1 – Wheel, you know what time it is: it's #threadtalk. And, judging by my pun, you might have guessed we're talking #TheWheelOfTime series costuming.

What could be more appropriate than a world where magic *is* quite literally, thread. 🧵🪄

Let us go forth & adventure!

The Aes Sedai in garb of red, blue, and green. Featuring Rosamund Pike, Kate Fleetwood, and Priyanka Bose. Pike wears a leather, structured top with studs and a diadem. © Amazon

2 – If you're new here, #threadtalk is about *costumes.*

My goal is to connect the show to a wider conversation about historical fabrics, techniques, & designs.

The focus is on the art of costuming. (I personally enjoyed the show, but have not read the books.)

Let's begin!

The main heroes of The Wheel of Time series, standing in a field, walking forward together. © Amazon

3 – We begin with Egwene. What struck me most about her costumes were the use of linen & plaid, as well as that nifty hand-woven embroidery.

Linen is a curious choice, given the cold climate (brr!), but still a material that could be made on small, family plots of land.

Madeleine Madden as Egwene in the Wheel of Time series. Her grey shirt has lines of gold embroidery on it, and her dress has a plaid pattern on it as well. © Amazon

4 – Plaid may not seem like it's fantasy film ready, but it is old, indeed! Woven plaids & tartans go back a long time.

Archaeology, astoundingly, has shown us that plaids go back at least 3,000 years, bits still preserved, like this form the Urumchi mummies found in 1979.

A scrap of material from the Urumchi mummies, clearly a plaid.

5 – I love the yellow lines woven into Egwene's skirt, echoing the golden embroidery on her shirt. The muted grey, blues & browns are all easily found in nature, ideal for Two Rivers, which make sense for dyes, etc.

This earthiness is a nice touch.

Madeleine Madden and Josha Stradowski in the Wheel of Time series. They're sitting on a craggy mountain top. © Amazon

6 – For Rand, I feel like they designed his look around that red hair. The cerulean blue of his tunic is a bit decadent, but it's a gorgeous contrast that, well, makes him stand out even more.

But my favorite bits of his costume are his leather jacket & the fuzzy sweater!

Josha Stradowski as Rand in The Wheel of Time Series. He is wearing a cerulean blue tunic and a sherpa leather jacket. © Amazon

7 – The jacket might look like it came straight out of an Urban Outfitters catalogue, but it is quite rustic & unfussy. Leatherwear typically is reserved, historically, for the working and military classes.

I like how it looks as if he's sewed up pieces of various animals.

The sherpa style coat that Rand wears on the show. Josha Stradowski as Rand. He is standing against a white background, arms down. The jacket is open. © Amazon

8 – And the SWEATERS! I get very excited when I see knitwear in fantasy & medieval settings. Whether it's Nålebinding (which dates to 6500 BC; below, Egypt 4th C) or knitting, you bet Two Rivers folks would use wool from their flocks to keep warm & look rad. Bonus: it's portable.

9 – So let's talk Mat. Undeniably, my favorite character, his is the most understated wardrobe. Which makes total sense, given that he's quite poor. There is a threadbare quality to his jacket and shirt, but he still wears it with finesse.

Barney Harris as Mat Cauthon. He wears a scarf, and a threadbare jacket, over a dingy shirt. (c) Amazon

10 – I think the contrast of Mat's jacket is also interesting. The lining is deeper green, and it peeps out of his lapels. Even though the jacket itself is rather minimal in terms of its size & shape, it is an interesting character commentary. Also he looks cold. Hair is 10/10.

Barney Harris as Mat in the Wheel of Time. He wears a layered jacket over a pale cream shirt, a bandolier across his chest. © Amazon

11 – I am all in for Nynaeve. My gorgeous, green, woodland goddess. 💚

Her overcoat is probably my favorite piece in the series that isn't anything they put on Moiraine (more later). Everything about her wardrobe is practical, but it's also beautiful.

But she's got layers.

Zoë Robins as Nynaeve al'Meara, in the Wheel of Time series. Her green jacket is embroidered and edged in fur. © Amazon

12 – There's a lot of similarities between her plainclothes and Egwene's, too. The skirt looks like it was woven by the same folks, the cut of the shirts very similar, and the belts and adornment.

The cut of her blouse is decidedly different, though, and I love that for her.

Zoë Robins as Nynaeve al'Meara, Madeleine Madden as Egwene. You can see the contrast of their colors--the grey and white and yellow of Egwene vs. the olives and ochres of Nynaeve. © Amazon

13 – Perrin! I get the feeling Perrin doesn't think a lot about what he's wearing, and that's okay. He's a smith, right? He's always dirty.

Makes sense that the leather jacket is literally the color of coal dust. The clasp is practical, and the fluffy cuffs are… cute?

Marcus Rutherford as Perrin and Madeleine Madden as Egwene © Amazon

14 – Which reminds me of an important point!

The lines of most of our main folks' clothes are not reminiscent of Western wear, but Asia. This robe here is from Tibet & this kind of closure is quite common (and ancient).

Pretty cool, huh? I'm a big fan of branching out.

15 – Let's move on to the Aes Sedai, shall we? Starting with Liandrin & her scarlet damask, because gods have mercy on me.

I love the deep scarlet for the Red Ajah. I love the elements of Liandrin's costume, in particular, that high collar and bodice.

And the lipstick. 💄

Kate Fleetwood as Liandrin in the Wheel of Time Series. She wears deep, blood red, with a high collar and leather bodice, and matching cuffs. Her hair is blonde, up and back in braids.

16 – But like many of the Aes Sedai, there's a hint of the modern about her, too. While we still see lines reminiscent of Asia and the Middle East here, the tailoring is more like a suit. And the tiled beadwork? Yes, please. Vicious, will cut you, and you'll thank her.

Kate Fleetwood as Liandrin. © Amazon

17 – Which brings me to Alanna Mosvani and her verdant majesty. Her costumes seem, to me, a loving melange of the decadence of India and the whimsy of late Victorian.

The chains–all the chains–make me a bit hot under the collar. I MEAN. So stunning.

Priyanka Bose as Alanna Mosvani in the Wheel of Time Series. She has a gorgeous diadem on her head, chains on her shoulders, and a gold cuff in her ear. © Amazon

18 – Speaking of chains and Victoriana, this battle ensemble took my breath away. The harness/jewelry bit? The hair wraps? That gold cuff? The silk? The blouse looks like it's out of an 1898 ensemble, and I'm totally cool with that.

Priyanka Bose as Alanna Mosvani. © Amazon

19 – A moment. Because Lan.

Just. ::gestures wildly::

Though muted in colors, his design is straight from Japan. I love the use of dark wool with subtle echoes of color, and the circlet.

I like the circlet very much, I do.

Daniel Henney as al'Lan Mandragoran, sword over his shoulder. He wears thick wool, bracers, and a circlet. © Amazon

20 – His surcoat reminds me of jinbaori, the sleeveless overcoat that Samurai wore over their armor. His is plain, but the lines are very similar. And given his history, his status, and his power, that totally makes sense. This jinbaori is from the 17th c & is quite elaborate.

From the Met: A high-ranking samurai would have worn a jinbaori like this over his armor for protection against the elements and as a display of his status and his mon (family crest). The mon on the back of this example, three oak leaves within a circle, belongs to the Makino family, who were daimyo (feudal lords) of Tanabe (modern day Kyoto Prefecture). The elaborate lining, high quality of the materials and fine workmanship distinguish this example as one of the finest of its period.

21 – And Moiraine. Listen, I have a weakness for Rosamund Pike anyway, and this series did not assist in any way whatsoever.

This azure queen can go from traveling for years to rocking haute couture in a heartbeat. And those leather shoulders are out of this world.

Rosamund Pike and Daniel Henney in the Wheel of Time Series. © Amazon

22 – This gown almost did me in. The fact that she keeps her shoulder armor on, regardless of the dress, just… there's a lot there.

I can't call it a glow-up, since she's stunning every second she's on screen. The subtle shimmer and texture on this gown & the structured hips!

Rosamund Pike as Moiraine. © Amazon

23 – This dress was the moment I knew I had to do a #threadtalk. It's rare that you see a character embody costume so much, & an actor who uses it as such a tool. She is Moiraine: power & strength, even if she would rather be in the woods w/Lan. (I mean, who wouldn't?)

© Amazon

24 – I definitely see a lot of Victorian influences here, again. I mean, this dress from 1881 has a very similar vibe. Not just in color!

A deep blue gown with a high collar, long sleeves, and draped front. From the Met.

25 – I thought the costumes for the show were wonderfully done. Clearly, this is not an exhaustive list! But I love seeing how they related to the characters. I'm very much looking forward to season 2. (Some scenes require little costuming, too)

© Amazon

26 – Big thanks to my patrons who helped pick this week's #threadtalk! You can, too, if you join. Just saying…

http://patreon.com/nataniabooks

27 – Sources! For those who'd like to learn more.

https://winteriscoming.net/2021/11/16/oh-thank-god-the-wheel-of-time-isnt-terrible/
https://www.uvm.edu/sites/default/files/S13_Thesis_Longfellow.pdf
https://www.nataniabarron.com/2021/05/25/here-there-and-everywhere-linen/
https://www.nataniabarron.com/2021/03/15/colors-to-dye-for/

28 – Thank you so much for joining me tonight! I'm working on some new topics, so looking forward to sharing more #threadtalk with you all soon.

Meanwhile, don't forget to find your own adventures.

29 – I have been corrected that Lan's costuming influence is from Korea. That was my first instinct, but I couldn't find an image that reminded me of what I saw. I'm always trying to read this stuff, and I can be incorrect. So just to correct that:

https://www.cbr.com/the-wheel-of-time-lan-actor-korean-heritage/

30 – And though for my historical threads, I do a TON of research… most of my fandom ones are on the fly reactions. Tonight was in real-time!

Originally tweeted by Natania Barron (@NataniaBarron) on March 15, 2022.

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