The Rings of Power‘s season one finale gave us a wizard, Sauron, and three rings for the elves. But the episode also gave us a lot to think about heading into season two. For as much as we learned about “Halbrand” and the Stranger, there’s still so much we don’t know. So in honor of the mortal men doomed to die, here are the nine biggest questions we have ahead of season two of The Rings of Power.
Is the Stranger a Wizard We Already Know?
Just as we thought, the Stranger was really a wizard. How did the White Cloak Cult know he was “the Istar,” though? Are wizards already on Middle-earth? Have they met others before? Or was their a prophecy one would arrive to oppose Sauron? No matter the answer, the even bigger question is which wizard is now wandering the world with Nori? Gandalf? Saruman? Radagast or one of the Blue Wizards of the Second Age? The “big” man still has a big secret with big ramifications.
What Awaits the Stranger and Nori in Rhûn?
Rhûn in the east of Middle-earth is home to some of Morgoth and Sauron’s most dedicated men. These followers of darkness will fight in both the coming wars of the Second and Third Age. So why must the Stranger go there? Is it to try and save some of the men from following Sauron? To meet other wizards? Or is there a reason we don’t yet know about? We don’t know the answers to these questions yet but The Rings of Power will bring peril in the path of the Stranger and Nori in Rhûn next season.
Was Sauron’s Confession to Galadriel Sincere or Sinister?
Halbrand turning out to be Sauron wasn’t surprising. From the moment we met him we had our suspicions about Halbrand’s real identity. But in true Sauron fashion, we’re not sure what part of his story to believe. So, he still leaves us with a lot of questions that needs answers, even though we may not get them in The Rings of Power. Was he sincere in telling Galadriel he wanted her to bind him to the light of the One? Does he really want to atone for his past sins? Or was that all just a ruse to turn his greatest enemy into his greatest ally, assuring his ascent to power? We know what evil future awaits Sauron, and somehow that silver-tongued charmer still has us wondering if he isn’t all bad.
How Will Sauron Get Men and Dwarves to Craft Their Own Rings?
The Rings of the Power condensed three centuries of story into three weeks. That’s all Sauron needed on the show to convince Celebrimbor to craft rings of power for the elves. But now that Halbrand announced his real identity and Galadriel knows his plans, how will the Dark Lord secretly convince dwarves and men to make their own magical jewelry? We know he will, which will lead to the Nazgûl. But the unknown aspects of his master plan will be a significant part of the show’s future.
How Will Pharazôn Usurp Power in Nûmenor?
The King is dead, and the Queen Regent should now take her place as Nûmenor’s rightful and unquestioned heir. But Mīriel, who has a renewed faith in both the Valar and elves, will not be the one who leads the island to its doom. That will be Pharazôn, who will turn his people against the gods. We can guess how he’ll use Númenóreans hatred for elves to take the throne. But J.R.R. Tolkien’s wrote that a captured Sauron pushed Pharazôn to turn on the Valar. How will that work now since the Dark Lord already has a history with Pharazôn? Will Sauron still become a prisoner and then advisor of Nûmenor? Or will the show give us a different version of events leading up to the “great wave?”
Where Is Isildur and How Will He Return to Nûmenor?
Despite what his father Elendil thinks, Isildur is still alive. He has to be, since we all know he’s destined to cut the One Ring from Sauron’s hand. But for now his “death” raises a lot of other questions. How did he survive the eruption of Mount Doom? Who found him in Mordor if anyone? Where did he end up? How will he get back to his country? What friends, if any, does he have on Middle-earth to help him? And how will his time there shape the future that awaits him? For a character we know didn’t die and will play a huge role in the future, there’s a whole lot we don’t know about Isildur right now. But we hope that The Rings of Power will give us more insight and answer some burning questions next season.
Who (Or What) Was Called Out to Isildur From the Sea?
One of The Rings of Power‘s biggest mysteries began before Isildur traveled to Middle-earth. We still don’t know who (or what) is calling out his name from the sea. Is it his mother who drowned? One of the gods of Valinor? Some other supernatural force? Or is it all in his mind? Isildur is one of the most important figures in all of Tolkien lose, for both good and bad, and the show is only making him more compelling by raising all these questions about his early life.
What Did Eärien See in Nûmenor’s Palantir?
Elendil’s daughter Eärien was there when Nûmenor’s King died. In his final moments he thought he was speaking with his daughter Míriel, but it was Eärien he sent to look into Nûmenor’s palantir. What did she see there? The great wave and destruction of the island? Something else? It must have been important if the King wanted his daughter to see it, so what was it? Eärien was desperate to stop the expedition to Middle-earth before. How will her gaze into the palantir change or reinforce her beliefs going forward? Will she now stay loyal to her family and the Valar? Or did that black round stone set her on a path opposing them?
What Awaits the Survivors in the Southlands?
Arondir, Bronwyn, Theo, and the survivors from the Southlands didn’t appear in The Rings of Power‘s season one finale, but their fate could change Middle-earth forever. They seemed to be heading west after the creation of Mordor. Are they destined to become people of Gondor and Arnor? Turn back down a dark path towards Sauron like some of their kin did? Or do they have a different future entirely? There’s so much we don’t know. But whatever awaits them, in whatever direction they go, they’re sure to find danger in a world where evil is spreading everywhere.
As for us, we hope to find answers to all these questions and more in season two of The Rings of Power.
Mikey Walsh is a staff writer at Nerdist. You can follow him on Twitter at @burgermike. And also anywhere someone is ranking the Targaryen kings.