The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power season 1 dove into many previously unexplored aspects of Tolkien lore, and the hit Prime Video series promises to unveil many more mysteries in season 2. One of the key sets of the series thus far has been the Dwarven stronghold of Khazad-dûm, which is a bustling community in the prequel as opposed to the abandoned realm from Peter Jackson’s trilogy. Throughout season 1, fans got to know Durin IV (played by Owain Arthur), whose royal lineage is an important part of the Appendix of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.
Durin IV hails from the line of Durin I, one of the oldest Dwarven rulers and the founder of Khazad-dûm, but Rings of Power indicates that he is much more invested in connecting with other races, such as the Elves through his good friend Elrond. While this causes many clashes with his father Durin III, his wife Disa (played by Sophia Nomvete, whom eagle-eyed fans may have seen in Wednesday) has his back even if he loses his inheritance.
Screen Rant spoke to Arthur and Nomvete about the backstories they created for Durin and Disa’s relationship prior to the events of Rings of Power season 1, as well as where their character arcs are headed in season 2.
Owain Arthur & Sophia Nomvete Talk Dwarven Royalty in Rings of Power
Screen Rant: I think Khazad-dûm was my favorite location in the first season. Especially because your relationship was so adorable. Sophia, did you two discuss headcanons or backstory that wasn’t included in the series when it comes to Disa’s upbringing and marriage to Durin?
Sophia Nomvete: Yeah, we did. We had those conversations, actually. I think we almost started with the backstory, and out of that [we] evolved into the relationship that we see. Where did she come from? What has she experienced? There’s that gorgeous story that Disa tells at the beginning of how they met, and that Durin was quite coy – and what does that say about their personality?
I guess from that point, that backstory almost informed how this relationship would grow and how it would bond. We did have a ton of that conversation, and sometimes we would miss bits and would get to a point in the text and realize, “Oh my goodness, we need to talk about this backstory.” Why would she have thought that? Why would she have reacted like that? Why would he have reacted like that? Why are they responding to that in that way? What’s happened previously in their lives that we’ve not seen and don’t know about?
I think what was really exciting for Disa, particularly, is that there’s nothing on her. She’s a new character, but of course, there is so much on the Dwarves. I feel like I have the best of both worlds because I was able to lean on the culture of what we know of the Dwarves, but equally, we were able to build something from the ground up for such an iconic moment.
There was a ton of conversation, which I always hope is apparent in the performance and the relationship. There is history.
You have the opposite situation where Durin’s lineage is such a big part of the lore. Elrond is also such a big character, so how do you do justice to Dwarven history with your role and play off Robert Aramayo’s portrayal of Elrond?
Owain Arthur: Yeah, the fact that there is a lot written about Dwarves is very useful, and you can use it if you want to or not. But there’s actually not a lot on Durin IV in the legendarium, so I was able to pull from other characters, other scenarios, and other Dwarven traits that can back me up. All you can do really is try and absorb as much information as you can up to [Durin IV], so you can live that moment, go forward with that, and collect new experiences as you go along. It’s very useful to play, to back things up, and to get inspiration from as well. But it’s also quite freeing because there isn’t a lot about Durin.
Also, there’s so much about Elrond, and [Robert] knows everything. Rob was very useful on set to have because if I had a question about the legendarium, then I’d just go to Rob the Wikipedia right next to me, and he’d inform me. What was great is that Rob and I were able to work together to inform Elrond as well, so it was good to contribute towards Elrond and his experiences and his knowledge, and why they were friends. What actually brought them together was quite informative as well because Elrond is clearly different to many of the elves and, therefore, Durin must be different from the other dwarves. Finding that little special thing that brought both of us together even closer was very useful, so Elrond was useful for Durin.
Sophia, I’m sure you’ve been asked endlessly about moving mountains because that was such an iconic moment for your character. But aside from that, which you did beautifully, what is one of the moments that you’re proudest of or that felt most fulfilling to you?
Sophia Nomvete: No, you’ve heard enough of me talking about that. [Laughs] I think one of her proudest moments in season 1, and you will see why in season 2, is actually the last scene between Durin and I. Because what you see is the other sides to her; you see another angle of Disa, and you see all of the joy and all of the support throughout the season. And then right at the end, you just get to see the glint of possibility of where she might go in terms of ambition and true leadership and warrior-like strength. Which I think was so important to me and is so important to me for Disa because what we do know about the dwarves is – male, female, color, creed, anything in between – they have the same warrior-like strength that runs through all of them.
I think seeing her in that way for the first time, immovable, was a really exciting thing to play. And I will say that it was easy to play because Owain is the best listener on set no matter how many times you shoot a scene. It’s unbelievable what he gives. I will say that that scene was absolutely phenomenal to play with [him] because Owain gives absolutely everything, and he doesn’t need to say a word. It was really special because we ended that together as a unit that we’d created from the beginning.
Owain Arthur: Nice thing to say, love.
Speaking of leadership, being a warrior, we get two different approaches to it with you and your father. Can you talk about the growth of that relationship and your different viewpoints on the dwarves moving into season 2?
Owain Arthur: Elrond and Durin think slightly outside of the box, and a Dwarven box is very tightly shut. I think that’s true to say. Peter [Mullan, who plays Durin III] is a heavyweight actor. He’s just absolutely brilliant, but also is very generous. I think Durin III is a very generous man, but also very traditional and very caring of Khazad-dûm and the dwarves. He’s a wonderful strong father and a father figure, but he is also my king, so there’s a duty there as well. That was something I was trying to get a handle on whilst working with him.
What was difficult for Durin in those scenarios was to go against his father; to go against his education, his headmaster, and his king. Having a slight breakdown in that was really interesting to play, actually, and really exciting for me as an actor to see what makes a dwarf go against his father’s love and command. Therefore, the more I loved him, the harder it was to go against him; therefore, you raise the stakes and the obstacles get bigger, which makes the end of the season a bigger tragedy. Their relationship is broken, and I am no longer a prince of Khazad-dûm, which is completely different from where we saw them at the beginning of the season.
We kind of see the fall of Durin throughout the first season, and we pick it up from that point in the second and dive deeper into the father-son, king-prince relationship, and husband and wife relationship as well. Everything gets challenged in season 2.
About The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
Prime Video’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power brings to screens for the very first time the heroic legends of the fabled Second Age of Middle-earth’s history. This epic drama is set thousands of years before the events of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and will take viewers back to an era in which great powers were forged, kingdoms rose to glory and fell to ruin, unlikely heroes were tested, hope hung by the finest of threads, and the greatest villain that ever flowed from Tolkien’s pen threatened to cover all the world in darkness.
Beginning in a time of relative peace, the series follows an ensemble cast of characters, both familiar and new, as they confront the long-feared re-emergence of evil to Middle-earth. From the darkest depths of the Misty Mountains, to the majestic forests of the elf-capital of Lindon, to the breathtaking island kingdom of Númenor, to the furthest reaches of the map, these kingdoms and characters will carve out legacies that live on long after they are gone.
Check out our interviews with The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power cast at SDCC 2022, as well as with:
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power season 1 is now streaming on Prime Video.
This story originally appeared on Screenrant