This article contains spoilers for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power season 1.The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power eventually revealed the identity of the Stranger, sending Gandalf on a quest to the lands of Rhûn in eastern Middle-earth. The first season of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power was essentially a kind of mystery box, with a number of characters whose true identities were unknown. The season finale, however, finally unraveled those mysteries; one of the most exciting was a strong hint that the Stranger would become Gandalf the Grey. The Dweller, Nomad and Ascetic initially mistook it for Sauron himself (their confusion mirroring that of many viewers), but he insisted he was good and eventually used a line of dialogue associated with Gandalf himself in Tolkien’s writings.
The Stranger’s story ends as he embarks on a quest – or rather an adventure, as he was accompanied by Nori. Sauron’s agents have mentioned the Land of Rhûn Abroad, and he feels that the answers he still seeks will be found there. It seems Gandalf has been used to traveling Middle-earth in the company of hobbits since his arrival from Valinor, with the friendship he received from Nori and his proto-hobbit Harfoots clearly leaving a lasting impression on him. It’s surely only a matter of time before Gandalf and Sauron, also revealed in power rings episode 8, come face to face. This confrontation could well take place in the lands of Rhûn.
The Lands Of The Rhûn Explained
Tolkien revealed very little about the lands of Rhûn, which is simply named after the Elvish word for east; Tolkien’s stories did not explore this region much, and indeed only part of the lands of Rhûn are visible on Tolkien’s maps of Middle-earth. Although Tolkien’s lore established that humans and elves were born in the east, this region was ultimately considered the realm of darkness; it was furthest from the light of the Valar in the west, and thus a sanctuary for Morgoth and Sauron. The Easterlings – humans from Rhûn and elsewhere – had followed Morgoth, and they in turn chose to follow Sauron. One of Sauron’s Nazgûl (or Ringwraiths) was named Khamûl The Easterling, possibly meaning he was a king among those who fell to the power of the rings.
Gandalf’s connection to Rhûn in The Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is largely inspired by JRR Tolkien’s notes and appendices on the history of Middle-earth, and in the essay “Glorfindel” it implies that Gandalf (also called Olorin) had visited Middle-earth before the Third Age saw in The Lord of the Ringstraveling among the people and becoming “knowledge“with them. Tolkien ended these notes on the forgotten history of Gandalf the Gray with the words “… nothing is said about it,” but later changed to “…nothing has been said about it yet.” power rings shows Gandalf in his previously unknown past, including an adventure in the lands of Rhûn.
Gandalf has no known connection to Rhûn in the lore of The Lord of the Rings. Indeed, in the Third Age, he insisted that he would never go east of Middle-earth, leaving that region to the Blue Wizards. Ironically, so far it seemed that his ally Aragorn knew Rhûn better than Gandalf himself; speaking to the Council of Elrond, Aragorn claimed that he had “crossed many mountains and many rivers, and trod many plains, even to the distant lands of Rhûn and Harad where the stars are strange.“Gandalf seeks the lands of Rhûn based in part on his sketch of the constellations, so Aragorn’s comment can be taken as confirmation that he will indeed find answers in Rhûn in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power season 2.
All episodes of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power are streaming now on Amazon Prime.
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Next: Galadriel In The Rings Of Power Is Very Different Than LOTR’s Depiction