The Wheel of Time’s Madeleine Madden Breaks Down This Week’s Big Moment

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Two The Wheel of Time characters are faced with an impossible choice in this week’s episode and ComicBook.com spoke with star Madeleine Madden to talk about her character’s big moment and the fallout. Early on in The Wheel of Time’s first season, the show’s core cast of characters found itself split into three groups. Each group has faced different dangers on the separate path to Tar Valon, but this week’s episode sees Egwene (Madden) and Perrin (Marcus Rutherford) fall in the hands of the Children of the Light, a militant group of armed zealots looking to kill Channelers. When Eamon Valda (Abdul Salis) captures the pair, he offers them a cruel choice – either Egwene admits to being able to Channel the One Power or he’ll torture Perrin to death in front of her.

To help make sense of this week’s intense scenes and Egwene’s mindset as she confronts the Children of the Light, ComicBook.com spoke with Madden via phone:

ComicBook.com: By this point in the season, Egwene and Perrin have traveled together for over a month. How has that journey kind of affected the pair’s relationship?

Madeleine Madden: We really see the intricate dynamics of their relationship fleshed out when they spend so much time together on the road. I think they really bring out the best in each other and that they’ll do anything to protect each other. They survive to protect each other.

Even though Perrin is physically bigger and stronger than Egwene, I feel a lot of the time it’s actually her protecting him because she sees how broken he is. The audience understands why he’s riddled with all of this guilt, but Egwene doesn’t know that yet. And when they’re in such a dire situation where either one of them could die, he confesses to her what really went on in Emond’s Field. Egwene is horrified, but I feel she’s so upset and horrified with how much guilt he’s been experiencing and how it’s just been eating him alive, I think that is so upsetting for her, but it’s also really wonderful that they feel that they can protect each other and he can trust her.

egwene-perrin-hed.jpg(Photo: Jan Thijs/Amazon Studios)

Can we talk a little bit more about Perrin’s revelation – that he accidentally killed his wife? Do you think that impacts how Egwene views Perrin at all or adds extra context to the already awful events of Emond’s Field? And, of course that she learns this as Perrin being tortured with the choice that either she or him are about to die.

Madden: Absolutely. I think she understands in that moment that he’s been going through an inner torture of his own, beating himself up about this and feeling this guilt of killing his wife. He’s been holding onto this secret, which he hasn’t felt he can tell anyone, I think out of probably denial and fear and fear of what other people think of him. Egwene is not that person. I feel you could go to Egwene with almost about anything and she’d be like, “Okay, how do we resolve this? We’re going to get through this and I’m going to help you.”

So, I think Egwene’s an incredible friend, she’s fiercely loyal to the ones that she loves. She’s been working and trying to practice and understand this ability that she’s now realized that she has and she will do anything within her power to protect the ones that she loves. And we see this with the Whitecloaks, when Perrin is being tortured and is almost about to be killed, she would willingly sacrifice herself to save her friends and family.

I really liked that this episode demonstrated Egwene’s character and show how’s she’s a woman of action, and how it reflects her personality in the books as well. When she saves Perrin by not only Channeling and burning the ropes off his hands, but also stabbing Valda, what does that sequence represent for Egwene and her journey thus far?

Madden: We really see that Egwene is unbreakable and she’s a survivor. She always has been, given the context of the story that Nynaeve tells Lan about when Egwene had breakbone fever. I think that really gives audience a great understanding of who Egwene is and her determination.

And also, it was really important for me that when she’s Channeling against Valda, Valda thinks he’s kind of done a checkmate on her, but she’s really two steps ahead by also burning the ropes off Perrin’s hands. Egwene has such a brilliant political mind and we really see her hone in on the way she can think so strategically. That’s what makes her such a dangerous person is that she has this extraordinary ability to channel and to control her abilities. But also she’s got this very calculated mind as well.

egwene-2.jpg(Photo: Jan Thijs/Amazon Studios)

How did you prepare for the scenes that we saw in this week’s episode? I mean, you’re getting subjected to psychological torture while also watching your friend being literally torture under threat of death. How do you get into the mindset for something like that?

Madden: I was actually doing that scene on my birthday! I was being tortured on my birthday. But no, the work is just so brilliant and Abdul [Salis] who plays Child Valda and Marcus [Rutherford] who plays Perrin are just such brilliant actors. You really don’t have to do much in order to get that across. But for me, I’m not massive into rehearsing and I like to keep it light in between takes because the work that we do is so heavy and dark a lot of the time, it’s important for me to balance it out with a couple of jokes in between takes.

It’s a very relentless show and the things that our characters go through are incredibly traumatic. So I think in all of these examples where see them survive these horrific moments, it just shows what survivors they are and how they’ve been thrust into this world where they have to adapt.

I mean, it’s everything that you can want as an actor. We really get to do it all, whether it’s stunts or the scenes are so beautifully written, so it’s like you’re in this incredible drama series as well. It’s really a dream job because you get to flesh out all of that.

What do you think will be the consequences of Egwene and Perrin’s escape from the Whitecloaks? Not only did they escape, but Egwene attacked Valda and took his Aes Sedai trophies. She really stuck it to him as she had every right to do.

Madden: In this moment, our heroes understand that there are more dangers and dangerous people in the world than just the Dark One and Darkfriends, there’s the Children of the Light and Child Valda. There’s something really creepy how he always remembers a face. And he means it, he recognizes Egwene and Perrin immediately. I think Egwene will be forever on Valda’s shit list, pardon my language.

And so, there are massive consequences for what she’s done, but she is just as tough as Valda is or any of her opponents and I think that actually takes them by surprise. They see her as this sheltered Two Rivers, mountain village, young girl who’s quite naive, but she’s not. She’s a formidable opponent. And literally what doesn’t kill makes her stronger. So from every encounter that she has, she learns something from that just as much as they have.

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The Wheel of Time is streaming now on Amazon Prime.

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