Novelist Brandon Sanderson, who is a consulting producer on Amazon’s The Wheel of Time and the author who finished Robert Jordan’s epic masterpiece after he tragically passed away, took to his blog to express some concern about the show’s characterization of Nynaeve as well as the introduction of the Tinkers.

Sanderson began his blog post noting that he didn’t provide as much feedback on episodes three and four as he did for episodes one and two claiming that “these two episodes were already quite strong by the time they got to me, and I didn’t spot any major structural problems or character problems like I saw in the first two episodes.”

Credit: Jan Thijs
Copyright: © 2021 Amazon Content Services LLC and Sony Pictures Television Inc.
Description: Pictured: Abdul Salis (Eamon Valda)

The Mistborn novelist previously criticized showrunner Rafe Judkin’s decision to have Perrin kill his wife in his reaction to the first episode.

He detailed, “Biggest thing he and I disagreed on was Perrin’s wife. I realize that there is a good opportunity here for Perrin to be shown with rage issues, and to be afraid of the potential beast inside of him. I liked that idea, but didn’t like it being a wife for multiple reasons. ”

“First off, it feels a lot like the disposable wife trope (AKA Woman in the Fridge.) Beyond that, I think the trauma of having killed your wife is so huge, the story this is telling can’t realistically deal with it in a way that is responsible,” he elaborated.

He continued, “Perrin killing his wife then going off on an adventure really bothers me, even still.”

Pictured: Marcus Rutherford (Perrin Aybara)
Credit: Jan Thijs
Copyright: © 2021 Amazon Content Services LLC and Sony Pictures Television Inc.

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Sanderson would later add that he “suggested instead that he kill Master Luhhhan.”

“As much as I hate to do Luhhan dirty like that, I think the idea Rafe and the team had here is a good one for accelerating Perrin’s plot,” he explained. “Accidentally killing your master steps the trauma back a little, but gives the same motivations and hesitance.”

He then noted, “One thing I don’t want this WoT adaptation to try to do is lean into being a tonal Game of Thrones replacement–IE, I don’t want to lean into the ‘Grimdark’ ideas. Killing Perrin’s wife felt edgy just to be edgy.”

Pictured (L-R): Daniel Henney (Lan), Rosamund Pike (Moiraine Damodred)
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Copyright: © 2021 Amazon Content Services LLC and Sony Pictures Television Inc.

However, after watching the first episode, Sanderson provided a different opinion writing, “I have to admit, the Perrin-kills-his-wife scene turned out really well. The acting was solid, the way the shot was composed, and the gut punch (gut axe?) was solidly delivered to the audience. People in my showing gasped.”

He then added, “So while I am still on the side of ‘this would have worked better with Master Luhhan,’ I can’t really complain about how well the scene worked. And I did ask Rafe to make sure he at least played up the berzerker angle of Perrin here, and I was glad to see that working.”

Pictured (L-R): Josha Stradowski (Rand al’Thor), Marcus Rutherford (Perrin Aybara), Barney Harris (Mat Cauthon) Credit: Jan Thijs
Copyright: © 2021 Amazon Content Services LLC and Sony Pictures Television Inc.

Sanderson’s complaint about the show’s tone being grimdark would resurface in his comments about Episode 3.

He explained, “I am the voice on the team that is pushing for a little less grimness, and a little more hope, in the episodes. They are all turning out rather gory.”

“Though I wouldn’t have chosen that, I’m not opposed to it in the context of the Wheel of Time–as my gut instinct says that Robert Jordan would have felt the violence appropriate. I personally didn’t want to see people being ripped apart by trollocs, but it’s suggested (sometimes explicit) in the text, so it’s not something I can complain about,” he added.

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Copyright: © 2021 Amazon Content Services LLC and Sony Pictures Television Inc.
Description: Pictured (L-R): Rosamund Pike (Moiraine Damodred), Daniel Henney (Lan Mondragoran)

Sanderson then specifically addressed the show’s darker tone writing, “However–while I don’t mind a darker tone in general, particularly if it helps the series keep dramatic and emotionally charged–the Wheel of time is about hope. I think that there are times where this adaptation goes too far, mostly in character beats.”

He then specifically addresses the introduction of The Tinkers providing advice he gave to Rafe Judkins about it. He told Rafe, “Do we have to make the people following the Way of the Leaf into ominous dark figures in ragged clothing with terrible dogs? I really feel like this one is going to rub fans the wrong way–and make the series try so hard to be dark and ominous all the time that it starts to be too much.”

“It feels like the story is trying really, really hard to say, ‘Look, we can be like Game of Thrones! Notice how like Game of Thrones we can be!’ That’s not letting it be itself, or be the Wheel of Time–which has light sequences, and characters who are genuine friends, and strong worldbuilding,” he added.

Credit: Jan Thijs
Copyright: © 2021 Amazon Content Services LLC and Sony Pictures Television Inc.
Description: Pictured (L-R): Marcus Rutherford (Perrin Aybara), Madeleine Madden (Egwene al’Vere)

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Sanderson would then reveal that Judkins and the Amazon team did indeed “lighten the mood with the rest of the Tinker scenes, and I thought they turned out great.”

However, he still took issue with their introduction, “So my only gripe remains in the ominous approach. It’s a small thing, but I think it’s something to watch for in this adaptation, as the story is walking a line between being authentic to the Wheel of Time and going for that darker tone.”

Pictured (center): Marcus Rutherford (Perrin Aybara), Madeleine Madden (Egwene al’Vere) Credit: Jan Thijs
Copyright: © 2021 Amazon Content Services LLC and Sony Pictures Television Inc.

Sanderson would then address the characterization of Nynaeve specifically her attempting to kill Lan.

As with the Tinkers he provided the feedback he originally gave to Judkins, “Some great dialogue in here. However, to give you fan reactions, I think they’re going to hate Nynaeve actually trying to kill Lan here. This feels out of character for her in the books; she is a healer to her core.”

“Sure, she’d kill a trolloc–but a man who is doing his best to explain himself? Even if she thinks he’s an enemy? Not a chance. I personally feel this introduces her on the wrong foot,” he elaborated.

Sanderson then questioned, “If you have her do things like this, what is going to separate her from Egwene and Aviendha, both of whom would totally have stabbed in that moment? I understand wanting a grittier story, but I feel contrast between the characters is important for distinguishing them. And I feel this is not something book Nynaeve would do,” he concluded.

Sanderson would go on to detail that he did love much of the Lan and Nynaeve scenes explaining, “I really loved the Lan/Nynaeve stuff all through these episodes. I noted it a number of times, and made some suggestions on some things between them that I was pleased to see Rafe and his team take.”

Credit: Jan Thijs
Copyright: © 2021 Amazon Content Services LLC and Sony Pictures Television Inc.
Description: Pictured: Daniel Henney (Lan Mondragoran)

Finally, Sanderson would take issue with Thom’s introduction and characterization referencing the character’s introduction to the show by stealing Mat’s entire coin purse.

Sanderson told Judkins after reading the script, “Fans are going to be very relieved to see Thom here. I was kind of confused as to what I’m supposed to read into the interaction with Thom and the beggar; like, are they working together on robbing Mat? Or did Thom spot him doing it, and force him to give up the pouch? Could you make this more clear?”

He continued, “And honestly, if we’re supposed to like Thom, why does he take all of Mat’s money, rather than just some of it? Seems like he’s just kind of an asshole.”

Credit: Jan Thijs
Copyright: © 2021 Amazon Content Services LLC and Sony Pictures Television Inc.
Description: Pictured: Alexandre Willaume (Thom Merrilin)

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Sanderson would then extrapolate this out to the entire series and its cast of characters, “Not to sound like a broken record, but that’s the running theme of the show for me. Great dialogue, good visuals and adaptations, but everyone is unlikable and kind of an asshole.”

He then seemed to plead, “Can’t we at least like one character, like Thom? Mat is the only person in the show so far who has shown any really likable traits, and this scene just serves to make a fool out of him.”

Credit: Jan Thijs
Copyright: © 2021 Amazon Content Services LLC and Sony Pictures Television Inc.
Description: Pictured: Barney Harris (Mat Cauthon)

After viewing the episode, Sanderson would reveal he liked the entire sequence especially the burial of the Aiel.

He told Judkins, “I like this scene burying the Aiel a lot. I find it hard to believe the body wasn’t robbed by those who killed him, but this scene gives me some much needed sympathy for both characters. I think this is my favorite scene in the episode. It does do a lot for my worries earlier. I don’t completely revoke them, but this scene does help. (As does the next scene with them.)”

Credit: Jan Thijs
Copyright: © 2021 Amazon Content Services LLC and Sony Pictures Television Inc.
Description: Pictured (center): Alexandre Willaume (Thom Merrilin)

The show currently has an 77% Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes from 3140 user ratings. The average rating is 4 stars out of 5.

Source: Rotten Tomatoes

On IMDb, the show has a weighted average of 7.5 from 43,611 IMDb users. The arithmetic mean is 7.8 and the median is 9.

Source: IMDb

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The show is receiving much higher reviews from women across all age groups. It is also performing better among those aged 18-29 although there are quite a number of more ratings from 30-44 age group.

Source: IMDb

Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke told Deadline, “We can firmly say that Wheel of Time was the most watched series premiere of the year and one of the Top 5 series launches of all time for Prime Video.”

She added, “It’s definitely trending to exceed our expectations which were high.” However, Salke did not provide any definitive viewership numbers about the show.

Credit: Jan Thijs
Copyright: © 2021 Amazon Content Services LLC and Sony Pictures Television Inc.
Description: Pictured: Alvaro Morte (Logain)

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