This will be our full spoiler review and episode breakdown for The Wheel of Time, season 2, episode 7. When we say “full spoilers,” we’re including the entire book series, as we will be discussing changes from the books and potential ramifications for the future. If you don’t want plot points from the books that may show up in future episodes and seasons of The Wheel of Time spoiled for you, please avoid this review.

Introduction

The penultimate episode of season 2 is here, and with everything packed in it, this episode flew by! Read on for our summary or skip ahead to our review, book to screen analysis, and individual ratings.

Summary of Episode 207 – Daes Dae’mar (written by Justine Juel Gillmer)

Twenty years ago, the Aiel War is ending, and Moiraine (Rosamund Pike) and Siuan (Sophie Okonedo) are in the Tower discussing their future together. They visit the blind Gitara Sedai (Hayley Mills) to inform her the war is over, but the older woman is suddenly struck by a violent vision of the Dragon being reborn. Gitara warns the two women not to tell anyone, then collapses, dead.

In present day Cairhien, Yasicca (Katie Leung) slips Verin (Meera Syal) an Ogier map of the city; Tomas (Heikko Deutschmann) heads out into the city to investigate, and Ihvon (Emmanuel Imani) follows him. Maksim (Taylor Napier) and Alanna (Priyanka Bose) wonder where Liandrin is. Liandrin (Kate Fleetwood), meanwhile, visits Barthanes (Will Tudor) at the Damodred home. He asks her what task their master has for him, and Liandrin commands him to kill Moiriane and also Anvaere (Lindsay Duncan) if necessary. Unknown to them both, Anvaere is listening from behind the wall. Once Barthanes arrives at a cell in the palace, where he thinks he’ll find Moiraine, he’s instead trapped by Anvaere.

Mat (Dónal Finn) is knocked unconscious in the Foregate by an unknown assailant. When he wakes, Lanfear (Natasha O’Keeffe) welcomes him to Falme. Later, Ishamael (Fares Fares) brews him a special tea that has the power to show Mat his past lives. Mat drinks the tea and sees visions of himself committing murders, hanging from a noose, and his mother (Juliet Howland) taunting him about how he’s a good-for-nothing like his father. As the visions fade, Ishamael explains how all he wants is to make it all stop, to be able to close his eyes and never wake again. Mat asks how.

Perrin (Marcus Rutherford) is traveling with Aviendha (Ayoola Smart) and Hopper towards Falme. They encounter another Aiel, Bain (Ragga Ragnars), who communicates with Aviendha using sign language. Bain leads them to Chiad (Maja Simonsen), who is standing near a grave of stones: one of their fellow Maidens of the Spear, Jolien. Aviendha signs to Bain and Chiad, who remove their weapons and violently beat Aviendha, who accepts the blows without fighting back. Perrin and Hopper are confused and concerned, but don’t interfere. Later, the women act as if nothing happened; Aviendha explains to Perrin she was meeting her toh for failing to protect Jolien. The group approaches the coastline near Falme, and the Aiel are aghast at seeing so much water in one place.

Nynaeve (Zoë Robins) and Elayne (Ceara Coveney) are still hiding in Falme. Following Elayne’s plan, they find Loial (Hammed Animashaun) and learn where Egwene is being kept: a place they call the kennels, where only sul’dam are allowed to enter. They ambush a sul’dam (Jade-Eleena Dregorius) and put the a’dam they got from Ryma on her neck.

Egwene (Madeleine Madden) and other damane are brought outside the city to test their power. Renna (Xelia Mendes-Jones), in control of Egwene, unleashes a weave of air so powerful that it knocks over all the sul’dam and damane. The rumble is even felt inside Falme. Later, Renna praises Egwene’s power and explains that the Seanchan Empress is trying to unite the whole world under the Light. Egwene finally speaks, telling Renna that she will kill her one day.

In the Sun Palace of Cairhien, Siuan scolds Moiraine for keeping her stilling a secret for so long. After some pointers from Lan (Daniel Henney), Rand (Josha Stradowski) meets the Amyrlin. He expects her to gentle him, but she tells him that according to Tower law, the Dragon Reborn is to be held shielded in the White Tower until the Last Battle. Rand attempts to use the One Power against Siuan, but she shields him. Moiraine enters, horrified to see Rand shielded, but Siuan says that Moiraine nearly lost them everything, and the Dragon needs the White Tower to guard and guide him. Rand is moved to an isolated room where he remains shielded and guarded by Leane. Lan visits Logain (Álvaro Morte), promising to give him a key to escape if Logain tells him what he sees when he looks at Moiraine. Logain reveals that there are weaves created by a man twisted around Moiraine.

In the Dream World, Rand asks Lanfear to help free him. Lanfear responds by setting fire to the Foregate. Through some creative Aes Sedai wordplay, Verin convinces Leane that the Amyrlin needs her to assist with defending the city from Forsaken attack. As soon as the Keeper leaves, Verin releases the shield. Moiraine and Rand leave to rendezvous with Lan, and the three head to a Waygate hidden in the city. Lan tells Rand to channel while looking at Moiraine, and Rand confirms what Logain told him: there is a complex knotted shield on Moiraine. Rand cuts the knot with the One Power and Moiraine regains her channeling ability. She opens the Waygate, but Siuan arrives and stops her using the oath Moiraine swore (season 1, episode 6) to obey her. Lanfear interrupts and attacks Siuan. She’s about to kill Moiraine, but Rand stands up to her and Lanfear opens the Waygate for them instead. They all follow her into the Ways.

Rand speaking to Siuan who is seated upon the Amyrlin seat in a fancy room. Sunlight streams into the room from a window behind Siuan's head.

Review of of Episode 207 – Daes Dae’mar

Likes: We had wondered whether Anvaere had replaced Barthanes as a Darkfriend in the show, and we expect this will be a surprising twist for the non-reader audience. We’ve praised Lindsay Duncan before, but Will Tudor’s portrayal of Barthanes became significantly more nuanced in this episode. And on the topic of villains, the Forsaken continue to be dynamic, engaging villains, dominating every scene they’re in. Watching Lanfear casually blow up the Foregate was more satisfying than it had any right to be.

We also loved Verin’s clever wordsmithing to convince Leane to leave. It was another piece of excellent writing to perfectly show Aes Sedai bending the truth to suit their needs.

While we’d hoped to see Lan and Rand spending more time together this season, we loved the small moments they shared this episode. It was also very gratifying to have Lan be the one to discover Moiraine was shielded, alleviating some of the concerns we had about his season 2 plotline.

Although the dynamic duo of Nynaeve and Elayne didn’t have much screen time this episode, the meeting between them and Loial got some hearty laughs out of us. We can’t wait to see their buddy cop plotline continue in future seasons.

Last but not least, we can’t mention character duos without raising a glass to Siuan and Moiraine. Seeing a glimpse of who they used to be, and what might have been, made the end of the episode hit even harder. Considering what is to come for both their characters, will we see them together onscreen again?

Dislikes: This episode was packed from start to finish, yet it had the second shortest runtime of the season. We wonder if even a few extra minutes would have allowed the episode more space to breathe.

The scene where Perrin and the Aiel approach Falme was clearly shot during the day, with a filter applied to make it appear like night. This is very common in film, but in this particular instance it was almost distractingly obvious.

This may be a nitpick, but we were confused by Liandrin telling Barthanes that Moiraine would be found in a cell in the palace. Was that manipulation by Liandrin, a misunderstanding, or a writing mistake? It was odd enough that it stood out.

Some of our team struggled with the changes, namely to Siuan and Moiraine’s storyline, but we’ll discuss that in more detail in the next section.

Changes From Book to Screen

Moiraine & Siuan: Where to start? Siuan meeting Rand is an event from the beginning of The Great Hunt, but the approach Siuan takes here is very different, perhaps because things are more off the rails at this point in the show’s story.  Instead of letting Rand go free to go on his own journey, Siuan tries to regain control of the situation by attempting to follow Tower law. This understandably puts a wedge between her and Moiraine.

Moiraine’s rewording of the extra oath she took in season 1, episode 6 has come back to betray her. Had she just kept to the original oath of swearing to “obey the judgement of the Amyrlin Seat and never return till she calls me home,” we wonder if Siuan would have been able to force Moiraine to do her bidding. Was this the the downfall of Moiraine’s that Min saw in a vision back in season 1?

Another intriguing theory is that perhaps Siuan is under Compulsion. With two Forsaken and endless Black Ajah running around, there’s certainly no shortage of suspects. Compulsion was also specifically referenced by Verin in an earlier episode. We know Ishamael was meddling in Siuan’s dreams in season 1, so what’s to say she’s not continuing to be manipulated?

At the end of the episode, Lanfear knocks Siuan aside and comments how a broken Amyrlin is more useful than a dead one. It’s not clear if she meant a physical or metaphorical breaking here, but after all, once the Tower finds out how Siuan botched things in Cairhien and let the Dragon escape, it won’t go well for her. Regardless of the specifics, the events in this episode are a clear setup, likely the inciting incident itself, for the Tower coup. While we all love to hate Elaida in the books, her reasoning behind the coup was fairly understandable. If anything, the show will give Elaida an even more believable reason to want to seize control.

All in all, this is another chapter in the tragic story of Siuan and Moiraine: two lovers, forced apart by their choices to put the needs of the world above their own, to do what was right even when it wasn’t easy.

Rand: Rand is already learning how to manipulate other people into serving his needs, a skill that he will need on his journey towards the Last Battle. He’s accepting his role far sooner than he did in the books, where he railed against his fate all the way through The Dragon Reborn. It seems he will reach Falme through the Ways rather than a Portal Stone, and with Lanfear, no less. Having her, Moiraine, and Lan all together in the Ways is a very interesting situation, to put it mildly.

Mat: In the books, the famous flicker scene forced Mat to confront other realities in which he betrayed Rand. His experience with Ishamael’s tea similarly forces him to confront his fears that he will turn out exactly the type of person his mother always says he will be. While the results of this experience were left deliberately ambiguous this episode, we expect he will finally take heroic action in the finale, proving to himself that he is a good person who doesn’t abandon his friends. And what better heroism than blowing the Horn of Valere to summon a legendary army to save his friends? We were happy to see more Mat content in this episode, and he’s now poised to end up in a very similar way to his book counterpart at the end of The Great Hunt.

Perrin and Aviendha: Aviendha’s role has been somewhat merged with Gaul, at least for now. She teaches Perrin — and the audience — some preliminary lessons on ji’e’toh. This may be a hint at her future role teaching Rand all about Aiel customs — perhaps some practice with one stubborn Two Rivers woolhead before she has to deal with another? The storyline with the maidens this episode is reminiscent of Aviendha’s first appearance from The Dragon Reborn, though Jolien had a different fate in the books.

Egwene, Elayne, and Nynaeve: The “Wonder Girls” story is still very similar to that of the books. The major difference is that we’ve been told that there’s no way for an a’dam to be removed. However, with a sul’dam in hand, perhaps they’ll be able to learn the secret to releasing Egwene from captivity.

Falme: In the show, Falme is where the Dragon Reborn will proclaim himself. This is a slight deviation from the prophecies in the books, but given how the show needs to adjust pacing in order to fit the whole story into a limited number of seasons, this change makes sense.

Final Thoughts

The title of this episode was “Daes Dae’mar,” the Game of Houses in which everyone is trying to get the upper hand on their political rivals. Similarly, everyone in this episode was trying their best to manipulate events in their favor, with characters using each other, forming alliances, and breaking trusts.

This was an episode that perfectly exemplified the curse of being a book reader, where sometimes you can’t help pointing and yelling, “but that’s not how it’s supposed to happen!” It’s clear the show has a vision for the adaptation, and as with so many things, we will have to watch and find out how the changes play out across future seasons.

Though this episode covered a lot of ground and ended with our main cast poised to finally be in the same physical location, there are still many threads to be wrapped up. What of Valda’s plans to push the Seanchan back into the sea? How will Perrin, Ingtar, Loial, and Masema retrieve the Horn? Will Nynaeve and Elayne rescue Egwene and the other damane? Will Rand’s identity as the Dragon Reborn be declared for the whole world? Will Mat resist Ishamael’s temptation? We can’t wait for the finale to see how everything unfolds.

Ratings

Episode 7 – Daes Dae’mar (Overall: 4.25/5)Wotseries rating: 4.25 out of 5.0 flamesLane: 4.5/5, Sara: 4/5, Eri: 4.5/5, Omar: 4/5

Editorial Note

Episode 7 of season 2 was released on September 29, 2023. The season will contain eight episodes in total written by Rafe JudkinsAmanda Kate ShumanJustine Juel Gillmer, Dave HillKatherine B McKennaRammy ParkJohn McCutcheonRohit Kumar, and Timothy Earle. WoTSeries.com is a news site by fans, for fans, and is not affiliated with any paid sponsors or brands. We stand in solidarity with SAG-AFTRA and the WGA and encourage donations to the Entertainment Community Fund to support those affected during the work stoppage.

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Lover of fantasy and other geeky goodness.

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I'm a longtime SFF fan but Wheel of Time will always be my first love. I want to call myself Green Ajah, but--let's be real--I'm probably a Brown. In my spare time I enjoy cooking, writing, and getting lost in the wilderness.