“It’s not my job to write this but I’m sure the boys are wary of writing a bit of pop psychology and saying he had a difficult dad, and therefore was a troubled person, and therefore didn’t throw the ring in the fire, which is a story I don’t think Tolkien would be interested in necessarily,” he tells us. “But inevitably we’re all shaped by our childhood. If you take the nature/nurture debate, nurture is a larger player in it and that’s not just a parent but everything outside of that. It includes the effects of growing up in Númenor, the schism in that society, how that affects Isildur, how it affects Elendil, how it affects [Elendil’s daughter] Earien. At this stage of his life, as you see him in episode three, I don’t think you could argue Isildur would make the same decisions.”
That is of course a hypothetical, but Owen enjoys thinking about the “What ifs?” of Middle-earth.
“I’ve also posited the question that if Tolkien did write him, if [Elendil] had the ring, would he throw the ring into the fire?” Owen says. “I talked to Corey Olsen, a Tolkien professor and he immediately said ‘Yes! He would throw it into the fire!’ and that just revealed how close he is to people’s hearts.”
Owen, however, remains to be convinced.
“If Tolkien wrote it, I don’t know, would he not say that we don’t know what will happen if anyone holds that ring? We don’t know. And that’s really fascinating to me,” he says. “To that extent I started thinking about that question, just what informed how he would be if that had been the scenario? What in his life would make him throw the ring in or not throw it in?”
Elendil and Earien
When we meet Elendil in The Rings of Power, there is one other relationship that will prove crucial to his story, and this character is even harder to find in the books than Elendil himself, as the showrunners invented her. However, even in introducing new characters, the writers have been careful to stay close to the spirit of Tolkien’s writing.