The Wheel of Time was recommended to me by an Instagram buddy (probably because my IG story is so often about fantasy) and I was quite happy with it! Amazon Prime’s take on the books by Robert Jordan is epic, eye-licious, and matriarchal – yes! In addition to that, Rosamund Pike one of my favorite faces of all time plays a powerful sorcerer named Moraine.
I found the TV adaptation did pretty well in balancing the intricate plots (and subplots) while revealing the cool cultures of the societies and communities in the world of the Wheel of Time. Funeral rites are a big deal here, which I like. Politics especially in the second half of the series, once we are in the Ice Tower, also gets a lot of screen time. Indeed Amazon is aiming for Wheel of Time to be the “next Game of Thrones” in terms of epic fantasy series that just…take over the world. It does differentiate itself in the portrayal of female roles though.
The script is very classic high fantasy. Stakes are as large as the whole world, where the action of one ordinary (or not so ordinary, as it turns out) villager will save or destroy everything. It’s rather cliché at times, but in that way it probably sticks close to Robert Jordan’s vision.
Casting and Characters
The diversity of the cast is well worth a mention as actors and actresses of all colors fill the Wheel. However, I didn’t feel enough pull from the main characters of the story other than Moraine (and she isn’t really supposed to be a main character). In comparison to Shadow and Bone, another fantasy series released in 2021, I have to say Kaz and the gang wins the race by a far margin.
Feminism in the Wheel of Time
Amazon’s take on the world of the Wheel is a feminist, matriarchal world, where women hold the power and are the main driving force of the story. Not a sidelined supporter nor victim of misogyny; this is major for fantasy shows. Women in this world are born knowing that they are the only beings capable of channeling the One Power. They are raised being told they can be leaders. In fact the highest position of leadership, the Tamyrlin Seat, always goes to a woman. So many other fantasy characters in fantasy literature have to prove that they are “worthy” to be more than free domestic labor. In The Wheel of Time the women are born worthy – imagine that.
All in all despite the lack of magnetism to the characters, I think Amazon’s Wheel of Time is a great step for feminist fantasy. I probably won’t read the books, not only because there is 24 of them, but also because I’ve read from reviews that the books are quite traditional in its binary gender tropes. So cheers to staying away from that!