A good fantasy novel will have some familiar archetypes that avid readers of the genre know well. There are the endless battles between Good and Evil, Lightness and Dark, a Dark Lord and a scrappy Hero. Mix in a harrowing quest, a magical system, and a cast of mythical creatures, and you can create an epic novel that grips the reader to the very end. Good writers are able to reinvent these concepts in new ways again and again to keep fantasy readers hooked. Kel Kade presents us with a trope-subverting version of those archetypes in her new novel, Fate of the Fallen: Shroud of Prophecy (Book One). “What happens when the path of good and right, the triumph of light over darkness, the only path to salvation...fails?” This is the question Kade poses for us in the prologue of the book. I was instantly intrigued at the concept of evil winning out over good. I have come to expect heartbreak and tragedy as I travel along my fantasy journey, but however messy the journey becomes, I always expect the heroes to win the day. We are thrown immediately into a medievalesque world where a young handsome hero Mathais and his faithful friend Aaslo are bantering in the forest. We quickly learn the depth of their bond, and the book continually reinforces the lengths that “brothers in all things” will go to in order to honor that friendship. It isn’t long before our main characters have left the quaint life they once led, where their greatest worry was whom to take to the next town dance and are now venturing off into foreign lands. The duo are taking on a seemingly doomed quest to save humankind. In Kade’s world, the Greek-like gods take an active role in the manipulation of human lives. These ethereal beings exist in their own microcosms of the universe he created; and the lines between the realms seem less static than in other fantasy novels. As a reader you have to pay close attention to disentangle the many varied names and locations that are thrown your way as Kade gallops rather quickly through book one of this series. There are a few abrupt transitions that left me going back to reread the previous page, but I do not think that this was an accident. I believe Kade was intentionally trying to subvert the typical experience of the fantasy genre. She wove a tapestry of fascinating characters who were easy to love and that easily pulled me through the pages. In my opinion this book’s greatest strength is the witty banter that exists between its characters. There is a relatable and endearing comradery between Mathais and Aaslo that had me wondering if my best friend would go to such epic lengths for me? I finished the last page and was surprised to find myself so committed to seeing this journey to its end. I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of book two, to hear more of Mathais and Aaslo’s banter and to see what other surprises Kade can conjure. Get a Free extended preview (ebook) on the DM ebook store Other Links KelKade.com Dragonmount eBook Store Amazon Barnes & Noble IndieBound.org / local retailers
WARRIOR OF THE ALTAII, a stand-alone fantasy novel by Robert Jordan, is now available. The novel is is published by Tor Books, the same publisher of Jordan’s U.S. Wheel of Time books. The book is set in a unique fantasy world that is unrelated to the WoT universe except for some coincidental and thematic similarities. The book was originally announced in January 2019. Here’s the official plot description: Warrior of the Altaii was originally written in 1977 by a then-unpublished Robert Jordan. It went through an unusual process of being acquired by a publisher, only to quickly have the contract cancelled when Jordan asked for more money. It continued to receive interest from publishers for a while until Robert Jordan decided to shelve the project in favor of developing his WoT books. Harriet McDougal, RJ’s wife and editor, describes the story in great detail as part of the novel’s introduction. An exclusive edition of the book with additional interior color artwork is available from Barnes & Noble. The book is available in print and ebook formats. In addition, an audiobook is available and is read by WoT audiobook reader Michael Kramer. Barnes & Noble (exclusive edition) Amazon Indiebound.org Dragonmount eBook store
Adam Whitehead is Dragonmount's TV blogger. Adam has been writing about film and television, The Wheel of Time, and other genre fiction for over fifteen years. Be sure to check out his websites, The Wertzone and Atlas of Ice and Fire (including The Wheel of Time Atlas!) as well as his Patreon. Please note this article contains very mild spoilers for The Wheel of Time novels. Filming is now well underway on Amazon’s Wheel of Time TV series and for this month’s “WoT Wednesday,” Amazon gave us a special surprise: a clip of the table read for the first two episodes. For those who are unfamiliar with the process of making television, a table read is held for each episode or, if the season is short enough, the entire season, with all of the actors present. The table-read helps actors learn each other’s voices, get into character and feel comfortable with the dialogue, and also helps the producers make sure they’ve got the timing correct for each episode. This is less crucial for a streaming service than it is for a network show selling adverts, which has to be 44 minutes on the dot, but Amazon still seems to keep things more strictly within a time limit than, say, Netflix or HBO. The table read is also often the first time the actors have read the script, rather memorably in Kit Harington’s case for the final season of Game of Thrones. The clip is the first time that we get to hear the actors embodying the characters they’ll be playing on the show, confirming that they’re going with a fairly ordinary English accent as the default accent for the Two Rivers, and perhaps all of Andor (as Robert Jordan indicated many years ago). Moiraine also has a somewhat “posh” accent, as you’d expect from a noblewoman and Aes Sedai. Barney Harris gets the biggest laugh as Mat Cauthon, cautioning his friends to be wary of Moiraine as she can “shoot fireballs,” so they should heed her advice. Combined with a line about crossing the river, this seems to confirm that the first two episodes will, between them, cover at least all of the events of Winternight, the battle at Emond’s Field and our main characters’ flight from the Two Rivers by cover of night. Exactly how much of the book the first episode – which we known has the working title Leavetakings – covers has been fiercely debated, especially as the second episode is called Shadow’s Waiting, suggesting it focuses on events in Shadar Logoth, although some have suggested that Episode 2 ends with the characters reaching the cursed city. Episode 3 is called A Place of Safety, which could be an ironic alternate title for Shadar Logoth itself. Of course, such speculation is not helped by the fact that, as of yet, we don’t know how many episodes there will be in the first season either. We do know there will be at least six, but not how many more than that. A nine-month shoot is more suggestive of ten to twelve episodes, but that remains to be confirmed. The clip is also interesting in that it gives us a look at some actors who have not been officially announced yet. Immediately recognisable is Irish actor Michael McElhatton, best-known for playing the villainous role of Roose Bolton in Seasons 2-6 of HBO’s Game of Thrones before recently appearing as a Soviet general on Chernobyl. McElhatton is infamous for his menacing stare and voice so could be playing a villainous role, but has also appeared in far more lighthearted and comedic roles. Bearing in mind that the table read is for the first two episodes, the most immediately appropriate casting would be for the role of Padan Fain, the friendly peddler whom, it turns out, is not quite as friendly as first appears. Other likely possibilities would be Tam al’Thor or Thom Merrilin. Less-likely but also possible would be Geofram Bornhald, especially if they introduce him in Baerlon rather than later on, or Ishamael/Ba’alzamon if they get as far as the boys’ first shared nightmare. Another possibility, that McElhatton might be playing Ishamael in the prologue, is discounted by Rafe Judkins’ Q&A of a year ago where he seemed to be suggesting that the prologue would not appear until later in the series (along with the events of New Spring), and an earlier statement that the first episode opens with Tam and Rand on the road to Emond's Field. The prologue is iconic and not using it to start the show might be considered sacrilegious, but there are at least two good reasons for not doing so. The first is that casting an actor as Lews Therin, using them briefly for one season, and then potentially not using them again for another two or three seasons is bad business practice, since it’s possible the actor will move onto other projects in the meantime and it’s expensive to put an actor under contract to not accept other work. Game of Thrones suffered from this problem, casting Ser Gregor in the first season and then having to use (two!) different actors later on because the original actor had been cast in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy in the meantime. More likely, given the show’s determination to make the identity of the Dragon Reborn more of a genuine mystery to TV watchers, is that the segue from Lews Therin to Rand is a bit on the nose and they want to keep things vaguer. One other actor who has been likely confirmed for the production is British actress Naana Agyei Ampadu, who recently appeared in a recurring role on British sitcom GameFace and in a minor role on the Steven Spielberg movie Ready Player One. Ampadu's casting was announced by her own casting agency on Twitter, who then quickly deleted the tweet, presumably because the release had not been okayed by Amazon. Dragonmount has asked Amazon if they could confirm McElhatton's and Ampadu's casting in the show, but they declined to comment at this stage. Tracking down other actors involved in the production is more difficult than you’d think, as several productions are currently shooting in and around Prague. Fear the Walking Dead actor Fernando Rojasbarr seemed a likely candidate, for example, until he revealed on his Instagram that he’s actually shooting a film called Zátopek. The movie Ophelia also wrapped shooting a couple of months ago, with some actors delaying posting any information to social media until recently, which briefly led to speculation that Tom Felton (Harry Potter’s Draco Malfoy) might be in Wheel of Time until the misconception was cleared up (he's not). That said, northern Irish actor Stuart Graham (Michael Collins, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) is in Prague at the moment and may be the grey-hair guy briefly glimpsed at the read. A similar age to McElhatton, he could also be a good guess for Thom Merrilin, Tam al’Thor or Padan Fain. Or he might be in town for one of the other projects mentioned above. We'll see if we can get his casting confirmed as well. As for the shoot itself, which is now about to start it's fourth week (of around 34-37 weeks, with shooting due to conclude in May), production has moved to western Slovenia where the Great Soča Gorge, near the Italian border, is being used to stand in for part of the Two Rivers. The spectacular scenery, with the eastern Alps as the backdrop, certainly seems to fit the book descriptions. Actors Daniel Henney (Lan) and Josha Stradowski (Rand) shared some pics they'd taken from the shoot via Instagram.Eagle-eyed Wheel of Time fans are now scouring the video for more clues to the identity of the other actors, and we’ll bring you their findings as soon as we can.
Amazon Prime released a new video for #WoTWednesday, their monthly scheduled day to release content related to the upcoming WoT TV show. Here's a full transcript of the video: Speculation has already begun as to who the other unnamed actors in the video are, and who they might be playing. We'll have more speculation and info soon, but in the meantime, join the conversation on our forums or social media or the comments below.
It’s an ending for our friends at Ta’veren Tees. After serving the Wheel of Time fandom for eight years, they are getting ready to close shop for good. Until then, their remaining merchandise is 10% off! Get your Wheel of Time merchandise while you can. To read more about the changes you can check out Ta’veren Tees announcement here.
Wheel of Time podcasts have been popping up everywhere and one of my favorites is The White Tower: A Wheel of Time Podcast. The ladies of this podcast, Jenn Cobb and Jess Schutz, combine spoiler-free synopses of each chapter with real fan discussion and a large dose of humor. This past week I had a chance to interview the ladies to learn more about them and their approach to The Wheel of Time and podcasting. You can join Jenn and Jess on Wednesdays at 8 am central at The White Tower: A Wheel of Time Podcast. You should also follow them on Twitter and if you like what you hear you can support them at Patreon.
Adam Whitehead is Dragonmount's TV blogger. He'll be writing a regular column called Adam's Wheel of Television. Adam has been writing about film and television, The Wheel of Time, and other genre fiction for over fifteen years. Be sure to check out his websites, The Wertzone and Atlas of Ice and Fire (including The Wheel of Time Atlas!) as well as his Patreon. Please note this article contains very mild spoilers for The Wheel of Time novels. Principle photography – or “the actual filming” – began today on Amazon Prime’s Wheel of Time television series. The shoot is expected to run through to the end of May 2020, with months of post-production to follow. When we will see the show on air is still open to question, but late 2020 to early 2021 seems reasonable. Showrunner Rafe Judkins took to social media to both celebrate the news of filming beginning but also commemorate the passing of Robert Jordan, who sadly passed away on this day in 2007 at the age of 58. Robert Jordan had been diagnosed with cardiac amyloidosis, an exceedingly rare blood condition (affecting only one in a million people), and had spent almost two years undergoing experimental treatment. During this time, he had mustered as much energy and creativity as possible to create an outline for the ending of The Wheel of Time in the form of writings, draft chapters, dictation on cassettes and copious notes, which was later used by Brandon Sanderson to deliver an ending to the series. Whilst millions of Wheel of Time fans worldwide remember Jordan on this day, they also have questions about the television adaptation. Last week, the cast shared their first group photo, taken in Prague on the day of the read-through of the script for the series. Notable by his absence was the actor playing Thom Merrilin, who hasn’t been announced yet. This led to a storm of controversy and online hot takes as people furiously debated if the character would appear in the show or if he’d been cut. To be fair, a large number of other characters expected to appear in Season 1 also haven’t been announced, even those that Rafe Judkins has confirmed are in the script. According to Judkins’ previous comments, both Tam al’Thor and the false Dragon Logain Ablar will be in the show and neither actor has been confirmed yet. Assuming that Season 1 adapts at least The Eye of the World, we can also reasonably be expecting Min, Elayne, Gawyn, Galad, Elaida, Morgase, Gareth Bryne, Geofram and Dain Bornhald, Jaret Byar, Padan Fain, Agelmar, Ba’alzamon, Basel Gill and Mordeth to be cast. Sure, a few of those characters might be held back until Season 2 to save money (Min, Elayne, Gawyn and Galad have to be front-runners here), but certainly not all of them, and some of them fulfil important plot functions: without Padan Fain or Ba’alzamon, Season 1 doesn’t really have a primary antagonist, and calling the second episode Shadow’s Waiting without including Mordeth would be a bizarre choice. [See our article "5 WoT Characters likely to have Expanded TV Roles"] Thom Merrilin’s status on the show is likely to be leaning more towards a recurring role than a regular one. We know that episode two is called Shadow’s Waiting, which implies that the Shadar Logoth adventure will take place in the second or third episode. In the novel, Thom drops out of the story a few chapters later, which means that Thom will be leaving the series less than halfway through the first season (which is expected to run for 8-10 episodes at the lower end). Hollywood crediting practices can be complicated, but generally speaking, a studio will announce the regular cast for a new show first and with a great deal of fanfare. On this basis we can expect that Barney Harris (Mat), Madeleine Madden (Egwene), Zoe Robbins (Nynaeve), Marcus Rutherford (Perrin) and Josha Stradowski (Rand) will get a billing as series regulars, with Rosamund Pike (Moiraine) and Daniel Henney (Lan) probably getting the much-coveted “featuring” or “and” credits given to actors with a lot of experience and credits to their name. The status given to secondary and recurring cast varies dramatically from project to project. In many shows, recurring and guest stars (actors in several episodes of a series but not all, or just one) would not be announced ahead of time at all. For Game of Thrones, HBO were keenly aware of the media and fan interest in the property and announced even relatively minor Season 1 recurring characters like Lysa Arryn and Ser Hugh of the Vale with a surprising degree of fanfare back in 2010. It’s unclear which route Amazon will take, although I suspect their marketing plans to announce something new about the series every month means we will get some more news before the show launches. This does lead back to a bigger question though: is Thom even going to be in the series at all? For fans, cutting Thom is unthinkable. He shows up near the start of The Eye of the World and is a useful font of knowledge and information for the young characters (and exposition for readers) about the wider world, especially useful given Moiraine’s secretive nature. He has his own secrets, which in time give us more information about the Aes Sedai, the Red Ajah and the royal family of Andor, not to mention his involvement in the Cairhienin civil war in the second book. In the third book he reluctantly teams up with Mat Cauthon once again and then remains an active part of the story until the very end. As one of the original “seven samurai” who sets out from the Two Rivers at the start of The Eye of the World (with Nynaeve “making the eight,” so to speak, when she catches up with them in Baerlon), Thom is an iconic character from the books and, for many fans, cutting him should be as ridiculous an idea as dropping Legolas from the Fellowship of the Ring. That said, once the initial anger passes, an argument could be made that Thom doesn’t do a huge amount. He provides a fair bit of exposition, sure, but that could be provided through other characters, such as a more garrulous Moiraine. He spends entire books of The Wheel of Time as a background character, and even sits out the eighth book altogether. He does have some more important things to do at the end of the series, but for some readers these can come a bit out of left field and other characters could perform the same tasks. That’s not so say that I honestly expect them to cut Thom as a character, but when it comes to the core cast, he’s arguably the most disposable. They could also split the difference and keep Thom, but not introduce him until the TV show reaches the events of The Great Hunt or even The Dragon Reborn. With shooting now underway, I wouldn't be surprised to see leaks and more hints getting out about other castmembers, so we may find out if Thom is in the show, one way or another, soon. As ever, we will find out in time.
I recently wrote about the 5 Things to Expect from the Wheel of Time TV show, and one of those “things” was expanded roles for minor characters from the books. We’re going to lean into that idea a bit further here and explore which characters I anticipate will seemingly be more important on TV than they were in Robert Jordan’s books. First, the same disclaimer from last time: although I’ve been in touch with some folks at Amazon and from the production, I have no official association with the show. In the early 2010’s I was a consultant to the producers who were seeking to adapt The Eye of the World into a feature film. I helped them and their writers come up with story ideas, and helped pitch those ideas to various other executives. A long time ago I was an independent filmmaker, but today, I write books, among other things. And, of course, I’ve been closely tied to the WoT franchise for 20+ years. So if you’re asking, “Why are your ideas anything more than random speculation?”, well, I like to think I’ve seen enough to have a good instinct for this stuff by now. (Also, I haven’t been wrong yet with my 5 Things to Expect!) But who knows, maybe I’ll be off this time. ? Adaptations, by their very nature, require change. And most of the time, it begins with the characters. The jury is completely out on how Rafe Judkins and his team will adapt the 7 characters who’ve been cast so far: Rand, Egwene, Perrin, Nynaeve, Mat, Lan, and Moiraine. All of those characters are most certainly going to change, and because their roles are so big (especially the Two Rivers 5), it’s practically impossible to predict what the team will do with them. So let’s focus on 5 secondary characters from the series that should have a bigger presence on TV than they did in the early books. I’m going on the assumption that season 1 will focus almost exclusively on the story events from The Eye of the World, with maybe some flashbacks or glimpses of later books in order to establish key ideas. (For my reasoning on this, see my 5 Things to Expect… article). (Book spoilers below!) Logain This is an easy one. We know Logain will have an expanded role because Rafe said so during a Twitter Q&A in September 2018: The question is, how will his role be expanded? My hunch is that Rafe and his team showcase Logain as a terrifying example of what happens when you’re a man who channels saidin. The first book hints at this, but I fully expect the show to try and horrify us (and Rand) so that we really understand what a terrible thing it is to channel. I would not be surprised if we see him in chains, see him being beat up by the Red Ajah (Elaida!), and probably gentled on screen. Violently. We don’t see Logain’s gentling happen in the books. We just meet him later after the deed is done. But come on, wouldn’t it be cool to see on screen? “But he gets gentled in Tar Valon!” you say. “And the characters don’t go to Tar Valon!” Yes, that’s all true… in the books. But in this TV adaptation, there’s no reason Logain can’t be gentled in Caemlyn, and no reason Rand and his friends can’t visit Tar Valon instead. Episode 4 of the first season is titled, “The Dragon Reborn.” Good titles usually contain multiple meanings. If I were a betting man, I think we’ll see a lot of Logain in that episode. Elaida Elaida becomes one of the primary antagonists in the book series, and she has a very convenient cameo role in the first book. Not only that, but she steals the show and anchors one of the best scenes in the entire series is chapter 40 where she secretly whispers her Foretelling to Rand. She’s too good of a character to only use for a single scene, especially if the producers want to convince a talented actress to portray her for many seasons going forward. I fully expect Elaida to not only be in every season, but for her to be groomed as one of the show’s primary recurring villains. She also makes a great antagonist to Moiraine and to …. Siuan Count on the Amyrlin Seat herself, Siuan Sanche, to be present in this TV series from the get-go. It’s easy to establish her connection with Moiraine at any point. Perhaps Moiraine sends her friend (and boss) a pigeon carrying a message to the White Tower. Or maybe Siuan is part of the caravan that gentles Logain, so we see her in that context. Whatever or however it works out, Siuan is Moiraine’s lifeline to the White Tower, and that’s an interesting story to explore in a TV adaptation. Having Siuan more present in the show would give us ample opportunity to see her square off with Elaida. It would establish their rivalry early on, setting up a much more powerful smackdown when Elaida stages her coup in a later season. Finally, let’s not overlook the fact that episode 6 of the first season is rumored to be titled “The Flame of Tar Valon.” Elyas Of all the characters on my short list, this is the one I’m most shaky on. I could see the writers going in either direction with Elyas. On one hand, they could just cut him entirely from the show. There are plenty of other ways for Perrin to find the wolves and establish a connection to them. Elyas could also maintain his brief cameo role in the books (and really, the series). But in the end, I think he’s just too interesting of a character to not expand for the show. Just as Logain represents a worst-case scenario for Rand, Elyas could be that same thing for Perrin. It’s a toss-up, but I expect we’ll see Elyas have an enlarged role, at least for the duration of season 1. The best odds are that he first shows up in episode 3, “A Place of Safety,” which is the name of the chapter where he first appears in the book. I doubt we’ll see him beyond a full first season though. Perhaps he makes a great character to sacrifice in a noble, on-screen death? Yes, I’m aware that he doesn’t die in the first book, but he also disappears for many books. It’s hard to convince an actor to show up, play a role, and vanish for multiple seasons before bringing him back. I feel like this could be a situation where the producers need to either decide if they can use him to his full potential for a single season, or greatly expand him across multiple connectives seasons. Geofram Bornhald My favorite surprise character to likely get an expanded role for the TV show is Bornhald (senior). He’s a Lord Captain of the Children of the Light, aka the Whitecloaks, aka Randland’s equivalent of the alt-right, women (channeler)-hating, witch-hunting, militant bad guys. His son Dain is also not a nice guy, and together, this father-son duo cause a lot of trouble in the first book for the heroes, most notably Perrin, Egwene, Nynaeve, Moiraine, and Lan. My hunch is that we’ll see more about Geofram’s driving passion to kill darkfriends (or, at least, those he deems to be darkfriends), and an expanded relationship with Dain, who will eventually inherit his father’s mantle. The reason I’m excited to see Bornhald is that he flies under the radar a bit in the book, but he’s also our first real glimpse of the Whitecloaks, which is a fantastic set of villains that the filmmakers can use through the TV series. Like Elaida, Borhald and his son represent flawed humans doing bad stuff for reasons that we (unfortunately) understand and see in our regular life, rather than, say, Ishamael or Padan Fain who are Pure Evil because… uh…reasons. Some quick honorable mentions for other characters who could see getting expanded roles in the first season of the Wheel of Time: Loial, Aram, Aginor, Balthamael. And what about the characters likely to get diminished roles? Well, that’s an article for another day, maybe. What do you think? Am I onto something, or do you have your own theories? Share below or on our social media. Jason Denzel Jason@dragonmount.com Artwork Siuan Sanche & Elaida by Benjamin Roque Logain & Elyas, Bornhald by Gal Or
From 2006 - 2013, Dragonmount hosted a Wheel of Time podcast called The 4th Age. Our intrepid podcasters covered a wide variety of topics across 112 hour-long episodes. After a long technical hiatus, all 112 of those episodes are now available for you to download and enjoy. We plan to launch a new podcast with new hosts to cover the upcoming Wheel of Time TV show. We have our crew, but are still planning our approach, which will include patterning with an established podcast network to create and deliver top-notch WoT TV commentary. We'll have more info about that in the future. In the meantime, enjoy these 112 legacy episodes!
Adam Whitehead is Dragonmount's new TV show blogger. He'll be writing a regular column called Adam's Wheel of Television. Adam has been writing about film and television, The Wheel of Time, and other genre fiction for fifteen years. Be sure to check out his websites, The Wertzone and Atlas of Ice and Fire (including The Wheel of Time Atlas!) as well as his Patreon. Casting for Amazon’s Wheel of Time TV series is in full swing. The latest to join the Two Rivers party is Korean-American actor Daniel Henney, who has been cast as al’Lan Mandragoran, the Uncrowned King of Malkier, Diademed Battle Lord of the Malkieri and an all-round, fan-favourite character. In many respects, Lan is the closest analogue Wheel of Time has to Aragorn, the uncrowned King of Gondor in J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel The Lord of the Rings and memorably played by Viggo Mortensen in Peter Jackson’s film adaptation. Like Aragorn, Lan is the heir to a fallen lineage, who constantly questions himself and his abilities compared to his legendary ancestors. However, whilst Gondor still exists and Aragorn knows he can reclaim his throne when the time is right, for Lan he has no hope. Malkier has been destroyed utterly by the Shadow, absorbed by the Great Blight, and there is little to no chance that it will ever rise again. Instead, Lan throws himself into his war against the Shadow, spending the first twenty years of his life in fierce combat training with Bukama Marenellin, the sole survivor of the band of Malkieri warriors who bore the two-year-old Lan from his homeland. Lan becomes skilled in the art of swordplay, eventually being acclaimed a blademaster, and declares war on the Blight. He wages his personal war for years, becoming respected and honoured for his drive. Only one event takes him away from his mission, when the Aiel cross the Spine of the World and the nations unite at Tar Valon to fight the Battle of the Shining Walls. When Lan’s mentor Bukama is killed as a result of political machinations in Kandor and the manipulations of the Black Ajah (as related in New Spring), he is offered the chance to join Moiraine Damodred in her mission to find the Dragon Reborn and avert the end of the world. He agrees, becoming her Warder, and for two decades they scour every corner of the Westlands for any sign of the Dragon Reborn. Finally, destiny and the Pattern call them to the town of Emond’s Field in the Two Rivers district of Andor. Lan’s obsession with defeating the Shadow leads him to train the young men from the Two Rivers in the art of combat, but his mission acquires a new focus when he meets Nynaeve al’Meara, the village Wisdom, a resourceful and skilled young woman with a singular determination. Lan is a major character in The Wheel of Time, although one (as with many) who sometimes sits out entire books in the series. His arc from The Eye of the World through A Memory of Light is one of finding hope and something to live for, and for finding reasons to live beyond pure revenge. Daniel Henney is an interesting choice for the role. Born in Carson City, Michigan to a Korean mother and an Irish-American father, he was a star basketball player in high school and then a professional model. His career took him all over the world, but his South Korean heritage saw him picking up a lot of work in the Seoul film and TV industry. He crossed over into acting via the Korean TV drama My Name is Sam Soon, where he played Dr. Henry Kim. An acting career in South Korea beckoned, but was complicated by the fact that Henney spoke no Korean. He had to learn his lines phonetically whilst frantically cramming language lessons. Several successful roles in South Korea followed before he got his first acting gigs in the USA in 2009, on the TV series Three Rivers and in the film X-Men Origins: Wolverine, where he played Agent Zero. His US career has included guest star roles on Hawaii Five-0, Revolution and NCIS: Los Angeles, and voice-over roles in Big Hero 6 (which he reprised for the spin-off TV series) and Mowgli. He is best-known for playing FBI Special Agent Matt Simmons in the Criminal Minds franchise, appearing in 47 episodes to date. He also played the same character on the spin-off Beyond Borders, for a further 26 episodes. Henney was initially reluctant to appear on a long-running US drama series with a heavy workload (especially as he remains active in Korean TV and advertising), but was impressed by the scripts where his character was positioned as both an action hero and also a more sensitive family man in a successful relationship. He felt that Asian roles in US dramas tended to be less traditional and was happy to play a role that in the past would have gone to Caucasian actors. At 6 ft 2, Henney is certainly tall enough to fill the imposing shoes of Lan Mandragoran and his acting resume is nothing to sniff at, including comedy, action and romance. At 39 (40 in November) he is also a reasonable fit in age for Lan, who is 44 or 45 when the events of the first book begin. Henney is also a big book fan (his favourite author is Japanese author Haruki Murakami) and a major geek, complete with his own He-Man action figure collection. He is also a huge dog fan, with his dogs making frequent, unexpected appearances on his YouTube Q&A videos. Henney's videos are interesting, as they show a lot of thought and contemplation has gone into his career choices and how he embodies the characters he's playing. It'll be interesting to see the inevitable video where he talks about the decision to take on the role of Lan. So we now have our Lan Mandragoran, and I'm sure all Wheel of Time fans wish Daniel Henney well in the role. But there are still a lot of characters still out there to be cast, including Tam al'Thor, Thom Merrilin and Padan Fain, and we'll be waiting to see if we get any more casting tidbits in the next few weeks. Until next time, farewell.
Amazon announced today, via the official Wheel of Time TV show twitter account, as part of their monthly #WoTWednesday, that actor Daniel Henney has been cast in the role of Lan Mandragoran. Here’s the provided press release: For those of you fans wondering, Daniel turns 40 years old in a few months, making him right within the proper age range for the character. We’ve long speculated that Rafe Judkins, the showrunner, and Kelly Valentine Hendry, the casting director, and their teams would seek out well-established actors for the roles of Moiraine (played by Rosamund Pike) and Lan. These actors will anchor the show to begin with, just like their characters do in the series. Over time they will pave the way for the younger, more “unknown” actors to blossom into their iconic roles. Daniel is an outstanding actor and we could’t be more delighted to welcome him to the Wheel of Time community. Tell us what you think! We want to hear from you. Leave a comment here on this article, post on our forums, find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Discord. And later tonight, at 8:30 PM US eastern (5:30 PM US Pacific), join our friend Matt Hatch in The Dusty Wheel YouTube channel to discuss Daniel’s casting.