The Rings Of Power

Why There Is Only One Istar In The Rings Of Power’s Finale

The Rings of Power Season 1 showed fans that Meteor Man was one of the Istari. But why did the series use the singular — an Istar?

The Rings of Power might be an action fantasy series, but Season 1 was all about mysteries. Why couldn’t Galadriel find Sauron, and which character was the Dark Lord in disguise? Then, there was Meteor Man. Was he good or evil? On top of that, fans had to wonder if Elrond would choose loyalty to the Elves or to Durin. Finally, there were all the questions regarding Adar the fallen Elf and his conniving endgame.

Some of those questions were addressed before The Rings of Power finale, but there was a lot that still needed answering in Episode 8, “Alloyed.” Luckily, the episode was in the business of answering questions. It revealed that Halbrand was Sauron, which explained why Galadriel couldn’t find him. “Alloyed” also confirmed that Meteor Man was a wizard — but it referred to him as an “Istar.”

Who Are The Istari In The Lord Of The Rings?

A lot of fans believed that Halbrand was Sauron in the first season, but a large part of the fanbase thought the Meteor Man would be revealed as the Dark Lord. In fact, it wasn’t just fans who believed that Meteor Man was evil. The opening scenes of “Alloyed” showed the three White Robes (The Dweller, The Nomad, and The Ascetic) telling him that he was indeed Lord Sauron, making for a shocking opening to the season finale. A little later, though (with some prompting from Nori) Meteor Man defied the White Robes and banished them to the shadow. Then, they realized their mistake and said, “He is not Sauron. He is the other. The Istar. He is…”

As Meteor Man revealed later in the episode, the word Istar means “wise one” or “wizard.” In The Lord of the Rings, there were five Istari: Saruman, Gandalf, Radagast, Alatar, and Pallando. They were Maiar sent by Eru to subvert Sauron’s power in Middle-earth. Except, they weren’t allowed to do battle with the Dark Lord. Rather, they were supposed to encourage, support, and exhort the free peoples of Middle-earth so that they could mount a fight against Sauron themselves.

Is Gandalf The Istar In The Rings Of Power?

Because there were five Istari, the White Robes’ words were particularly strange. They didn’t refer to Meteor Man as, “one of the Istari.” Rather, they said, “He is the other. The Istar.” Of course, the most important Istar in The Lord of the Rings was Gandalf, though the series never directly confirms his identity as the Meteor Man. Even so, all indications point to the fact that Meteor Man will end up being Gandalf after all. Of course, that doesn’t line up with the LOTR timeline, but The Rings of Power is telling its own story — and introducing Gandalf is actually a smart story-telling move.

In The Return of the King, Gandalf told Aragorn, “The Third Age was my age. I was the Enemy of Sauron, and my work is finished. I shall go soon.” Disregarding the part about the Third Age, the quote makes it clear that Gandalf was the personal nemesis of Sauron. That makes sense because he was the only Istari to complete Eru’s mission. Thus, The Rings of Power looks to be capitalizing on Gandalf’s role as Sauron’s nemesis and setting up their rivalry much earlier than it happens in LOTR.

Will The Other Istar Appear In The Rings Of Power Season 2?

Already, rumors have circulated that several characters will appear in The Rings of Power Season 2, including some who were absent from Peter Jackson’s original Lord of the Rings trilogy. Among these are the other members of Gandalf’s wizard order. The end of The Rings of Power’s first season implied that the Meteor Man and Nori were about to set off on a mission to find other Istari who had fallen to Middle-earth as well. If this is the case, viewers should prepare to meet Saruman, Radagast, and the blue wizards before Season 2 is out.

The introduction of the other Istari would be a landmark moment in the Lord of the Rings franchise. While Saruman and Radagast both appeared in varying capacities in the original films, neither of the blue wizards has ever appeared in live-action. Therefore, Season 2 of The Rings of Power has the distinct opportunity to explore the lesser-known parts of Gandalf’s wizarding order. The series can also show Saruman before his corruption when he was still a force for good as the other wizards were.

The Rings of Power has plenty of exciting opportunities ahead as it continues its exploration of the Istar, including the additional members of Gandalf’s wizard order. Hopefully, the show’s upcoming second season can win back fans with its depiction of these powerful beings who are extremely important in the Lord of the Rings lore.


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