The identity of The Stranger in The Lord of The Rings: The Rings of Power is still an open-ended question, according to the show’s writers. The series premiered on Prime Video on September 1, and had the most viewers for any premiere to date on the streaming platform, amassing an astonishing 25 million viewers on its first day alone. The Lord of the Rings: The RIngs of Power follows the heroic stories of Middle-earth’s fabled Second Age, taking place thousands of years before the events of Tolkien’s beloved novels. On October 14, season 1 came to a conclusion with its finale “Alloyed”.
The Stranger, played by Daniel Weyman, was first introduced in episode 1, “A Shadow of the Past”, when he crash-landed on Middle-earth near where a group of Harfoots are staying. Due to his memory loss, his identity has remained a mystery, save for the knowledge that he possesses great magical abilities. Because of his powers, he attracted the attention of a certain group of mystics, believing he was Lord Sauron, however, they soon realize he is not, in fact, Sauron, but do give him the label of “istar”, confirming that he is in fact a wizard. However, this does not mean that he is fundamentally good, since istars could be good or evil which has been proven by the different character traits of Gandalf and Saruman.
On the heels of the season 1 finale, JD Payne and Patrick McKay appeared on The Official The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power podcast to break down episode eight of the show. When asked about The Stranger’s identity, the writers teased that the subject is still an open question, while also hinting he may not be as good as audiences think. See what Payne and McKay said below:
JD Payne: Well, what I would say there is we know wizards can be good and bad. And wizards are of the same class as Sauron.Patrick McKay: Yeah, they’re both Myars.JD Payne: So, the answer is, there is no point at which, “He’s a wizard, oh great, everything’s cool.” Because, wizards can be as evil and as dangerous, they can be rivals for Sauron, or allies of Sauron, and The Stranger’s journey will continue. So, I think that’s an open question still, though I do think by the end of the eighth episode, he sure seems like a force for good.
How Rings of Power Season 2 Will Build On The Stranger
In the Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power season finale, The Stranger shows his good nature by saving his Harfoot friends from the women of Rhûn, stating that he is not only an istar and not Sauron, but that he is “good”. However, it has yet to be revealed to which istar The Stranger is. There are five known wizards in Middle-earth, however, which include Gandalf, Saruman, Radagast, and two blue wizards, and The Stranger can be any of these individuals. The identity of The Stranger could possibly be answered in season 2, which has yet to have a release date announced.
Many theories have been discussed concerning the identity of The Stranger the most popular of which indicates that he is indeed Gandalf. In the season finale, he gives Nori the advice to “always follow your nose”, a reference to Gandalf’s advice in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. This, along with the fact that The Stranger is also known to wear gray and to befriend hobbits, has fueled theories that he is indeed Gandalf. It is also worth noting that The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power only loosely follows the Tolkien lore, giving possibility to surprising changes and unorthodox approaches to the story of Middle Earth. Possibly in season 2 The Stranger’s memory will clear, and all will be revealed as to who our mysterious wizard is.