Wheel Of Time Can Be Amazon’s Own Game of Thrones (Not Lord of the Rings)
Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time is being adapted into an Amazon TV series, and it should be the true successor to Game of Thrones.
Wheel of Time can be Amazon’s own replacement to Game of Thrones – not Lord of the Rings. Only a decade ago, networks dismissed adult fantasy shows because they rarely performed well. Game of Thrones was, however, the ultimate game-changer.
The end of Game of Thrones has created a massive gap in the market, and every network and streaming service is eager to fill it. “There’s a little bit of a gold-rush mentality coming off the success of ‘Game of Thrones,” Marc Guggenheim, executive producer of Carnival Row, told The Wall Street Journal. “Everyone wants to tap into that audience.” Early contenders have been the BBC/HBO series, His Dark Materials, and Netflix’s The Witcher; both were popular, and The Witcher competed with Disney+’s The Mandalorian as one of the most in-demand shows of December 2019, but more competitors are on their way.
Attention has been particularly focused on Amazon’s upcoming Lord of the Rings series. The streaming service is working with the Tolkien estate to produce a series exploring the history of Middle Earth, set well before the events of The Fellowship of the Ring. But, as important as Lord of the Rings will undoubtedly be, the most promising of all these potential Game of Thrones successors is actually a very different Amazon show, Wheel of Time.
Why Wheel Of Time Can Be The Next Game Of Thrones
Wheel of Time is based on a series of hugely influential novels by the late fantasy author James Oliver Rigney Jr., who wrote under the pen name of Robert Jordan. In 1984, Jordan proposed the story to Tor Books as a trilogy; Tom Doherty, the head of Tor Books, had worked with Jordan before and knew he tended to go long. He hired Jordan for six books, figuring that would be enough. Instead, Jordan found himself creating one of the most vivid fantasy worlds of all time, and his compelling character journeys expanded. In the end, the Wheel of Time comprised fourteen weighty novels and was completed by Brandon Sanderson using the author’s notes when Jordan sadly passed away in 2007.
Before Game of Thrones, networks and streaming services tended to give fantasy shows very restrictive budgets. HBO cashed out eye-watering sums for Game of Thrones, with reports they paid $15 million per episode for season 8. Amazon Prime will no doubt be making a similar investment for their potential Thrones successor, and that’s perfect for both the magical complexity and sheer world-building involved in Wheel of Time. Some of the casting choices have indicated their commitment, notably the hiring of Rosamund Pike as the sorceress Moraine.
The Character Arcs In Wheel Of Time Are Compelling
The show’s official social media has already shone a spotlight on five central characters, with Rosamund Pike serving as the series lead:
- Egwene Al’Vere, played by Madeleine Madden. “It was about a woman who would not bend her back while she was beaten, and who shown with a light for all who watched.“
- Rand Al’Thor, the Dragon who desperately attempted to avoid his destiny, played by Josha Stradowski. “It was not about me. It’s never been about me.“
- Perrin Aybara, played by Marcus Rutherford. “It was about a man whose family was taken from him, but who stood tall in his sorrow and protected those he could.“
- Nynaeve, the village Wisdom with a greater destiny, played by Zoë Robins. “It was about a woman who refused to believe that she could not help, could not heal those who had been harmed.“
- Mat Cauthon, played by Barney Harris. “It was about a hero who insisted with every breath that he was anything but a hero.“
These characters all started as residents of a small village, completely unaware they would reshape the world. They found themselves facing a terrifying evil, Shai’tan, the Dark One, who was breaking his chains and preparing to wage war against humanity. Three of the men – Rand, Perrin, and Mat – were Ta’veren, focal points in the pattern of time, and all of history wove around them. Rand was the greatest of them all, and he was forced to accept his responsibility as the Dragon, the only man who could safely wield the mystical One Power. Jordan was noted for the sheer quality of his character-work, and every one of them went through a compelling and complex journey. That is perfect for a long-form TV series, which would allow all these characters the opportunity to breathe.
Wheel Of Time Would Be A Far Better Successor To Game Of Thrones
Wheel of Time would be a far better successor to Game of Thrones than Lord of the Rings, simply because it’s something of an outsider. Lord of the Rings is easily the more famous franchise, but the TV series will inevitably be compared – both visually and stylistically – to Peter Jackson’s unforgettable Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies. Amazon may be telling a new story in Middle Earth, but every step of the journey will inevitably be compared to what has gone before; the streaming service is exploiting a known commodity, and expectations are already high. In contrast, for all its popularity among fantasy readers, Wheel of Time is effectively something brand new. The franchise has been adapted into visual mediums before, notably comics, but these were unfinished due to problems with the creative team. Viewers have precious little knowledge of what to expect, and that gives Wheel of Time the opportunity to take audiences by surprise.
In book form, Jordan’s Wheel of Time may have become far longer than he originally envisioned, but there’s a reason he couldn’t leave the story unfinished, and neither could Brandon Sanderson, who finished the series after Jordan’s untimely death. It’s because this world is unique and immersive, breathtaking in its complexity and the richness of its details. Jordan followed in Tolkien’s footsteps, creating something that truly deserves its moment to shine.