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Biggest Unanswered Questions In The Wheel Of Time

Based on the series of novels created by author Robert Jordan, Amazon's "The Wheel of Time” has gripped the imaginations of fantasy lovers everywhere. The series follows the journey of a group of heroes attempting to stop the rise of an evil entity known as the Dark One. An ancient prophecy has dictated that only the Dragon Reborn has the ability to either save the world or destroy it, and the crew must discover the chosen one's identity before it's too late.

English actor Rosamund Pike plays Moiraine Damodred, a powerful sorceress and a member of an all-female guild known as the Aes Sedai. The Aes Sedai are both feared and respected throughout the world, and they alone are able to wield magic without the risk of going mad. At her side is her loyal Warder, Lan Mandragoran (Daniel Henney), a skilled warrior who serves as her protector. Together, Moiraine and Lan go in search of the Dragon Reborn, and during their journey, they find four potential candidates in a small mountain village.

With Season 2 already confirmed, "The Wheel of Time" has garnered high praise from both critics and audiences alike. It has a current score of 84% on Rotten Tomatoes (79% audience score), and with only a few episodes left in the season, the show has given us plenty of mysteries to ponder. Here are just some of the unanswered questions we have about "The Wheel of Time" so far.

Who or what is the Dark One?

Every epic tale has its legendary villain. "The Lord of the Rings" has the Eye of Sauron, "Star Wars" has Emperor Palpatine, and "Harry Potter" has Lord Voldemort. For "The Wheel of Time," that ominous enemy in the shadows is the Dark One. But who, or what, is he?

Despite his ominous moniker, the series hasn't told us much about the Dark One so far. At the beginning of the show's pilot episode, a voiceover from Moiraine gives us a brief backstory about the Wheel, the Dark One, and the Dragon. But the details are slim, and what we do know sounds like something from a fairy tale or religious parable rather than historic fact.

We are told that the Dark One was imprisoned long ago and has been trying to break free to destroy the Wheel of Time. We also know that the Dragon Reborn is the only one who can stop him and that the conflict against the Dark One is a war that happens with each turn of the Wheel as the Dragon's soul is reincarnated. Yet surely there must be more to the Dark One than simply being the world's resident boogeyman. Was he once human? Is he a god? Or is he just the ultimate incarnation of evil? Perhaps "The Wheel of Time" novels delve deeper into the Dark One's origins, but for now, the series is keeping the details tightly under wraps.

Who is Tam al'Thor really?

In "The Wheel of Time," the story begins in the small village of Two Rivers, where we meet our four main heroes: Rand al'Thor (Josha Stradowski), Egwene al'Vere (Madeleine Madden), Mat Cauthon (Barney Harris), and Perrin Aybara (Marcus Rutherford). Two Rivers is cut off from the rest of the world, a seemingly safe and quiet place away from conflict and outside dangers. Rand lives a pastoral life with his father, Tam al'Thor (Michael McElhatton), and is in a romantic relationship with Egwene, who is next in line to be the village Wisdom.

The peace of Two Rivers is upended when the villagers are attacked by an army of monsters called Trollocs, who are hunting down the next Dragon Reborn at the behest of the Dark One. While most of the villagers are in town celebrating the festival of Bel Tine, Rand and his father are alone in their house when the Trollocs arrive. There's a surprising reveal that Tam may be more than he seems when he begins fighting off the Trollocs with impressive skill. At one point, the camera focuses on the engraving of a heron on Tam's blade, which is sure to be something of importance later on.

It's clear that Tam has a backstory shrouded in mystery, one that even Rand is in the dark about. Yet when Tam is left badly wounded from a Trolloc's poisoned blade, there's no time for questions as Rand rushes him into the village to find a healer. Luckily, Moiraine is able to heal Tam with her powers, but shortly after, Rand and his friends are forced to leave Two Rivers — and their loved ones — behind.

Is Rand actually an Aeil?

As if the truth of Tam's true identity wasn't curious enough, there is also the question of Rand himself. When Mat and Rand finally make it to the city of Tar Valon, Rand meets a friendly Ogier named Loial (Hammad Animashaun). During their conversation, Loial draws attention to Rand's red hair, which he points out is a trait of humans from Aeil. Despite Rand insisting that he is not Aeilman, Loial continues to assume otherwise.

It doesn't take a detective to work out what's going on here. Though he was raised and lived all of his life in the village of Two Rivers, Rand was most likely born to at least one Aeil parent. Why his heritage has been kept a secret is unknown, but the series has given us at least one clue. In Episode 3, "A Place of Safety," Rand and Mat find themselves in a small town where they meet a traveling musician called Thom Merrilin (Alexandre Willaume). Later that night, Mat tries to rob the corpse of a man who was murdered and left hanging in a cage, and Thom appears to bury the body.

As the two men cut down the body, Thom points out that the man was likely murdered because of his red hair, marking him as being from the Aeil Waste. Mat remarks that he's heard stories that the Aeil are savage killers, but Thom argues that they are actually honorable warriors. If it's true that there are established prejudices against the Aeil, then that could account for Rand's ancestry being kept a secret.

In Episode 7, "The Dark Along the Ways," we discover new information about Rand's origins. A flashback sequence reveals Rand's father, Tam, as a soldier, who helps an Aeil woman deliver her baby before she dies of a fatal injury. It turns out that the baby was actually Rand, and that Tam took the child and raised him as his own. Additionally, Rand's suspicions are confirmed when he speaks to a woman who has prophetic sight. The seer reveals to Rand that she saw a vision of his birth, and that he is the true Dragon Reborn. Although we still don't know the full circumstances behind Rand's birth, we are at least one step closer.

What is wrong with Laila?

One of the possible candidates to be the Dragon Reborn, Perrin Aybara, is the gentle giant of the group. He serves as the town's blacksmith alongside his wife, Laila (Helena Westerman). During the Trolloc attack on Two Rivers, Laila and Perrin fight together side by side against the monsters. But in a tragic turn of events, Perrin accidentally kills his own wife in the heat of battle. The guilt is almost too much for Perrin, who carries the secret with him until he finally reveals it to Egwene in a later episode.

The relationship between Perrin and Laila is barely examined before her untimely death, yet a brief scene between the two early on in the pilot may offer a bit of insight. At the beginning of "The Wheel of Time" Episode 1, the village is celebrating Egwene's ritual transition into womanhood at the local inn. However, it seems that Laila is one of the few not in attendance. When Perrin goes to check in on her, she is busy working hard at the forge. When Perrin asks her where she's been, Laila doesn't answer. He also mentions that Laila did not attend Egwene's ceremony.

As Perrin puts his arms around his wife, it's clear from her expression that Laila is dealing with some sort of emotional pain. Looking closely, you'll see that Perrin's hands rest on Laila's lower stomach — perhaps an indicator that Perrin and Laila may have recently lost an unborn child. It's all speculative, of course, but if true, it would make Laila's accidental death at the hands of her husband all the more heartbreaking.

What did Egwene see in the blue stone?

In Episode 2, "Shadow's Waiting," Moiraine and Lan lead the others to safety away from the Trollocs, intending to take them to the home of the Aes Sedai, the White Tower. In one scene, Moiraine and Egwene speak together alone in the woods at night away from the camp. Moiraine attempts to explain to Egwene the extent of her magical capabilities, but Egwene remains skeptical.

To convince her, Moiraine shows Egwene a blue jewel that she normally wears around her neck. Moiraine instructs Egwene to empty her mind and look deep into the stone, and as Egwene does so, an image appears. It almost looks like a tall tower with a stormy sea in the background, yet it's difficult to say for sure, and the shot cuts away very quickly.

After that, Moiraine reveals a cryptic message to Egwene, saying, "Those first two, those were mine. The last, that was yours, and yours alone." So the question is, what exactly did Egwene see within the jewel? Was it some sort of vision of the future? Or maybe it was the True Source itself, which gives magic to all the Aes Sedai? Perhaps the audience is never meant to know, but we can't help being curious.

What's up with Perrin and his wolf friends?

In "The Wheel of Time" Episode 2, Perrin is inspecting an angry wound on his leg when he is approached by a pack of wolves. The wild animals surround him on all sides, and Perrin is very aware of the clear and present danger. However, instead of attacking, the alpha wolf approaches him and begins to clean Perrin's wound. The wolves then depart, leaving Perrin unharmed.

As if that wasn't strange enough, Perrin and Egwene encounter the pack once again in Episode 3 while they are traveling on their own. Though the wolves at first appear to be chasing them down, it seems that they are actually helping the pair by herding them in the direction where they need to go. Finally, in Episode 5, the wolves show up to rescue Egwene and Perrin from the masochistic Eamon Valda (Abdul Salis), an interrogator for a fanatic religious group called the Children of Light. Even before the wolves' arrival, we can see Perrin's eyes turning wolflike while he is being tortured by Valda.

So what is the explanation for Perrin's mysterious relationship with the wolves? Could it be that it has something to do with his connection to the True Source? Or maybe these feral canines are more than they seem? Time will tell.

What's really happening to Mat?

According to "The Wheel of Time" lore, magic is drawn from a place called the True Source, or the One Power. Primarily, it is women who are gifted with this ability. However, men are just as capable of accessing the One Power, though at a steep price. For reasons unknown, males who wield magic often go mad, making them a threat to themselves and others.

As one of the candidates to be the Dragon Reborn, Mat Cauthon especially seems to be struggling with the possible implications of his connection to the One Power. As their journey progresses, Mat's mental state starts to deteriorate, causing him to question his own sanity. Could it be that he is slowly going mad because of his link to the True Source, or is there some other force at work?

While it is conceivable that the One Power might be responsible for Mat's growing paranoia, there is another option to consider. In Episode 2, Lan leads the group into the cursed city of Shadar Logoth. After revealing the city's tragic history, Lan warns the others not to touch anything. The warder's words go unheeded when Mat finds a jeweled dagger among the wreckage that he claims for his own.

It isn't until after he has the weapon in his possession that Mat starts to exhibit strange behavior — including going into a trance when a Fade murders an innocent family. Is it just coincidence, or could it be that the dagger is also infused with a dark curse and is the actual cause of Mat's troubles? Maybe if Mat simply gets rid of the object, he would be free of his so-called "madness." As it turns out, that is exactly the case. In Episode 6, Moiraine and Lan finally find Mat and Rand staying in an inn at Tar Valon, and Mat is clearly in bad shape. Luckily, Moiraine is able to recognize the power that the dagger has over Mat and cures him of its dark affliction.

What is it that Moiraine and Siuan are planning?

In Episode 6 of "The Wheel of Time," we are introduced to the leader of the Aes Sedai, Siuan Sanche (Sophie Okonedo), who holds the title of Amyrlin Seat. When Moiraine, Liandrin (Kate Fleetwood), and Alanna (Priyanka Bose) present the False Dragon — Logain (Alvaro Morte) — for judgment, Siuan is not happy that they magically castrated the prisoner without her approval. When Liandrin throws Moiraine under the bus, Siuan has no choice but to publicly reproach her for her behavior.

Privately, however, it's another story. After the scene in the main hall, Moiraine visits Siuan in her chambers, where it is revealed to the audience that the two women are actually lovers. And their affair is not the only secret they are keeping from the rest of the Aes Sedai — it appears that Siuan and Moiraine are also hiding the identities of the five young people from Two Rivers from the other sisters in the Tower.

While it's understandable that they would wish to keep their feelings for each other a secret, we're not quite sure why the Amyrlin and Moiraine are hiding the potential Dragon Reborn from the rest of the Aes Sedai. Even the head of the Blue Ajah, Moiraine's direct superior, seems to be in the dark. Isn't it the job of the Aes Sedai to wait for the Dragon's return? As Moiraine points out to Siuan in private, the prophecy states that the Dragon Reborn could either defeat the Dark One or join him. Maybe they don't wish to waste time by trying to figure out where the newest Dragon will fall, but it seems like a very big risk to take. We guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens. 

What did Lews do 3000 years ago?

The beginning of "The Wheel of Time" Season 1 finale takes place 3000 years before the time of Rand and his companions. We are taken to a world that appears to be something out of science fiction, with flying vehicles and seemingly futuristic buildings. The episode introduces the former Dragon Reborn, Lews Terin Telamon (Alexander Karim). We also learn that the Aes Sedai were once made up of both male and female members.

At the start of the episode, Lews is arguing with a woman named Latra Posae Decume (Derancie Baitoukou). It seems that Lews has a plan to imprison the Dark One, but the Aes Sedai have deemed it too risky. Latra insists that what Lews proposes will expose the Dark One to the Source and allow him to corrupt it. Dejected, Lews is left alone as he tends to a crying baby in a cradle. He promises the child that he will make the world safe for them — however, with what we know so far, Lews's plans evidently went horribly awry.

Later in the episode we meet another new character — a man who, although his name is not said in the episode, is listed in the credits as Ishamael (Faras Faras). Fans of the book series will recognize the name, and although he is not the Dark One himself, Ishamael is one of his trusted lieutenants. Ishamael recognizes Lews within Rand, as the new Dragon Reborn. He tries to tempt Rand to the dark side, but Rand will not be swayed, and instead uses his powers to banish the dark wizard.

When Rand and Moiraine reach the Eye of the World, Rand sees a vision of the past, with Lews fighting against Ishamael. Still, we don't get more than a brief glimpse, and we are left with more questions than answers. So what happened to Lews? What exactly did he do to break the world? Hopefully Season 2 will give us those answers.

How did Nynaeve track Moiraine?

Nynaeve has proven herself to be a strong, capable woman among the five ta'veren in more ways than one. She is the mother of the group, always looking out for her friends and shielding them from danger. As it turns out, she herself is a powerful channeler, and her abilities saved Lan Mandragoran from certain death.

Nynaeve has always been suspicious of Moiraine and her intentions, fearful that the Aes Sedai will do whatever it takes to stop the Dark One – even if it means putting the lives of others in danger. When Moiraine led the four young Dragon Reborn candidates away from Two Rivers, Nynaeve managed to track them down. She eventually caught up to her and Tam to find that Moiraine was very ill. Nynaeve agreed to help heal Moiraine, but only so she could find her friends.

Tam was surprised by Nynaeve's ability to track them, and Tam's fellow warders were also impressed by Nynaeve's skills. However, in the "Wheel of Time" Season 1 finale, Nynaeve revealed to Tam that it was Moiraine she tracked, not Tam. She told Tam that Moiraine has a "tell" that allowed Nynaeve to find her. When Moiraine masked the bond between her and Tam, Nynaeve told Tam how he could track Moiraine down.

So what is Moiraine's "tell," and how did it allow Tam and Nynaeve to find her? Because Tam is not a channeler, most likely whatever it is doesn't have anything to do with the One Power. It will be interesting to discover what the secret is in Season 2.

Who are in the ships with red sails?

The season finale of "Wheel of Time" has both its ups and downs, to say the least. Although Rand was able to stand up against Ishamael, he decides to go off on his own, and asks Moiraine to tell his friends that he died. Meanwhile, Moiraine has been severed from her connection to the Source, leaving her powerless. We also watched as Nynaeve sacrificed herself to save Egwene, only to have Egwene use her power to bring Nynaeve back to life. Perrin watched helplessly as the Horn of Valere was stolen, and Mat's future is still uncertain.

Even with all these storylines intertwined, the "Wheel of Time" series decided to bring another complication into the mix. In the final few minutes of the finale, we are taken to a new location, which the titles reveal as the Far Western Shore. A young girl is wandering on the beach when she sees a line of ships in the distance, all with red sails.

Upon closer inspection, the flagship is made up of fierce-looking warriors. Their faces are painted with what looks like war paint, and some of them have odd gold coverings over their mouths. Together, the channelers summon up a giant wave, which rolls ominously toward the shoreline and towers over the little girl.

Fans of the books may recognize that the ships come from the Seanchan Empire. According to the novels, the Seanchan seek to reclaim the land they lost many years ago, and they are a fierce and formidable people. It's likely we will learn more about them in Season 2, although how much they will impact future events remains to be seen.