The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power has introduced a trio of mysterious new characters. Clad in white capes, these ethereal figures appear to be following The Stranger after we saw them examine the hole he made after he fell from the sky.
So far, the characters have only appeared very briefly; It’s not even clear why they’re following The Stranger. However, thanks to the credits, we know their names: The Nomad (played by Edith Poor), The Ascetic (Kali Kopae), and The Dweller (Bridie Sisson). Previously, one of the show’s executive producers shared more information about where he came from. After Sisson’s character was glimpsed in one of the first Rings of Power trailers, there was a lot of speculation that they were playing Sauron in shapeshifter form. Executive producer Lindsey Weber debunked the theory but offered another tantalizing clue.
“Fans would like to know that his character travels from the far east, from the lands of Rhûn,” he told Time. In the mythology of The Lord of the Rings, Rhûn is the birthplace of the evil Easterners, and is a region that used to be under the rule of Morgoth, the great demon and former master of Sauron.
Now a major theory has emerged that the cloaked figures are members of the Cult of Melkor. Melkor is one of Morgoth’s nicknames and the cult is a religious sect dedicated to worshiping the villain. After Morgoth was slain in the First Age, these followers mostly turned to Sauron and pledged allegiance to him.
The idea that these cloaked figures are members of the Cult of Melkor also fuels another theory: that The Stranger may actually be Sauron, which is why they’re trying to find him. After all, The Stranger has the ability to commit evil deeds, like killing fireflies. Conversely however, he has been shown to do quite well, aiding Nori and the Harfoots, suggesting that he is a wizard and more likely to be persecuted by the cult in Sauron’s name.
In Tolkien’s work, the Cult of Melkor plays a crucial role in the fall of Númenor, the group that influenced one of the main players in the fall of the realm (we won’t go any further for fear of possible spoilers). Whether they are the cult, or if one of them is actually Sauron, remains to be seen. Hopefully, we won’t be waiting too long for answers, as a new trailer for the upcoming episode suggests that Sauron is about to reveal himself. The Rings of Power airs weekly on Prime Video; check out our release schedule for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power (opens in a new tab) to make sure you don’t miss a moment.
For more on the fantasy epic, we’ve also broken down The Rings of Power timeline, have a detailed guide to The Rings of Power characters, and take a look at the big role Sauron’s sword could play in history. .