Prime Video’s adaptation of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series has some definite changes from its source material. One thing that showrunner Rafe Judkins made sure was in the show, however, was the four-minute “Weep for Manetheren” scene in episode two, where Mat (Barney Harris) starts a singalong about Manetheren, and Moiraine (Rosamund Pike) tells the young folks from Two Rivers the story of how the ancient city stood up to Trollocs many years ago.
The scene is a beloved one by fans of Jordan’s books, and Judkins—a fan of the books himself—fought to include the scene in the television series.
“It was an uphill battle from day one to put that in the show because it is crazy to have your lead actor sit in a horse for an entire day and for four minutes of screentime doing a monologue about a city that doesn’t exist inside of the show,” Judkins told Decider. “So, it was flagged by the other writers in the room, the studio, and the network. Every single person who encountered it throughout the process asked me to pull it. But I never pulled it.”
When asked why he fought so hard for the scene, Judkins shared that he thought the sequence was one of the ineffable things about The Wheel of Time books that have made them so popular. “There’s something intangible about this Manetheren speech that makes you fall in love with this world,” he said. “I just fought for it every step of the way, through script and shooting and the cutting process because I felt that it was something that was part of the heart of Wheel Of Time.”
Pike was initially hesitant about the scene as well. “I worried about it,” she told Decider. “Even when we had all the cast and crew, I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, is anyone going [to watch]? Is that where Amazon’s going to have everyone switching off?’”
Pike, however, has turned around on the scene and also sees it as a strong moment for the characters. “Moiraine is also, she’s struggling at that point,” she said. “She’s also not knowing how long she’s going to last because she’s taken this terrible wound at the end of Episode 1, and she’s struggling. And I think she needs these young people on the journey to step up.”
The first four episodes of The Wheel of Time are currently on Prime Video, with new episodes dropping on Fridays.