Actor Marcus Rutherford, who plays Perrin in Prime Video’s The Wheel of Time, recently detailed what viewers can expect for the character in the show’s second season.
Rutherford appeared alongside Donal Finn, who takes on the role of Matrim Cauthon, and Ceara Coveney, who plays Elayne Trakand in an interview with ScreenRant.
He was asked by Owen Danoff, “To me Perrin’s character in the books is kind of defined by his struggle to accept all the different sides of his nature. Is that something you felt was a big part of his story this season?”
Rutherford responded, “No, I think what’s really lovely about season two is the characters are kind of split up, and I think, in particular, Perrin is kind of by himself quite a lot of the time and kind of introduced to a lot of different characters.”
“And I think some of them kind of introduce and expose kind of new abilities that he has and new kind of powers and this kind of connection that he has with these kind of animals,” he added.
Rutherford continued, “And then I think other characters that he meets later in the season kind of exposes thoughts and philosophies around violence and warfare. And he has to really question is it something that he can even avoid? Is it something that’s kind of inevitable in the Wheel of Time or something that’s kind of naturally within him?”
“I think it’s really lovely in season two to kind of really delve into these characters a bit more,” he stated. “I think in season one he was just grieving quite a lot and just sort of crying in the corner. So I think it was quite nice to, yeah, explore the character a bit more in season two.”
The characterization of Perrin in the series’ first season was highly criticized by novelist Brandon Sanderson, who helped complete The Wheel of Time series after author Robert Jordan passed away in 2007. Sanderson penned The Gathering Storm, Towers of Midnight, and A Memory of Light based on Jordan’s extensive notes.
Sanderson originally criticized showrunner Rafe Judkin’s decision to have Perrin kill his first wife, a plot point first exclusively revealed by Bounding Into Comics back in February 2020. In a blog post on his website, Sanderson explained his distaste for the decision, “Biggest thing he and I disagreed on was Perrin’s wife. I realize that there is a good opportunity here for Perrin to be shown with rage issues, and to be afraid of the potential beast inside of him. I liked that idea, but didn’t like it being a wife for multiple reasons.”
Sanderson elaborated, “First off, it feels a lot like the disposable wife trope (AKA Woman in the Fridge.) Beyond that, I think the trauma of having killed your wife is so huge, the story this is telling can’t realistically deal with it in a way that is responsible. Perrin killing his wife then going off on an adventure really bothers me, even still.”
“I have faith that the writers won’t treat it lightly, but still. That kind of trauma, dealt with realistically and responsibly, is really difficult for an adventure series to deal with,” he wrote.
After sharing that he suggested the show have Perrin kill off Master Luhhan instead of giving him wife and having him kill her, Sanderson asserted, “One thing I don’t want this WoT adaptation to try to do is lean into being a tonal Game of Thrones replacement–IE, I don’t want to lean into the “Grimdark” ideas. Killing Perrin’s wife felt edgy just to be edgy.”
Sanderson would later come back to Perrin’s characterization as one of the main points he found objectionable. In his State of the Sanderson 2021 blog post, Sanderson wrote, “I don’t agree with all of the decisions made in the creation (and it includes some content that I find objectionable). However, I do like the team working on it, and I feel they’ve listened to my voice as I’ve advocated for a lot of things behind the scenes.”
When a user on Reddit questioned what Sanderson might have found objectionable in the show, he replied, “Mostly Perrin. Objectionable might not be the right term here.”
He added, “Also, the gore has been a little over the top in places. Not to give spoilers, but there are several later scenes that made my wife pretty nauseous. I wouldn’t, for example, show the show to any of my kids–and I let them play Doom Eternal. (Granted, that gore is cartoony and over the top on purpose.)”
“But that’s a smaller issue,” Sanderson concluded. “I think the team is doing a great job in general, but I do wish it weren’t trying quite so hard to be grim and dour.”
The second season of The Wheel of Time sees “threats new and and very old seek out the young friends from the Two Rivers, now scattered over the world. The woman who found and guided them is now powerless to help, and so they must find other sources of strength. In each other, or themselves. In the Light … or the Dark.”
The second season arrives on Prime Video on September 1st.
What do you make of Rutherford’s comments on what viewers can expect out of Perrin for the show’s second season?