Amazon Studios' The Wheel of Time officially premieres today, but fans are already talking about one head-scratching departure from the books. The first three episodes of The Wheel of Time are now available on Amazon Prime, giving fans and newcomers alike their first look at the show. Like any adaptation, The Wheel of Time takes some liberties from its source material, a series of fantasy novels written by Robert Jordan. Most of those changes make sense in the context in the series, whether it's pushing a character's debut later than it was in the book or tweaking the mythology to add some ambiguity to one of the central storylines of the first season.
There is one change from the source material that most fans are criticizing: the inclusion of Layla Aybara, a new character created for the series who appears in the first episode. Layla is introduced as the wife of Perrin Aybara, a local blacksmith and friend to Mat, Rand, and Egwene. Things seem....awkward or tense between Layla and Perrin, but we never really get a sense of their relationship because Layla is killed in rather brutal fashion when trollocs attack the town of Emond's Field. It's not a trolloc who does Layla in, but rather Perrin, who accidentally hits her with an axe in the midst of battle thinking that she's a trolloc.
Those who have read the books probably understand what the show is trying to do – Perrin has a more animalistic side that comes out when he's angry, scared, or in battle, and this case of friendly fire seems to be an early sign of it. It also provides Perrin with a more external reason to brood beyond the dire circumstances that he'll find himself in throughout the season.
The main criticism of the move is that Layla's death is a classic case of "fridging," a trope in which a female character is killed specifically to serve as a source of anguish for a male character. Not only does the show engage in a pretty lazy trope, it also feels like a mostly unnecessary deviation from the books, which definitely heightens the scrutiny around this particular plot point.
Fans on Twitter are not reacting well to the change at all, with many fans specifically criticizing the show for the decision. You can see some of the reactions to the change below:
So much worse than I imagined
oh my god perrin's plotline in this episode is SO much worse than i imagined. i get that his plotline is about carefully toeing the line between violence and humanity but "accidentally killing his wife in a battle frenzy" is just THEE worst way to set that up #WoTSpoilers— certified anarchivist (@thesocialwarlok) November 19, 2021
almost forgot to tweet about Perrin's wife, Fridga Pathos. it does make sense that at least one young adult man would be married in a village like this, especially if he's the one with, like, a stable job and stuff #WheelOfTime— simon of the blue ajah (@SimonJadis) November 19, 2021
Ugh no more please
Which culminates in Perrin accidentally chopping his wife with an axe and Moirane throwing cinder blocks at Walmart orcs
Ugh no more please— Jeff Yang (@originalspin) November 19, 2021
Perrin!! A bad husband!! Wtf!!
The wheel of time just friged a character.
The made up a whole wife for perrin just to show that:— SEUNGRI THE GREAT (@shirmhir) November 19, 2021
A. He us an asshole of a husband (Perrin!!!! A bad husband!!!! Wtf!!!)
B. To kill her in episode 1 because having 17 members of his family die in book 4 isn't enough trauma....
Don't see a lot of positives
Me, a reader of WoT: Um.... Perrin has a wife and needs to leave for this journey. Don't see a lot of positives happening for her. #wheeloftime— Sean Patrick Cain (@Sean_P_Cain) November 19, 2021
Omg... they gave Perrin a wife, and then he accidentaly killed her... Jeeezus #TheWheelOfTime— WOTfan92 (@sdt_film) November 19, 2021