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Anke Eißmann - Thranduil.jpg
Biographical Information
Other names"Elvenking"
TitlesKing of the Woodland Realm
BirthFirst Age[source?]
RuleS.A. 3434 onwards
Physical Description
Hair colorGolden[1]
GalleryImages of Thranduil
"In a great hall with pillars hewn out of the living stone sat the Elvenking on a chair of carven wood. On his head was a crown of berries and red leaves, for the autumn was come again. In the spring he wore a crown of woodland flowers. In his hand he held a carven staff of oak."
The Hobbit, Barrels Out of Bond

Thranduil, the Elvenking, was a Sinda and King of the Silvan Elves of Mirkwood in the Woodland Realm. Thranduil was son of Oropher and father of Legolas.



Early History

In the First Age Thranduil was a Sinda, subject to King Thingol. At the end of that Age he was one of many Sindar who stayed at Lindon, but at the beginning of the Second Age they travelled eastward. Thranduil and his father, Oropher, eventually ended up in Greenwood the Great, where Silvan Elves of Nandor descent lived. Oropher was taken by them as lord and founded the Woodland Realm with the capital at Amon Lanc.

The few Sindar who had come with Oropher and Thranduil were soon merged with the Silvan Elves, adopting their language and taking names of Silvan form and style.

In S.A. 3434 Thranduil followed his father, and some thirty thousand lightly armed Elves in the War of the Last Alliance. In the Battle of Dagorlad Oropher was slain with the greater part of his people but his son survived. After the Siege of Barad-dûr in S.A. 3441 when Sauron was defeated, Thranduil led the remainder of his people north back to the Woodland Realm, where he was crowned king.

Third Age

Thranduil and young Legolas by Anna Lee

With the return of Sauron around T.A. 1050 southern Greenwood became dangerous and was renamed Mirkwood. Creatures like great spiders came to dwell in Mirkwood and Thranduil's folk retreated to the northeastern corner of Mirkwood, where they fortified themselves near the Forest River.

The Quest for Erebor

See also: The Quest for Erebor

One day in T.A. 2941 Thranduil and some of his folk were feasting in the woods when they were repeatedly disturbed by a party of Dwarves and a Hobbit called Bilbo Baggins. After the third disturbance the Elves captured the leader of the Dwarves, Thorin, and a short time later also his companions. Thorin was brought before Thranduil but did not reveal the reason for their journey through Mirkwood. So the Elves took his sword Orcrist and imprisoned him separated from his companions. But Bilbo Baggins, who escaped captivity by using his magic ring, was able to help his friends to escape in barrels on the Forest River.

Barrels out of Bond by Alan Lee

After the Dwarves' escape Thranduil sent out messengers, who soon told him about the death of the Dragon Smaug, who had brutalized the Grey Elves for years. He knew about the treasures, which Smaug had hoarded, and so he set out towards the Lonely Mountain with a company of Elves with spears and bows. On the way they met messengers from Bard in Lake-town who was seeking aid for his destroyed town. After the Elves had given food to the Lake-men and had helped them to build shelters against the oncoming winter, both Thranduil and Bard led their forces towards the Lonely Mountain. They were very surprised when they found out that Thorin and his company had survived Smaugs attacks, had taken possession of the Lonely Mountain and its treasures and that Thorin Oakenshield had claimed the title King under the Mountain.

Bard demanded a part of the treasure for Dale and Lake-town, which Smaug had destroyed, as well as for himself because he had shot the dragon. When Thorin refused to give away parts of the treasure, Thranduil and Bard sieged the mountain and Thorin sent for aid from his cousin Dáin II Ironfoot. After a few days Dain's host approached and fight seemed unavoidable. But in the night Bilbo brought the Arkenstone, a great jewel that Thorin valued above all, to Bard and Thranduil in order to make Thorin open to negotiations. Thranduil was favourably impressed by Bilbo and urged him to remain in order to avoid Thorin's wrath.

The next morning Bard and Thranduil entered into negotiations with Thorin, who erupted in anger when he learned that Bard and Thranduil possessed the Arkenstone. But he agreed to pay one-fourteenth share of the treasure in exchange for the stone. The next day Dain arrived with his forces and although Thranduil was reluctant to start a war over gold, the dwarves proceeded to attack.

The Battle of Five Armies by Capucine Mazille

At the last moment, when the battle was almost joined between the two sides Gandalf intervened and revealed that while they were bickering amongst themselves, the Orcs of the Misty Mountains and Grey Mountains under Bolg were using the opportunity to march against them. They had been incited by Gandalf's earlier slaying of the Great Goblin, but had now mobilized for a full-scale attack after hearing news of the death of the Dragon and the now relatively unguarded treasure hoard. The three commanders agreed that the Orcs were the enemies of all and previous grievances between them were put on hold in face of the greater threat. So the Battle of Five Armies began.

Thranduil's host was positioned on the southern side of the Mountain, and they were the first to charge. Many Elves were slain and things looked grim when the Eagles arrived on the battlefield. They turned the tide and the battle was won. Thorin had been mortally wounded on the field, and his nephews Fíli and Kíli died defending him as he lay on the ground. Thorin died soon after the battle, after meeting Bilbo one last time. Thranduil laid Orcrist on Thorin's tomb, where it was said to glow in warning when foes approached.

The victors divided the treasure and Bard took Bilbo's fourteenth share of the gold and silver in return for the Arkenstone, whereupon he shared his reward with the Master of Lake-town and gave Thranduil the emeralds of Girion. Bilbo, despite having forfeited his share, was offered a rich reward but refused to take more than two small chests of gold and silver. When Bilbo and Gandalf bid farewell to Thranduil Bilbo gave him a necklace of silver and pearls. Thranduil gave the hobbit the title "Elf-friend" and returned with the remainder of his host to his realm in Mirkwood.

The Hunt for Gollum

On March 21, T.A. 3018 Aragorn delivered Gollum as a prisoner to Thranduil. He was guarded day and night, but the Elves pitied him and allowed him to climb a tree that stood alone. When one night in June of 3018, Gollum refused to come down, the Elves were attacked by Orcs and Gollum could escape in the confusion. Thranduil sent his son Legolas to Rivendell to inform Elrond, and in the Council of Elrond Legolas was selected as one of the nine members of the Company of the Ring.[2]

Another member of the Company of the Ring was the Dwarf Gimli, the son of Glóin of Thorin's band. The gradually established friendship between both helps to reconcile Thranduil's people and the Dwarves. It is amusing to note that one of the Dwarves imprisoned by Thranduil was Glóin, Gimli's father. Nonetheless, both end up on a quest together, and develop an unprecedented friendship between Elf and Dwarf.

War of the Ring

On March 15, T.A. 3019, an army of Sauron from Dol Guldur, tasked with destroying the Woodland Realm, attacked Mirkwood. There was a long battle under the trees and the woods were set on fire. But in the end Thranduil defeated the invaders. On April 6, Thranduil met Celeborn, the Lord of Lórien, in the midst of Mirkwood. Celeborn's forces had crossed the Anduin and had stormed Dol Guldur. Galadriel, the Lady of Lórien, had come after them, throwing down the walls of Dol Guldur and laying bare its pits. Thranduil had cleared all the orcs and foul beings from North Mirkwood, so that the forest was cleansed and Sauron's empire in the North was destroyed.

Because the Shadow over Mirkwood was lifted, Thranduil and Celeborn renamed it Eryn Lasgalen, the Wood of Greenleaves. They divided it up, so that Thranduil received the northern part as far as the Mountains, and Celeborn took the southern part below the Narrows, naming it East Lórien. The wide forest in-between was given to the Beornings and the Woodmen[3].

Fourth Age

After the destruction of Dol Guldur and the cleansing of Mirkwood, Thranduil and the Wood-Elves remained untroubled for many years.

Legolas and the Wood-Elves later worked together with Gimli and the Dwarves to rebuild and improve Minas Tirith, capital city of Gondor, the realm of their mutual friend King Aragorn Elessar[3].

Thranduil's ultimate fate is unknown; he probably passed over the Sea to Valinor eventually.

Thranduil by Marya Filatova


Thranduil lived in attunement with nature, wearing a crown of flowers, or autumn berries, according to the season, and his banner was, naturally enough, green in colour. He loved the forest though it was dark and dangerous in many parts and enjoyed hunting and feasting among the trees with his people.


Thranduil had his halls underground, partly in memory (it was said) of the mighty but long-lost Menegroth of Doriath. They lay near the Forest River behind great gates.


The name Thranduil means "Vigorous spring" in Sindarin, from tharan "vigorous" and tuil "spring". Though the name is said to be of Silvan origin, Tolkien's notes on tharan state it was used only in Sindarin.[4]

Portrayal in Adaptations

The "Elvenking" as portrayed in The Hobbit (1977 film)

1968: BBC Radio's The Hobbit:

Leonard Fenton provided the voice of Thranduil.

1977: The Hobbit (1977 film):

Thranduil is voiced by Otto Preminger with a (heavy) German accent. For some reason in the movie the Elves of Mirkwood are portrayed as squat and ugly, as opposed to the noble elves of Rivendell.

2003: Sierra's The Hobbit:

Thranduil is referred to as "Elvenking Thranduil", using both his title from The Hobbit and his name from The Lord of the Rings, to accommodate players who have only read The Hobbit. Thranduil first appears in the level "Barrels Out of Bond", in which he can be overheard speaking about the White Council and their attack on Dol Guldur. He returns as a conversation partner in the last level, "The Clouds Burst", in which he and Gandalf ask the player, in the persona of Bilbo, to deliver a message to Bard. No voice actor is specified for this part.

2006: The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II:

Thranduil is a hero for the Elven faction. In the good campaign, he shows up after the Battle of Dale, and participates in the Siege of Dol Guldur.

2012-2013: The Hobbit films:

Thranduil will to be played by Lee Pace.[5]

See Also


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Flies and Spiders"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Council of Elrond"
  3. 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings", in Parma Eldalamberon XVII (edited by Christopher Gilson), p. 187
  5. Peter Jackson, "Casting news!" dated 30 April 2011, Facebook (accessed 23 December 2011)