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From the northern pines to Númenor: Interlochen alumni star in ‘Rings of Power’

Amazon’s highly anticipated prequel to the 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy features theatre alumni Benjamin Walker as Gil-galad and Ema Horvath as Eärien. Fellow alumnus Bryan Cogman consulted on the series.

Ema Horvath and Benjamin Walker in Rings of Power

Ema Horvath (left) and Benjamin Walker (right) in Rings of Power. Images courtesy of Prime Video.

Interlochen alumni Benjamin Walker (IAC 98, IAA 99-00) and Ema Horvath (IAC 08, IAA 10-12) are among the stars of Amazon’s hit series, The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power.

Inspired by the appendices of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and details from the author’s correspondence, Rings of Power serves as a prequel to The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Set thousands of years before the beloved novels—in Middle-earth’s Second Age—the series chronicles the forging of the Rings of Power, the rise of Sauron, and the last alliance between elves and men.

Walker stars as High King Gil-galad, the elven king commemorated in the epic poem “The Fall of Gil-galad,” which is recited by Sam Gamgee in The Fellowship of the Ring. A stage and screen actor as well as a stand-up comedian, Walker’s previous credits include the titular roles in the musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and the film Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter; Erik Gelden in Marvel’s Jessica Jones; and Patrick Bateman in Broadway’s American Psycho. Walker was also nominated for the 2019 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor for his portrayal of Chris Keller in the Broadway revival of Arthur Miller’s All My Sons.

Horvath portrays Eärien, an original character created for Rings of Power. Eärien is the daughter of Elendil, the first High King of the Dúnedain, and the sister of the famed warrior-king, Isildur. The 2012 Interlochen Arts Academy salutatorian and a graduate of Harvard University, Horvath previously appeared in the horror films Like.Share.Follow., The Mortuary Collection, and What Lies Below, among others.

Developed by J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay in consultation with the Tolkien Estate, Rings of Power closely follows the established The Lord of the Rings canon. The series employs a number of Tolkien scholars, lore experts, and consultants, including J.R.R. Tolkien’s grandson, Simon Tolkien. Interlochen Arts Camp alumnus Bryan Cogman (IAC 94), who was previously a writer and producer for HBO’s Game of Thrones, also served as a consultant on the series’ first season.The series also includes several nods to the original Peter Jackson film trilogy, including similar production design styles and a main theme by composer Howard Shore.

The first two episodes of the eight-episode season premiered on Amazon Prime on Sept. 1; additional episodes were released weekly from Sept. 9 to Oct. 14. A second season will begin pre-production this fall.