THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 6 The Flame of Tar Valon

My (SPOLIER-FILLED) deep dive into episode 6 of The Wheel of Time.

These are my deep look into each episode of Amazon Prime’s The Wheel of Time. I will investigate each episode in depth and give my reactions, thoughts, and takeaways. These dives are for book readers as they contain heavy spoilers throughout while I weigh each episode against my knowledge of the books and story and will touch upon things throughout the books. I will focus on the episode itself and will not delve into future episodes.

INITIAL REACTIONS

Summary

Episode 6 of The Wheel of Time is a mixed bag to me. There were elements that I liked and elements that I was not too keen on. Some of the latter were pretty big and take me out of the story. In the end, I enjoyed it, but with some hesitations.

FINAL WARNING: Following this paragraph will contain HEAVY SPOILERS of the episode and my reference any point in any of the books. If you have not read the books or seen the episode and want to avoid spoilers, DO NOT READ ON until you have done so. You HAVE been WARNED!

EPISODE DISECTION

Plot

The cold open for this episode takes us to a river near the city of Tear. A young Siuan Sanche (played by Keira Chansa) is fishing with her father. She can clearly channel and it appears this is a problem in this area. When they return to their hut from fishing, they find it burned down and her father sends her away. I am mixed on this plot point because on the one hand, this is a bit of a change to Siuan as she grew up in the poor streets of the city. She was still the daughter of a fisherman, but one who went out to see. I suppose the budget didn’t allow for that, so they made her more of a poor country girl.

The other hand, this scene was emotional for me. Perhaps because I am a father of two daughters, and I really connected with the father. Though I would have gone with her, first to make sure she arrived, and second even if there was no place for me, I would find some where I can be close (especially if I just lost my livelihood anyway).

Anyway, after the credits, we are back at the tower and Moiraine, Liandrin, and Alanna are standing in the Hall of the Tower awaiting the Amyrlin Seat, an adult Siuan Sanche (Sophie Okonedo). When she arrives, they bring in Logaine who makes remarks about the weakness of Aes Sedai and comments how he still killed one of them. Siuan sees through his remarks as a way of enticing his death, but she denies it.

After he is taken away, she turns her attention on the three Aes Sedai before her. She chastises Liandrin for the debacle with Logaine. Liandrin brings up Moiraine and how she was traveling with a powerful channeler and throws into question what secrets she keeps. Moiraine is forced to prostrate herself in front of Siuan but cannot give the answer to the question asked of her. Siuan tells her that her penance will come the next day.

This scene is where I am beginning to have some problems with the series. When questioned about Nynaeve, Moiraine says that she did not know that she could channel, but only suspected. This is a drastic change from the books that changes a lot. Plus, if that is the case, how did she know that Egwene could channel. Nynaeve is supposed to be more powerful. In the books, detecting a woman’s ability to channel is one of the fundamental aspects. This is a drastic change. Time will tell on what impact this may have as the series plays out. In any case, I am not happy with it.

Continuing with this plot line, we later find that Moiraine and Siuan are in league with each other. This is straight out of the books. The show does take this a step further and show that they are lovers as well. This is not a far stretch from the books, though it is a change. I am indifferent on this change, but I do wonder how this might affect later elements of the series plot.

In any case, Moiraine insists that her penance be exile as she must take the villagers to the Eye of the World. They obtained this from a dream that Siuan had. She returns to the Hall and accepts her penance, delivered to her by Oath Rod, an artifact that binds oaths to the swearer.

In between those scenes, we have the villagers coming together in Tar Valon. First, Moiraine, following her first encounter with the Hall, locates Rand and Mat and steps in. Rand tries to protect Mat by drawing his sword but is thwarted quickly by Lan. I was a tad disappointed that Lan didn’t mention anything about the heron on the blade, but maybe they will have that conversation next episode. Mat pulls his dagger on Moiraine, but she stops him with the power. She recognizes it as having come from Shadar Logoth and extracts the sickness from him, returning it to the dagger. This is another point that left me feeling a little hollow.

In the books, she was only able to contain the sickness and it required a full circle of Aes Sedai to cleanse him from its affects. Barely anything more was said about the dagger other than the fact that if he touches it again, it may take him completely.

Perrin and Egwene are now in Tar Valon and Moiraine is taken by a Yellow Sister them. While Perrin is resting from being treated by the Yellow Ajah, Egwene mentions his golden eyes along with his seeming connection with wolves. Moiraine shows a hint of recognition but does not divulge and swears Egwene to secrecy.

She later calls Egwene to the White Tower and they go to an empty Hall. The door opens and Lan enters, followed by Nynaeve. It is a touching reunion between Egwene and Nynaeve, but shore lived as Moiraine leads them to meet with Siuan. Siuan assesses them and tells them of the coming danger.

We also get a meeting between Moiraine with Lan and Loial where they recruit his help. After her punishment is delivered in the Hall of the Tower, she leaves and rides her horse out to a Waygate some distance from the city. The episode concludes with a reunion of all of the Emond’s Fielders along with Loial, Moiraine, and Lan at the gate. She preps them for the journey through the Ways to their ultimate destination, The Eye of the World. She then opens the gate using the One Power and they enter… all except Mat who watches as it closes his friends off.

This whole scene was problematic for me. I didn’t like that Mat was left behind. I figure that it has to do with the recasting of his character. I can’t fault them too much for that, but, still, it was out of character for Mat, and it was pointed out by others that Moiraine just stood there and watched despite having said earlier that she would kill them before letting the Dark One have any of them. Then she leaves him behind without a second thought.

Still, it does kind of complicate the story. Perhaps that is why they just had Moiraine heal him so that the change in appearance could be contributed to his separation from the dagger. Perhaps the hardest part is not knowing WHY he was recast. I want to respect Barney Harris and whatever the reason, I wish him well. No knowing just makes the change all the more painful.

The other problem is the Waygate. I was not a fan from the moment they were first shown and speculated to be such. When it was confirmed, I was disappointed. Now that I have seen it in action, that disappointment has grown. It makes no sense if they were a gift to the Ogier, why would it require channeling to open. That defeats the purpose. I have been quite forgiven regarding many of the changes, but this one really eats at me.

Characters

Most of the episode focused on Moiraine. She was at the center of nearly every scene. I am fine with them expanding the love relationship between her and Siuan. I don’t think it was necessary, but I am not complaining either. I did like her line to Egwene and Nynaeve how the Amyrlin waits for only one woman and neither of those two were that woman. And I found the reversal of “on your knees” funny.

I already mentioned the reunion between Nynaeve and Egwene and how touching it was. Another moment I liked was when Egwene and Nynaeve were meeting with Siuan. When Siuan was talking about finally meeting a woman so strong in the power, and calls out Nynaeve’s name, I laughed when Egwene was standing tall until the end and immediately deflated. It fit her character, I felt. I also liked how when Siuan told them about the last battle coming, Egwene was ready to go.

 I felt that the scene when Moiraine and Maigan meet in the sauna was not needed. I don’t feel it really added anything. While I am not a prude to be sure, it did feel rather Game of Thrones like. Likewise, I have been getting more annoyed than anything every time Liandrin pops up. I did like that Moiraine finally stood up to her and put her in her place.

Special Effects / Action

This episode wasn’t really action or effects heavy. There were a few instances of weaves, but most of the episode was exposition and setting up for the final two episodes. Perhaps I would have been impressed with the Waygate if I wasn’t so upset about how they used it.

OVERALL FEELING

Summary

This episode is far from my favorite. It was almost a little off-putting. I have to admit that I am a little less excited. Perhaps part of that is the wariness over the negativity and in-fighting between fans. Many either love it (finding it perfect in every way) or loathe it (finding it as blasphemous to the source material). I have been somewhere in the middle from the get-go, leaning toward loving it, but reserved in some aspects, at least. I’ve adapted to many of the changes. After watching this episode (maybe it was the Waygate, maybe it was Mat being left behind, maybe it has nothing to do with the show and just my general depression over things going on in my life… I don’t know), I feel like I just swallowed a bitter-sweet pill.

This was a bump in the road for me. I feel really shaken. There is nothing to do but ride it out and see where it takes us. Hopefully, the last two episodes will restore my faith.

LINKS

First Thoughts

The Wheel of Time First Thoughts – Episodes 1 – 3 – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

The Wheel of Time First Thoughts – Episode 4 (Spoiler Free) – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

The Wheel of Time First Thoughts – Episode 5 (Spoiler Free) – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

The Wheel of Time First Thoughts – Episode 6 (Spoiler Free) – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

Deep Dives

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 1 Leavetaking – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 2 Shadow’s Waiting – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 3 A Place of Safety – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 4 The Dragon Reborn – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 5 Blood Calls Blood – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

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