The Stranger was by far one of the most mysterious characters during the Rings of Power’s first season. It may have been obvious from his first burst of magic that he belonged to the Istari (Wizards), but which one we did not know which. Gandalf, Saruman, Radagast, and even Sauron were theorized over these past couple of months.
However, all has seemingly been revealed during the last act of the final episode, which is now streaming on Prime Video as we speak. Although they may not have mentioned the Stranger’s name directly, they did however provide a callback to Gandalf that all original trilogy fans will remember. Spoilers ahead, you have been warned.
Who is the Stranger and how do we know?
You probably guessed it, yep, he is definitely Gandalf if the final clues are anything to go by. Although I was rooting for Radagast to be the big reveal, just due to the brown attire alone. However, clues that it could have been Gandalf were very present during his whole arc through season one.
The Stranger’s fondness towards the Harfoots, who later become Hobbits, was one of the biggest giveaways to the Tolkien fandom. This could explain Gandalf’s respect and appreciation towards the Hobbits during the Shire era. It is worthy to also mention before we continue that he was indeed confirmed to be an Istar (Wizard).
The Stranger Is Gandalf, Revealed!
During the ending sequence of the finale episode from Rings of Power, an obvious Gandalf callback reveals his identity. Nori sets off with him so he can continue looking for his stars, which we do learn a little about but not fully.
He asks Nori in which direction she thinks they should head first, and Nori responds”I haven’t an inkling on which way to go”. So he decides to lead instead and instantly realizes where they should be going due to a “sweet smell in the air”. Nori questions his decision but the Stranger reassures her by saying “when in doubt Elanor Brandyfoot, always follow your nose.”.
Always Follow Your Nose Callback
The callback to “always follow your nose” is directly from Peter Jackson’s Fellowship of the Ring. Where Gandalf and the fellowship find themselves lost, but Gandalf just uses the smell of the air to find his way.
The line spoken by the wizard in the Rings of Power finale is identical to this moment, just with Nori in the place of Merry this time round. If this isn’t enough to convince anyone, then they will just have to wait until they actually name-drop in a later season.
It is still technically possible that he is not Gandalf, but the final episode does seem to point all fingers toward the grey wizard.
What about the rest of the Istari?
Although the Istari were basically mentioned during the finale, no other wizards appeared for the final episode. However, maybe he is looking for them and that is why his map is so important to him. Could he be looking for Saruman, Radagast, and the blue wizards?
He does tell Nori that he is a wizard, or a “wise one”, but only because that is what Istar means in Middle Earth. So all has been revealed, more or less, at least in the sense of what he truly was. Expect a more concrete reveal during the events of Season 2, with possibly a couple more wizard appearances too.
Rings of Power Season 2 Release Date?
Season 2 began production on October 3rd, so we won’t be waiting too long before our next dose of Middle Earth.
What do you think about the reveal? Were you expecting somebody different, let us know by following our Twitter and joining the discussion.