After Game of Thrones ended, lots of people wondered if they’d ever see characters as intricately written again. From the brave Starks to the incestuous Lannister twins, it's no doubt that these characters upped an already potent narrative. Enough about GoT though, it’s WoT season in these parts!
Based on Robert Jordan and co-author Brandon Sanderson’s epic fantasy novel, The Wheel of Time weaves an in-depth narrative centered around an unnamed world. In the course of the ongoing battle between light and darkness, good and evil, liberty and bondage — you get the drift — some interesting characters have come to light. In a general sense, the storyline focuses on Moiraine Damodred who undertakes an adventure-filled journey with five young adults, one of which she suspects to be the Dragon Reborn.
Avid readers of the novels probably already have a keen sense of the lay of the land. However, as first-time Wheel of Timers gear up for these characters to grace the screens for the first time, here’s the rundown on the characters that make the wheel of time spin.
1. Moiraine Damodred (Rosamund Pike)
Going in, there is one thing you need to know about this character: she’s kind of a badass. Let’s just say, at the point the show starts, you’re pretty much meeting a fully developed character. She’s wise, powerful, and as intuitive as they come. More specifically, she’s an Aes Sedai of the Blue Ajah and has dedicated her days to a secret mission she’s not even made privy to by her superiors. Ultimately, all the roads she travels lead her to find, guide, and shape the Dragon Reborn to ensure he’s ready to do what needs to be done to save their unnamed world from the Dark One.
Consider her a less cryptic, and often brash, Merlin figure — but that’s only because she knows a lot more than everyone else, and does not have the luxury of revealing all her cards. So, gear up for incredibly heroic feats (high-level badassery) and the realistic thoughtfulness that makes her such an enigma.
Wielding this iconic role is Rosamund Pike, who’s more than a familiar face. Her work in the industry has earned her a handful of accolades including a Golden Globe Award and a Primetime Emmy Award, as well as nominations for a British Academy Film Award and an Academy Award. You’ve probably seen the British actress in Gone Girl, A Private War, and State of the Union.
2. Rand Al’Thor (Josha Stradowski)
Rand Al’Thor is definitely one of the most important personalities you’ll come across in WoT. However, we are not going to blatantly reveal why for the benefit of the newbies (though it’s probably implied). In a nutshell, he’s gearing up to become more than just a village boy with stellar fighting skills, but his journey there is less than pretty. Speaking of villages, Rand is from a quaint one called Emond's Field that’s situated somewhere in the Two Rivers. For the most part, he has no idea what’s out there and as such, there is a certain naivety about him. After an attack by the Trollocs, Rand finally makes his way out of Emond's Field, and it's there his journey with Moiraine begins. If you haven’t read the book, this is a character to keep an eye on. His lack of worldly knowledge makes him the perfect vessel through which you can acquaint yourself with the unnamed world.
This character is played by Josha Stradowski, a Dutch actor who appeared in Gewoon Vrienden, which happens to be his first feature film. You can also catch him in Bromance as well as the Dutch TV series Liefdesplien, where he played the lead.
3. Perrin Aybara (Marcus Rutherford)
On the surface, Perrin is just a simple guy, trying to live a simple life with whatever the village version of a house with a picket fence is. As the plot unravels, it is quite evident that he is so much more. He’s a blacksmith’s apprentice and part of Rand’s close-knit circle of friends. Though he very much yearns for that simple village life, he’s brave and fiercely loyal to those he cares about. It’s probably necessary to mention that he’s a wolf brother, which may be a later development, but it’s quite an integral part of his essence.
Much like Stradowski, Marcus Rutherford is still in the process of building an extensive acting portfolio. Yet, he has appeared in productions like County Lines and Obey.
4. Matrim Cauthon (Barney Harris)
Every group needs that roguish and unapologetically bold character to shake things up. In this travel party, that person is Matrim Cauthon, more often referred to as Mat. If you guessed that he’s also from the Two Rivers region, you guessed right. Considered to be somewhat of a prankster (actually, a full-blown prankster), this character’s mischievous ways offer most of the comic relief you will get from the core group. Despite his laidback outlook on practically everything, he is fiercely loyal and does what needs to be done when the occasion calls for it.
Playing this role in Season 1 is Barney Harris who’s appeared in Sweet Maddie Stone and more recently, Starboy.
5. Nynaeve al'Meara (Zoë Robins)
Nynaeve is slightly older than the rest of the gang — emphasis on the “slightly” — and is a character that has had to earn every iota of respect she is accorded. She’s the youngest Wisdom of Emond's Field and quite a respected one at that. Being a bit older than the rest of the travel party not only means she’s less receptive to Moiraine’s influence; she blatantly does not trust her. Besides the fact that she has her own pre-formed notions of what the Aes Sedai stands for, the fact that Moiraine is taking these young, impressionable souls out of the village does not sit right with her. For obvious reasons, she may not read as a fan favorite right off the bat, but one thing is certain: Nynaeve is a strong-willed woman who’s not afraid to go against the grain every now and then.
Playing this character is New Zealander Zoe Robins, mostly known for her role in Power Rangers Ninja Steel. Earlier on, she appeared in The New Tomorrow.
6. Egwene Al’Vere (Madeleine Madden)
Egwene happens to be the last of the five young adults Moiraine ventures out with. Though she is well-acquainted with the rest of the group, it is quite evident that she shares a closer bond with Rand. Like most of the gang, she’s born and bred in Edmond’s Field, where she’s the mayor’s youngest daughter. Besides being as strong-willed and opinionated as they come, another striking quality she possesses is a keen thirst for knowledge.
Though Madden is quite young, she has quite a few acting credits in her portfolio. Some of these include roles in Dora and the Lost City of Gold, Around the Block, and the TV show Tidelands, where she plays the lead.
7. al’Lan Mandragoran (Daniel Henney)
Mostly referred to as Lan, he’s a warder — the parallel of a bodyguard — and he’s bound to Moiraine. Based on this, it makes sense that he’s by Moiraine’s side when she ventures to the Two Rivers in search of the Dragon Reborn. He may not look it at first, but keep in mind that he’s more than just a stone-faced guard.
Daniel Henney is an American actor well-known for his roles in Seducing Mr. Perfect, Big Hero 6, and Criminal Minds.
Other Notable Characters
1. Siuan Sanche (Sophie Okonedo)
Siuan was practically raised by the Aes Sedai and moved into the White Tower at Tar Valon around the same time as Moiraine — in fact, they arrived on the same day. She even ends up an Aes Sedai of the Blue Ajah. Besides being the closest thing there is to Moiraine’s best friend, she’s quite a powerful channeler with a keen mind for puzzles.
2. Elmindreda Farshaw (Kae Alexander)
Elmindreda, called Min for short, is a light-spirited young lady from Andor. She has the ability to see people’s auras and, in turn, make predictions of the future.
3. Liandrin Guirale (Kate Fleetwood)
Though she identifies as an Aes Sedai of the Red Ajah, it’s clear that her loyalties are elsewhere from the get-go. She’s a strong female antagonist and is actually loyal to the Black Ajah.
4. Kerene Nagashi (Clare Perkins)
She’s a powerful, two-hundred-year-old Aes Sedai of the Green Ajah, yielding even more power than Moiraine. For the most part, Kerene is portrayed to be quite single-minded as long as the law is involved.
5. Stepin (Peter Franzen)
He’s Kerene’s warder, which comes off as odd since he looks more like “Gary from accounting” than a protector. However, he’s quite capable with his hands as well as numerous weapons, not to mention his ability to heal quite fast. He is bound to her alongside another warder, known as Karile.
You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both, and there you have different strokes to move the world.