WotSeries: First, huge congratulations on a fantastic season 2!
Kate Fleetwood: Thank you!
WotSeries: A lot of the characters blossomed from season 1 to season 2, and I think this is doubly true for Liandrin. In our circles, we have a thing of, “How dare you, Kate Fleetwood, do this to us?” Making us love and care for Liandrin, to be so invested in her. So I just wanted to ask what was your experience making season 2 compared to season 1?
Kate: I’m really grateful for everything I got to be able to do. Because there was much more scope to play with, and it was much deeper. And I could connect with more characters. You know, you’re just always looking for the scratchy things in a character, you know, as an actor, that’s what you want to do, you’re always trying to find a conflict. And so you want to always have as much opportunity to find different ways of telling the story. It was just great as an actor to be able to have more material to work with. That was really exciting.
WotSeries: honestly it came through. Your characters, one of the top 10 of screen time, and it was all enjoyable, it came through so well. We saw you connect with Nynaeve. There’s a lot of back and forth with Nynaeve and you took quite a bit of interest. What was your character’s primary motivation for wanting to recruit someone like Nynaeve?
Kate: It’s really complex. I think it’s not as simple as saying “Oh I just want to find the really powerful person”. I think she projects a lot of herself onto Nynaeve, and it goes backwards and forwards between them. I think there’s a lot of, sort of, mutual projection going on.
Both of them are outsiders. Both of them are suspicious and pretty cynical about power, established power. I think they’re quite interested in their own power and what to do with it. They’re political animals. I think they are circumspect about the established authority.
Nynaeve has her reasons and Liandrin certainly has her reasons because of her background. And I see her as a revolutionary and I don’t think Nynaeve sees herself much less than that, actually. There’s a sort of notion of Che Guevara-ness about it. They’re both sort of freedom fighters in their own way.
WotSeries: Liandrin has a sympathetic light to her in the show. Was this intentional or just you bringing it. Because in the books, honestly, we do not sympathize with Liandrin. Here, there’s so much going on that, like I said earlier, we root for you. Was that on purpose or is that just how it worked out?
Kate: I think it’s good writing, you know, good writing will always make the audience feel complex about people. And I think it’s great to put as an actor, because turning on a sixpence is what you’re always looking for. It’s “how can I flip this really quickly? How am I going to proverbially sort of head-spin the audience, to not assume things?” you know?
WotSeries: And I would say it was really good acting too, by the way.
Kate: Thank you very much.
WotSeries: And a quick one, which Ajah would Kate Fleetwood choose in real life?
Kate: I’d probably be yellow, you know? I think that’s probably true. Because if I wasn’t an actress, I think I’d probably be a nurse.
WotSeries: That’s great. I’m not sure if you can answer this. Are you able to tell us if your character was at the Darkfriend social with Ishamael to start season 2, that opening scene of season 2?
Kate: You mean in the black glove?
Kate: (chuckles) Could be!
WotSeries: We’ll take it. Is there a scene or sequence that stands out in your mind from season two that you can tell something about, that was special in some way?
Kate: Well, I wasn’t in it, really. I mean, I was in a bit of it, but I just thought the Seanchan were amazing. I remember seeing those for the first time and just thinking… my mouth just fell on the floor and I was so pleased. I couldn’t wait for the audience to see it. Just was so staggered, I thought the design and everything was just brilliant. And it was just so “other” and weird. It was just like “Woah! what’s this?” Now, I love the Seanchan.
WotSeries: You were in Morocco where you filmed that Waygate scene, right?
Kate: Yeah. And then I got COVID!
WotSeries: Oh! I’m sorry!
Kate: The day after I came back. I got COVID the day after I wrapped.
WotSeries: The Wheel of Time is a special show and you know what we’re trying to do, we’re fans, obviously, and we’re always trying to bring more people into the world of Robert Jordan. How would you pitch the second season and you know, for your fans who haven’t seen the show, season 1 or season 2. How would you talk about this show? How would you describe this show to them?
Kate: It’s sumptuous. And I think that the design and the whole sort of visual concept of season 2 has just gone up a gazillion notches. It’s just been brilliant. But I look at it as a sort of everyone’s on their journey, their own singular journey, in this season, and I think the costumes and everything reflect that there’s a kind of bruise sort of in interiority to the coloring and the palette. And I think it’s much more moody. And I think one of the things that’s most successful this year is the introduction of the Forsaken. I just think it’s just doubled up the jeopardy. The jeopardy has just intensified everything, and I think that’s a brilliant thing.
WotSeries: One last question. Again riffing off of the book versus show. Do you think in your understanding of the character, are there parts of Liandrin that still belong to the Light? Or is she fully with the Shadow?
Kate: My answer to this is I don’t think she knows what the Light is. I think she sees the light in a different way than other people see the light. She’s got different glasses on.
WotSeries: What was the motivation for that? And how did you embrace that to bring it to the screen?
Kate: That she’s a revolutionary. She sees a job that needs doing. She needs to change the establishment. She needs to change the way it’s run.
WotSeries: That’s all I have for questions for this. Thank you so much. This has been an amazing pleasure and an honor to speak with you. Anything you can tell us about season 3, to look forward to?
Kate: I’ve got some great wigs (laughs)!
WotSeries: Thank you so much!
All eight episodes of season 2 are available now on Prime Video. Go binge!