We look at the identity of the Istar in Rings of Power

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power trailer from Amazon

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  • Who is the Istar in Rings of Power?
  • Amazon Prime Video’s epic fantasy episode The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power came to a sensational end today (October 14). Fans should rest assured season two is in the works with the cast and crew heading back to work this month. However, audiences could be in for a bit of a wait with the show likely to be back in 2024 given the extensive production and post-production involved.

    WARNING: This article contains major spoilers from Rings of Power and The Lord of the Rings novels

    Who is the Istar in Rings of Power?

    The finale titled Alloyed saw the Stranger’s (played by Daniel Weyman) identity finally revealed after teasing viewers for so long.

    Many thought the Stranger was the dark lord Sauron and it did appear to be going this way after the three witches came looking for the bedraggled figure.

    The witches even told the Stranger he was Sauron and his enemies had apparently put a veil on his mind to make him forget who he was.

    They told him he had the ability to control fire and dust as well as addressing the constellation the Stranger was obsessed with and called home.

    The witches informed the Stranger the constellation was the Hermit’s Hat and they would help the Stranger to remember his true identity as Sauron.

    However, the Stranger said he was “good” and destroyed the witches, who realised too little too late and said he was the “Istar”.

    In J.R.R. Tolkien’s work, wizards are known as the ‘Istari’ or ‘Heren Istarion’ (the order of the wizards) with five of these spirits sent to Middle Earth in the form of old men.

    The Istari had been sent to help the people of Middle Earth against Sauron, so the Stranger could well be a wizard.

    Among the Istari was Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellen), Saruman (Christopher Lee), and Radagast (Sylvester McCoy).

    The big clue pointing towards the Stranger’s identity was the phrase “always follow your nose”.

    Some fans will remember in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings Gandalf told Meriadoc Brandybuck: “If in doubt, always follow your nose.”

    This suggests the Stranger is in fact Gandalf out of the various Istari with the Stranger suggesting his memory was slowly returning.

    Nori Brandyfoot (Markella Kavenagh) embarked on a journey with the Stranger as he sought to discover more about himself.

    Meanwhile, Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) discovered Halbrand (Charlie Vickers) was in fact Sauron in disguise.

    Despite his best attempts to bind them together, Galadriel refused and Halbrand eventually fled but not before helping the elves use the precious mithril they’d found to forge the first of the Rings of Power.

    Halbrand’s true identity was teased when he first told Galadriel how appearances could be deceptive.

    Before the twist, the finale teased it even further when Halbrand said his knowledge about making an alloy out of the mithril was a “gift”, alluding to Annatar and the ‘Lord of Gifts’ who tricked the elven smiths in to making the rings.

    Speaking about this moment, actor Vickers told The Hollywood Reporter: “I didn’t know for sure until the beginning of the third episode.

    “We filmed the first two episodes and then the show went on hiatus because of COVID. Towards the end of the hiatus, the showrunners sat me down and told me.”

    Vickers added: “I filmed that that sequence on the raft not knowing. I filmed it as Halbrand wholeheartedly. But I did have an inkling, if I’m honest with you.”

    Rings of Power season 1 is streaming on Amazon Prime Video now

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