A promotional poster for Amazon's "The Wheel of Time." (Photo retrieved from cbr.com)

“The Wheel of Time” fills a traditional world with distinctive characters

Season 1 of Amazon Prime’s “The Wheel of Time,” an eight–episode adaptation of Robert Jordan’s novels of the same name, follows five magical individuals who have the potential to become the Dragon Reborn. 

The show creates its world using the traditional medieval fantasy story, but is led by unique characters, who are crafted by the excellent skills of the actors.

The Dragon Reborn is a reincarnation of a powerful being that can save humanity by destroying the Dark One, a primordial force of evil, or doom humanity by joining it.

The five main characters are villagers who are attacked by the forces of the Dark One.

The five candidates travel to the White Tower, the safest place to ward off the agents of the Dark One.

Throughout the journey, the identity of the Dragon Reborn is slowly revealed and takes on the role of main character; the side characters are given time to explore their morals and motivations.

All of the main characters are morally gray and given time to understand their flaws and strengths, such as Matt Cauthon, played by Barney Harris.

Matt is a character who is constantly making head-slamming decisions for heartwarming reasons, such as stealing a forbidden dagger and endangering the group to improve the well being of his sisters.

The writing for the character is coupled well with the acting skills of Harris.

Harris is able to portray the emotions of courage, fear, love and stupidity that  descend from the love for his sisters from scene to scene. 

As the story progresses, Matt becomes corrupted by the dagger that he stole. Matt’s actions grow to become unpredictable and powerful, instilling a sense of fear and danger in every move he makes.

Harris’ facial expressions will chill the spines of the audience as his face becomes more and more haunted as the darkness of the dagger consumes him.

Another one of the five, Perrin Aybara, played by Marcus Rutherford, is a character whose story is driven by overcoming his greatest barrier: His own mind. 

Although his journey is a complex and unique one, Rutherford’s great acting skills manage to relate the emotional turbulence that his character goes through to the audience in a digestible and eye-catching way.

Despite the unique characters,  “Wheel of time” keeps traditional fantasy tropes. 

The show contains magic, monsters, kings, castles, dark forests and evil lords.

Although this makes for an often entertaining formula, the problem for the tropes usage lies in the lackluster explanation and details, such as the magic in the show.

The reader is barely given time to digest the show’s magic system, the One Power.

The One Power is initially displayed as a powerful force, giving the wielder an arsenal of unique capabilities, such as releasing powerful blasts of energy, harnessing the power of lightning, creating shields and controlling projectiles.

Although entertaining in fights and visually pleasing to see, the confusion that surrounds the One Power only serves to break the immersion that the show was trying to create.

Despite the lack of depth, the scenery in “The Wheel of Time” is colorful and unique in detail. 

There is no better example than the forest where the Dark One dwells . 

The forest that surrounds the Dark One is filled with unique colors. Shades of green, black and brown cover the forest. The trees have twisted and low branches that collide with each other, giving a sense of foreboding dread with the tight knit environment.

Although “The Wheel of Time” features a traditional and basic fantasy world, it stands out due to the skills of the actors and the characters.

"The Wheel of Time" Season 1
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— By Ishaan Sekhon

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