Amazon has spared no expense in bringing its new Lord of the Rings enterprise – set during the Second Age of Middle Earth – to life. A month back we discovered four audition tapes for some of the show’s leading roles, and now we can share six more with you.
As is common with auditions, these scenes are likely fake dialogues and will not appear in the show as such. Neither will the actors you see in them, for that matter. Audition videos are only uploaded by actors who did not get the part. That being said, the videos offer an intriguing look into the first season of the Lord of the Rings series, which seems to be delving into themes of imperialism and rebellion.
The auditions we found align with some of the new roles recently revealed by Observer.com.
The first first two videos are auditions for the character Brac described by The Observer as “the irascible and catankerous half of a dramatic duo”. Both scenes are seemingly set against the background of a past war, with Brac belonging to the conquered people. Interestingly, there is talk of a queen, and the second scene makes it clear that the invaders came from the west. Very likely, they refer to the Númenóreans who colonized the people of Minhiriath and Enedwaith during the Second Age. As for the queen, there is of course Tar-Ancalimë, seventh ruler and first ruling queen of Númenór, who comes to mind.
Brac: She exaggerates, I only courted her for two weeks before she agreed to dinner.
Second Person: It was five.
Brac: You’re lying! She’s lying. She may play coy now, but she was a moon-eyed girl in love from the moment we met.
Second Person : Well, you make a lovely pair.
Brac: What would you know of it? You’re not here for us and you’re not here to meet our children either. His queen sent him to take what is ours.
Second Person : I was not sent, I asked to come.
Brac: Because you want something. Your people look only to your own glory, just as your conquests sent your armies marching across our lands. That cost us a season’s crop and befouled our fields.
Second Person : Then we will make it right.
Brac: No, you will leave the way you came, and send your queen our regards.
Second Person : If that’s how you feel, my friend. May your family’s days rejoice.
Brac: [sighs] Fine. Sod it. You may stay the night, but just the one.
Second Person : Are you certain?
Brac: No, and I’m still angry.
Brac: I don’t know how you do it. There’s far too much built here. It’s too bright.
Radagar: It’s the dead of night.
Brac: And yet it feels like noon-day. The night should be a blanket, wrapped around keen and close air. It’s far too wide here, disconnected. I can’t ever quite escape the feeling that it’s all about to fall over. I think I’ll take off tomorrow, head back to my homeland.
Radagar: But you’ve only just arrived!
Brac: Yes, and I appreciate both your queen’s hospitality and your own… But I miss the fields and the night skies and Emma. I miss Emma.
Radagar: Very well. But there is something I need to ask of you.
Brac: Spit it out, then.
Radagar: The queen…
Radagar: She wanted me to tell you that our people will make amends for each yield of crop you lost during our wars.
Brac: Well, it’s a great relief to know that there’s still some honor left in the west. But let us not talk of politics and grievances tonight. Tell me the old tales of your people.
Radagar: You hate the old stories.
Brac: Ah, but you love them. And tonight I somehow think it is you that needs comfort more than I.
Radagar: Very well.
Next, we have Kari, a “self-sufficient single mother and village healer with a secret”. In her two scenes she is speaking to a man named Everad, evidently her lover and also a foreigner who came to her lands as a soldier. One sentence that caught our ear is when Everad talks a about a “long rebellion” that started in these parts in “ages past”. This sounds close to a passage from Tolkien Gateway:
“The Númenóreans wrecked the banks, the shorelines, great tracks and roads whom they drove into the forests northwards and southwards from the Gwathló and continued battling and destroying what lied ahead of them, pushing into Minhiriath and Enedwaith, establishing themselves inland as far as the river Glanduin (the southern boundary of Eregion), beyond which pre-Númenóreans and hostile peoples lived, a remnant of the peoples that had dwelt in the vales of the White Mountains in ages past.”
Kari might be one of the people conquered by the Númenóreans who rose in rebellion against them in the past.
Kari: Everad, please. Can we not return to our prior conversation? You were so tender with me this morning. What is it that’s troubling you so?
Everad: The long rebellion began here in ages past. It is a disloyal place.
Kari: You’re talking about my friends. Close kin. I know them. There are good people here.
Everad: I know. That’s why I’m with you instead of alerting my commander.
Kari: I do not expect his esteem. I demand yours.
Kari: No. Generation upon generation my people have proven themselves in peace and loyalty, but one sign of foul weather and it’s bang the pots, they’re at it again! Is there no room in your people’s heart for forgiveness.
Everad: If some harm were to befall you or your son…
Kari: I am curious. If we were to build a life together, would you keep an accounting of every ill word that I spoke? Every passing flare of temper? Every shortcoming chiseled in stone, for all time? Would you hold me to the same standards that you hold my people’s history? Love is not a balance sheet with tallies and redemptions. And my people are not to blame for its past.
Everad: I could not sleep.
Kari: It seems few could last night. I had hoped the rumor to be false.
Everad: Then, you’ve heard.
Kari: Yes… I am glad that you came. Perhaps, have you eaten? I was just about to prepare something, would you like to join me?
Everad: I can’t. We leave this morning.
Kari: So soon? Where is the rest of your company?
Everad: Most likely searching for me at this very moment.
Kari: Then you should not be here! I shudder to think some punishment shall come to you on my behalf.
Everad: Let them wait. A few minutes will do no harm.
Kari: Everad… Why are you here?
Everad: I have never seen your home before.
Kari: It’s… It’s poor… Hardly worth the risk.
Everad: It contains you. I could not find a greater wealth in all the world.
Kari: Why have you come here?
Everad: Something has passed between us. Something far more precious than herbs and healing lore and I…
Kari: We have endured too many false partings. If what you say is true and this is the last time we are to see each other, please say what you want to say.
Everad: I have said it already a hundred times over.
Kari: Alright. Wait for me.
Loda is described as “an earthy man who doesn’t give his feelings away easily”. His scene is less revealing than the previous two but it looks like he adores his daughter while having a strained relationship with his son. Intriguingly, he has also taken in a stowaway, although this might just be a plot written for the audition.
Head over here for the video.
Loda: Almost the big day, first job as apprentice.
Loda’s daughter: I know, I’m not ready.
Loda: You’re my daughter, you were born ready.
Loda’s daughter: I heard a rumor about you today
Loda: You’re too smart to trade in marketplace gossip. Especially at the dinner table. Besides, I wanna talk to you about your brother.
Loda’s daughter: Father!
Loda: He hasn’t been home in three weeks, now I know how he values his independence but…
Loda’s daughter: You taught him that.
Loda: Yes well I didn’t teach him to waste the most important years of his life on aimless schemes. He’s living so far beneath himself. I’m having some of my friends over for dinner tomorrow night and I’d like for him to be there. Now I think it would be good for him. He won’t listen to me so perhaps if you invite him he…
Loda’s daughter: Of course, father.
Loda: Wonderful. Thank you.
Loda’s daughter: Father is it true you’re the one who found the stowaway?Loda: Well I…
Loda’s daughter: It was you!
Loda: What was I supposed to do? It’s not like I went looking for her and I couldn’t just cast her back on to the road.
Loda’s daughter: That’s amazing! Why didn’t you tell me?
Loda: You’re happy?
Loda’s daugher: Of course I’m happy. It’s like something out of a storybook.
Loda: Ohh, shh… Let’s not get your father into any trouble.
Loda’s daugher: [whispers] Did she try to escape?
Loda: Oh… Slippery as a hangfish. But listen. Nobody, and I mean nobody, can know. Do we understand each other?
The final one in our collection is Hamsom, “a kind and loving family man with health issues”. These issues are reflected in his conversation with his wife, who fears he might not survive the next winter.
Watch the video here.
Hamsom: No No! You fret far too much already. You have more important tasks to tend to than me my love.
Hamsom’s wife: They can wait.
Hamsom: Hardly. I just need a moment, that’s all. Just need to let the blood settle a bit then I’ll be right as rainwater.
Hamsom’s wife: Your shows of strength might fool your children but they don’t fool me.
Hamsom: I may not be as good as I once was but I’m not useless, not yet. It’s just a spell. It will pass.
Hamsom’s wife: How bad is it, truly?
Hamsom: Do you remember what I told you when we first came here?
Hamsom’s wife: I remember the tale you tell the children word for word.
Hamsom: Tale? What, now I am hurt!
Hamsom’s wife: You romanticize!
Hamsom: It was romantic. You were lying in the grass. I knew in an instant that I will grow old with you. Right here in this meadow. I can see it, as clear as I see you now.
Hamsom’s wife: Then you best hold up your end of the bargain!
Hamsom: You looked so beautiful that day.
Hamsom’s wife: Hamsom, we won’t… we can’t make it through winter without you.
Hamsom: We’ll make it through the winter. All of us. I promise! Now [stands up] see, I just needed a moment, that’s all. Now, hand me the axe.
Amazon’s Lord of the Rings adaptation is estimated to surpass a total cost of $1 billion. It is helmed by showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay and features Will Poulter (Beldor), Markella Kavenagh (Tyra) and Joseph Mawle (Oren) in leading roles. Stay tuned to Redanian Intelligence for more news as the series progresses.