|Realms||Greenwood the Great/Mirkwood/Eryn Lasgalen|
|Description||Cave system with west entrance, connected to the Forest River|
The halls were just inside the eastern border of Mirkwood on the north bank of the Forest River, some miles upstream from Esgaroth. The great cave had many passages and wide halls and was more wholesome than the goblin tunnels in the Misty Mountains. While most of the Elves lived in the woods the king's halls served as his palace and treasure vault, and was also a fortress for the Elves in times of danger.
The entryway to the halls had huge stone doors that were closed and secured by magic. The throne room for Thranduil was a great hall with pillars carved from the living rock. In lower levels were cells for prisoners and at the lowest part of the caves were the cellars of the king. These cellars were built over an underground stream so that empty barrels could be dropped into the water and floated out to the Forest River through a gate barred by a portcullis.
About T.A. 1050 the Shadow began to fall upon Greenwood (causing it to be called Mirkwood). In response, King Thranduil led his people to the northeast corner of the forest and delved there a fortress and series of great halls underground. In this Thranduil was following the example of King Thingol who had constructed the underground fortress of Menegroth in Doriath.
In the autumn of T.A. 2941 Thorin and Company were traversing Mirkwood and had run out of food. Spotting some woodland feasts the Company attempted to enter these gatherings but were thwarted each time. On the third attempt Thorin was captured and brought to Thranduil's halls where he was interrogated by the king. Angered by Thorin's refusal to answer his questions, Thranduil had Thorin locked in his innermost cell.
Soon after, the twelve remaining dwarves (but not Bilbo Baggins) were taken by the Elves and brought to Thranduil's halls. They fared no better with the king and were also locked in the king's dungeon. Bilbo though, through the invisibility conferred by his ring, roamed about the halls and discovered the cellars and the trap door leading to the underground stream. Through good luck Bilbo was able to obtain the keys to the dwarves' cells, free them, and pack them into empty barrels in the cellar. Workers then came and rolled the barrels through the trap door and thus the hobbit (riding one of the barrels) effected the escape of the Company from Thranduil's halls.
In 3017, Aragorn captured Gollum in the Dead Marshes and brought him to Thranduil's halls. As was told in the Council of Elrond, Gollum was kept in prison but had been allowed to climb a tree, with guards to watch him. About 20 June 3018, Orcs attacked and Gollum disappeared.
During the War of the Ring Thranduil's realm had been invaded but on 15 March T.A. 3019 he was victorious over the forces of Dol Guldur. With the passing of Sauron Thranduil's domain was extended to the Mountains of Mirkwood but presumably he continued to live in the same halls.
 See also
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Map of Wilderland"
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Flies and Spiders"
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Barrels Out of Bond"
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn", "Appendix B: The Sindarin Princes of the Silvan Elves"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Council of Elrond"
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Great Years"