The Wheel of Time audition tapes reveal conversations between Aes Sedai sorceresses, and give us hints at the shape of the Amazon show’s first season.
Amazon is bringing Robert Jordan’s epic fantasy series The Wheel of Time to the small screen. “Epic” is the key word. Consisting of 14 novels (15 if you could the prequel), many fans are wondering how Amazon is going to manage to fit the whole thing into one TV series. We’re still wondering if the first season will adapt just the first novel, The Eye of the World, or reach beyond. Now, recently leaked audition tapes found by Redanian Intelligence shed a little more light on the situation.
Beware, SPOILERS follow below:
As RI predicted, the audition videos themselves were quickly taken down. However, we still have the transcripts.
Now, before we get into it, know that the audition scenes aren’t necessarily going to be in the final product. Sometimes scenes are specially written for auditions just to test the actors. They might even be pulled from later in the book series. The names are also coded.
Okay, on the with the scenes. First up, we have an audition scene for the role of Liandrin, a member of the Aes Sedai order of sorceresses. Liandrin is an antagonist character that doesn’t show up until the second book, The Great Hunt, but clearly they wanted to fill the role for the first season. The part eventually went to Kate Fleetwood.
Leona: “Myara Sheira.”
Leona: “If you’ve come to help us you’re too late.”
Myara: “Help with what?”
Leona: “Oh didn’t you hear? We captured the Nagari born.”
Here, Myara (Moiraine) and Leona (Liandrin) discuss capturing the False Dragon Logain, a warlord who could potentially spell trouble for the world. Logain is the rare man who can channel, or use magic. Liandrin belongs to the Red Ajah, a sect of the Aes Sedai dedicated to stopping such men before they pose a danger to people, as all men who can channel eventually do.
We also get a hint at Liandrin’s abrasiveness, as well as the rivalry between the Red Ajah and basically everyone else in the organization. Moiraine, played by Rosamund Pike in the series, is of the Blue Ajah, who involve themselves with justice and righteous causes.
Logain does play a part in the first book, but it’s mostly “offscreen.” Perhaps we’ll see more of his story on the show, or perhaps these scenes were done specifically because they won’t actually appear on TV.
This next, much lengthier scene again involves Liandrin and Moiraine, in addition to a third Aes Sedai. They also make reference to a “queen” who is probably code for the Amyrlin Seat, the Aes Sedai leader. Once again, they are talking about Logain, the False Dragon (or “naga,” as the script names him). Liandrin wants to “gentle” him, or take away his power, making him less dangerous but also leaving him something of a vegetable.
Aes Sedai: “Only Leona, Elayne and I are strong enough to hold him but even then we have to work in pairs.”
Leona: “You’re due to relieve me an hour ago.”
Aes Sedai: “Does the madness have him yet?”
Leona: “Does he look sane to you?”
Aes Sedai: “He was sane enough to raise an army and take over half of Celthren before we stopped him. How did we capture him? A plan after your own heart Myara. We bought off his guards and ambushed him in the night. What makes you think he’s any different than the false Nagas who preceded him? Prophecies are thousands of years old, muddy and broken, translated by a hundred hands that each have their own intentions. But we know one thing to be true. The Naga will be the most powerful channeller in an age. We’re four of the strongest sisters in the temple and this man with no training outstrips any of us alone. I don’t even know if the queen herself could match him.”
Leona: “If there’s the slightest chance he is the Naga, we should gentle him here and now, slit his throat just to be sure.”
Aes Sedai: “Did you choose the red sect just so blood wouldn’t show on your robes? Enough! You will take him to the temple as the queen commanded and he will stand trial as all women and men deserve. Get some rest. You’ve done more shifts than any of us. You used your strength to heal me. Let me share the burden.”
Leona: “Elayne’s company was bad enough.”
Once again, we get a sense of Liandrin’s imperfect people skills. Interestingly, the scene mentions “Elayne,” a character who doesn’t go to Tar Valon to be trained as an Aes Sedai until the second book. I assume the name is a placeholder.
As for the unnamed Aes Sedai, I’m not sure who it is, although her skill and power narrows it down. Only a handful of Aes Sedai are as powerful as Moraine and Liandrin. It’s also interesting that the unnamed Aes Sedai mentions that Liandrin healed her, a power Liandrin does not have in the books.
Here’s another scene with Liandrin, this time talking to Nadie, which is almost certainly an alternate name for Nynaeve, one of the main characters who sets out from the sleepy Two Rivers region at the start of the adventure:
Leona: “I like your braid. Nadie, isn’t it? Sorry if I’m mispronouncing it I couldn’t quite place the accent.”
Nadie: “I’m imagining you came over her because you want something. You witches always do. Though I think I’ll ask the questions first. Depending on how well you answer, maybe I’ll give you what you want. How long have you known Myara?”
Yeah, it’s definitely Nynaeve. The mention of the braid and combative attitude clinch it.
Nyneave, Rand al’Thor and the rest of the crew from the Two Rivers have no contact with Liandrin or any Aes Sedai other than Moiraine in the first book. This scene seems to take place during the start of the second book, when a group of Aes Sedai come to the city of Shienar and our main characters mix it up with some new ones. Again, that could mean that season 1 will actually reach this point, or the audition scenes might just be lifted from later in the story.
Once again, we have a scene with Liandrin, this time with two other people. The “Second Person” is named Salaam, which I’m guessing is code for Egwene, another person from the Two Rivers who eventually trains to become an Aes Sedai. Once again, it looks like this scene happens right after our Two Rivers folk meet the wider variety of Aes Sedai, with Liandrin inviting them to take an interest in the Red Ajah.
Leona: “It fits really. The Blue sect are nothing more than little spies who exaggerate their own importance. Surely you heard of the sects. Even in the smallest villages they have their own …”
Second Person: “The silly games you play in your temple had gotten nothing to do with us.”
Leona: “The witches are split into seven sects. Each have their own separate purpose. Yellows are healers, browns are the keepers of knowledge, whites focus on philosophy, greys diplomacy, and greens fancy themselves the battle sect, though they haven’t really known battle since the Dreatch Wars.”
Second Person: “And the red?”
Leona: “We protect the world from people who would misuse the one power. Even other witches.”
Third Person: “Leona, Salaam, mind if I join you?”
Leona: “I was just leaving. The red tent is open to all women. Feel free to stop by if you tire of cold chicken.”
Only someone from a backwater village like Emond’s Field in the Two Rivers would need the Aes Sedai sects explained to her.Credit: Tor Books
Our final scene has Liandrin talking with another Aes Sedai. There are far away from “the temple,” which is likely code for Tar Valon, the Aes Sedai home base.
Leona: “You know we’re still 200 miles maybe more from the temple?! You really wanna do this every night and day until we’re there!”
Aes Sedai: “I rarely do things because I want to. They are both waiting for us at Asgard.”
Leona: “You know what the trial will decide. He’s a man. He can channel. We will gentle him. Here or there the result is the same.”
Aes Sedai: “The stone temple and the women within it have stood for three thousand years not because we did what was expedient but felt appropriate at the time given the circumstances. We stand today because our sisters have always done what was right.”
Leona: “Well I don’t wanna do my shifts with Myara.”
Aes Sedai: “On that at least we agree.”
Leona: “Perhaps the last days are coming after all.”
Not sure what “Asgard” is, other than an obvious code name.
The identity of the unnamed Aes Sedai is interesting. I’m guessing it’s the same one from Scene 2, which means she’s rather strong in the One Power. It’s possible that this is Cadsuane, an extremely powerful but retired Aes Sedai. Cadsuane is of the Green Ajah and was involved in capturing Logain.
So what do you take away from this? One more time: it’s possible these audition scenes won’t actually happen in the first season, although the number taken from the time period of the second book makes me think there may be some spillover. The episode titles for the first season also suggest this: