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The much-anticipated release of Prime Video's The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power series reminds us that it's almost been 20 years since Peter Jackson closed his trilogy adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings books with The Return of the King (2003). They are rightly beloved, so much so that many fans keep up with annual rewatches or semi-regular movie marathons. However, there are just as many casual fans of all things Middle-earth who haven't dipped into Tolkien's tomes or Jackson's trilogies recently, meaning there's a lot to remember regarding major characters and plot points for the coming series. Not to mention that the new series is set thousands of years before the events of The Lord of the Rings trilogy with some original characters and storytelling so there's going to be a lot to process jumping back into the mythology.
To help, SYFY WIRE has compiled this non-spoilery, handy-dandy primer on the major characters introduced in the first two episodes. It lets you know where the characters are from, what they are, and how they might know one another because we know that can make all the difference between a smooth watch and a lot of pausing to ask one another, "Wait, who is that?"
Galadriel, Elf (Morfydd Clark)
Galadriel was a supporting character in The Lord of the Rings, played by Cate Blanchett in Peter Jackson's trilogy. In The Rings of Power, Galadriel is the primary protagonist and the roaring engine of good trying to smite the evil of Sauron and the Orcs. She is haunted by the loss of her beloved brother who perished at the hands of Sauron in the great war that eventually brought peace to Middle-earth. However, a symbol burned into her brother's flesh has kept Galadriel seeking Sauron for centuries, believing that mark infers he is only hiding and building back his power to strike again. Because of her warrior's crusade, this is a much more physical and active Galadriel than the more etherial entity she will evolve into centuries down the line. Right now, her single-minded search has left her without many close friends outside of Elrond.
Elrond, Half-Elf (Robert Aramayo)
Another familiar character to Lord of the Rings veterans, Elrond was played by actor Hugo Weaving in Jackson's trilogies. In The Rings of Power, this Elrond is obviously much younger and lighter in countenance. An architect and a politician, Elrond is a great admirer and advocate of Galadriel. He believes she is a warrior that has earned some rest and can trust in the peace they are enjoying. He's extremely hesitant about her obsession with rooting out where Sauron has gone so he actively tries to get her to retire from her search. He's also a peacemaker between races and likes to travel as an ambassador to neighboring lands.
Celebrimbor, Elf (Charles Edwards)
The series is called The Rings of Power, so some rings need to show up. The great Elven smith, Celebrimbor (which means "hands of silver"), is the rock star of his profession during this era. From forging amazing weapons of war to great structures, there's no one better to craft it into being. As such, he's got a bit of 'tude about his skills and an unquenchable ambition. Having done is all, he's gearing up for a massive project that he intends to define his legacy. To that we say, uh, oh...
Halbrand, Human (Charlie Vickers)
A human whose fate will become intertwined with Galadriel's as she continues her ongoing quest after they meet at sea. Is he on the up and up, or not to be trusted? We shall see...
Durin IV, Dwarf (Owain Arthur)
Durin IV is the prince of the Dwarven city of Khazad-dûm, where Dwarves live underground in a grand community under the Misty Mountains. As the future leader, he aims to live up to the expectations of his father, King Durin III (Peter Mullan) and become as respected by his people as Durin III is. He is married to Disa, and they have a loving marriage (she helps temper his more emotional side). He has a long friendship with Elrond.
Disa, Dwarf (Sophia Nomvete)
As the wife of Prince Durin IV, Disa is the future queen and the mother to the future princes. She also has her own skills amongst her people and is the primary counsel to her husband as he tries to navigate the hard decisions of being a Dwarf leader.
Elanor "Nori" Brandyfoot, Harfoot (Markella Kavenagh)
Harfoot literally means "one with hairy feet" and they are Halflings — one of three breeds of the well-known Hobbits, which include Harfoots, Stoors, and Fallohides. Tolkien described Harfoots as possessing browner skin, as smaller and shorter than their two kin, and always "beardless and bootless." Nori Brandyfoot is the inquisitive daughter of Largo Brandyfoot (Dylan Smith). She's always questioning what lies beyond the proective, moveable village of her Harfoot community.
Sadoc Burrows, Harfoot (Lenny Henry)
As an Elder of his Harfoot community, Sadoc is one of the main decision makers regarding the safety of his people. He's also a bit of a seer looking for abnormalities in their surroundings and the stars for harbingers of danger. He's far more cautious than young Nori, and discourages her from seeking things that might be perilous or too curious.
Arondir, Silvan Elf (Ismael Cruz Córdova)
As a Silvan Elf, Arondir has been assigned to a distant assignment in the Southlands as a peacekeeper and observer of the lands to make sure peace remains. Interacting with the humans of the area, he's mostly aloof except when it comes to the local healer, Bronwyn. They have some sizzle whenever they are near one another and he's protective of her as she's a single mother. He's going to factor into a growing mystery that starts to unfold in the region.
Bronwyn, Human (Nazanin Boniadi)
As the owner of a local apothecary for the humans in the Southlands, Bronwyn is immersed in the community in which she serves. She knows the intimate details of the lives around her and she has a friendship with outsider Arondir. Her people don't have a fondness for the Elves in their midst so she's also given some flack for mingling with them. She also has a teen son that's inquisitive and perhaps running with the wrong crowd of biased humans.
Theo, Human (Tyroe Muhafidin)
Theo is the teen son of Bronwyn and he's finding his way coming into his manhood. Without a father figure, he's allowing his peers to lead him and it's going to get him into some trouble.
They're evil incarnate. The Orcs are what comes from beneath, filthy and decrepit. They like to nosh on flesh and are frightening in battle. They are the antithesis of good and will be up to no good as Galadriel gets closer to what she's been seeking.
The first two episodes of The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power are now streaming on Prime Video. New episodes will air every Friday.