This article contains spoilers for The Wheel of Time season 2 episode 8.
Even with the defeat of a Forsaken and the reunion of the Two Rivers exiles, it wasn’t exactly a fist-pumping victory for the forces of Light in The Wheel of Time season 2 finale. However, several characters reached major turning points in their story arcs providing plenty of satisfaction for viewers, especially for readers of the Robert Jordan novels who were expecting certain touchstone moments to occur. But for those with lingering questions, a closer analysis is warranted.
Ishamael and Lanfear at Odds
For example, what was the endgame for Ishamael and Lanfear? While the former seems determined to stop the wheel of time from repeating history and reincarnating heroes, the latter seems more interested in bringing back her former lover, Lews Therin, than in serving the Dark Lord’s interests. Ishamael seemed to be playing more of a long game, telling Lanfear that Rand would “only break the Wheel if he turns to the Dark, and he’ll only turn if he thinks it’ll save his friends from doing the same.”
Perhaps the only reason Ishamael acquiesced to Lanfear’s meddling was that he thought Mat would kill Rand anyway, according to Min’s prophecy. “I may have to wait until his next life,” he says at one point, and later as Rand lay dying atop the tower, Ishamael seemed ready to move on to the next turning of the wheel. Meanwhile, Lanfear was prepared to dump the six seals of their fellow Forsaken into the ocean just so that she could have her beloved Dragon to herself.
Meet the New Forsaken for Season 3
In perhaps the biggest setup for The Wheel of Time season 3, Ishamael was able to release his dark companions before being defeated by Rand and his friends. We even saw him dusting off his hands before meeting with High Lady Suroth, foreshadowing Lanfear’s later discovery of the broken seals. However, the only escapee we got to meet in the final moments of the finale was Moghedien, a Forsaken who works “softly from the shadows” with her spiderweb-like weaves. Which others of the thirteen dark generals were released is not yet known.
Moiraine’s Reunion and Defeating the Seanchan
Elsewhere, among the many reunions was the one between Moiraine and Lan, who were ejected from the Ways while Lanfear and Rand took a quicker route to Falme. With the Warder bond restored, we also learn about Moiraine’s insecurities as she admits to Lan with heart-wrenching sincerity, “The only reason that I was able to say that you’re not my equal is that I’ve known one thing to be true since the first day we met — you have always been my better.”
Moiraine proved her worth, however, by singlehandedly taking out the Seanchan fleet, including the damane who were shielding Rand from using the One Power and High Lady Suroth. With Rand having dispatched High Lord Turok earlier, the invasion from the west seems to have been thwarted in The Wheel of Time moving forward, but we learned in the process that heron-marked swords, like the one Rand got from his father, are also a Blademaster’s symbol on the other side of the ocean: a nod to their common past.
The Horn of Valere and Other Big Book Moments
Speaking of the heron, Rand received two signature wounds in The Wheel of Time season 2 finale: both the never-healing wound in his side and the singed palm in the shape of the heron are prominent in the Jordan novels, and fans were likely pleased to see them appear in the show. Moiraine’s dragon illusion to announce him as the Dragon Reborn was pretty spectacular, too, especially since that was part of the prophecy about his arrival.
Similarly, seeing Perrin finally pick up an axe, his weapon of choice in the books, tempered slightly the tragic loss of Hopper to the White Cloaks. Perrin’s revenge against the wolf’s killer, Geofram Bornhald, has likely made his son Dain an enemy to be confronted in future seasons. Maybe next season Perrin will have an axe as spectacular as the Bornhalds’.
Mat finally reached part of his potential in The Wheel of Time finale as well. Loial thought Rand should blow the Horn of Valere, saying it “summons the dead heroes of the past. It’s the key to the Dragon winning the last battle.” But when Mat blows it instead, he cryptically says, “I remember,” and the proceeds to fight nearly as expertly as the legendary heroes (including the eye-patched Uno Nomesta!) with his homemade spear. His “memory” is linked to his previous lives as revealed to him by Ishamael, but there’s much more to reveal about his true nature in future seasons.
The Channeling of Egwene, Elayne, and Nynaeve
But unlike Lanfear, Moghedien says she and the others will be going after “all five” of the Two Rivers chosen ones. Egwene clearly had her full potential unlocked by the trauma of her time as a damane, and her defense of Rand while Elayne patches his Mat-inflicted wound is certainly admirable. However, both she and Nynaeve make a crucial discovery: sul’dam can be collared because they also can channel. They are weak enough to go undetected by the slavers, but their potential allows them to link through the a’dam. This revelation will likely upend the power dynamic among the Seanchan moving forward.
Only Nynaeve failed to tap into her true inner power in The Wheel of Time finale, but there’s likely more to come from her in future seasons. Elayne helped her achieve a key insight, however, telling her friend to think like a Wisdom, not an Aes Sedai, and that will likely prove helpful in the future. As for Elayne herself, was there perhaps a spark between her and the Dragon Reborn when Rand groggily asked, “Who are you?” Time will tell!
With the Dragon Reborn and his friends back together again, The Wheel of Time achieved closure in its finale, but the defeat of the Seanchan and a single Forsaken is not enough to win the war. There’s still the matter of the Black Ajah hidden among the Aes Sedai, the inevitable conflict between the Amyrlin and Moiraine, the aftermath of the future king of Cairhien being a darkfriend, and much more to contend with when the show returns for its already renewed third season.
All eight episodes of The Wheel of Time season 2 are available to stream on Prime Video now.