Does Gandalf Have A Moth Obsession? The Rings Of Power Finale Says...Maybe

One does not simply walk into Mordor without expecting spoilers. Read no further if you haven't watched the finale of "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power."

Let he who is without magical animal sidekicks throw the first stone. Don't ask me why, but characters in fantasy always seem to fall back on this one particular trope time and time again. Those "Chronicles of Narnia" kids have their god-king lion Aslan (with a voice that sounds suspiciously like Liam Neeson) and the mouse warrior Reepicheep, the Targaryens of "House of the Dragon" have their immense fire-breathing dragons, and our plucky heroes in "The Lord of the Rings" are commonly associated with those giant eagles who were famously never consulted to fly the One Ring into Mordor. (There are several good reasons they didn't do this, mind you!)

But in both Peter Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy and now in the recently concluded "The Rings of Power" series, there's another winged creature that viewers have come to relate with our favorite curmudgeonly wizard Gandalf — moths. Granted, the finale didn't technically reveal that Daniel Weyman's Stranger was most definitely Gandalf ... but let's be honest, he's Gandalf. He has a fondness for halflings, he's handy with a staff, and he even repeats the exact same lines of dialogue about following one's nose.

But if all that wasn't enough, then how about how he dispatched those sinister robed figures? Surrounded on all sides, the Stranger blasted those servants of Sauron back into the Unseen World ... but not before turning them into ghostly little moths. We've seen Gandalf use moths before to aid him in his efforts, but this episode took it to another level. Frankly, this is an intervention. We're a little concerned about Gandalf's moth obsession.

Okay, we get it, you can talk to moths

Look, nobody likes a showoff, and Gandalf, who once angrily denied the allegations that he was a "conjurer of cheap tricks," might be the worst of them all. Sure, sure, he helped immeasurably during his travels in the Third Age by sending young Frodo Baggins to keep the One Ring hidden in the first place (although I'd quibble about how his movie counterpart's plan mostly just amounted to, "Eh, meet up at the nearest village outside the Shire, avoid those pesky Black Riders, and we'll figure it out, I guess") and then aiding the Fellowship during their quest to destroy Sauron's most valuable tool. He also battled a balrog to the death in order to help give his friends time to escape the Mines of Moria. He deserves some credit for that, no question ... but I just can't get over those moths.

While imprisoned by friend-turned-foe Saruman, Gandalf wastes away at the top of the dizzyingly tall tower Orthanc until — what else! — a moth happens to wander its way up to the captive. Rudely snatched out of the air from whatever his regular ol' moth-y business might've been, the old man whispers (in moth-language or something, of course) to the creature and basically press-gangs the poor thing into becoming a spy in a war it never signed up for. When Saruman climbs all those steps later on to confront Gandalf directly, the dutiful moth briefly appears once more to herald the arrival of its much bigger cousin, an eagle whom Gandalf promptly jumps on top of to escape in the most over-the-top way possible.

And did that moth get any thanks whatsoever? Did it get the "You bow to no one" treatment? No, it certainly did not.

Great, now there are murder moths

If anyone was hoping for the Stranger in "The Rings of Power" to turn out to be literally anyone else besides the moth-bullying Gandalf, well, I have some troubling news for you.

After playing guessing games with viewers for the bulk of the season, the other shoe finally dropped and revealed that the mysterious "Meteor Man" was, in fact, Gandalf all along — even if they haven't quite said his name just yet. But even after the case of mistaken identity led us to believe that the Stranger was Sauron himself, our menacing mage was right back to his old tricks when he dispatched with those servants of Sauron. Wielding the enemy's staff against them did most of the heavy lifting, to be sure, but we have to assume that the appearance of that giant moth and the subsequent dissolution of those enemies into a swarm of little white moths were all his doing. He does have a taste for the theatrical, after all.

So for those keeping track at home, we've now graduated from Gandalf using moths as getaway drivers to basically destroying the enemy themselves. Moths! According to the official Butterfly Conservation website, "Moths are often misunderstood, but they hold vital roles in the wildlife ecosystem." They're just trying to live their lives and prove their worth against the much more media-friendly appeal of their butterfly cousins, and this moth-obsessed wizard can't stop himself from recruiting them into the war against the Dark Lord Sauron — not just once or twice, but multiple times throughout hundreds and hundreds of years across two separate ages of Middle-earth history!

Well, I for one have had enough. It's time for Gandalf to pick on someone his own size for a change and leave the moths alone.