The sixth episode of The Wheel of Time, “The Flame of Tar Valon,” introduces audiences to the Amyrlin Seat, Siuan Sanche (Sophie Okonedo), the leader of the Aes Sedai in the White Tower in Tar Valon.
Where the previous episodes have focused on the five characters from the Two Rivers, “The Flame of Tar Valon” gives us a crash-course into the Aes Sedai and the history that Moiraine (Rosamund Pike) shares with Siuan. In the wake of Stepin’s death, the Aes Sedai hold court to make a decision about the False Dragon Logain Albar (Álvaro Morte) and Moiraine’s past actions are called into question by Liandrin Guirale (Kate Fleetwood) causing further turmoil. Liandrin essentially blames Moiraine for everything that occurred at the camp, leading Siuan to deliver a fitting punishment for Moiraine’s inaction.
While Moiraine and the Aes Sedai are the central plot of the sixth episode, the rest of the cast are certainly not forgotten. Early on in the episode, Moiraine discovers where Nynaeve (Zoë Robins) has gone and she cures Mat (Barney Harris) of the darkness that has been making him sick. While there is every possibility that Mat is in touch with the One Power, his current affliction was caused by a dagger he stole in an earlier episode. At least one crisis has been averted.
Moiraine also learns that Egwene (Madeleine Madden) and Perrin (Marcus Rutherford) have made it to Tar Valon, though Perrin is still in poor condition after the torture he endured at the hands of the White Cloaks. We learn a little bit more about the power that Perrin exhibited in the previous episode, but there is still much more to uncover there. Moiraine also facilitates a reunion between Egwene and Nynaeve, though she has her own underlying motives behind this. Moiraine brings both women to see Siuan, but Nynaeve wants nothing to do with the Aes Sedai or their way of harnessing the One Power.
This scene offers a little levity to an otherwise heavy episode, as Egwene briefly mistakes a comment that Siuan makes about meeting the most powerful channeler in 1,000 years as a comment about herself. Audiences know that this line is about Nynaeve, but Egwene does not. Oftentimes characters in fantasies seem to be fully aware of everything that is happening independent of their own story and it was refreshing to see that each of these characters has been on their own journeys since they were separated and have had no time to really catch up.
With the five potential Dragon Reborns reunited, Moiraine and Lan (Daniel Henney) guide them into the next chapter of their adventure with the assistance of Loial (Hammed Animashaun). It’s safe to assume that the path they take, set outside of time and space, will have a major impact on the trajectory of the last two episodes of the season. Up until this point, The Wheel of Time has been setting the scene, introducing new audiences to the world and catching up with long-time fans, and now they have us all hooked!
The Wheel of Time has been one of the most exhilarating new series of 2021 and it has delivered a refreshing breath of life into the realm of fantasy stories. While the storytelling stands on its own, it’s the cast that truly elevates the series by delivering engaging and compelling performances each week. Oftentimes it’s hard to care about such a robust cast of characters within a short window of time, but they’ve captured the hearts of audiences with ease.
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Featured Image Credit: Amazon Studios.