Woodland Realm

From Tolkien Gateway
Woodland Realm
General information
Other namesNorthern Mirkwood[note 1][1][2]
LocationVarious locations within Greenwood the Great; by the end of the Third Age, they settled in the far northeast of the forest
CapitalThe Elvenking's Halls from the early Third Age
PopulationElves of Mirkwood
LanguageSilvan Elvish, Sindarin, Westron
Later Thranduil
FoundedS.A. 750[3]
See below

The Woodland Realm[4] was the great kingdom of the Silvan Elves in Mirkwood.


Second Age

See also: #Other versions of the legendarium

The Woodland Realm was established in S.A. 750 by Oropher, a Sindarin Elf of Doriath, after the War of Wrath.[3] Unlike most Sindar, Oropher and his household declined the Valar's offer to depart from Middle-earth for Valinor. Instead, he migrated eastward from Lindon and became the King of the Silvan Elves east of Anduin.[5] The few Sindar who had come with him soon merged with the Silvan Elves, adopting their customs and language and taking names of Silvan form and style.[6] Oropher and his household wished to return to the simple existence natural to the Elves before they had been disturbed by the Valar.[6]

Originally, Oropher's realm encompassed the south of Greenwood,[6] with dwellings about the hill of Amon Lanc.[5] However, throughout the Second Age, he and his people migrated north three times.[5] According to one tradition, the first movement was northward beyond the Gladden Fields, due to Oropher's 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.[6] However, his people did maintain constant intercourse with their kin west of the Anduin.[6]

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.[5]

In S.A. 3430, Oropher led the forces of the Woodland Realm against Sauron as part of the Last Alliance of Elves and Men, and was slain during battle.[6]

Third Age

Anke Eißmann - Thranduil

Oropher's son, Thranduil, succeeded him as the lord of the Woodland Realm[6] and ruled the Woodland Realm in peace for many years.

Around T.A. 1100, an evil entity known as the Necromancer (later identified as Sauron) created a stronghold on Amon Lanc called Dol Guldur.[7] As the Shadow fell upon Greenwood the Great and spread ever northward, Thranduil's realm retreated before it, until at last Thranduil established his realm in the north-east of the forest and delved there a fortress and great halls underground.[6] His realm was also protected by the Enchanted River[8], which could cause one to sleep and dream deeply, whilst the Elvenking's Halls served as the chief fortress of the realm.[9]

Thranduil's realm is said to have extended into the woods surrounding the Lonely Mountain and growing along the west shores of the Long Lake, before the coming of the Dwarves exiled from Moria and the invasion of the dragon Smaug.[6] The Woodland Realm did trade with the neighbouring realms of Erebor and Dale, and imported wine from Dorwinion via the River Running. The former traffic came to an end with the destruction of Erebor by Smaug in T.A. 2770[7] but again resumed after the Battle of Five Armies.[10]

In T.A. 2941,[7] Thorin's band of Dwarves intruded in the Woodland Realm and were held prisoner in the Elvenking's Halls.[9] Upon hearing the death of Smaug, Thranduil immediately assembled the army of the Woodland Realm and marched towards Erebor. In the ensuing Battle of Five Armies, many Wood-elves were slain [11] and many of the Orcs that survived wandered into the Woodland Realm were slain or lost in the trackless dark of Mirkwood.[12]

Capucine Mazille - The Battle of Five Armies

On 20 June 3018, a force of Orcs attacked the Woodland Realm (orchestrated by Sauron),[1] the purpose of this raid being to provide a distraction and facilitate the escape of Gollum,[13] who had been entrusted to Thranduil's care by the Ranger Aragorn.[1]

In the wake of this, Thranduil sent his son, Legolas, to deliver news of Gollum's escape to Aragorn and Elrond in Rivendell. Upon arriving, Legolas participated in the Council of Elrond as an ambassador of the Woodland Realm where the full details of Sauron's resurgence were revealed.[2]

Meanwhile, on 15 March 3019, Sauron's forces invaded the Woodland Realm in force and there was a long battle under the trees and great ruin of fire; but in the end Thranduil had the victory. On the Elven New Year (6 April), Thranduil met Celeborn, Lord of Lórien, and the two agreed to rename the forest Eryn Lasgalen. Thranduil took the area from the northern eaves of the forest south to the Emyn Duir for the Woodland Realm.[13]

Later History

After the War of the Ring, the Silvan Elves of the Greenwood, including those of the Woodland Realm, remained untroubled.[13] Many folk of the realm removed south to Gondor to restore the beauty of the South-kingdom, especially Minas Tirith and Ithilien.[14][15]

The eventual fate of the Woodland Realm is unknown.

Other versions of the legendarium


The foundation of the Woodland Realm is disputed:

This article and the wiki reconcile these three stories as: Oropher and his household of Sindar (including his son Thranduil) from Doriath established the Woodland Realm in the south of Greenwood the Great in S.A. 750.

Portrayal in adaptations

Woodland Realm in adaptations
The heart of the Elven Lands in The Lord of the Rings: Gollum
The heart of the Elven Lands in The Lord of the Rings: Gollum  

2018: The Lord of the Rings Online:

Thranduil's realm is called Eryn Lasgalen and is accessible after the fall of Dol Guldur. In addition to "Felegoth", the Halls of the Elvenking, there is the Raft-elf settlement of "Loeglond" near the Long Lake; and the haunted ruins of "Caras Tilion", the former capital in the Mountains of Mirkwood. The quests in the area involve bringing stability to the realm so that trade may resume.


  1. Though geographically "Northern Mirkwood" might refer to a wide tract of the Forest, as a proper name it is always used as synonym for Thranduil's Woodland Realm in the northeast near to the Long Lake.