In episode 5 of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, we saw three mysterious figures wearing white robes. Of course, we’ve seen one of those figures in the past because the trailer seemed to suggest that one of these persons could be Sauron in disguise. Nevertheless, it does seem like these mysterious white-robed characters are not who we thought they were. So, who are the mysterious white-robed characters in The Rings of Power?
The mysterious white-robed characters are named the Dweller, the Nomad, and the Ascetic. According to a Time magazine interview, they come from a faraway land far to the east, which is called the lands of Rhûn. Other than that, we don’t know a lot about these mysterious white-robed characters.
One of the things that The Rings of Power has done is that this series has allowed us to see newer characters getting introduced into the storyline, especially because it seeks to tell a tale that is still true to JRR Tolkien’s writings but is original in its own right. Now, with that said, let’s look at what we know about these mysterious white-robed characters and what their roles are.
Who Are The Mysterious White-Robed Characters In The Rings Of Power?
Of all the things that we know about the Second Age in JRR Tolkien’s writings, we know that Sauron went into hiding during that era so that he could enact his plan in secret and forge the Rings of Power and the One Ring. In that regard, before the release of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, we already had different theories as to who Sauron could be in the series, considering that the dark lord should be in hiding.
One such character that almost everyone in the world thought was going to be Sauron was a white-haired character wearing a white robe. This mysterious character had a menacing look in their eyes as the trailer seemingly connected the name of Sauron to them. And that was the reason why many people believed that this mysterious figure was Sauron, especially considering that the dark lord was described to be a fair and beautiful person while he was keeping his identity a secret.
While it did take five episodes, we finally saw this white-robed character in episode 5. This character is actually a woman and is not alone because she is together with two other white-robed characters that are also just as mysterious as she is. In that regard, while there is a good chance that this character isn’t Sauron, we still don’t know who she is and who the other two characters are. So, who are the white-robed characters in The Rings of Power?
We first met these white-robed characters in episode 5 when they were overlooking the landing spot of the Stranger. It did look like they were looking for the Stranger, who himself is also a mysterious and enigmatic figure.
The Sauron suspect has short white hair and carries a staff. Meanwhile, the other one has flowing red hair and has a helmet on. And the third companion is a hooded figure carrying something round and equally mysterious.
While their names were never revealed during the episode, we learned in the end credits what they were called. The one with the staff is called the Dweller. Meanwhile, the one with the helmet is called the Nomad. And the last one, who is the one with the round object, is called the Ascetic.
Other than that, we don’t know who they are, but we did hear from executive producer Lindsey Weber where these characters are from. In an interview with Time magazine, it was revealed that these characters come from the far east, which is called the lands of Rhûn. In that regard, we already know where they are from. But what exactly are the lands of Rhûn?
In Tolkien’s writings, Rhûn refers to everything that can be found east of the map. While we do know that Middle-Earth is at the center and that Valinor was located west, the lands that Tolkien never talked about a lot can be found east and are called Rhûn. And because Rhûn was never important in any of his writings, Tolkien didn’t describe these lands in great detail, and that is probably the reason why the producers and writers of The Rings of Power were able to have a free hand in creating characters coming from Rhûn.
While Tolkien did describe that all of the main races in Middle-Earth came from Rhûn a long time ago, we do know that they now reside in the known areas of Middle-Earth. Meanwhile, those who remained east are often called using the blanket term “Easterlings,” as Tolkien never wrote a lot of things about these characters. So, in a sense, because Tolkien never expounded on what could be found east of the map, it is safe to say that the Dweller, the Nomad, and the Ascetic come from unknown lands that only The Rings of Power will be able to explain.
Why Are The White-Robed Characters Looking For The Stranger?
We did see in episode 5 that the white-robed strangers were overlooking the landing spot of the Stranger, as the Dweller was able to mysteriously get herself to the spot without even moving an inch. On the other hand, the Nomad and the Ascetic never moved from their place. But the one thing that was clear was that they were all searching for the Stranger, who is literally a stranger because we don’t know anything about him. So, why are the white-robed characters looking for the Stranger?
It is possible that the Stranger is important to the white-robed characters because he could be one of the Maiar, which are divine spirits that reside in Valinor. We all know that Sauron is a Maia and that the Valar sent five Maiar to Middle-Earth in the form of the Wizards. While we know what happened to Gandalf, Saruman, and Radagast, we don’t know a lot about the two Blue Wizards except for the fact that they immediately went east to the area we call Rhûn.
Nevertheless, Tolkien never elaborated on the life of the Blue Wizards. This is where it could get interesting because The Rings of Power might fill in the gaps that were left in Tolkien’s stories regarding Rhûn and the Blue Wizards. That means that it is possible that the Stranger could be one of the Blue Wizards that immediately went east to Rhûn. As to why the white-robed characters are interested in him, that is something we are yet to find out.
There is also one more thing that might be interesting in relation to the Stranger and the white-robed characters. And that’s because there is a good reason to believe that he is somehow related to the moon.
Those who know a thing or two about Tolkien’s writings would understand that the sun and the moon never existed before. Instead, the light of the Two Trees was the only source of light in Valinor, and Middle-Earth remained dark.
But when Morgoth sent Ungoliant to suck the light out of the Two Trees, the world was once again dark. That was when Manwë gave Aulë the task of creating vessels that soon became the sun and the moon. These were glowing ships that were piloted in the sky by a couple of Maiar. It’s similar to how Eärendil, the Elf hero of the First Age, was tasked to pilot a ship that carried a Silmaril throughout the sky so that it would serve as a guiding star for people on Middle-Earth.
The one piloting the vessel of the moon is the Maia named Tilion, who was always known to be in love with the Maia piloting the sun’s vessel. That explains why the moon always follows the sun, as Tilion constantly follows the sun’s pilot around.
Of course, the reason why Tilion could be the Stranger is the fact that there are stories that Hobbits tell about a man that once piloted the moon. In that regard, it is quite possible that the Stranger is this man because he met the Harfoots the moment he landed on Middle-Earth. He also used fireflies to explain where he needed to go, as he might have been telling Nori that he needed to return to the sky.
The characters dressed in white robes might be aware of this, and that was probably the reason why they were looking for the Stranger. Still, almost everything we have discussed in this article is speculative in nature. The only thing we can do now is to wait and see how the story of the Stranger and these white-robed figures will intertwine with one another in the future of The Rings of Power.