[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for plot twists from this week’s episode of The Wheel of Time, so turn yourselves around unless you fly by the Amyrlin Seat of your pants.]
Well, well, well. Guess Moiraine (Rosamund Pike) isn’t as unfeeling as we thought! In “The Flame of Tar Valon,” it was revealed that the icy Blue wonder was involved—romantically—with Aes Sedai leader Siuan (Sophie Okonedo), also known as “The Amyrlin Seat.” Clearly a no-no, the two have kept their relationship a secret, going so far this week as to stage Moiraine’s exile from the White Tower for refusing to tell the Seat and her fellow sisters the details of her two-year mission to find the Dragon Reborn.
Free from the restrictions of the order, but nevertheless gutted to leave her lover, Moiraine was then able to reunite the kids from Two Rivers. With the aid of Loial (Hammed Animashuan) and her faithful Warder Lan (Daniel Henney), she drew the group to a Waygate, explaining how the mystical portal would lead them to the Dark One. And while Moiraine, Lan and Loial failed to mention that whomever wasn’t the prophesied Dragon would probably perish on the other side, it became very clear that their lives would be imperiled once we got a look into ominous Ways…if they chose to join them.
Here, Criminal Minds alum Henney explains the loyalty between Lan and Moiraine, hints at what lies ahead for the hottest Warder in the land and confirms that it’s about to get crazy up in here once the trip through the Ways gets underway.
OK, so everything that happens with Moiraine in this episode affects Lan directly because he’s her Warder.
Daniel Henney: Right.
And clearly, he’s known about her relationship with Siuan all along?
I think you’ve guessed correctly. [Laughs] Look, they’re bonded and they’ve been on this journey for 20 years, so they are essentially a married couple without the fun stuff…without the sex and romance. But they have their bond and they share everything together. He’s completely aware, in my opinion, of what’s going on and you see that play out in that scene where he comes into her quarters midway through the episode and says, “Look, it’s not safe here. You have to be careful. You have a lot of enemies.” Then he goes to the door and he says, “Give her my love,” and he’s going to watch or stand at the door until morning, which is very sweet.
I think this is just their way. They have this relationship, Lan and Moiraine, but Moiraine clearly has relationships outside, including a romantic relationship, and that’s something that Lan respects. I love it because it sort of encapsulates this new way we’re seeing love between these two characters and that will evolve more as we move on to Episode 107. Because you’re going to see Lan get into the “love” world as well, which is really exciting.
That was one of the questions I had! Because of his relationship with Moiraine, does that mean he’s celibate?
Well, he’s not. [Laughs] I don’t know for sure if he’s been celibate, but I know that he and Moiraine are not sexual. There’s definitely a tension there, as we saw with the bathtub scene in the pilot. But they’re not sexual. And as you see them move forward in 107, I’m not sure how much I can reveal, but Lan will explore some parts of that. I just think it’s really refreshing to see that two people can have an intimate relationship and still have love outside of that. And I think it’s just a new way of looking at things.
And when she goes to see Siuan, they’re not connected.
Yeah. Because that’s sort of a private thing for her and she can mask the bond when she wants to. And that turns off sort of their connection at times. You’ll see throughout the show, as it moves forward, there’s moments when she masks the bond, which causes some friction between the two.
I also noticed that he’s the only person who can get her to laugh.
Yeah. I mean, you spend that much time with someone, 20 years in the road. I’m sure you’ve been on road trip before…you’re pretty much locked in a car, you’re going to find a way to make the other person laugh. And they’ve been each other’s best friends for years and years. If you go back in books prior to this, the book “New Spring” explores the beginnings of their relationship and they sort of started things off by playing pranks and jokes on each other. And I think he throws her into a pond and she like does this trick with some fire ants and there’s all these things they do to each other.
Last week, we had that incredible sequence with Stepin grieving his Aes Sedai, Kerene. What is the bond between the Warders themselves?
Well, they don’t have an actual One Power-based bond. Lan’s backstory is that he was an orphan and he was sort of smuggled out of his [royal family’s] palace before it was taken by the blight and his parents were killed. So he was raised by warriors and he’s been looking for sort of a mentor/father figure for his whole life. And I think he found that in Stepin. Theirs is very much a father-son or a close brother-type relationship. And that’s what you’re seeing. So these guys are kind of like a close sort of fraternity and they have love for each other, but it’s not connected to the One Power like it is between order in Aes Sedai.
And with Rand (Josha Stradowski) being an orphan, is that something that connects the two guys as well?
You will see that evolve as the show goes forward. Lan and Rand have a very interesting storyline as we move through the books. And so you’ll see Lan become a mentor for Rand, which is really exciting for Josha and I, because I feel that way within real life. That’s something we’re going to have fun exploring, but I can’t really give too much away, but you will see sort of a mirrored relationship that Lan had with Stepin.
Nice. And now the way the episode ends is…I feel like this is one of those moments that the readers have been waiting for. The Waygate! What are they walking into? What can you tell me about the next episode?
Well, the Waygates, they’re sort of like ancient pathways. I played Mario Bros. when I was a kid, so I’d always equate it to like the warp zone where you would go through to different worlds. [Laughs] They go through these pathways and they’re just sort of steeped in danger and different sort of legends and things that exist only within these pathways. What you’re seeing in the next episode are these amazing sets that our art department created all practically, so we got to actually walk through them. It was like an entire stage that was built of these black, crazy stones and bridges that we got to walk through and all the things that come to challenge us within these Ways. It’s really, really exciting. So I’m very excited for you guys can see it.
Lots of action?
There’s a lot of action. There’s also some exciting love stuff happening. I can’t reveal too much, but you’re going to get to see a lot about where Lan is from, his culture and how he was brought up. That was really fun for me.
Sweet. Now, I have not completed “The Eye of the World” yet, but Mat’s decision at the end of this episode fascinated me.
Oh yeah, that’s a big one and that is actually not in the books. That is something that was put into our show and I think that it actually has upped the stakes a lot for our younger cast because it leads them to question what they believe as far as Moiraine and Lan and their leadership. I think it worked out really nicely…it gave us a sort of push-and-pull when it came to whether they want to follow us moving forward or if they are not going to trust us. And I think it’s playing really nicely.
The Wheel of Time, Fridays, Prime Video