[Spoiler alert: This conversation features key information about this week’s episode of The Wheel of Time, “Blood Calls Blood.” Turn back before it’s too late!]
The Wheel of Time keeps turning and this week, it rolled right into a major moment that should prove pivotal for Two Rivers escapee Egwene Al’Vere (Madeleine Madden). As one of the four villagers suspected of being the Dragon Reborn by magical Aes Sedai Moiraine (Rosamund Pike), Egwene has already demonstrated a magical ability only reserved for Moiraine’s sect. But for the past few episodes, she has been without protection from the enigmatic enchantress, having been divided from the group with friend Perrin (Marcus Rutherford) and taken in by the nomadic Tuatha’an (imagine a touring company of “Godspell” meets Phish fans via High Fantasy).
In the just dropped fifth episode, “Blood Calls Blood,” the merry band of hippies had their buzz majorly harshed by marauding White Cloaks, who beat down a slew of the pacifists before capturing Egwene and Perrin. At the Cloak camp, the pair were interrogated by Valda (Abdul Salis) for information on the False Dragon already in Aes Sedai. As his methods grew more sadistic, so too did Egwene’s desperation to save Perrin from Valda’s torture, eventually triggering two huge developments: The young lady’s decision to “drift” into her channeling powers and Perrin’s growing—and now eye-glowing—connection to wolves, which ultimately allowed them to escape.
Here, Madden explains what this means for her character, why it was so important for Egwene to help Perrin find some peace regarding his past, and how she handles herself around those four-legged costars.
Well, I have to say congratulations. This is a huge undertaking and the people that I know who love the books love the show!
Madeleine Madden: Yeah. I think that’s something we’ve really seen a lot of: There’s a lot of book fans who are really, really loving it. And you know, of course it’s an adaptation, so things are naturally going to be different, but we’ve received a really overwhelming wave of support from the fans. And you know they are just as much a part of this show as we are. So that’s been really special.
Obviously, it can’t be 100% faithful. The timeline really does have to be sped up because if you were to adapt to all of the books, you guys would be working on this show for like 20 years.
[Laughs] Egwene will be 70 by the time we get to Season 4! So yeah, absolutely. I think we’ve had to lose maybe 14 inns that as they’re traveling and just compress it down to maybe one inn that they stop by. We’ve had to change the timeline quite a bit, which again, a massive hats-off to our writers for that.
We wouldn’t have gotten to the events of this week’s episode for a while if they stuck to Jordan’s frame in the books.
Absolutely. Lord knows when we would’ve gotten to that, so yeah, they’ve done an amazing job atadapting this story for the medium that is TV.
I love the pairing of Egwene and Perrin because it’s clearly bringing out the best in both of them as far as their abilities.
You know, I I’ve actually never thought about it until you’ve just said that, and you’re right. They really do bring out the best in each other. And even though Egwene is smaller than him—Perrin is physically bigger and stronger—it really feels like Egwene is the one protecting him, right? He’s obviously just gone through this horrific experience and is just riddled with guilt about the secret of what happened on Winternight with accidentally killing his wife. And so he is a bit broken and so it’s really Egwene who really helps him continue on. Really, they’re each other’s reason for survival. They bring out the hope in each other and protect each other and, you know, they will put their lives on the line in order to save each other. So it’s a relationship that is really wonderful. And it’s something that I’ve had an absolute joy to bring to life with Marcus.
This episode marks a huge shift for your character. We really see her accepting her channeling abilities and using it to escape the White Cloaks.What does this mean for her, going forward?
Egwene has always been fascinated with the world outside of the Two Rivers. And she was fascinated by Moiraine. There’s that wonderful scene of Moraine teaching Egwene how to channel, telling her that she has this ability and nurturing her. I think that’s a side that we haven’t necessarily seen to Moiraine…we always see her as having an ulterior motive. But in that scene, we really saw her just wanting to nurture Egwene and show her what she’s capable of doing.
And I think in this week’s episode, you know, we see her hone in those skills in this moment of life-or-death. Even if it means sacrificing herself, she’ll do whatever she needs to do to protect the ones she loves. And that is something that Egwene will always do, for the rest of her life. I think from this moment, she understands the power that she has and that also, this is an ability that she needs to learn how to control. It’s quite scary when she realizes that there’s other dangers in the world, not just the Dark One. The White Cloaks are equally as dangerous in the moment. So I think it does encourage her and it spurs her on to realize that she needs to be properly trained.
Okay. So is the next stop for her? The White Tower? Because the rest of them are there and it’s so much nicer. Egwene and Perrin need a break, you need a good night’s sleep!
[Laughs] Well, that’s where they’re heading. They’re headed east, so, uh, I think we will find out in the [next] episode. And I know, they need a bed and some food that isn’t lentils. I think they’ve probably been having a bit too much fun with the Tuatha’an.
Speaking of, I’m assuming that this is the last we’re going to see of the Tinkers for a bit, given how things went so violently South for them?
That’s the beautiful thing about this show: People come in and out of our heroes lives. Kind of at the core of this show, on a bigger scale, is reincarnation, but also, you know, we see on a smaller scale people coming in and out of each other’s lives, weaving in and out like threads, you know? So I don’t think this is the last we’ll see of our wonderful Tuatha’an.
And how is it working with all of the wolves?
Oh my God! It takes a lot of self-restraint working with animals because, believe it or not, they’re professionals and they’ve got a job to do, as well. So you can’t distract them at work, no petting or even giving treats. That is a big no-no.
With the wolves, Marcus has the best job ever because he gets to work with them all the time. But they’re like a Czech wolfdogs, so you couldn’t go up and just give them a pat, like you’ve got to be careful around them. And you know, I was dressed in that kind of a white dress, which is quite similar to the White Cloak costumes and that was actually quite scary when, you know, we’re escaping because sometimes they would think I was a White Cloak and maybe try and have a go at me. [Laughs] But we’ve got great animal handlers on set that help out with that. They’re brilliant.
Nice. Well, I can’t wait to see these two actually unite with the rest of their friends because I know that will send the show into a whole new direction.
Absolutely. It’s amazing when our characters reunite. They’ve gone through these traumatic events and experiences, so obviously, they’ve changed and grown. An it’s so bitter sweet because they’re not kids now. They’e not those little Two Rivers kids anymore. They’ve grown up into young adults and have now seen the world. They now have an understanding of their importance and the part that they play in the world, which is something that they can’t hide from now.
The Wheel of Time, now streaming on Prime Video.