Breaking down the screentime of Moiraine Damodred during the first season of the Wheel of Time on Amazon Prime.
This article contains spoilers for the first season of the Wheel of Time TV Show.
For 20 years, Moiraine Damodred, an Aes Sedai of the Blue Ajah, has traveled the world looking for the reincarnation of the Dragon, a powerful channeler who broke the world 3 000 years earlier. As she arrives in the Two Rivers with her warder al’Lan Mandragoran, she encounters a group of five young villagers, all of them with a role to play in the Pattern.
Moiraine had a total of 2h52m29s of screentime, in which she was asleep for 1m19s, unconscious for 13m13s, and dead in Rand’s dream for 2m34s. After removing another 7s of voiceover, this leaves about 2h35m16s of “in-scene” screentime to Moiraine, i.e. time where she is physically present and conscious. This represents about 35.8% of the total show length (7h13m13s).
Note: for the rest of this post, I will only be talking about in-scene screentime, as this is usually the most relevant in terms of character development.
Moiraine spent about 56m32s in “duo” scenes, i.e. scenes where Moiraine and another named character were the only two physically present and conscious characters in the scene. This represents about 36.4% of her in-scene screentime for season 1. Overall, 46.5% of her in-scene screentime was spent on scenes with 3 or less named characters, a 7.5% drop from Rand’s numbers. In particular, she spent a lot more of her time on scenes with 6 named characters than Rand (19.7% versus 10.9%).
It’s not much of a surprise, but a third of her time was spent on Ep6, while only 1% was on Ep3 (in which she was mostly unconscious, except for 1m31s at the end of it). It’s significantly less balanced than for Rand, whose screentime didn’t go in such highs and lows.
Still, it was a very decent amount of screentime, with a very decent amount of solo/duo time per episode. She was also regularly on the front of group scenes, like for most of those scenes in Ep2 (including that 3m Manetheren speech) or most of the Hall scenes in Ep6 (*cough* 5m exile oath scene).
Except for the outliers Ep3 and Ep6, Moiraine got between almost 13m to 23m of “in-scene” screentime per episode.
Moiraine spent some amount of in-scene screentime with 38 different named characters this season. Lan, her Warder, was obviously the character she spent the most time with, for about 1h14m16s.
All of the main cast got to spend a significant amount of time with Moiraine, but Perrin and Mat were the only ones not to get a duo or trio scene with her. This is fairly consistent with the books, as she introduces Egwene and Nynaeve to the Aes Sedai world and becomes a mentor to Rand after the Dragon Reborn reveal.
Those relationships are also fairly obvious when taking a look at her duo times.
She had about 15m34s of duo time with Lan, usually distributed in small amounts between the different episodes, except for the 6m they spent together in Ep1.
Her 12m52s with Rand were mostly focused on the question and role of the Dragon Reborn, from their 59s discussion in Ep6 after she healed Mat, to their time in Ep7 (57s) and Ep8 (10m31s) where they traveled to the Eye of the World to fight against the Dark One.
Moiraine spent 6m45s of duo time with Egwene and 3m36s with Nynaeve. IMO, the discussions she had with them are fairly similar. In Ep1, she tested Nynaeve to find out whether she could be the Dragon Reborn, and tested Egwene’s power level in Ep2. In Ep5, Moiraine warned Nynaeve about other Aes Sedai and the Tower politics, and then warned Egwene about Perrin’s secret in Ep6. All of those conversations served as introductions to the Aes Sedai world, their oath, their politics, and their dangers.
It’s a good time to remind you that Moiraine spent 6m7s with Siuan in their fish hut and that was my favorite 6m7s of the show. Yes, I still think they are endgame.
Outside of her duo scenes, Moiraine only has a few interesting small group interactions. Her most relevant trio scene would be the 3m05s Alanna/Logain scene in Ep4, which I could almost consider as a duo scene since Logain was just sitting around. She also spent a bit of time with Lan and Nynaeve, including 1m21s in Ep5 when she brought the woman to the Warder quarter.
All of her relevant 4 named characters scenes were in Ep6. This includes the 5m3s exile scene, where Leane and Maigan were background characters; the 3m35s discussion between Siuan and the Two Rivers women; and the 2m21s scene in which Moiraine healed Mat from the influence of the dagger.
Despite being a significant character of the Wheel of Time, we rarely get to read Moiraine Damodred’s PoV in the book series, except in the prequel New Spring, for which she has 71% of the PoVs. By making her a lead of the first season, the TV show took a departure from the books that surprised many readers but served several purposes in the adaptation: keeping the identity of the Dragon Reborn a mystery for non-readers, and introducing the world of the Wheel of Time through someone who has a bit more experiences of it than our young villagers.
It is unclear how much of a lead Moiraine will keep in future seasons, as the show should start expanding more on our other characters, especially on the young folks of the Two Rivers. She will probably stay a major character for a while, as you cannot really sideline Rosamund Pike, after all. I guess this is another Wait And Find Out for us.