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Silvan Elves

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Silvan Elves
Also known asSilvan-elves, Galadhrim
Home worldMiddle-earth
Base of operationsMirkwood, Lothlórien
LeaderGaladriel and Celeborn in Lothlórien, Thranduil in Mirkwood.

Silvan Elves or Wood Elves are a race of Elves in J.R.R. Tolkien's fictional universe of Middle-earth, mainly inhabiting Mirkwood and Lothlórien.

In the First Age the Elves of Ossiriand, or Laiquendi, were also referred to as wood-elves.

Silvan Elves are mainly Nandor in descent but also mixed with Avari. Many of them were later ruled over by a small population of social elites who were Sindar (Grey Elves) or even Noldor (High Elves). For example, Thranduil king of northern Mirkwood, as well as his son Legolas, were Sindarin Elves who ruled over a primarily Silvan population. Similarly Amdír and his son Amroth, the last Sindarin prince of Lorien, were Sindar. After Amroth was lost at sea, Galadriel and Celeborn came to rule over Lórien. Galadriel was a High Elf who belonged to the House of Finarfin, though she was actually of mixed Vanyar/Noldor/Telerin parentage, while Celeborn was also Sindarin (Sindar being a subset of the Teleri).

Silvan Elves are described as being less wise than other Eldar, and some of them are almost indistinguishable from the Avari, those who never joined the Great Journey.

The War of the Last Alliance[edit]

According to notes made by Tolkien after the publication of Lord of the Rings and found in Unfinished Tales, Oropher, the Sindarin king of the Silvan Elves of Mirkwood, or Greenwood the Great as it was then known, raised a large force as part of the Last Alliance to overthrow Sauron. During the first assault on Mordor, he disregarded Gil-galad's tactical plan and led a reckless charge in which he was slain along with two-thirds of his troops. Rule of the Silvan Elves and field command of their remaining strength passed to Oropher's son Thranduil, the father of Legolas.


The Silvan Elves of Mirkwood are described as distrustful of Dwarves, but friendly to Men, with whom they trade. In The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins has to rescue the Dwarves of Thorin's company from these Elves. Later in the book the Elves are one of the armies in the Battle of Five Armies.

Legolas of the Fellowship of the Ring, although he lived among them and presented himself as one of the Silvan folk in The Lord of the Rings, was not one of them. As a son of the Elven-king Thranduil, who had originally come from Doriath, Legolas was actually a Sindarin Elf.


The Silvan Elves of Lothlórien are also called the Galadhrim, literally "tree-folk". After the departure of Amroth in T.A. 1981, they were ruled by Galadriel and Celeborn. At the time of the War of the Ring they spoke a divergent dialect of Sindarin which had changed so much that Frodo Baggins, who spoke some Sindarin, could not understand them. Additionally, few Elves of Lórien could speak Westron, so that Haldir, one of the few who could, had to accompany them on their way to Caras Galadhon. During the War of the Ring the Galadhrim were the strongest of all the Elven kingdoms and aided in banishing Sauron the Necromancer from Dol Guldur.

See also[edit]

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External links[edit]


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