The season 1 finale of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power allowed us to learn that the Stranger was not Sauron but was actually one of the Istari or a Wizard. However, the thing is that it took him a while to remember that he is actually good and that his powers are for good. On top of that, he still needs to go to Rhûn to understand more about who he is and what his purpose is. So, why doesn’t the Wizard remember his identity and powers?
The Wizard doesn’t remember who he is and what his powers are because there is still a “veil” in his head that was formed when he was sent to Middle-Earth. In JRR Tolkien’s Legendarium, the Wizards did not fully remember who they were because their transformation from spirit to flesh blurred their minds.
It appears that the same scenario was applied to the Wizard in The Rings of Power, as it is possible that the transformation he underwent from spirit to flesh caused a veil to form in his head, and that was what made him struggle to remember his identity. Now, with that said, let’s talk more about this in greater detail and the significance of Rhûn in the Wizard’s storyline.
Why Doesn’t The Wizard Remember His Identity And Powers?
Episode 8 of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power opened up with the notion that the Stranger was actually Sauron the entire time. At least, that was what the strange white-robed characters thought. That was the reason why they tried to make him remember his identity, as they were trying to convince him to return to where they came from, which is the land of Rhûn so that the Stranger could take his rightful place as Sauron. They even showed him the same constellation he was looking for, as it was on the shield that the Ascetic was carrying.
However, the Stranger couldn’t remember that he was Sauron. He didn’t even know how to fully control his powers, as the white-robed figures needed to restrain him using their own powers to make sure that he wouldn’t be able to hurt them. So, why doesn’t the Stranger remember his identity?
The Ascetic mentioned that it is possible that the Stranger cannot remember his identity and powers because there was a “veil” that was placed in his mind when he was sent to Middle-Earth or, in her words, cast down. That could explain why he couldn’t remember who he was, as the white-robed even mentioned that he was going to remember who he was if his powers returned to him.
However, it was proven that the Stranger was not Sauron but was actually an Istari, as he was capable of using the powers of light to defeat the Dweller, the Nomad, and the Ascetic by casting them back into the shadows. He was able to reveal their true forms as wraiths before he defeated them.
But, even after remembering that he was good and was an Istari or Wizard, he still couldn’t remember who he was. So, why is it that the Wizard could not remember who his identity was and what his powers were?
We can explain this better by using JRR Tolkien’s Legendarium. In Tolkien’s writings, Gandalf and the other Wizards didn’t remember their lives when they were still Ainur living in Valinor. The Istari are actually spirits called Ainur and are part of the Maiar subclass of Ainur.
However, they were sent to Middle-Earth and were turned from spirits to the flesh. The transformation basically transformed their entire existence, and that was what made them forget some of their memories when they were still in Valinor.
Gandalf said this himself when he returned after his death at the hands of the Balrog and became Gandalf the White. In his words, he said:
“I have passed through fire and deep water, since we parted. I have forgotten much that I thought I knew, and learned again much that I had forgotten. I can see many things far off, but many things that are close at hand I cannot see.”
The fact that Gandalf said that he had forgotten much that he knew implies that he lost some of his memories before when he was first sent to Middle-Earth. However, when he was sent to Middle-Earth again as Gandalf the White, that was when he remembered the things that he had forgotten.
It is possible that the writers of The Rings of Power used the same concept that Tolkien wrote about in his works. They may have incorporated this concept into the Wizard’s identity and storyline, as the fact that he was transformed from a divine spirit into a Man caused him to forget many of the things that he already knew. As such, he has to regain his memories in his own storyline in The Rings of Power.
Why Does The Wizard Have To Go To Rhûn?
After defeating the white-robed figures using his own divine power, the Wizard returned with Nori to the Harfoot caravan, as he said that he needed to go to Rhûn, where the Dweller and her companions came from so that he would be able to learn more about who he is and what his purpose is. All that he remembers is that he needs to go to the constellation that the Ascetic says is only visible from Rhûn.
Since the very beginning, the Stranger’s goal was to get to that constellation, but he didn’t know why or how. As such, because Rhûn is the only place where that constellation is said to be visible, he needs to go there as this will allow him to regain his memories and learn more about why he needed to go to where those stars are.
If the Stranger is indeed the Wizard named Gandalf, this breaks lore because Gandalf came to Middle-Earth together with the other Wizards and never went east. Meanwhile, only the Blue Wizards went east and were never heard of again. But this would make things interesting as we would be able to learn more about Rhûn, which is a place that JRR Tolkien hardly ever wrote about in any of his works. And we don’t even know what’s in store for the Stranger/Wizard in the lands of Rhûn.