There is clearly a strong theme of magic running through the Rings of Power that is referenced many times throughout the show. Many characters, especially the villains, talk about the “power of the unseen world.” This refers to kind of dark shadow magic that stems from the long-ago darkness first brought into the world by Morgoth, and then carried on by Sauron. The evil lord thrives off of this hopelessness and terror, and is what links him to those who follow him and obey his every whim.


This includes the three sorcerers, mortal humans who have somehow learned to tap into this unseen power. The use it to wield fire and smoke in Sauron’s name. But if these three beings are so linked to him and his strength, how could they have gotten his identity so wrong? They mistook the stranger (who is actually Gandalf) to be their long-lost master, but how and why?

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In their defense, there were several signs that could point towards the stranger having been Sauron. It was a belief that many audience members also held for many episodes of the series. Waldreg tells Theo:

“You must’ve seen it, in the skies. A few weeks back now. Means his time is near.”

From this point on, the narrative was set up to suggest that the meteor man and Sauron are one and the same. It was his very own star-fall that was meant to usher in the dark lord’s new era of power. This is the exact same sign that the three sorcerers would have been reading, which led them to the site of his arrival on Middle Earth. All they know is that they are tracking an entity of great power (which Gandalf also is) across the world. They don’t know what form to expect him in, or how to recognize him when they find him. And so, when they do eventually come face to face with the stranger from the meteor, all signs point towards him being the master they have longed for, especially since he has such an affinity for flame and shadow, the exact source of their own magic.

It is crucial to remember that Sauron is a maiar, just like the five wizards and protectors of the world. Their magic and their auras might at first feel very similar, to one who does not know how to tell the difference. Then, added to this, is the meteor man’s confusion, who cannot remember his path or his purpose. He has been wandering with the harfoots for weeks at this point, and in that time has learned little more than a handful of words. And after all, if Sauron could not recognize himself, then how were his three disciples supposed to know him? Other than knowing his own self, the stranger had all the attributes that they were looking for in their long-lost king. He displayed the right volume of power, the right element, and bore the same constellation that they did, which will eventually lead them all to Rhun. The Nomad explains to the stranger:

“It is called the Hermit’s Hat. A pattern visible in but one place. Far to the east, where the stars are strange. The lands of Rhun. Where you will be known at last for who you truly are.”

Why would Gandalf be so invested in this collection of stars, if they were of no significance to him? The answer is, of course, because he must go there to stop Sauron. His magic is among only known power that is strong enough to fight against the dark lord. However, the disciples only see that he holds the same constellation they do. They do not know yet that his purpose is in opposition to theirs, only that this powerful being is on the same path that they are. In this sense, even if they had come across Halbrand, who actually is Sauron himself, they might not have recognized him. They would quickly have dismissed him as a mere human, rather than the immortal and other-worldly being the prophecies had told them to expect.

It is difficult to know whether the sorcerers will feature in the second series of Rings of Power. Their final battle with Gandalf leaves them banished into another plane of existence in the form of white moths that scatter on the wind. But their magic is strong enough to take them back to the unseen world that everyone refers to as the source of Sauron’s dark abilities. As such, there is a possibility that he may be able to summon them back into physical forms so that they may serve alongside him. They may be able to help Sauron begin rebuilding an empire that will last until the War of the Rings is won two ages later.

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