Warning: spoilers ahead of time for The Rings of Power episode 5 What causes the black arm of the Stranger in episode 5 of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power and how does it fit into the show’s theories about Sauron? Ever since the Stranger (Daniel Weyman) landed in Middle-earth in Amazon’s Rings of Power, his creepy magical abilities have become apparent. In addition to throwing powerful gusts of wind, Meteor Man accidentally broke Nori’s father’s foot and whispered instructions to the fireflies who died shortly thereafter. In The Rings of Power episode 5, the wind of the Stranger repels a trio of wolves that prey on the Harfoot wanderers, but this act of heroism leaves his arm strangely blackened.
The Black Arm of the Stranger adds weight to the widely held theory that he is actually Sauron. In both The Lord of the Rings and Unfinished Tales, JRR Tolkien describes Sauron as having a blackened hand, implicitly caused by the natural and magical heat that his physical body emits. The Outlander’s hand turning black after wielding magic in The Rings of Power could prove that he and Sauron are one and the same. That prospect begins to seem even more likely when the Stranger uses ice to heal the dark wound. If Sauron’s skin turned black due to magical heat, it makes sense that magical ice would be the remedy.
Is the stranger using dark magic in the rings of power?
Episode 5 of Rings of Power also supports theories that the Stranger has unknowingly used dark magic since he first landed. After his frantic waving the staff broke Largo Brandifoot’s ankle and the fireflies he whispered to everyone died, many have wondered if the magic that Meteor Man brings is of the dark variety. JRR Tolkien never defines good and bad magic in such clear terms, but he leaves no doubt that the witchcraft practiced by villains like Morgoth, Sauron, and the Witch-king of Angmar is a more sinister mark than anyone of the genus of Gandalf. Tolkien also never specifies that casting dark magic blackens the user’s hand, but this supposed telltale sign of evil spell users can be found commonly throughout occult folklore and may have been adopted by The Rings of Power.
The Stranger practicing dark magic would almost confirm that he is a villain of some variety, nullifying any theory that links him to Gandalf, the Valar, other wizards, or any force of good from Tolkien’s legendarium.
How the black arm of the stranger connects to the group dressed in white
Episode 5 of Rings of Power finally introduces the three mysterious white-clad characters seen in the trailer footage, and their names are confirmed as Dweller, Nomad, and Ascetic. The trio debuts in ambush at the site where Meteor Man crashed, and a close-up of Bridie Sisson’s Dweller reveals ash-colored fingers, marks almost identical to those on the Stranger’s arm. This subtle visual detail would seem to confirm that the white-clad trio is in league with whoever fell from the sky – most likely devoted followers practicing dark arts in his name (whatever that may be).
The Stranger’s first reaction to having a blackened arm is panic, before slapping ice on the wound to heal himself. Apparently the Dweller has made no such attempt to cure her black fingers, suggesting that she is content to let the hallmarks of evil spread freely. These conflicting attitudes speak to how life among the Harfoots has brought out the softer side of Meteor Man, to the point that he even shows remorse for dead fireflies. The Rings of Power raises a fundamental question: When the Stranger remembers his true identity, will he immediately discard the kindness shown by Nori, or will he be forever changed by his friendship with him?
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The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power continues Thursday / Friday on Prime Video.