The Best Dressed Characters in Season 1 of the Wheel of Time on Amazon Prime
This article contains spoilers for Season 1 of the Wheel of Time on Amazon Prime as well as references to character descriptions and lore from the book series.
In a previous Maidens’ List cataloging the most book-inspired elements of the Wheel of Time TV Series, we revealed our obsession with Costume Designer Isis Mussenden’s Aes Sedai designs. Not only did she choose a gorgeous color palette, she created a completely unique set of looks for each nationality in the Westlands, including places we never visit in Season 1. Thanks to Mussenden’s thorough planning, each Sitter in the Hall of the Tower has her own uniquely identifiable style, from the Tairen of the Brown Ajah to the Shienaran of the Gray.
Today, we're moving away from the Hall and looking at the best costumes worn by major characters on the Wheel of Time. This is a difficult task, because in truth, we could say something positive about every costume on the show. Regardless of personal opinion on what looks the best or is most faithful to the books, it's impossible to ignore the level of meticulous detail that went into these costumes. Every cut, every stitch, every choice of fabric color or texture, every leather accessory or line of embroidery all work together to tell a story with one cohesive aesthetic. But it wouldn't be Maidens' List if we didn't narrow it down to the Top 10, so here are our picks for the most outstanding costumes from Season 1.
If you’ve ever read this column before, you’ll know this isn’t the first time Thom Merrilin has made the cut. It's actually quite possible the Gleeman will show up on all of our Lists forevermore. Self-proclaimed #ThomBias aside, we can’t imagine we were the only ones to fully lose their minds when Thom approaches his seat at The Four Kings and sweeps back the tails of his overcoat, revealing colorful patches in the lining. Don’t lie, you made some kind of noise.
While some were disappointed Thom didn’t don the proper patchwork Gleeman’s Cloak™, we think his purple waistcoat and thick brown, double-lapeled corduroy coat mesh better with the overall aesthetic of the show, while still allowing Thom to stand out as a little more flamboyant than most, in both cut and color. Plus, the choice to hide the patches of color is more realistic for a dangerous man who might need to blend into a crowd, or conceal himself in the dark so he can throw knives at unsuspecting Darkfriends.
From afar, Egwene’s costume might not stand out all that much in the Two Rivers. At first glance, you might think she is wearing a plain light blouse and dark skirt (book readers will know what this might call to mind), but when you look closer, the pieces are bursting with color and detail.
The blouse proves to be delicate linen in the palest of blues, with a unique, asymmetrical closure and lines of cream-colored embroidery—certainly finer and more elaborate than anyone else’s, indicating her status as the Mayor’s daughter. And the gray skirt isn’t a solid color after all, but has a subtle plaid pattern with golden trim. Her stout leather belt is finished with intricate metalwork.
Yet the Egwene we know and love is practical, ambitious, and hard-working, so she layers her fine linens over a pair of sensible-looking leggings and soft boots. With the Two Rivers’ Five wearing essentially the same clothes through all 8 Episodes, it was important to get their costumes right, and Egwene’s is spot-on.
And although it doesn’t look all that different from a First Age hoodie on a knit trench jacket, we love that cozy hooded overcoat she wears on the road.
You don’t have to be the prettiest to be the best, especially if you're charming enough. Not only does book-Mat know this on a cellular level, it’s also true of his costume on the show. Mat’s look is perfect because it immediately indicates his less fortunate background, especially in comparison to his friends’ clothing. And when you look a little closer, you can see layers of detail that make it so much more than a raggedy shirt and sweater.
What really stands out about Mat’s costume is the textures. While his fraying, threadbare sweater left him “a little chilly,” its loose weave still looks soft and cuddly, almost like a woven blanket. Given his poorness on the show, it could very well have been made out of an old blanket to save a few coins on fabric.
We also love the decision to make his sleeves too long, as if he undid the cuffs to keep his hands a little warmer. And the sleeves seem to take on a life of their own, emoting along with Mat as he talks, or flailing as he runs.
Of course, Mat needs to carry around a dice cup and be prepared for a little rough-and-tumble action, so naturally his accessories game is on point—he rocks a hipster satchel, fingerless gloves fashioned out of the tattered lining of his coat, and some ill-fitting suspenders (glimpsed briefly during his chaotic run through the Winternight attack).
7. The Dark One
It was down to a tie for best Age of Legends costume, and the man we only know as "The Dark One" won out over Latra Posae by a hair. Latra and her single earring look as cool as ice peppers, but we just couldn’t overlook this slick-looking suit. In a short-armed, black-as-night blazer and long, expensive-looking asymmetrical shirt, Rand’s greatest enemy looks otherworldly, yet disarmingly classy.
It’s such a simple look for a deep and complex character, and that's what makes it so captivating. We’re also very interested in the thin gold band worn around The Dark One's first three fingers—some type of angreal or ter’angreal used by channelers in the Age of Legends, perhaps?
6. Padan Fain
Much like Johann Myers’s charismatic performance, Padan Fain’s costume left us intrigued and wanting more. And much like his haggling-buddy, Mat, it’s all about the textures. We’re loving the striated texture and modern cut of Fain's gray wool coat, which would look a lot like a First Age L.L. Bean sweater-fleece if not for the subtle gold trim. And the patterned, almost metallic-looking waistcoat underneath is seven shades of snazzy, if you manage to catch a long enough glimpse of the detail before Fain disappears back into whistling-mode.
It’ll be very interesting to see how this stylish costume deteriorates along with Fain’s sanity now that he holds the Shadar Logoth Dagger. Whatever happens, we’ll certainly miss this sharp look, as Fain transforms from cocky peddler Darkfriend into, as he’s described in The Great Hunt, “something worse” than Trollocs and Fades.
Pants. We’re so happy Moiraine is wearing pants on her journey to the Two Rivers instead of the gown she wears in the books. In an interview with EW, Isis Mussenden remarked that the Aes Sedai are “women doing jobs,” and their costumes would reflect that.
But Moiraine’s pantsuit is so much more than a pragmatic change that squashes outdated tropes—it’s also queer-coded AF, with her leather bolero jacket, tailored overcoat, and of course, those suspenders.
Don’t get us wrong, the formal gown and kesiera she wears in the White Tower are gorgeous, but travel-worn bisexual Moraine with the increasingly disheveled hair will always be our favorite.
Do we really need to say more than “golden chains across the chest”? If we must, let's take the time to appreciate how Alanna’s battle uniform blends practicality and formality with a touch of Green Ajah allure. While we’re sure Alanna would look good in anything, we can’t think of a more perfect ensemble for her to wear for the dual purposes of blowing up Logain’s followers and flirting with her Warders. It’s so versatile! And we love the Arafellan bells in her hair.
3. Siuan Sanche
Siuan’s costume has had us riveted since it appeared in the Wheel of Time’s first teaser trailer. Until then, we never imagined Siuan Sanche as a golden angel-goddess, but here we are. In a room full of bold jewel tones, how else would you stand out as “of all Ajahs and none” other than to deck yourself out like a Disney princess at the Met Gala?
Although we had hoped to see the classic 7-striped Amyrlin's stole, the pastel tones on Siuan's stiff, butterfly-shaped collar are the perfect complement to the rest of her shimmering regalia and a satisfying enough nod to the books.
One thing we’ve been wondering—is this Siuan’s dress, or is it the official ceremonial robe of the Amyrlin Seat? With the long train and what looks to be a clasp at the center of the stole, it seems like it could be one giant piece, or several pieces, worn over another dress—a formal garment to be passed down from Amyrlin to Amyrlin. Without getting into spoilers, let’s just say we hope there will be a chance to find out more about this later in the series.
2. Amalisa & Agelmar
It might be cheating to put two costumes together under the same ranking, but we couldn’t separate these complementary brother-sister looks. Every costume the two of them wear, from Amalisa’s chic draped skirts and Agelmar’s stole made of literally an entire bird, to their matching gold and green ensembles, the Shienaran siblings nail their looks with all the poise and ferocity they call for.
Source: Sandra Yi Sencindiver's Twitter Account
It’s sad Amalisa burns herself out and Agelmar is either killed or severely injured during the Battle of Tarwin's Gap (Agelmar’s fate is still unclear—Thomas Chaanhing was in Prague during the filming of Season 2). But even if A&A never appear on the show again, at least we'll know they looked great in their final days. And with Ingtar and company confirmed for Season 2, it won't be the last we'll see of the gorgeous Shienaran silhouette.
1. The Children of the Light
Oh Light, how it hurts us to give these guys the Number 1 Spot, but they earned it. As much as we hate to say it, the Whitecloaks look really good. With their spotless white clerical robes, wide belts, and tiny mustaches, they look every inch the creepy religious fanatics they are supposed to be, while their sun-engraved spaulders and gauntlets, in different colors according to rank, make them look not only menacing but super cool.
While some have criticized their lack of armor, it actually seems apropos that they would walk around unprotected and wearing the most impractical of uniforms, just so they can get their point across—and after all the bird-eating and witch-burning on the show, they do get that point across very effectively.
With long skirts to their ankles and only one arm protected, perhaps they feel confident enough in their righteousness that they don’t really expect things will come to blows (at least not aimed toward them). Or, like Valda, they believe the Light will protect them. Either way, it seems like they're keeping a hint of the cowardice and buffoonery they display in the books.
And that is the exact reason we can’t get over the fact that the Whitecloaks actually look… kinda hot? Between designs like this and Casting Director Kelly Valentine Hendry’s recruitment of only the most attractive people on the planet, the Wheel of Time production team seems determined to make all the worst characters into thirst traps. (Seriously, who gave Hot Masema the right?)
And there you have it—the official, 100% objective list of the best costumes from Season 1 of the Wheel of Time. Before we wrap up, it is our tradition to include honorable mentions, those candidates we obsess over whether not to include and then cry about cutting.
This week's honorable mention goes to Logain and his colorful, flowing Jesus robes. The False Dragon probably would have made this list had it not been so difficult to get a couple good shots of the full costume when it was not hidden behind bars, distorted by weaves of the One Power, or disheveled from his imprisonment. Here's hoping for more Logain in Season 2!