'Rings of Power' cast dismiss 'House of the Dragon' fantasy show rivalry (exclusive)

·Contributor
·5-min read

Watch: Rings of Power cast discuss House of the Dragon rivalry

The clash of the titans when it comes to TV fantasy shows is not a clash at all, according to the cast of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

There have been many column inches — including these, sorry — written about the potential conflict between Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon and Prime Video's mega-budget return to JRR Tolkien's fantastical land of Middle-earth.

Read more: Who's who in House of the Dragon?

Thrones creator George RR Martin even waded into the issue, joking that he wanted House of the Dragon to win one more Emmy than The Rings of Power.

But anybody hoping to grab the popcorn and witness a fantasy deathmatch might be disappointed because the stars of The Rings of Power claim there's no rivalry — and the casts have even partied together.

"We're friends. There's no rivalry there. We hung out at the EW [Entertainment Weekly] party at Comic-Con," said Ismael Cruz Córdova, who plays wood elf Arondir in The Rings of Power.

House of the Dragon began airing in August, beating The Rings of Power to the screen by a few weeks. (Sky UK/HBO)
House of the Dragon began airing in August, beating The Rings of Power to the screen by a few weeks. (Sky UK/HBO)

He added: "Some of us have worked with them before, some of us are new friends. For fantasy lovers, it's just the best time. You have two big shows that you can watch on rotation."

Read more: Introducing the huge ensemble cast of The Rings of Power

Nazanin Boniadi, who plays Arondir's human lover Bronwyn, added: "We're fans of theirs. We want them to do well."

Cynthia Addai-Robinson plays Míriel — queen regent of the island kingdom of Númenor — echoed the belief that the simultaneous release of the two shows marks for an exciting time to be a fantasy fan.

Cynthia Addai-Robinson says this is a great time to be a fan of fantasy shows like The Rings of Power and House of the Dragon. (Prime Video)
Cynthia Addai-Robinson says this is a great time to be a fan of fantasy shows like The Rings of Power and House of the Dragon. (Prime Video)

She said: "It's a question people like to ask because it makes for a great story, but the reality is that this is a boom time for fantasy, for the genre.

"If you like these stories, it's great [to see] the advancement in terms of what you can achieve in television. Now you can film a dragon. You couldn't do that a few years ago. If you love fantasy or even if you're new to fantasy, there's a wealth of storytelling out there."

Read more: How can sci-fi/fantasy fans keep up with everything?

Addai-Robinson's fellow Númenorian Trystan Gravelle — who plays the queen's advisor Pharazôn — said he'd definitely be enjoying the opportunity to experience both shows at the same time — presumably on separate screens.

"I'm a big Game of Thrones fan, so I think we're in a golden age right now of fantasy," said Gravelle.

Trystan Gravelle said he'd definitely be watching House of the Dragon as well as The Rings of Power. (Prime Video)
Trystan Gravelle said he'd definitely be watching House of the Dragon as well as The Rings of Power. (Prime Video)

He added: "Whatever night that will be on, I'll be getting my tankard out and pretending I'm Jeor Momont or whatever.

"And then on another night I'll be sitting down and indulging in Lord of the Rings. So it's just a great time."

Read more: The changes that make House of the Dragon more inclusive

Benjamin Walker — the actor behind elven High King Gil-galad in The Rings of Power — said he remains loyal to Tolkien in the fantasy pantheon, but doesn't hold any ill will towards House of the Dragon.

"There's enough room in the fantasy realm for everybody. They're completely different. It's great," he said.

Benjamin Walker plays High King Gil-galad of the elves in Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. (Prime Video)
Benjamin Walker plays High King Gil-galad of the elves in Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. (Prime Video)

Walker added: "We can be fans of both. I'm a Tolkien loyalist and so many stories were inspired by his work.

"I'm not saying he's the Godfather of fantasy, but he's close."

Read more: Tolkien estate not happy about Nicholas Hoult biopic

Unsurprisingly, The Rings of Power showrunners JD Payne and Patrick McKay were diplomatic about the presence of another pretender to the fantasy prequel crown.

"We wish them well. We're glad there's a time that there are a lot of good fantasy shows out there," said Payne.

Morfydd Clark's take on elf warrior Galadriel takes centre stage in The Rings of Power. (Prime Video)
Morfydd Clark's take on elf warrior Galadriel takes centre stage in The Rings of Power. (Prime Video)

The showrunner added: "The only pressure we feel is the pressure we put on ourselves to do justice to Tolkien.

"For us, it's about what are you putting out into the world? Are you putting out light into the world? That's the competition: how much light can we put out into the world and how good can our story be?"

Read more: Peter Jackson reveals his favourite scene from Lord of the Rings

McKay said: "We get that it's super tempting to draw comparison or create a rivalry. If you've seen our show and you've seen their show, we're doing very different things."

Executive producer Lindsey Weber suggested that "we may both benefit from [the rivalry] because the media loves to talk about it" and hoped viewers will choose to watch both shows.

The Rings of Power takes place during the Second Age of Middle-earth, featuring younger versions of Galadriel (centre) and Elrond (right). (Prime Video)
The Rings of Power takes place during the Second Age of Middle-earth, featuring younger versions of Galadriel (centre) and Elrond (right). (Prime Video)

Delving back into the Second Age, The Rings of Power uses material from the appendices of Tolkien's stories in order to spin a whole new array of material for fans of Middle-earth.

It focuses on the rise of Sauron and the creation of the titular rings, as well as the last alliance between elves and humans and the fall of Númenor.

Read more: Orlando Bloom reveals his excitement for The Rings of Power

While most of the characters fans will know from Peter Jackson's movie franchise were not yet alive at this point in history, elves Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) and Elrond (Rob Aramayo) do appear alongside an ensemble of new characters.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power will premiere worldwide on Prime Video on 2 September, with new episodes added weekly.

Watch: Trailer for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power