Robert Jordan creates an incredible world in his Wheel of Time book series. Now Amazon’s Prime Video has gone and brought his world to life in their original series. Now that season 2 has hit the streaming service, let’s visit the source material and see what all the buzz is about in The Eye of the World, book one of Jordan’s Wheel of Time.
[Warning: My review of The Wheel of Time Book One: The Eye of the World contains some spoilers both for the book and season on of the show.]
A world poised on a cliff
The Eye of the World opens in a world not unlike medieval Europe, in the small village of Two Rivers. You couldn’t find a more remote, out-of-the-way place. Yet hidden in this small town is a secret that will bring about the end of everything, and the start of something new. The wheel turns and the wheel weaves as the wheel wills. As impossible as it seems, five young people from the edge of the world will end up at the center of everything.
There were earlier signs, there always are, but the action truly starts when a beautiful woman and her guard arrive in Two Rivers. She has a special something about her that causes most people to instantly trust her. Everyone except the local Wisdom, Nynaeve, who instinctively mistrusts her. Rand, Mat, and Perrin feel that there is something more to her, but they aren’t as suspicious as Nynaeve. The Lady Moiraine (everyone thinks of her that way even though she’s claimed no such title) spends some time getting to know the people of Two Rivers, always watched closely by her guard, Lan.
Danger everywhere in The Eye of the World
Then all hell breaks loose. Two Rivers is attacked by monsters known as Trollocs, directed by a worse monster known by many different names but most commonly called a Fade or a Halfman. The monsters destroy the town and attack a few outlying farms. But after the attack is repelled, Rand, Mat, and Perrin realize that the attack wasn’t random. The Trollocs focused on their homes, everything else was collateral damage. Lady Moiraine confirms this and reveals her true self to the boys. She isn’t a noble lady, she is an Aes Sedai (think sorcerous), and her companion, Lan is her Warder (a specially trained bodyguard).
The villagers are instantly wary of her, most people don’t trust Aes Sedai and their power. But she explains to Rand, Mat, and Perrin that she’s there looking for them (she doesn’t mention why), just like the Trollocs were. The boys aren’t sure they can trust her but they can see for themselves the danger their home and loved ones will be in if they stay. So they leave with her. Egwene, a village girl who has always wanted to travel insists she’s coming with them. Moiraine decides she’s part of the pattern and allows her to come along, and they set off for Tar Valon.
A gleeman named Thom Merrilian and the village Wisdome, Nynaeve also accompany them on their journey. And of course, it’s not an easy journey either. They are pursued by Trollocs and Fades during the entire trip. Their desperation pushes them to make dangerous decisions that don’t work out how they want. But all their plans are for nothing in the end because as Moiraine always says “the wheel weaves as the wheel wills”. Events are swirling around the group that will have far-reaching consequences. Do they even have a choice or has destiny already decided how the story will end?
Book one of The Wheel of Time series is a simple but epic tale
The Eye of the World sets up a truly epic tale. It’s evident that Rand, Mat, Perrin, Egwene, and even Nynaeve have great destinies ahead of them. There is a lot going on in the story. Similar to other huge narratives with large casts, the group gets split into several smaller groups that each pursue their own storylines before coming back together to continue the larger plot. This allowed each character to undergo a lot more growth than if the group had stayed together for the entire story.
Each character has their own unique path they need to walk to develop to the point where they can save the world, but a big group has to focus on one main goal. This stifles individual growth. By breaking into smaller groups each character gets the room they need to grow and change. It also allows them to explore more areas and learn more information. The huge group just simply couldn’t cover as much ground. It’s that old divide-and-conquer tactic. And we get more exciting adventures to enjoy! It’s a win-win for everyone.
Only the beginning for The Wheel of Time
So obviously this is just the beginning of the Wheel of Time story. Originally meant to be a six-book series, by the time Robert Jordan was done the main series spanned fourteen books, with a prequel and two companion books, making seventeen total. It’s a lot, to say the least.
And the books themselves are huge. My copy clocked in at 814 pages. Then there were special features at the end. But I will say this, it didn’t feel like 814 pages when I was reading it. The story was engaging and the characters were well developed. Even better, the dialogue was funny, which kept me interested and entertained. It was a long book but I never found myself bored or skipping sections.
So even though it’s a lot, I’m in for the long haul now. Up next is The Great Hunt. I can guess just what’s (who’s) being hunted and I can’t wait to see for myself. Keep an eye out for the review!
As for The Eye of the World, I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good story, especially fans of epic fantasies like The Lord of the Rings or The Witcher. It has also sparked my interest to watch the Prime Video series based on the books, if they’ve managed to translate just a little of Jordan’s vision it should be worth watching too.
The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan is available now! Will you be checking this novel out? Let us know on Twitter or in The Cosmic Circus Discord.