New footage from Amazon’s much-awaited The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power miniseries provides our clearest glimpse yet at the strange, tatty man teased in earlier previews. He hasn’t been formally identified as Gandalf, but take it from me—that is Gandalf.
Whereas the remainder of the gang is occupied shouting, scaling ice mountains, brandishing blades, crafting rings, and getting utterly hoodwinked by the Dark Lord, Gandalf arrives early to Middle-earth to chill, and share some booze with the hobbits and get some work done. And that’s why we have hope that Rings of Power could be the next best thing.
We all understand the show’s creators are rearranging events to make for a better television drama. It’s alright with me; dogmatic devotion to canon is the folly of the ignorant.
— The Lord of the Rings on Prime (@LOTRonPrime) August 23, 2022
The hobbit-like people in the trailers are harfoots, the wandering progenitors of the hobbits, who, according to Vanity Fair, meet a wayward man whose backstory appears to be one of the series’s most intriguing mysteries.
True, Gandalf and the remaining Magicians don’t appear till two millennia into the Third Age, long after the creation of the rings and the downfall of the Final Coalition of Elves and Man.
However, the hobbits, who are shown as ordinary peasants dwelling on the periphery of the main plot, are really the protagonists and the entire purpose of the books and movie adaptations. The fact that the scriptwriters included the narrative of Gandalf as well as the harfoots is a positive sign that they have read and grasped J.R.R. Tolkien.
Regardless of how faithfully it adheres to Tolkien’s chronology, if the story focuses only on Galadriel, Ar-Pharazôn, Gil-galad, and big friendships and deceits, then it isn’t Lord of the Rings; it is just Rings of Power.
Of course, it’s possible that this is totally incorrect. It’s possible that the man they discover in the crater is not Gandalf at all but rather an unconnected man. Perhaps one of the Blue Wizards or simply some random dude. If that isn’t Gandalf, then who is he?