The Wheel of Time season 2 casting news has important implications for the direction the show is taking with its story. Amazon has confirmed that Ceara Coveney, Natasha O’Keeffe, and Meera Syal have all joined the cast, with Coveney playing Elayne Trakand, the daughter-heir of Andor and one of Queen Morgase’s two children.

As for O’Keefe and Syal, Wheel of Time showrunner has teased that the actresses are playing “two of the most important characters,” but who they are is a secret that hasn’t been revealed as of yet. Either way, the three actresses are set to join a packed ensemble cast that already includes a host of characters from Robert Jordan’s books. They’ll all play roles in what comes next for Rand, Mat (who has been recast for season 2), Perrin, Egwene, Nynaeve, Moraine, and Lan as they begin the next chapter in their lives. What’s not clear though, is what that will be. There’s no telling how long The Wheel of Time will last, or how it’s going to translate a story that encompasses 14 books to the small screen.

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The casting of Elayne Trakand, in particular, sheds light on when season 2 takes place in the story. In the continuity of the books, Elayne came into the story near the end of the first book, The Eye of the World. Rand met her after accidentally falling over a palace wall in Camelyn in an attempt to get a look at Logain. Given the extreme importance of this meeting, it’s unlikely that Wheel of Time will make any significant changes to it. Assuming that Rand and Elayne’s stories follow the course set by the books, Elayne should develop feelings for Rand during his brief stay at the palace, and become entwined with Egwene and Nynaeve’s storyline afterward.

The series saving this moment for season 2 is indicative of Wheel of Time season 1 not finishing The Eye of the World’s story. The show spending an entire season (and at least part of season 2) telling the story of the first book makes sense, even though there’s so much more material to cover in the novels ahead. After all, a great deal happened prior to Rand al’ Thor’s first meeting with Elayne, and it’s easily enough to fill up all of season 1. Rand has to visit places like Shadar Logoth and Baerlon before he can even reach Camelyn in the show. Then there’s the matter of the other characters, who received their own arcs once the group was split in three.

Of course, The Wheel of Time is already changing several character introductions by moving up and delaying certain arrivals, which means that theoretically they could do the same with Elayne. That seems to be what’s happening with Loial, who will appear in season 1 despite being located in Camelyn. That’s because the traveling Ogier could easily pop up somewhere else down the road, whereas a member of royalty like Elayne can’t really be uprooted from the queen’s palace until after she’s sent away.  So in her case, The Wheel of Time may be poised to follow the books.

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Elayne’s season 2 debut will have a major impact on The Wheel of Time. Rand’s predicament at the palace actually involved a handful of characters tied to the palace, such as Queen Morgase, Galad, Gawyn, and Tallanvor, who should all have recurring presences on the show once he gets to Cameyln. Elayne, on the other hand, will become a mainstay of the Amazon series, a main love interest to Rand, and a key ally to Nynaeve and Egwene.

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