Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Forsaken

Before we get started, I'm gonna point out the obvious, and that is that I didn't cast Aginor and Balthamel. The reason is that the two are just such non-characters in the books. I fully believe that they can be just one-shot featured extras or left out completely (until they return in new bodies), but then, I'm of the opinion that they should be used exactly once, played by featured extras. One of them can be an elderly man with make-up to make him look like he's rotting and the other by a stuntman extra with a mask on. They will be used in one episode for the showdown between them and Rand, and at some point it will be explained who they actually were in life. That way, when they do show up in new bodies later, it can be explained who they used to be. I just don't see a point in looking for actors that show up very briefly, both covered by either full-face make-up or a full-face mask.

Another point: it might be a fun think to have several Forsaken introduced as other characters first, sort of similar to how it was set up that the Cylons could be any one of the characters: Selene, Samon, Jasin Natael, Ghyldin, Gaebril, Basene, Lord Brend, etc. could be revealed as Forsaken almost immediately after being introduced, and the others could be held until the Darkfriend Social.

Now, with that out of the way, let's move on to the others.

Ishamael, aka Ba'alzamon, is more or less the "big bad" of the first three books, and will probably fill that roll for the first season (maybe two!) of the show. Of course, for most of that he's gonna be spitting fire from his face, so the best option is to go with a guy known for playing scary people that isn't also so big a name that covering him up with FX will be a problem. So Julian Bleach (left) is the best choice. He plays Machiavelli on The Borgias and was also the most recent Davros on Doctor Who.

Lanfear is such a major character during her time in the books that casting a recognizable face is not a problem. Michelle Ryan (right) is beautiful in a dark, mysterious and possibly dangerous sort of way, and I know she could play a demented "jilted lover" well. She will also play Selene; since Rand has never met Lanfear before (and neither will have viewers) I don't think she needs to disguise herself. All she needs to do is adopt a sweet personality that she drops as soon as Rand realizes who she really is. Think Catwoman pretending to be a scared maid until Bruce Wayne mentions that his safe is uncrackable.

Be'lal only shows up briefly toward the end of the third book, but this is after a whole book in which is character is behind much of what happens. I think he should be shown masquerading as High Lord Samon for a while before he reveals who he really is. Simon Ward (left) knows how to play major villains and I think he'd do well here, but really, this is a role that it would be easy for an actor to define considering he gets so little to do in the book itself.

I chose Hans Matheson (right) to play Asmodean, because he's a great actor and looks very similar to the character as described. He could find the middle ground between a man who used to be a pretty bad guy and a man who's a shadow of what he once was and is changing to be good. He's a fairly recognizable name at this point, but then, Asmodean can very easily end up in the main cast, considering he starts out as a hidden Big Bad and then become's Rand's reluctant trainer just after having his power cut off. As for the mystery of who kills him, I don't think we should leave it a mystery on the show the way the books did. Fans have already had enough fun trying to guess at his killer, and since we now know who it is, there's no reason to keep the mystery on the show.

Moghedian is a hard role to cast because she's a pretty major character for exactly one book (mostly using the name Ghyldin), and after that she only appears sporadically. I decided to go with an unknown for her, and based the casting choice entirely on her look. Her name is Montserrat Lombard (left), and I like how she can look so sneering and dismissive, not to mention scheme-y. She definitely looks like someone who would be thought of as spider weaving webs of deceit. Yep, I like her for Moggy.

Rahvin is another like Be'lal, who gets killed very shortly after his big reveal. Yes, he gets a few scenes as Gaebril first, but really, he doesn't have much to do other than try to corrupt Morgase and then die. So, I picked a darkly handsome unknown actor, Giacomo Gonnella (right). He's best known for guest roles on Rome and The Borgias but he plays bad guys well. I think he'll serve as Rahvin. Maybe his role can be expanded a bit for the series, like I suggested for Be'lal.

Graendal is probably one of the more popular Forsaken, and definitely one of those that's around the longest. She's described as beautiful, red-headed and shapely, with an hour-glass figure. Polly Walker (left) pretty much played exactly this character on Rome, and considering that Graendal is a pretty major character, I don't have any issue at all casting a well-known actress in this role.

Sammael spends most of his scenes verbally sparring with or alternately working with Graendal. He's kind of a background character, mostly, but an important one who does get a good bit to do. You'll need a solid actor for him. He's described as being blonde and compact, but thick. Sounds like Mark Lewis Jones (right) could pull that off. Yes, I know, he was on Game of Thrones, but it was in a relatively minor role for two episodes, so having him play one of the Forsaken shouldn't be that big an issue.

Mesaana's look is barely described in the books, but her disguise is. Once again, I don't have a problem using her disguise as her main persona. The book even says she looks much like Danelle, the Aes Sedai she was disguised as. She's not a huge character, either, so I went with little-known actress Rosanna Lavelle (left). My thought is that for most of the series she'd be Danelle, and only during the Forsaken's social would the viewer find out she's Mesaana.

When it comes to Semirhage, I'm all for introducing her a bit earlier, even if she's just Anath for the first little while after she's introduced. You'd need a beautiful black woman for the role, who can also look dangerous. I'm thinking someone like Cynthia Addai-Robinson (right) would be perfect.

Shock of shocks; a Forsaken that isn't introduced as someone else first! Demandred is described as looking dour and sour pretty much all the time, and he mostly works behind the scenes, so he's not one of the flashy ones like Graendal or Lanfear. I like Joel Tobeck (left) for him.

And now the new generation: five of the Forsaken later show up in new bodies; Aginor becomes Osan'gar, Balthamel becomes Aran'gar, Lanfear becomes Cyndane, Ishamael becomes Moridin and finally Graendal becomes Hessalam.

Aran'gar and Osan'gar spend almost the entirety of their time in the story infiltrating the Asha'man and the Salidar Aes Sedai, respectively, under the assumed names Corlan Dashiva (Osan'gar) and Halima Saranov (Aran'gar). Dashiva is described as having a plain, creased face with lank hair and is "not young." Sounds like Ned Dennehy (right) could do that.

Halima is described as quite beautiful with big eyes and voluptuous. Again, not a huge part, so she doesn't need to be played by a big name. I chose Rosalind Halstead (left) for her.

Cyndane shows up after Lanfear's death, and is described as being pretty with silvery-blonde hair. Not much is required for this role, especially since she becomes one of the lesser Forsaken. I chose Kari Corbett (right) to play her.

Hessalam doesn't show up until the last book, but it's kind of an anti-climactic role; just a way to show that Graendal has been humbled and turned into an ugly old woman. Sue Johnston (left), with some generous make-up, should be able to handle that.

I saved Moridin for last because he basically becomes the new Big Bad among the Forsaken, being chosen as Nae'blis and all. He's described as being a dark-haired, dark-skinned, handsome young man with large muscles. My pick is Paul Telfer (right), who once upon a time was my choice for Perrin, but is now too old.

Next Up: The rest of the Aes Sedai!


  1. Hello. I'm loving your suggestions for actors but - is there really going to be a TV show made [about the wheel of time series]?

  2. Not that I know of, at least not yet. As I said in my opening post, though, I suspect there will be some day.

  3. I've always imagined Aginor as being played by Gerard Darmon, as well as given more screentime in flashback episodes that detail the creation of the Trollocs and such.