The Fantasy Review’s Spoiler-Free Review of The Wheel of Time Season 2.
After watching season 1 of The Wheel of Time on Amazon, I could not have predicted the dramatic improvements it would make on its second season. I have very few positive things to say about season 1, almost none, but The Wheel of Time season 2 is the start of something special.
Addressing some points I have seen over the past few weeks in other reviews, and on the platform formally known as Twitter, I will begin by saying that this is not a fanfic version of The Wheel of Time book series by Robert Jordan. This is an adaptation, and a faithful one, just not in the way we might have expected.
These characters are the same characters from the books, and what they go through is almost exactly the same. Jordan’s vision is fully realised through the writing and fantastic performances across the board. The sequences of events, and even scenes and plots might be different, but the themes and the overarching story are the same.
The magic of the books is brought into full effect, especially now season 2 has concluded and we have a full picture of the creators’ vision for this adaptation of The Great Hunt. This was not the case in season 1, far from it, and I am pleasantly surprised as well as incredibly excited for what is to come.
My only negative about this season is that it lacked some depth at points, and this is the fault of episode lengths, and the number of episodes. For a book so rich in detail and intricate character moments, we needed far more time to sit in this world and live through this story. I understand there are restraints with an adaptation, but this is Amazon and they can afford better in this regard.
With more time we could have learnt more about the Aiel, seen more of Perrin and Elyas, had a bit more of one of my favourite characters from the books, Bayle Domon (the guy with the Welsh accent!), and more.
One of the biggest improvements from season 1 has to be how the show looked. From the promotional images we could immediately see that this was going to be a far better produced series of television. From the costumes to the set design, everything was on point, without going over the top. This made it feel like Game of Thrones back around season 3 of that show, where they were given a little extra money and they made it go a long way.
As the show did not have the difficulties they were faced with for season 1 (COVID, Barney Harris leaving early, etc), they were able to show off just how excellent they can be. The pacing was great, for the most part, with every episode feeling like a full narrative, instead of just being there to set up the next one.
The character work was 100-times better, when enough time was spent on a character, giving us an interesting take on Moiraine (not to everyone’s liking, but I liked the overall arc) and giving us a taste of the Mat who readers can’t wait to see later on.
I really believe that The Wheel of Time season 2 is the start of something special, something new and exciting for fantasy fans. We have not had a fantasy show this good for a very long time, and I can’t wait to see it continue to grow and improve upon this solid foundation they have built.