Warning: SPOILERS ahead for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power season 1, episode 8.The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power showrunner Patrick McKay explained the connection between the Stranger and Sauron that was briefly mentioned in the season 1 finale. The opening minutes of The Rings of Power episode 8 sees the white-robed Ascetic, Dweller, and Nomad bowing to a confused Stranger, claiming that he is the Dark Lord Sauron. While his mystical powers indicate he’s a unique figure in Middle-earth, the kindness he expresses toward Nori and the Harfoots seems a far cry from something Sauron would placate to, even on instinct. Despite this, the three Mystics attempt to jog his memory so he may lead them and other dark beings to retake Middle-earth.
When Nori and other Harfoots go on a rescue mission to find the Stranger, it soon becomes clear the Mystics are mistaken. Upon realizing he isn’t Sauron, the Mystics refer to the Stranger as “Istar,” and “the other.” The word Istar means “wizard,” a word often associated with the five wizards of Middle-earth. After defeating the three white-robed figures, the Stranger and Nori set off on a journey to Rhûn to learn more about the star cluster the Stranger keeps envisioning. If the Mystics are to be believed, this journey may have an unseen connection to Sauron.
In an interview with Deadline’s Inside the Ring from Prime Video, The Rings of Power showrunner Patrick McKay discussed how the Stranger and Sauron are connected to one another. McKay hinted at how the Mystics’ mistake and their last words to the Stranger indicate he and Sauron have an unexplained relation to each other. Check out what McKay said below:
“The Stranger’s journey and Nori’s journey with him is one of discovery. And for him it’s one of self-discovery. He has discovered some things. The stars he’s looking for are far to the east in Rhûn, where the stars are strange. He has learned that he is, ostensibly, an Istar, which means ‘wizard.’ And he’s learned something else from the Mystics, we call them. They say he is not Sauron, he is ‘the Other.’ Which sort of implies that potentially his destiny’s entwined in some way with Sauron’s. But that’s all he knows at this point, and he’s gonna have to go on another journey to learn more. And maybe a name, or his name, becomes a part of that journey, but at this time, we only know what he knows.”
The Stranger’s Journey In The Rings Of Power Season 2?
McKay’s comments about the Stranger’s destiny coupled with the continued secrecy of his true identity leaves endless possibilities for how his story will continue in season 2. The Stranger and Nori are traveling to Rhûn, a location seldom explored in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth works. Known as a land of darkness, Rhûn is home to the Easterlings, a race of mankind whose king, Khamûl, is given a Ring of Power by Sauron. Khamûl is soon corrupted by the One Ring, becoming a servant of Sauron. The Easterlings pledge their allegiance to Sauron by the Third Age, as they’d done to the Dark Lord’s master, Morgoth, during the First Age.
It’s no surprise that, given his upcoming journey to a place of evil like Rhûn, the Stranger is linked to Sauron. Episode 8’s reveal that Halbrand is Sauron could be foreshadowing the Stranger running into the Dark Lord’s more trustworthy form. Their tethered destinies could give the Stranger the foresight necessary to realize when he’s encountered Sauron, unless Sauron is able to trick the Istar as he did Galadriel. If the two do encounter one another during The Rings of Power season 2, viewers may get more answers as to how their fates are entwined.
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Source: Deadline’s Inside the Ring/Prime Video