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Elu Thingol
Felix Sotomayor - Elu Thingol.jpg
Biographical Information
Other namesElwë, Singollo
TitlesKing of Doriath
BirthY.T. 1050, Cuiviénen
DeathF.A. 502, Menegroth (aged 4800+)
ChildrenLúthien Tinúviel
Physical Description
Hair colorSilver
GalleryImages of Elu Thingol

Elu, more commonly known as Thingol, was the King of Doriath and High King of the Sindar. Born Elwë during the first years of the Eldar, he was the older brother of Olwë and Elmo1. He was also a good friend of Finwë, High King of the Noldor. Thingol would become a central figure of The Silmarillion, instigating the Quest for the Silmaril, the greatest victory of the First Age, but ultimately the cause of his own doom.



Ambassador of the Valar

Thingol was born at Cuiviénen2 in the days before the Sun and the Moon, when Middle-earth was lit only by starlight. Three millennia later, after the Chaining of Melkor, the Vala Oromë took three Elves, Ingwë, Finwë, and Elwë, to Valinor to convince the Eldar to join the Valar in the Blessed Realm. Upon thier return, the Elven Ambassadors convinced many of the Eldar to join them on the Great Journey to the West. During the thousand mile journey, the Elven host seperated into three groups, the Vanyar, Noldor, and Teleri. The Teleri, led by Elwë and his brother Olwë, were the largest and slowest group, and were the last to reach the western shores of Middle-earth. The other Elves had already left for Valinor and the Teleri were forced to wait.

During this time Elwë wandered into the Forest of Nan Elmoth, where he met and fell in love with Melian the Maia. Caught in an enchantment of their own making, Elwë and Melian could not be found by the searching Teleri. When the Valar returned to take the remaining Elves to Valinor, only some of them followed Olwë across the Great Sea. The rest had come to love the lands of Beleriand and refused to leave without their missing lord.

King of Doriath

Over a thousand years passed before Elwë appeared again with his bride Melian. He gathered his people together and founded the Kingdom of Doriath. His subjects would become the Sindar, or "Grey Elves", and their language was Sindarin. From then on Elwë was known as King Elu Thingol, and he claimed lordship over all the lands in Beleriand. While Thingol was King of the Grey Elves, who never saw the light of the Two Trees, as an Ambassador for the Valar he was counted as a High Elf, and equal to any lord of the Eldar.

On Melian's advice, Thingol became an ally of the Dwarves of Belegost, who carved the caverns of Menegroth for him. In payment he gave them the great pearl Nimphelos.

A thousand years before the first rising of the Sun and the Moon the Green Elves entered Beleriand under Denethor. Thingol welcomed them and gave them the lands of Ossiriand, which they named Lindon. The Green Elves told of the spread of Orcs and other foul creatures in the north and east of Middle-earth. The Grey Elves began arming themselves.

Centuries later Melkor returned to Middle-earth. Now named Morgoth, he had destroyed the Two Trees, killed Finwë, the High King of the Noldor, and stolen the fabled Silmarils. Seeking to claim dominion quickly, he launched a sudden assault on the lands of the Sindar. The First Battle of Beleriand went well for Thingol, who prevented any Orcs from invading Doriath, but the Green Elves took horrific losses and the Elves of the Coasts were beseiged.

The Elves of the Coasts were finally saved by the arrival of the Noldor, who launched the Dagor-nuin-Giliath ("Battle Under the Stars"). Morgoth's forces were crushed and the Noldor began their long Siege of Angband.

Thingol and the Noldor

After the First Battle of Beleriand, Doriath was encircled by the Girdle of Melian, an impenetrable fog that guarded the kingdom. While his own kingdom was protected, Thingol was still loath to surrender any other lands in Beleriand to the Noldor as he was suspicious of the aggressive new lords in Middle-earth.

"In Hithlum the Noldor have leave to dwell, and in the highlands of Dorthonion, and in the lands east of Doriath that are empty and wild... for I am the Lord of Beleriand, and all who seek to dwell there shall hear my word."
The Silmarillion, "Of the Return of the Noldor"

King Thingol's relations with the Noldor were strained, and grew worse decades later when he learned of truth of the Kinslaying. Thingol banned these use of Quenya in his lands, which led to Sindarin being the common Elven tongue in Middle-earth. The King of Doriath refused to aid the Noldor in the war against Morgoth, and took little part in the Siege of Angband or the Dagor Bragollach ("War of Sudden Flame").

The Quest for the Silmaril

Thingol and Melian had one child, a daughter named Lúthien, said to be the fairest woman ever to live. Lúthien fell in love with a man named Beren. Thingol did not wish for the two to wed, as he valued his daughter very highly and disliked Men. As a bride-price he asked for a Silmaril from the crown of Morgoth, thinking there was no way that Beren could fulfill this demand. It was, however, this very bride-price that killed him.

The Nauglamír and Thingol's Doom

Thingol became obsessed with the Silmaril and hired some Dwarves to place it in the Nauglamír, the Necklace of the Dwarves. The Dwarven craftsmen also became obssessed with the jewel and slew Thingol for possession of it, setting off a chain of events that led to the destruction of Doriath and the scattering of its people.

Thingol's heir was Dior, son of Beren and Lúthien.

Thingol's sword was called Aranrúth ("King's Ire"). His crown was described in the Lay of Leithian as crafted of gold and studded with red rubies and clear crystal.


The Elf known as Thingol was born Elwë, Quenya for "Man of the Stars" (where "man" means male, not human). His epessë (honorary name) was Singollo, or "Grey Cloak". Elwë Singollo's preferred language was Sindarin, to which his name translates as Elu Thingol. Among his subjects he went by his honorarium, Thingol, King of Doriath.


     |                    |           |  
ELU THINGOL = Melian     Olwë       Elmo1
            |      House of Bëor
            |         :
            |         :
          Lúthien = Beren

Preceded by:
King of Doriath
YotT 1152 – I 502
Followed by:
Dior Eluchíl

See Also


  1. Elmo is a later addition by Tolkien and is not in the published The Silmarillion.
  2. This information is from the Cuivienyarna, part of Quendi and Eldar, a late revision of the legendarium by Tolkien. In the published The Silmarillion, Elu Thingol awoke at Cuiviénen, instead of being born there. See Awakening of the Elves.