Now that the first three episodes of Amazon’s adaptation of this material are out, to mixed reviews, I think we should go back to the source material.
The Eye of the World was a great introduction to this world, setting up much of what is to come and essentially telling its own version of The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien. The Great Hunt is where this series becomes its own thing entirely, casting aside the shackles of Tolkien’s influence and creating something new and exciting.
Much of the first three episodes of season 2 of The Wheel of Time TV show focus on character work, rather than an exciting plot. Despite not making for incredibly interesting television, this is what The Great Hunt did too – much of the book’s time was spent on contemplating the inner turmoil of the main characters.
Sure, there was an exciting plot too, but it did take a few hundred pages to get there!
Mat is an especially troubled individual at this point in the series, after severing ties with the dagger. The new actor to take up this role on the screen, Dónal Finn, is a fantastic choice, giving us a delicate balance of Mat’s humour and darker side. There are plot differences between the TV series and the book, but I think they have stuck to following similar themes.
Rand is insufferable in most of the books, but even more so in these earlier entries. In The Great Hunt he spends most of his time trying to ignore this horrible destiny which has been forced upon him. Again, there have been huge plot differences, but the themes run along the same lines. At this point in the show, Rand has run away, literally, but his character is a little less insufferable.
Nynaeve and Egwene fight a lot in the book, making for an entertaining read. These fights also display a lot of their personalities, though, conveying their frustrations with their situation, their worry and concern for one another and their friends from the Two Rivers, and more.
The lack of this kind of strong emotion is keenly felt when watching the TV series, with their relationship being far calmer. I’m not saying we need all that braid tugging and them getting angry over every tiny thing, but some heated discussions would be better than what we are seeing at the moment.
Finally, Perrin… oh Perrin how you have been mistreated in this show. There was no pregnant wife who died in the books, thankfully. Perrin was a young boy who had to grow up quickly, like the rest of his friends. Sure, he became more stoic and determined, similar to how we see him now in the show, but adding in that tragedy to make him even angrier, unhinged to a point…
Marcus Rutherford does a fantastic job of portraying Perrin, from the way he dresses and his posture, to his calm but stern voice. What his version of this character has gone through, though, is extraordinarily awful and he has made no strides towards recovering from the shock. At some point, he is going to explode and I wonder how they will keep his character on track for the amazing character development that occurs in the books.
My review for the first three episodes will be linked here in the next few days, but it is safe to say I have some mixed opinions I need to mull over for a bit first. If you enjoy the show but haven’t read the books yet, definitely give them a go! We have a Beginner’s Guide to The Wheel of Time book series to help you start the journey.
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