LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 30: General atmosphere at “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” World Premiere at Odeon Luxe Leicester Square on August 30, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Prime Video)

Prime Video Hosts J.R.R. Tolkien Homecoming in London’s Leicester Square for the World Premiere of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Ahead of the September 2 Premiere

The highly anticipated Prime Video series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power honoured J.R.R. Tolkien by ending its epic global tour in the United Kingdom with its world premiere in London’s Leicester Square. Prime Video brought nearly 2,000 people—including cast, producers, and fans—into Middle-earth in advance of the series’ September 2 debut.

Members of the Tolkien family attend “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” World Premiere at Odeon Luxe Leicester Square on August 30, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for Prime Video)

The London premiere represented the final stop in the series’ five-city world tour that started in Los Angeles and included Mexico City, Mumbai, and New York City before culminating in Tuesday’s historic Leicester Square premiere.

Our lovely greendragon at “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” World Premiere at Odeon Luxe Leicester Square on August 30, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for Prime Video)

A fully immersive, Ring-shaped carpet took cast, crew, and guests on a narrative journey through five realms of Middle-earth, as they interacted with media and fans on their way into the Odeon Luxe and Cineworld in Leicester Square. The center of the 2,000-foot-long circular carpet was anchored by an exquisitely hand-crafted 40-foot-tall structure representing the five realms depicted in the series: The Elf capital of Lindon; the Dwarven realm of Khazad-dûm; the island kingdom of Númenor; the Southlands, the world of Man; and the Wilderlands, the home of the Harfoots. Five customized lanterns representing the five realms lit the way for cast down the carpet, each with different light sources: Fire and coal for the Dwarves, the Harfoots’ fireflies, Númenor’s oil lamps, the Southlanders’ caged candles, and Elven glow.

A living environment was created with a multitude of plants, grass, moss, vines, and 100 large-scale trees. A multilevel environment, mimicking the mountainous and hilly topography of the world, was created with various levels and vantage points, with greenery that will be repurposed or recycled following the event for future use.

Attending the global premiere were all 22 of the series’ cast regulars: Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur, Maxim Baldry, Nazanin Boniadi, Morfydd Clark, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Charles Edwards, Trystan Gravelle, Sir Lenny Henry, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Lloyd Owen, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers, Leon Wadham, Benjamin Walker, Daniel Weyman, and Sara Zwangobani.

Also attending the premiere were showrunners and executive producers J.D. Payne & Patrick McKay; executive producers Lindsey Weber and Callum Greene; directors Wayne Che Yip and Charlotte Brändström; writer and executive producer Justin Doble; series composer Bear McCreary; production designer Ramsey Avery; concept artist John Howe; supervising dialect coach Leith Mcpherson; and casting director Theo Park.

Amazon executives in attendance included Jeff Bezos, Founder & Executive Chairman; Jeff Blackburn, SVP Media & Entertainment; Mike Hopkins, SVP, Prime Video, MGM and Amazon Studios; Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios; Vernon Sanders, Head of Global Television, Amazon Studios; Albert Cheng, COO of Amazon Studios, among others. 

The first two episodes of the multi-season drama will launch on Prime Video in more than 240 countries and territories worldwide on Friday, September 2, with new episodes available weekly.

Is The Rings of Power drawing inspiration from Tolkien’s incomplete Fourth Age work, The New Shadow?

Upfront: I’m a big believer in Betteridge’s law of headlines. This maxim states that: any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word “no”. There’s every chance that “no” is the right answer to this lede.

Yet, the idea that Rings of Power — in its use of cults — could be cribbing ideas from Tolkien’s fragmentary Fourth Age story remains an alluring one that my mind keeps circling back to.

In part, it’s because of the creepy and unsettling power of that exchange between the as-yet-unidentified wild-eyed fellow and Theo in the trailer: “Have you heard of him, boy? Have you heard of Sauron?”

Have you heard of Sauron
“Have you heard of him, boy? Have you heard of Sauron?” SDCC Season 1 trailer.

What is The New Shadow?

The New Shadow is found in the final volume of The History of Middle-earth amongst a number of essays that Chris Tolkien classified as “Late Writings”. It’s actually quite slim, totalling only 13 pages in my edition — including CJRT’s page-and-a-half introduction and footnotes.

Much of it is a slow-moving philosophical meditation as the two characters — the aging but steadfast Borlas, and the youthful, but seemingly embittered and restless, Saelon — trade barbs about the “roots of Evil”.

Then, in the final few pages this key exchange occurs:

‘You have heard then the name?’ With hardly more than breath he formed it. ‘Of Herumor?’

Borlas looked at him with amazement and fear. His mouth made tremulous motions of speech, but no sound came from it.

‘I see that you have,’ said Saelon. ‘And you seem astonished to learn that I have heard it also. But you are not more astonished than I was to see that this name has reached you. For, as I say, I have keen eyes and ears, but yours are now dim even for daily use, and the matter has been kept as secret as cunning could contrive.’

The New Shadow, The Peoples of Middle-earth

Perhaps it’s mere coincidence. Yet the similarity to the dialogue from the teaser with what Tolkien wrote is startling. There’s also a strong parallel in the visual reaction of Theo and the written one of Borlas: surprise, trepidation, fear.

Who is recruiting whom?

Is Saelon recruiting to a dark cause? Is the wild-eyed crazy fellow in the trailer doing likewise?

While we shall eventually find out the answer to the latter, we’ll never know the answer to the first question for certain.

Saelon certainly seems fishy — and his later invitation to Borlas to attend a shady, night-time rendezvous to learn more about the mysterious Herumor contains the scent of deceit.

But Tolkien never continued the story.

Within his reasons for abandoning the tale are some illuminating nuggets — nuggets that are, I think, relevant to the reasons for Númenor’s ultimate fall, and what Rings of Power may be trying to achieve with its own Sauron cult(s).

Since we are dealing with Men it is inevitable that we should be concerned with the most regrettable feature of their nature: their quick satiety with good. So that the people of Gondor in times of peace, justice and prosperity, would become discontented and restless…

[and]

I found that even so early [after the death of Aragorn] there was an outcrop of revolutionary plots, about a centre of secret Satanistic religion; while Gondorian boys were playing at being Orcs and going round doing damage.

Letter #256, Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien

Discontented and restless: when enough is still not enough

This is the very essence of the Akallabêth tale.

The Dúnedain of Númenor want for nothing, and live long lives in peace and prosperity, yet it’s not enough. They grow increasingly unsatisfied with all that they already have. Then, by gradual steps, they “fall”: transforming from helpers in Middle-earth to colonial conquerors and ultimately embarking on a doomed rebellion against the powers of Valinor in a vain quest for immortality.

Sauron’s presence merely hastens a process that was already occurring. Remember that the White Tree in Armenelos — a metaphor for the spiritual well-being of Númenor — was already in decline during the reign of Ar-Pharazôn’s grandfather.

Restless folk “playing at orcs”

One wonders if that’s exactly what we’re looking at with the trio of dissatisfied-looking folk in white robes in the trailer: “discontented and restless” folk “playing at being Orcs”. Or as Tolkien further outlines in Letter #338: “owing to the (it seems) inevitable boredom of Men with the good: there would be secret societies practising dark cults, and ‘orc-cults’ among adolescents.”

The cultists are watching. SDCC Season 1 trailer.

If it looks like a cult…

Can we even be sure these people are part of a cult?

First there’s the implication from the dialogue that, more or less, accompanies those frames: “Evil does not sleep. It waits.”

Consider how that parallels the thrust of the very opening of The New Shadow:

‘Deep indeed run the roots of Evil,’ said Borlas, ‘and the black sap is strong in them. That tree will never be slain. Let men hew it as often as they may, it will thrust up shoots again as soon as they turn aside. Not even at the Feast of Felling should the axe be hung up on the wall!’

The New Shadow, The Peoples of Middle-earth

At a surface level, visual tropes further reinforce that assessment.

  1. Hooded robes. Because every cult needs robes.
  2. The staff and mirror. Every cult also needs its own hermetic symbology and gear.
  3. Scene composition. This suggests both insularity (and groupthink), and an unobserved surveillance of events (ie: panopticon-style powers).

None of these is individually conclusive; together, they are highly suggestive.

Yet there are aspects that depart from the stereotypical visuals that we might expect from a Sauron cult.

Visual oddities: white robes

In particular, Sauron’s minions never use white. In the Lord of the Rings, the Eye is always said to be red. The hand is referred to as the black hand.

‘S is for Sauron,’ said Gimli. ‘That is easy to read.’

‘Sauron does not use the Elf-runes.’

‘Neither does he use his right name, nor permit it to be spelt or spoken,’ said Aragorn. ‘And he does not use white. The Orcs in the service of Barad-dûr use the sign of the Red Eye.’

The Departure of Boromir, the Lord of the Rings

And:

He [Mouth of Sauron] it was that now rode out, and with him came only a small company of black-harnessed soldiery, and a single banner, black but bearing on it in red the Evil Eye [my emphasis].

The Black Gate Opens, The Lord of the Rings

And, in The New Shadow, Saelon suggests that Borlas should wear black robes when he extends an invitation to join one of Herumor’s secret meetings.

One might argue that these are all post-Akallabêth developments — after Sauron loses any ability to assume a fair-hue. In fact, Unfinished Tales describes how in Lindon “Gil-galad shut out Sauron’s emissaries and even Sauron himself”, indicating that Sauron used others to further his long deception of being an emissary of the Valar sent to aid the elves.

Those others would have to appear just as innocent as their master regardless of who they were approaching.

Still, white-robed cultists are a visual contradiction to our textual knowledge. Depending on your attitude to the production, that’s either puzzling or concerning.

Visual oddities: the sigil on the staff

The second conundrum is the design of the staff of the apparent leader of our trio of cultists. This design seems to employ the symbolism of an eye.

Peter Jackson’s iconic Eye of Sauron atop the highest spire of Barad-dûr.

Parallels with Peter Jackson’s “The Eye of Sauron” atop the two spires of Barad-dûr are obvious.

Why is this a problem?

Well, the Rings of Power production already seems to have settled on a different symbol for Sauron — the Númenorean rune (not an elf rune) that Galadriel finds embedded into an anvil in the Forodwaith.

The Rings of Power series designated “Sauron rune” in a long-disused anvil. SDCC Season 1 trailer.

One could refer back to Aragorn’s statement that “neither does he use his right name, nor permit it to be spelt or spoken”. But that’s trying to have it both ways: the rune barred to his minions, but white being okay.

Right now, I can’t readily reconcile this.

Cults and “magics” in Middle-earth

Still, between our wild-eyed fellow and Theo and the various appearances of white-robed and hooded individuals, the SDCC trailer feels determined to suggest a dangerous cult with nefarious purposes and uncanny powers.

A glance through the Legendarium reveals fertile ground for cults in Middle-earth.

The very beginning of Akallabêth states:

Men came into the world in the time of the Shadow of Morgoth, and they fell swiftly under his dominion; for he sent his emissaries among them, and they listened to his evil and cunning words, and they worshipped the Darkness and yet feared it.

Akallabêth, the Silmarillion

In The Lord of the Rings, Aragorn tells how the folk of Erech refused the summons of Isildur because they had “worshipped Sauron in the Dark Years”.

And, in outlining the origins of the Mouth of Sauron, The Lord of the Rings tells us of Black Númenoreans who “established their dwellings in Middle-earth during the years of Sauron’s domination, and they worshipped him, being enamoured of evil knowledge.”

A Rings of Power cult need not even be inspired by Sauron. In a 1958 letter Tolkien wrote of the Blue Wizards, guessing that they “were founders or beginners of secret cults and ‘magic’ traditions [my emphasis] that outlasted the fall of Sauron.” Something similar could explain the white robes — although such an explanation raises equivalent problems with the “cult leader’s” staff.

Plus, some of those followers are practitioners of dark art.

Mouth of Sauron is said to have learned “great sorcery” as he gained favour. Gandalf describes the Witch King of Angmar as a “great king and sorcerer… of old”, while The Peoples of Middle-Earth briefly describes not only that Sauron enslaved the spirits of some elves to his will, but that he taught the same necromancies to his followers.

Sauron’s black hand burns like fire. What of his minions? SDCC Season 1 trailer.

Now, this might not seem much like necromancy, but also recall that Sauron’s nature is one of fire and that, until he was seduced by Morgoth, he was a student and follower of Aule.

A final parallel with The New shadow

Returning to The New Shadow, there’s one final — if slight — parallel with Rings of Power. In one of the recent interviews at San Diego Comic-con, Tyroe Muhafidin observes about his character:

“We find Theo — he’s not the most happy-going guy; he’s not living in the greatest circumstances. He’s living in what you could call the slums. So he’s a bit angsty towards the world.

He finds something in the bottom of a barn, and there’s lot of secrets to it – and he’s dying to find out [them].”

Now, that’s not a life of prosperity. Theo is not driven by “boredom of Men with the good”.

But it does sound as though there’s a chip on Theo’s shoulder — and that’s something that is characteristic of Tolkien’s Saelon — embittered as he remains over being accused by Borlas of “Orcs’ work” after stealing fruit as a young child.

That may prove fertile ground for the creepy old guy in the trailer. Theo might not have previously been attracted, as Tolkien describes it in The New Shadow, to “tales of the Orcs and their doings”.

“I had not been interested till then. You turned my mind to them.”

BOOTNOTE

There is one other comparison with these cultists that I simply cannot overlook. But it’s not a Tolkien-based one — it’s one with Mervyn Peake, the famed author of the gothic masterwork, Gormenghast.

One of Mervyn Peake’s Steerpike sketches alongside a certain brodding Rings of Power cultist.

Peake was also an impressively talented sketch artist, and a friend pointed out that one of Peake’s sketches of his arch-villain Steerpike bears an uncanny resemblance to a certain cultist. Now, having seen it, I can’t get it out of my head.

Acknowledgements: Many thanks to all the Discord Reading Room mods for their feedback on this piece and especially DrNosy for the structural critique. GIF courtesy of the ever-talented WheatBix.

About the author: Staffer Demosthenes has been involved with TheOneRing.net since 2001, serving first as an Associate News Editor, then as Chief News Editor during the making of the Hobbit films. Now he focuses on features and analysis. The opinions in this article are his own and do not necessarily represent those of TheOneRing.net and other staff.

If you have a Tolkien/Middle-earth inspired poem you’d like to share, then send it to poetry@theonering.net. One poem per person may be submitted each month. Please make sure to proofread your work before sending it in. TheOneRing.net is not responsible for poems posting with spelling or grammatical errors.

The Rings of Power at San Diego Comic-Con created a tsunami of cast interviews, video snippets and press write-ups. Unfortunately, they’re scatered all across the internet.

So some of the fine folks on our Discord server have been working assiduously to collate everything for easy reference. Courtesy of their hard work, everything we can find in one place for your reading and viewing pleasure. Big thank-you to Tim B. Ranatuor, WheatBix and Amaurëanna for getting all these links together!

The Colbert-hosted panel

CBR also has a nice write-up on the Colbert-hosted panel if you just want the highlights or prefer to read than watch.

The Q&A session

Part 1 (hosted by Pat Oswalt)

Part 2 (hosted by Tiffany Smith)

Part 3 (hosted by Felicia Day)

Media interviews

Note: outlets are listed in alphabetical order to make it easier to find your fave rave.

Black Girl Nerds

Interviews with Leon Wadham (Kemen), Lloyd Owen (Elendil), Sophia Nomvete (Princess Disa), Morfydd Clark (Galadriel), Sara Zwangobani (Marigold), Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Tar-Míriel), Ismael Cruz Córdova (Arondir).

Collider

Group interview with Charlie Vickers (Halbrand), Markella Kavenagh (Elanor ‘Nori’ Brandyfoot), Dylan Smith (Largo Brandyfoot), Sophia Nomvete, (Princess Disa), and Tyroe Muhafidin (Theo).

DEADLINE

Tyroe Muhafidin (Theo) mixed-area short interview

Daniel Weyman (The Stranger) mixed-area short interview

Morfydd Clark (Galadriel) mixed-area short interview

Charlie Vickers (Halbrand) mixed-area short interview

Ismael Cruz Córdova (Arondir) mixed-area short interview

Nanzanin Boniadi (Bronwyn) mixed-area short interview

Maxim Baldry mixed-area short interview

Den of Geek

E! News

Nazanin Boniadi (Bronwyn) interview

Benjamin Walker (Gil-galad) interview

Morfydd Clark (Galadriel) interview

ET Canada

Morfydd Clark (Galadriel) interview

Benjamin Walker (Gil-galad) interview

Ismael Cruz Córdova (Arondir) interview

Robert Aramayo (Elrond) interview

Nanzanin Boniadi (Bronwyn) interview

Entertainment Weekly

Group 1 interview (actual interview starts at 6 mins 17 secs)

Group 2 (actual interview starts at 8 mins 20 secs)

Gamespot

Sophia Nomvete, (Princess Disa) short mixed-area interview

@gamespotdotcom In The Rings of Power, dwarven Princess Disa will have a beard! Watch here.

Key cast individually elevator pitch their characters

@gamespotdotcom Wondering who’s who in The Rings of Power? Let the cast explain. Watch here.

IGN

Group interview with Charles Edwards (Celebrimbor), Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Tar-Míriel), Ema Horvath (Eärien), Ismael Cruz Córdova (Arondir), Daniel Weyman (The Stranger), Maxim Baldry (Isildur), Robert Aramayo (Elrond), Trystan Gravelle (Pharazon), Megan Richards (Poppy Proudfellow), Sara Zwangobani (Marigold Brandyfoot), and Owain Arthur (Durin IV)

Group interview with Benjamin Walker (Gil-galad), Lloyd Owen (Elendil), Leon Wadham (Kemen), Morfydd Clark (Galadriel), Nazanin Boniadi (Bronwyn), Charlie Vickers (Halbrand), Markella Kavenagh (Elanor ‘Nori’ Brandyfoot), Dylan Smith (Largo Brandyfoot), Sophia Nomvete (Princess Disa), and Tyroe Muhafidin (Theo).

IMDB

Group interview with Nazanin Boniadi (Bronwyn), Markella Kavenagh (Elanor ‘Nori’ Brandyfoot), Ismael Cruz Cordova (Arondir), and Benjamin Walker (Gil-galad).

Click here to watch.

JoBlo Celebrity Interviews

Individual interviews with Benjamin Walker (Gil-galad), Dylan Smith (Largo Brandyfoot), Markella Kavenagh (Elanor ‘Nori’ Brandyfoot), Leon Wadham (Kemen), and Nazanin Boniadi (Bronwyn).

The LA Times

Behind-the-scenes at SDCC stuff (might be paywalled!)

‘I can’t believe we’re doing this!’ ‘Lord of the Rings’ stars drink in first Comic-Con

The Times tagged along with ‘Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’ stars Sara Zwangobani, Tyroe Muhafidin and Owain Arthur at San Diego Comic-Con.

“I have never experienced a Hall H and I’ve been wanting to come to Comic-Con my whole life,” said Sara Zwangobani while riding in a van to the San Diego Convention Center to take part in the Comic-Con 2022 panel for her upcoming show, “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.” “These are my people! I can’t believe we’re doing this right now.”

Full article and-behind the-scenes video here.

Photos: behind the scenes at Comic-Con with the cast of ‘Lord of the Rings’

LA Times photographer Jay Clendenin embedded in the Rings of Power group for Comic-Con. He captured a full range of images from life inside the Comic-Con bubble, from cast members’ morning glam routine to the mayhem of Hall H to the afterglow of a successful bow at the year’s biggest fan gathering.

Full photo-essay here.

MTV News

Group interviews with Markella Kavenagh (Elanor ‘Nori’ Brandyfoot), Tyroe Muhafidin (Theo), Charlie Vickers  (Halbrand), Dylan Smith (Largo Brandyfoot), Sophia Nomvete (Princess Disa),  Daniel Weyman (The Stranger), Ismael Cruz Cordova (Arondir), Ema Horvath (Eärien), Maxim Baldry (Isildur), Charles Edwards (Celebrimbor), Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Tar-Miriel), Trystan Gravelle (Pharazôn), Sara Zwangboni (Marigold Brandyfoot), Owain Arthur (Durin IV), and Megan Richards (Poppy Proudfellow).

Showbiz Junkies

Ema Horvath (Eärien) interview

Charles Vickers (Halbrand) interview

Tyroe Muhafidin (Theo) interview

Megan Richards (Poppy Proudfellow)

Owain Arthur (Durin IV)

Nazanin Boniadi (Bronwyn)

Benjamin Walker (Gil-galad)

Markella Kavanagh (Elanor ‘Nori’ Brandyfoot)

Sara Zwangobani (Marigold Brandyfoot)

TV Insider

Group interview with Markella Kavenagh (Elanor ‘Nori’ Brandyfoot), Tyroe Muhafidin (Theo), Charlie Vickers (Halbrand), Dylan Smith (Largo Brandyfoot), and Sophia Nomvete (Princess Disa).

Group interview with Morfydd Clark (Galadriel), Benjamin Walker (Gil-galad), Lloyd Owen (Elendil), Nazanin Boniadi (Bronwyn), and Leon Wadham (Kemen).

“The set of Númenór, which they’d built on the back lot, is absolutely extraordinary,” Owen said. Wadham, who has worked in the same New Zealand studio on other projects, added, “I thought I knew what I was walking into. I turn up, and there was a city with a wharf with boats in water on the backlot. It was transcendent.”

Watch the full interview here.

Variety

Charles Edwards (Celebrimbor) interview

Robert Aramayo (Elrond) interview

Daniel Weyman (The Stranger) interview

Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Tar-Míriel) interview

Markella Kavenagh (Elanor ‘Nori’ Brandyfoot) interview

Dylan Smith (Largo Brandyfoot) interview

Charles Vickers (Halbrand) interview

Maxim Baldry (Isildur) interview

Morfydd Clark (Galadriel) interview

Tyroe Muhafidin (Theo) interview

Sophia Nomvete (Princess Disa) interview

Nanzanin Boniadi (Bronwyn) interview

Yahoo News

‘Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power’ cast on how they bonded

Watch the interview here.

Transcript

– It is here, Galadriel, the moment we feared.

KEVIN POLOWY: So, huge cast, but you guys spent a year and a half together–

MARKELLA KAVENAGH: Yes.

KEVIN POLOWY: –shooting this in New Zealand. What kind of bonding experience was that? I mean, you hear stories from the original trilogy, the hobbits all got matching tattoos. Did you guys get matching tattoos, by the way?

MARKELLA KAVENAGH: I was really close to getting one. Not that I know of, I don’t think there are any, but I wouldn’t rule it out. I mean, we’ll see. We’ll see.

KEVIN POLOWY: But what was the bonding experience like among you guys?

MARKELLA KAVENAGH: Well, we lived– we lived so close together. We were there for nearly two years. And we’d have dinners together. We’d go around to people’s places. We had karaoke nights. It was really– we had to be each other’s friends, family, and colleagues in a time where we couldn’t get to each our actual real life friends and family and colleagues. So it was quite an experience. Really, really grateful for the camaraderie, for sure.

BENJAMIN WALKER: Because we were kind of stuck together in New Zealand, and I was there with my family, we became the home where everyone came and had Sunday lunch every Sunday. And when other people were away from their families, it was a way to kind of bond with your castmates, but also have that familial attention, and just feel like a person. So that’s an honor to do. I mean, they’re all nice people, and I enjoyed hosting.

NAZANIN BONLADI: To be in New Zealand– if you’re going to be stuck anywhere, let it be New Zealand. And we understand how blessed we are, because we, at one point were the only show in the world that was filming, because we were in the safe haven that was New Zealand at the time there was no COVID there. So we are very, very fortunate.

And because of the pandemic, the island was shut off from visitors. So we didn’t get to leave the Island or come back, you know, or have visitors. So basically we were stuck there for a good part of two years. And we had to lean on each other and depend on each other. So by default we became family. And, you know, and that’s what a fellowship is, is people who have to sort of support each other through an adventure.

TYROE MUHAFIDIN: Every Sunday we’d go for dinners and things like that, and we’d always socialize, because we were sort of the only people we had. And we were all really, really there for each other in times that we needed each other. And it was really great. I was actually quite lucky because under 18 I’m allowed a chaperone, so I brought my mother along with me. And she kind of ended up being everyone else’s mom.

MEGAN RICHARDS: We had to become, not just each other’s colleagues, but friends and family and support systems. And it really did ring true. I have such a love for this cast, and I really hold them deeply within my heart. And we would have, like, dinners together, where like, 20 of us would try and like, get a table, which is impossible in a restaurant. You know, just so many things like that. And, you know, we’d like, go on holidays together or we’d have, like, Sunday lunches. And, yeah, no, we were really, really close.

LEON WADHAM: Yeah, there’s a true fellowship, no question. So many people came from all over the world and spent a lot of time far from their homes to make this. And I think that encouraged a strong bond. They had to create a family. Whereas I am an Aucklander? I was shooting in my home. And I didn’t start until the midpoint because it took the first half of the shoot to build Numenor. So by the time I met everyone, they were already a family, and they invited me in.

BENJAMIN WALKER: This is going to be the most eclectic fellowship we’ve ever seen, right. It feels like the series is progressing, when it comes to ethnicity, when it comes to gender. I mean, how much of a sort of like point of pride was that for you guys, as creators of this series to sort of– to bring new faces and a new world into this world that’s created, that’s existed for so long, but we’ve never seen look quite like this?

CYNTHIA ADDAI-ROBINSON: It’s a huge point of pride. I mean, I think we’re talking about a global show and a global audience. This is now the reality. This is not about taking the narrow view. And, to me, this is about inviting people in and being expansive. And if you’re going to tell this story in 2022, this, to me, feels like the only way to tell it, the only way to represent it. And I think people are going to be really happy.

They’ve been hungry to sort of see full representation in this world. Because at the end of the day, this story is very much about people of all different backgrounds coming together for a common cause, to fight the common enemy, and that very much relates to where we’re at today. So that, to me, is just, like, the natural progression of things. It’s just what I would expect it to be.

MARKELLA KAVENAGH: It’s just, you know, really exciting to have– for it to be more representative of the world that we live in. And I just hope that the industry, not just our show, but the industry just continues to become more inclusive and representative of the world we live in. So I’m really grateful to be a part of that.

NAZANIN BONLADI: Every woman has agency on this show. Every female character has– is not there to serve the male characters around her. But every one of us has autonomy in our storylines. I am not only the mother of a rebellious teenage son or in a forbidden romance with an elf, the very handsome Ismael Cruz Cordova, but I also am a healer and a leader of sorts in my own right.

MEGAN RICHARDS: It’s just nice. It’s just such an inclusive atmosphere. And, I mean, I can’t even– I can’t wait for the time when that’s not even a question anymore, you know. Like, it’s just so nice that the modern world that we’re living in today, it really is reflected within in the world that Jodie and Patrick have created.

NAZANIN BONLADI: I never, in a million years, thought that I would be in something like this. And now we’re hoping that when people watch Arondir and Bronwyn fall in love on screen that they can see a Afro-Latino man and a Middle Eastern woman fall in love and have a love story, and be romantic leads, and in this genre. And that means the world to both of us, and all the people of– marginalized people in our cast.

KEVIN POLOWY: Despite, you know, “Rings of Power” taking place in the Tolkien universe, fantasy world long ago with creatures of all types, there’s a lot of themes that are going to be relevant to what is actually happening in the real world. Like, what can you say about that aspect? Like, what is it about the show that reminds you of the reality that we all live in?

CHARLIE VICKERS: We all live with. Well, I think that’s the beautiful thing about Tolkien is that the essence of his work, sort of will forever be related to what we go through, and what endures in human life. There are stories within the show that are stories of hope and stories of love and stories of loss, and the fight between good and bad. And I think that within this vast world of high fantasy, it’s these human stories that sort bring you in and really make you feel things when you watch the show.

BENJAMIN WALKER: There are a lot of connections you can draw between refugees or the climate crisis. But I don’t– that’s not the intention of the show. It’s just Tolkien. He understood the human experience in a deep way, and that translates into his work.

TYROE MUHAFIDIN: Just sort of those ideas of, like, family, friendship, you know, sticking with the people you know and you love, and no matter what goes on, they’re always going to be there for you.

LEON WADHAM: Certainly in Numenor there is a hunger for legacy at all costs. And I don’t know how much more I can reveal about that, but certainly ambitious to a fault is something that is said about the people of Numenor. They’re really proud. They have big dreams. They want to leave an imprint on this land before their time on Earth is over. And not everyone on that island knows where to draw the line.

– There can be no trust between hammer and rock. Eventually one or the other, or she’ll be back.

Nanzanin Boniadi (Bronwyn) interview

“The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” star Nazanin Boniadi teases what fans can expect in her character Bronwyn. May be geo-blocked depending on your location, but you can try watching it here!

Last night TheOneRing.net and Amazon Prime Video hosted a “Rings of Power” off-site party at San Diego Comic-con.

The setting was lovely and looked very Middle-earthy with trees growing inside the venue surrounded by moss, rocks, mushrooms, and even a few birds’ nests filled with eggssess, precious. Showrunner Patrick McKay joined the party, and TORN staffer Cliff “Quickbeam” Broadway talked Tolkien lore with him. Jed Brophy stopped by, too.

Golden Mallorn leaf tickets were given out at TORn’s Booth 1220 in the convention center for trivia answers. These ticket holders got to meet 20+ Rings of Power actors and have posters signed by them all. Five Middle-earth costume winners also got Mallorn tickets. Actual set-worn costumes were displayed throughout the venue, and immediately after the party, they were bubble wrapped and crated and flown back to the set.

Highlights of the food and drink that flowed throughout the evening were the blackberry sparkling cocktail and the mini poke ice cream cones surrounding a mountain from which smoke poured out.

An expanded trailer that does not disappoint was played in a separate room on loop.

It was a wonderful evening, and hopefully the first of many ”Rings of Power” parties. (Emmys party perhaps?)

#sandiegocomiccon2022 #amazonprimevideo #theoneringnet #lordoftherings #ringsofpower

Theo, played by Tyroe Muhafidin, has joined the list of characters now confirmed as denizens of the Second Age of Middle-earth in Prime Video’s upcoming Rings of Power series. Living with his mother, Bronwyn, in the village of Tirharad, we still know little about Theo’s story or character. We do know, though, that whatever is to come will be entwined with one of the more menacing weapons that Amazon has also revealed: a broken sword and possible family heirloom.

Tyroe Muhafidin as Theo. Credit: Ben Rothstein, Amazon Prime Video

We have seen this sword before, revealed in a series of hands-centric posters that Prime Video released in February. We are still left to speculate about the origin and nature of this broken heirloom – possibly marked by Black Speech – and how Theo and his mother come to possess it. Could this have been crafted by Sauron/Annatar during his seductive stay on Númenor? A remnant of a past migration of Black Númenoreans as they colonized Haradwaith to the south of Gondor? A family heirloom from an absent father, now consumed by a piece of jewelry more powerful than he bargained for?

Credit: Amazon Prime Video

With Theo’s arrival, we are beginning to see some facets of a fuller family in this branch of the storyline that the Rings of Power writers have been crafting. Bronwyn, played by Nazanin Boniadi, is a single mother and village healer, living in apparently rustic conditions with her son well to the south of more familiar Lord of the Rings landscapes. But we know there must be more, even without that broken sword. Bronwyn has a romantic connection with the Sylvan Elf Arondir, played by Ismael Cruz Córdova. (How does Theo feel about that?) And now we also know that Nazanin Boniadi can strike a classic “New Zealand is Middle-earth” pose with the best of our Second Age heroines.

Nazanin Boniadi as Bronwyn. Credit: Ben Rothstein, Amazon Prime Video

And again, we’re left with more questions than answers. Where is Bronwyn headed? Does her regal robe reveal that “village healer” is only a part of her story? Can we get some GPS coordinates for this shooting location? How many cosplay homages will this photo inspire?

Tyroe Muhafidin is a 16-year old Australian actor who has appeared in an array of short films and television series, including Dusk (2018) and Caravan (2019). This will be his first appearance in a major role.

Tyroe Muhafidin

Prime Video’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power brings to screens for the very first time the heroic legends of the fabled Second Age of Middle-earth’s history. The series will launch on September 2, 2022.