Breaking down the screentime of Perrin Aybara during the first season of The Wheel of Time on Amazon Prime.
This article contains spoilers for the first season of the Wheel of Time TV Show and slight spoilers for The Eye of the World.
Perrin Aybara, a blacksmith in the Two Rivers, is one of the main protagonists of the Wheel of Time, taking about 11% of the total number of PoVs of the books, for about 12% of the word count. In the first book, The Eye of the World, Perrin is one of the few characters whose internal thoughts were available to the readers: 13.6% of the PoVs (12.6% of the word count) were seen through his eyes. However, his importance does not result in an easy character to adapt to a TV show: our gentle giant goes through many internal conflicts during the book series, most of which seem complicated to transcribe on screen.
Perrin had a total of 1h55m50s of screentime, in which he was asleep for 4m41s. This leaves him about 1h51m09s of “in-scene” screentime, i.e. time where he is physically present and conscious. This represents about 26.74% of the total show length (7h13m13s).
Note: for the rest of this column, I will only be talking about in-scene screentime, as this is usually the most relevant in terms of character development.
Perrin spent about 23m41s in “duo” scenes, i.e. scenes where Perrin and another named character were the only two physically present and conscious named characters in a scene. This represents about 21.3% of his in-scene screentime for season 1. This is the lowest amount of duo time for one of our main characters, in both minutes and percentage. Even Mat had almost 4m more duo time than Perrin, despite having a bit more than 20min less in-scene screentime.
His largest screentime was for Ep2 (32m26s), followed by Ep7 (25m20s), our two “traveling in group” episodes. Perrin had his lowest screentime for Ep8 (5m37s), followed by Ep6 (6m23s). While Ep8 had some interesting duo time for him, his Ep6 “in-scene” screentime was only for the Two Rivers reunion at the end of the episode, as Perrin was asleep during his scene with Egwene and Moiraine.
His largest duo time was during Ep3, as Perrin was wandering the Caralain Grass with Egwene. Ep3 was also one of the few episodes where he got some real solo focus, with Ep2 where he met the wolves for the first time. Perrin’s main trio time was for Ep5, due to the torture scene in the Whitecloak camp.
Overall, Perrin spent some amount of in-scene with 29 different named characters, and many of them were only met for brief group moments. The most time was spent with Egwene (1h30m16s), followed by Rand (1h05m05s). Lan, Moiraine, and Mat trailed further behind, without much distinction between the three.
Five characters spent more than a minute of duo time with Perrin: Egwene, Ila, Laila, Mat, and Padan Fain. However, only Egwene got to pass the 5m mark, with 12m22s of 1:1 with our blacksmith. In particular, Perrin only got 8s of duo time with Rand (and that was during Rand’s dream in ep4), 33s with Nynaeve (in ep7, after the fight with what was left of our Two Rivers folks), and not a single second with Moiraine or Lan, the mentors of the group. In fact, Perrin didn’t even have any significant time with Moiraine in a group of 5 or fewer named characters and is the only main character in this situation.
Overall, Perrin got more than a minute of screentime with 12 groups of 5 or fewer named characters (including Perrin). Among those, we find most of the moments that helped develop Perrin as a character: his short time with his wife in Ep1, his discussion with Mat in Ep2 about Laila who made tools, not weapons, the beautiful and moving conversation with Ila about the Way of the Leaf…
However, in most of those moments, Perrin listened more than he talked. It’s very much in character for him who has an affinity for silence in the books, but between this and his lower screentime (especially for duo scenes), many readers and non-readers found him underdeveloped compared to other main characters.
We’re only one season in, though, that had the tough and complicated task of introducing all of those characters and the world they live in. The ending of Ep8 indicates that Perrin could go after Padan Fain to recover the Horn of Valere, stolen right in front of him as he was trying to follow the Way of the Leaf. Casting speculations also revealed that a personage significant to Perrin’s development in the first book should make an appearance in the second season. Guess we will have to wait and find out what future seasons have in plans for our gentle giant.