Stranger Danger

Rings of Power theory: One detail confirms Sauron's secret identity

Viewers thought one of the white-robed Three was Sauron, but a fan theory suggests this isn't the case.

Are they or aren’t they? Viewers of The Rings of Power have been obsessing over which character might be the formidable dark lord Sauron in disguise.

A common assumption is that the enigmatic, androgynous character donning white robes and silver hair in the official trailer was a sneak peek at Sauron. Fans were further convinced this mysterious figure was Sauron after watching their brief, eerie scene in Episode 5, where they investigate the hole left behind by the Stranger’s meteor.

Comments from those working on The Rings of Power, however, suggest that this character, known as the Dweller, is a misdirect.

Executive Producer Lindsey Weber revealed to TIME that actress Bridie Sisson plays the ice-blonde lurker. “We are enjoying all the speculation online and can tell you Bridie Sisson is an incredible actor,” Weber said. “We also thought fans might like to know that her character is traveling from far to the east—from the lands of Rhûn.”

What is Rhûn, what does this Tolkien realm have to do with Sauron, and how is the Stranger tied to all this? One new fan theory may have finally solved the greatest Rings of Power riddle.

Rhûn explained

Bridie Sisson is credited as the Dweller, while her fellow white-robed actresses are dubbed the Nomad (Edith Poor) and the Ascetic (Kali Kopae). Amazon Prime Video

Rhûn was a large region in the far-east of Middle-earth, hence why it’s known as the home of the Easterlings. Rhûn is also said to be the region where all races were first born, meaning every sentient being in Middle-earth can trace their ancestry to the East.

The humans that resided in Rhûn were united by Sauron in their hatred for the West. Little is known about why they harbored such animosity, nor why they held allegiance to Morgoth before Sauron. Rhûn was never portrayed in Peter Jackson’s films, but perhaps The Rings of Power will provide some clarity on the realm.

Multiple cultish factions arose in Rhûn during the Second and Third Ages due to this wicked partnership. The Wainriders and Balchoth, for example, despised Gondor and launched many attacks on the kingdom of Men.

Is The Stranger connected to Rhûn?

The Maiar were primordial spirits created to help the Valar shape the world. Sauron was a fallen Maiar, as was Saruman the White. Gandalf the Grey was a Maiar who completed his mission. Could the Stranger be a Maia too?Amazon Prime Video

The fan theory claims that the Stranger is Sauron based on his apparent connection to Rhûn and the Easterlings. It’s said that the men of Rhûn were the first to contact Sauron in the Second Age after he escaped punishment. It’s also said that Sauron fled east, then south, until ultimately deciding to continue his master Morgoth’s work in Mordor. The theory posits that the Stranger is traveling the same path; first as a meteor headed east, and now as a scraggly man migrating with Nori Brandyfoot (Markella Kavenagh) and the Harfoots further south.

The theory also notes that the Stranger used fireflies in Episode 2 to draw stars in the air, forming a sort of constellation. Nori, believing she understands the Stranger’s intentions, translates the act as the Stranger needing help to find and understand what the constellation represents or leads to.

That same constellation appears carved on the back of a mirror held by one of the three white-robed wanderers. That constellation could very well be the symbol of this cult from Rhûn, which has sworn itself to Morgoth and, by extension, Sauron. Once reunited with his acolytes, Sauron could become himself again, and commence his evil doings.

While this is a plausible theory, it’s still just a theory. Viewers have four more episodes left in Season 1 to decipher who the Biggest Bad of Them All is. We wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the Stranger, but we wouldn’t be shocked if The Rings of Power throws a twist at us either.

The Rings of Power Episode 6 debuts on Amazon Prime Video on September 30.

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