An Unexpected Journey

Rings of Power Easter egg may reveal The Stranger’s shocking identity

One line from Galadriel may be the key to solving the show’s biggest mystery.

Originally Published: 
The Stranger reaches toward Nori in one of the opening scenes of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of...

Who is The Stranger? That’s the biggest question J.R.R. Tolkien fans have been asking since the premiere of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. The mysterious character (played by Daniel Weyman) makes his explosive debut at the end of Episode 1 when he lands in Middle-earth via a meteor strike. He then showcases some surprising magical abilities throughout Episode 2, establishing himself as a powerful new force.

While The Rings of Power has yet to reveal The Stranger’s identity or purpose, some fans believe the series has already revealed his nature. If true, it looks like Nori Brandyfoot (Markella Kavenagh) may be in even more danger than she realizes.

“This place is so evil, our torches give off no warmth.”

Prime Video

Evil’s Lingering Influence — Early in The Rings of Power Episode 1, Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) leads her company of elven warriors into a frozen fortress that used to be inhabited by Sauron. After one of her comrades remarks that his hand has gone numb, Galadriel says, “This place is so evil, our torches give off no warmth.”

Later, in Episode 2, Nori accidentally falls into the fiery crater created by The Stranger’s arrival. Nori later tells Poppy (Megan Richards) that neither the crater’s fire nor its scorched surface were hot. Based on Galadriel’s previous comment, Nori’s observation suggests that The Stranger may be so evil that his very presence cools the flames around him.

That raises the possibility that The Stranger is either Sauron himself, or one of his most fearsome allies.

Nori (Markella Kavenagh) makes first contact with The Stranger (Daniel Weyman) at the start of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Episode 2.

Prime Video

The Stranger’s Identity — Many fans have long believed that The Stranger is secretly Sauron in disguise. There were already several reasons to believe that before The Rings of Power even premiered, but this easy-to-miss detail only makes it more likely that The Stranger is some kind of evil being.

Given Sauron’s importance to The Rings of Power’s story, and how much of a spotlight the Amazon series has already put on him, it would make sense for The Stranger to be the fallen Dark Lord. However, it’s important to note that The Stranger can be an evil being without being Sauron. He could be an untransformed Balrog (aka, a Maiar), one of the world’s lesser divine beings that Morgoth, Sauron’s former master, corrupted.

That possibility would seem outlandish if not for the fact that a trailer for The Rings of Power confirmed that the first season will include at least one Balrog. That doesn’t automatically mean that the Balrog featured in The Rings of Power’s Comic-Con trailer is The Stranger, but it’s a definite possibility.

Should we trust someone whose magic murders a bunch of innocent fireflies?

Prime Video

The Inverse Analysis — Based on the pace of its first two episodes, it seems likely that The Rings of Power will keep The Stranger’s identity shrouded in secrecy for as long as possible. That means fans may still have weeks of speculation ahead of them.

That said, this theory certainly makes a strong case for the idea that The Rings of Power has already revealed what side The Stranger belongs to in the struggle between good and evil.

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

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