WotSeries: Nice to meet you, Dónal.
Dónal Finn: Great to meet you too, man. And great to meet someone from the WotSeries. I feel like I know loads about you guys.
WotSeries: You’re meeting not the best one. There are three others who I wish were here to speak with you. Congratulations on a wonderful, wonderful season 2, first things first.
Dónal: Thanks very much. Thank you. I appreciate it coming from you.
WotSeries: And honestly just a personal, congrats on Hadestown. I’ve been an Anais Mitchell fan for probably close to 20 years and I’ve been listening to Hadestown music for a good 15 ever since it came out on CDs and live and stuff like that. So to see you, one of my favorite characters, in it is just fantastic.
Dónal: Thanks! So that’s really, really so good of you to say. I love, I’m getting stuck into Anais’s music now at the moment. I’m so fond of it.
WotSeries: I heard a couple of numbers you did and you just nailed them in those preview songs.
Dónal: Thanks, Omar! I really appreciate you knowing all that stuff. Thank you
WotSeries: Two of my favorite worlds colliding, it’s great. But we’re here to talk Wheel of Time, so I’m going to ask you a question I just asked Marcus, and again, it’s not a question I’m proud of, but it’s one that the fans would be mad at me if I don’t ask. Of Rand, Perrin, or Mat, who’s better at talking to women?
Dónal: Waaaah…. Who’s better at talking to women? Do you know what, I think Mat is more cocksure and confident, and that he will go into the situation and just attempt and just throw stuff at the wall and see if anything sticks. Whereas I think Perrin you’d have a better relationship with because I think he’s like a far better listener. But he doesn’t say much so I think you’d be waiting a long time for Perrin to make the first move. And then, Rand, you know? I think there’s a couple of red flags (chuckles). But, I think he’s very alluring as well. So, if you were in a situation where you managed to chat with him, I think he’d be very charming but maybe a few red flags as well, if you knew what was good for you.
WotSeries: Thank you for that. And again, it’s a question that is brought up or a point that’s brought up in this series quite often. So it’s like every now and again, somebody puts on a poll. So you and Marcus answering that question is going to be great.
Dónal: Well, I have big faith in Mat. I’m pretty confident in him. Regarding chatting to women.
WotSeries: My next question is something that I’d probably leave to the end, but I’m not gonna. Blowing the horn is one of iconic, consequential events in the series, to be honest, and the delivery of it, as a fan seeing the reactions online, it came through so well. It’s just one of those things that could play out well or not. But it was super successful from our vantage point. There was a lot happening there. So if you don’t mind, can you tell us a little bit about that scene? Blowing, the horn, the Old Tongue, the action sequence. If you can just give us some sense of the preparation for that.
Dónal: I think what was important to me and kind of looking after the entire arc of Mat is that he is finally presented with hard evidence that he might be a far better person and have a far better future than he would have imagined for himself.
And it’s one of the reasons that I love the characters. He’s incredibly unassuming and humble, but in that moment he is been shown, he’s been told that the pattern has a great plan for him and that’s something that he has to recognize and hope that it kind of allows him to give himself less of a hard time because he can underplay his value to himself, his family and his friends. That was kind of what it was emotionally, you know, making sure that it was clear that he knew his value in that moment. And he has a great future in the story that we’re telling.
Physically, it was loads of training. We probably started prepping for some of the fight stuff a few months before we went to Morocco. And so I got to really dig into all that. And I think I really found it liberating. Again, it gave me confidence as a performer to kind of develop those skills. And that made it easier to connect with the awe and the surprise for Mat in that moment.
And it’s seriously exciting. You know, it’s like it was really, really exciting to shoot something like that. It’s bit of a small boy’s dream.
WotSeries: Saying the line, you know, the “Dovie’andi se tovya sagain”, how much practice did go into that because the pronunciation was really cool. Again, nobody really knows how to pronounce these things. But the delivery, the yawp, the scream, how you said it was really great. How much did it take to deliver it the way you did?
Dónal: Oh, thanks, man. Like you say, nobody really knows how to deliver it, but we have someone who I think is probably as accurate and as committed to finding out as possible, our dialect coach, Naomi Todd is phenomenal. And not only is she working on what the literal translation is and kind of the sequence of the words so that I can make sense of it in the Old Tongue as you kind of learn a new language. But also, what were the influences on the Old Tongue? And so what parts of the world did Robert Jordan imagine might connect to that language. And so what might the voice sound like if you were speaking Old Tongue. Getting into different accents, impressions on it. It was a very technical thing and then, in that moment, Mat is just saying “come hell or high water”. I know that there’s been a few occasions within the season within his arc, that he’s maybe turned away from conflict, confrontation, challenges that in this moment he’s going to drive on. And I think there’s a bit of him that actually, I don’t think he knows his strength or the power that’s quite behind him in that moment that maybe he thinks he could die.
I think as well, Mat, the same as I would feel, thinks “I might only have one opportunity ever in my life to do a battle cry, and for it to be a real battle cry. So I’m just going to enjoy it, you know?”
WotSeries: How much of you, Dónal Finn, personally is in Mat Or do you find in maT, the character?
Dónal: That’s a good question. I think how I like to feel about playing any character is look at it and kind of go “what’s the likeness here?” And so what are the things that I get for free and then having to look at what is left in the character. What decisions would he make that I wouldn’t make? Or what are the things that he would say that I wouldn’t say. And say “okay those are the bridges. Those are the imaginative journeys that I have to get to, to make that my instincts”. So, in what ways are we similar. I think we both probably enjoy hanging out in the pub (laughs).
Yeah, I think we both enjoy being there for our friends. That’s a huge one for Mat and I like to identify that with myself as well and I’ve really enjoyed being there for castmates as well in this kind of journey.
WotSeries: And it is interesting that you touch on that because honestly of all the things about Mat, he will always help and tell you he doesn’t want to but he’ll end up helping anyways and that’s one of his biggest characteristics. So for you to point that out, that’s great.
Dónal: And, you know what, I mean I’d probably identify with being a bit lazy like him as well, you know (laughs). So, I kind of love being there for my pals and everything. And then sometimes, I also feel like, “Ah, I’m wrecked but I will come. I will be there.”
WotSeries: Yeah, laziness is the mother of invention in a lot of ways so it’s not just…
Dónal: (chuckles) Yeah, yeah. Good point.
WotSeries: Yep. If you don’t mind, what do we have to look forward to, without spoilers, into season 3 and if you can fold into that answer again, not proud of this part of the question, I’m here hoping to be asking questions on behalf of the fans. What do we have to look forward to in season 3 and will the character of Mat get a new costume?
Dónal: Well, there’s loads that you can look forward to in season 3. I mean, we’ve got much of it. I feel like I’ve filmed a good stretch of it, and I’ve really enjoyed the material and the new arc. This arc that I go on this season.
And I think you can just expect things to be… there’s more moments with the characters to kind of learn about them in more quiet, subtle ways, more revealing ways. And I think it’s probably common knowledge that Mat does change his clothes between 2 and 3. You know, like really, we would have to ask questions and get concerned if he didn’t. I feel like I could tell you that. And I’m excited, man. I’m very happy to be wearing what I’m wearing.
WotSeries: Again, thank you so much for your time. Really appreciate your time today, Dónal . Good luck with the rest of the interviews and good luck with the season 3. Can’t wait to see it.
Dónal: Thank you very much, Omar. Lovely to meet you, man.
All eight episodes of season 2 are available now on Prime Video. Go binge!