An Unexpected Journey

The Rings of Power Episode 2: Who is The Stranger?

The Stranger clearly has an important role to play in The Rings of Power, but what will it be?

Originally Published: 
Daniel Weyman as The Stranger in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Episode 2

The first two episodes of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power don’t reveal much about The Stranger (Daniel Weyman), but it’s already clear that he’s a powerful force. Not only does he arrive in Middle-earth via a meteor strike, but he performs several supernatural acts across The Rings of Power’s opening installments. Those details, combined with his amnesia, set up The Stranger as an important player.

It seems likely The Rings of Power won’t reveal the truth about The Stranger’s identity until we’re closer to the end of its debut season. Fans, however, seem confident that he’ll turn out to be one of four Tolkien characters.


Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey in 2001’s The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.

New Line Cinema

The Stranger’s magical abilities have led many fans to think he may be an Istari, who are better known as wizards. And his positive relationship with the Harfoots is the key reason some viewers believe The Stranger may specifically be Olórin, who you probably know as Gandalf. If he is, his relationship with the Harfoots could help explain why Gandalf believes so deeply in the Hobbits, who descend from the Harfoots, in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

However, there’s no canonical evidence to support Gandalf showing up in Middle-earth during the Second Age, which is the era The Rings of Power primarily takes place. In fact, it’s explicitly said in Tolkien’s texts that Olórin doesn’t arrive in the Grey Havens as Gandalf until about a thousand years into the Third Age.

The Stranger secretly being Gandalf would therefore mark a major deviation from Tolkien canon.

A Blue Wizard

The Stranger briefly bends the trees around him in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Episode 2.

Prime Video

There is a way for The Stranger to be a wizard without The Rings of Power showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay ticking off Tolkien fans. He could be one of the Blue Wizards.

The Blue Wizards are the two other Istari sent to Middle-earth alongside Saruman, Gandalf, and Radagast. Unlike those three, all of whom arrive in Middle-earth during the Third Age, Tolkien wrote that the Blue Wizards showed up in Middle-earth in the Second Age. That detail opens the door for The Stranger to be one of the two Blue Wizards. Notably, Tolkien had little to say about these wizards, allowing their roles to be expanded without contradicting canon.

Additionally, when asked by Vanity Fair whether The Stranger is secretly Saruman, Radagast, or Gandalf, McKay pointedly said, “I would say those are not the only beings, those names, in that class.” If The Stranger really is a wizard, it seems likely he’ll be one of the Blue Wizards instead of Gandalf.


There is the possibility that The Stranger isn’t a wizard, but Sauron. Fans have been speculating that Weyman’s mysterious meteor man is secretly Middle-earth’s second Dark Lord ever since the first footage of him was released.

This one shot of The Stranger calls to mind the Eye of Sauron, doesn’t it?

Prime Video

If he is Sauron, that could explain why The Stranger has mysterious supernatural powers and why he crash lands on Middle-earth in The Rings of Power’s premiere. Sauron pretends to be an emissary sent by the world’s divine beings, and staging his “arrival” as an explosive meteor strike would certainly help him sell that story.

The way the fireflies he controls all wither at the end of The Rings of Power Episode 2 also suggests that he may have a corruptive influence on those around him rather than a positive one.

The Inverse Analysis — There are several directions The Rings of Power could take The Stranger’s story. Regardless of who he ultimately turns out to be, it seems fair to say that Amazon’s prequel series hasn’t left any fans indifferent about this outsider’s identity.

New episodes of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power premiere Fridays on Prime Video.

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