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Sep 7, 2021

Trailer Tuesday: ‘The Wheel of Time’

Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time has finally released the first teaser trailer of the sweeping fantasy epic series coming to Amazon.

Image Still: Amazon Studios

Amazon has announced the higly anticipated series, The Wheel of Time will be hitting their Prime Video on November 19, 2021. The first season will feature timelines from the first book “The Eye of The World” and the second book “The Great Hunt,” to better span the expansive universe Robert Jordan created for readers. We’ve included a link to the first three in the series if you’d like to get a jump on the series before diving into the stunning visual masterpiece of a trailer Amazon has debuted.

If you’re asking yourself “what is The Wheel of Time,” well, we have answers. Rosamund Pike stars as Morraine a member of the Aes Sedai a group of female magic users charged with protecting the world. Now, the Aes Sedai are a varied establishment with different factions called Aja’s. Morraine is a member of the Blue Aja faction, which believes in saving the Dragon Reborn (more on that in a sec) to usher in a new era for the world. The trailer gives us a peek into the complexity of the fourteen book series, the three final books were finished by Brandon Sanderson after Robert Jordan’s death on 2007. Beware, spoilers abound.

Image Still: Amazon Studios

The opening of the book, which also are the first words uttered in the trailer are as follows: “The Wheel of Time turns, and ages come and pass. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.” It tells the story of “The Breaking” when a great evil fought the magic users and led to the destruction of the male half of the magic which flows through Andor and the other 13 nations. There are currently fourteen nations in existence in the Westlands: Altara, Amadicia, Andor, Arad Doman, Arafel, Cairhien, Ghealdan, Illian, Kandor, Murandy, Saldaea, Shienar, Tarabon, and Tear, as well as four major city-states: Falme, Far Madding, Mayene, and Tar Valon. Men have since the breaking been cursed with madness if they are unlucky enough to be born with the ability to touch the source. The prophecy of the Dragon Reborn tells of the great mage who fought the evil, and imprisoned it at the cost of his life, and men’s loss of magic everywhere having a chance to battle the great evil once more, setting the scales of light and darkness back in order.

The series is noted for its length, its well-developed magic system, the extremely large numbers of subplots, the intricate detail of its imaginary world, and the extremely large number of characters (there are more than 1,800 named characters in the series). The series proved a success from the start, selling out of its original American print run in just a few months. The eighth through eleventh volumes each debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. As of August 2019, the series had sold 90 million copies worldwide. A number which is sure to skyrocket. However, we digress.

Premise

At the dawn of time a deity known as the Creator forged the universe and the Wheel of Time, which spins the Pattern of the Ages using the lives of men and women as its threads. The Wheel has seven spokes, each representing an age, and it is rotated by the One Power, which flows from the True Source. The One Power is divided into male and female halves, saidin and saidar, which work in opposition and in unison to drive the Wheel. Humans who can use its power are known as channelers; the principal organization of such channelers in the books is called the Aes Sedai or ‘Servants of All’ in the Old Tongue.

The Creator imprisoned its antithesis, “Shai’tan,” the Dark One, at the moment of creation, sealing him away from the Wheel. However, in a time called the Age of Legends, an Aes Sedai experiment inadvertently breached the Dark One’s prison, allowing his influence to seep back into the world. He rallied the powerful, the corrupt, and the ambitious to his cause and these servants began an effort to free the Dark One fully from his prison, so he might remake time and reality in his own image. In response to this threat, the Wheel spun out the Dragon, a channeler of immense power, to be a champion for the Light. In the Age of Legends the Dragon was a man named Lews Therin Telamon, who eventually rose to command the Aes Sedai and their allies in the struggle against the Dark One’s forces. After a grueling ten-year war, Lews Therin led his forces to victory in a daring assault on the volcano of Shayol Ghul (the site of the earthly link to the Dark One’s prison), and was able to seal off the Dark One’s prison. However, at the moment of victory the Dark One was able to taint saidin, driving male channelers of the One Power insane. Lews Therin killed his friends and family and then himself. The other male channelers devastated the world with the One Power, unleashing earthquakes and tidal waves that reshaped the world. Eventually, the last male channeler was killed or cut off from the One Power, leaving the human race all but destroyed and only women able to wield the One Power safely. The Aes Sedai reconstituted and guided humanity out of this dark time. Mankind now lived under the shadow of a prophecy that the Dark One would break free from his prison and the Dragon would be Reborn to fight him once more, and although he is humanity’s only hope to succeed against the Dark One, he would devastate the world a second time in the process.

Over the next three and a half thousand years, the human race returns to a level of technology roughly comparable to that of the Middle Ages, with the difference that women enjoy full equality with men in most societies, and are superior in some. This is put down to the power and influence of the female-only Aes Sedai spilling over into everyday life. Several major wars have ravaged the main continent since the defeat of the Dark One, such as the Trolloc Wars, when the surviving servants of the Dark One tried to destroy civilization once more but were defeated by an alliance of nations led by the Aes Sedai; and the War of the Hundred Years, a devastating civil war that followed the fall of a continent-spanning empire ruled by the High King, Artur Hawkwing. These wars have prevented the human race from regaining the power and high technology of the Age of Legends, and also left humanity divided. Even the prestige of the Aes Sedai has fallen, with their shrinking numbers and the emergence of organizations such as the Children of the Light, a military order who hold that all who dabble with the One Power are servants of the Shadow. The nations of the modern era are able to unite against the warrior-clans of the Aiel, who cross into the western kingdoms on a mission of vengeance after they suffer a grievous insult, but are too divided to work effectively together in other areas.

The prequel novel, “New Spring“, takes place during the Aiel War and chronicles the end of the conflict and the discovery by the Aes Sedai that the Prophecies of the Dragon have been fulfilled and the Dragon has been Reborn. Aes Sedai agents are dispatched to try and find the newborn child before servants of the Shadow can do the same.

Image Still: Amazon Studios

The series proper commences almost twenty years later in the Two Rivers district of the kingdom of Andor, a near-forgotten backwater. An Aes Sedai, Moiraine Damodred, and her Warder, Lan, arrive in the village of Emond’s Field with news that servants of the Dark One are searching for one particular young man living in the area. Moiraine is unable to determine which of three men it is: Rand al’Thor, Matrim Cauthon, or Perrin Aybara, and so takes all three of them out of the Two Rivers, along with their friends Egwene al’Vere and Nynaeve al’Meara, whom Moiraine has determined can channel the One Power and learn to be Aes Sedai. The first novel depicts their flight from various agents of the Shadow and their attempts to escape to the Aes Sedai city of Tar Valon.

This series promises to be an outstanding Page to Screen adaptation of one of the most expansive worlds ever created. With a Lord of The Rings adaptation in the works as well, Amazon seems to be solidifying itself as THE premiere outlet for Fantasy Epics.