May 27, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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The Wheel Of Time “What Might Be”

Season Two, Episode Three

I sometimes watch shows like this and wonder if the individual episodes have a throughline of some kind, a plot that runs over the course of the episode and has some kind of resolution.  Serial television doesn’t always do that.

This episode does by focusing on Nynaeve, and I am starting to think she might be the strongest character on the show, and I don’t mean in just raw power or something.

That’s not to say the others aren’t doing anything.  Rand is trying to learn how to control the One Power from Logain, and that involves getting a bottle of wine from a fancy party but learning nothing.  Perrin does learn more about the boat people:  they’re called the Seanchan, and they claim they used to own that land but went away for a while.  They demand loyalty oaths and do really violent things if they don’t get it.  Plus, Loial has never heard of them, and knowing stuff is his whole thing.

See, I knew those people were bad news even if that Ishamael guy wasn’t advising them.  Then again, that guy wants Perrin to tap into his wolf powers, whatever they are, so he can control Perrin somehow.  I wouldn’t mind if that dude was wrong, but the plotline does suggest Perrin might be getting some answers soon.

No, the real throughline involves Nynaeve’s initiation into the Aes Sedai, something I’m not 100% sure she even wants, but she has to go through some arches, three of ’em, and confront her worst fears in what looks like the real world.  She’ll have one opportunity to exit these maybe-real places (even the other channelers aren’t sure), or else she will never get out.  Her first fear involves the violent death of her parents, her second involves a plague back home that she isn’t there to take care of, and the third, well…

Suffice to say, Nyn never exits the third which actually looks rather nice as she quits the order after what she thinks is a particularly harrowing ordeal, meets up with Lan, and goes back to Two Rivers with him to start a family.  And no, she’s not afraid of commitment.  All that seems clear is, from the outside, she failed the test and will never go back.

So, for me, this is an interesting (if maybe obvious) way to produce some character growth as Nyn will eventually have that fear:  a Trolloc attack that kills Lan, Perrin, and Mat while she escapes with a daughter that doesn’t really exist and ceases to do so once she comes through the arch because, for some reason, she was given a second chance to leave.  Maybe because the first time wasn’t really her greatest fear.  Maybe it was for some other reason.  Maybe the other Aes Sedai are wrong, but it does show how the different characters react to her supposed death as Egwene wants to go on a rescue mission, the normally harsh Liandrin feels bad about this because she was the one who pushed Nyn into the arches metaphorically speaking, and Mat, well…he’s released but opts not to comfort Egwene so much as go back for Min, something that Liandrin was planning all along because she isn’t going soft just because she took Nyn’s loss hard.

And that perhaps leads me to why Nynaeve is the strongest character on the show at present:  she has no reason to be where she is, but she stays out of an obligation to others.  This is the second time in the series that Nynaeve has somehow survived something that was supposed to have killed her, and she’s too stubborn to stop trying to protect the others.  She has no desire to be an Aes Sedai or even a channeler, but she doesn’t really have a lot of choices there as she naturally has the power.  She’s put through the wringer here, and I am very curious to see how that turns out.  She’s not someone out for power.  She’s out to help and serve others.  She has a stronger sense of right and wrong than perhaps any other character on the show, and I can’t imagine what she went through is going to endear her to the Order any more than she already was.

I really want her to kick someone’s ass right about now.