The Wheel of Time tv series made a number of changes to the source material - Robert Jordan's epic book series of the same name. For some fans, these changes are positive, making the show more worth watching in the demanding and ever-changing current fantasy scene. But what are those changes? Here are the book and tv show differences for The Wheel of Time, explained.
The Wheel of Time TV Series VS Book Differences: Viewpoint and Dragon Reborn
For the purposes of this analysis, we will stick to the first book, as Robert Jordan's series is quite massive. Book 1, titled The Eye of the World is mostly told from Rand's viewpoint. On the contrary, the series went for a more gender-balanced approach with an ensemble cast of three young men and three young women.
In doing so, the show obscured the identity of the Dragon Reborn, creating a sustaining mystery for the first season. Moreover, things were spiced up a bit, as Rand's village-boy-turned-hero trope is a tired one.
The change worked, offering a cast people could invest in, many believable Dragon candidates, and a more unpredictable plot. At the end of the day, however, the Dragon remains the same, for better or for worse, and some viewers might be frustrated that this is the case, as the Dragon is likely the character upon whom they invested less.
The Wheel of Time TV Series VS Book Differences: More Mature Characters
In the book, Egwene is a little younger than Rand, Perrin, and Mat, who are older teens themselves. They're much more mischievous and child-like, and they're only beginning to understand romantic attraction.
In the series, the four characters are already 20, and Nynaeve is 25. As such, they're experiencing decidedly adult dilemmas. Egwene and Rand who were only flirting in the book are already in an explicitly sexual relationship, and Rand navigates Egwene's decision to focus on magic instead of starting a family with him. Perrin goes from apprentice to married blacksmith (though his marriage was unnecessary and resulted in frustrating fridging) and Mat is the family's breadwinner, stealing to bring up his two young sisters.
The choice to age up the characters and give them adult problems is a major shift. The plot already becomes more than the coming of age story of completely inexperienced individuals, and there's additional tension. The series thus becomes more relatable to viewers who aren't interested in young adult fantasy tropes - though it can feel a little alienating to those used to the book dynamics.
The Wheel of Time TV Series VS Book Differences: Early Expansion in the Role of Aes Sedai
Much of the first season's charm lies in the introduction of Aes Sedai, a color-coded, all-female order wielding the One Power and fighting against the Dark One. The first book does introduce the concept of the Aes Sedai, but a trip to the White Tower, their seat of power, doesn't happen until the second book.
Liandrin's rivalry with Moiraine is therefore not a part of book 1, nor are the stunning scenes where all Aes Sedai stand together. Moreover, the tv series chose to expand on Moiraine's romantic relationship with the Amyrlin Seat, which is only alluded to in the books.
The feminine element in the series is already stronger, and, while Moiraine is presently banned from the White Tower, we'd love to see more of it.
These, of course, are only some of the bigger changes that significantly alter the first season of the show, causing it to depart irrevocably from some of the book's aspects. There is merit in both books and tv show, and those who would like the fuller experience, are advised to check out both.