The Wheel of Time is the latest fantasy book series to make it to our screens as an adaptation. This means that it follows the footsteps of book-to-screen adaptations such as Game of Thrones. However, we are not strangers to series and movie adaptations that changed a bit of the story for one reason or another, depending on how the showrunners or movie producers see fit. So, in that regard, does The Wheel of Time TV show follow the books?
In most areas, The Wheel of Time series adaptation follows the books well enough. However, just like most shows and movies that were adapted from books, there are some changes that allow The Wheel of Time to stand out both in good and bad ways. But most changes, as of now, are minor.
Even though fans tend to be quite hesitant to accept changes, the truth of the matter is that it is very difficult for showrunners and producers to completely follow everything that is in the books to the letter. This is why certain changes must be made to series adaptations like The Wheel of Time to make the show more in line with the times and allow modern themes to become more prevalent.
Does The Wheel Of Time TV Series Follow The Books?
One of the major pet peeves that book lovers have when it comes to their books getting movie or series adaptations are changes that are not in the book. We have seen this in a lot of different movie and series adaptations such as Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and The Hobbit. And this is something that The Wheel of Time fans are hoping to be minimized in the series, as it continues to stream on Amazon Prime.
So, does The Wheel of Time series follow the books? The good news is that, yes, they do follow the books for the most part. However, like any of the other movies or series that were adapted from books, The Wheel of Time does have changes that some book fans may or may not like.
One of the major changes that were introduced to the series is the casting of people of color. This is not like games or comic books, wherein the characters have already been properly illustrated and given their own specific looks and color. It might be true that the books have done a good job at describing what the central characters look like, but casting people of color has become quite a good change of pace in The Wheel of Time.
The Wheel of Time did a good job at casting some of the main characters such as Perrin and Egwene as people of color. This allows the series to have more diversity in terms of the appearances of their characters. Of course, casting people of color will allow different fans from all over the world to relate to the characters themselves, especially if they are of the same color or race.
Of course, another change that many people have embraced is the fact that the series also talked about homosexuality, although it was only in passing. They embraced homosexuality as something to be accepted rather than hated, and this was not something that was actually discussed in the books (probably because Robert Jordan targeted younger audiences).
Rosamund Pike’s Moiraine and Her Relationship with Lan
To say that Rosamund Pike is a great Moiraine is a great understatement. The first few episodes are more or less focused on Moiraine’s character, as the Dragon Reborn is yet to be revealed to us. However, she has already done a good job on her assignment. As the younger generation these days say, “she understood the assignment”.
But one of the changes that you probably wouldn’t read in the books is her relationship with her Warder Lan. While there was never a hint of a romantic or even sexual bond between Moiraine and Lan in the series, the fact that they bathed together at the same time without it being an issue for them seems to be a bit too cheeky and mature. This wasn’t in the books.
The central characters are much more mature
The books portray the central characters of Rand, Mat, Perrin, and Egwene to be “kids” in the sense that they are very young. Even though their ages in the books are not different from their ages in the show (the boys are 20 while Egwene is 18), they act much more mature in the adaptation.
In the books, these four characters acted like children who were innocent about the ways of the world to the point that they didn’t understand how the world works. There were even parts wherein they were actually innocent about sex, but that wasn’t the case in the show because Rand and Egwene were in a sexual relationship while Perrin had a wife (we’ll get to that later).
While this won’t sit well with book readers, you’d have to understand that 20-year old youngsters living in a post-apocalyptic world are supposed to be much more mature than the 20-year old people that we have in a modern world where everything is basically handed down to them. This is why there are some people who like the more mature Rand, Mat, Perrin, and Egwene.
The prologue is missing… for now
In the books, we were introduced to a prologue that happened thousands of years ago. This allows the readers to understand what the world was about and what had transpired in the past so that it will be easier for the author to get them to bite on the proverbial hook.
However, in the series, there is yet to be any sort of prologue that shows us what happened 4,000 years in the past. This might be a good idea because the showrunners probably didn’t want to reveal the entire central plot at the start. But we might be able to see some sort of flashback somewhere down the line as our heroes learn more about the past.
The timeline seems compressed
It is quite normal for series adapted from books to be compressed compared to their book counterparts. After all, books have plenty of talking to do to explain the scenery, the appearances of the characters, and everything that is transpiring in every scene so that the readers would be able to picture out what is happening.
However, in the series, all we need to do is to watch what is happening and to listen to the dialogue. We no longer need to read about how the character looks and how they are feeling. This is why The Wheel of Time series might feel rushed for others as episode four is already more than halfway through the first book.
It tries to be Game of Thrones even though it’s not
First off, the sexual content in The Wheel of Time is not even a fraction of what you can find in Game of Thrones. However, you would sometimes get a feeling that the show is trying to be like Game of Thrones even though it was never meant to be similar to it. What we are saying here is that the series is throwing out a lot of serious moments, dark scenes, and bloody and gory fights that may be too grim for some audiences.
It is understood that plenty of different showrunners want to follow the Game of Thrones formula because of how massive of a success it was. However, it sometimes keeps the showrunners from making the show more unique and more in line with the source material.
The thing about Game of Thrones is that it was always dark, sexual, violent, and gloomy even in the books. Meanwhile, even though The Wheel of Time does have its share of dark and violent moments in the books, it should be a bit more lighthearted than what the show is portraying it to be. And trying to be a Game of Thrones clone is a change that some fans might not love.
Yes, Perrin has a pregnant wife
One of the most surprising changes that were introduced to the series is Perrin’s pregnant wife, who was introduced as early as the first few scenes of the pilot episode. This comes as a surprise mainly because Perrin did not have a wife or even some sort of romantic partner at the start of the book.
But the worst part of the fact that Perrin was married is how they used his wife as a motivational factor for him. In the first episode, Perrin’s wife was killed by his own hands when he mistook her for a Trolloc while fighting them off. This means that he not only took the life of his wife but also that of his unborn child.
So, throughout the first few episodes, Perrin constantly revisits the death of his wife in his dreams, which became one of the main themes of his character. He became an emo character that regretted what he had done.
In a way, this allowed the show to have a misogynistic side in the sense that it only cast a character that was meant to be killed off to allow one of the main male heroes to grow into his own. And while the show did a lot of great things with how they tackled diversity, adding a somewhat useless character that was never even in the books just to contribute to Perrin’s character growth doesn’t seem like a good idea.
Which Book Does Season One Of The Wheel Of Time Follow?
Like most movies and series that were adapted from their book counterparts, The Wheel of Time started by adapting the first book, which is The Eye of the World. In fact, as we have mentioned, the pacing in the series is actually quite fast to the point that episode four is already more than halfway through the first book.
That means that the entire first season will most likely finish the first book of the beloved Robert Jordan series, which spans 14 books in total (with the last three books written by his partner after his untimely demise in 2007).
However, because of how fast the pacing is, there is a reason to believe that season one will cover more than just the first book. In fact, showrunner Rafe Judkins said that season one will show certain parts of books two and three, which are The Great Hunt and The Dragon Reborn respectively. Judkins’ reason for doing so is that he did not want to restrict the show’s flow to that of a linear approach, and this was something that we saw from Game of Thrones when it decided to mix scenes from different books into one season.
But it is yet to be shown which parts of books two and three have been adapted into season one. Still, what we can be sure of is that Judkins will most likely not follow the one book = one season approach because of how long the book series is. He said that, when he sat down and tried to break the story down, it was actually realistic to go with about eight seasons.
Which Book Will Season Two Of The Wheel Of Time Adapt?
Judging from the fact that season one will cover certain parts of books two and three, it is safe to say that season two, which is already in production, will cover most of the uncovered parts from books two and three while probably adding a few elements and scenes from book four.
However, as season one is still in the middle part of the entire story, we cannot say for sure which parts of the books season two will cover because it might be realistic to say that season one will actually include a large chunk of book two.
Do You Need To Read The Books To Understand The Show?
So, if you haven’t read the books, what we can say for sure is that you don’t need to read the books to understand The Wheel of Time series adaptation. That is because there is nothing on the show that will confuse you if you haven’t read the book, considering that everything that you need to know is handed out to you.
However, it does help if you read the books or if you actually tried reading some book summaries before watching the show. That’s because the entire circular timeline and the concept of reincarnation can get a bit confusing for those who haven’t read the books. Some people don’t even understand the concept of the different Ages in The Wheel of Time and what the “wheel of time” is all about until they tried reading all about it.
Still, The Wheel of Time is somewhat a “what you see is what you get” kind of series that restricts itself to the fans of the books. It would be a bad business decision if they only targeted the book readers because that would mean that those who haven’t read the books won’t be able to properly understand the story or relate to what is happening in it.