Why the Istar Doesn’t Know His Identity


With The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power With the first season over, fans and dissidents have been able to pass judgment. While some of them have done exactly that, rotten tomatoes has certified the season as fresh with an 85% rating. Many of those positive reviews were bolstered by the dramatic and revealing ending. Episode 8, “Alloyed” not only revealed the cunning of Halbrand’s Sauron, but also showed that the Stranger was going to be a (hopefully heroic) Istar.

As one of the Istari, many fans have decided that the Stranger is Gandalf. Even, the rings of power the showrunners have insisted that the character’s identity remains a secret. Regardless, the biggest mystery isn’t the Stranger’s identity, it’s why he couldn’t remember anything, including his own name. This is why.

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Why the witches thought the stranger was Sauron

Originally, fans thought the Stranger was Sauron. The way he crashed into Middle-earth in a Meteor gave it an otherworldly vibe, and the circumstances surrounding it didn’t bode well for his character. His fire was not hot and the bits of language he used pointed toward evil. Fans weren’t alone in predicting him, either. It wasn’t long before three evil figures began to follow the Stranger’s movements.

In the finale, the three white-robed witches (The Ascetic, The Nomad, and The Dweller) finally expressed what many fans were thinking: the Stranger was Sauron. They explained that she could not remember his identity because the Valar had put a veil over his mind. It was supposed to be a way to stop him from doing even more evil in Middle Earth. However, they were wrong because the Stranger wasn’t Sauron after all. If he wasn’t Sauron, and the Valar hadn’t put a veil over his mind, there must be another reason he couldn’t remember anything.

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Why did the stranger lose his memory

The Stranger character, such as it is, is an original creation for the rings of powerbut their situation is compared to a particular event in The Lord of the rings. Whether the Stranger is Gandalf or not, his miraculous entry into Middle-earth on a meteorite was quite similar to when Gandalf re-entered Middle-earth as Gandalf the White. When Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli found Gandalf in The two TowersI didn’t remember his name either. He had fought the Balrog, died, and was sent back as a similar but different figure. Then, to the trio, he said: “The darkness took me. And I drifted from thought and from time. The stars whirled overhead, and each day was as long as the age of life on earth.”

From that explanation it makes perfect sense why Gandalf wouldn’t remember much. He had left the confines of time, reincarnated in his Maiar form, and been thrust back into the mortal realm. That doesn’t bode well for remembering minutiae. Now compare that to what happened to the Stranger. He had crashed into a meteor, which would be pretty dramatic for anyone. On top of that, however, this was the first time he had been expelled from the Mair world into a mortal form. So just like Gandalf in The two Towers, it makes sense that the Stranger is a bit confused about things.

The Rings of Power Season 1 is streaming on Prime Video.

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