The new Amazon fantasy series, The Rings of Power, is finally here, and Lord of the Rings fans around the world all want to know one thing, ‘who is The Stranger?’ In case you missed it The Stranger is a mysterious figure who fell from the sky and crashed into Middle-earth close to the Harfoot village.
So far, we know next to nothing about this strange man; he has a great big bushy beard and powerful magical abilities. So who might he be? Well, we’ve put on our best wizard thinking cap and been through a list of Lord of the Rings characters who may be The Stranger. So here’s our list of potential suspects.
Who is the Stranger?
- Saruman or Radagast
- A Blue wzard
Is the Stranger Gandalf?
When most Lord of the Rings fans think of a tall magical man with a beard, they think of Gandalf – played by Sir Ian McKellen in The Lord of the Rings movies. On the surface, this seems like the most likely answer. After all, we’ve already met two other younger members of the White Council – Elrond and Galadriel – it seems only natural then that The Rings of Power would want to introduce Gandalf.
Well, we’ve some bad news for you. Gandalf didn’t arrive in Middle-earth until the Third Age, long after the events of The Rings of Power. Basically, Gandalf avoided going to the mortal realm because he was frightened of Sauron and only made the journey when he absolutely had to. And while the TV series can add things to the Lord of the Rings canon, it cannot contradict anything that Tolkien himself wrote.
Is the Stranger Saruman or Radagast?
Well, if it’s not Gandalf, then could it be Saruman or Radagast? They’re both magical bearded guys and arrived in Middle-earth before Gandalf. Unfortunately, like Gandalf, both Saruman and Radagast canonically didn’t arrive in Middle-earth until the Third Age, which rules them out as well.
Is the Stranger A Blue Wizard?
At this point, you might be thinking, ‘it can’t be a wizard then if they all made the trip to Middle-earth thousands of years before the Third Age’ however, two may have arrived earlier. In The Peoples of Middle-earth, Tolkien writes that the Blue Wizards may have arrived in the Second Age to help the mortal realm in its war against Sauron.
The Blue Wizards are also rather conveniently rarely written about, giving The Rings of Power writers a lot of space to play with these characters without contradicting Tolkien’s original text. Were we to place a bet, we’d guess that The Stranger is one of these wizards, which would make him either Alatar or Pallando. That said, there is one more contender.
Is the Stranger Sauron?
We got a brief glimpse of Sauron during the first episode of The Rings of Power, and he looked like a 12-foot-tall demi-god, but we haven’t seen him since. Could The Stranger be Sauron himself? He is a powerful shapeshifter, with Tolkien writing how he can change into a snake, elf-like form, and even a werewolf – so turning into a man wouldn’t be impossible for him.
There’s not much evidence for this theory, but Nori the Harfoot does comment on how cold The Stranger’s crater is. On its own, this line wouldn’t be too weird (it’s magical fire, innit?), but Galadriel had previously commented on the greatest evil robbing even fire of its warmth. It’s also suspiciously similar to the One Ring’s ability to remain cool even when heated in a fire. So who knows, maybe we’ve just witnessed Sauron’s latest form.