The Wheel of Time Season 1 Ending, Explained

‘The Wheel of Time’ season 1 introduces us to a vast world populated by a variety of powerful groups and individuals. Moiraine of the magical Aes Sedai seems to be getting close to her objective of finding the Dragon Reborn even as the Dark One’s influence steadily grows.

The finale gives us a dramatic standoff between two formidable powers and also delves into the vast timeline of this epic fantasy. If you were left slightly overwhelmed by everything that goes down, we’re here to clear things up! Let’s take a closer look at the ending of ‘The Wheel of Time’ season 1. SPOILERS AHEAD.

The Wheel of Time Season 1 Recap

The season opens with Moiraine and her Warder, Lan, searching for the legendary Dragon Reborn, a fighter who holds the fate of the world in their hands. They pick up Rand, Egwene, Perrin, Mat, and Nynaeve from the village of Two Rivers and make their way to the Aes Sedai headquarters. Moiraine then reveals that one of the youths is the Dragon Reborn and that they have a chance to defeat the Dark One. The night before they are to set off on the perilous mission, Rand realizes that he is the powerful Dragon Reborn and he and Moiraine set off to confront the Dark One without the others.

In a brief flashback, we are taken 3000 years into the past, where Lews Therin, a male Aes Sedai member, talks about killing the Dark One. His ally, a female Aes Sedai member, warns him that the evil entity could infect the One Power, but Lews seemingly goes ahead with the attack. Back in the present, a massive Trolloc army led by Fades attacks the city of Shienar, where Egwene, Nynaeve, and Perrin anxiously wait for Rand. The onslaught of the Shadowspawn is relentless, and the king is killed.

His sister, however, rallies every magic channeller in the kingdom, including Nynaeve and Egwene, and attempts to hold off the horde. The explosive magic that the channelers’ combined powers release decimates the Trolloc army, but is too much for the magicians and kills most of them as well. Nynaeve, too, is grievously wounded. Meanwhile, a Darkfriend named Padan Fain enters the castle through a tunnel along with two Fades and steals an ornate white box which is seemingly meant for the Dragon Reborn.

The Wheel of Time Season 1 Ending: What Happens to Rand? Does He Go Mad?

As Rand and Moiraine finally cross the Blight and enter the Eye of the World, the former begins to have visions of the Dark One, who appears in a human form. He attempts to convince Rand to come over to his side, claiming that the young Dragon Reborn will then be able to shape the world to his liking. Rand, however, refuses and channels his considerable magical powers for the first time using a Sa’angreal given to him by Moiraine, banishing the Dark One.

Safe for the moment, Rand asks Moiraine to tell the others that he died at the Eye of the World and leaves. Lan soon arrives and finds Moiraine, weakened and breathless. She tells her Warder that Rand is gone and that she no longer feels the connection to the One Power. In the closing moments of the season finale, we are then shown an unidentified beach, which is attacked by a host of ships carrying magic channelers.

The season’s truly dramatic ending sees Rand deciding to break away from the group and asking Moiraine to tell the others that he is dead. Considering how much he loves Egwene, to say nothing of his friends, this is an especially significant step for Rand. However, his reasoning is based on the dark fate that all male magic channelers face.

Ever since the male half of the One Power (known as Saidin) was infected by the Dark One, all male magic channelers eventually go mad because of their connection to Saidin. Thus, now that Rand has opened his connection to the One Power, he knows he will eventually go mad. In fact, he says to Moiraine that he can already feel the effects of the madness and fears that he might hurt the ones he loves. Thus, for the safety of Egwene and his friends, Rand decides to set off on his own and possibly try to master his powers and defeat the Dark One.

Does Moiraine Lose Her Magical Powers?

Yes, the unthinkable happens and Moiraine — one of the most powerful members of the Aes Sedai — loses her connection to the One Power. This happens soon after she first confronts the Dark One at the Eye of the World. When she realizes that the ominous entity has appeared in human form, Moiraine instantly channels multiple threads that turn into deadly spears. However, her powers seem to be no match for the Dark One, who evaporates her conjurings effortlessly. He then breaks Moiraine’s connection to the One Power.

We get the first hint of what has happened when the Dark One taunts the Aes Sedai member about how she can now live with knowing about the One Power but never be able to touch it. Later, Moiraine confirms it herself when she hints to Lan that their connection cannot be repaired because she has lost her magical abilities. This is a truly unfortunate situation for Moiraine (to say nothing of the ones she protects) because a break from the One Power after channeling magic is said to cause madness, which would be a dark fate for this crucial character.

What Does Padan Fain Steal?

During the attack on the fortified city of Shienar, Padan Fain uses the distraction caused by the Trollocs to sneak into the castle through a hidden passage. He is accompanied by two Fades, who relentlessly cut down anyone who stands in their path. Eventually, he arrives in the throne room, where the king’s guards are busily excavating the Horn of Valere. Earlier, it is mentioned that the horn is a powerful artifact meant to be used by the Dragon Reborn to summon aid against the Dark One.

The horn is, thus, a powerful ally of the Light, and is one of the tools that can be used to defeat the Dark One. As his follower, it is, therefore, no surprise that Padan Fain steals it. However, it remains to be seen what use the horn is put to, or if it is recovered and finds its way into Rand’s rightful hands.

Is Nynaeve Dead?

Nynaeve helps protect the city of Shienar from the Trollocs and combines her powers with the other magic channelers. However, the energy they summon is too intense and, despite decimating the Shadowspawn army, also burns most of the channelers to death. Nynaeve is also burned extensively, and Egwene holds the injured girl tight, thinking her to be dead. However, Nynaeve’s injuries then begin to heal rapidly, and she soon recovers.

Though it is not shown, it seems like Nynaeve is the only one who recovers from her injuries. It is worth noting that the only other time when someone is seemingly brought back to life after severe injuries, Nynaeve is also involved. It has also been hinted on multiple occasions that she is the most powerful amateur magic channeler in a thousand years. Thus, it seems like Nynaeve heals herself from the devastating effects of the magic power. Since channelers are unable to heal themselves alone, it is also likely that Egwene (knowingly or unknowingly) helps Nynaeve recover and live.

Read More: What are the Ways? How are They Used for Travel in The Wheel of Time?