THE WHEEL OF TIME’s Hammed Animashaun on Loial Being the Most Chill

You know what they say about curiosity and the cat. The same could apply to The Wheel of Time’s Loial, son of Arent, son of Halan. The Ogier has left his home, the stedding, to see more of the world. When we meet him in Tar Valon, he steps away from his books to engage Rand al’Thor, who Loial insists is an Aielman. From Rand’s reaction and Loial’s descriptions of others’ reactions to him, we know seeing an Ogier outside a stedding is unusual. Loial seems immediately intrigued by Rand and his friends, the same as in the books.

Loial wants to learn everything, share his knowledge, and help his friends however he can. In episode six, that eagerness means he ends up enmeshing himself in the group’s quest. We spoke with actor Hammed Animashaun about Loial’s calm temperament, becoming an Ogier, and what we can expect from the Ways.

Loial, an Ogier, in The Wheel of Time
Prime Video

Nerdist: Being long-lived, Loial has such a measured way of speaking and approach to the world. What was it like to find that kind of cadence and inhabiting that very chill place?

Hammed Animashaun: It’s hard because so many things happen in life, but I always try to just go through life just completely chill, stress-free. I don’t want to be stressing about nothing. Things happen for a reason, accept it, keep going. You know what I mean?

When I came across Loial and I saw that he sees the world completely different in a way of… There’s no need to rush. Things happen, but then sometimes they need to happen because of this. And sometimes they need to happen because of that, but it happens. I read that and I was researching and I went, “Oh my gosh.” That’s how I want to live my life as well. Just a way of allowing things to happen and acceptance and going like it’s okay. We can just keep going. That’s a part of him that I relate to. It was really refreshing when I was researching about him.

We could all take some Loial life lessons to heart. Loial has a distinctive look in the series. We have prosthetics, but we can still see you. How did the final prosthetics come about?

It was a trial and error. Because it’s all practical we had to find the right face because I wanted to be able to perform as much as possible through the prosthetic. When we did that, it was about finding the essence of Loial, the spirit of him in the costume, in his skin, with his hands. Isis [Mussenden, costume designer], Nick [Dudman, MuFX], Salli [Richardson, director], the whole MuFX team, the whole costume department, the hair and makeup—it was 100% a collaborative effort of creating our own interpretation of what we think the Ogier are.

I was really nervous when I first walked around the studio, but everyone was really happy and really excited.

And it takes a while to get into costume. At first, it was around three and a half, maybe four hours. We’ve now got it down to two, two and a half hours.

Moiraine, Loial, and Lan hold a large map in The Wheel of Time
Prime Video

When Loial meets Rand and his friends in Tar Valon, he was minding his business with his books, but now he’s taking them into the Ways. What’s his mindset towards these youths?

I think when he first meets Rand, there’s a fascination towards him. He’s meeting someone who for the first time, he’s like, “Oh, I’ve read about you.” And then all of a sudden he’s like, “I’ll do whatever you need. I’ll help you with whatever you need.” That’s what I love that about Loial. He went and got Nynaeve, found Nynaeve for Rand… he just wants to help. Do you know what I mean?

So for Loial, I think it’s about learning about these people. He’s read about these people, now he can actually learn from these people, or learn about them. There’s definitely a sense of excitement and that sense of like, “Oh, something else I can write about or something else I can…” He’s very excited. He’s curious. He just wants to find out about everyone.

We know Moiraine asked for his help with navigating the Ways so the group can travel to the Eye of the World. What can you tease about the Ways and the danger they’re all facing?

What I can say is that… So we shot that, that set was built for us by the amazing crew in Prague. And it was a long shoot of us, pretty much, going through these really intense elements. It’s very intense, which is why in episode six, Loial was quite nervous about doing this for them. He has an understanding of what’s happened there. And he’s not sure if he wants to be the Ogier to visit that, but he knows that he wants to help.

So it’s kind of a catch-22 for him. He knows he wants to help, but yeah, there’s an intensity about the Ways, which I know that we captured when we filmed it. I’m really excited for you guys to see that. I’ll be really interested to see what people think about it, because I think it’s one of the special moments in the series.

Moiraine on her horse next to a tall Waygate in The Wheel of Time
Prime Video

In the books, we know Loial’s story quite early on. Will we learn more about his history in season one?

As we get to the end of season one, there are a lot of things we hear a lot about.

New episodes of The Wheel of Time arrive weekly on Prime Video.

Amy Ratcliffe is the Managing Editor for Nerdist and the author of A Kid’s Guide to Fandom, available now. Follow her on  Twitter and Instagram.

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