Before anyone had gotten a glimpse of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, it became well-known that the Prime Video series had a staggeringly huge budget. Now that the show’s almost here, it’s clear where a lot of that money went: creating an incredibly detailed world that brings Middle-Earth to life on screen.
It’ll be quite the spectacle for audiences once Rings of Power premieres in a few weeks, as the actors in the huge ensemble who were literally immersed in the series’ lavish world-building can attest. At a recent Prime Video press day, io9 asked Charlie Vickers (who plays Halbrand, a human character created for the series) and Trystan Gravelle (Pharazôn, King of Númenor) what it was like being there in person.
“It was overwhelming at times because everything’s fully interactive,” Vickers said. “For the set in Númenor, we sailed a boat into a harbor and they built a harbor for us to sail the boat into. And then we got off the harbor and walked into the city. That was really, really amazing.”
Gravelle agreed. “It was a real immersive experience. When you were walking through the marketplace, there was the hustle and bustle and the incense burning, and people with all the fruit and the fish markets and everything. It was an incredible experience. It was no imagination required. It was all there for you. You were in that world,” he said. “I think Númenor was like an incredible town center that you walked into as if you’d love to live there, but you might not be able to afford the rent. You know, it’s a pretty happy place.”
On a show filled with fantastical elements and even more fantastical creatures, Vickers and Gravelle are both playing humans. Still, Vickers thinks Halbrand brings an important point of view to the story. “Hal’s from the Southlands. They’re very humble,” he told us. “They’re living in a society that doesn’t have much technology. It’s because of their ancestors, they basically fought on the wrong side of the war and they’re being punished. They’re being ruled by the Elves. So it’s a really simple, hard life in the Southlands, actually. I think it brings another dimension to a world that is in a lot of places—in Lindon, in Númenor—a world that’s full of riches. So it creates a scope within Middle-earth.”
While Númenor has long been an important part of Lord of the Rings lore, Rings of Power will be the first time we see it really come to life, something that Gravelle is extremely jazzed to be a part of. “It was a huge honor. And I’m bursting with pride, to be quite honest,” he said. “I’m always full of a nervous energy every time we mention it, or every time I walk past a poster or see something about it. It was an incredible honor.”
Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power premieres September 2 on Prime Video.
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