When Amazon announced they were producing The Wheel of Time, any skepticism was washed away with the reveal of two particular cast members: Rosamund Pike as Moiraine and Daniel Henney as Lan. Fans of the novels will instantly recognize them as the two of the most important characters in the series. Moiraine is an Aes Sedai, a member of the mysterious organization of women who can wield the magical One-Power (think Bene Gesserit from Dune). There is a prophesy that Lews Therin is reincarnated, the man who locked the Dark One in his prison thus tainting the male half of the One-Power. Now it is Moiraine’s mission to track him down before the servants of The Dark One can find him.
Rosemund Pike is a fine choice for Moiraine, a secretive and powerful woman whose motives aren’t always clear. If you are unfamiliar with Rosamund’s work, she played Amy Dunne in Gone Girl (a roll that earned her a Best Actress Oscar nomination) and Marla Grayson in her Golden Globe winning performance in I Care A Lot. The two characters are both secretive and dangerous women.
Moiraine’s Warder (a fancy word for a bodyguard in the series) is Lan who hails from Shienar. Author Robert Jordan pulled heavily from Samurai warrior-culture when he created Shienar, adorning these soldiers trained at birth not to fear death with top-knots, two-handed swords and battle flags strapped to their backs. It was somewhat of a relief when Asian American actor Daniel Henney was chosen to portray Lan instead of the whitewashed approach to the character that worked well enough in the novel but would probably raise some eyebrows when portrayed in the TV show.
The relationship between Lan & Moiriane is closer than siblings because of the magical “Warder Bond” between them, giving Lan greater stamina and physical power than normal men. Each can feel the other’s physical & emotional state and have an internal GPS for each other’s whereabouts. As a kid reading the novels, a relationship between a man and a woman based on honor, trust, love and admiration that never crossed into romance was a revelation. It was rare enough to read in fantasy novels let alone see expressed in television or cinema. It’s why Moiraine and Lan were two of my favorite characters from the series.
I had the pleasure to speak with Rosamund and Daniel about their approach to the characters and was surprised with stories of real-life bloodletting and bonding over a hospital visit. You can watch the interview below.