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Wheel Of Time: How Closely Does The Series Follow The Books?

When it comes to adaptations, expectations that it will follow the source material with complete and unquestioning fealty is an exercise in never-ending disappointment. Amazon's adaptation of "The Wheel of Time" is absolutely no different when it comes to this rule of thumb. Adapting a multi-book epic fantasy to television screens is difficult enough already, and trying to cram elements that work in one medium but not in another makes it even more so. Still, it's understandable if non-book fans are left wondering just how closely "The Wheel of Time" adheres to its source, and the answer is as complex as the storyline itself.

While most of Season 1 of "The Wheel of Time" follows that of the first book, "The Eye of the World," the path that it takes to get there isn't always the same. One of the earliest instances of this is the introduction of Perrin Aybara (Marcus Rutherford), who, for some reason, is married on the show while his book counterpart is very much not. While this would be fine in and of itself, the series makes the decision to have Perrin accidentally kill his made-for-TV spouse during the Trolloc attack. It's moments like this that show exactly what "The Wheel of Time" television series is interested in most.

Amazon's Wheel of Time is interested in the big picture, not the small details

Amazon's adaptation of "The Wheel of Time" certainly hits most of the big moments in Season 1's retelling of "The Eye of the World," but it does so in a way that changes or outright ignores a lot of the smaller details in the novel. Rand al'Thor's (Josha Stradowski) revelation that he's the Dragon Reborn is definitely something of a mystery in the epic fantasy book, but there's never a doubt that whoever it is will be a man. In the show, however, Moiraine Damodred (Rosamund Pike) states that the Dragon can be anyone, man or woman.

The series also seems less interested in important supporting characters that appear in the novel more frequently like Thom Merrilin (Alexandre Willaume), who is relegated to something akin to guest actor in his appearances in the series thus far. Still, the show's first season does get to that revelation of who Rand is, and the events themselves mostly play out accurately, even if the details surrounding them have changed greatly. Overall, "The Wheel of Time" seems a lot more interested in the big brush strokes of the story than the small, intricate details. And really, at the end of the day, that's pretty much what most decent-to-good adaptations settle for.