This interview was conducted prior to the SAG-AFTRA strike of 2023. Without the efforts of the writers and actors currently on strike, the series covered here would not exist.
The second season of The wheel of time It’s set to premiere on Prime Video tomorrow. Season 1 provided us with plenty of surprises, including Moiraine (Rosamund Pike) being cut off from the One Force, something that doesn’t happen in the Robert Jordan books. But although Pike didn’t have Jordan’s words to look at when playing Moiraine in this instance, she did point out that there is a lot in the source material about what someone feels like when they’re still.
“This is about the most devastating thing that can happen to a woman,” she told me in an interview conducted before the SAG-AFTRA strike. “It’s this primal, painful loss that’s like losing a child, or something your whole life isn’t worth living anymore.”
Pike and I talked about how she portrayed Moiraine differently on the show than when she recorded the audio books for the series, What’s the scene from Jordan? Dragon reborn She’s willing to play on screen, and some are talking spoiler-free about what happens with her character in the first few episodes of season two.
Read on for our full discussion.
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.
First off, I know you’re obviously familiar with the books, having already done the audiobook versions of the first three books. Is there any specific character you’d like to see Moiraine clash with or anywhere within her The wheel of time The world you would like to visit as a Moiraine that you haven’t had the chance to visit yet?
I am very interested in the story of the third book with Moiraine and Perrin. I think it’s very pretty, I like where she and Beren stay in an inn, and the owner of the inn introduces Beren to his brother, Noam, who is also a wolf’s brother but a man who has been completely driven insane by his association with wolves and has become more wolf than man. And Beren saw him and he was really terrified and came to Moiraine in the night, because Moiraine is asked to heal this character and she tries and immediately sees that the cure will not work because there is no man left. It’s all wolf. And I think Perrin has this terrifying realization that this might happen to him.
Now this is something from the books, which I went through the audiobook and played it and thought, “Okay, this is an amazing moment.” And as we know from the way[director Rafe Judkins]and his team have adapted these books, the storylines that we love will play out in the show, but they may not come out the way we think they will. So, if this story comes out, it’s possible that I’m not a part of it. I can’t commit to anything in particular but this is just an honest answer to your question.
This makes me think of something else: you obviously play Moiraine in the TV show but you also voice her with the books. Is there anything you did while writing audiobooks that affected your performance on screen or vice versa?
I think it is always good to read how Moiraine is described. They are sometimes described as being icier than a woman, or like a block of ice, or the way they slide. Many times I remind myself to try to flow more like Moiraine, and try to slip in wherever possible. (He laughs) It’s not always possible to slip, and sometimes it’s like, “Rosamund, hey – you have to move on, please, we need some speed on this section.” But you take it as a touchstone now and then, as you describe.
I think Moiraine’s voice is often described as bell-like or musical or kind of tingling that sends shivers down your spine. Now I can do all that with Moiraine in the books, because of the way you talk, in that vague, slightly delightful way. The Moiraine we have in the series is much more direct – we need her to move the story along and she speaks less in the kind of mishmash fantasy, as I suppose[creator Robert Jordan]does so brilliantly. So there is a difference in Moiraine in the books.
The only thing that doesn’t happen in the books is that Moiraine gets cut off from the One Force. When you were preparing for that at the end of Season 1, and obviously it’s going to carry over into Season 2 – without getting spoiled, can you talk about how you prepared to portray Moiraine going through that experience, especially because there wasn’t the source material explicitly outlining that?
No, there isn’t, but there is enough discussion about what stillness means to Aes Sedai in the books, and the idea that this is about the most devastating thing that can happen to a woman. It’s this primal, painful loss that’s like losing a child, or it’s something your whole life isn’t worth living anymore. It is very sad that many women will commit suicide within a year.
That’s the information I had, and I think my imagination would have led me to a similar place because of the way the One Power is described. Just imagine the opposite. The One Power is something so beautiful in your veins that you can never get enough of it, and you can’t afford to give it up when you have to get rid of it. And I think that’s part of Moiraine’s identity and we know anything, whether it’s the loss of a partner, or the loss of a career, or the loss of ability, if something is associated with your identity, the loss of it is severe and profound. And that’s what we encounter with Moiraine at the top of Season Two. So we see it more humane, more vulnerable than we’ve seen it before. And vulnerability is not where Moiraine is happy. She feels incredibly exposed. And when she feels exposed, she attacks and attacks those close to her. And the closest to her in this situation is one person – she’s Lan, and she’s very tough. We don’t understand that. We don’t want that, you know, but that’s what we get because that’s who she is. She is a proud woman in every sense of the word, and if she feels ashamed, she pushes away people who might see that shame.
OK thank you so much. I appreciate it. This is my time, although I could talk to you forever.
Oh, but I’m just getting started! I was about to tell you–let me tell you, we see beneath that, that Moiraine is a fighter, and so we see her resilience. And the exhilarating thing about Season 2 is that we get to see this humanity, no longer protected by the One Power, who must push it forward with its wit, its wit, its wit, its ability to manipulate events and see the future through it. Cunning and imagination. It is like a chess player who is 16 steps ahead of her opponents and allies. And we start off in Season 2 to see just how wide Moiraine’s reach is. That’s something completely separate from her use of the One Force, and that’s where the fun for me is in Season 2.
The first three episodes of wheel of timeSeason 2 begins streaming on Prime Video on September 1, 2023. Subsequent episodes will be available on a weekly basis.