From Tolkien Gateway
"Oropher" by Kimberly
Biographical Information
LocationDoriath[1], Woodland Realm
AffiliationLast Alliance of Elves and Men
LanguageSilvan Elvish, Sindarin
BirthBefore F.A. 507[1]
RuleS.A. 750 - 3434
DeathS.A. 3434 (aged 3,517+)
Battle of Dagorlad
Notable forEstablished the Woodland Realm
Physical Description
GalleryImages of Oropher

Oropher was one of the Iathrim[1] who later established the Woodland Realm of the Silvan Elves of Greenwood the Great in the Second Age. He was killed at the Battle of Dagorlad and was succeeded by his son, Thranduil. Thus, he was the grandfather of Legolas, a member of the Fellowship of the Ring.


Early Life

Oropher was one of the Iathrim who spent his early life in Doriath. Before the destruction of Doriath, he had a son, Thranduil, who would later succeed him to his kingship.[source?] Following the destruction of Beleriand, Oropher would be among the many Sindar who decided to stay in Middle-earth.[1]

Move to Greenwood the Great

Among the wave of Sindar who left Lindon and travelled eastward, before the building of the Barad-dûr in S.A. 1000,[2] Oropher travelled to Greenwood the Great, and it was in S.A. 750 that he was taken up by the Elves of the Wood as their king and founded the Woodland Realm.[1][3]

The few Sindar who had come with him were soon merged with the Silvan Elves, adopting their customs and language and taking names of Silvan form and style. Oropher and his household wished to return to a simple existence natural to the Elves before they had been disturbed by the Valar.[1]

Originally, Oropher's realm encompassed the south of Greenwood, with dwellings about the hill of Amon Lanc.[4][1] However, throughout the Second Age, he migrated north with his people three times.[4] According to one tradition, the first movement was northward beyond the Gladden Fields, due to his desire to distance himself from the increasing encroachments of the Dwarves of Khazad-dûm and his resentment of the intrusions of Celeborn and Galadriel in Lothlórien.[1]

Oropher was also disturbed by the reports of Sauron's rising power and by the end of the Second Age, he dwelt in the western glens of the Emyn Duir and his numerous people lived and roamed in the woods and vales westward as far as Anduin, north of the ancient Dwarf-Road.[4]

War of the Last Alliance

Although Oropher's desire was to distance himself and his people from the affairs of the rest of the world, he could see the danger that Sauron posed, and that his defeat would bring about peace in Middle-earth. Thus, he joined the Last Alliance of Elves and Men, summoning a large army which joined with Amdír's smaller force of Elves of Lórien to create a great host of Silvan Elves.[1]

The Silvan Elves were strong and brave, but despite having poor armour and weapons in comparison with the Noldor, Amdír and Oropher were unwilling to submit to the supreme command of Gil-galad and as such they suffered heavy losses in the War of the Last Alliance. In the very first assault upon Mordor, Oropher and other brave and hasty Silvan Elves rushed forward before Gil-galad gave the signal to charge. Oropher himself was killed soon afterwards, whilst two-thirds of his army perished throughout the course of the war. Upon Sauron's defeat the remnants of the army returned to Greenwood under the command of his son Thranduil.[1]


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

Oropher hailed from Doriath indicating his name could be Sindarin (Doriathrin specifically) but upon merging with the Elves of the Wood, the Sindar of his household adopted their language and took names of Silvan form and style so, it seems likely that his name is styled in Silvan Elvish.[1]

Other versions of the legendarium

The published Appendix B of The Lord of the Rings, as well as one of its drafts,[3] mention only Oropher's son Thranduil as King of the Woodland realm, founded in S.A. 750, suggesting (but not explicitly mentioning) that he was possibly its founder and first king.

Oropher was invented later, while Tolkien was fleshing out the background of Thranduil and the history of the Silvan realms, explicitly clarifying that Thranduil was not the founder of the realm. Oropher was not introduced in more "canonical" narratives, and the drafts exploring his origins were published in Unfinished Tales.

The first name of Oropher was Rogner, such as revealed in The Nature of Middle-earth [7].


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

See also


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 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, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B: The Tale of Years (Chronology of the Westlands)
  3. 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "VI. The Tale of Years of the Second Age"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 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)
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, Carl F. Hostetter (ed.), The Nature of Middle-earth, "Part Three. The World, its Lands, and its Inhabitants: XVII. Silvan Elves and Silvan Elvish", p. 365, n. 8
Born: Before F.A. 507 Died: S.A. 3434
New title
1st King of the Woodland Realm
S.A. 750 - 3434
Followed by: