The Wheel of Time review: Rosamund Pike fantasy delivers a spectacular journey
Adapting The Wheel of Time from the book series into a TV show was undoubtedly a monumental task. Having first been published over 30 years ago, there are now 14 books in the franchise, not to mention a global fanbase who hold this tale incredibly close to their hearts.
Yet, the Amazon Prime Video TV series has captured the magic of author Robert Jordan’s imagination with full force, welcoming viewers into a world brimming with sorcery, action, emotion and a high-stakes battle between light and darkness led by the formidable Rosamund Pike.
The Wheel of Time follows Rosamund’s character, Moiraine, who is the member of a powerful organisation called the Aes Sedai.
The Aes Sedai is made up of women with the ability to use magic – called the One Power – with Moiraine using her talents to seek out a prophesied individual known as the ‘Dragon reborn’, who is believed will either save the world or destroy it.
While neither she nor her right-hand man Lan (Daniel Henney) have any idea who this person is, nor whether they have been reborn as a girl or a boy, there are five potential candidates who have recently come of age, all hailing from the same historic village.
Offering very little information about the path that lies before them, Moiraine takes these young people under her wing as they embark on a dangerous and turbulent quest to reach the White Tower, the heart of the Aes Sedai.
While The Wheel of Time has been compared to Game of Thrones ahead of its launch, the only similarity between the two shows is the epic scale that viewers can expect and the fact that they both lie within the fantasy genre.
Other than that, The Wheel of Time is its own entrancing entity, championing women as the ones who hold power across the land and introducing viewers to new concepts surrounding magic and adventurous storytelling.
Right from the very first episode of The Wheel of Time, director Uta Briesewitz waves her wand to create some spectacular sequences, setting the bar for what’s to come as the series progresses.
The young cast who star alongside Rosamund all have impressive screen presence, including Josha Stradowski as Rand, Madeleine Madden as Egwene, Zoë Robbins as Nynaeve, Marcus Rutherford as Perrin and Barney Harris as Mat.
They would have experienced immense pressure to take on these characters that have been loved by fans of the books for three decades.
However, their performances feel effortless, exuding a genuine desire to do justice to Robert’s writing while also offering their own unique interpretations of the characters.
Fans can expect some truly terrifying scares from the get-go, in addition to heartfelt references to the books interwoven by creator Rafe Judkins, who was first introduced to the series as a child by his mother.
The passion that the creators of The Wheel of Time feel for the series is palpable, despite the fact that some changes may have been made from the original source material when adapting it for the small screen.
Whether you’ve read the books or not, it instantly becomes apparent that producer and lead Rosamund was made for the role of Moiraine, whose Matrix-style movements when using the One Power are utterly bewitching to behold.
With a second season already in the pipeline and filming, the first few episodes of The Wheel of Time serve as an apt introduction into a riveting and thrilling story that could span years.
Verdict on The Wheel of Time
As far as fantasy series go, The Wheel of Time delivers and then some.
From what we’ve seen of the first season – the first six episodes out of eight – one would expect fans of the books to be delighted with this live-action interpretation and newcomers to be intrigued by what’s going to come next.
The Wheel of Time has the full package – a showrunner who has been passionate about this story since childhood, actors who clearly full strongly about delivering authentic performances and special effects that will leave viewers in awe.
While viewers may need a couple of episodes to become fully absorbed in this intricate tale, the series successfully captures your imagination and heart.
The Wheel of Time premieres on Amazon Prime Video on Friday November 19.
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