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Season Two Costume Sketches

Katy Sedai
  • The latest WOT Wednesday drop are drawings for some of the amazing costumes! 

With the second season of The Wheel of Time just around the corner, we are starting to see weekly WOT Wednesday posts. This last week, on Wednesday July 26th, was all about Season Two costume design from Sharon Gilham. As part of the drop The Nerdist interviewed Sharon Gilham. She had some interesting things to say so lets see what costumes might mean for the storyline of Season Two!


Sharon is the new costumer designer for season two, having previously designed for The Stranger and Jamestown. She’s also quite active over on instagram, so make sure you follow her over there! 


Let's take a closer look at the new sketches! First up is the Amyrlin Seat herself: Siuan Sanche played by Sophie Okonedo. Similarly to how we see her in Season One, Siuan is wearing ornate gold gowns in her official role as leader of the White Tower. 





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. - Sharon Gilham via Nerdist


It's very interesting how the costume design has chosen to not include a very visible striped stole like described in the book. Both seasons have had a more subdued inclusion of all the Ajahs on the Amyrlin's clothes. I hope we see a few good shots in the show of the back of her cape! In the photo they released, we only see the front of her outfit. Siuan dresses like the most powerful person in the world with the richness of her gown and robes and headdress. For all of Robert Jordan's elaborate descriptions I don't remember ever reading about a headdress for the Amyrlin. It definitely makes her stand out in a crowd! 





Next up we have Moiraine Sedai, played by Rosamund Pike. 





Gilham cites the cultural influences in Cairhien being Japanese and French. . . "In this case I combined Japanese kimono shapes with exaggerated skirts with full petticoats in the style of traditional French costume.” - Sharon Gilham via Nerdist


The final look went for more solid coloring for Moiraine. I'm a little bummed that we don't see her in something with pattern, even though the solid colors seem to suit Moiraine better. I think the pattern would have shown how she's outside her element being back in Cairhien. It appears that's where a good part of the story for Season Two takes place in Cairhien. Moiraine wasn't in Cairhien with the rest of the characters in book two, The Great Hunt, but with her history (and the fact that she's a Damodred, part of the royal house of Cairhien) it feels realistic for her to be there. The photo of Moiraine of the final costume is (annoyingly) cut off, so we can't see if she is wearing a shorter skirt here like in the sketch. The Japanese influences are quite clear in the top of the dress, sleeves and belt.  





Next we move over to a whole other continent, a whole other culture - the Seanchan! This civilization from across the sea has a different history and culture than the ones we've been introduced to so far. Robert Jordans descriptions are so vivid of insect like helmets etc. First up we have High Lady Suroth. The actor for this role has not been officially announced yet, so some speculation continues! 





Okay there's so much that's so cool about this costume! First let's look at what costume designer Sharon said about Lady Suroth: 



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".


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. - Nerdist


The Seanchan are obsessed with status, and their clothes must reflect that. Lady Suroth's elaborate headpiece hides her head (which sounds like there's more under the mask than we might expect). Yet there's so much that is from Robert Jordan's descriptions - the long nails, the pleated robes. I can't wait to be absolutely terrified by this group. There's always different reasons for changes from the book descriptions, what it okay in written word doesn't always translate to television. Sometimes there's practical considerations. And sometimes you have to go all out like 12 in long fingernails. Yes, they are not lacquered. But they are soooo long as we can see in the photo of the final costume. 




The last group has the lowest social status of the Seanchan empire - those who can channel, or Damane. We don't have any official announcements for the actors playing damane in Season two. 






In the books the damane are collared and leashed to the Sul'dam, those who control their channeling. In the show, it appears the collar is more of a chest brace than dog collar. The Sul'dam have a bracer or arm cuff rather than a bracelet. 



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.

Gilham incorporated that horrifying touch. She says, “I added the gold mouth stopper or dummy/pacifier to symbolize their further silencing as individuals.”  - via Nerdist




Part of Seanchan hierarchy is about who is allowed to speak. This is a very visible way of communicating that the Damane don't have a voice or any control over their own lives. The mouthpiece is also similar in shape to a device used during the eras of Slavery in the United States to prevent the enslaved from eating. One other interesting thing to note is that Sharon says the collars can be removed when a damane dies. That has interesting implications for the story line of season two. We will have to see how the characters handle that bit of information. Seeing these costumes (and some of the shots from the trailer) make me very nervous for one my favorite characters. It's hard to read about the treatment of the damane, seeing their lives on TV will be absolutely heartbreaking. 



That a wrap on WOT Wednesday costumes! Can't wait for what we will see next week. What do you guys think of the costume sketches? Let us know in the comments below! 

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It's amazing the amount of fine details that the costume creators put into the costumes even knowing that the average viewer will  never notice them.  That shows some true commitment to their craft.   I agree it should be fun seeing the Seanchan and how different they appear to everyone else.  Thanks for sharing.

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