Game of Thrones star to play lead villain in Lord of the Rings show

After a long period of quiet, we’re finally getting news about Amazon’s fabulously expensive Lord of the Rings show, which will soon be filming in New Zealand, where Peter Jackson shot his Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies. But don’t expect characters from those films to show up; Amazon’s show is set during the Second Age of Middle-earth, when Sauron was still forging the rings of power.

Although I suppose some of the elven characters like Galadriel or Elrond could be around, plus Sauron himself. But we’re getting off track.

Today’s news is about casting. Deadline reports that Joseph Mawle — best known to Game of Thrones fans as Benjen Stark, First Ranger of the Night’s Watch and uncle to Jon, Sansa, Arya and the rest — will play the lead villain of the show, known as Oren. The 45-year-old Mawle been in more than just Game of Thrones, of course, starring in everything from Netflix’s Sense8 to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. But we needn’t beat around the bush: the Game of Thrones guy is in Lord of the Rings.

LONDON, ENGLAND – MAY 08: Joseph Mawle attends the House Of Fraser British Academy Television Awards 2016 at the Royal Festival Hall on May 8, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

And he’s not the only Thrones veteran helping Amazon bring its show to life. Game of Thrones writer Bryan Cogman is also on board as a consultant, helping showrunners JD Payne and Patrick McKay. Who else from Westeros can Amazon fly out to Middle-earth?

We also now know who will be playing the male and female leads: first up is English actor Will Poulter playing Beldor…

LONDON, ENGLAND – MAY 12: Will Poulter attends the Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards 2019 at The Royal Festival Hall on May 12, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

and Australian actor Markella Kavenagh playing Tyra:

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 03: Markella Kavenagh attends the 2018 AACTA Awards Presented by Foxtel | Industry Luncheon at The Star on December 3, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images for AFI)

We still know precious little about these characters, but things are starting to come together. The other day, some audition tapes for the show surfaced online and we caught a snippet of dialogue between Beldor and a character named Eldien:

Beldor: “I hoped I’d find you here. This vintage is said to heal many unseen sorrows of the heart.”

Eldien: “Some sorrows are not meant to be healed.”

Beldor: “You deserve the honors of this day, and the rest it promises.”

Eldien: “I always believed I’d rest here, with them, yet instead I am to leave them. I, who loved and remembered them best.”

Beldor: “You have brought them justice. The battle is over.”

Eldien: “Not for me, it isn’t. If I could but have a longboat of warriors to sweep up through the western vale of the Núme…”

Beldor: “You have nothing further to prove. Your victories against evil are immortalized.”

Eldien: “You are blessed, Beldor. For you, evil is pictures in the glass of the cathedral windows. But I have fought the nameless dark. The blood of dragons is ever-well sated in my sword…and if I don’t finish the task, all will be in vain.”

Sounds intense.

So are Beldor and Tyra the main characters fighting against a singular villain in Oren, or will the show take a more diffused approach to its characters, as Game of Thrones did? Also, do any Lord of the Rings fans out there recognize any of those names from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Legendarium? Because they sound new to me. It’s possible they’re code names for characters we will recognize.

In any case, we probably won’t see Amazon’s show for a while yet, but clearly, things are on the move.

Next: Pilou Asbæk (Euron Greyjoy) suggests alternate ending to A Song of Ice and Fire

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