The Wheel of Time has a packed cast. In a series spanning over fourteen books, there are a lot of people involved, and as the Prime Video television show is only in its second season, there are still plenty more characters to come who have yet to be introduced.
The series has so far only covered the first three books, and Season 3 will depict the fourth book, The Shadows Rising. And if the end of Season 2 is any indication, things are about to get a lot more interesting for our many main characters.
One of the notable reveals of Season 2 is the real identity of Selene, Rand’s lover and landlord. Despite their romantic relationship, Rand knows little about Selene and her background, or her intentions toward him. It’s not until Episode 4 of Season 2 that we learn Selene is actually Lanfear, a member of the Forsaken.
For viewers who haven’t read The Wheel of Time book series, it may not be immediately clear who Lanfear is, or what her introduction means for the characters. And although the show will of course show us more about who she is and her what her eventual impact will be, there’s no shame in wanting to know more about the complex world author Robert Jordan built with his book series, which so far the television show has only scratched the surface of.
Here’s everything you need to know about Lanfear, formerly known as Selene, and what the character means to the greater story in The Wheel of Time.
Who is Lanfear in The Wheel of Time?
Lanfear (no longer known as Selene) is a member of the thirteen Forsaken. The Forsaken are a group of ancient channelers who serve the Dark One, the root of evil in The Wheel of Time universe.
Before becoming one of the Forsaken, she was the lover of the previous incarnation of the Dragon, Lewin Therin Telamon. They met at the university Collam Daan, where Lanfear (then known as Mierin) was a student and later researcher.
Along with other researchers, Mierin discovered a mysterious energy source with the potential to be wielded by both men and women. When the researchers attempted to tunnel a hole toward the energy, they realized it actually was the location of the Dark One’s prison. The hole they created, known as the Bore, didn’t release the Dark One, but made it possible for him to influence the world.
Eventually, Mierin become Lanfear and pledged herself to the Dark One to increase her power and potentially win back Lewin’s affection. She then attempted to turn Lewin toward a darker path, rather than a more heroic one.
Her efforts failed, however, and Lewin sealed her away in the Bore along with the other Forsaken. Later, when she was released, she decided to seek out the reincarnation of the Dragon, Rand, and seduce him in another attempt to turn the Dragon evil. While Lanfear as Selene ingratiated herself with Rand, she also managed to keep her real identity hidden. It isn’t until halfway through Season 2 that Selene’s real intentions come to light.
The books spell out the rest of her fate, but we’ll stop there and avoid spoiling too much too early. All you need to know for now is she’s a major temptation for Rand to be in league the Dark One.
Who Plays Lanfear in The Wheel of Time?
Lanfear is played by Natasha O’Keeffe. The British actress has been working since 2010, and her most well-known appearance is in Peaky Blinders, where she played Lizzie Shelby.
As The Wheel of Time continues, we’re definitely going to see more of O’Keeffe, whose role as Lanfear will constitute one of the major villains in the show.
Milan Polk is an Editorial Assistant for Men’s Health who specializes in entertainment and lifestyle reporting, and has worked for New York Magazine’s Vulture and Chicago Tribune.