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Lan’s Costume Homages the Actor’s Korean Heritage


Daniel Henney says he pushed for the garb of The Wheel of Time’s Lan Mandragoran to reflect his Korean roots rather than a Japanese-inspired theme.

Daniel Henney, who plays Lan Mandragoran, bodyguard to protagonist Moiraine in Season 1 of Amazon Prime Video’s adaptation of The Wheel of Time, said in a recent interview that he was able to make his own unique contribution to the character’s fashion.

“Oh, for me, with the costuming, it was very important to me for Lan to have in his costume a Korean influence,” Henney told TV Guide. So I know that Isis [Mussenden], our costume designer, was playing around with the idea of making it quite Japanese in theme, and I understood that but it was very important to me that it looked more like a Korean hanbok. So a lot of the textures you’ll see in the way kind of fits Lan is very Korean inspired, and it’s a point of pride for me.”


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In Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson’s The Wheel of Time novels, Lan comes from the kingdom of Malkier, a fallen nation that lies along the northernmost reaches of the continent, along the border of the realms controlled by the Dark One, known as the Blight. Malkieri men, known as capable warriors, take on the sigil of a golden crane and often wear a braided leather cord around their heads known as a “hadori.” Their civilization appears to be inspired by a mixture of Japanese, Chinese and Nepalese culture.

Lan was first illustrated by fantasy painter Darrell K. Sweet on the cover of The Eye of the World, the first entry in The Wheel of Time series. There, Sweet gave the character a head covering reminiscent of a samurai’s kabuto helmet — an unusual choice that was also reflected in Lan’s appearance in the short-lived 1999 collectible card game based on The Wheel of Time. Later renditions of Lan, including one by Sweet for the cover of the prequel novel New Spring, have gone with a more accurate headband; Amazon’s rendition of The Wheel of Time has followed suit.

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Henny, who is of mixed Korean, American and British descent, previously made a name for himself acting in a number of South Korean dramas and films, notably 2004’s My Lovely Sam Soon and 2006’s Seducing Mr. Perfect. His first American film role saw him clashing with Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine as Agent Zero in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine. 

The Wheel of Time is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video, with new episodes airing Fridays. Production of Season 2 began in July while a release date has yet to be confirmed.

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Source: TV Guide

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