Reviewing Season 1's Most Adorable BTS Content
This article contains minor content spoilers for Season 1 of the Wheel of Time on Amazon Prime and one very minor character spoiler for the book series.
Look at these cuties! (Source: Daniel Henney's Instagram)
The longer fans go through “The Longing” between seasons of the Wheel of Time on Amazon Prime, the more desperate they get for news. This past week alone will keep the clown make-up industry in business for at least the next fiscal quarter.
In the days leading up to St. Patrick's Day, we saw the fandom losing it over a red heart emoji posted by a red-sweater-swathed Natasha O'Keeffe (she’s obviously Elaida) and generating a range of looney theories as to what the Tweeter of Chaos could possibly mean with two back-to-back posts about the color Green. And when the day finally came, all we got was this photoshopped image of Padan Fain with a shamrock (sad trombone).
Instead of endlessly searching for clues that aren’t there, why don’t we use some of our down time between seasons to take a trip down memory lane and look at some of the best Behind The Scenes moments from the filming of Season 1? If we know anything about surviving the Longing, we certainly learned it from the long, pandemic-delayed wait for Season 1 to drop—a time during which fans happily dissected any morsel of information for days.
Then again, with cast and crew spending more time together during lockdown, the Wheel of Time fandom may have actually gotten more BTS content before Season 1 than would be expected under normal circumstances. As the cast became closer and took to social media to pass the time, fans were rewarded with quite possibly the cutest BTS moments we’ll get throughout the entire series. Here’s our Top 10:
10. Álvaro Morte Greeting Sophie Okonedo
We didn’t see this adorable BTS moment until a while after Season 1 aired, when The Wheel of Time dropped a short video of Álvaro Morte (Logain) taking us on a tour of the White Tower during the shooting for Episode 6. As the camera follows Morte through the set, we see him sweetly embrace Sophie Okonedo (Siuan), who is pretty adorable herself, wearing a black hoodie over her full Amyrlin regalia. As they kiss each other on the cheek in greeting, it’s hard to believe she’s about to sentence him to a life of misery in the White Tower as he begs her to execute him.
9. Daniel Henney and Madeleine Madden Having a Dance-Off in the Woods
This is just a tiny piece of cuteness within a comprehensively adorable BTS video hosted by Daniel Henney (Lan). While the dance lasts only a couple seconds, you’re left feeling joy for days after catching this glimpse of Madeleine Madden (Egwene) and "Laniel" grinning while doing the Cabbage Patch.
While the dance is certainly the cutest moment, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the best part of the video: Daniel discussing the importance of the role of Lan to him as an Asian actor and then gleefully telling the camera that being on the set of the Wheel of Time is a “little kid dream.”
8. Maddie and Marcus, Traveling Buddies
No one feeds us more WoT breadcrumbs on their social media than Madeleine Madden. Her Instagram account is ripe with BTS photos, several of which made this list, and other infamous ones that did not (our first look at Archie as Bela, for one). But one of the all-time cutest has to be this cuddle puddle of Marcus Rutherford (Perrin) sitting on Maddie’s lap while they were filming their scenes with the Tuatha’an.
The caption reads, “Finding friends (pictured), food (lentils done 50 ways) and comfort (hot water bottles and lap-sits). Some of us needing the comfort more so @marcus_rudda.” It’s unclear whether it was Maddie or Marcus who needed the comfort and warmth, but either way, it seems like lap-sitting is an adorably good way to warm up.
7. Everything About Magdalena Sittova
In a BTS video about the making of Winternight, released just a few days before we saw the epic cold open to Episode 7, perceptive fans noticed that the red-haired stunt performer cast as Tigraine was in the video, demonstrating the trick behind the Trolloc pulling Nynaeve’s hair in Episode 1.
That was the first glimpse the fandom got of Magdalena Sittova in action, and the huge smile on her face was the first hint of just how much joy and passion she brings to her work. Later, during her interview in “A Look Inside Episode 7,” we can hear the enthusiasm in her voice, even as she discusses how tired she was during the long days of filming of that incredible fight scene.
Not only was Majda a charmingly bright spot in each of these videos, it was fun to learn that she had the opportunity to lend her talents to other scenes, in addition to the Blood Snow. And Showrunner Rafe Judkins is pretty adorable himself when he starts praising the Dragonmother, who he dubs a "f*cking beast."
6. The Gym Weaves as the Gym Wills
As fans of little faith complained that Marcus wasn’t buff enough to be Perrin, Instagram stories provided us with proof that he and Josha Stradowski (Rand) were hitting the gym relentlessly.
Their grueling workout schedule was later confirmed in an interview with Rosamund Pike in which she discussed the pressure on the male actors in The Wheel of Time, who would be wearing less clothing than the women. (This was later corroborated in comedic fashion when Daniel Henney told GQ a story about being "inundated" with sausage and dumplings while trying to stay fit for his "hot tub" scene in Episode 1.)
The level of pressure on the guys sounds awful, but true to form, the cast managed to make the daily grind of going to the gym look cute. In September of 2020, Josha posted a photo on Instagram of a whiteboard at the gym emblazoned with the words, “The Gym Weaves as the Gym Wills.”
But it gets even better. Later, Josha posted another photo of the same sign with some signature Wheel of Time cursing added to it.
It wasn’t until after Season 1 dropped that Shakespearean actor and fan of the Wheel of Time book series, Guy Roberts (Uno), tweeted that he was the one to add the obscenities, in true Uno fashion.
5. The Adventures of Choti and Lambi
Shortly after Season 1 started shooting in Prague, we began to see Priyanka Bose (Alanna) and Jennifer Cheon Garcia (Leane) spending quite a bit of time together, posting stylish photos of the two of them looking fierce.
Soon enough, they had their own hashtag: #AdventuresOfChotiAndLambi. A quick Google search tells us that choti is a Hindi term of endearment meaning “small one,” and lambi means “long.” We can surmise, then, that the petite Priyanka Bose is "Choti" and the statuesque Jennifer Cheon Garcia is "Lambi."
Between the cute nicknames and adorable photo shoots, it’s fun to see the two Aes Sedai getting along so well. They even have a few more recent photos that are already in the running for Season 2's Cutest BTS Moments. Cheers to Choti and Lambi—it seems like they’re having an awful lot of fun.
4. Josha's Makeup Crew
Oh, December 2019, back when things were simple. Back when we had no idea we were about to get a crash course in Zoom and “mask up” was going to become a thing people actually say. It was around that time, just before the Wheel of Time production took a break for the pre-pandemic holidays, that Maddie posted this gem of a photo, captioned, “The only way to wrap the last day of shooting for the decade 🥳💆♂️.”
It’s great to see that the crew is joining in on the BTS fun, as Maddie and the makeup artists form a cozy halo around Josha, who wears a sherpa-lined jacket eerily similar to his Two River’s sheepskin coat. It seems like the Dragon Reborn is already building up a reputation for surrounding himself with women, though Mat and Perrin certainly know more about talking to them.
3. The Table Read
From left to right: Josha Stradowski (Rand), Barney Harris (Mat), Lolita Chakrabarti (Marin al'Vere), Juliet Howland (Natti Cauthon), Johann Myers (Padan Fain)
In October 2019, Amazon dropped a short video of the very first table read for the Wheel of Time. It was a gift from the Creator, and the first glimpse of the full cast for Episodes 1 and 2. As content creators began making maps of who exactly was at the table, other fans got excited over everything from the palpable chemistry of the cast, to Barney Harris’s comedic delivery of Mat's line about "the Lady” Moiraine shooting fireballs.
Not only was this video the inspiration for The Dusty Wheel’s infamous closer, “Smash to Black,” it was the first time fans saw for sure what they suspected from the beginning: this was the best and cutest cast ever.
And even further behind the scenes of the table read, we got this adorable first-day-of-school selfie of Barney and Josha in the bathroom that just screams Rand not quite knowing what to do with Mat and his mischief.
2. Alanna Bonding with Her Warders
Priyanka Bose is another one who has an epic Instagram account, full of gorgeous selfies, delicious-looking food and drink, artwork, poetry, impassioned reels about body image and self-actualization, and unintentional hints about when Season 2 might drop.
But the cutest Behind the Scenes moment from Season 1 was this set of photos of Priyanka “bonding” with her Warders, Taylor Napier (Maksim) and Emmanuel Imani (Ihvon). Long before we ever saw Maksim hand Alanna a piece of fruit, it was clear the Green was going to have great chemistry with her boyfriends—err—Warders.
1. Maddie’s Birthday Party, 2020
Madeleine Madden knows how to have a great birthday party. After this year’s birthday reel showed a rare glimpse of Dónal Finn in Prague, the excitement almost made us forget this classic set of images from Madeline’s very first birthday party in Prague, just a month or so before the pandemic shut down production.
The shot of Maddie with Zoe and Marcus is pretty adorable, but the real highlight is Maddie’s second post from the night, captioned “The 7 Stages of Drinking,’ featuring a wine glass-wielding Josha looking increasingly tipsy as the night goes on. The 4th Stage in particular has been a popular meme template. Who doesn’t love a sassy Dragon Reborn?