struggled with that one.
The burn out whilst linked, No, that’s just horrible, how the hell are they going to pull off the cleansing then for goodness sake? Are they just going to say Nynaeve is strong enough to handle it? And Padan Fain just seems to normal Darkfriend for me so far. By the time we gets away with the Horn on book 2 Fain is already half mad and corrupted by the dagger. Plus all the lovey dovey crap with Rand and Egwene. Both need to realize they are not meant to be together quicker rather than later because we need to see Rand’s real love interests pretty quickly in Season 2.
I’m going to have to assume that the battle Rand remembers was against Ishy and not the strike at Shayol Ghul. Or, are we not going to have a Shayol Ghul this time around? Because that would suck. Last thing to rant about, why are the Damane wearing ball gags? That’s a bit too much for me. Surely them being on a leash with collars is demeaning enough for goodness sake?
If any book reader want to give their own thoughts on The Wheel of Time Season finale, please do so below, but beware spoilers for the books please. This section was for you guys, but let’s not spoil for this enjoying the show eh?