The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Episode 2 ends with a cliffhanger for Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) and new buddy Halbrand (Charlie Vickers). The AWOL elf and shipwrecked Southlander have been discovered by a mysterious figure on a grand ship. Who could this person be? Well, our best bet is that this sailor is probably one of the mythic NÃºmenoreans and that The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Episode 3 will finally introduce us to the place some folks call J.R.R. Tolkien‘s version of Atlantis.
Ever since Prime Video announced that their Lord of the Rings show would take place in the Second Age, Tolkien fans have known that two major events could be tackled. We’d see the forging of the rings of power and the One Ring, aka the events that Cate Blanchett’s Galadriel narrates for us in the opening sequence of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. And if fans were lucky, the Prime Video Lord of the Rings show would also take us to NÃºmenor in its heyday right before the utopian civilization’s ruin.
But what exactly is NÃºmenor and who are the NÃºmenoreans?Â Let’s break it down ahead of the NÃºmenoreans’ big debut in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Episode 3…
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: What is NÃºmenor and Who are the NÃºmenoreans?
NÃºmenor is a star-shaped island that was settled by a race of men known to the elves as the DÃºnedain. Unlike the despised folks of the Southlands who sided with Sauron’s old boss Morgoth in the First Age, these men sided with the elves. The DÃºnedain have a mix of elf and human blood, meaning they live longer than ordinary men, but do eventually die.
The first king of NÃºmenor was Elros, Elrond’s brother who chose to live as a mortal human and not an elf. He became the first king of NÃºmenor ruled over a peaceful, prosperous kingdom. However as time went on and the NÃºmenoreans became more powerful, two factions emerged. The Faithful were NÃºmenoreans who wanted to stay friendly, even deferential to the elves; The King’s Men wanted to split from the elves and to forge a new path for mankind. Specifically, King’s Men â called so because they cast their loyalties with the King of NÃºmenor over the elves â covet the elves’ immortality.
“There’s a jealousy, I think, towards elvish culture,” The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power star Trystan Gravelle told Decider. “I mean, because there’s a race of people who are very similar to you, who can live forever…I guess a sense of, ‘Are we second class citizens in Middle-earth? Should we go our own way and celebrate what we are? Rather than follow suit and feel inferior?’”
SoÂ who are the NÃºmenorean characters in Rings of Power?Â
Meet the NÃºmenorean Characters in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: MÃriel, Elendil, Isildur, and More
Wish The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power had even more characters? Well, good news! There are six main cast members we haven’t met yet because they’re all NÃºmenoreans!
Cynthia Addai-Robinson as Queen Regent MÃriel, the current ruler of NÃºmenor. You’ve seen her in ads conferring with Galadriel, which makes sense. In Tolkien’s writing, she is a member of the Faithful and likes the elves.
Trystan Gravelle as PharazÃ´n, MÃriel’s cousin who is the Chancellor of NÃºmenor and the leader of the King’s Men. Naturally you can sense a stand off coming between the two leaders, which is what happens in Tolkien’s work!
Leon Wadham as Kemen, an original character created for the series. Kemen is PharazÃ´n’s son and Wadham told Decider that his character is eager to follow his dad into politics. “He has grown up in a golden age. He has grown up in a very privileged echelon of society. He’s been very comfortable his entire existence, and that is setting him apart from a lot of other characters you meet in the show. A lot of people who’ve spent centuries establishing their legacy, fighting what they believe in, who have seen a lot of hardship, and have forged their identity through those struggles,” Wadham said. “Kemen has not had to do any of that yet. He’s lived a very cushy life and has enjoyed every second of it.”
Lloyd Owen as Elendil, a name that might sound familiar to fans of the Peter Jackson films. After the fall of NÃºmenor, Elendil goes to Middle-earth and is part of the last alliance between men and elves to defeat Sauron at the end of the Second Age. He fights alongside Elrond and is killed by Sauron in battle. Elendil’s sword, Narsil, is smashed and the broken hilt picked up by Elendil’s son…
“There’s quite an emotional attachment to the man because of that hero moment,” actor Lloyd Owen told Decider, “but what we get to do is open him up to who he is…I look forward to showing a three dimensional character in Elendil. And hopefully, now that we just get to understand what his heart sounds like.”
Maxim Baldry as Isildur, Elendil’s son who will eventually be the one to defeat Sauron. (I do not consider this a spoiler! You’ve already seen this happen at the start of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. And it is Isildur who does not cast the One Ring into the fires of Mount Doom at Elrond’s behest. He is THAT guy!)
However, the Isildur we’ll meet will just be a sailor, still mourning for his recently deceased mother, leaning on his sister.
Ema Horvath as EÃ¤rien, another original character for the series. She is Elendil’s daughter and Isildur’s younger sister. EÃ¤rien dreams of being an architect and actress Ema Horvath said, “Her mother was an artist, too, and she has a little sketchbook that Daniel Reeve did. All the drawings and the notes and and some of her mother’s drawings are in there and they have an elvish influence. And her influences are far more angular and newer.”
Hmm…sounds like EÃ¤rien might not be as Faithful as we’d expect the daughter of Elendil to be…
Which NÃºmenoreans Are Faithful and Which are King’s Men When The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Begins?
When we arrive in NÃºmenor, the characters are going to find themselves divided into the two aforementioned camps: the Faithful and the King’s Men. Tolkien readers might assume that MÃriel is a leader of the Faithful and PharazÃ´n is a King’s Man, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s where these characters will land in the Prime Video show. In fact, Tolkien fans might be a little surprised by where on the NÃºmenorean political spectrum the rest of the characters find themselves when we first meet them in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.
Leon Wadham said that Kemen, PharazÃ´n’s son, was a “King’s Man, staunchly,” but Ema Horvath said she wanted to be “a little more coy” about EÃ¤rien’s leanings.
“She hasn’t really thought about those deep political philosophical questions yet,” Horvath said. “But I think over the course of the season, a few things happen that sort of force her one way.”
“Which way?” Maxim Baldry asked, like a teasing brother.
“Eh…” Horvath replied with a nervous laugh.
You would assume that Elendil would be Faithful, but Lloyd Owen said the reality is more “fascinatingly complex.”
“Because of being widowed and having come from the west where the Faithful lives, he’s made a move into the capital city with his children to try and recover as they will grieve,” Owen said. “The grief has essentially pushed him away from the the old Faithful ways because they celebrate death in the sense that that’s the Gift of IlÃºvatar, to die. So even though it’s a sad moment, there’s something positive and I think he cannot find the positive in it.”
“He’s pulled between those two polar positions within society, between King’s Men and Faithful. And it’s a battle between his head and his heart. He knows that his head pragmatically tells him to stay safe, keep the family safe and stay away from the politics of it. His heart gets him pulled in and he gets sucked into that political turbulence.”
After that long answer, Maxim Baldry bluntly identified Isildur as “Faithful.”
“He usually does that when dad talks too much,” Owen joked.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Episode 3 will premiere on Prime Video on September 9, midnight ET.
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