New York Comic Con is happening this weekend, and the folks at Prime Video took the opportunity to unveil the briefest of sneak peek teasers for the second season of its epic fantasy series Wheel of Time, based on the novels by Robert Jordan. The new season isn’t slated to premiere until sometime next year, but the streaming platform is confident enough in the series that it’s already been renewed for a third.
(Spoilers for S1 below.)
As I’ve written previously, the series centers on Moiraine (Rosamund Pike), a member of a powerful, all-woman organization called the Aes Sedai. Magic, known as the One Power, is divided into male (saidin) and female (saidar) flavors. The latter is the province of the Aes Sedai. Long ago, a great evil called the Dark One caused the saidin to become tainted, such that most men who show an ability to channel that magic go mad. It’s the job of the Aes Sedai to track down such men and strip them of their powers. There is also an ancient prophecy concerning the Dragon Reborn: the reincarnation of a person who will save or destroy humanity.
As in the book, Pike’s Moiraine befriended a group of five young people—Egwene (Madeleine Madden), Nynaeve (Zoë Robins), Rand (Josha Stradowski), Mat (Barney Harris in S1), and Perrin (Marcus Rutherford)—whose small village has been attacked by monsters called Trollocs. The two women (Egwene and Nynaeve) showed some promise as future members of the Aes Sedai. But Moiraine also suspected one of the young people (especially the men) might be the Dragon Reborn. Moraine was accompanied on this quest by her Warder and companion, al’Lan Mandragoran (Daniel Henney), and had to avoid the Children of the Light, aka Whitecloaks, among other dangers, during her travels.
Ars Senior Technology Editor Lee Hutchinson and Senior Technology Reporter Andrew Cunningham are mega-fans of the book series, and devoted themselves to recapping every S1 episode in great detail, as well as giving frank assessments of how well the series handled adapting the source material. Their overall verdict after the S1 finale: despite some massive divergences from the books, the series was mostly entertaining, although they would have liked the show to spend more time on the story to let the main characters develop more fully. And they disliked “miserable butthead” Mat (who will be played by Donal Finn in S2), even though the book version is a fan favorite. Still, as Andrew observed, “If my biggest complaint about your show is that there wasn’t enough of it, I don’t think that’s a bad place to be coming out of your first season.”
A great deal happened in S1, far too much to summarize here. But the big news (for those unfamiliar with the books) is that Rand was identified as the Dragon Reborn and went into hiding to avoid his destiny and/or harming his friends—but not before he may have accidentally released the Dark One. We learned in the finale that there’s an armada of ships ominously heading their way. Moraine was captured by the Dark One and either stilled or shielded to keep her from channeling, leaving her in a tight spot. And Perrin helped dig up the flaming Horn of Valere, which plays a big role in the second book in the series.
The NYCC teaser whips through a series of rapid-fire moments from S1, and the new footage starts about the :23 second mark, featuring a despairing voiceover by Moraine. “We didn’t defeat the Dark One,” she says as images of our protagonists in peril flash by. “We set his strongest lieutenant free. He may be waking the Forsaken. You have no conception of the power they wield.” In the Books, the Forsaken were channelers who allied themselves with Shadow in the War of Power and used their powers for evil. They were subsequently imprisoned with the Dark One, and the prospect of their return does not bode well for our beleaguered protagonists.