Wheel Of Time 'The Dark Along The Ways' Reveals The Dragon Reborn
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The Wheel of Time ‘The Dark Along The Ways’ Reveals The Identity of The Dragon Reborn: Spoiler Review

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BY December 18, 2021

Welcome back to the world of The Wheel of Time as we approach the end of the first season. Episode 7 is the penultimate episode of the first season of The Wheel of Time  ‘The Dark Along The Ways.’ It’s another chapter title straight from the book. This episode works to fill in some gaps in the viewer’s knowledge, allow our characters time to breathe before the dramatic finale, and finally reveals the identity of the Dragon Reborn. Let’s dig into episode 7 – “The Dark Along The Ways” as The Wheel of Time approaches the end of an excellent first season.

Wheel of Time ‘The Dark Along The Ways’ Starts with Blood Snow on Dragonmount

Wheel of Time The Dark Along the Ways Image via Amazon Prime

The cold open for “The Dark Along The Ways” gives us a scene that is implied in the Wheel of Time books, but brought to life vividly on screen. It is a battle – in one of our first flashbacks for the episode. We see a woman garbed like an Aiel, these are the nomadic desert warriors that Thom referenced way back in episode 3. This scene takes place during the Aiel war, which happened approximately 20 years ago according to the show’s timeline. The reasons this war happened is complicated, but it had to do with a greedy king who cut down an important tree and thus broke a pact made with the Aiel.

This battle shows us a single woman – a Maiden of the Spear – fighting off waves of soldiers single-handedly – while also extremely pregnant.  She is veiled at the beginning of the battle – like any Aiel should be. But as she begins to go into labor, she drops her veil. Unfortunately the ignorant wetlanders who make up the opposing army don’t understand that you don’t fight an Aiel unless they are veiled. They force her into an epic confrontation that is stunning to see onscreen – set against the dramatic background of Dragonmount. She eventually wins, but not without sustaining a fatal injury. As she leans against a rock to give birth, she is approached by another soldier…

Wheel of Time Shows Us The Dark Along The Ways

Wheel of Time 'The Dark Along The Ways' Image via Amazon Prime

We cut to the cliffhanger of the last episode, with Mat on the other side of the Waygate as the portal closes. Rand wants to go back for his friend, but there is no time to waste. The ensemble group makes their way along the dangerous path, warned by Moiraine to ignore the evil force known as Machin Shin. This is the ‘black wind’ that will whisper in their ears, making them doubt themselves and bring to light all their darkest fears. They are also warned not to channel in the Ways, as it will draw the black wind to them.

As they proceed along the Ways, the group is attacked by a Trolloc – this is proof that the Dark One is using these passages to transport his armies –  and likely how the Trollocs ended up in the Two Rivers without the Aes Sedai knowing. As the Trolloc attacks, a blast of the One Power knocks him back. The group races for the closest exit – the gate to the Borderland city of Fal Dara.

The black wind finally catches up to them as they approach the gate, it swarms around our heroes and we can hear the way it whispers in their ears. This enrages Nynaeve enough to the point where she can channel, and she unleashes another huge blast of the One Power to protect the group as they struggle to escape. They make it to the other side safely, but it is clear that all of them have been affected by Machin Shin and what they heard in the darkness.

Entering The Borderlands

Wheel of Time Fal Dark Along the ways Image via Amazon Prime

“The Dark Along The Ways” brings us to the Borderlands, where our Wheel of Time heroes are able to recover and deal with the ramifications of their journey. It is here that we learn more about Lan’s history, as we get to see his family in a touching scene. This is important for Nynaeve to be part of, to understand that Lan has history separate from Moiraine. We learn that Lan is the heir to a throne that has been lost. He would be king of  Malkier, if the country had not been swallowed by the Blight. He is a king with no country, and this is part of why he bonded with Moiraine. Her quest gave his life a purpose beyond throwing away his life in the Blight fighting against the Dark One.

Lan And Nynaeve Grow Closer as the Wheel of Time Keeps Turning

Lan Nynaeve WOT Dark Along The Ways Image via Amazon Prime

“The Dark Along The Ways” is an extremely important episode for Nynaeve and Lan, one that moves their relationship to the next level in The Wheel of Time. They spend the night together, and come to a better understanding of one another. Nynaeve still feels that Lan belongs to Moiraine, and this internal conflict will drive a lot of the drama between them for some time to come.

In the Borderlands we also meet a new character – a bartender named Min.  She is a fan-favorite character, and one of the major players in the books. Min has an ability that Moiraine wants to utilize. She has the ability to glimpse the Pattern that the Wheel weaves, and see important omens about other people. These often appear as auras or symbols floating around individuals. She can see Perrin’s golden eyes, and weirdly has a vision of Rand holding a baby. She can also see the sparks floating between all the Ta’veren, and how deeply they are connected.

Rand Opens Up to an Unexpected Character

Rand Min WOT Image via Amazon Prime

Moiraine warns the group about what they will encounter at the Eye of the World. She says that whoever is not the Dragon will likely be killed. This torments Rand, who has been brooding about his own secrets throughout the entire series. He goes in search of Min, and demands that she tell him he is not the Dragon Reborn. She obliges him casually, but it is important to note that Min is not an Aes Sedai. (Her power is passive, it does not involve touching the One Power in any way.) So Min can lie, and has already lied to Moiraine about what she saw. Around Rand she can see “a rainbow, a circus, and three beautiful women.” All of these symbols are foreshadowing things to come.

The two of them have a bluntly honest conversation. This is the first time we have seen Rand open up this much to any character. He has been keeping a secret from all of his friends, even his beloved Egwene. And he has been in denial about it himself, until now when he realizes what must be done.

Who the Dragon Reborn Is In The Wheel of Time ‘The Dark Along The Ways’

Rand WOT The Dark Along The Ways Photo by Jan Thijs via Amazon Studios

The episode gives us another small flashback – this time to Tam al’Thor. Rand recalls the night of the Trolloc attack on the Two Rivers, when he dragged Tam all the way to town to be healed. This is when Tam revealed  – in his feverish mumblings – that it was he who encountered the Aiel woman on the slopes of Dragonmount. Her name was Tigraine Mantear. Important to note that the credits list her this way, instead of giving her Aiel name. Tam helped her give birth and then kept the child after she died. He brought that child home to his wife in the Two Rivers (who struggled with infertility) and raised him. That child was Rand.

We then see a brief montage of all the times Rand has secretly channeled. When he knocked down the ironwood door to escape Dana the Darkfriend. And again, when the Trolloc attacked them in the Ways. It was Rand who channeled then, in conjunction with Egwene. And Machin Shin whispered the truth in his ear, the one he had been avoiding. Rand al’Thor is the Dragon Reborn.

The Eye of the World Is Waiting

Wheel of Time Ensemble Photo by Jan Thijs via Amazon Studios

With this certain knowledge, Rand goes to find Moiraine and confess the truth. The two of them leave in the dark of the night, without even Lan to accompany them. They travel to the Eye of the World, leaving the others behind. And so “The Dark Along The Ways” reveals who the Dragon Reborn is in The Wheel of Time. Nothing will be the same for any of our characters after this.

The Wheel of Time will debut its first season finale on Friday, December 24, 2021.

What will the season finale of The Wheel of Time weave for us? What will Rand and Moiraine find at the Eye of the World? And how will it set up for season 2 – which is already filming? We will find out next week in the highly anticipated season 1 finale of The Wheel of Time. Stay tuned to Comic Years on Facebook and Twitter for our review.

(Featured image via Amazon Prime)

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Emily O'Donnell is a writer and photographer with roots in some of the earliest online fandoms. She cut her genre teeth on the Wizard of Oz books at the tender age of 6 years old, and was reading epic adult fantasy novels by the age of 10. Decades later, she still consumes genre fiction like there is no tomorrow. She is delighted to be living through the golden age of sci-fi and fantasy popularity. She is unashamed of the amount of fanfiction that still lingers online under her name.

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