The Flames of Tar Valon
Episode 6 of The Wheel of Time begins at a place known as the Fingers of the Dragon, in the nation of Tear. This vast connection of waterways is occupied by a young Siuan Sanche and her father Berden. Siuan exhibits signs of wielding the One power, which is forbidden to be used here, so she’s forced to leave.
Fast forward to present day and our Aes Sedai all arrive at the White Tower, fronted by none other than Siuan Sanche. She sits in the Amyrlin seat, the head of all Aes Sedai. She commands Logain to be brought in. He pleads to be killed but instead he’s taken away and imprisoned.
In his absence, Liandrin takes the brunt of the blame for mishandling their magic powers. After the death of one of their own, using magic to subdue him goes against Aes Sedai ways. When Liandrin learns she’s going to get punished, she shifts the blame across to Moiraine and throws shade at her actions.
When Moiraine is questioned though, she refuses to disclose the purpose of her travels. Siuan interprets thatt as a challenge. For now they’re to wait 24 hours and then judgment will be served.
After their frosty meeting, Lan brings Moiraine to Mat and Rand. When Rand confirms that Mat has been delirious and in a bad state for a month, Moiraine works her magic. She finds the dagger taken from Shadar Logoth and uses her magic to take out the tainted evil within.
Moiraine also catches wind of Egwene and Perrin being alive and within the city. She hurries down to see them, where Egwene reveals what happened with Perrin’s eyes turning orange and controlling the wolves. For now, Moiraine tells her to sit tight, imploring Egwene not to tell anyone where she’s going when she summons her the following day.
That night though, Moiraine goes to see Siuan. It turns out these two are actually romantically linked, and it eventually leads to her admitting that she’s found the four kids who could well be the dragon reborn. Debates rage between them over whether to actually tell the others this or not. The thing is, if the other Aes Sedai find out they’re working together, it could undermine everything they’re doing.
In the morning, Moiraine brings Egwene to the Hall. Nyn is there too but because we’ve had so little time with these characters together, the reunion sorta falls flat emotionally. Anyway, the two women are brought before Siuan. The final battle is coming and they need to be ready, especially as thee’re allegedly the strongest channellers they’ve seen in thousands of years.
The time comes for Moiraine’s judgment to be passed. The Aes Sedai gather as Moiraine is exiled from the tower. As she rides out, all our characters join hr too, reunited once more. Mat is absolutely fine now, so I guess that’s that then and the others are all happy to see one another.
Lan joins them of course, alongside Loial, as they find out their destination is the Eye of the World. The Dark One’s prison lies there, and whoever this Dragon Reborn is, they’re tasked with finishing the job and stopping him before the darkness spreads across the world and destroys everything.
As everyone enters the portal conjured forth by Moiraine, Mat stays behind, much to the horror of all inside this portal.
The Episode Review
The Wheel of Time returns with a solid episode of intrigue, world-building for the Aes Sedai and one big problem. There’s not enough emotional connection with the four potential Dragon Reborn. At least not from what this reviewer can see.
The biggest problem with this show stems from the damaging first episode which, with the benefit of hindsight, should have been far slower and more fleshed out. The reason Lord of the Rings works as well as it does is precisely because it does spend a good chunk of time in Hobbiton getting to know our main characters. Likewise, Game of Thrones does the same thing with the Stark family at Winterfall. Many good stories do this – including the actual Wheel Of Time novels.
When our characters do eventually reconvene, they’ve spent so little time as a unit of four without running around that these hugs and big smiles just doesn’t resonate as strongly as it perhaps should.
Likewise, Moiraine’s relationship with Siuan comes out of absolutely nowhere. It doesn’t really add anything to the story, but I can’t quote whether this actually crops up in the books or not. One thing that does noticeably stand out though is Mat being “cured” from the cursed dagger. Given how much emphasis was placed on this before the episode, to be resolved so quickly and nonchalantly feels a bit odd.
Despite those gripes, The Wheel Of Time is a decent – albeit flawed – fantasy adaptation, leaving things wide open for where the final two episodes of the season may go.