This Theory That Gandalf Has Already Appeared In Rings Of Power Is Mind-Blowing
What wizardry is this!?
After the first two episodes of Prime Video’s The Rings of Power dropped on Sept. 1, viewers got to delve so much deeper into J. R. R. Tolkien’s intricate Lord of the Rings lore. While the prequel series, which is set thousands of years prior to Frodo’s adventure to Mordor, features some familiar names and faces, it introduces a ton of new characters that will almost certainly serve pivotal roles in the future. Indeed, some characters are more mysterious than others — namely, the stranger who fell to Middle Earth in a meteor. Who exactly is he? Audiences have been obsessing over a few possibilities, and one has arisen as a particular favorite: Could the Meteor Man in Rings of Power actually be a young Gandalf? Here’s the lore behind the theory fans have been obsessing over.
Played by actor Daniel Weyman, “The Stranger” (as he’s credited) is a mysterious character capable of powerful magic, and yet, he possesses the innocence of a child and can’t seem to communicate very well. After soaring through the sky in a man-sized meteor, The Stranger landed on Middle-Earth, almost right into the laps of two Hobbit-like Harfoots. The Meteor Man doesn’t seem to know where he is, or even who he is, and while he can’t speak to communicate, he possesses powerful magic over nature — causing viewers to immediately associate him with Gandalf, one of Middle Earth’s most skilled wizards. The man’s immediate bond with the kind young Harfoots Nori and Poppy also feels very reminiscent of Gandalf’s connection to the Hobbits.
However, that theory doesn’t quite fit: according to Tolkein’s writing, Gandalf doesn’t travel to Middle Earth until the Third Age, which is well over a thousand years after the Rings of Power takes place. Additionally, when he arrives to Middle Earth, the wizard is almost immediately greeted by an elf who gifts him the Ring of Fire, Narya.
Sure, it makes sense that fans may want to immediately connect Gandalf to the Meteor Man — after all, Gandalf played a critical role in defeating Sauron in the final battle. However, the Meteor Man may prove to be another, even more mysterious character in Tolkien’s world: Tom Bombadil. Even among the most dedicated fandom circles, Bombadil remains somewhat of a mystery. He’s both a god- and child-like figure who is capable of effortless and powerful magic, and yet, he has no desire to hold dominion over anyone or anything.
In many ways, Bombadil is the complete opposite of Sauron, who desires the power to rule over all. Additionally, in his writing, Tolkein never really explains who (or what) Bombadil is, or where he came from — he simply just is. And with a character name as vague as “The Stranger,” the theory that the Meteor Man is actually an early version of Bombadil may make the most sense.
Of course, there are still a ton of loose ends, and although Gandalf wouldn’t be in Middle-earth at this time in Tolkein’s novels, the Rings of Power team could very well be setting up a non-canonical twist to introduce one of the most iconic LotR characters. Or, they could be sticking to the source material and imagining who Bombadil arrived in the world. Or the Meteor Man is someone else entirely! Find out as new episodes of The Rings of Power are released Fridays on Prime Video.