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What Is The Identity Of The Stranger In Rings Of Power?

By Mohit srivastava
September 5,2022

Amazon Prime’s latest offering – Rings Of Power has debuted with its first two episodes. The series serves as a prequel to the acclaimed movie franchise – The Lord of the Rings. Fans have welcomed the series with open arms and all of their childhood memories are getting rekindled. However, one of the biggest questions boggling their minds is the identity of the Stranger who seemed to have fallen on Middle-Earth in a meteorite. The identity of the Stranger has been a mystery among the fans ever since. We have our own guesses for this mystery guy. Let’s explore them one by one.

1. Gandalf

Gandalf the Grey

Probably the first name that popped into any fan’s mind after seeing the Stranger (Daniel Weyman) is the great wizard – Gandalf. Even the appearance of the Stranger eerily reminds one of Ian McKellen’s Gandalf, only much younger. Gandalf had a soft corner with the little Shire dwellers called Hobbits in the original series. So, the Stranger gets crashed near Harfoot lands (believed to be ancestors of Hobbits) and the first ones to discover him and cater to him are two Harfoots – Nori and Poppy does seem far too inconsequential.

But, Tolkien’s own limited writings have suggested to be the origin of the wizard not until 1000 years of the Third Age. The Rings Of Power is set firmly in the Second Age, which would suggest that Gandalf’s arrival is off by more than a millennium. That seems a huge continuity error. However, Tolkien’s writings on events that pre-date The Hobbit are often full of gaps. And the Rings Of Power creators have admitted to taking certain liberties with history. So who knows, maybe it’s all true.

2. Sauron

Sauron

The Big Bad of Middle-Earth in the LOTR series – Sauron, had a shapeshifting power. Since the show reportedly will be dealing with Sauron’s rise to power, the show creators might take into account this ability of his. The evil sorcerer has been in hiding for thousands of years with only Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) still trying to track him down (in LOTR). Perhaps this is how he’s returned to Middle-earth, in a ball of fire. However, there are a few problems with this. For one, his fire doesn’t burn. As Galadriel and her company saw in an early scene, the strange mark of Sauron still burned even many decades later.

3. Radagast

Radagast the Brown

The major focus of the LOTR series was on mainly two wizards – Gandalf and Saruman. However, another wizard (or Valar) who seemed to be much of a minor character is – Radagast. The Stranger also has a similar appearance to him just as he has with Gandalf. Also, the Stranger seemed to have the ability to converse with the Fireflies, just as Radagast could talk and control all the animals. However, the real motive to introduce him in this storyline and that too with such significant screentime remains to be seen. But, his relative lack of development in the texts could provide ample wiggle room for some cool new ideas.

4. Eru Iluvatar

An Illustration of Eru Iluvatar

The literal God of Middle Earth – Eru Iluvatar. He is in charge of every other powerful “angelic” or mythical figure within the lands. Digging into his lore from books, Eru first created a group of angelic beings, called Elvish the Ainur. Later these holy spirits were co-actors in the creation of Arda through holy music and chanting called the Music of the Ainur.

He is known also as the All-Powerful, and he alone could create an independent life, or reality, by just using the flame imperishable. Eru created Men, who awoke with the first rising of the Sun in Hildórien. However, that might make the Stranger far more powerful in the show. This might may resolve some parts of the stories but it shall be difficult to handle in all the already existing grandeur of the show.

5. A new Valar or Maiar

Wizards in LOTR

Even appearing least likely, this might be the most probable of all the guesses. From Tolkien’s writings, one thing is certain – the Valar weren’t present in Middle-Earth during the Second Age. But as told earlier, Tolkien’s writings have a lot of gaps when it comes to the events of the Second Age. So, maybe the writers have found a way to squeeze a new Valar and Maiar into the mix. Also, the show has already been inventing new characters rather than changing or updating new ones, so this might be entirely plausible.

We can continue to refer back to Tolkien’s texts as we start to conjure up ideas. But it must be remembered that the Rings of Power–while clearly following the blueprint of the Second Age, has been making some major adjustments and changes along the way. So let’s not be too critical and take anything for granted.