The Wheel of Time: The One Power Explained

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Moiraine from The Wheel of Time Series
Credit: Amazon Prime Video

There's a lot to like about the magical system of The Wheel of Time. From the all-female order of magic users, with their color-coded groups and intriguing rivalries to the awe-inspiring things one can do with the One Power, the show has introduced us to an enchanting world that - if the series is handled well - is here to stay. That being said, the One Power and all its intricacies can be confusing to newcomers, who haven't read the books. Here's the One Power explained:

The One Power: What Is It All About?

Lan from The Wheel of Time
click to enlarge
Credit: Amazon Prime Video

Author Brandon Sanderson, who finished the epic Wheel of the Time series following the death of Robert Jordan, divides magic systems in fantasy into soft and hard ones. Soft magic systems aren't unruly and wild, with no clear indication of what magic can and can't do. In short, it isn't the magic of role-playing games, nor that of magical schools. Hard magical systems, on the other hand, tend to follow a specific set of rules. In short, magic is treated almost like science, as something to understand, and possibly learn.

The Wheel of Time doesn't portray a magical system as hard and scientific as some of Sanderson's original works. Already, the characters are manifesting powers they haven't trained for, which they cannot fully understand. It still falls towards the hard side, however, given that there's a lot to explain about it.

It should be noted that magic hasn't been used as a term in The Wheel of Time series, though, of course, fantasy fans are justified to think of it as such. In-universe, the One Power is instead treated as a natural, almost divine force. In Moiraine's own words: "The One Power comes from the True Source, the driving force of creation, the force the Creator made to turn the Wheel of Time."

Those capable of using the One Power are known as "channelers." While channelers can learn and undergo training, they can only do so if they inherently have the potential to channel. Some might only have the capability to a limited degree, while others, like our main characters, have a spark so strong that it manifests without them trying much.

The One Power: Where Does It Come From?

Egwene from The Wheel of Time
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Credit: Amazon Prime Video

The One Power comes from the True Source. This is an ever renewable source of energy channellers can draw from. In capable hands, it can be life-altering for the whole world. Like large bodies of water, it can never be dried up, but it's separated into two halves. This takes us to the next question.

Related: Why Was Mat Recast for Season 2 of The Wheel of Time?


Why Is the One Power Only Supposed to Be Used by Women?

Moiraine from The Wheel of Time
click to enlarge
Credit: Amazon Prime Video

The One Power comprises two parts; saidin, the male half, and saidar, the female part. Only men can draw from the former, and only women from the latter. In the narrative present, only women can safely channel. Due to the influence of the Dark One, a cosmic evil force, even men who learn to channel properly are doomed to go mad.

Should that happen, they are likely to cause devastating damage. Due to that, the Red Ajah of the Aes Sedai find such men and "gentle" them, cutting them off the True Source before they can cause such damage.

The manifestation of the Dragon Reborn in the narrative present could bring about changes in the universe's magic, so we need to keep watching to find out more, or read the book series, if you're up for a massive book or 17.

For more articles like this, take a look at our Fantasy & Science Fiction and TV Shows page.