This summer season, as the primary glimpses of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power got here to gentle, there was one character specifically who grabbed fan consideration and held it quick: a white-robed determine, with intently shorn hair and paper-white pores and skin. In the absence of another indications, the creepy look and overtly menacing stare led followers to a single hunch: This was the present’s model of Sauron!
Well, with the fifth episode of The Rings of Power, that mysterious white-robed character has lastly made an look, and left solely extra questions of their wake. Tolkien’s supply materials offers hints at the place the story could also be going, and what relation the characters do need to Sauron, The Stranger, and the present’s different mysteries.
[Ed. note: This piece contains spoilers for episode 5 of The Rings of Power, “Partings.”]
What we all know concerning the white-robed Dweller
Our mysterious Sauron-potential makes her debut early within the episode, as certainly one of a trio of figures who appear to be looking for the equally mysterious meteor man generally known as the Stranger. The episode’s credit discuss with her as “the Dweller,” and she or he’s performed by Bridie Sisson; together with her companions the Nomad (performed by Edith Poor within the helmet with flowing purple hair) and the Ascetic (performed by Kali Kopae, hooded and carrying a spherical… factor).
They are pale of pores and skin and pale of robes, and carry a choice of odd accoutrements. The Dweller has an ornate workers, whereas the Ascetic brandishes a metallic disk or dish emblazoned with circles and a crescent. The Nomad’s armor accommodates a number of motifs of eyes and circles — and fingers, interlaced excessive of her helm.
We know extra key element past what’s on display in episode 5: Speaking to Time journal, Rings of Power govt producer Lindsey Weber stated that these characters have traveled right here from “from far to the east — from the lands of Rhûn.”
What is Rhûn?
In essentially the most broad sense, Rhûn means every thing east of the map in The Lord of the Rings, all of the land in that course that didn’t issue into the story Tolkien needed to inform. And because it wasn’t essential to the story he needed to inform, it has largely remained undescribed.
Although the races of dwarves, males, and elves originated someplace in Rhûn and migrated west, that was so fantastically way back — and the world has gone by a number of geographic upheavals since — as to present us no sense of its present state. It’s a clean canvas for Rings of Power to discover, maybe even an opportunity to flesh out the blanket time period of “Easterlings” that Tolkien’s trendy elves, people, and dwarves needed to discuss with males from the east.
So, the place do these white-robed figures come from? In a really literal approach, “Parts Unknown.”
What does this imply for the Stranger?
Rhûn has one fairly strong attribute which will come to bear right here: It’s additionally the place the Blue Wizards supposedly skittered off to. And “one of the Blue Wizards” is a not-unlikely concept for the true id of the Stranger.
The duo of azure-attired colleagues of Gandalf and Saruman is without doubt one of the lengthy listing of ideas that Tolkien wrote into The Lord of the Rings with little elaboration, after which spent the remainder of his days deciding whether or not to elaborate on them in The Silmarillion. Like Rhûn itself, the 2 handed geographically out of the scope of Tolkien’s favourite tales, and so out of the need of exploring them.
He toyed with totally different names and totally different origins for them: Perhaps they had been Alatar and Pallando, two wizards who finally grew to become actual slackers and forsook their mission to sit back in Rhûn. Or, perhaps, they had been Morinehtar and Rómestámo, two wizards who struggled lengthy to dilute what they might of Sauron’s affect within the east of Middle-earth, with out whose work the Dark Lord certainly would have overrun Gondor and the remainder of Eregion.
In the top, we all know little or no about what Tolkien would have supposed for the Blue Wizards had he completed his opus, besides that they traveled a lot farther east than the others and stayed there. It’s doable that this connection to Rhûn will finally flip right into a connection to the Blue Wizards.
But wait, there’s yet one more factor.
It’s the moon
The different potential trace concerning the Stranger this episode is in his celestial origin, his seeming give attention to the celebrities, a telling shot of him gazing up on the moon, and the very moon-reminiscent emblem on the Ascetic’s disk.
The Stranger might be the Man within the Moon.
This may sound like a joke, however in Tolkien’s Middle-earth, the solar and moon had their very own very particular origin story. You could have heard about how Galadriel’s battle towards Morgoth started when he destroyed a few glowing timber. Well, on the time, these timber (and the celebrities within the sky) had been the one sources of pure gentle on this planet. The solar and moon had been created to switch them, glowing ships that had been piloted by the sky and below the earth by a few Maiar, beings of the identical order as Sauron and Gandalf.
The moon’s vessel was piloted by the Maiar Tilion, who was identified for his unreliability — his unrequited crush on the Maiar piloting the solar is the rationale for why the moon usually seems within the sky with the solar. And the legend of the man who pilots the moon even reached “modern” hobbits, who’ve tales and songs (one a parody of “Hey Diddle Diddle”) concerning the foolish issues that ensued in the course of the bumbling Man within the Moon’s visits to Middle-earth.
Metatextually, Middle-earth’s moon is a mixture of Tolkien’s lore of the elves, and the tales he informed to entertain his youngsters — similar to Tom Bombadil and hobbits themselves. The Man within the Moon appeared each in Roverandom, a narrative the professor invented to consolation his son after he misplaced a favourite toy on the seashore; and within the annual letters he wrote and illustrated for his youngsters within the voice of Father Christmas.
But whether or not the Stranger is the Man within the Moon or a Blue Wizard, it appears these milky-white-clad strangers from Rhûn know one thing about him. We’ll have to attend and see when The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power decides to resolve this specific thriller.