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'Rings of Power': 6 Lingering WTF Questions Following the Finale

OK but seriously, who is the stranger?

Erin Carson Former Senior Writer
Erin Carson covered internet culture, online dating and the weird ways tech and science are changing your life.
Expertise Erin has been a tech reporter for almost 10 years. Her reporting has taken her from the Johnson Space Center to San Diego Comic-Con's famous Hall H. Credentials
  • She has a master's degree in journalism from Syracuse University.
Erin Carson
2 min read

Halbrand, looking innocent. 

Prime Video

With the first season of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power now in the books, viewers will inevitably have some remaining questions. The finale revealed a few answers, but also it left several topics open for further speculation. Here are some of our biggest questions from season 1 of the Rings of Power. Be warned: Spoilers ahead. 


Is the stranger Gandalf?

One of the big questions throughout this season has been the identity of the stranger. Online, people speculated he could be Sauron, others that he's a wizard and possibly even Gandalf. My colleague Russell Holly has a whole breakdown of theories about this bearded fellow who came crashing to Middle-earth. 

In the finale, the stranger was revealed as a wizard. Which one is less clear. Technically Gandalf's cohort of wizards aren't supposed to be in Middle-earth in the Second Age. In any case, there's a reasonable argument he might be Gandalf. Hanging out with the Harfoots would provide backstory for his affinity for the Hobbits. He's been wearing gray all season. And in the finale, he references a line from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring where Gandalf says to "follow your nose." 

What happens to Isildur?

In the penultimate episode of the season, Isildur was trapped in the collapsing tavern in the Southlands after Mount Doom erupted. His friend Valandil and his father, Elendil, think he's dead. In the finale, we didn't get an update, but it feels safe to say Isildur will probably be back. After all, the end of the Second Age and events of the Third Age in Middle-earth all hinge on him.

What did Eärien see in the palantir?

Before the king dies, he reveals the chamber where one of the palantíri is. A palantir is a seeing stone. There were seven originally. When others have used the palantir in the season, they've seen a big wave coming to wipe out Númenor. Perhaps Eärien saw the same thing, if she decided to risk it and take a peek. 

Will Sauron and Adar face off?

It's not clear exactly what the relationship is between the two. In episode 7, Adar told Galadriel that he'd killed Sauron, and he didn't seem to be overly thrilled when Waldreg mistook him for Sauron, initially. What we do know is that Adar and his orcs are in Mordor and Sauron has made his way back into the neighborhood. 

What about the Balrog in Khazad-Dûm?

The big reveal at the end of episode 7 was a very-much awake Balrog hanging out far underneath that giant chamber of mithril in Khazad-Dûm. We know that one day in the Third Age, he's going to destroy the place, but in the timeline of the show, we don't know when that's going to happen.

What about the rest of the rings?

Celebrimbor's got some more forging to do!