While Gil-galad is a key character in Tolkien’s Second Age, the paucity of source material means that the author didn’t actually write enough to use him in creating a comprehensive, long-term adaptation of the elven king. We asked Benjamin Walker how difficult it was to develop a fleshed out character for a serialized show based on the high and limited information available, and his answer was much more than using Tolkien’s writings to research one person. “Every time I feel at a dead end, I go back to the original material. You go back to the books, even if they don’t specifically deal with Gil-galad,” he said.
The actor went on to elaborate on what drives his Tolkien research: “You want to imagine what war will be like. You want to imagine what immortality really means, that is, the final death of everyone you have ever known and loved, for millennia and millennia. thousands of years on repeat. Then you must ask the question, “How do you gain strength to have hope in spite of this?”
The elf actor summarized these thoughts by emphasizing how much information and inspiration can be found in Tolkien’s writings, whether directly or indirectly related to his character. “Most people know [Gil-galad] from the song that Sam sings, but actually a lot can be gleaned from the lyrics. Like a religious text, you go back to Tolkien and get something new every time. This is one of the selfish joys for me. But it is also an endless source of inspiration. This is the perfect resource.”
Rings of Power officially launched on Prime Video on September 2nd. New episodes air weekly throughout the eight-episode first season.