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Dates
Known to be extant between c. II 1000 and 6 April III 30191
Race
Division
Culture
Pronunciation
thra'nduil ('ui' as in English 'ruin')
Meaning
Never given2
Titles

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About this entry:

  • Updated 21 July 2001
  • Updates planned: 10

Thranduil

King of the Wood-elves of Mirkwood

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Years of the Trees First Age Second Age Third Age Fourth Age and Beyond
Oropher3
Thranduil
Legolas

King of the Wood-elves who dwelt in northern Mirkwood; he fought at the Battle of Five Armies, and his son, Legolas, journeyed with Company of the Ring.


Notes

1

Tolkien gives us no explicit dates for Thranduil, so we need to rely on circumstantial evidence. Thranduil's earliest mention is in Appendix B to The Lord of the Rings, where we're told that he was among the Sindar who travelled eastward from Lindon 'before the building of the Barad-dûr'. Sauron started building the Barad-dûr in about II 1000, so Thranduil must predate this.

We last hear of him soon after the Dark Tower's final overthrow. On 6 April III 3019, (the Elves' new year), he met with Celeborn under the boughs of Mirkwood. Though we never hear of him after this date, the purpose of the meeting was to define the kingdoms of the two lords. It seems likely, therefore, he would have ruled in the newly renamed Eryn Lasgalen for some time after this.

2

Tolkien's reticence on the meaning of Thranduil's name needn't prevent us from indulging in a little guesswork. One reasonable possibility for the name's source would be tharanduil, a combination of elements that means 'beyond the long river'. Though this is no more than speculation, Thranduil's history of travelling eastward from Lindon and ruling a kingdom across the Great River Anduin lends it some small credibility.

Since this note was originally written, several readers have pointed out an interpretation based on Tolkien's own notes that explains the name using the words tharan 'vigorous' and duil 'a spring', so 'Thranduil' would be 'vigorous spring' (this interpretation comes from the Sindarin Corpus in Parma Eldalamberon 17).

3

The text of Appendix B to The Lord of the Rings seems to imply that Thranduil was himself the founder of the kingdom of Elves in Greenwood the Great. However, later writings challenge this assumption, suggesting that Thranduil travelled eastward with his father, Oropher, who was the original ruler of the woodland realm. According to this source, Thranduil did not become king until the loss of Oropher in the War of the Last Alliance at the end of the Second Age. Whether this account should be considered canonical is open to question; for full details refer to Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth II 4 The History of Galadriel and Celeborn Appendix B.

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