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Who is The Stranger, aka Meteor Man, in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power?

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Since the broadcast of the first episodes of Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Powera single question seems to catalyze all the energy of fans of JRR Tolkien’s work: but who is The Stranger, this strange being who lands in a ball of fire near a camp of the Pievelus (Hartfoots in VO) ?

Based on the author’s writings or deductions from a slew of perhaps insignificant details, die-hard “Tolkienophiles” have come up with a series of compelling theories in an attempt to determine his identity. A little update on their hypotheses, in order to allow everyone to play Sherlock Holmes of Middle-earth.

Gandalf (even Radagast or Saruman)

Tall, lanky, close to animals (he manages to recreate a constellation of stars from fireflies), possessing magical powers and speaking an ancient language, The Stranger necessarily immediately brings to mind one of the three great magicians from The Lord of the Rings. , namely Gandalf, Radagast or Saruman.

Of the three, the first seems by far the most believable, due to his scruffy look, his very deep voice, his abilities to manipulate fire or talk to insects (remember the butterflies of the Lord of the Rings or Hobbit), but also because he appears near the Hartfoots, the ancestors of the Hobbits to whom Gandalf has always been very close. It would also have the immense advantage of initiating the return of one of the favorite protagonists of fans, already embodied six times by Ian McKellen.

Of course, purists will counter that white, gray and brown magicians are only supposed to appear after a millennium in the Second Age, as the plot of The Rings of Power takes place 79 years after the fall of Morgoth. . But right off the bat, it was announced that the timeline would be condensed. The Gandalf option therefore remains credible.

An Istari

In his writings, Tolkien mentions the Ithryn Luin, two blue mages sent by the Valars to Middle-earth to fight Sauron. Appearing long before Gandalf, Saruman and Radagast, they meet all the criteria. With one detail: these Istaris, Alatar and Pallando, are supposed to form a duo. But nothing says that a second ball of fire will not tear the sky in the next episodes…


Following the defeat of his master, Morgoth, Sauron lay in hiding for decades, patiently brooding over his revenge. For his comeback, he takes the form of an Elf, Annatar, “the master of gifts” supposedly sent by the Valars to help the Elves of Eregion. With a secret objective: to trick Celebrimbor, the most gifted jeweler of his time, into forging rings of power which he will all control with the one ring. In the fan community, the assimilation between The Stranger and Sauron is often popular. It would be intriguing and innovative. But it would have to be explained why Sauron would arrive in a ball of fire without presenting himself directly to the Elves, and why he doesn’t possess pointy ears.

Other arguments are put forward in favor of the future master of Mordor. The trail left in the sky by the comet, for example, looks furiously like the evil eye of Dol Guldur. And since every detail counts, is it really a coincidence that he finds himself with an apple in his hand, with all the harmful biblical references associated with this fruit?


A little-known character, as he allows Frodo to reach Rivendell in The Lord of the Rings, Glorfindel is an extremely powerful warrior, who defeated a Balrog. His particularity: he can be reincarnated and Tolkien makes him come back at the same time as the Istaris to fight Sauron. But in the writings he is described as very handsome, cheerful and with golden hair. Which doesn’t really match the look of The Stranger.

Tom Bombadil

It is undoubtedly the most mysterious character of all the work of Tolkien. Guardian of the forest, very close to animals, he has the particularity of greatly appreciating the Hobbits and, above all, of being insensitive to the power of the one ring. We don’t know anything about his nature and his powers, which makes him a potential candidate to embody The Stranger.

A Balrog

Sorcerers and Balrogs are made of the same wood, able to bend fire, and have very similar powers (including shapeshifting). Some therefore believe that the Stranger could be one of those evil beings destined to facilitate the advent of Sauron. This is, by far, the least popular hypothesis in the fandom, but it certainly has the merit of originality.

That’s it, everyone has to carry out their own investigation to solve the enigma. Without losing sight of the fact that The Stranger could also very well be the pure and simple creation of the showrunners, like many other protagonists of The Rings of Power