Morfydd Clark arrives on the red carpet at "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings Of Power" New York screening at Lincoln Center on August 23. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
NEW YORK, Aug. 30 (UPI) -- Morfydd Clark says it has been satisfying work to play the royal elf Galadriel as a courageous warrior at the center of the adventure in The Rings of Power, a prequel to J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.
"Tolkien had huge respect for all of the women he [created], so every woman who is in his legendarium is powerful and significant," Clark told UPI in a recent Zoom interview.
"To get to explore that and put that out there visually has been amazing. She is a character that has been so beloved, and to work through her becoming who we know her to be has been really special."
Galadriel is an ethereal creature Clark described as older than the moon and more powerful than most people in Middle-earth.
"It's so much fun to be a part of a fantasy. I loved the idea of magic and myth. It's just a dream come true," the actress said.
Premiering Friday on Prime Video, the series co-stars stars Charlie Vickers, Maxim Baldry,Benjamin Walker, Charles Edwards, Ema Horvath, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Leon Wadham, Lloyd Owen, Megan Richards, Nazanin Boniadi, Owain Arthur, Robert Aramayo and Tyroe Muhafidin.
The epic is set thousands of years before the events of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit in the magical land in which heroes -- both mortals and beings with extraordinary powers -- are called upon to confront the re-emergence of evil after a long period of peace.
Vickers thinks there is a lot in the story to which the viewers can relate.
"I don't think Tolkien wrote good versus evil in strict terms," he said.
"It's a big theme in his stories, but I think there is a lot of gray area of good people doing bad things and bad people doing things they believe are for the good of the world or the good of the other people around them," he added. "People operate in the shadows and things emerge as the season progresses. The darkness is rising."
Clark said she appreciates the emphasis of mercy in a lot of Tolkien's work, adding, "I find that really kind of touching."
Baldry agreed, saying, "I would just echo what these guys have said, but there are also two other themes I think are important as well -- hope and despair."
He added: "There is a lot of optimism in Tolkien, and when I watch the films or read the books, there is a sense of enlightenment that comes with it. Whatever you are feeling, there's an answer in there. I think that's what's so magical about the worlds he's created. There is a sense of hope, a light at the end of the tunnel."
Vickers said he didn't know much about his human character at first, but was eager to join the world Tolkien created.
"I arrived in New Zealand, and I learned more about the character. There are some really interesting things within Halbrand," he said. "He's very conflicted, and he feels a sense of destiny and responsibility that he is trying to leave behind and running away from."
Baldry plays the human Isildur, and commented that "When I found out I was playing Isildur, a pivotal character in the Tolkien universe, I was giddy, and my inner child was jumping up and down.
"He's a sailor in the beginning of the season. We see him traverse the world of being a guy on the cusp of adulthood. He's a shadow of my father."
The stars admitted they feel a tremendous sense of duty to honor the legacy of Tolkien's tales and please the millions of admirers who grew up reading them and loving the movies they inspired.
"We are joining as fans, and now we are even bigger fans and people who are really a part of the Tolkien community," Vickers said. "I feel a sense of responsibility telling the story the right way and doing real Tolkien fans proud."
Clark said she was relieved when the cast and a trailer for the show received a warm reception at San Diego Comic Con.
"We met so many people who are so knowledgeable and lots of people who have actually guided us through our research," she said. "I felt really lucky to be a part of a fandom like that."
The actress praised director J.A. Boyana for creating such an exquisite piece of art that even she felt swept away as a viewer of the first two episodes, complete with visual effects and music by Howard Shore and Bear McCreary.
Baldry said it was an emotional experience for the cast to see for the first time scenes and storylines of which they weren't a part.
"The music connected everything, bound it altogether. It was special," he said.
"It's so much more beautiful than my little mind who just pretends to be people could imagine," Clark quipped.
"We worked with over 1,000 members of the crew in New Zealand, and to see the lighting give such magic to it. The sets really come to life, all the costuming, all of the supporting actors who make up the tapestry of this world, was really amazing."
Benjamin Walker attends a screening of Amazon's "The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power" at the Lincoln Center in New York City on August 23, 2022. Walker stars as High King Gil-galad. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo