‘Lord of the Rings’ Stars Robert Aramayo and Owain Arthur Explain How They Filmed the Elf vs Dwarf Rock-Breaking Battle (Video)

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A friendship left dormant for too long prompted Elrond the elf to invoke the Rite of Sigin-tarâg in “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’s” second episode, forcing him into a battle of endurance with Prince Durin IV.

(Spoiler alert! This article contains discussion of plot details from “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” Season 1, Episode 2 – “Adrift.”)

As viewers came to learn in the second episode of the season, Robert Aramayo’s character, Elrond, had insulted his friend, Prince Durin IV of the dwarves, by not visiting him in two decades – a more significant amount of time for a dwarf than for the almost eternal elves. So, after he was refused entry to the Dwarves’ home, Khazad-dûm, Elrond invoked the Rite of Sigin-tarâg, a rock-breaking endurance test that if he lost, would leave him banished from their kingdom forever.

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Filming the scene was complex, Aramayo told TheWrap, due to the height differences between the elves and dwarves.

“It was really, really, really fun. And there [were] all kinds of different elements to that – this scale work in particular; everything had to be done in different ways. They had to bring people who matched my world and people who matched Owain’s world in, so we were doing it and we were shooting it together, and then separately. It was a whole complicated thing,” Aramayo explained. “But what’s so great about the scale stuff is that whenever they can … they’ll give you practical things that you can actually work with. So green screen and things like that are things that we use when we have to as opposed to things that we’re relying heavily on, which as an actor is a joy.”

The “LOTRTROP” team made special rocks for the actors to break, with smaller ones for Aramayo so Elrond would look larger than Arthur’s Prince Durin. While filming the scene, Arthur said the props were so realistic that they actually turned it into an onset game.

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“The props department were incredible … because these rocks were actually breaking in front of my eyes, and I don’t have the strength of a dwarf. Reality. Believe it or not,” Arthur said, with a laugh.

“We played a game of trying to figure out if it was a real rock or a fake rock. And you actually, literally, had to touch it just to go, ‘It’s fake! It’s fake! Oh, my God, that’s fake,’” he continued. “And everything around is just – it’s just so Middle Earth. And yeah, it was very humbling to kind of be a part of that set.”

He continued. “There was one particular moment when Rob was [standing] in the middle of this – whilst we were shooting that scene – he was really tall. He was [standing] on a box, and there were about 50 dwarves all around him, all dressed up, and they were really getting into the plot. And it was brilliant. And they were just waiting for the setups to kind of change and I was just looking at my mate Rob, and just going, ‘Oh my God, I’m in ‘Lord of the Rings.’ … It was a beautiful moment. Loved it.”