Rosamund Pike’s historic queer romance in The Wheel of Time

This story contains spoilers from the first six episodes of The wheel of time.

One of the most epic fantasy TV series now centers around a queer woman.

In the last episode of The wheel of time – the Amazon Prime Video adaptation of Robert Jordan’s groundbreaking fantasy books – the main character, Moiraine (Rosamund Pike), is revealed to be in a relationship with another woman.

And not just any woman either. She is in a relationship with Siuan (Sophie Okonedo), the seat of Amyrlin, who is WoTis the equivalent of the Pope. Moiraine is one of the Aes Sedai (a witch / priestess) who comes under her jurisdiction, making their love “the most dangerous office romance” imaginable, Pike confirmed to Outside.

“It’s surprising. It’s dangerous. It adds so many layers to Moiraine’s character. And you realize what the stakes are for her,” Pike explained after the episode aired on Friday.

The turn was also surprising for the WoT world. Moiraine had never been explicitly queer in the series of books, although a prequel, New spring, had suggested that Siuan and Moiraine had been “pillow friends” for decades.

Siuan as the seat of Amyrlin (Sophie Okonedo)

It means that WoT made its history: the heir of television Game of thrones, a sprawling fantasy epic, stars a queer woman in an interracial relationship who sets out to save the world; Moiraine leads a group of young people, one of whom may be the figure of the savior Dragon Reborn, to defeat the forces of darkness. “It’s very exciting now [that] you put it like that, ”remarked Pike, who hadn’t considered the impact of this LGBTQ + portrayal beforehand.

“I think you don’t always realize, when you’re in a movie or a TV show, what its cultural significance is until much later. It can take an outside viewer to see it sometimes because you just live in the world, “she said.

Many same-sex couples – especially older generations – will also resonate with the relationship between Siuan and Moiraine, who must keep their love secret at all costs or risk being “calmed down,” a process in which an Aes Sedai is cut off. his magic, a terrifying fate. “If anyone had a glow, it would just be death,” Pike said of the punishment. She called theirs “forbidden love, something that cannot be said.”

However, this “forbidden love” is not due to the fact that both are women. The wheel of time is progressively unique in that same-sex attraction is unstigmatized. In a campfire scene, for example, one character, Nynaeve, realizes that “people can sleep with more than one person at the same time and they can be of both sexes,” Pike summed up. In this world, “everything is just accepted, isn’t it? Just like diversity is just accepted.” Indeed, even the characters from the same small village, Two Rivers, come from various racial and ethnic backgrounds and these differences are never commented on.

“I hadn’t quite understood how unusual it is if there is indeed no stigma,” Pike marveled. “It’s interesting.”

However, Pike had always been clear on who she wanted to represent her sweetheart: Sophie Okonedo, known for her Oscar-nominated performance in Rwanda hotel and his role which won a Tony in A raisin in the sun. “I will definitely confess that I wrote her a passionate letter,” Pike said, adding, “She is an actress who can just take the throne.”

Pike also praised the intensity of their scenes together. First off, the pair have a heated showdown in front of Aes Sedai’s management. At night, they have a scorching encounter in their bedroom, when Moiraine uses a phrase Siuan had used earlier, “on her knees”, to a comedic and erotic effect. (Pike said the phrase was spoken “on the spur of the moment” between the cast.)

For an actor, it was fertile ground for drama. “I think there is this tremendous tension when something that should be deeply private… has to take place in public,” Pike said of the game the couple must have played in front of an intriguing palace.

Moiraine isn’t Pike’s only queer role. Recently, she portrayed Marla Grayson, a queer con artist on Netflix. I care a lot. Before portraying this part, Pike watched a lot of productions that focused on queer women, including the classic Leap, that “I loved it so much. I found it so exhilarating,” she said of the 1996 Wachowskis film. She also sent the script to some gay friends and “checked it out with them and said, you know, “Do you think it’s OK? Is this a good representation? ‘

Both passed the smell test. “Neither of those things are future stories, are they?” Pike noticed. “They’re just… it’s just a fact. It’s just as naturally inserted that if, you know, in the old Hollywood movies we had the male hero and he walked through the door and his wife would be making tea. for kids.”

And likewise defying the tropes, in the new WoT revelation, “The shock should be that Moiraine is in a relationship with Amyrlin Seat, not Moiraine is in a relationship with a woman.”

For LGBTQ + viewers, it’s no surprise that it takes a gay woman to lead the charge of saving the world. “I think that will inform Moiraine in the future,” Pike said of the impact of his character’s homosexuality. “Sure, you’ll understand her better with that in the background.” “

And Moiraine also changed Pike. “It was a joy. It opened up the world to me in new ways,” said Pike, who once thought she was playing a simple “serene witch,” to find out more.

“I was drawn to her serenity. And then I discover that once again, I play a much more complicated woman than I had anticipated – on a crusade to save the world, at enormous personal cost.”

New episodes of The wheel of time are released on Fridays on Amazon Prime Video.

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