Warring families, witchcraft, dragons, blood, gore — and gratuitous nudity. Do you sound familiar?

The Wheel Of Time, a new series about fantasy based on American author Robert Jordan’s novels is available on Amazon. It hopes to capitalize on Game Of Thrones’ huge success.

Yesterday’s premiere of three episodes featuring British actress Rosamund Pike was the first.

Here’s ALISON BOSHOFF revealing how the show got to screen, while HANNAH BETTS GoT fan gives her verdict.

Frankly, I bow to no one in my love for — yet acknowledgment of the ridiculousness of — Game Of Thrones.

It was a game-changing success in terms of scope, performance and script. However, it also had some very disappointing moments.

Most importantly, though, it was an amazing and wild ride. I couldn’t imagine spending the time between 2011 and 2019 in any other manner.

Will Amazon’s Wheel Of Time live up to this august and money-spinning predecessor?

To begin with, it must be called Wheel Of Fortune. It’s a silly game show, not a dragon-and orc-themed affair.

Horseplay: Rosamund Pike and (left) with Daniel Henney

Horseplay with Rosamund Pike and Daniel Henney

It was the most epic fantasy adventure we have ever seen. On the strength of episode one, the jury’s still out, albeit there is a vast difference between watching bleary-eyed at 8am (when the series hit the UK) than 8pm glassy-eyed with wine.

Rosamund Pike, steelily gorgeous as Moiraine Dmodred, is the first to take charge of matters. She dresses up as Greta Thunberg for her quest. ‘The world is broken,’ she intones.

‘Many, many years ago men who were born with great power believed they could cage darkness itself. Arrogance! When they failed, the seas boiled, mountains were swallowed up, cities burned, and the women of the Aes Sedai were left to pick up the pieces.’

Lady, it’s all Cop26.

Much falls on Pike’s artfully padded shoulders in the subsequent 53 minutes. Pike carries the load gracefully and mysteriously as fortysomething, glacially beautiful women do in dramas like this.

Brown dye job Gone Girl is her look. She uses no make up and has an amazing horseback skin care regimen. Top marks to her sexy companion (dashing Daniel Henney), with whom she has a hot tub and the ability for psychic communication.

Witchy Moiraine travels to Hicksville (aka Two Rivers) to seek out the Dragon Reborn. This figure is a hero who can save mankind from The Dark One, The Trollocs (horned, flesh-eating man/beast hybrids).

Five older, flirtatious proteges are found in her book. There is The Heroically Cheekboney Youth, The Strong Dim One that conveniently kills his wife; the Sly Chancer who has a Heart of Gold; and the Good Girl with Powers.

When it comes to the sex it’s implied but not seen. The Wheel Of Time, which is on the Thrones ticklist, boasts man buns.

Dialogue is of the ‘old blood runs deep in those mountains’ sort, while the silly-name quotient runs high. At £8 million an episode, it looks more expensive than early episodes of Game Of Thrones.

Wheel was not yet able to deliver the same sassy and menace that GoT had. When Game Of Thrones was good, it was very good, crackling with wit, intellect and the screen’s most quotable dialogue.

Despite how open this might have seemed, this episode of WoT was a complete failure. Are you a wonder of the world or are you just tired old Trollocs. Only the wheel (of) time can tell.

The Creation of The Wheel of Time 

By Hannah Betts

Rosamund Pike (Moiraine Damodred) and Daniel Henney (Lan Mondragoran) in Wheel of Time

Rosamund Pike (Moiraine Damodred), and Daniel Henney(Lan Mondragoran), in Wheel of Time


Streaming services are becoming more popular and TV is no longer second to cinema. A result is that big production shows have huge budgets.

The final series of Game Of Thrones cost £11 million per episode and both Star Wars spin off The Mandalorian and futuristic Western Westworld were not far behind.

The Wheel Of Time has eight episodes per series and a budget said to be between £55 million and £75 million, which works out at between £6.9 million and £9.4 million per episode, making it one of the costliest TV shows ever made.

The production involved 600 actors and crew, as well as a 217 strong visual effects team.

Filmed mainly in and around Prague, Amazon received £11.1 million funding from the national government which represented 20 per cent of the costs spent in the Czech Republic, which means that they spent £55 million there.


Amazon’s hope for a new show is not a coincidence: Fantasy adventure shows are still considered TV gold.

As one TV critic observed: ‘Game Of Thrones didn’t just open the door to more fantasy commissions, it opened the floodgates. It told TV executives not just to pursue fantasy books or comics, but to gobble them up.’

After Game Of Thrones came The Witcher, about a mutated monster hunter, His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman and Good Omens, a collaboration between authors Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman about the birth of satan’s son.

The Wheel Of Time will be followed by The Hobbit/Lord Of The Rings prequels as well as Game Of Thrones and Game Of Thrones’s sequels.


Rosamund Pike, Oscar nominee for acting in this adaptation is its most prominent face.

Moiraine is Moiraine Damodred. She portrays Moiraine, a member the all-female Aes sedai organization, who possess the One Power (a type of magic).

Moiraine is a dedicated woman who has spent her entire life searching for the Dragon Reborn. This figure will be the one to save humanity.

Her arrival in Two Rivers opens the story.

Pike, 42, said: ‘I needed to feel that you would believe Moiraine had this power if there were no visual effects — the most important thing for me was that I felt connected to something greater than myself.

‘I felt like a badass. “I said, [showrunner Rafe Judkins] when I first saw it, “I need this video of me shooting fireballs to show to my sons again, and again.”

Talking about the CGI effects, she joked: ‘It was great. I did a full-body scan on day one — and then I never had to show up!’

New faces: Josha Stradowski and Madeleine Madden in The Wheel of Time

Josha Stradowski in The Wheel of Time, Madeleine Madden


Pike is joined by a fresh young cast including Australian actress Madeleine Madden (who plays Egwene al’Vere) from Picnic At Hanging Rock and Dutch newcomer Josha Stradowski as central character, shepherd Rand al’Thor.

New Zealand actress Zoe Robins plays Nynaeve, the ‘Wisdom’ of the village.

The pre-production process began August 2019 and included six weeks of language, stunt, and horse-riding training.

Zoe said: ‘I’ve never been involved in something of this scale. It was something I’d never had the opportunity to experience before.

‘The knowledge that this is a beloved fantasy book series was something that was not lost on us either. There are people who have grown up with the characters in these books, and it means a lot to a lot of people.’

Her comments were accompanied by two shut downs due to pandemics, which brought the cast closer.

‘We were able to bond quicker in a way than I think we would have, because we really had to rely on each other as a second family.’


Game of Thrones is known for its repeated use of female nudity. Some even complained that it was gratuitous. The Wheel Of Time however will show more naked men than females.

Rosamund Pike said: ‘You see many more naked men than you see naked women, which is quite pleasing, since women have been asked to expose themselves forever and a day. We’ve got all the boys frantically dieting and working out hard for their naked scenes and all of the women going out for lovely dinners.’

Rafe Judkins, who helped adapt the book to the screen, says that the show is suitable to watch with teenagers — and that there is sex and some nudity, but nothing like the frankness of Game Of Thrones.

There is some male nudity and implied sex in the episode’s first episode. He said: ‘There’s way more nudity in The Witcher or Game Of Thrones but that’s not really true to The Wheel of Time, and we don’t need it to tell the stories that we have with the characters that we have. It’s an adult world. So, you still see stuff sometimes, but we’re never really super-graphic.’


Robert Jordan was the author of The Wheel Of Time. He died at just 58 years old in 2007. His books were sold in more than 90 million languages and he had published them in over a quarter century.

He earned the Bronze Star and the Distinguished Flying Cross while serving as an army helicopter gunner in Vietnam War.

Following Vietnam, he was a U.S. naval nuclear engineer.

Monstrous: A flesh-eating Trolloc in the new show

The new TV show Monstrous features a flesh-eating Trolloc named Monstrous

But he was injured in a fall at the shipyard. He suffered from a bloodclot and had to be able to walk with a cane.

The injury led to a new career in writing. He wrote a historical trilogy under the pseudonym Reagan O’Neal, then a Western as Jackson O’Reilly. The Conan The Barbarian series was then used to inspire novels.

In 1990, he founded The Eye Of The World. This was his first book in The Wheel Of Time.

The hero, Rand al’Thor, is just a boy when he and his friends start to try and save the world from the Dark One in what becomes an epic saga.

After falling ill in 2005 with a rare blood disease, he announced he was working on another novel — and left extensive notes which writer Brandon Sanderson used to finish the books after his death.

Rosamund Pike said: ‘When I found out that Robert Jordan had been a helicopter gunner in Vietnam, I thought, oh, that’s where this big fantasy world originates. That’s why he’s interested in men who had power and abused it and broke the world.’


They created their studio in Prague and rented a huge 32,000 sq.m production space on the Czech Republic’s outskirts.

Jordan Studios includes five sound stages, a stunt gym, a writers’ room and a backlot where various permanent outdoor sets were built.

Pike said: ‘There’s not much I can tell you about trekking across its gigantic set, a former truck factory, because I signed a scary-looking NDA.’

To realize their dream, the producers initially considered Los Angeles, London and Budapest. However, it was clear that they would have to invest in Prague industrial buildings.

It is said that the whole town of Two Rivers was built — and then burned down as part of the storyline.