'Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power' Adds 'Game of Thrones' Star to Cast

Mance Rayder is heading to Middle-earth. On Monday, Amazon Prime Video announced that actor Ciarán Hinds has joined the cast of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, along with two other newcomers Rory Kinnear and Tanya Moodie. The second season is filming now and is expected to premiere sometime in 2024.

Hinds is best known to fantasy fans for playing the Wildling Mance Rayder, the "King Beyond The Wall" on HBO's Game of Thrones. He has a prolific career beyond that as well but it sounds like the fantasy genre isn't finished with him yet. The official Rings of Power social media accounts kicked off the week by announcing Hinds, Kinnear and Moodie have joined the cast in unspecified roles. Considering that the show is based on limited source material from author J.R.R. Tolkien, even die-hard fans of the books don't have much chance of guessing who they will be playing.

Hinds is from Belfast in Northern Ireland and is best known for stage acting from the 1970s until today. He also built up a prodigious career in TV in the U.K., but fans in the U.S. likely did not get to know him until around 2011 when he began appearing in more international blockbuster movies. That year, he scored a brief but important role as Aberforth Dumbledore in the final Harry Potter movie.

Kinnear is also trained for the theater in the U.K., with no relation to actor Greg Kinnear. He is best known for roles in The Imitation Game, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall and Penny Dreadful. Meanwhile, Moodie played the villainous General Parnadee in Star Wars: Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker, but is better known for roles on TV series like Motherland and A Discovery of Witches.

The Rings of Power premiered in September of 2022 to an anxious audience unsure of what to expect. Although it is set in the same Middle-earth as Tolkien's books and Peter Jackson's acclaimed films, it takes place in the "Second Age" – a time period thousands of years before Frodo's journey to Mount Doom. Most of Tolkien's writing about the Second Age comes from his books The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales and The History of Middle-earth, but Amazon Studios only bought the television rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

This means that The Rings of Power is based on just a few passing mentions of the ancient history of the main series, as well as the appendices that Tolkien wrote for some of the books. The show has the difficult task of working from those references without either drawing from or contradicting the other three books it does not have the rights to. At the same time, Tolkien's descriptions of this time period are so scant that the writers must break a lot of new ground without upsetting a very active fandom.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is streaming now on Prime Video. Season 2 is in production and is expected to premiere next year. The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films are all available on HBO Max.