Amazon’s adaptation of The Wheel of Time series begins airing on November 19 after years of development and false starts. And as Ars Technica’s resident WoT book nerds, Andrew Cunningham (that’s me) and Lee Hutchinson will be here to recap the first season for you, episode by episode. We’ve both read Robert Jordan’s (and, later, Brandon Sanderson’s) 14-volume fantasy epic from end to end more than once, and it would be a shame to let such a ridiculous time investment go to waste!
The Wheel of Time series in its current iteration has been in the works since at least 2016, when Wheel of Time copyright owner (and Robert Jordan’s wife and editor) Harriet McDougal teased a “cutting edge TV series” from a “major studio” in the wake of a terrible low-budget pilot that aired in the wee hours one day in early 2015. Amazon has put some serious marketing muscle behind the series, with a slow-but-steady drip of trailers and promotional images, plus a gigantic interactive page walking you through the series’ main characters and some of its complex lore. Amazon has also already renewed the series for a second season.
Sprawling, multi-book series like WoT can be tough to adapt, as we learned from watching the highs and lows of HBO’s Game of Thrones over its eight-year run. Plot arcs need to be streamlined, tweaked, or dropped altogether; new characters are invented while existing ones (including fan-favorites!) are skipped over; and the unlimited special effects produced in the human mind need to be replicated by the finite capabilities of computer-generated imagery.
Will The Wheel of Time series be everything fans have always wanted? Will it become a GoT-style cultural crossover mega-hit that makes it all the way through the entire story or a valiant effort that ends after a handful of seasons? Will Andrew and Lee regret the commitment they have made to publish their opinions on every single episode? The only way to know is to read along. Our impressions will go up on November 20, after the first three episodes of the series have been released on Amazon Prime.
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