When The Rings of Power, the big-budget fantasy TV show based on Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings arrived on streaming, it was mired in fan apprehension. Taking place in the Second Age of Middle-earth, the show has managed the mammoth task of building new worlds and establishing some enigmatic characters over the course of five episodes. With each new development sparking wild theories, we have more questions than answers. The plot thickens, especially in the Númenor storyline where Elendil (Lloyd Owen), Isildur (Maxim Baldry) and Eärien (Ema Horvath) are caught up in some family drama.
In an exclusive interview with Filmfare, actors Lloyd Owen, Maxim Baldry and Ema Horvath opened up about their experience of filming for the Rings of Power.
The Rings of Power has all these big spectacles and sprawling storylines. What was your process of bringing your characters to life?
Maxim: We know the staple things he [Isildur] does throughout the works that Tolkien wrote. For the show, we were starting something from the beginning so it was lovely to explore something from the ground up and create the character that we already know. We meet him at a point where he’s grieving the death of his mother and he’s lost, he has an emptiness in him and he’s trying to fill it. The answer for him is not on the island of Númenor so he’s restless to get away.
Lloyd: That’s a really good question and I think people have also been asking this question about the pressure of what the fans are going to think because of just how many people love The Lord of the Rings and within the magnitude of that, the one important thing that we forget is that when you get on set, you’re performing the scene with your co-stars and we were desperately trying to tell the truth of the story and collectively trying to decide which story we were trying to tell and how we can tell it truthfully and honestly as possible. When you do that the magnitude of it disappears. It’s a simple yet complicated process of all that you’ve done as an actor which is trying to tell the truth at the moment as best as you can.
Ema: For me, my character is so proud of what her people have created and since the set was so practical – 90% of it was already built and it was easy to fall in love with the production design. for her [Eärien]she spends a lot of time looking down or out because everything she needs in her mind is around her and her brother is a bit more of a romantic.
Fan theories are a huge part of the experience, have you dabbled into any?
Lloyd: I listened to a lot of podcasts. The Tolkien Professor is one he’s been doing this for a long time and I’ve been following up. Another one is the Nerd of the Rings which is good too. But what you realize is that within the fandom and academia there are different theories because Tolkien wrote so much and he changed his mind a lot. So it’s very hard to find the things that are firmly set and there’s so much discussion. I think discussions around Lord of the Rings are going to be never-ending because Tolkien did n’t quite finish it, he did n’t finish his Legendarium. So it’s open to other minds and hands to have opinions about.
Maxim: I steer well clear of fan theories and going down the rabbit hole on the internet. But I love that there’s so much discussion around it and everyone has an opinion so it’s a lot of fun to talk about it.
Ema: Oh yeah, I saw one that said “Yeah, she’s going to be a Nazgul” and I thought “I like that!” Let me go whisper that in JD and Patrick’s ear”.