‘The Rings of Power’: Every Clue That The Stranger Is Gandalf (So Far)

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is nearing the end of season 1, and the Prime Video series may reveal the true identity of The Stranger (Daniel Weyman) in its next two episodes. Nori Brandyfoot’s (Markella Kavenagh) new companion could be anyone from J.R.R. Tolkien’s lore. However, many viewers believe The Stranger is The Rings of Power‘s take on Gandalf.

It’s a little early for the wizard to arrive in Middle-earth, but this wouldn’t be the first time the Amazon series altered the source material. So, here’s every clue that The Stranger is, in fact, a younger Gandalf.

The Stranger falls from the sky in ‘The Rings of Power’ Episode 1

Gandalf and the other wizards of Middle-earth are called the Istari, and they’re sent to the continent by godlike beings called the Valar. J.R.R. Tolkien doesn’t say anything about them arriving in a fiery comet. However, The Stranger’s entrance in The Rings of Power Episode 1 suggests he comes from somewhere extraordinary — and that’s in line with Gandalf’s origin, even if the timing is off.

It’s clear that The Stranger doesn’t originate from Middle-earth, and falling from the sky is a good sign he’s been sent by some greater power. He also doesn’t remember much about who he is. And we’ve seen Gandalf in a similar situation before.

The Stranger seems disoriented, like Gandalf in ‘The Two Towers’

When The Stranger arrives in Middle-earth, he seems completely disoriented. Judging by his responses to Nori’s questions, he doesn’t recall much about who he is or where he came from. He also doesn’t have a solid grasp on his magical abilities.

If The Stranger is Gandalf inhabiting a body for the first time, it makes sense he’d be so out of whack. Gandalf hardly remembers his old name when he’s reborn as Gandalf the White in The Two Towers. The Stranger’s memory loss may be a more extreme version of this.

Of course, the fact that he has magic at all suggests he’s one of the Maiar from J.R.R. Tolkien’s works. And while the Blue Wizards are a possibility, the creators may have wanted to bring in a character that fans already know and love.

‘The Rings of Power’ highlights The Stranger’s magical abilities

Daniel Weyman as The Stranger in 'The Rings of Power' for our article about the theory that he is Gandalf. He looks upset, and his hair is blowing in his face.
Daniel Weyman as The Stranger | Ben Rothstein/Prime Video

The Rings of Power goes out of its way to show off The Stranger’s magic, even though he doesn’t have a good grip on his powers just yet. And while his access to such abilities could mean The Stranger is any of the Istari — or even someone like Sauron — Gandalf seems like a solid contender, especially if the show wants to demonstrate how he became so powerful by the Third Age.

To be fair, it would be interesting to see how Gandalf masters his abilities. Perhaps Amazon is hoping to capitalize on fans’ interest in an already-established character.

The Stranger also uses his magic to communicate with a group of fireflies, similar to how Gandalf talks to the Eagles in The Lord of the Rings. Could those instances be related? It seems like a strong possibility.

The Stranger bears a striking resemblance to Ian McKellen’s Gandalf

Although The Rings of Power doesn’t technically connect to Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies, fans have pointed out the similarities between The Stranger’s appearance and Ian McKellen’s Gandalf.

In particular, viewers feel that a moment from The Rings of Power Episode 5 was reminiscent of McKellen’s take on the character. When Nori’s stepmother, Marigold (Sara Zwangobani), is accused of snoring, she glances at The Stranger for help. He shrugs apologetically, something Gandalf would definitely do.

Of course, that’s not the only time The Stranger embodies Gandalf’s mannerisms or looks. It could be a coincidence, but there aren’t many of those in stories this thought out…

‘The Rings of Power’ could explain Gandalf’s connection to the Hobbits

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Gandalf was no stranger to The Shire, and The Rings of Power could explain his relationship with the Hobbits through The Stranger’s storyline. The Harfoots are ancestors of Frodo and his friends, so The Stranger’s bond with Nori could evolve into Gandalf’s connection with the Hobbits later on.

That’s assuming The Stranger and Nori make it through The Rings of Power unscathed. We’ll have to keep watching to see where these characters are headed. But there’s definitely reason to think a Gandalf reveal is on the horizon.

New episodes of The Rings of Power stream every Friday on Prime Video.

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