Tolkien Gateway


Revision as of 08:38, 10 June 2013 by Fredeghar (Talk | contribs)
Biographical Information
TitlesKing of the Silvan Elves
LocationWoodland Realm
AffiliationLast Alliance of Elves and Men
LanguageSindarin and Silvan
BirthDuring F.A. or Y.T.
Ruleunknown - S.A. 3434
DeathS.A. 3434
Battle of Dagorlad
Physical Description
GalleryImages of Oropher
Oropher was a Sindarin Elf of Doriath who became the King of the Silvan Elves of Greenwood the Great (Mirkwood) during the Second Age; he was killed during the Battle of Dagorlad. He was the father of the Elvenking of The Hobbit, Thranduil, and grandfather of the Elven member of the Fellowship of the Ring, Legolas.



Oropher was a Sinda from Doriath who, following the destruction of Beleriand and the War of Wrath, was unwilling to leave Middle-earth for Aman (as were many other Elves).[1]

Move to Greenwood the Great

In the Second Age, Oropher - with a few other Sindar - chose to cross the Misty Mountains and mingle with Silvan Elves of Greenwood the Great as they were not dominated by Noldorin Exiles:[1] the Elves of Doriath had no fondness for the Noldor with King Thingol banning the Noldorin language and forbidding any Noldor from entering Doriath, except the children of Finarfin as they were related to Thingol (Finarfin's wife, Eärwen was Thingol's niece).[2] The Silvan Elves shared common heritage with the Sindar as both the Silvan Elves (originally known as the Nandor) and the Sindar were of the Teleri clan.[3]

The Sindar adopted the language of the Silvan Elves and wholly embraced the life of the Silvan Elves as the Sindar desired to experience a more "rustic" and "natural" way of life as was the case after their awakening in Cuiviénen.[1] The Silvan Elves accepted Oropher as their King.

Originally, the Silvan Elves lived in the south of Greenwood the Great, with Amon Lanc as Oropher's capital, but over the course of the Second Age they gradually moved north to live around the Emyn Duir. The reason for this migration is unclear, being explained with two different reason: due to the threat of Sauron from the south (who located to Mordor and started building Barad-dûr in circa S.A. 1000);[4] or, due to both the increasing power of Dwarves of Moria and out of resentment towards to the intrusions of Galadriel and Celeborn into Lórien.[1]

War of the Last Alliance

Despite the Silvan Elves' hostility towards the Dwarves and the Noldor - and their desire to stay away from the affairs of the rest of the world - Oropher could see the danger that Sauron posed, and whose defeat would bring about peace in Middle-earth, so joined the Last Alliance of Elves and Men. Oropher summoned a great army which joined with Amdír's smaller force of Lórien Elves to create one large host of Silvan Elves; the Silvan Elves were strong and brave, but had poor armour and weapons in comparison with Noldorin Elves.[1]

Amdír and Oropher were unwilling to submit to the supreme command of Gil-galad, as such they suffered heavier losses in the War of the Last Alliance. Amdír, and half his forces, died in the Battle of Dagorlad as they were cut off in the Dead Marshes from the main force, whilst two-thirds of Oropher's army also perished. Oropher himself was killed in the very first assault upon the Mordor as he and other brave and hasty Elves rushed forward before Gil-galad gave the signal to charge. At the end of the war the remnants of the army returned to Greenwood under the command of Oropher's son, Thranduil.[1]

In Other Publications

Despite Oropher's relationship to two key characters from both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (Thranduil and Legolas respectively) no mention of Oropher is made in any other Tolkien publication beyond Unfinished Tales.


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


Oropher came from Doriath - indicating that the name could be Sindarin or Doriathrin dialect - but:

Oropher had come among them with only a handful of Sindar, and they were soon merged with the Silvan Elves, adopting their language and taking names of Silvan form and style. This they did deliberately;
J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn"

The name probably means 'tall beech-tree'[5] from oro meaning 'high' and fêr meaning 'beech'.[6]

See Also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn", "Appendix B: The Sindarin Princes of the Silvan Elves"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Return of the Noldor"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Sindar"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Disaster of the Gladden Fields", note 14
  5. The Encyclopedia of Arda, "Oropher", dated 21 April 2003 (accessed January 13, 2011)
  6. The Thain's Book, "Elves of Middle-earth#Oropher" (accessed January 13, 2011)

Preceded by:
King of the Silvan Elves
unknown - S.A. 3434
Followed by: