The Wheel of Time: Amazon’s new fantasy series struggles to convince

REVIEWS / REVIEWS SERIES – With “The Wheel of Time”, Amazon wishes to realize its flagship series. In this fantastic world resembling Middle-earth, Rosamund Pike plays a witch in search of the chosen one who will save the world from darkness.

A new heroic fantasy series

The Wheel of Time is an adaptation of a series of novels written by Robert Jordan between 1990 and 2005. Composed of fourteen volumes, the saga is a pillar of the fantastic literary genre. In pre-production since 2017, the series produced by Amazon and created by Rafe Judkins has aired since November 19. This new series is located in an imaginary world reminiscent of that of Tolkien.

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Moiraine (Rosamund Pike) is a witch, an Aes Sedai, who made it her mission to find the reincarnation of the Dragon, a being endowed with powers so powerful that he could save the world, or destroy it.

The Wheel of Time © Amazon Prime Video

The Aes Sedai are an organization of women mastering magic. They are the only ones who have the right to use their powers. Indeed, endowed with magical powers, men are dangerous. They therefore do not have the right to use magic. Even though women are the most powerful, the society imagined in The Wheel of Time is still patriarchal. The Aes Sedai are never immune. Moiraine takes with her four young people found in a village. According to her, one of them could be the chosen one. Rand (Josha Stradowski), Egwene (Madeleine Madden), Mat (Barney Harris) and Perrin (Marcus Rutherford) are embarked on a crazy adventure. They will have to face many dangers but also the development of their own faculties.

The Wheel of Time : the creation of a visual atmosphere

From the first episode, the series plays on our expectations as a viewer in the face of the heroic fantasy genre. Instead of deconstructing these expectations or proposing a totally new world, The Wheel of Time is visually inspired by well-known works. The color code of women’s outfits is reminiscent of that of The Handmaid’s Tale (the first Aes Sedai are dressed in red dresses) and the mountainous settings are reminiscent of those of Lord of the Rings. The trollocs, half-human, half-ram creatures, are reminiscent of orcs and the very quest for the heroine refers to that of Frodo.

The Wheel of Time
The Wheel of Time © Amazon Prime Video

Nevertheless, some ideas work like that of a society organized according to roles. Indeed, there are orders like the Aes Sedai but also the midwives, healers. The complex organization becomes clearer over the episodes. It should also be noted the diversity of the cast of the series. This diversity is also visually reflected in the costumes of the characters. inspired by traditional Japanese and Indian outfits. A harmonious mixture of cultures which serves for the visual creation of the universe. The medieval villages, the abandoned citadel, and especially the White Tower, all places are different and have their own identity. As the scenario does not lean towards originality, aesthetics seem to have been privileged.

New Game of Thrones ?

The Wheel of Time would have been thought of as the new one Game of Thrones. It is true that Amazon, despite enormous resources, has not yet found its flagship series, unlike HBO. Despite everything, the substantial budget of the Amazon series does not allow it not to reach the heights. It’s not enough to talk about dragons to compete Game of Thrones. Magical creatures are not convincing and some special effects are even low end.

Having had the chance to discover the first six episodes but kept silent, we can nevertheless say that we are optimistic. Indeed, the world of The Wheel of Time becomes more complex over time and new key characters are also introduced. The scale of the novels lets hope that the series will follow this idea of ​​the deployment of a world. If it took fourteen volumes for the author to finish his story (well almost, since he died before the release of the last three, completed thanks to his notes) we let’s hope it won’t take fourteen seasons to figure it out The Wheel of Time.

The Wheel of Time created by Rafe Judkins, on Amazon Prime Video from November 19, 2021 . Above the trailer. Find all our trailers here.

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