Major spoilers ahead for the Season 1 finale of The Rings of Power.
It's a good time to be a fantasy fan, as the past month has seen the debut of both HBO's House of the Dragon and Amazon's The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. The latter project recently wrapped up its 8-episode first season, and will be back for Season 2 on the streaming service. Season 2 is currently in the midst of filming in the United Kingdom, and there are 5 big questions that need to be answered when we return to Middle Earth.
Despite the iconography of Lord of the Rings and the generations of fans out there, The Rings of Power got to surprise audiences with a prequel story loosely based off the J.R.R. Tolkien's appendices from the original novels. The internet was ablaze with fan theories during the show's first season, and there are a number of mysteries still surrounding the streaming blockbuster.
What is Sauron's deal?
One of the biggest questions surrounding Season 1 of The Rings of Power is exactly who and where Sauron was. There were plenty of popular theories, with the finale revealing that Charlie Vickers' Halbrand was actually the villain of the Lord of the Rings franchise. It was perhaps the biggest twist of the episode, and one that will seemingly open new narrative doors.
It was satisfying to have the answer to his identity, but Sauron is still a character shrouded in mystery. It's unclear why he spent so much of the season in disguise, and how real his feelings for Galadriel are. Additionally, fans are craving background behind his relationship to Joseph Mawle's Adar.
Is The Stranger actually Gandalf?
Before Sauron's identity was revealed, another commonly theorized character was actually Daniel Weyman's The Stranger. In fact, this rumor played out on screen during the Season 1 finale of The Rings of Power. Namely because the mysterious white cloaked beings mistook the magical character for Sauron, and attempted to follow him as their leader.
In the end it was revealed that The Stranger was not in fact Sauron, but is instead an Istari aka a Wizard. Fans have been wondering all season if he was actually Gandalf, the beloved character made famous by Sir Ian McKellen. We'll just have to wait and see if the show's sophomore season reveals his identity to those with an Amazon Prime Video subscription.
Where is Isildur?
Another Rings of Power mystery that remained unsolved by the Season 1 finale is the fate of Isildur. The character, played by Maxim Baldry, has been missing since Mount Doom erupted and burned Tirharad. The character was noticeably missing from the last two episodes of the season, and it seems like he could be just about anywhere.
While Lord of the Rings virgins might have originally thought the young sailor was simply killed off, fans of the franchise will know that he has an important role to play in the larger universe. Isildur is the one who cuts the One Ring off of Sauron's finger in the main franchise's prequel, so smart money says we're only at the beginning of his story. Still it begs the question: where the hell did Isildur disappear to?
Who are Sauron's creepy followers?
Another character that fans thought might be Sauron was The Dweller, played by Bridie Sisson. We got much more of the character and two other magical creatures in the Season 1 finale of The Rings of Power, but I'm still dying for more information about that trio.
It turns out that The Dweller was actually a follower of Sauron, and mistook The Stranger as the villainous character. Eventually they realize the truth, and engage in a magical battle that The Stranger wins. Are they actually dead? How many more followers are there? I have so many questions.
Is anyone ever going to say the word "Hobbit"?
Hobbits are a beloved species in the J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved franchise, with Bilbo and Frodo Baggins being the protagonists of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings respectively. The Rings of Power delivered a delightful clan of Hobbits known as Harfoots, especially Nori (Markella Kavenagh) and her family.
Since The Rings of Power is set so far ahead of The Lord of the Rings, Hobbits haven't yet settled into The Shire. Instead the Harfoots are nomadic. What's more, the word "Hobbit" hasn't even been uttered throughout the show's first season. We'll presumably see The Shire form sometime during the run of the prequel, but will we have to wait past Season 2? Only time will tell.
Obviously there are even more questions surrounding The Rings of Power, given how much The Lord of the Rings franchise means to the countless fans out there. While we wait for Season 2 to film, check out the TV premiere list to plan your next binge watch.
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Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.