How Wheel Of Time's One Power Compares To Star Wars' Force

Amazon's Wheel of Time introduces viewers to the One Power, and at first, it may seem rather similar to the Force in Star Wars. For decades, readers had assumed Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time would never become a TV series. Eventually told over the course of 14 novels (completed by Brandon Sanderson after Jordan's passing), Wheel of Time would just be too long, and the cost of bringing its magic to life would simply be too great. All that has changed, however, in the wake of Game of Thrones, which popularized long-form, expensive fantasy storytelling. Amazon hopes Wheel of Time can fit the gap left by Game of Thrones.

Wheel of Time welcomes viewers to a lavish fantasy world, one dominated by a magic called the One Power. Only a select few people are born with the ability to wield the One Power, known as Channelers, and they can use it to spectacular effect; women who master the One Power tend to become part of a group known as the Aes Sedai, who are responsible for looking after the world and defeating rogue Channelers. On the surface, some viewers may think it all feels a bit like Star Wars, although for his part Robert Jordan rejected the idea he was influenced by George Lucas. So how does the One Power compare to the Force?

Related: Everything Wheel Of Time Borrowed From Dune

The Force and the One Power derive from different sources. According to the Aes Sedai Moiraine, the One Power derives from the True Source, which she describes as "the driving force of creation, the force the Creator made to turn the Wheel of Time." In contrast, Obi-Wan Kenobi explained the Force to Luke Skywalker as an energy field created by all living things. Both the One Power and the Force have different aspects, akin to the ancient philosophy of yin and yang, but they operate differently; the Force is simply divided into light and dark, whereas the One Power is divided into saidar and saidin, feminine and masculine. Saidin has been fouled by the touch of the Dark One, Wheel of Time's version of the Devil, meaning male Channelers are gradually driven insane. In functional terms, this means male Channelers must dominate saidin to stay sane - similar, but not identical, to a Sith's desire to dominate the dark side - while Jedi and Wheel of Times' Aes Sedai both submit to the wills of their respective energy fields.

Channelers weave threads of One Power together to spectacular effect, and in Robert Jordan's books, there are five specific threads, each colored differently; earth, fire, air, spirit, and water, somewhat akin to the system that Avatar: The Last Airbender gets its universe's powers from. Male Channelers tend to have easier access to the more destructive strands, notably earth and fire, whereas female Channelers can weave air, spirit, and water with much greater ease; this means men and women will tend to use the One Power in different ways. There's a rough corollary here with the various Force powers, where different abilities are associated with the light and dark sides of the Force. But not all the powers match up; Channelers in Wheel of Time use the One Power externally, not upon themselves, meaning no Aes Sedai possesses the enhanced athleticism of Jedi and Sith.

All in all, then, there are striking similarities between the One Power and the Force - but this isn't because Jordan drew inspiration from Lucas. Rather, it is because both Jordan and Lucas drew on the same idea of yin and yang, light and dark; Jordan applied it to masculinity and femininity, however, meaning the One Power became something very different to the Force in Star Wars.

More: How The Wheel Of Time Fixes A Common Fantasy Remake Problem



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