Despite being a lifelong lover of fantasy stories, I didn’t know much about The Wheel of Time series before the first season of Amazon’s adaptation came out last year. The trailer intrigued me and I’ve been a fan of both Rosamund Pike (since Pride&Prejudice, 2005) and Daniel Henney (from his appearances in Criminal Minds and X-Men), so I decided to give it a try.
After enjoying the first season, with questions about what was going to happen next and funny hints from the active Tumblr fandom, I decided to check out the books. There are 14 in total (well, 15 if you count the prequel New Spring) and they are massive. Seriously, these are basically the definitive doorstop novels. The longest has 58 chapters and the ones in the main series are all 500+ pages long.
Season 2 is going to be adapting books 3 and 4 (The Great Hunt and The Dragon Reborn). Both books are far more exciting than The Eye of the World, which was the focus of season 1.
So, if it’s been a minute since you’ve read them or you’d rather not read 1,000+ pages to prepare, here are some things to keep your eyes open for in Season 2. Never fear, no major plot spoilers ahead!
The Royal Family of Andor
Some fans were bent out of shape that we didn’t meet the royal family in season 1 despite their appearance in The Eye of the World. For my part, I can see why moving it to season 2 makes sense as they didn’t have much to do beyond meeting Rand in the first book.
The matrilineal royal family includes Queen Morgase, a shrewd and beautiful ruler. The daughter-heir is Elayne (played by Ceara Coveney), who is a key player in the books. Her brothers are Galad (a man with a rigid moral code who is described by almost every female character as the most handsome man they’ve ever seen) and Gawyn (who basically gets voted ‘most punchable’ by many book-readers as he struggles to be more important in the narrative than he actually is).
If you’re getting Camelot vibes from the names I just listed (Egwene, Nynaeve, Thom Merrilin, and Moiraine all say hi by the way), just wait. The royal family of Andor lives in the city of Caemlyn. And, if the show adapts to the end of book three, there is straight up going to be a sword in the stone by the end of this season.
Speaking of Elayne, her arc in books 2 and 3 is great fun, particularly once she meets up with Egwene and Nynaeve. Often called “The Wondergirls” by the fandom, these three are all powerful wielders of the One Power and they get up to all kinds of important plot-related mischief, especially whenever they’re together. Their storyline was my favorite in those books, so I’m extremely excited for them to meet.
We got our first glimpse of the Aiel in action with a fabulous fight scene in episode 7 of season 1. It not only showed the veils they wear to fight, but gave us insight into how lethal the Maidens of the Spear can be, even when heavily pregnant. That episode also showed Rand’s birth; the fact he looks like an Aiel was mentioned many times in the first season, so it was cool to see the confirmation of his Aiel heritage on screen. That cold open also gave us some backstory for Tam al’Thor (Rand’s adoptive father) as well as a bit about the Aiel War, which is at least part of the reason for the fear and prejudice directed towards the Aiel.
The Aiel are majorly important in the books and at least a few of those arcs should get their start this season, especially with casting for Aviendha confirmed. Aviendha is a badass, enjoyable character with great connections to several of the leads we met last season. She’s one of the ways we and the characters learn about the Aiel’s intricate culture as well as their different societies, including the Maidens of the Spear and the Wise Ones. I’m looking forward to seeing what Ayoola Smart does with the role!
Another important culture we glimpsed at the very end of season 1 was the Seanchan, who showed up on boats with women wielding the One Power sending a tidal wave onto a beach and one very unlucky little girl.
Particularly important antagonists in The Great Hunt, you can expect them to be major players this season. (They should also have Southern accents from what is now the U.S.; I’m curious to see that on screen.) Egwene’s interactions with them are pretty critical to her character arc as well as a major source of trauma, so stay tuned for that.
Fun with the Forsaken
We learned a little bit about the Forsaken–antagonists just below the Dark One himself–in the first season, mostly from Rand’s dreams. Oh, and those creepy figurines we saw at one point.
While it looks like several are being cut for the show, at least 8 of them are likely to appear throughout the course of the show. It can be tough keeping track of them in the books because of their propensity to take on new names as they try to win Rand over or work against him. The Forsaken come from The Age of Legends; they’re ancient, devious, and powerful. They’re also all deeply flawed, so that should be fun.
Expect to meet several of them this season. Basically, if someone seems shady, it’s not a major leap to think they’re one of the Forsaken in disguise….
Ter’angreal are enchanted items. Some ter’angreal help a user of the One Power channel more power safely, while others have specific purposes. We saw a few of them in the first season, from the figurine Moiraine has to the Oath Rod used by the Aes Sedai to swear the three oaths.
There are several extremely important ter’angreal that should be coming down the pike this season, including the sword in the stone I mentioned earlier, as well as others inside the White Tower and several held by enemies. Keep your eyes peeled for these powerful objects…some of which you may recognize.
Traps on traps on traps
Our heroes are going to be in a lot of shaky situations this season. You will likely be tempted to make like Admiral Akbar and shout “it’s a trap!” at your screen, but they’re going to walk into them anyway. Sometimes, they’re even going to do it on purpose….
One funny aspect of the books is how Robert Jordan basically coined a term for “main character syndrome.” In the books, it’s only Rand, Perrin, and Mat from the Two Rivers that are ta’veren, but the show added Egwene into that number too. Which honestly makes sense, given her role in the story.
Weird things are going to happen with them around, especially Rand. Of the original Two Rivers crew, Mat Cauthon is being played by a new actor this season. In the first book I wasn’t a major fan of Mat, but I soon understood why people said he’s likely to become one of your favorites by book 3. Let’s just say he ends up with some interesting side effects after all his time with the cursed dagger….
We should also see more of Perrin’s connection with the wolves that we started to see last season. Dreams are going to become even more important as well for several of our leads.
I hope you’re looking forward to season 2! There are some exciting moments I can’t wait to see play out on screen. It won’t be the same as the books, but I think it will still be fun 🙂