6 Differences In The Wheel Of Time Books Vs. Series (Amazon Prime)
For many readers, The Wheel of time is a franchise of epic fantasy books by Robert Jordan. They featured a large cast of characters, a magical and imaginary world. The popularity of The Wheel of Time book series has spawned an upcoming show with the same name.
The first season is set to be released on November 19 on Prime Video and fantasy lovers can’t wait. The series is adapted for the screen and draws its storyline from Robert’s books. Amazon is taking the lead to bring Jordan’s vision and the world of Rand al’Thor, Matrim Cauthon, Perrin Aybara, and many more back to life. Rafe Judkins is the showrunner.
How many books are in The Wheel of Time? The book series gave readers 14 books without counting the prequel. It became a best seller in the fantasy genre and sold millions of copies.
Translating a book series into a show has its share of challenges, and everything you read might not be seen. Even though writers have previously assured fans that the core spirit of the story will remain intact, some differences are bound to be evident. Based on the teaser trailers and previous interviews, we have gathered some differences between The Wheel of Time books vs. series.
1. Incorporation of The Eye of the World
The first season will not have all that is in the first book, The Eye of the World. Judkin’s previously stated that the first season would not include everything from the book. The reason being, some of it was incorporated into the second season. Fans have also speculated that the first season will not feature the City of Caemlyn. However, it may be added in later seasons. This is a key location in the book, and there have not been any hints of it from the pre-release marketing. Rand and Matrim will also not make every stop as they head to Caemlyn.
The city is very central to The Wheel of Time world, and it is also where Queen Morgase Trakand sits. The evidence that supports this assumption is that there has not yet been a casting announcement for Elayne Trakand, daughter to Queen Morgase, or any of her siblings, Galad and Gaeeyn. These characters are all major players, even though they only appear briefly in book one.
2. The Characters and their Development
The trailer’s entry character is Madeleine Madden, and this is indeed a surprise. Even though she was an important figure in the first novel, she was essentially a secondary character, primarily Rand al’Thor’s love interest. There are new characters in the show that are a little older than those in the books. Rafe, however, highlighted that the new characters were an inspiration from the ones in the books. There will be minor characters that fold into major ones. Some of the cast names will also be changed. For example, Owein is being played by Taylor Napier, whose name is Maksim.
The first season will also feature an aiel. Fain’s real identity will be disguised in the show than it was in the books. Two horses will also play Bela to fill that pivotal role, and Cenn Buie will be lost.
The cast will also have a higher emphasis on high caliber acting over physical traits. As Rafe pointed out during an interview, getting a character who can embody a character is more important than getting the perfect physical match. The main focus will definitely be on the cast’s ability to deliver and not their physique. The show will also not have a lot of dress smoothing and braid tugging like the books.
3. The Scenes and Plot Development
The show will include off-camera and chopped scenes with some that will be rearranged from the books. Rafe said that this was to keep the show going freshly. He also suggested that there may be a rearrangement of the order of events to offer more fluidity to the show’s story.
Rand’s romance will not be the same as it was in the books, whereby he initially liked one girl but ended up with three other girls. Madeleine and Rand will also be actual item. This is different from the “will-they-won't-they” relationship they shared in the first novel. Rafe further pointed out that his interest is more on the polyamory side and not the polygamy side. It also appears like the show will focus both on Rand’s and Egwene’s journey instead of focusing on Rand alone.
Logain will be retained, but his role in the series will be expanded. A particular change of the Master Hightower drowning when going after the sinking ferry was accidentally revealed in the past.
4. Modernity and Gender Depiction
Rafe explained that the show’s characters were aged so that the Wheel of Time series may not feel like a Young Adult fantasy and for it to have a modern perspective too. According to Rafe, the show will be feminist as per today’s context.
In the books, many female villains get raped or end up in long-lasting bondage while the males just die. For some, this was an aspect of gender division and also a troubling aspect. There definitely will be some improvements and changes about such issues. The Eye of The World was dominated mainly by male perspectives and viewpoints.
Characters of the LGBTQ community are also incorporated in the show as they are actual drivers of today’s gender issues. The gendered magic system from the books will have some major changes. The Aes Sedai may also receive several alterations in order to appeal to new viewers and fans. There is a major difference in the depiction of the Dragon Reborn in the show.
In the books, the Dragon Reborn was the reincarnation of the very powerful sorcerer whose destiny was to either save or destroy the world. He was just a man but, in the series, the Dragon Reborn can fit any gender. The books were not focused on a gender binary. The TV show is surely going to improve these aspects of gender roles.
5. Translation of the Point of View
Jordan incorporated a unique POV format throughout the book franchises. Presumably, the TV show will have some differences in how the books’ POV is translated. After all, it isn't easy to adapt everything from the books to the screen. The POV in the books allowed for significant mystery, and the villains were mostly not POV characters.
A reader’s knowledge was limited to the heroes and what they tumbled upon during their journeys. Assuming the show moves in the same direction, viewers will be introduced to many different characters, concepts, and places. The books gave characters stereotypes and clichés, but the show will be improving such aspects. We will see more depth and nuance as opposed to the ciphers we knew from the books.
6. The Depiction of One Power
The Wheel of Time magic is referred to as One Power. The magic in the books will be incorporated into the show, but there will be differences. Most of it will be woven together. It will not simply be chanting or waving. One key factor to note from the books is that the story was developed from one character's perspective each time.
For several chapters, readers would read about and follow along with one particular protagonist. They were only aware and saw what the character experienced until their point of view changed to another person. The implementation of this approach on the show will impact and change several aspects like the One Power.
From the books, the description of One Power mainly depends on the user and the POV character. The people who could tap into the One Power were the only ones that could see the channeled “weaves.” Normal characters could not see what was happening. The men and women also viewed the One Power very differently. Therefore, how their abilities are depicted in the show will be different. We might see more men channeling the One Power as compared to the books.
At its core, The Wheel of Time series is a compelling fantasy many are looking forward to. However, the TV show being an adaptation from The Wheel of Time books and the two entities having been created by different people, of different times, everything cannot be similar. Without a doubt, the show will have to strike a balance between Jordan’s material and Rafe’s creativity.
Changes will also be made, but they all come from a good place and are essential for the show to work. Even Rafe agrees that they cannot achieve everything that is in the books. For those that have read and are purists of the books, you might have to shift your thought process and get ready to embrace fresh and unique things. The show will not be an exact adaptation from the pages to the screen. All in all, get ready for an amazing show.
My profession is online marketing and development (10+ years experience), check my latest mobile app called Upcoming or my Chrome extensions for ChatGPT. But my real passion is reading books both fiction and non-fiction. I have several favorite authors like James Redfield or Daniel Keyes. If I read a book I always want to find the best part of it, every book has it's unique value.