MOVIE NEWS – One of the iconic characters from Shadow of Mordor and Shadow of War is now featured in the upcoming Rings of Power series, which launches on Friday – albeit in a very different portrayal to the one seen in those games.
Celebrimbor was the elven spirit who was “magically implanted” into the body of the undead Gondor hunter Talion after Talion and his family were killed. Since we can often control Celebrimbor specifically, he is in fact the other main character in the game. The Elf who made the Rings of Power was mentioned in Tolkien’s works (unlike Talion, who was created by the makers of Shadow of Mordor), but has never been seen in any movies, TV series, or other games.
Celebrimbor is, according to Tolkien lore, a Nolda-born blacksmith, descendant of Fëanor, the maker of the Silmarils. The story goes that Celebrimbor is the child of Curufin, and himself (not counting the demented and uncertain Maglor) the last survivor of the royal house of Fëanor. He is a master craftsman who forged the Three Rings.
After the War of Fury and the end of the First Age, many elves returned to the Undying Lands, but Celebrimbor was among those who remained. He sought a new home for himself in the East, where he met a group of Nolda elves, including Findrod’s sister Galadriel, and her husband Celeborn. In 750 AD they settled in Eregion, at the foot of the Misty Mountains. They chose this place because Celebrimbor had learned that the dwarves had discovered a very valuable metal in the Khazad dune, which they named mithril.
The art of forging
Also according to Tolkien lore, Celebrimbor was the greatest of the elven smiths. He befriended the dwarves of the Casad dhimmi, sharing their talents and secrets. The dwarves took up the elves’ rune-writing, and Celebrimbor became highly skilled in the crafting of mithril.
In particular, he befriended the Dwarf craftsman Narvi. Narvi made the Gate of Durin, which was the western entrance to Khazad-dune, on which Celebrimbor carved a secret inscription in a material made of mithril, ithildin, which reflected only the light of the moon or stars and was visible only then.
Also made by Celebrimbor was the Elessar, a silver brooch in the shape of an eagle, set with a clear green stone. He gave it to Galadirel, who later gave it to Aragon. The story goes that Celebrimbor was in love with Galadriel. Another story says that back in the First Age he made an Elessar that ended up with Errendil.
Warning from here on out, SPOILERS for Shadow of Mordor and Tolkien’s original works!
The Rings of Power
In one version of the story, Sauron convinced Celebrimbor to launch a rebellion against Galadriel, who left Eregion and went to Lothlorien between 1350 and 1400. Although nowhere else is there any mention of this uprising.
Under Sauron’s leadership, Celebrimbor and the Elf smiths began to make the Rings of Power around 1500. They forged seven rings, and with Sauron’s help, nine. Around 1590 Celebrimbor single-handedly made the Three Rings, Narya, Nenya and Vilya.
Around 1600, Sauron created the One Ring to rule the Rings of Power. Even the Three Rings were a target of the One, because Celebrimbor used Sauron’s skills to create them. When Sauron put on the One Ring, Celebrimbor realized he had made a mistake.
He consulted Galadriel about what to do with the Three Rings. They couldn’t bring themselves to destroy them, so they agreed to hide them. In 1693, Celebrimbor, gave Nenya to Galadriel and sent Narya and Vilya to Gil-galad in Lindon.
This angered Sauron and he launched a war against the Elves. His army stormed Eregion and breached its outer defences in 1697. Celebrimbor confronted Sauron on the steps of the House of Mirdain and was captured. Sauron tortured him until he revealed the whereabouts of the Seven Rings, but Celebrimbor refused to tell him where the Three were.
Celebrimbor’s death according to Tolkien lore and the games
Celebrimbor was slain by Orcs and his body was stretched on a bone pole, carried as a sort of battle flag by the armies of Sauron as they continued their campaign against the Elves. But eventually Sauron was defeated in 1701 and returned to Mordor.
In Shadow of War, Celebrimbor dies in a different way: he is killed by Sauron himself in his elven form, by being struck dead with his own hammer. You can see all this in the walkthrough below. Celebrimbor’s soul, of course, does not rest after his death, but becomes a “wraith” without memories, which later moves into Talion’s undead body, and together they fight to gradually regain Celebrimbor’s memories.
END OF SPOILER
The voice of the elven master blacksmith is Scottish actor Alastair Duncan now 63, who is a veteran of the industry, having voiced Mimir in God of War and will do so in God of War: Ragnarok, but has also appeared in many other films and TV series, including Dr Moriarty in the 1988 adaptation of Sherlock Holmes’ The Hound of the Devil.
In The Rings of Power, however, it is no longer him but Charles Edwards, 52, 11 years his junior, who plays Celebrimbor, seen in The Crown, among other films.
Comparing the two ‘performances’, Edwards’ is not very convincing at the moment: the character of the arrogant, proud creator of the Rings of Power is not yet coming across, but that could change later.