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Silvan Elves

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Silvan Elves
Rob Alexander - Elven Cloak.jpg
Physical Description
DistinctionsSecretive, lovers of the forests and animals
GalleryImages of Silvan Elves

Silvan Elves (S Tawarwaith), or Wood-elves, was a name used to refer to the reclusive, forest-dwelling Elves of Middle-earth. In the late Third Age, the Silvan Elves mostly belonged either to the Galadhrim or to the Elves of Mirkwood.[1]



The Silvan Elves were descendants of the Nandor (and thus in origin Teleri), who had lingered in the Anduin Vales during the Great Journey of the Eldar in the Elder Days. The Silvan Elves hid themselves in their woodland realms beyond the Misty Mountains and became a scattered folk hardly distinguishable from Avari.[1] While some of the Nandor continued to Eriador and later entered Ossiriand, some remained in the Vales of Anduin, and from these latter originated the Wood-elves.[1]

In the early Second Age, after the War of Wrath, Oropher of Doriath (the father of Thranduil, father of Legolas) along with few of the Sindar came to forest realm east of Misty Mountains. He became the King of the Silvan Elves and established the the Wooldland Realm of Greenwood the Great (S Eryn Galen). The culture of Silvan folk were rude and rustic compared to the Beleriandic culture of the Sindar.[2] But soon the Sindar merged with the Silvan Elves and adopted their language, took names of Silvan form and style. This language was a dialect of Sindarin known as Silvan Elvish.[2] On the eastern side of the Misty Mountains, Amdír (father of Amroth), another Sinda leader came to the land known as Laurelindórenan (or Lórinand) and ruled over the Silvan elves as their King.

It also told that the some of the western Avari, dwelling in Eriador and the Anduin Vales, were friendly to the Eldar, and came to merge with the Wood-elves. These were Nelyarin Avari (Penni), from the third Clan (and therefore remotely akin to the Nandor and Sindar).[3][note 1]

In the early Third Age remnants of the Noldorin realms such as Lindon and Eregion sought new dwellings in more eastern lands and the Silvan Elves of Lórien experienced an influx of Noldor (and Sindar) who had survived the War of the Last Alliance and the fall of Eregion.[1]


The English adjective silvan means "of, characteristic of, or consisting of woods or forests" or "living or located in woods or forests".[4]


An Elvish name for the Silvan Elves was Tawarwaith. It has been suggested that Tawarwaith is a Sindarin name, consisting of tawar + gwaith.[5][6]


  1. It is not known if this merge occurred during the Elder Days, or during the Second or Third Ages.


  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 A: The Silvan Elves and their Speech"
  2. 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn", "Appendix B: The Sindarin Princes of the Silvan Elves"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Four. Quendi and Eldar: C. The Clan-names, with notes on other names for divisions of the Eldar", pp. 381, 410
  4. "silvan" at (Collins English Dictionary; accessed 17 July 2011)
  5. Compound Sindarin Names in Middle-earth at (accessed 17 July 2011)
  6. Didier Willis, Hiswelókë's Sindarin Dictionary at (accessed 17 July 2011)