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Lourdes Velez - King Thranduil.jpg
"King Thanduil" by Lourdes Velez
Biographical Information
Other names"Elvenking"
TitlesKing of the Woodland Realm
LanguageSilvan, Sindarin, Westron
BirthUnknown (First or Second Age)
Rulefrom S.A. 3434
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.


[edit] History

[edit] Early History

At the end of the First Age, many Sindar stayed at Lindon, and before the building of the Barad-dûr in S.A. 1000 they travelled eastward.[2] Thranduil is first recorded in this event, when he and his father, Oropher, arrived, circa S.A. 750, in Greenwood the Great. This forested region along the Anduin is where Silvan Elves of Nandor descent and the Avari or East-elves lived.[note 1] 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 him were soon merged with the Silvan Elves, adopting their language and taking names of Silvan form and style.[3]

Anna Lee - Thranduil and Legolas

In S.A. 3434, Thranduil followed his father, and some thirty thousand lightly armed Elves in the War of the Last Alliance.[note 2] In the Battle of Dagorlad, Oropher was slain in the first assault upon Mordor, "rushing forward at the head of his most doughty warriors before Gil-galad had given the signal for the advance."[3] His son survived, but over the course of the war, two-thirds of his people had perished.[note 3] 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.[3]

[edit] Third Age

Upon the return of Sauron, as the Necromancer, around T.A. 1050, southern Greenwood became increasingly dangerous; evil creatures such as the great spiders came to dwell in it, and it soon came to be called "Mirkwood".[4] Thranduil's folk retreated to the northeastern corner of the forest, where they established themselves near the Forest River and built and fortified the Elvenking's Halls.

David T. Wenzel - Mirkwood elves

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. After the third disturbance the Elves captured them. Thorin, their leader, was brought before Thranduil, but he refused to reveal the reason for their journey through Mirkwood.[5] Because of this, Thranduil placed all the dwarves under lock and key; however, they escaped with the aid of a Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins. Baggins had evaded capture by Thranduil's people through the use of his magic ring, The One Ring.

[edit] Battle of Five Armies

After the Dwarves' escape Thranduil sent out messengers, who soon told him about the death of the Dragon Smaug, who had brutalized the Elves for years. He knew about the treasures Smaug had hoarded and set out towards the Lonely Mountain with a company of Elves. On the way they met messengers from Bard in Lake-town who was seeking aid for his destroyed town. Both Thranduil and Bard led their forces towards the Lonely Mountain and were very surprised when they found out that the Dwarves not only survived Smaug's attacks, but had taken possession of the Mountain and its treasures; the King under the Mountain had returned.

Ted Nasmith - The Arkenstone

As Thorin refused to give away parts of the treasure for Dale and Lake-town, Thranduil and Bard sieged the mountain. After a few days, a Dwarvish host led by Dáin II Ironfoot approached to support Thorin. But in the night Bilbo came before Thranduil and Bard bringing the Arkenstone, a great jewel that Thorin valued above all, 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 an angered Thorin, who agreed to pay 1/14 share of the treasure in exchange for the stone. Thranduil was reluctant to start a war over gold, but the next day the forces of Dain arrived and the dwarves proceeded to attack.

Capucine Mazille - The Battle of Five Armies

At that moment, the Orcs of the Misty Mountains and Grey Mountains under Bolg were using the opportunity to march after the hoard. The three commanders agreed that the Orcs were the enemies of all. 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 and Beorn arrived on the battlefield. They turned the tide and the battle was won.

"The King under the Mountain" by Alan Lee

Thorin died soon after the battle. 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 gave Thranduil the emeralds of Girion. 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.

[edit] War of the Ring

On March 21, T.A. 3018 Aragorn and Gandalf delivered Gollum as a prisoner to Thranduil but in June he escaped. 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.[6] Another member of the Company was the Dwarf Gimli, the son of Glóin of Thorin's band who were imprisoned by Thranduil. The unprecedented friendship between Elf and Dwarf helped to reconcile Thranduil's people and the Dwarves.

On March 15, T.A. 3019, an army of Sauron from Dol Guldur attacked Mirkwood. There was a long Battle Under Trees and the woods were set on fire but in the end Thranduil defeated the invaders. On April 6, Thranduil met Celeborn in the midst of Mirkwood. The forces of the Lord and Lady of Galadhrim stormed Dol Guldur and threw down its walls.

Thranduil had cleared all the orcs and foul beings from North Mirkwood, so that the forest was cleansed and Sauron's forces in the North were destroyed. Because the Shadow over Mirkwood was lifted, Thranduil received the northern part of the Eryn Lasgalen (as Mirkwood was now called) as far as the Mountains.[2]

[edit] Fourth Age

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

[edit] Personality

Marya Filatova - Thranduil

Thranduil lived in atunement with nature, wearing a crown of flowers, or autumn berries, according to the season,[7] 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.[5] He was also distrustful of strangers, being mostly unconcerned with affairs of the world beyond Mirkwood unless a common enemy was shared.

Although his concern was primarily for his realm, the memory of the end of the Second Age and what lay outside his borders haunted him:

"But there was in Thranduil's heart a still deeper shadow. He had seen the horror of Mordor and could not forget it. If ever he looked south its memory dimmed the light of the Sun, and though he knew that it was now broken and deserted and under the vigilance of the Kings of Men, fear spoke in his heart that it was not conquered for ever; it would arise again." [3]

He had a particular fondness for white gems and wanted to acquire more, "if the elf-king had a weakness it was for treasure, especially for silver and white gems; and though his hoard was rich, was eager for more, since he had not yet as great a treasure as other elf-lords of old."[5] Despite this weakness, he was wise and would not go to war, risking his people's lives, over treasure.[note 4]

Thranduil had his halls underground, partly in memory (it was said) of the mighty but long-lost Menegroth of Doriath.[3] In north-eastern Mirkwood, they were near the Forest River behind great gates. The Elvenking was the only Elf-lord of the Third Age to protect his realm without the aid of a Great Ring; however, he had an Enchanted River[8] in his forest, which could cause one to sleep and dream deeply, and the Elvenking's Halls[5] could be used as a fortress at need.

[edit] Etymology

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.[9]

[edit] Genealogy

d. S.A. 3434
Sailed West Fo.A. 120

[edit] Portrayal in adaptations

Thranduil in adaptations
The "Elvenking" in The Hobbit (1977 film)  
Thranduil in The Hobbit (film series)  

1968: The Hobbit (1968 radio series):

Leonard Fenton provided the voice of Thranduil.

1977: The Hobbit (1977 film):

Thranduil is voiced by Otto Preminger. 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: The Hobbit (2003 video game):

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: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey:

Thranduil is played by Lee Pace in the Hobbit film trilogy.[10] Thranduil is first seen in the prologue paying homage to King Thrór inside within the Lonely Mountain, though leaves in a huff when the Dwarves refuse to give him a box of white jewels. He is next seen with an army outside of Erebor, seemingly ready to help during the Sack of Erebor. However, he decides not to help and turns away.

2013: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug:

When Thorin is taken before Thranduil in the Elvenking's Halls, he surmises that he and his Company are going to try to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from Smaug (unlike in the book, where he had no idea as to their purpose). He offers a deal to Thorin, saying he will let the Company go if they will pay him the white jewels he desires inside the Mountain. When the Dwarf refuses and chastises him for not offering aid to the Dwarves the day of the Sack, the Elven-king reveals a large disfigurement on his face underneath his skin, claiming he received it from fighting 'great serpents of the North.' Later, when a captured Orc claims that "The One" is returning, he orders the kingdom to be completely sealed off from the outside world.

2014: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies:

After learning of Smaug's demise, Thranduil leads his Elven army to claim the white jewels from the Dwarves of Erebor, even by force. It is revealed that these jewels were meant for his wife, who had been taken to Gundabad and tortured to death many years prior. When the army arrives in Dale, he forges an allegiance with Bard, also offering the Lake-town refugees food and supplies. When Gandalf arrives at Erebor to warn them of the impending attack by the approaching Orc army, the Elven-king refuses to listen. Thranduil's soldiers almost come to clashes with those of Dáin Ironfoot when the Orcs arrive, leading to the Battle of Five Armies. Thranduil himself fights in the battle against the Orcs, but withdraws his forces when defense of Dale results in many Elven casualties. This leads to a confrontation between him and Tauriel before she and Legolas go to Thorin's aid at Ravenhill. The event causes a rift between Thranduil and his son, to the point where Legolas decides not to return to the kingdom. Thranduil then advises him to go and find the Ranger known as "Strider" among the Dúnedain. The Elven-king also accepts Tauriel's love for Kíli when he finds her mourning over the Dwarf's death.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

[edit] Notes

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "The Tale of Years of the Second Age" In S.A. 750, "Remnants of the Telerian Elves (of Doriath in ancient Beleriand) establish realms in the woodlands far eastward, but most of these peoples are Avari or East-elves. The chief of these were Thranduil who ruled in the north of Greenwood the Great beyond Anduin, but Lorien was fairer and had the greater power; for Celeborn had to wife the Lady Galadriel of the Noldor"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn", "Appendix B: The Sindarin Princes of the Silvan Elves" "The Silvan Elves were hardy and valiant, but ill-equipped with armour or weapons in comparison with the Eldar of the West; also they were independent, and not disposed to place themselves under the supreme command of Gil-galad. Their losses were thus more grievous than they need have been, even in that terrible war."
  3. "When the war ended and Sauron was slain (as it seemed) he led back home barely a third of the army that had marched to war." Unfinished Tales Chapter 6, Appendix B
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "The Clouds Burst" But the Elvenking said: “Long will I tarry, ere I begin this war for gold. The dwarves cannot pass us, unless we will, or do anything that we cannot mark. Let us hope still for something that will bring reconciliation. Our advantage in numbers will be enough, if in the end it must come to unhappy blows.”


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Flies and Spiders"
  2. 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn", "Appendix B: The Sindarin Princes of the Silvan Elves"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Flies and Spiders"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Council of Elrond"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Barrels Out of Bond"
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Queer Lodgings"
  9. 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
  10. Peter Jackson, "Casting news!" dated 30 April 2011, Facebook (accessed 23 December 2011)