Who is the Stranger in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power? Since the mysterious man (Daniel Weyman) fell from the sky with a meteorite in episode 1, fans of the series have been puzzling over his true identity. And in the finale of the series, a very important part was actually revealed: The stranger is an istar, a sorcerer – but which one?
In the “Rings of Power” finale actually everything points to the fact that the stranger must be Gandalf, the most famous wizard, also known from the “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” films. The connection with the hobbits/harfeet, the moths, the fire, even a quote at the very end – more about that in this article:
But actually the stranger cannot or must not be Gandalf, depending on how closely those responsible for the series (have to) stick to the book template by JRR Tolkien. Actually, they shouldn’t contradict Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings books – and here it says that wizards didn’t arrive in Middle-earth until the Third Age, and that was by ship (Gandalf and Saruman are even mentioned here by name). However, those responsible for “The Rings of Power” seem to be allowed to take other liberties – so that doesn’t necessarily mean something.
In fact, there is something else that speaks against Gandalf – and that the stranger is one of the two blue wizards after all, which Tolkien only mentions in passing here and there. Because the stranger and Nori (Markella Kavenagh) are now traveling east, where the magician hopes to learn more about himself and his past. and the Blue Wizards are closely linked to the east, to Rhûn.
Furthermore, at least according to Tolkien’s later works, the two Blue Wizards did in fact arrive in Middle-earth as early as the Second Age (that is, at the time of The Rings of Power). And they were sent to oppose Sauron – as seems to be the case with the Stranger.
Then when the three mystics realize that he is not Sauron after all, they say: “He is the other. The Istar. He is…” This indicates that he is a direct or the direct antagonist of Sauron. Co-showrunner Patrick McKay has said that the Stranger’s fate is closely tied to Sauron’s.
The mystics are also important in another respect: Because thanks to them we learn that the stranger has very likely been in the east, in Rhûn, at some point. While they mistake him for Sauron at this moment, when they say he already knows their lands (i.e. Rhûn), that should still be true – because the stranger is looking for a very specific constellation of stars that only exists in Rhûn: the hermit’s hat.
Because he already wrote down this constellation during his first clumsy attempts to communicate with Nori. And later it was also to be discovered in the records of the Harfuss:
Apparently, the Stranger had already arrived in Middle-earth some time before the events of The Rings of Power, traveled east, was somehow expelled from there and eventually (for whatever reason) ended up back in Middle-earth with a meteorite. And now he travels there again and, together with Nori, uncovers his faded memories – in “The Rings of Power” there is talk of a veil that will be lifted as his powers increase.
So let’s assume that the stranger really is a Blue Wizard: when and how do we find out his name? Daniel Weyman has no answer to that either, in an interview with the US industry magazine Variety only revealed that he’s on the same page as the audience as he hasn’t started filming Season 2 yet. But a look at the books might also help here:
However, Tolkien has different names for the two Blue Wizards. First they were called Alatar and Pallando, then Morinehtar and Rómestámo, although the two different versions of the characters should not necessarily be equated. Of all these variants Rómestámo seems to us to be the most likely name for the stranger, because it means “Eastern helper”i.e. someone who helps in the East.
But it is important to note that the creators of “The Rings of Power” do not have the rights to the part of Tolkien’s works in which Rómestámo is mentioned (namely “The Peoples of Middle-earth”). So even if they are inspired by this version of the Blue Wizard or a Blue Wizard (and there is at least some evidence that they are), the stranger does not necessarily have to be named the same.
By the way: The term “blue magician” does not have to mean that the stranger then throws himself into a blue cape and magician’s hat. While the name is common among Tolkien fans, this color is actually only used in one place by Tolkien. Otherwise, there is simply talk of two other magicians.
Whether the stranger is one of the Blue Wizards or maybe just Gandalf, we may then find out in Season 2 of “The Rings of Power”. Filming has already begun (just without Daniel Weyman), which is why we are expecting a start on Prime Video going out in 2024.