Prime Video’s adaptation of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series has already introduced us to the on-screen versions of many major characters. In the fifth episode of the show, “Blood Calls Blood,” we meet one more—Loial, an Ogier played by Hammed Animashaun who holds a special place in many a WoT fan’s heart.
In an interview with Nerdist, showrunner Rafe Judkins shared how he and the rest of the creative team worked to bring Loial to life on the show.
“In the books, Rand meets Loial in a library at an Inn in Caemlyn,” Judkins told Nerdist via email. “So we actually mimicked that scene exactly by having him meet Loial in a library at an inn in Tar Valon (as we didn’t end up going to Caemlyn). A lot of the dialogue in their initial scene is pulled directly from the book as well and hopefully sets up the slow-aging, slow-moving culture of the Ogier.”
As for Loial’s look, Judkins had him with more human qualities than in the book, but thought the tradeoff of doing so was worth it.
“There were a couple of key things that went into the look for Loial,” Judkins explained. “The first was allowing our incredible MuFX [makeup and effects] designer, Nick Dudman (Harry Potter), to create a look that would not require VFX for Loial to be on screen. Loial is such an important character from the books, and at our budget level, having a fully VFX character in the show who’s in normal dialogue scenes with the rest of our group is not really possible. I wanted Loial to be someone we could incorporate as a core group member like he is in the books. Secondly, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, who directed block three, was hugely impactful in the Loial design as he first appeared in her episodes. Finding things that honored the Ogier look as written about in the books while simultaneously giving the actor the absolute maximum flexibility for performance.”
Judkins also had praise for Animashaun and said the whole team “knew instantly he was our Loial.” You can read more about Loial and why Judkins moved his introduction from Caemlyn to Tar Valon in the Nerdist article. You can also see Loial firsthand now, as the fifth episode is now available on Prime Video.