The debut of The Wheel of Time season two trailer last week kicked off #WOTWednesdays, a fan-first tradition in which Prime Video shares Wheel of Time gifts every Wednesday through the season two premiere. And for this edition of #WOTWednesdays, Nerdist has a special reveal. We have an exclusive peek at The Wheel of Time season two costume sketches from the series’ costume designer Sharon Gilham. Gilham also shared insight into her thought process for the costumes, which feature Siuan Sanche, Moiraine Damodred, the High Lady Suroth, and the Seanchan’s damane.
The second season of The Wheel of Time picks up after the events at the Eye of the World. Continuing its adaptation of Robert Jordan’s books, season two draws from The Great Hunt and a little of The Dragon Reborn. New locations, precarious situations, fearsome enemies—all of it means wardrobe changes or additions for our characters.
As the Amyrlin Seat of the Aes Sedai, Siuan Sanche must put forth an image. Gilham acknowledges that Siuan remains very grounded, particularly since she comes from a small fishing village. “She wears the robes because she has to but feels uncomfortable with the grandeur and the pomp and circumstance,” Gilham says.
Siuan’s costume became simplified as they discussed the character. Here, flowers and natural elements woven together with delicate goldwork make up her headdress. The robes have three layers. There’s a gold satin crepe jumpsuit layer, a heavily decorated mid layer of wool and matte sequins, and a shoulder capelet made of a mix of original early 20th century embroidered silk. The back of the cape design includes representation of the seven colors of Aes Sedai Ajahs. Siuan wears a gold great serpent ring on her left middle finger.
Moiraine Damodred comes from Cairhien, and this blue and white costume design reflects that. Gilham cites the cultural influences in Cairhien being Japanese and French. She notes, “I gave all the cultures in The Wheel of Time a color palette as well as a set of silhouettes which made them instantly distinctive and different from each other. In this case I combined Japanese kimono shapes with exaggerated skirts with full petticoats in the style of traditional French costume.”
The diadem indicates Moiraine’s social standing, while other crowd members will wear headdresses reminiscent of French traditional headwear.
Though the original costume design shows a blue and white pattern, they ultimately decided the more plain fabric, and the sheen of it, felt more appropriate for Moiraine’s character.
High Lady Suroth
The Seanchan arrived at the end of season one. They were the first group in The Wheel of Time season two that Gilham needed to design costumes for. Showrunner Rafe Judkins wanted the Seanchan to appear terrifying and like “nothing you’ve ever seen before.” Since that’s how the books present the Seanchan, it’s understandable they wanted to bring the culture’s intimidating look to the screen.
Gilham took the color palette from rusting metal. “The Seanchan come from overseas, which makes them even more mysterious and ‘other’ to the cultures of the Wheel of Time world,” Gilham explains. “The Seanchan are a mix of Mesoamerica and Imperial Chinese. This is reflected in the color palette of the former and the shapes and layering of the latter.”
The High Lady Suroth’s costume in particular tells viewers much about her nature. Suroth’s costume echoes twisting detail on the Seanchan soldiers’ uniforms that convey a sense of danger and aggression. Gilham also added notes of the insect-like armor The Wheel of Time books describe. She says, “The final element is the mix of venomous reptile and deadly insect which are seen in the decoration on Suroth’s kimono coat (down the back is a repeated reptilian print like a shedded snakeskin) and the compound eye effect of her mask.”
Of course, the long lacquered nails are right from the books too. The Seanchan also shave their heads and have scarification on their shaved skin. The decorative mask and lacquered and feathered hairpiece hide that. However, Gilham teases Suroth’s “striking self” will be revealed later in the season.
The Seanchan enslave female channelers and call them damane. They fit the channelers with gold collars, and a sul’dam uses a paired bracelet to control the damane assigned to them. The oppressive collars can only be removed when a damane dies.
The above sketch shows the collars, and their scale, in greater detail. We also see a sul’dam bracelet. The damane in The Wheel of Time series have an additional element not present in the books: a piece of metal fitted over their mouths. Gilham incorporated that horrifying touch. She says, “I added the gold mouth stopper or dummy/pacifier to symbolize their further silencing as individuals.”
The Wheel of Time season two premieres on Prime Video on September 1.