The Wheel of Time has just landed on Amazon Prime Video and has proved a smash hit with audiences – capturing the imagination of fans and winning over many viewers previously unfamiliar with Robert Jordan’s best-selling series of the same name.
Tackling Jordan’s fantasy series is no easy feat, with it clocking in at 15 dense books, thousands of characters and an even higher number of pages.
But if you’re just planning on reading the first instalment, The Eye of the World, think again. While season one of Amazon’s The Wheel of Time was initially expected to only span the first novel, it’s now become clear that it does in fact bring some events from the other books forward, while delaying other elements of the first instalment until season two.
“There’s definitely characters and elements that are in The Eye of the World that will be featuring in season two,” actor Marcus Rutherford, who plays Perrin Aybara in the series, told RadioTimes.com. “There’s so much to get into that first season. I think it lineally kind of follows book one, in terms of where they’re going, and where they end up. But there’s characters and cultures and stuff that are being brought on a lot more in season two.”
“Like Ceara [Coveney], who plays Elayne, she’s been announced. Working with her, I think it’s amazing,” he added. “A character like that, it’s amazing – you don’t want her to have a little scene, maybe, in season one; you want to give that character enough material to really have a good introduction. So there’s a few characters like that that I think people would be really excited to see in season two.”
The final three volumes in Jordan’s fantasy epic were co-authored following the writer’s death in 2007. Fantasy author Brandon Sanderson used Jordan’s treasure trove of notes to bring the rest of the story to life.
Read on for everything you need to know about Jordan’s epic fantasy novel series, The Wheel of Time.
The Wheel of Time books in order of publication
And so, while there is some disagreement among fans of the series as to whether the prequel New Spring should be tackled first, here’s the Wheel of Time books in order of publication – and be warned, there are book spoilers and future TV series spoilers ahead:
1. The Eye of The World (1990)
The first novel in the series, The Eye of The World, focuses on a mysterious traveller called Moiraine Damodred and her quest for the Dragon Reborn: an individual destined to both save aklmpnd destroy the world.
The Dragon Reborn’s identity is a mystery but, as clues begin to emerge, Moiraine narrows the list of possible candidates down to three young adults: Rand al’Thor, Perrin Aybara and Mat Cauthon.
At the end of the first book, Rand is revealed as the Dragon Reborn.
2. The Great Hunt (1990)
The Great Hunt follows Rand al’Thor, Perrin Aybara and Mat Cauthon’s quest to get a powerful artefact, the Horn of Valere, out of enemy hands. To do this, Rand must step into his destiny as the Dragon Reborn and harness his magical powers.
3. The Dragon Reborn (1991)
The Dragon Reborn sees Rand given another big task: retrieve the mythical crystal sword Callendor from a terrifying fortress known as the Stone of Tear.
4. The Shadow Rising (1992)
Having retrieved the sword Callandor, Rand journeys to the Aiel Waste, a desert region run by a mysterious race of warriors, in the hope of becoming their leader. However, to do this, Rand must master the way of channelling the One Power.
5. The Fires of Heaven (1993)
Fearing that some of the Aiel warriors will revolt, Rand rallies his Aiel followers and leads them to Cairhien, where he establishes control of the city. Rand’s battle with the queen’s usurper and killer leads him into the world of dreams, where he sets out to defeat an evil leader.
6. Lord of Chaos (1994)
Rand decides to train a new legion of men who can channel the One Power, in the hope that they can overcome the threat posed by the Dark One. Meanwhile, an unexpected visitor lands in Cairhien and kidnaps Rand. Rand’s followers put up a good fight, however, and the rebels are forced to swear loyalty to the Dragon Reborn.
7. A Crown of Swords (1996)
A Crown of Swords centres around Rand’s search for another magical artifact, the Bowl of the Winds, which holds the power to reverse the Dark One’s climate manipulations. Meanwhile, a group of female channelers called Aes Sedai come together.
8. The Path of Daggers (1998)
Having found the Bowl of the Winds, the Aes Sedai manage to reverse the Dark One’s damage. Elsewhere, Rand fights against invading forces.
9. Winter’s Heart (2000)
With Rand on the run in this novel, Winter’s Heart follows the Dragon Reborn’s friends as they step into their destinies. Perrin takes on the warrior who kidnapped his wife, while Mat kidnaps the woman he’s destined to marry. Elsewhere, Rand makes a breakthrough when he cleanses saidin (the male dimension of One Power) of the Dark One’s strength.
10. Crossroads of Twilight (2003)
Crossroads of Twilight continues Mat and Perrin’s attempts to step into their destinies, while Rand fathers twins in secret.
11. New Spring (2004)
New Spring is a prequel that takes place 20 years before the events of The Eye of the World, so you can read it at the beginning if you want, or keep it in publication order.
12. Knife of Dreams (2005)
Knife of Dreams sees Rand and the Daughter of the Nine Moons negotiate a truce, but disaster strikes when Lews Therin (Rand’s alter-ego) takes control of saidin. The ensuing fight costs Rand his left hand.
13. The Gathering Storm (2009)
The Gathering Storm sees Rand prepare for a battle between the forces of Light and Shadow, known as the Last Battle.
14. Towers of Midnight (2010)
Ahead of the Last Battle, Rand’s plans are derailed when the world unravels…
15. A Memory of Light (2013)
Finally, the battle between Light and Shadow kicks off. Rand must harness all dimensions of the One Power to defeat the Dark One, but will he succeed?
The Wheel of Time books in chronological order
Given that a prequel novel to the series exists, the order of the books is slightly altered.
- New Spring
- The Eye of the World
- The Great Hunt
- The Dragon Reborn
- The Shadow Rising
- The Fires of Heaven
- Lord of Chaos
- A Crown of Swords
- The Path of Daggers
- Winter’s Heart
- Crossroads of Twilight
- Knife of Dreams
- The Gathering Storm
- Towers of Midnight
- A Memory of Light
So, if you are interest in reading the series in the order of (fictional) events then do it this way.
Is Amazon’s The Wheel of Time different to the books?
Amazon’s The Wheel of Time does indeed make many changes to its source material, but showrunner Rafe Judkins has said he tried his best to honour Jordan’s work.
“We’re always super mindful of what we need to put in place for what happens later in the series, and the time that we’ll have to do it,” he told RadioTimes.com.
“There’s stuff with some of these characters and some of these stories that, like, the best moment we’re going to have in the first three seasons to tell it is here, so we need to tell it here, because there’s a payoff moment if we’re lucky enough to get to season three where that will pay off, and we’re not going to have a good chance to set that up later, because we know how we’re adapting it. So there is a lot of stuff that’s laid into the first season that will pay off in later seasons.
“We’re very mindful of the fact that book readers will be a portion – perhaps even a large portion – of the audience of this show. So we’re very thoughtful about, you know, changes that we’re making. We’re never doing anything just for shock value to book readers. I know some shows are doing that just to sort of shock their readers, and surprise them, and keep them on their toes. All of our changes are more about how to adapt this book series for television as effectively as possible.
“But that said, there are still things in the show that will really surprise book readers. So, you know, it will give them things to look forward to, and either be excited by or furious about. That’s the nature of these things. And I would be the same if I was watching the show as a fan of the books.”
Want to know more? See who stars in The Wheel of Time cast, or read about why The Wheel of Time changed The Dragon Reborn story.
Additional reporting by Huw Fullerton.