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The Rings Of Power Cast Talks Galadriel's Hair And Facing Death - Exclusive Interview

In Episode 2 of "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power," Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) crosses watery paths with the Southlander Halbrand (Charlie Vickers). The two are shipwrecked at sea and are saved only when a Númenórean ship captained by one Elendil picks them up. In the next episode, they sail to the star-shaped island nation of Númenor, where they're greeted with less than enthusiasm. The people of Númenor don't look kindly on Elves at this point in their history — especially their Queen Regent's chancellor, Pharazôn (Trystan Gravelle).

Galadriel and Pharazôn come straight from Tolkien's pen, while Halbrand is a mysteriously important royal role made up for the on-screen adaptation by showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay. In either case, all three of these characters figure prominently in Prime Video's adaptation — and Looper had a chance to sit down with Gravelle, Clark, and Vickers within days of the show's premiere. From Galadriel's otherworldly golden hair to Pharazôn's struggle with the concept of death to middle-of-the-night lunch breaks in jacuzzis, we dove into some of the most fascinating aspects (both in front of and behind the camera) that this trio has experienced while filming Season 1 of the show.

Galadriel's hair has gold and silver in it

Morfydd, Galadriel's hair is very important in the books. It's so important that Gimli wants to put it in imperishable crystal, and "The Silmarillion" literally says, "Her hair was lit with gold as though it had caught in a mesh the radiance of Laurelin." Have these extraordinarily amazing locks factored into your character and how we're going to see her in "Rings of Power"?

Morfydd Clark: Yes. Basically, the hair was a massive talking point amongst makeup, the directors, and me, and what we settled on was actually the hair that we use has strands of gold-plated and silver-plated hair within it. So her hair is otherworldly, and at different times there's more levels of gold and silver within her hair or less. That was really cool. That was a detail that I was like, "You're going to put gold and silver in her hair?! What?" Just really cool.

If you're going to put it in anyone's hair, though, she's the character to do it.

Clark: Exactly. Yeah. The hair is a main character.

Trystan Gravelle discusses Pharazôn, being mortal, and existential dread

Trystan, you play Pharazôn. There isn't much out there on Pharazôn, but in "The History of Middle-earth" — I had to do some digging — there are some of Tolkien's unofficial notes on your character's earlier story. They describe a strong but initially uncorrupted individual. He's friends with Elendil's dad, Amandil. He's a famous warrior. He's rich. He's generous. But it's only later that he has some of the issues that we know will creep up later in the story. You may not be able to directly use that content, but did knowing that Tolkien was trying to round out your character and give him a sympathetic backstory, a relatable backstory, did that influence how you are going to portray him on the screen?

Trystan Gravelle: With Pharazôn, the same as [with] any Númenórian, right at the core, there is a sense, being mortal, of existential dread. That is a creeping subconscious anomie that can lead to a burning injustice and a bit of a fear. How do you deal when you're scared of the world? How do you deal with that? Some people go towards power. Some people deal with it in different ways. I think it truly is a test of character. Death surrounds everybody in Middle-earth, and there are two camps: those who are accepting of their fate, and those who are not. We'll see, as the show goes on, who is and who isn't.

Having lunch in a jacuzzi in the middle of the night

Charlie, do you have any fun behind-scenes stories that you have not shared yet?

Charlie Vickers: That I have not shared yet? There's so many stories. [I'm] rifling through the filing cabinet in my mind to be able to find one that I haven't shared, 'cause I've shared quite a lot of them.

Clark: You talked about the jacuzzi in the building site?

Vickers: Oh, that was cool. When we were filming the raft scene? I'm guessing this is what you're talking about?

Clark: Yeah.

Vickers: Between takes, or actually between setups — we were doing night shoots, so it was [the] middle of the night, and it was freezing [in the] middle of winter — we got to sit in a jacuzzi.

Clark: In the debris of the Númenor that was being built.

Vickers: Yeah. They were building Númenor at this point, and we got to sit in a jacuzzi. I remember sitting there at 3:30 to 4:00 a.m. and having my lunch in a jacuzzi on a floating tray covered in scabs, because that was my makeup at the time, being like, "This is really intense."

Is there any part of the season that any of you are particularly excited for fans to see?

Gravelle: All of it. It's so epic. I mean, all of it.

Vickers: There's a lot in there.

Clark: I'm very excited to see more of Khazad-dûm. Just like Númenor, it's at its peak of glory, so it's lush and the people there are living their best lives — for now.

"The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" is dropping in weekly installments for the remainder of its eight episodes of Season 1.

This interview has been edited for clarity.