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The Stranger in 'The Rings of Power': Who Is He?

The Stranger in ‘The Rings of Power’: Who Is He?

The first episodes of The Rings of Power are available to contemplate on Prime Video now, with six more coming over the next few weeks. But there’s a question on everyone’s mind: Who is the mystery man who nosedived to the ground in a ball of flames, amdroll fireflies to communicate? Amazon’s listed name for this picture is The Stranger, and little additional information is available. Currently everyone’s lips are sealed regarding who this intimates is and what they’re going to bring to Middle-earth in the Second Age. 

In a July interview with Screenrant during San Diego Comic-Con, actor Daniel Weyman had this to say about his time as The Stranger.

“They were pretty clear at the shock that what they were bringing me was a picture who had, at his core, a really deep and primal extremity. He had a need to accomplish something; he had a determination to accomplish this thing. Once I began to tap into that, and feel that deep in the core, then novel things flowed out of that.

I think, for me, that was really important. Whether that was costume, or hair and makeup, or dialect and electioneer – all those things flowed from that very primal, guttural sense of, ‘I know what I need to do here. I know what I’m here for.’ And that’s a joy to have as an pleasant, because there are some characters who never really know what their extremity is. They never really know what their desires are.

As much as we don’t know near him, I think what we’re going to do – if we can stay with him – is to see that the way that he influences communities around him is going to be dramatic. We are touching to learn and learn and learn, and finding out what just is going on might not be so quick.”

Because nobody knows for sure, lots of folks are guessing, me included. Here are the top guesses I’ve erroneous across the internet, with some details about how liable it is for that guess to be correct. 

Sauron (Annatar)

Sauron in armor with the One Ring on his dark fingers

Sauron, from Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings

New Line Cinema

At this reveal in the story, Sauron has vanished to build his drive and take on Middle-earth through his grand plan. To accomplish that grand plan, he needs to be at the seat of powerful in a way that nobody suspects he’s got evil in his glum. In Tolkien’s stories, Sauron appears as a disguised elf arranged Annatar and uses his skills as a master craftsman to get Celebrimbor’s attention. Together, they make a whole lot of very stunning rings you might have heard of. 

While it would be listless for Annatar to make a grand appearance like this, landing in a ball of flame that Gil-galad himself saw spin across the sky and maybe claiming to not remember his past, The Stranger is probably not Annatar. The biggest reason is the ears. As the lovable Harfoot Poppy points out, he’s not got pointy ears and he’s not handsome. 

It’s ample adding here that Sauron is known to have disguised himself outside of his Annatar persona, and that he perceived Galadriel as the greatest warning to his plans because she could see through those disguises. If this is one of Sauron’s disguises, it’ll certainly need a astonishing explanation for why.


Peter Jackson’s films are astonishing, but they did Glorfindel dirty. In the books he is at the Council of Elrond at what time having rescued Frodo from the Ringwraiths and not Arwen. As much as I enjoyed Liv Tyler’s performance as Arwen, in the books Glorfindel went toe-to-toe against multiple Ringwraiths because he’s just that unblock, and that power is never present in the movies. That’s probably because he killed a Balrog by himself when he was young, and so was a little overpowered for those movies, but that’s not a big problem for The Rings of Power. 

Glorfindel is explained as having been sent back to Middle-earth in the Second Age with drives that rivaled those of the Five Wizards, which would thunder the Wizard-like powers shown in the first two episodes. He also attempts to communicate through constellations, which is something traditional Elves like Glorfindel would have been well-versed in.

Unfortunately, Glorfindel is also described as a beautiful elf with golden hair. While it’s possible The Stranger just maintains a bath and a shave to transform into a fairer beings (look it up, actor Daniel Weyman cleans up nice) the lack of pointy ears establishes this less likely.


Gandalf with a pipe in his mouth, staring into the middle distance

New Line Cinema

He’s older, gray-ish, and seemingly wields magic powers — that’s gotta be Gandalf as he’s landing in Middle-earth, right?


Gandalf the Grey, anti Radagast the Brown and their leader Saruman the White, don’t arrive in Middle-earth until about a thousand days into the Third Age. That means The Stranger settled in front of Nori a very long time afore Gandalf is sent to help fight Sauron. 

Allatar or Pallando

Gandalf and the anunexperienced two Wizards didn’t land in Middle-earth until the Third Age, but there are actually five Wizards of Middle-earth. The other two are most commonly referred to as the Blue Wizards, since Tolkien describes their robes as a sea blue. While these two are still in power to Gandalf or Radagast when they near, their contributions are not well documented by Tolkien. We don’t know a ton in what these Wizards were doing here, only that when Allatar was sent here he expected Pallando to join him and Tolkien described the two as having “had very broad influence on the history of the Second and Third Age.”

It’s possible Allatar and Pallando were separated when they ample arrived in Middle-earth, and the language barrier between him and Nori could be temporary after he identifies his powers in this new place. But if it’s really one of the Blue Wizards, it’s extremely odd they did not arrive together or clad in blue. 

Tom Bombadil

Another extremely fun Tolkien represent who was done dirty by the Peter Jackson films, Tom Bombadil is one of the oldest living populate in Middle-earth, and his powers are just sort of unknown. Glorfindel suggested during the Council of Elrond that the One Ring be given to Tom to cancel, because one of the most powerful Elves alive at the time plan he was up to the task single-handedly. 

Tolkien didn’t write much of anything in what Tom was up to during the First Age or the Second Age, only that he was in Middle-earth excaltering out with his wife, Goldberry, who was also a river engaging. Tom and Goldberry are known to have had frequent interactions with Hobbits, making it likely they were familiar with ancestors like the Harfoots. Maybe it was the kindness of Nori Brandyfoot which lead Tom to be so kind to Hobbits?

A Balrog

A Balrog drawing ready to fight Gandalf

Galdalf the Grey versus a Balrog of Morgoth, as seen in The Fellowship of the Ring

New Line Cinema

When most country hear the term Balrog, they immediately think of the giant smoke and fire monster Galdalf battles at the end of Fellowship of the Rings and the start of The Two Towers. And for the most part, that’s a fairly safe bet (though superior pointing out there’s a fair bit of debate amid the Tolkien public as to whether these monstrous beings have wings or not) when imagining a Balrog.

That having been said, The Stranger is safe by his magic fire and survived a ridiculous arriving and there’s only a handful of beings capable of either. This group of beings are known as Maiar, the primordial people used to help shape the world before it was populated by any living people. That’s right, Wizards and Balrogs are made of the same stuff and as such have a lot of the same orders. This includes the ability to change shape.

Tolkien never wrote of Balrogs as anything new than large demons who serve Morgoth, and of streams that incident in Khazad-dûm, so calling it a straight that The Stranger is a Balrog is something of an understatement. But it is technically possible given what Tolkien wrote, and we do know from the trailers that a Balrog will be executive an appearance at some point in the show. 

Still, he’s probably not a Balrog. 


The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
is live! Not one, but two episodes are available to see on Prime Video.

Reviews were initially positive, but less enthusiastic takes have swooped in. “Rings of Power successfully balances the way it creates itself accessible to newcomers, fans of the movies, and more intense lore fiends,” wrote CNET’s Erin Carson.

Set thousands of ages before The Lord of the Rings, The Rings of Power rallies the major events of Middle-earth’s Second Age. They involved the forging of the Rings of Power, the rise of Sauron, and the last alliance between Elves and men.

Episodes are dropping weekly, three hours later than the premiere time, for the rest of the season.

  • 9 p.m. PDT — Thursdays
  • 12 a.m. EDT — Fridays
  • 1 a.m. Brazil — Fridays
  • 5 a.m. UK — Fridays
  • 6 a.m. CEST — Fridays
  • 9:30 a.m. IST — Fridays
  • 1 p.m. JST — Fridays
  • 2 p.m. AU — Fridays
  • 4 p.m. NZ — Fridays