‘The Changeling’: Who Is William Wheeler & What Happens to Him in the Book?

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Apple TV’s ‘The Changeling’ is set to be released in a few weeks, and mystery horror enthusiasts are excited about the new show that’s about to blur the lines between reality and fantasy. Based on the novel of the same name written by Victor LaValle, ‘The Changeling’ follows a man, Apollo Kagwa, who finds himself scouring the corners of the magical world after his son is brutally murdered by his wife, Emma Valentine. Even though Emma is the first “villain” we’re going to meet, the true villain of the book is William Wheeler. Since the show hasn’t been released yet, let’s see what the source material has in store for him. 

William Wheeler is the primary antagonist of ‘The Changeling’ book and live-action adaptation. He was the descendant of Norwegian immigrants who brought the Troll to the USA and was closely connected to the monster himself. Wheeler was one of the men responsible for kidnapping Apollo’s son and replacing him with Troll’s offspring. Among other things, Wheeler was also responsible for his daughter’s death and the death of his ex-wife. Emma Valentina killed William Wheeler when she found out that he planned on earning money by charging people online to watch Troll eating her child. 

Now that we’ve covered in short who William Wheeler is and how his life eventually ended, it’s time to analyze it in a bit more detail. If you’re interested in more, stay with us and keep reading!

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William Wheeler comes from an evil and tragic family 

William’s story actually begins in 1825 when a group of Norwegian immigrants set foot on American soil by sailing all the way from Norway aboard the ship named “Restoration.” It was an arduous and difficult journey. It was a real miracle that the party survived on such a small ship making the transoceanic journey. 

It turns out that it was due to supernatural causes since the patriarch of what would become the Knudsen family, Nils, made a deal with Norwegian Troll or Jotunn. The Troll used vile magic to deliver them safely to America, and in exchange, the members of the Knudsen family were supposed to deliver human babies to the Troll. Troll offspring was too ugly to love and raise, and this is why the Troll preferred human babies. Unfortunately, it didn’t know how to raise them, so the babies would eventually be eaten or killed through other means. 

Nils Knudsen sacrificed his own daughter to the beast, and the tradition was born. 

William planned on utilizing the Troll to raise his family to glory and earn riches

William’s father, Jorgen Knudsen, continued the tradition of kidnapping kids and delivering them to the Troll, and William was aware of it from an early age. At some point, William figured out that he was good at IT stuff and pursued it as a career. 

He married a woman named Greta and had two daughters with her, Agnes and Grace. William couldn’t support his family properly, and he often found himself short of money. He also inherited quite a bit of familiar debt. William was so embittered by life he often found strange and twisted ways to earn money, and considering that he was good at IT stuff, he took on the nickname Kinder Garten and started charging for twisted live streams, which he gained access to via hacking laptop cameras and other pieces of technology. 

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At some point, William Wheeler and his father Jorgen targeted Kagwa family, kidnapped their son Brian and replaced him with a Troll baby. William Wheeler continued spying on Kagwa family, often sending disturbing images to Emma. 

Kinder Garten was responsible for the death of his own daughter 

William’s “extracurricular” abilities didn’t bring enough money, and he decided to raise his evil to a completely new level. He planned on utilizing the Troll to earn a fortune for his family and to do that. He needed to sacrifice something big. He decided to sacrifice his own daughter Agnes. When his wife figured this out, she left him, taking their other daughter with her. Greta joined the community of witches, led by her sister Cal that were stationed on the North Brother Island in the middle of East River. 

The fact that his wife left him and that he lost both of his daughters shattered William, and he knew he needed to do something drastic to get them back. William searched for the Island tirelessly but was unable to find it. He suspected that Apollo Kagwa might be lucky and decided to infiltrate his life to gain his trust so Apollo could lead him to the island. 

William Wheeler hacked all aspects of Apollo’s life 

William presented himself as a buyer interested in buying ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ signed by Harper Lee, something that was worth a fortune. He offered $70 000 dollars for the book and delivered on the promise. The book was supposedly a gift for his estranged wife. Apollo had no idea that the money that William gave him for the book was stolen from that estranged wife and that William planned on defacing every page of the book with the name of his deceased daughter.  

Eventually, William and Apollo became sort of acquaintances, and Apollo had no idea that William was spying on him through various devices the whole time. William revealed to Apollo that Emma was alive and that she was on one of the islands in the East River to gain his trust. Apollo had no idea William was also closely connected to the place. 

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When they arrived at North Brother Island, Apollo found out the truth and barely escaped with his own life intact when William ordered artillery fire to raze the Island. 

During William’s organized attack, his ex-wife Greta died, as well as her sister, Cal. 

Apollo and Emma singlehandedly made sure to erase the Knudsen line from the face of the earth 

After Apollo figured out what actually happened with his son and what kind of twisted monster William was, he tracked down his father, Jorgen Knudsen, and proceeded to kill him. 

William found his father’s body in a pool of blood and didn’t think much about it. He decided to ignore it. He hated his father, however, you looked at it, because he was of the opinion that his father never did anything that mattered to him except leave him a terrifying curse in inheritance. 

William hid in the basement of his father’s house in the Forest Hills neighborhood, and this is where Emma and Apollo found him. 

Emma and Apollo caught him spying on a family and selling the live stream to freaks online. 

William decided to bargain for his life by offering proof that Brian Kagwa, Apollo’s and Emma’s son, was alive. William placed the camera into Troll’s cave and planned to live-stream the moment Troll eats Brian. He also planned on charging an entrance fee to the event and earning money off of it. This confession alone sent Emma into a murderous rage. 

Does William Wheeler die in the book?

Emma Kagwa killed William Wheeler with a mattock by striking him directly in the head, takin off a piece of his skull. She couldn’t contain her anger when she learned of his plans for her son. Willaim’s body presumably burned in the fire since Apollo and Emma set fire to it before they escaped. 

As you can see, William was one truly twisted and evil human being, and quite frankly, no one expected him to survive the events of the book. How he will end in the show remains to be seen. 

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