‘The Wheel of Time’ on Amazon Prime is a high fantasy television show based on the book series of the same name by Robert Jordan. Set in a sprawling magical world populated by a variety of creatures, characters, and dark forces, the show’s narrative is an engrossing tapestry of how different factions interact and battle.
At the core of it all lies the One Power, which gives magical powers to many of the characters, and the Dark One, a malicious and extremely powerful entity that similarly imbibes its supporters with incredible superhuman abilities. The various powers that interact must be understood properly to delve into the show and pick up on all its intricate moving parts. Fortunately, we’ve got the lowdown on all the magical mechanics of this vast world. Here are all the powers in ‘The Wheel of Time,’ explained.
Aes Sedai’s Powers
The show revolves around Moiraine, a member of the magical Aes Sedai organization composed almost entirely of women (except for their warders, like Lan). They are the keepers and de facto guardians of the One Power’s True Source, from which all magic in the world of ‘The Wheel of Time’ stems. The True Source is in turn divided into two halves— Saidar (for women) and Saidin (for men), which gives different users their abilities depending on their gender. According to the books, the central antagonist, the Dark One, touched the True Source and corrupted Saidin, which is why men who try to channel magical energy are affected by madness.
Therefore, the female Aes Sedai members keep a watchful eye for men with signs of magical powers, as this could result in a powerful magician in the throes of insanity. This also confirms why Moiraine is so keen on finding the Dragon Reborn, lest he is a man who becomes a powerful but psychotic magical villain.
The Aes Sedai’s magic is based on five elements — Fire, Earth, Air, Water, and Spirit — also known as threads. By channeling specific threads, their corresponding forces (like fire) can be manipulated. However, things truly begin to get interesting when the threads are weaved together, resulting in more exotic and exponentially more powerful effects. Thus, the proficiency of a magic practitioner is based on how effortlessly they can learn to weave multiple threads together. Magic channellers also favor certain elements over others, making them more adept at using particular threads.
In addition to her “weaving” abilities, Moiraine also possesses talents that allow her to eavesdrop from a distance and control the weather. She is also an exceptionally gifted healer, though, as we learn in episode 2, channellers cannot heal themselves, which is why Moiraine continues to get weaker due to her injury.
Warders, as mentioned earlier, are the only male members of the Aes Sedai and are essentially connected to powerful female Aes Sedai members. Though they are not allowed to channel magic on their own (which would lead to the aforementioned insanity), they are imbibed with certain qualities that enable them to heal and react faster than regular humans.
As we see with Lan, they also possess the ability to quickly detect any sign of the Dark One or its followers in the vicinity, making Warders extremely useful during ambushes. Lastly, Warders share a deep connection with their particular Aes Sedai keeper, which allows them to communicate without words and feel each others’ thoughts.
The False Dragon’s Powers
The False Dragon, who is captured by the Aes Sedai and introduced at the end of episode 3, is a man named Logain who claims to be the Dragon Reborn. Though he is eventually revealed not to be the reincarnation of the ancient warrior, the fact that he can channel magic and will subsequently go insane makes him a danger to everyone around him.
The magical power that men wield in ‘The Wheel of Time’ is markedly different and more forceful than that of women, making them difficult to control. Hence, the only solution is to sever their connection to the One Power through a process called “gentling,” or, in the case of women, “stilling.”
Shadowspawn form the bulk of the Dark One’s army and include a wide variety of brutish creatures like trollocs. The result of multiple experiments and tainted magic, the origin of these creatures goes back thousands of years to the Age of Legends.
Interestingly, trollocs are more the result of genetic experiments than magic and were created by mixing human DNA with those of ferocious animals (like boars, bears, and eagles) to create a “super-soldier.” Thus, trollocs are unable to channel magic but use their strength, bad temper, and vast numbers to overwhelm the enemy.
Darkfriends are humans that support the Dark One in the hopes of being gifted with attributes like immortality. They blend in with the common populace and wait for a chance to be of use to the malicious entity. The tavern worker who attempts to kidnap Rand and Mat so she can deliver the Dragon Reborn to the Dark One is a Darkfriend. Though they don’t have magical powers, they are supported by the myriad dark powers that abound in the world of ‘The Wheel of Time.’
Ogiers are non-human entities that pursue knowledge and are known for their immaculate architecture and masonry skills. Though they do not possess magical powers, they stand at a towering 10- feet and are, unfortunately, often confused for trollocs due to similarities in appearance. They are long-time collaborators with the Aes Sedai and eventually join some of the central characters in the show’s narratives, though (to keep things spoiler-free), we won’t say which ones.