The Rings Of Power Had A Bird Poop Overseer To Help Make Númenor Feel Real [Exclusive]

As what is likely the most expensive TV show in the history of the medium, it makes sense that "Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" would have a vast and varied crew. From visuals to set design to stunts and beyond, the series has all of the departments any other big-budget project might have and then some. It even, apparently, has a bird poop manager.

You read that right: according to Cynthia Addai-Robinson, who plays the Númenorian Queen-Regent Míriel in the series, the set for one of Middle-earth's historically significant cities featured a whole host of design details that viewers might not immediately clock — including some artfully placed bird droppings. This week, the actor spoke to /Film's Jenna Busch about the series' impressive sets, including a fully realized vision of Númenor on the brink of major change.

"You have a society that is essentially at this crossroads, and so you have these traditional elements," she says, continuing, "Elements that are almost crumbling, or graffiti that's been painted over, attempts at modernization on top of older parts of the city. And you see that in real life." The actress describes a landscape of "heritage buildings potentially being encroached on by modern condos," and the push and pulls between innovation and tradition that marks the city's visuals.

She also describes an on-set experience of Númenor at a crossroads that was very immersive, down to the clutter and mess. "When you would walk down some of these alleyways and literally see that in the design, just that patina, really, just the crumbliness," Addai-Robinson says. "Somebody said there was even a person who's responsible for bird poop, which I heard somebody else mention that and I was like, 'Oh, I guess I wasn't looking out for that.'"

Someone has to be on (prop) poop watch

While there's obviously no one in the series' credits with the title of "Bird Poop Overseer," the series' set decoration is overseen by Megan Vertelle and Victor J. Zolfo, while production designers and a team of art directors also worked to make sure the show's sets were just right for filming. According to Cynthia Addai-Robinson, one of the crew members, in particular, was responsible for the prop bird droppings that littered parts of the city.

As Addai-Robinson points out, the team behind the series paid such close attention to the realism on set that they even worked hard on things we as viewers may not have gotten to see. "It just goes to show that there really was that effort, even for areas that the audience wasn't necessarily going to see or even the camera was going to see," she says. While I'll admit I wasn't keeping an eye out for bird droppings on my first watch-through of the series, I do think the scale of the city sets is obvious. There's a flatness to many modern TV shows and films that comes from recording on under-decorated sound stages or with a green screen as an ill-fitting substitute for actual props. "Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" has none of that.

Addai-Robinson says the sets helped actors get in the zone, too. "To be able to walk through a set like that, it really does help you just be there, really be thrust into that environment," she shared. It's good that the details were helpful because season 2 seems likely to include even more discord within Númenor, so that bird poop situation's bound to keep getting worse.