Elwë and Olwë were both lords of the third clan of the Elves, the later Teleri, and together they lead their people from Cuiviénen to the West. However, during a long wait in Beleriand Elwë disappeared. After years of searching, Olwë grew impatient, and led the greater part of the Teleri to Valinor, on the insistence of the Vala Ulmo.
Olwë became Lord of the island of Tol Eressëa, where the Teleri built a great number of cities, and grew in number. When they finally came to Eldamar some centuries later, Olwë became king of Alqualondë. His daughter Eärwen married Finarfin son of Finwë and later High King of the Noldor in Valinor, and thus their children, when these returned to Middle-earth, could claim kinship to Thingol. Besides Eärwen Olwë had several sons.