Robert Aramayo Turned To Obscure Lord Of The Rings Lore To Prepare For The Rings Of Power

"The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" is expanding what we thought we knew about Middle-earth. The TV adaptation of the appendices for "The Lord of the Rings" is telling an epic story of loss, corruption, fear, and the rise of evil on the land. It is showing us landscapes and places we have never seen before in a Tolkien adaptation, expanding on peoples and cultures that were underrepresented in the past, and capturing Tolkien's Catholic pessimism in the show's sense of impending doom.

One of the most fascinating characters in the show, despite its very large cast, is Elrond. Not yet the pinnacle of elven serenity from the movies, the Elrond we meet in "The Rings of Power" is an ambitious, hungry elf looking to prove himself and leave his mark on Middle-earth. And he has reason to be so hellbent on leaving a legacy when you consider where he comes from. Perhaps more than any other major character in the show, Elron's story is deeply steeped in lore and history, most of which we are not seeing in "The Rings of Power" because it belongs in the First Age

This is an era that is hugely important to Tolkien's legendarium, as the professor began working on it long before he started writing "The Lord of the Rings," and is pivotal to understanding the urgency and tragedy of the events of the Second Age we see unfold in "The Rings of Power." The myths, the sense of long history, the origin of the themes can all be found here. It is in this age that actor Robert Aramayo found what he needed to play lord Elrond.

You have to understand the past

Speaking to Collider, Aramayo talked about finding inspiration in the books set during the First Age. "I have a real passion, especially for First Age Tolkien, with 'The Silmarillion,' 'Fall of Gondolin,' 'Children of Húrin,' and 'Beren and Lúthien,'" Aramayo said, adding: 

"Those books were my bible. Elrond doesn't feature in the First Age, but if you're trying to determine something about his direct past, then you can find it in there. I think Tolkien's themes are so strong in his First Age work. You can learn a lot about what he intended in certain moments by looking at some of that work. That was always really useful."

Indeed, the key to Second Age's Elrond is in the First Age. As we've seen in the show, a big drive for the young half-elf is living up to the expectations set by his father's great deeds. Elrond's father, the legendary mariner Eärendil quite literally convinced the gods themselves to intervene in the war against Morgoth, and was rewarded by turning into an actual star. Meanwhile, Elrond's brother, Elros, founded the kingdom that would become Númenor. What has Elrond done in the meantime? Not much, to be honest! But he is surrounded by people who are trying to either rectify or at least surpass what was done in the previous age. Like Celebrimbor, whose goal is to try and make up for his ancestor Fëanor's sins, which doomed all elves, and to also surpass his ancestor's greatest creation: the Silmarils. 

Looking back, and looking ahead

This is something that separates "House of the Dragon" and "Rings of Power" as prequels to stories we know. Where the former is kind of distancing itself from the events of "Game of Thrones" even if it signals that it will eventually lead there, "Rings of Power" is constantly reminding you of its connection to "Lord of the Rings." More importantly, this show is also constantly saying that the events preceding this show are just as important to understand it, and the show is to understand "Lord of the Rings."

This harkens back to the book's version of Sam's speech from "The Two Towers" about the tales that really matter and how it is all connected. When recounting the tale of Beren and the Silmarils, Sam mentions Eärendil, and how some of the light from his star was passed down to Frodo by Galadriel. "Why, to think of it, we're in the same tale still! It's going on. Don't the great tales never end?" Sam asks Frodo, who then answers, "No, they never end as tales, but the people in them come, and go when their part's ended." In the case of Elrond, his story is one that started before he even became part of the story, and ends long after his part ends.

"The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" is streaming on Prime Video.