The fifth of eight episodes of this first season ofis now available to watch on , and there is still a huge mystery that we are not close to solving. Despite lots of screen time, we still don’t know who The Stranger is. From the moment it crashed into Middle-earth in a ball of fire, audiences wildly speculated who it might be, but nothing seemed conclusive. Is this meteor man friend or foe? Will this character play a central role in the end of the season or will the mystery persist in the next one? It’s hard to know for sure.
In a July interview with Screenrant during San Diego Comic-Con, actor Daniel Weyman had the following to say about his time as The Stranger.
“They were pretty clear early on that what they were getting to me was a character that had, at its core, a really deep, overriding purpose. He had a need to accomplish something, he had a desire to accomplish that Once I started tapping into that and feeling that deep in the core, then other things came out of that.
I think for me it was really important. Whether it was costume, hair and makeup, dialect and movement, all of these things stemmed from this very primal, guttural sense of “I know what I have to do here.” I know why I am here. And that’s a joy to have as an actor, because there are characters that never really know what their purpose is. They never really know what their desires are.
Although we don’t know, I think what we’re going to do – if we can stick with him – is see that how he impacts the communities around him is going to be dramatic. We’re going to learn, learn and learn, and finding out what exactly is going on may not be so quick.”
We don’t know for sure who it is, but there’s plenty of information in lore and interviews and what we’ve seen on screen to rule out certain things. Here are the top guesses I’ve found on the internet, with some detail on the likelihood that a given guess is correct.
At this point in the story, Sauron has disappeared to build up his strength and take on Middle-earth through his grand plan. To enact this grand plan, he must be in the seat of power in a way that no one suspects he has evil in his heart. In Tolkien’s stories, Sauron appears as a disguised elf named Annatar and uses his skills as a master craftsman to attract the attention of Celebrimbor. Together they make a whole bunch of very pretty rings that you may have heard of.
While it’s interesting for Annatar to make a grand appearance like this, arriving in a ball of fire that Gil-galad himself saw streak across the sky, and perhaps pretending not to remember his past, The Stranger is probably not Annatar. The main reason is the ears. As the adorable Harfoot Poppy points out, he doesn’t have pointy ears and he isn’t handsome.
It should be added here that, according to the showrunners in a recent interview, Sauron has yet to appear on screen. This could be a turnoff, as Sauron is notorious for disguising himself, and the shirtless tavern guy seemed to think the falling stars were a sign of the Dark Lord’s imminent arrival. Or it could be that this meteor man isn’t Sauron, which seems plausible.
Peter Jackson’s films are fantastic, but they smeared Glorfindel. In the books he is on the Council of Elrond after saving Frodo from the Ringwraiths and not Arwen. While I enjoyed Liv Tyler’s performance as Arwen, in the books Glorfindel has gone up against several Ringwraiths because he’s so strong and that power is never present in the movies. It’s probably because he killed a Balrog on his own when he was young, and so was a bit overpowered for those movies, but that’s not a big deal for The Rings of Power.
Glorfindel is depicted as having been returned to Middle-earth in the Second Age with powers that rivaled those of the Five Wizards, which would explain the wizard-like powers shown in the first two episodes. He also attempts to communicate through the constellations, something ancient elves like Glorfindel would have understood.
Unfortunately, Glorfindel is also portrayed as a handsome, golden-haired elf. While it’s possible The Stranger just needs a bath and a shave to transform into a fairer being (check it out, actor Daniel Weyman cleans up nicely), the lack of pointy ears makes that less likely.
He’s older, greyish, and apparently wields magical powers – that must be Gandalf as he arrives in Middle-earth, right? It’s a reasonable guess given what we’ve seen on screen, including the many forms of magic this character is capable of wielding, but it’s probably not Gandalf.
Gandalf the Grey, alongside Radagast the Brown and their leader Saruman the White, do not arrive in Middle-earth until they enter the Third Age. This means The Stranger landed in front of Nori a very long time before Gandalf was sent to help fight Sauron, at least according to Tolkien. If this show is going to spoil Gandalf’s arrival in Middle-earth, there better be a good explanation of why.
Allatar or Pallando
Gandalf and the other two wizards didn’t land in Middle-earth until the Third Age, but there are actually five wizards in Middle-earth. The other two are more commonly referred to as the Blue Wizards, since Tolkien describes their robes as navy blue. Although these two are equal in power to Gandalf or Radagast when they arrive, their contributions are not well documented by Tolkien. We don’t know much about what these wizards were doing here, only that when Allatar was sent here he asked Pallando to join him and Tolkien described the two as having “had a very big influence on history. of the second and third ages.”
It’s possible that Allatar and Pallando were separated when they arrived in Middle-earth, and the language barrier between him and Nori could be temporary while he identifies his powers in this new place. But if it really is one of the Blue Wizards, it’s extremely odd that they didn’t arrive together or dressed in blue.
Another hugely amusing Tolkien character who got smeared by the Peter Jackson movies, Tom Bombadil is one of Middle-earth’s oldest living beings, and his powers are somewhat unknown. Glorfindel suggested at the Council of Elrond that the One Ring be given to Tom to destroy, as one of the most powerful Elves alive at the time thought he was up to the task. himself.
Tolkien didn’t write much about what Tom was doing during the First Age or the Second Age, only that he was in Middle-earth with his wife, Goldberry, who was also a river spirit. Tom and Goldberry are known to have had frequent interactions with Hobbits, so they likely knew ancestors like the Harfoots. Maybe it was Nori Brandyfoot’s kindness that led Tom to be so kind to Hobbits?
When most people hear the term Balrog, they immediately think of the giant smoke and fire monster that Galdalf fights at the end of Fellowship of the Rings and the start of The Two Towers. And for the most part, it’s a pretty safe bet (although it’s worth pointing out that there’s quite a bit of debate within the Tolkien community as to whether these monstrous beings have wings or not) imagining a Balog.
That said, The Stranger is unharmed by his magical fire and survived a ridiculous landing and there are only a handful of beings capable of either. This group of beings is known as the Maiar, the primordial beings used to help shape the world before it was populated by living beings. That’s right, wizards and balrogs are made of the same material and therefore have many of the same abilities. This includes the ability to change shape.
Tolkien never wrote about the Balrogs as anything other than great demons who serve Morgoth, and of course that incident at Khazad-dûm, so to call it a stretch that The Stranger is a Balrog is an understatement. But it’s technically possible given what Tolkien wrote, and we know from the trailers that a Balrog will make an appearance at some point in the series.
Still, he’s probably not a Balrog.
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