Where is Celeborn In The Rings of Power? (Spoilers)
It has been one of the biggest, most frequently asked questions about Amazon’s streaming series, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, since the publicity campaign for Season 1 began early last year. It was clear that Galadriel would be a major focus of Season 1. But what of her husband, Celeborn, Celeborn the Wise, Celeborn of the Trees, former Lord of Harlindon, erstwhile Lord of Eregion (in at least one version), and (later) Lord of the Galadhrim? They were married at the beginning of the Second Age, if not earlier, in Tolkien’s writings, and were together for most of that Age, with a relatively brief separation as trouble came to Eregion.
This question went from an idle curiosity to a growing cause for concern as Amazon released more and more information about the show, and Celeborn was nowhere to be found. Not much is written about Celeborn. In the New Line Cinema films he was little more than a glorified extra. Many of us had hoped that the Amazon series would flesh out his character, along with other characters from Tolkien’s lore, such as Gil-galad and Celebrimbor.
By the time Season 1 aired, it was clear that we would not be seeing Celeborn at all―at least not in that season. So it came as a pleasant surprise when Galadriel brought up her husband’s name in a conversation with Theo in Episode 7. We learned that Celeborn and Galadriel were indeed married, but Celeborn had gone to war and never come back, and Galadriel presumably believed him to be dead, or had given up hope of finding him. Unfortunately, coming as late in the season as it did, the mention of Celeborn looked like an afterthought by the writers, possibly added in due to complaints by fans.
However, it would seem strange if the writers never intended to include Celeborn in the show, given how intent they seem to be on having it be seen as a possible prequel to both Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and the New Line Cinema adaptation thereof. Some fans have interpreted the scene in the prologue of Galadriel holding a helmet, standing in the aftermath of a battle, as a possible reference to Celeborn’s disappearance, but there is no explicit evidence that such is the case. Nevertheless, with the mention of Celeborn’s name in the show and the uncertainty around his fate, he is clearly no more dead than Isildur is, so fans of the series have been looking forward with anticipation (and some trepidation) to the introduction of Celeborn as an actual character in Season 2.
The Exclusive Scoops
For the first time, we have been able to confirm from multiple sources who have been involved in the production that he is, indeed, in Season 2:
EXCLUSIVE: Calam Lynch will play CELEBORN in Season 2 of THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RINGS OF POWER.
Just as Robert Aramayo (who replaced Will Poulter before production began) was long believed to be Elrond, and Morfydd Clark was long believed to be Galadriel, of the new actors cast for Season 2, Calam Lynch has long been expected by many to be Celeborn, in no small part due to his resemblance to Marton Csokas, who portrayed the character in the New Line Cinema films The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. It seems the New Line films continue to influence casting choices in The Rings of Power. Other popular hypotheses about Lynch’s character were that he was Isildur’s brother Anárion, or that he was one of the forms of Sauron. Of course, the possibility remains that Sauron could impersonate Celeborn as he impersonated Finrod in the last episode of Season 1.
Calam Lynch grew up in England, but comes from an Irish acting family. His first role was a relatively small one as a sailor in Dunkirk. He has since been given larger roles, including as George Winthorp in the Disney+ series Black Beauty, and as Theo Sharpe, a potential love interest for Eloise Bridgerton in the Netflix series Bridgerton. He also has roles in the upcoming productions Archie, a mini-series about the life of Archibald Leach (Cary Grant), and The Upside of Falling Down, a romantic film set in Ireland. Many of his recent roles seem to be as characters of romantic interest.
EXCL: Celeborn will be in silver, dark blue, and gold costumes in The Rings of Power, Season 2.
The descriptions of these costumes seem to befit a prince of the Sindar (or the Falmari, or the Nandor, depending on which of Tolkien’s versions you decide to go with), although some may prefer more natural colors for the Teleri Elves, such as green, brown, and grey. None of these costumes seem likely to be worn by a prisoner of war or a castaway, though, as some have speculated Celeborn would first be introduced to us. Still, it’s quite possible he has more than three costumes in Season 2, as Galadriel did in Season 1.
EXCL: Calam Lynch during one of the chemistry tests with Morfydd Clark (Galadriel) before filming was said to be in his entire Celeborn costume and outfit.
The fact that Calam Lynch had chemistry tests with Morfydd Clark is also strong evidence that he is playing Celeborn in Season 2 of The Rings of Power. Although chemistry tests are sometimes used simply to gauge how convincing two actors will be as close friends or family members, so far in The Rings of Power they seem to have only been used for (potentially) romantic couples. Markella Kavenagh (Nori Brandyfoot) and Megan Richards (Poppy Proudfellow), for example, did not have any chemistry tests, but Morfydd Clark (Galadriel) and Charlie Vickers (Halbrand) notoriously did have them. At any rate, the chemistry tests do imply that the two will have significant scenes together, as do the multiple costumes, so The Rings of Power writers will necessarily be expanding on his character beyond what little we saw in the New Line films.
This news from the production of Season 2 lays rest to some questions and concerns, but at the same time it raises others: How will Celeborn be introduced to us? How will his long absence be explained? What was he doing in the millennium or more since he went missing? What prevented him from returning to Galadriel? Did Galadriel try to find him at all during their long separation? And how will Celeborn’s reappearance affect the story from here on? Will he fulfill his canon role and take part in the defense of Eregion in Season 2?
And where is Celebrían, their daughter? Has she been born already? If so, where is she, and why has she never been mentioned before in the show (despite the fact that a child was mentioned in Season 1 audition scripts between “Eldien” [Galadriel] and “Beldor” [Elrond])? Has she not been born yet? If she is still nonexistent, that would be problematic for her future romance with Elrond. But if she exists, where is she? Of the new actors cast for Season 2, Amelia Kenworthy seemed the most likely to portray Celebrían, but recent revelations have cast doubt on that possibility.
Thoughts and Theories from the Fellowship of Fans Team
Here are some of our thoughts and speculations regarding this news about Celeborn’s upcoming appearance in The Rings of Power:
We have few to no clues on Celeborn’s fate in the show, so the starting point for speculation is the canon. We know that he is present in Middle-earth throughout the First, Second, and Third Ages, among other things, moving around with Galadriel, ruling Lothlórien, and fathering Celebrían. This means that, unless the showrunners are going to completely deviate from the story of Galadriel and Celeborn, he must show up at some point.
Galadriel seems to think that he had died in battle. If so, how does he come back? And if not, how is it possible that he is absent for so long, but is still somewhere in Middle-earth? I see two most likely scenarios:
The first one is that he had indeed died during what is implied to be the War of Wrath. In this scenario, I believe that the showrunners might give him the role of Glorfindel and have him be sent as an epic hero from Valinor. This would be very sad news for any Glorfindel fan, myself included, and would also be a much larger deviation from the lore than the second scenario.
In this other, likelier option it would turn out that he was somehow held captive all this time, and he will then be revealed in either the second or the third season to be still alive, which would then finally bring him back into Galadriel’s arms.
I am definitely more of a fan of the latter one, so I am sincerely hoping we see a lot of him, and most importantly, that they already have Celebrían as an adult, so we can have a proper canon romance happen between her and Elrond.
I expect a rescue mission, that he is rescued either by Galadriel and her party, or by someone else who is relevant to the story, and then taken to Galadriel. My guess is that he was either imprisoned or stranded somewhere, and couldn’t leave.
Celeborn, Celeborn… where art thou, oh Celeborn? Oh I guess, he’s in captivity? Maybe Sauron holds him as a bit of a pet (à la Chihuahuarg)? “Come here, pointy, and have a bit of grub.” Seriously, though, it’s a strange conceit, and the only reasonable solutions are “captured by Sauron” or “wandering in the wild.” It will presumably make for rather an uncanny reintroduction. “Hi, Gal. Missed me, Gal?”
I’ve seen several theories on where Celeborn is, but I’m more on board with the idea of him being captured somewhere. We know from the scoops that Galadriel will be captured by Adar in Season 2, so it would be fun if they randomly get thrown together in the same cage and they’re both like, “Wait a damn minute, what are you doing here?”. All in all, I hope they don’t give him a Glorfindel type of arc.
I have had many thoughts on how Celeborn could be introduced to the show, most of them flippant in proportion to how I feel he has been treated so far by the writers of The Rings of Power, but I need not share them here. My fear is that it will feel as contrived as the reintroduction of Truman’s presumed dead father in The Truman Show. (Of course, there it was supposed to feel contrived, because the premise of the film was that Truman’s whole life was contrived for a “reality” television show.)
I’m not sure I have a great idea of how Celeborn could be introduced, but I tend to favor the idea that he is being held captive by agents of Sauron in Rhûn, that the Wizard of Wilderland (or whatever “the Stranger” is called in Season 2) will help set him free, and with luck he will return to Elvendom in time to have a heartfelt reunion with Galadriel and help defend Eregion, not necessarily in that order.
I also favor the Mulan/Éowyn theory for Celebrían, that is, that she followed her father Celeborn to war and disappeared along with him. This would also shed new light on Galadriel’s actions and characterization in Season 1 of The Rings of Power. It would raise the question of why she never mentioned her daughter before, but then for some reason she mentioned her husband to Theo, but not to Halbrand. However, the whereabouts of Celebrían in Season 2, if she has even been born yet, are still unknown, and it is not clear that any of the actresses cast for Season 2 will portray her. Possibly Amazon Studios has decided to minimize the confusion of the general audience by permitting the introduction of only one new character per season whose name begins with Celeb-.
As important as Celeborn’s introduction is, more important to me is how he will be portrayed in Season 2 and future seasons of The Rings of Power. Unfortunately, Tolkien himself did not give us very many insights into his character, or his relationship with Galadriel. Perhaps the major known feature of their relationship is that the two of them have differing views on the Dwarves, even as late as the end of the Third Age. It will be up to the writers to expand on Celeborn’s character and his relationship with Galadriel in a way that seems natural and not inconsistent with what we already know about them, whether from Tolkien’s writings, or from what has already been established in Season 1. Given how the writers have handled other characters in the show, I know it is possible for them to write characters and relationships in a way that succeeds with most members of the audience. I hope they can achieve a similar rapport and balance of personalities for the future Lord and Lady of Lórien.