The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power will explore aspects of Middle-earth that haven’t been brought to the screen before, though there will be some familiar entrance points. Among these are the characters who loom large in J.R.R. Tolkien’s lore, including Elf leader Elrond, Dwarven Prince Durian IV, and Celebrimbor, the Elven craftsman who forges the titular Rings of Power.
At a recent Rings of Power press day, io9 got a chance to talk to the actors who portray these characters on the Prime Video show: Robert Aramayo (Elrond), Owain Arthur (Prince Durian IV), and Charles Edwards (Celebrimbor). As Arthur explained, though we’ve seen the Dwarves in the Peter Jackson films, the community and culture we see in the prequel series will be quite different.
“We see them in [underground kingdom] Khazad-dûm—the difference is that it’s alive and kicking and thriving. And they are really at the height of their being. You’ll see a lot of gold down there. But the main difference is that they exist,” Arthur said, noting that Dwarf culture will still maintain a bit of its mystique. “We’re very secretive, very insular. We kind of stay in the mountain and the rest of Middle-earth doesn’t know much about what happens down there. We trade with neighboring [Elf realm] Eregion...”
Aramayo jumped in. “There’s a scene where my character walks into Khazad-dûm for the first time and you get some flavors of the culture there. There’s Dwarves, I think, getting their hair cut, their beards cut. I think it’s a really great thing to see it at the peak of its decadence.”
“And at that time, it’s worth remembering that the relationship between Khazad-dûm and Eregion, Tolkien said it’s the best relationship that the between Dwarves and Elves has ever been. So that’s an interesting thing to add as well,” Edwards added.
Lord of the Rings movie fans will remember Hugo Weaving’s take on Elrond, but Aramayo is portraying a younger, more vulnerable version of the character. “He is young. He’s the youngest Elf that we see. And he’s right at the beginning of all of the events that are going to make him the Elrond that we understand him to be in the Third Age,” Aramayo said. “He’s curious about different people, about bringing people together. He’s dutiful to his king. But at the end of the day, he’s an orphan and he’s ‘other.’ He’s different. He’s half-Elven, which is a unique thing in Elven world. He’s just right at the beginning [of his life], really.”
As for Celebrimbor, he’s a unique character in that he’s both political figure and skilled artist. Edwards looked directly to Tolkien’s writing to help strike the right balance while shaping his portrayal.
“He’s a political figure in that he is Lord of Eregion and has many dealings, frequent dealings with his king. So there are a lot of whispered conversations behind trees going on between those two. Not that we see those, but that’s what goes on,” the actor said. “But in terms of the artistry, Tolkien gives us all of that. He gives us headlines for the characters that he mentions in the appendices for the Lord of the Rings, which is where we draw most of our material from for this show. For example, he tells us [Celebrimbor] was Lord of Eragion and he was the finest of all the jewelsmiths. That’s all you get. So that’s what you play. And he is a brilliant craftsman—you see him in his workshop! It’s always exciting for an actor when you [arrive on set] and find out where the art department has decided [your character] lives. And so all that—heads of departments, writers, directors, actor, everyone all feeds into the creation of a role.”
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power arrives September 2 on Prime Video.
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