To a large swath of television viewers, the name “The Wheel of Time” will mean nothing; to others, however, the Wheel of Time series of novels by Robert Jordan was the highest of literature. Written by the American author Robert Jordan, with Brandon Sanderson as a co-author for the final three novels. The book series was originally planned as a six-book series, The Wheel of Time spans 14 volumes, in addition to a prequel novel and two companion books. Jordan began writing the first volume, The Eye of the World, in 1984, and it was published in January 1990.
Now, after decades of attempts, we have that adaptation in the form of Amazon’s new series. In the episode’s pilot, we meet Moiraine played with grace by the great Rosamund Pike. She is a member of the Aes Sedai, a group that can channel a sort of elemental magic and strictly adheres to the idea of time as cyclical. A wheel, if you will. Moraine is searching for the reincarnation of someone known as “The Dragon”. A prophecy that predicts this person will save the world or destroy it. Earlier in time, The Dragon’s power had caused mass destruction. With the help of her companion al’Lan Mandragoran “Lan” (Daniel Henney), Moraine is in search of him or her for as of yet undisclosed reason. But if the Dark One and his armies get their hands on this “Dragon Reborn” first, the world just might end at the hands of its own hero.
The Dragon Reborn, once known in the books as a boy, is now a child of any gender. This adds a bit of intrigue as we eventually discover who is in the running to gain the title. Bit by bit we’re introduced to the main characters of the show, these are Rand al’Thor (Josha Stradowski) a young shepherd who lives with his father Tam al’Thor (Michael McElhatton), Perrin Aybara (Marcus Rutherford) who is a gentle giant of a blacksmith who lives with his wife Laila, Mat Cauthon (Barney Harris) who is a roguish type who comes from bad stock but does his best to care for his young sisters Egwene al’Vere (Madeleine Madden) a young woman and Rand’s lover who is learning to become a Wisdom—a female healer of sorts, and Nynaeve al’Maera (Zoe Robins) the current Wisdom of the village.
The Wheel of Time isn’t as intensely gory as Game of Thrones and totally avoids any suggestion of sexual violence. The fight sequences are bloody with quickly cut but gruesome stabbings and dismemberments. All of this helps add to the brutal reality of the world, but it’s certainly a lot stronger than the Lord of the Rings movies. Amazon clearly has high hopes for The Wheel of Time, with a $10 million budget per episode and a second season already in production. The studio also has its Lord of the Rings series waiting in the wings, and inevitably The Wheel of Time might seem like a small footnote once that hits. But that’s a while off, and this first season emerges as one of the most successful of the current crop of fantasy shows.
Episode 7, “The Dark Along the Ways,” begins with three action-packed minutes, which The Wheel of Time executive producer and showrunner Rafe Judkins called his favorite cold open of the season. In the scene, a pregnant Tigraine fights off enemy soldiers while simultaneously going into labor. To ensure the tricky fight choreography felt real to audiences, Judkins and the episode’s director Ciaran Donnelly decided to build the entire sequence around Magdalena Sittova abilities.
On December 18, 2021, Sittova posted about her role on Instagram:
Honestly I felt huge responsibility and fear when I was offered to play the character Tigraine Mantear by @rafejudkins! Thank you for your trust with an opening scene! I wanted to show her as a fucking warrior, badass woman, and a mother that simply does everything to protect her baby. At the end that is the strongest motivation, love.
Thanks to all the fans as I received hundreds of beautiful positive messages via IG and Twitter!
Watch the whole 7th episode and season on #amazon #primevideo.
Credits for amazing stunt team-
@petrinajan and @tatankac
To be able to do such a complex scene with acting and stunts and be part of the creating process was dream come true!
Although The Wheel of Time book series often references the story of Tigraine Mantear, who is most notably the Dragon Reborn’s mother, she is never explicitly depicted.
Tigraine’s brief cameo in the TV show featured impressive spear maneuvers, killer defense tactics, and an epic win against several murderous soldiers. Lastly, Donnelly sought to emotionally charge the fight scene by making Tigraine’s mission the safe delivery of her baby.