The Wheel of Time Star Josha Stradowski Reflects on His Character’s Heroism


In the tradition of Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit, Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, and even Harry Potter, Rand al’Thor in The Wheel of Time is on a captivating and classic hero’s journey. Appealingly portrayed by Josha Stradowski (Gran Turismo), Rand continues his quest in the show’s second season after a successful first. Based on the bestselling fantasy novels written by Robert Jordan (and finished by Brandon Sanderson after Jordan’s death in 2007), with over 90 million copies sold, the setup of The Wheel of Time adaptation is rooted in the prophecy that “The Dragon Reborn” will return and either save or break the world.

For that reason, the identity search is on and was the focal point of season one, with everyone hoping to find The Dragon Reborn. Enter Rosamund Pike in the role of Moiraine as she champions the search with the support of her companion, Lan, and an all-female group of sorcerers called “The Aes Sedai.” The women collectively band together, with shared access to the “One Power” and magic, and are all determined to work toward finding the “Dragon Reborn” in order to protect the wheel and the world from the “Dark One.”

After a sudden Trollocs attack nearly destroys their village, Moiraine tells Rand and his friends that they must leave with her or the next attack will be completely destructive. The end of season one revealed that The Dragon Reborn was, in fact, Rand. Until then, he was seemingly just a shepherd living among his commoner friends.

When Rand learned the truth about who he is and faced the weight of the prophecy on his life — that he could either save or destroy the world — he made a remarkable and shocking decision to avoid the Dark One’s wrath. And so season two begins…

Rand’s Heroic Journey

In classic story structure, the hero’s journey begins when the main character’s life is suddenly jolted from normalcy, and they are unexpectedly propelled into a new adventure with an imminent threat of peril. Their story is laced with challenges of physical or mental strength, or both, and often a test of moral character where, in the end, the hero has learned something about life and so has the reader or viewer.

Readers or viewers connect with the hero and root for their survival often against insurmountable odds, because the hero is usually relatable in some way. This can also be true for actors cheering on the characters in which they play. For example, the very actor who plays Rand, Josha Stradowski, has gone on a bit of a hero’s journey himself. Stradowski sat down with MovieWeb for an exclusive interview to discuss the parallel of Rand and the new normal in his own life.

When he was just a kid, Stradowski, who is of Dutch descent, started acting in musical theater productions before going on to graduate from the AHK Theatre School in Amsterdam with a Bachelor’s degree in acting in 2018. That same year, he received a “Shooting Star” award at the Subtitle Film Festival. After years of performing in television, film, and theater productions, he spent two years filming the first season of The Wheel of Time. Stradowski’s entire life shifted and soared into the stratosphere after that.

Related: 20 Movies and TV Shows You May Have Not Known Are Adaptations of Classic Literature

When comparing the magnitude of his own life performing in a series that is streaming and well-received by fans in over 200 countries, to Rand’s sudden responsibility in The Wheel of Time, Stradowski said, “I guess when I started the Wheel of Time I did feel a big responsibility. Now, I feel that for season two as well. Just as Rand is also feeling so much responsibility, I think that his journey and my life are in some ways very similar.”

Stradowski, who is noticeably thoughtful and grounded in conversation, was certain to also clarify as he continued, “I can’t say that it’s the same, my life and Rand’s, however. His journey of saving the world is bigger, and it’s even bigger than Rand. It’s bigger than life.”

A Hero’s Humility

Josha Stradowski
Josha Stradowski

At the end of season one, Rand initially thought he had defeated “The Dark One,” but was soon weighted with the reality of being “The Dragon Reborn” and a rare male channeler; he knew that he could, prophetically, end up destroying the world or saving it. He felt compelled to make a drastic decision by fleeing and faking his own death.

Now, season two picks up with Rand a bit out of sorts, fighting nightmares, engaged in a casual relationship, and living in the city of Cairhien away from all of his friends. All of this is an act of intentional sacrifice to protect the place and the people he cares about from the relentless pursuit of “The Dark One” as a result of his presence. With his absence, Rand believes things will now simmer down.

Related:The Wheel of Time’s Rosamund Pike and Daniel Henney on the Biggest Twists of Season 2

During the interview, Stradowski noted the heroism of Rand’s character in this regard as well. “It’s very admirable that Rand is so self-sacrificing. I feel that his choice is also quite rare.”

Reflecting on why that makes Rand significantly different from the reality of the world, he added. “Nowadays, in real life, it’s more common to be self-centered.”

To have such a character in a fantasy show that does everything he can, even selflessly, to protect others is, to me, very beautiful to see.

On whether he could make such a choice in his own life, in his signature humble tone, Stradowski offered, “I guess what it is, is that, although I feel the same responsibility in some ways as Rand, it’s ultimately more that I really admire him. I can learn from him as well.”

Season two of The Wheel of Time is now streaming on Prime Video with new episodes weekly.

Source link

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.