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Which Rings of Power characters are in Lord of the Rings?

There are some familiar Tolkien names in the new prequel.

Galadriel, Elrond and High King Gil-galad in The Rings of Power.
Ben Rothstein/Prime Video
Published: Friday, 2nd September 2022 at 4:17 pm
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It’s been 20 years since Peter Jackson’s version of Lord of the Rings, but Tolkien’s influence on screen is far from over.

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Amazon Prime Video’s new prequel series, The Rings of Power, delves deep into the secrets of Middle-earth long before the adventures of Frodo and Sam. Set thousands of year in the past, these eight episodes will hopefully start to fill in the gaps of how the One Ring came to be and how Sauron was defeated.

But despite a whole new cast of creatures, including Elves, Dwarves and Harfoots, there are a few familiar faces tagging along. And where some characters could only be recognised by the eagle-eyed fans out there, others should be pretty obvious to any Lord of the Rings novice.

So with 20 years since they were last seen on screen, it’s as good a time as any to brush up on which Lord of the Rings characters have made a return.

Galadriel

Morfydd Clark as Galadriel in The Rings of Power.
Morfydd Clark as Galadriel in The Rings of Power. Matt Grace/Prime Video

One of the most beautiful and powerful Elves in Middle-earth, Galadriel’s lyrical voice is what kicks off the whole Lord of the Rings franchise.

Originally played by Cate Blanchett, the Galadriel we find in The Fellowship of the Ring is the Lady of Lothlórien (the woodland realm) and the owner of one of the rings of power: Nenya.

With her wisdom she gives the fellowship a safe haven after the death of Gandalf, and warns Frodo against trusting Boromir (Sean Bean), who had been corrupted by the ring.

She also acts as a guiding light in the final film, Return of the King, and even saves the day in The Hobbit (although she doesn’t actually appear in the novel).

Yet the powerful, serene Elf we know is not what we find in this new series. Prequel viewers will encounter a younger, warrior Galadriel, played by His Dark Materials actress Morfydd Clark.

Motivated by anger and revenge, in this series we see the Elf leave her home of Valinor and pursue Sauron to the ends of the earth.

Elrond

Robert Aramayo as Elrond in The Rings of Power.
Robert Aramayo as Elrond in The Rings of Power. Ben Rothstein/Prime Video

Hugo Weaving’s movie portrayal of Elrond is as a strong, diplomatic leader and concerned father.

As the high-lord of Rivendell, Elrond’s role in the Lord of the Rings saga is key. When Sauron is first defeated, Elrond escorts the human king, Isildur, into the fires of Mount Doom. There he tries to convince him to destroy the ring, but fails when Isildur’s greed takes over.

Later, he uses the haven of Rivendell to host Bilbo and the 13 Dwarves in The Hobbit, and later still, holds the council meeting that forms the fellowship of the ring.

He also plays the part of disapproving father when Aragorn’s (Viggo Mortensen) relationship with his daughter Arwen (Liv Tyler) threatens her immortality. But in the end, Elrond accepts his daughter’s decision to stay on Middle-earth and even reforms the ancient sword that helps Aragorn in battle.

In the years before, Elrond is played by young Ned Stark from Game of Thrones, Robert Aramayo.

Not yet a leader, Elrond is sent to help the Elven smith Celebrimbor with an unknown special project. We don’t yet know what part Elrond will play in forming the rings of power but so far, it looks like he is going to be very involved and possibly at risk.

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Gil-galad

Benjamin Walker as High King Gil-galad in The Rings of Power.
Benjamin Walker as High King Gil-galad in The Rings of Power. Ben Rothstein/Prime Video

Gil-galad is the King of Lindon and the last High-King of the Elves. He has the highest authority of any Elf on Middle-earth but has only appeared very briefly before.

Played by Mark Ferguson, Gil-galad momentarily appears in the opening prologue of The Fellowship of the Ring, where he’s shown fighting alongside Elrond and Isildur in the battle against Sauron.

In an extended documentary about the film, it was revealed that Gil-galad was supposed to have a violent death in this scene. But it was instead cut, seeing as his death in the books (beaten by Sauron’s bare hands) was considered a little too violent.

The Rings of Power however, lets viewers see the powerful reign of Gil-galad, where he’s played by Benjamin Walker. The respect from Elrond and the other Elves is clear so far, as even Galadriel doesn’t dare disobey his commands. It’s likely that viewers will get to see plenty more of him as the show goes on.

Isildur

Maxim Baldry as Isildur in The Rings of Power.
Maxim Baldry as Isildur in The Rings of Power. Amazon Studios

Isildur is yet to appear in The Rings of Power, but we know he’ll be played by Years and Years actor, Maxim Baldry.

The ancestor to Aragorn and the man who started it all, Isildur is the prince who originally defeated Sauron by cutting the ring from his finger. In The Fellowship of the Ring’s prologue, we follow Isildur’s story, from defeating Sauron to refusing to give up the One Ring, to his violent death.

Isildur’s greed for the ring was his eventual downfall as the ring abandons him while under attack, leaving him visible to the enemy.

The world of men has not been fully explored in the prequel’s opening episodes – however, viewers will soon be seeing the island of Númenor, the first great human empire. On this island we are likely to find Isildur and his father Elendil, as both lived there before breaking away and forging the city of Gondor.

Sauron

Sauron in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Sauron in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring New Line Cinema

This big bad needs no introduction. A servant of evil who seeks to conquer Middle-earth with the One Ring, Sauron is at the heart of this story.

Sauron was originally an ancient spirit, called a Maia, who came to Middle-earth and became a trusted lieutenant of the evil god Morgoth. When Morgoth was destroyed, Sauron remained to carry on his work.

In Peter Jackson’s trilogy, viewers will know him as a giant glowing eye that watches and manipulates and, well, doesn’t really do much else. But before this age, Sauron had a body, and used his skills to trick the Elves into making the One Ring. From there, he waged a brutal war against the armies of Elves and men.

All anyone knows is that Sauron will at some point appear in the Rings of Power. When, or how, or in what form, has not yet been revealed – although we have some theories who Sauron could be...

His eerie influence is there from the get-go, however. Despite the Elves’ insistence that he is gone, the feelings of evil are rising up again in Middle-earth and Galadriel is convinced that he is still out there. And although we don’t know when he’ll be seen, fans might want to keep an eye out for a man named Annatar.

Read more on The Rings of Power:

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is streaming now on Amazon Prime Video – try Prime Video for free for 30 days. If you’re looking for something else to watch in the meantime, check out our TV Guide or visit our dedicated Fantasy hub.

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