Though filled with magical spectacle and surprising twists of fate, episode 7 of The Wheel of Time season 2 is most notable for a quiet moment between characters. In “Daes Dae’mar,” Moiraine and Lan exchange a glance that exemplifies the brilliance of this fantasy series. While the complex political maneuvers can often overshadow the emotions, these heartfelt moments still shine through.
The Great Game
The title of the episode, “Daes Dae’mar,” translates to the “Great Game” in the Old Tongue. It refers to the various players vying for control in a world where power is slipping away. Caught in the middle is Rand, the prophesied bald boy who carries the burden of saving the world. He intended to rescue Egwene in Falme but instead gets intercepted by Mother Siuan, the leader of the Aes Sedai.
However, it is a short flashback to 20 years ago that steals the show. In this scene, Moiraine and Siuan are depicted in simpler times, unaware of the hardships that await them. The contrast between their past and present selves, brilliantly portrayed by Rosamund Pike and Sophie Okonedo, immerses viewers in their characters’ lives and the profound impact of their choices.
A Shaky Bridge
As the penultimate episode, “Daes Dae’mar” faces the challenge of setting the stage for the finale while tying up loose ends. At times, the exposition feels forced and threatens to overshadow the emotional aspects. Egwene’s storyline, in particular, appears to primarily serve as a setup for future events rather than a fully satisfying arc. Despite these shortcomings, the episode concludes on a promising note with a powerful line from Egwene.
A Glimpse into the Characters’ Minds
The rest of the episode revolves around the evolving mental states of the characters in The Wheel of Time. The intimate conversations between Moiraine and Lan, as well as Moiraine and Siuan, reveal the emotional distances that have grown between them. Despite their strategic disagreements, the underlying emotions give weight to their actions. Each character believes they are acting in the best interest of the realm, making the following deceptions all the more devastating.
A Spectacular Entrance
The episode’s central characters, Moiraine, Siuan, and Lan, reach a turning point that propels The Wheel of Time forward. However, the true highlight remains the moment shared between Moiraine and Lan. When Lan reveals that Moiraine has only been shielded, not stilled, the mix of disbelief and joy on Rosamund Pike’s face strikes a chord. Rand becomes Moiraine’s key to restoring her powers, leading to a momentary triumph. But the joy is short-lived as Siuan and Lanfear intervene, resulting in a stunning betrayal.
Siuan’s takeover of Moiraine’s body splinters their already fragile relationship, leaving it damaged beyond repair. Flashbacks to their happier times intensify the heartbreak of the present, where they have become enemies rather than lovers. As Moiraine walks away, a new chapter begins, and there is no turning back.