One of the biggest mysteries of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power has been who is the stranger. We know now. It's kind of.

In the first episode of Middle-earth, the Stranger crash-landed and has been with Harfoot Nori Brandyfoot ever since. The only clues we have about who he is are his appearance and his magical abilities, which have attracted the attention of a group of white-cloaked women.

In the Season 1 finale of The Rings of Power, the mystics catch up to the stranger and call him Lord Sauron. The rest of the episode shows that that isn't true. Sauron is not a person. The Mystics realize their mistake and a fight ensues, but the stranger takes up one of their staffs and magics them away, proclaiming that he is a force of good. The "Istar" is what the Mystics call the "stranger" when they realize he's not Sauron. The Rings of Power has shown a number of hints throughout the season, one of which is that Gandalf the Grey is the favorite wizard. Let's look at it in a different way.

What does Istar mean in The Rings of Power?

A tall man in a brown disheveled robe faces off against three imposing white-cloaked women in a forest.

Istar vs. Mystics. Credit: Ben Rothstein / Prime Video

The Stranger tells Nori that "Istar" means "Wise One" as he begins to remember his encounters with the Mystics. The other wizards in the canon are not the only ones. Five Istari came to Middle-earth. There are five people with Gandalf, including the White, Brown, and Blue Wizards. The Maiar are powerful spirits who helped create the world.

It could be cool to see the never-seen Blue Wizards in action. Gandalf is the most well known of the five. The person who is going to be any of the wizards is going to be the stranger. He wears all-grey, is fond of adventure with the Harfoots, and speaks to insects in a way that is reminiscent of Gandalf in Peter Jackson's films. The connection was further solidified when a magical moth shape appeared when he removed the mystics.

When Gandalf and Nori are about to leave for the eastern land of Rhn, it's the clearest sign that he is the stranger. Nori doesn't know where to go, but the air smells better there. He told her to always follow her nose if she was unsure.

You've heard them before if you've seen Jackson's The Fellowship of the Ring. Gandalf tells them to go to Merry. Gandalf said, "If in doubt, Meriadoc, always follow your nose." I don't think nose- following is a common phrase among wizards. Gandalf is the strange person.

The line about following your nose doesn't appear in the books of the author. Does this mean Weyman's Gandalf is a younger version of the older one? Is The Rings of Power related to Jackson's movies? My brain is too full of fantasy to process this line. The line confirms the suspicions that the person is Gandalf.

If in doubt, always follow your nose.
- The Stranger (and also Gandalf)

The Istari comes to Middle-earth 1000 years into the Third Age, but Gandalf's arrival during the Second Age is a big departure from the canon. They are sent by the Valar to stop the rise of Sauron.

We have seen The Rings of Power play fast and loose with the lore. The reveal of the stranger is no different. Since the show is about Sauron's resurgence in the Second Age, it's likely that the Valar sent the Istari for the same purpose as in Tolkien's work. It's possible that we will see depictions of the Valar and the other wizards on the small screen. He and Nori will find out when they reach Rhn.

The first season of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is available to watch on Prime Video.