The Unusual Training Morfydd Clark Went Through To Play Galadriel In The Rings Of Power

Galadriel is one of the most fascinating characters in J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium. When we first meet her in "The Lord of the Rings," she is a wise, enigmatic, very powerful and beautiful queen that is as revered as she is feared. We know she is powerful because she resists the temptation of the One Ring, but we also see she is caring from the way she treats both the hobbits and even Gimli.

But there is so much more to her than the movie shows. Tolkien wrote and rewrote the history and lore of Middle-earth several times throughout his life, including revisiting both "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" several times before publication (and even after, in the case of the former). But when it came to Galadriel, he was particularly indecisive. 

At some points, Galadriel went from an explorer, to an ambitious queen, to a loving wife, to a mighty warrior that participated in the kinslaying that got the elves expelled from Valinor, to being one of the oldest and most noble of all elves. Tolkien really liked writing about Galadriel or at least making up new and cooler backstories just like that one guy in your D&D campaign that can't seem to settle on just one tragic backstory.

This takes us to "The Rings of Power," which presents a vastly different version of Galadriel than the one from the movies, but one that skews closer to what Tolkien envisioned Galadriel to be in the First and Second Ages, bridging the two versions through a single performance isn't easy to convey. It was definitely not a cakewalk for Morfydd Clark, who went through training that some would consider unusual better embody the future Lady of Lothlórien.

Exponsing oneself to horror

Speaking to Inverse, Morfydd Clark described wanting to get into not just the physicality of a warrior, but the mindset of one. Galadriel is meant to be strong and unflinching in the face of terror or death,  and that is not something easily replicated.

"My physical strength, or lack of, is a big part of me feeling frightened," Clark said. Her training included having all the stunt actors run at her while screaming without recoiling, which the actor described it as a "sort of exposure therapy" in learning not to flinch when facing orcs and other monsters. 

"I had to really work on not being the person who's attacked," Clark continued. "I couldn't stop flinching, because, in loads of my parts, I've been the victim. That was a really amazing thing to embody."

Well, it seems to have worked. Clark is one of the best parts of "The Rings of Power," and she perfectly embodies the rage, ambition, grief, and strength of Galadriel. She is an elf who is drowning in her resolve, constantly facing temptation, who will have to learn to become the calmer and more peaceful Galadriel from the film.

"The Rings of Power" excels at using foreknowledge to create a feeling of tragedy. The show knows the audience is at least somewhat familiar with what is going to happen, and they don't make any efforts to hide the horrors that are to come, from the rise of Sauron, the fate of Isildur and the fall of Men. That Galadriel is at the center of all this, a character who has seen unspeakable horrors since the beginning of time, only makes her appearance in the movies and her triumph over the One Ring's influence all the more powerful.

"The Rings of Power" is streaming on Prime Video.