REVIEW: The Wheel of Time E8: The Eye of the World

The Wheel of Time E8: The Eye of the World ends the first season of Amazon’s take on Robert Jordan’s epic fantasy series. Much like the series as a whole, this episode is good without pushing into the greatness shown in other series such as Game of Thrones and The Witcher. There are flashes of potential that give hope that the series will grow into something even better and overall, I am left eagerly awaiting the next season without being desperate for it to arrive right now.

The Eye of the World starts 3000 years in the past as we see glimpses of a futuristic city with the Tamyrlin Seat warning a Dragon Reborn of the dangers of facing the Dark One. In the present, Lan sets off to find Rand and Moiraine as they head through the Blight and towards a showdown with the Dark One. Moiraine offers Rand an ancient object of great power to increase his chances of succeeding in the battle at the Eye of the World. Meanwhile, horns blare around Fal Dara as an army of Trollocs attack the city. Perrin struggles with his newly found belief in the Way of the Leaf as Egwene and Nynaeve join with Lady Amalisa to hold back to the tide of the monstrous force attempting to get to the fortress and kill all in their path. The battle is an interesting one, touching on similar beats to Helm’s Deep in The Two Towers. Egwene and Nynaeve learn what it means to weave great power and the consequences of taking on too much and this is one of the stronger themes touched upon in this episode. Five women stand together to hold back the army but there is loss as the power they attempt to weave burns through them from the inside out.  Perrin unfortunately feels rather useless as the Horn of Valere is found in his presence but he doesn’t do much else along with Loial. The horn is meant to be sounded before the Last Battle but it is stolen before it can be used. Fans of the books will know the importance of this horn.

The Eye of the World is an episode that can be a little confusing for fans and non-fans of the book. There is a lot going on in the episode but little explanation along the way. Rand faces the Dark One (or does he?) and turns away from the darkness even when offered the life that he dreams of. His understanding of Egwene and the strength of his love for her are handled well in this scene as he channels the One Power and defeats his foe and breaks the seal beneath his feet. Rand leaves, telling Moiraine to tell the others that he is dead and then, somehow, Lan suddenly appears and is informed by Moiraine that she has lost her power. The Wheel of Time E8 has some stunning moments but everything feels a bit undercooked. Eight episodes is a relatively small number to adapt a book like The Eye of the World and do everything justice. The episode, like the series as a whole, achieved what it set out to do: introduce the characters and set up the stakes involved. The characters are in interesting positions as we head towards the next season and we are left with the intriguing shot of a fleet of ships channelling a huge tidal wave but again, with no explanation.

The Eye of the World did what it needed to do. With more time, it could have delivered something great but after the worrying first episode, the series has improved immensely into something that I am looking forward to continuing. The episode gives Rand a chance to finally grow and start to truly become the Dragon. Rand’s decision to cut himself away from his friends for their safety is a good way to finish the series as he continues his journey to becoming a legendary hero. There might be more questions than answers at the end, but at least I am left with the feeling that I want to still find out the answers to those questions. An impressive, if not mind-blowing end to a decent fantasy series.

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