The Wheel of Time is a story of light and dark. The books by Robert Jordan pit the Dragon Reborn and his allies against the Dark One and his many evildoing minions. Enemies to the Dragon are everywhere. They take the form of Darkfriends doing deeds big and small for the Dark One, Whitecloaks who cause trouble via their fanaticism, or invading forces. Season two of Prime Video’s adaptation of The Wheel of the Time has been bringing two powerful foes together: the Forsaken and the Seanchan.
Members of each group are formidable in their own right. The Forsaken are powerful channelers who devote themselves to the Dark One. Meanwhile the Seanchan are invading with a massive army, spearheaded by enslaved channelers using the One Power as a weapon. Moreover, Ishamael of the Forsaken has seemingly allied with High Lady Suroth of the Seanchan. That makes for a dire situation for the Dragon Reborn, Rand al’ Thor, and those who want to help him.
“I think this season’s very character driven. In season one, we were establishing them all. Season two is following all these characters and they’re all in different places, so we have the breadth,” executive producer Marigo Kehoe told Nerdist on the set of The Wheel of Time (no writers or actors were present during the set visit). “The darkness and the light, it’s explored in all of them, including the Forsaken. So they come in and these characters pose that threat straight away. The story and their journey has that underlying threat.”
And while the Seanchan are overt in their invasion, other enemies are more insidious. Selene, it turns out, is not an innkeeper in Cairhien’s foregate; she’s actually Lanfear, one of the Forsaken. She’s been cozying up with Rand. Of course book readers knew Selene’s actual identity, but director Sanaa Hamri explained such a situation is layered. “It’s very intricate and tricky when bringing in the different dark forces, “ she said. “Because at the same time when we’re directing these scenes and creating the scope, we don’t want to tip the hat. So it has to be, especially for a viewer who’s never read the books, they should not know who a Darkfriend is going to be.”
Hamri continued, “It’s finding that fine balance of being subtle. We want to create an environment where you rewatch the scene and go, ‘Oh my God, that’s the sign.’ Especially later on because there’s a lot of things that are revealed throughout the season until the finale, so when you rewatch the show, you’ll be able to pinpoint and see those little eggs.”
One example of an egg is the name of Selene’s inn, the Crescent Inn. Its sign featured a crescent moon and stars. One of Lanfear’s names in The Wheel of Time’s books is Daughter of the Night.
Lanfear’s in the story now, but the season started with Ishamael and the Seanchan. The stakes were high, particularly with Rand and the audience knowing he is the Dragon. Executive producer Mike Weber said you’re already thinking about what he’s going to do with that incredible power and how it will affect him. So by the time we meet enemies, you can’t help but wonder what Rand will do.
“You see what evil… You see the One Power in the possession of people that do not have the moral code of the Aes Sedai, what that looks like. And the Seanchan really put that forward,” Weber said. “You see all of these different aspects of the One Power’s existence and how it is utilized and I think that really hits home in amping up the stakes.”
The Wheel of Time airs news episodes on Prime Video on Fridays.