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The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is returning fans to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth, but it’s introducing a whole new slate of characters to the Lord of the Rings franchise — some viewers will recognize and others they won’t. Among the newcomers is a mysterious man dubbed “The Stranger,” as even he doesn’t seem to know much about his identity. The Stranger fell from the sky during The Rings of Power premiere, and he’s got powerful abilities (though it’s unclear how well he can control them).

Nori Brandyfoot (Markella Kavenagh) stumbles upon this Stranger after he crashes near the Harfoots’ camp. And fans have theories about the identity of this Rings of Power character. Read on to learn the most convincing predictions from Reddit.

‘The Lord of the Rings’ fans think The Stranger is Gandalf or Saruman

Daniel Weyman as The Stranger in 'The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.' He's standing with his arms crossed.
Daniel Weyman as The Stranger | Prime Video

Prequels have a tendency to bring in characters viewers already know, and some The Lord of the Rings fans believe The Rings of Power is introducing Gandalf or Saruman. Both wizards play a pivotal role in the original trilogy. And both were spiritual beings before the Valar sent them to help Middle-earth.

The Rings of Power sees The Stranger crash-landing on the continent in what looks like a comet. That certainly would make a grand entrance for either wizard, and it would partially fit with their backstories. Falling from the sky seems in line with being sent by a greater power. And if the wizards didn’t previously have a physical form, it makes sense The Stranger would be confused upon waking up in the flesh.

The main problem with this theory is that The Rings of Power is set during the Second Age. In J.R.R. Tolkien’s writings, Gandalf and Saruman don’t come to Middle-earth until the Third Age. So, unless the Amazon prequel is taking liberties with Tolkien’s timeline, The Stranger can’t be either character.

However, there are two other wizards who could make their entrance during this time period.

‘The Rings of Power’ could introduce the Blue Wizards

Gandalf and Saruman didn’t venture to Middle-earth until the Third Age, but two other wizards may have made it there a bit earlier. The Blue Wizards — known by the names Alatar and Pallando — are also members of the Istari. But although they’re given the same mission as Gandalf and Saruman, when they arrive in Middle-earth is up for debate.

According to The One Wiki to Rule Them All, J.R.R. Tolkien’s writings are a bit contradictory when it comes to the Blue Wizards. In Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth, Tolkien suggests that all five wizards make their entrance around the same time. But The Peoples of Middle-earth implies otherwise, claiming that the Blue Wizards actually came to Middle-earth during the Second Age. If that’s the case, they could be in The Rings of Power without straying too far from Tolkien’s canon.

Could ‘The Rings of Power’ be hiding its Big Bad in plain sight?


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The theories that The Stranger is one of the Istari suggest the character has good intentions, but some The Rings of Power fans are less certain about that. In fact, several are wondering if the Amazon prequel is hiding its villain out in the open. Could Nori Brandyfoot’s new charge actually be Sauron?

It would certainly make for a surprising twist, and The Stranger does appear to have some serious anger issues. He also inadvertently kills a bunch of fireflies, and his demeanor seems dark and unsettling at times.

Of course, there are some major questions about why Sauron would show up in this state in The Rings of Power. Not only does The Stranger appear to be suffering from memory loss, but he’s disheveled and in need of help. Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) suggests Sauron’s in hiding after Morgoth’s downfall, but it’s unclear why he’d take the form of an old man — or fall from the sky in a blaze of fire.

The series would need to explain these things if it were to reveal The Stranger as its Big Bad — though one Redditor has a possible answer:

“I think the storyline with Nori/Meteor Man is a different part of the timeline. It’s cut to make it look like everything is happening at the same time, but I don’t think the meteor Gil-Galad saw is the same one Nori saw. I think Nori is encountering Sauron when he first comes to Middle-earth and becomes corrupted.”

That would make for an interesting twist, though it would also require further explanation to work. We’ll have to wait and see how The Rings of Power chooses to reveal and explain The Stranger’s identity.

New episodes of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power stream on Prime Video every Friday.