Is The Wheel of Time Based on a True Story?

‘The Wheel of Time’ follows Moiraine’s epic journey across an ancient world to discover the reincarnation of a powerful being. Convinced that the “Dragon Reborn” holds the fate of the world in their hand, Moiraine surrounds herself with five youths, one of whom is destined to be the powerful reincarnation.

However, an ominous array of creatures, humans, and mystical powers stand in their way, and the narrative is a tapestry of forces fighting to control and “fix” the world. So, where does the show get its marvelously complex story from? And could some parts of ‘The Wheel of Time’ be based on a true story? Let’s find out.

Is The Wheel of Time a True Story?

No, ‘The Wheel of Time’ is not based on a true story. The show is based on the bestselling series of fantasy novels of the same name by Robert Jordan and has been developed for the screen by Rafe Judkins and co-written by Amanda Kate Shuman. ‘The Wheel of Time’ book series, which spans 14 volumes (with the last three co-authored by Brandon Sanderson after Jordan’s death), has reportedly sold over 90 million copies, making it one of the most popular fantasy book series after ‘The Lord of the Rings.’ The book series also has a prequel novel and two companion books.

The narrative draws on numerous concepts from European and Asian mythology, which can be seen in the overall themes of duality and good versus evil. In an interview with SFX Magazine in 1996, Jordan revealed that ‘The Wheel of Time’ was also partly inspired by Leo Tolstoy’s 1869 epic text ‘War and Peace.’ One of the most notable aspects of the series, which is often lauded, is the central core of powerful female characters that the story revolves around.

Translating the epic 14-book saga to screen is no small feat, and Judkins had access to Sanderson as well as the late Robert Jordan’s wife, Harriet, during the process. Of course, things are not always straightforward with a narrative this complex, and the showrunner revealed that he and Sanderson did have some moments where they had to agree to disagree.

However, Judkins maintains that the show retains the crucial aspects of the novels. He is a fan of the books himself and has interacted extensively on social media with followers of the book series. In a 2020 tweet, he clarified how it might sometimes seem as if the show is “leaning away” from certain aspects of the book. However, he continued, that it is to ensure that the show’s elements feel fresh, much like the novels did when they first came out. In fact, Judkins also reportedly consulted ‘Game of Thrones’ creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss and asked for their advice for the pilot episode.

Hence ‘The Wheel of Time’ is a clear work of fiction that doesn’t draw from specific or publicized real-life incidents. The story and characters are a product of Robert Jordan’s (and to an extent Brandon Sanderson’s) imaginations. The subsequent show is crafted to appeal to fans of the book series as well as attract first-time viewers who are new to the series and have not read the books.

Much like other high fantasy series, ‘The Wheel of Time’ follows an overarching plot in which the fate of the world (or many people) is at stake and introduces fantastic creatures and magical characters that partly take inspiration from mythology. In fact, another one of the novel’s most lauded aspects is the deeply detailed fictional world that it is set in, which is complete with its own maps, history, clans, and of course, magic.

Read More: Where is The Wheel of Time Filmed?