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Rings Of Power Writer Gennifer Hutchison's Challenges, Temptations, And Favorite Scenes In The Season Finale - Exclusive Interview

This interview contains minor spoilers for the Season Finale of "Rings of Power."

The first season of "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" has officially wrapped after the last installment of the eight-episode event aired on Friday, October 14th. While only the first part of a five-season story arc, it was doubtless a relief to the production team to see what amounted to nearly half a decade of work (including pandemic delays) finally become available for all the world to see.

The first season spent a lot of time establishing the show's massive cast and sprawling setting. It provided background, set stories in motion, and ended with some major reveals. As the first season comes to a close, we had a chance to sit down with Gennifer Hutchison, who doubles as one of the show's executive producers and primary writers. Hutchison spearheaded writing the script for both the second and eighth episodes, and she was able to share some fascinating insights into many of the creative decisions that went into the final moments of Season 1.

From the biggest narrative challenges to her favorite scenes, the potential of visiting Rhûn, and some insight into where the other Rings of Power are hiding, here's our full conversation with one of the primary creative talents behind the series.

Writing challenges and the potential of more Rhûn in season 2

You have executive producer credits throughout the first season, but you wrote Episodes 2 and 8, correct?

Yes. I wrote Episode 2, and I co-wrote Episode 8 with Patrick and JD.

As one of the primary writers on that episode, how much creative input did you have on the finale compared to the rest of the season?

Just as much. We all built the season together. The writer's room worked together to build the story for the entire season, and then writing the finale, myself, Patrick, and JD had a hand in every scene and every beat in that episode.

What was the biggest challenge with trying to tie up so many storylines at once and then set the stage for Season 2 at the same time?

The biggest challenge is figuring out where to stop the scene. You want to answer a question, but you want to ask another one. It was figuring out the best way to build those climaxes of our two big reveals but still leave it so it's like, "Now what happens?" and making sure that was coming through, where you feel a satisfying character arc, but you also are intrigued to [wonder] what comes next.

To zero in on one of those scenarios, in particular, we have a still-undefined Wizard who is heading east by the end of this episode. Assuming we can't get any identification specifics still, can you at least give us a little bit of the background on the decision to officially name-drop Rhûn and then include the eastern regions of Middle-earth in the show?

That's a world that exists in the Legendarium, and we know a little bit about. We don't really get to see as much in the primary text ... When you're doing a show that you have that space, it's such a temptation to go into that world and get the opportunity to expand it since it's there. We love the idea of exploring it.

Where are the other Rings of Power?

Shifting gears to Eregion — we all know the Ring Verse, which lists 19 Rings of Power and One Ring to rule them all. In the source material, the Three Elven Rings are made last and without Sauron present, like you had in the episode, but only after the Nine Rings for Mortal Men and the Seven Rings for the Dwarf-lords are completed. Where are those Rings in the show?

We have seen the rings that have been created, so there may be a little bit of a shift in the sequencing of the Rings, but yes, the Rings that you have seen [are] the Rings that have been made.

Is this the way it's been from the beginning, as far as fitting the making of the Rings into the finale itself? Was it always planned to make the Three Rings at the end here and then other Rings later on?

Yes. This season was about tracking the Elves and their story of dealing with the fading and Galadriel's journey with Halbrand. Coming to that ending for this season was always, at least very early on, the plan because [we're] focusing on that story and making sure we're servicing that one for this season.

A slightly nitty-gritty question: How much time in the story takes place once they get to Eregion, because Elrond requests three more months, and then it's hard to tell how quickly the Rings actually end up being made. Is that actually known or not?

We don't really say exactly what it is, but you can assume that it is within that timeframe that he asks for it. It's certainly not ... I don't think it's an immediate thing that's happening.

That's important, right? They do have that spring deadline that has been established and so days versus months matter at this point, right?

Hutchison: Yes.

Addressing Annatar rights and potential Sauron/Galadriel romantic tension

Do you know in Season 2 if there is going to be any kind of a time jump or is this going to pick right up where you left off?

I can't really speak to that, but I will say we've set some stories in motion that we definitely want to keep following, so whatever's going to best serve that is the direction we're going to go.

In the source material, Sauron masquerades — a lot of people are aware of this — as the immortal being Annatar. That's the name everyone was looking for when he makes the Rings. Did you guys have permission to use that name and chose not to use it, or is it outside of the range of material that Patrick McKay and JD Payne have expressed you have full permission to use?

That's a Patrick and JD question. I don't know the specifics. It may be about the rights issue, but they are way better suited to answer specifically that question.

With the Sauron and Galadriel sequence that took place in her mind, I guess you'd say, is there a personal or romantic motivation behind Sauron's desire to have Galadriel as his queen or is it purely ... We know he's a deceiver. Is it a power and control situation?

People can bring their own reads into that scene, especially with a character like Sauron. He's a little slippery. So much of what we were building to was less intentionally a romantic thing and more a meeting of the minds — this idea of this team together challenges each other to be their best in a lot of ways. She inspires him, and he helps push her. That was what we were thinking about [while] writing that scene — him selling this idea of "Together, nothing could stop us." That was the intention behind it. I love people being able to look into a scene and bring what they bring into it and get their own reads from it.

Yeah, that's very Tolkienian, right? He liked to have other people interpret as well. It wasn't all allegorical or preset.


Season 2 storylines and Hutchison's favorite part of the finale

Moving forward, what storyline are you the most excited to work on in Season 2?

Oh my gosh, I love every world. Now that we've uncloaked Sauron ... What's he going to do? That's so exciting. Also, I'm so invested in Nori and the Stranger and seeing where they go, now that she's finally gotten what she wants. She wants an adventure. Now, she's on an adventure. What does that look like for her?

Did you have a favorite part of this finale in particular that you really enjoyed writing?

I loved writing the Galadrial, Halbrand, and Sauron confrontation, and the Nori goodbye scene was also one that was so close to my heart when I was writing it.

All eight episodes of "Rings of Power" are available to stream on Prime Video as fans await the (potentially lengthy) arrival of Season 2.

This interview has been edited for clarity.