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The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Stars Explain the Schism Forming on Numenor

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, which takes place in The Second Age of Middle-earth, will have the first chance to display Nmenor, the vast island kingdom of Men that had sunk into the water by the time of The Third Age. Nmenor wasn’t visited during the first two episodes of the series, but the way Galadriel and Halbrand’s story concluded in episode two makes it seem as though the third episode of the show will take place there. When viewers first arrive in Nmenor, the country is on the verge of a cultural split. The scene was explained to ComicBook.com by Lloyd Owen, who plays Elendil, the future King of Men who would face Sauron head-to-head in the decisive battle of the War of the Last Alliance.

Owen asserts that Nmenor is at a turning point when we first see it. The older Nmenor, which is pursuing a type of nationalism and believes they are becoming more powerful than elves, is more devoted to the Faithful and the elf ways, and this is the beginning of a divide in society. Undoubtedly, there is envy toward the elves’ immortality, and this is what is causing change in Nmenor. Thus, Elendl is in the situation of having to raise these distraught adult children when we first meet him in the series. He has been widowed. and handle his own sorrow. It makes sense for him to have relocated to Nmenor, the region’s capital, from the western coasts in search of emotional solace. But he gradually becomes dragged into Nmenor politics and the hubbub of the court, which is embodied by Pharazôn and Miriel, and he does so against his will. And it taps into the gap between his heart and his head that exists within him. which is very Tolkien in, as far as I can see, that somehow he knows what he should do and knows what he must do and knows what he’s trying not to do. And indeed that polarization that’s coming in society ends up being represented in his actual family with his children.”

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Stars Explain the Schism Forming on Numenor
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Stars Explain the Schism Forming on Numenor

Elendil’s opposite is Pharazôn, played by Trystan Gravelle. Gravelle dug deep into Pharazôn’s character speaking with ComicBook.com previously. Here, he discussed Pharazôn’s relationship with Elendil.

“They are opposite sides of the coin as far as the cultural schism in Numenor,” Gravelle says. “You have the Faithful and you have the King’s Men and Elendil is part of the Faithful and I am the King’s Men. So obviously we’re not going to see eye to eye on certain things. How Numenor moves forward because that becomes before all else, that’s going to be the interesting thing and how we get to that point where we can move push forward from that because obviously there are differences and they are now coming to a head.”

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Stars Explain

At the center of this political tug-of-war is Queen-Regent Miriel, played by Cynthia Addai-Robinson, who is handling the day-to-day of ruling Númenor on behalf of her father the king, who has taken ill. “I think what’s great in terms of getting the opportunity to portray Queen-Regent Miriel and where we meet her is this is a person that it’s going to be a very active character in an active storyline as opposed to things are happening to her and she just happens to be there,” Addai-Robinson says. “In the context of Númenor and at this stage in the game, she’s the queen-regent, so that right there gives you some information.

“I don’t want to give too much away. It’s the kind of thing where I want to speak on it so badly because I know what happens. But diplomatically, I would just say that when we meet her, she’s the queen regent. She is just at this stage trying to maintain peace and stability in the land.”

But beyond the politics, both Pharazôn and Elendil are raising families on Númenor, including some children created for the show. This includes Pharazôn’s son, Kemen, played by Leon Wadham.

“Pharazôn is a beloved political figure,” Wadham says. “He casts a long shadow on the island and I look up to him, I want to become this man, but I don’t think I understand what that means, I just like the look of it. I mean, Pharazôn has lived a lot longer. He’s seen some stuff whereas Kemen has only really known comfort and has never really considered that the status quo could change or that it might take some work to either advance our position or keep us where we are. But as things start to shift on the island, Kemen realizes quite quickly that he can’t just coast forever. He’s going to have to decide what he cares about, decide what matters to him and fight for it.”

Elendil has a larger family which is, as Owen mentioned, reeling from the loss of Elendil’s wife. Ema Hovarth, who plays a new character, Elendil’s daughter Eärien, explained the situation.

“The family’s kind of fractured when you meet them,” she says. “Our mother has just died, so we’re all kind of dealing in her own way with that grief. The middle brother, Anárion, has run off to the western side of the island and Isildur is kind of toying with that idea as well. And Elendil, my father, and I. are the only two trying to keep the family together.”

She continues, “When you watch the films, you only see this very famous moment where my brother does something very naughty and this is you get to see him before that when he’s a young adult and he’s sort of navigating the world and you see his home life, which is warm and there’s friction like there is in any family. It’s a very interesting time politically on Numenor. Our family does serve as kind of a sort of microcosm of some of the differences in opinion that end up playing out later on in the story.”

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Maxim Baldry plays Isildur, who will later cut the One Ring from Sauron’s hand but fail to destroy it. “You see him grow up,” Baldry says of how The Rings of Power presents Isildur. “He’s on the cusp of adulthood, and he is kind of lost in Númenor, and he is, on one hand, wanting to fulfill his father’s dream. But also there’s this other world out there that he wants to find, and he’s a little bit reckless and rebellious in the way that all young people are, in a way. So you’ll see a relatable character, you’ll see a relatable Isildur, one that you don’t really hate and you’re not ashamed of, but one that you, hopefully, kind of fall in love with. It’s just such a privilege to play a kind of canon character who connects the Second and Third Age together.”

The first two episodes of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power are streaming now on Prime Video. New episodes debut Fridays on Prime Video.

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