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Biographical Information
TitlesKing of the Silvan Elves
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 during the Second Age; he was killed during the Battle of Dagorlad. He was the father of 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]

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]

To be re-written

West of Oropher's realm was the realm of Lórinand across Anduin, where Amdír, another Sindar ruled over Silvan Elves.

Oropher answered the summons for the Last Alliance of Elves and Men, and joined with Gil-galad's forces as they marched down Anduin to Dagorlad. Oropher's army was lightly armed and he and Amdír refused to accept Gil-galad as the commander-in-chief of the armies. Thus in the battle of Dagorlad, though Oropher's company fought valiantly, he was slain with the greater part of his people when he grew hasty and called an early charge, disobeying Gil-galad's orders to wait with the attack.

After Sauron was defeated, Thranduil, Oropher's son and heir, returned with the remainder of his people north back to Mirkwood. While one third of them survived, their army was still large enough that the Orcs hiding in secret in the Hithaeglir did not dare attack them.

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 other Tolkien publication beyond Unfinished Tales.


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


The Encyclopedia of Arda suggests that the etymology of Oropher is "Uncertain, but likely 'tall beech-tree'".[5] The Thain's Book is similarly unsure: "The name Oropher may mean 'high beech' from oro meaning 'high' and pher meaning 'beech.'"[6] The exact language of the name is difficult to determine as Oropher came from Doriath - indicating that the name could be Sindarin or the Doriathrin dialect - but the following quote makes the situation vague:

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"

Oropher is unlisted in Robert Foster's The Complete Guide to Middle-earth, Ruth S. Noel's The Languages of Tolkien's Middle-earth and Jim Allan's An Introduction to Elvish as these works were written before the publication of Unfinished Tales in which Oropher is revealed. As such, etymological information from these books are unavailable for comparison.

See Also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 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: