There’s A Theory King Of Rebrands Gandalf Might Have Already Appeared In The Rings Of Power

Gandalf with text reading "say what now"

Raise your goblets of mead fellow magic nerds, because Amazon’s The Lord of The Rings prequel series The Rings of Power has already gotten off to a fantastical start. And while the show is set thousands of years before The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings, fans reckon they might’ve already spotted everyone’s favourite demon-slaying, hobbit-befriending, king-of-the-rebrand wizard: Gandalf.

At the end of the first episode, a quite literally fiery man crashed into the home of the Harfoots (who’re a type of Hobbit and also, delightful) inside a meteor. The man — known as The Stranger — has an impressive beard and magical vibe, leading some fans to think it’s Gandalf.

As well as just the ~ general hairy vibes ~ there are other reasons fans reckons The Stranger could be Gandalf. For one, he etches a carving into wood, which looks similar to the rune Gandalf pops on Bilbo Baggins’s door in The Hobbit. 

As pointed out by Collider, The Stranger’s powers also seem to match up pretty nicely to Gandalf’s — for example, he can chat to bugs.

And The Stranger being found by Harfoots narratively makes sense because Gandalf is an absolute bestie to the Hobbits. As he should be: the Hobbits are supreme.

However, making Gandalf The Stranger runs up against a Big Narrative Obstacle. Gandalf is a Maiar (super powerful angel-like beings from Valinor or The Blessed Lands).

He and some other Maiar rocked up to Middle Earth during the Third Age and five of them became Wizards: Gandalf the Grey (later the White), Radagast the Brown, Saruman the White and two mysterious Blue Wizards.

None of that made sense to you? Fair! But in short, Gandalf isn’t supposed to enter the Middle Earth action until well after the events of The Rings Of Power, which is set in the Second Age of Middle Earth.

If Gandalf is The Stranger it would technically violate canon — but some fans have even figured out a workaround for that. Maybe Gandalf comes to Middle Earth, fucks off for a bit, then comes back?

There are other theories for The Stranger’s identity too: namely ultimate evil wizard Sauron or Tom Bombadil, who is literally just some guy and also one of the most powerful beings in J R.R. Tolkien‘s Lord of The Rings-iverse.

The Sauron theory has a couple of big hints: as Forbes highlights, when The Stranger lands on the ground in a flaming ring, it looks an awful lot like the Eye of Sauron.

Over to Mr Bombadil.

Tolkien never actually explained what Tom Bombadil is, but he’s been described as immortal, one of the oldest beings on Middle Earth and immune to the powers of the Ring. But he is also always wearing yellow boots and vibing in the woods with his wife Goldberry. A huge slay.

He wasn’t included in Peter Jackson‘s films because, and I quote here from The Lord of The Rings wiki, “nobody knows quite what to do with him”.

Because there’s room to play with Tom Bombadil, he could be a good Tolkien-created character to slot into The Rings of Power without explicitly tweaking the original series’ canon.

That being said, I’ve still got my fingers crossed The Stranger is Gandalf. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.