Breaking Down THE WHEEL OF TIME Trailer Shot by Shot

Amazon Prime Video has used a slow burn approach when it comes to The Wheel of Time. They’ve released brief teasers showing off key weapons in the series and also Rosamund Pike’s Moiraine Damodred. Then they dropped a stunning poster and the first images. But as of Thursday morning, we finally have our first real look at the series with the first trailer for The Wheel of Time. It introduces the world based on Robert Jordan’s high fantasy novels, and folks, it looks promising. Watch the trailer again and then let’s break it down shot by shot.

In this breakdown, we’ll add context from the book but not outright plot spoilers. Basically not anything beyond what would be in an episode synopsis. Still, if you’re concerned about any and all spoilers, proceed with caution.

First, The Wheel of Time TV series synopsis in case you’re not familiar:

Set in a sprawling, epic world where magic exists and only certain women are allowed to access it, the story follows Moiraine (Rosamund Pike), a member of the incredibly powerful all-female organization called the Aes Sedai, as she arrives in the small town of Two Rivers. There, she embarks on a dangerous, world-spanning journey with five young men and women, one of whom is prophesied to be the Dragon Reborn, who will either save or destroy humanity.
Nynaeve pushing Egwene off a cliff into a body of water

Amazon Prime Video

The first images we see show Egwene al’Vere (Madeleine Madden) and Nynaeve al’Meara (Zoë Robins) on a cliff, likely outside their home: the village of Emond’s Field in the Two Rivers. Nynaeve is the village Wisdom, a healer and a listener of the wind who can predict weather. All villages in the area have their own Wisdoms. And Egwene wants to follow in Nynaeve’s footsteps. So perhaps they’re doing something related to that here. Especially with Nynaeve telling Egwene, “Be strong.”

Two rivers running through mountains

Amazon Prime Video

This likely the Two Rivers area, where the story begins, and also a region that has historic significance to the plot. As the trailer progresses, we hear Moiraine speak the the words from the first chapter of the first book in The Wheel of Time series, The Eye of the World.

“The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend.”

In fact those are the first words of chapter one in every book in the series—all 14 of them.

A quaint, rustic village, Emond's Field

Amazon Prime Video

The next few images show off the quiet Emond’s Field. In the book, the story begins with a festival called Bel Tine, which celebrates the arrival of spring. Farmers come into the village, a traveling peddler usually visits—it’s a big shindig for this small village. And this is likely the day before, called Winternight.

Three men sit at a table with drinks

Amazon Prime Video

We see what is likely the common room of The Winespring Inn, the only such establishment in Emond’s Field. Rand al’Thor (Josha Stradowski), Mat Cauthon (Barney Harris), and Perrin Aybara (Marcus Rutherford) share drinks at a table. The trio is close, and they’re the reason Moiraine goes to Emond’s Field. She believes one of them to be the prophesied Dragon Reborn.

Egwene pokes her head in (her family owns and operates the inn) and Rand looks adorably happy.

A man kissing a gold ring

Amazon Prime Video

As Moiraine’s voiceover speaks of the memories that become legend, we see a man in white kissing a gold object with a tear rolling down his face. We feel like this depicts a flashback. The gold object, as we can see later, is an Aes Sedai ring. And in the events of the story, only women are Aes Sedai. Though it was not always that way. (If you want to learn all about the Aes Sedai, read this). So this could be Lews Therin Telamon, a former Dragon. Whoever the Dragon Reborn is, he’s a reincarnation.

Edit: It looks like this is actually a Warder of Kerene.

A woman, Egwene, in a pool of water with paint on the top

Amazon Prime Video

We don’t know what Egwene is doing here as it doesn’t have a direct book correlation, but it looks like a party and we’re in.

The city of Tar Valon with the White Tower and Dragonmount in the background

Amazon Prime Video

And look at this shot! This gorgeous vista is Tar Valon, the island the Aes Sedai call home. That stretching structure is the White Tower. Aes Sedai reside and study here. Dragonmount reaches tall in the background. Lews Therin Telamon created this volcanic mountain during the Breaking of the World, and the prophesied Dragon Reborn is said to have been born on Dragonmount’s slopes.

Moiraine pulling her cloak back

Amazon Prime Video

Here’s a gorgeous hero shot of Moiraine, an Aes Sedai of the Blue Ajah. She’s donning a blue cloak to signify her Ajah. And we get our first good look at the Aes Sedai ring. Most all Aes Sedai wear this ring, the Great Serpent ring, of a serpent eating its own tail. It symbolizes the always moving wheel of time. The design here makes it a statement piece, and I already want to buy a replica.

Aes Sedai in the Hall of the Tower

Amazon Prime Video

Oh, you want more Aes Sedai? You got it. This looks like the Hall of the Tower, the Aes Sedai’s council. Three sitters from each of the seven Ajahs are on the council, and you can see the many hues of their clothing.

The Amyrlin Seat in The Wheel of Time tv series

Amazon Prime Video

Hello, Amyrlin Seat! The leader of the Aes Sedai, the Amyrlin Seat holds a lot of power. Siuan Sanche (Sophie Okonedo) is the Amyrlin here. In the books, the Amyrlin wears a stole featuring the seven stripes of the seven Ajahs. That’s here, and I love how they’ve interpreted it for the show. The tattoos, however, are new for the series.

In a voiceover, Moiraine talks about the One Power and about how the women who wield it protect the world.

A woman with her hands over another woman's wound

Amazon Prime Video

Next, we see a sister of the Green Ajah healing Moiraine. Those white threads swirling represent the One Power. Women channeling the One Power tap into saidar. Yes, it’s basically magic. The sister here could be Alanna Mosvani (Priyanka Bose).

The One Power swirling around the village of Emond's Field

Amazon Prime Video

Now that’s a lot of the One Power swirling around Emond’s Field.

Women dressed in mad looking annoyed

Amazon Prime Video

These sisters of the Red Ajah look mad and threatening, but that’s pretty typical for Reds.

The Keeper of the Chronicles with her staff

Amazon Prime Video

And here we have Leane Sharif (Jennifer Cheon Garcia), the Keeper of the Chronicles. She’s the Amyrlin Seat’s right hand. In this shot, she thumps the Keeper’s golden-flamed staff on the ground, called the Amyrlin’s Staff.

A woman in green manipulating a ball of the One Power

Amazon Prime Video

Here we see what looks like Alanna again using the One Power to stop arrows. One of her Warders, Ivhon (Emmanuel Imani) stands next to her. We see Lan with the group too.

Rand al'Thor shooting a bow

Amazon Prime Video

Rand shoots a bow here, and though we don’t see the target, we wonder if it’s a raven. Kind of like in The Lord of the Rings, some creatures can be spies. Some ravens spy for the Dark One.

Mat holding the ruby-hilted dagger

Amazon Prime Video

Mat has a way of finding trouble. This shot shows him in Shadar Logoth, a place of evil that everyone in this world (even those working for the Dark One) typically avoid. Mat’s holding a ruby-hilted dagger that… well, it’s important.

Black shadow creeping up a statue

Amazon Prime Video

That black substance creeping up the statue in Shadar Logoth is Mashadar—basically an evil fog-like entity that kills on contact. No wonder the trio in the background look apprehensive.

Mat looking up with a man in a cage behind him

Amazon Prime Video

Next we see Mat looking away from a man in a cage, very possibly an Aiel based on his attire.

a wolf baring its teeth

Amazon Prime Video

Then a not so friendly looking wolf snaps at Perrin… which I’ll just say is key to Perrin’s journey.

A mostly naked man and woman together

Amazon Prime Video

Remember how Rand and Egwene were being adorable with each other earlier? They clearly have something going on. And it looks like they’re perhaps more involved in the series than they are in the books. Also if that’s the Winespring Inn… can you just imagine what Cenn Buie would say?

an older man looking wistful

Amazon Prime Video

Aww, Rand’s dad, Tam al’Thor (Michael McElhatton). Rand’s dad, uh, has some secrets. Yep, let’s leave it at that.

A group of bodies in white shrouds and then Aes Sedai

Amazon Prime Video

Then things get a bit more ominous. We see a dancing circle, probably for Winternight and Bel Tine in Emond’s Field. It quickly cuts to bodies in white shrouds surrounding Aes Sedai and then an overhead shot of the Hall of the Tower. Whether intentional or not, this sequences emphasizes the connection between Emond’s Field, Aes Sedai, and so much danger.

And those white shrouds? That could be involved with a false Dragon, Logain Ablar (Álvaro Morte). False Dragons can channel, but that doesn’t mean they are the Dragon Reborn.

Lan, a warrior, sharing a warning

Amazon Prime Video

After a chilling shot of a Myrddraal on a horse, we get our first clear look at Lan Mandragoran (Daniel Henney). He’s Moiraine’s Warder, like a bodyguard. Lan warns about the Dark One coming for Rand and his friends.

A Myrdraal leads Trollocs into battle

Amazon Prime Video

And then, hoo boy. We see Trollocs, beastly Shadowspawn that serve as the infantry of the Dark One’s forces. Human and animal come together to make this terrifying creatures. Myrddraal, eyeless human-like beings, lead them. Just after we see them appear, we watch Rand and Mat run for their lives in what appears to be Emond’s Field.

Logain with the one power before his eyes

Amazon Prime Video

Remember Logain? The Aes Sedai have caged him here. They go after any man who can channel because the male half of the One Power, saidin, comes with a taint that makes men who channel dangerous. Logain channels here and you can see how powerful he is.

Nynaeve behind a tree looking scared

Amazon Prime Video

Nynaeve looks quite scared here, but to be honest, so many dangerous situations happen in The Wheel of Time‘s first book, that I can’t pinpoint this one. Regardless, please appreciate her signature single braid. In the books, Nynaeve tugs and abuses this braid frequently when she feels angry or annoyed.

A woman in blue entering a hall with other women One woman speaking to another

Amazon Prime Video

Moiraine enters the Hall of the Tower, which could be a flashback to a time before the events of the first book of The Wheel of Time. And then it seems like another Aes Sedai tells Moiraine, “The Last Battle is coming.” The Last Battle, Tarmon Gai’don, is expected to be the final battle against the Dark One. Fighting in this battle is the Dragon Reborn’s purpose.

a woman in blue riding a white horse

Amazon Prime Video

This shot of Moiraine riding Aldieb gives me major Arwen vibes and I’m here for it. We see glimpses of a battle and of Nynaeve and Egwene together with Nynaeve wielding a dagger.

a man holding axes and jumping to attack

Amazon Prime Video

And here we see Stepin (Peter Franzén), a Warder of Kerene Sedai (Clare Perkins) of the Green. He’s attacking someone being held in place with the One Power.

Lan fighting trollocs among the One Power

Amazon Prime Video

Do you see Lan absolutely slicing some Trollocs?! A King among Warders and men.

riders on horseback heading towards a waygate

Amazon Prime Video

Then we see most of the Emond’s Field five approach Moiraine and Lan in front of a Waygate. The first poster showed this Waygate, an access point to the dangerous Ways that exist kinda outside reality.

A faceless creature with a mouth full of sharp teeth Moiraine wielding the One Power

Amazon Prime Video

One more absolutely not cool shot of a Myrddraal and we see chaos in Emond’s Field. Trollocs run around the burning village. And most importantly, Moiraine fights alongside Lan channeling a lot of the One Power to fight the enemy. It’s an intense scene and sets the tone for the series. This is an adult high fantasy series and sh*t is going to happen. We’re ready for it.

The Wheel of Time premieres on November 19, 2021.

Amy Ratcliffe is the Managing Editor for Nerdist and the author of A Kid’s Guide to Fandom, available now. Follow her on  Twitter and Instagram.

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