Born First Age. Died Second Age in the War of the Last Alliance that
ended the Second Age.
Sept. 6, 2003
Oropher was the father of Thranduil and grandfather
of Legolas. He was king of the Silvan Elves in Greenwood the Great, and
slain in the War of the Last Alliance.
Oropher was of Sindarin origin,
ruling the Silvans. Oropher had come among the Silvan Elves with only a
handful of Sindar, soon merging with them in language, taking names of
Silvan type. They did so on purpose, having come from the ruin of
Doriath. These Sindar had no desire
to be merged with the other Sindar of Beleriand, as they were dominated
the Noldorin Exiles "for whom the folk of Doriath had no great love".
wished to return to the simple life of the Elves as it was before the
of the Valar, which they felt the Silvans had. In an apparent
due to the unfinished nature of the stories, possibly due to a part
existing unwritten in the mind of Tolkien dealing with the disastrous
of the War of the Last Alliance, the Silvan tongue ceased to be used in
kingdom of Thranduil.
Elves migrated from the south, the kin and neighbors
of the Elves of Lorien. They made their home in Greenwood the
Great, east of the River Anduin.
In the Second Age, their king, Oropher, had
withdrawn northward beyond the Gladden Fields. He did so to be free of
the power and encroachments of the Dwarves of Moria, which had become
the greatest mansion of Dwarves in history. Oropher also resented the
intrusions of Celeborn and Galadriel into Lorien. Still, visiting and
trade was continuous between Oropher's people and their kin across the
river until the War of the Last Alliance.
Another note tells more. In the notes to "The
Disaster of the Gladden Fields", before the War of the Last Alliance,
Oropher as king of the Silvan Elves east of the Anduin River was
disturbed by rumors of Sauron's power rising. They left the ancient
home at Amon Lanc across the river from their kin in Lorien, moving
north three times. At the end of the Second Age, they lived in the
western glens of the Emyn Duir (Dark Mountains, only after Sauron's
presence were they called Emyn-nu-Fuin, the Mountains of Mirkwood).
These were high hills in the north-east of the forest. His people were
numerous, ranging as far west as the Anduin, north of the ancient
Dwarf-road (Old Forest Road in The Hobbit)..
Oropher knew the Silvan elves wished to keep out of
the affairs of all others: Noldor, Sindar, Dwarves, Men, or Orcs. Yet
Oropher had the wisdom to know Saruon would not leave them in peace and
had to be overcome. So he assembled a great army of his numerous
people, joining with the lesser army of Malgalad of Lorien (also known
as Amdir, father of Amroth) to enter the War of the Last Alliance.
Oropher led this host of Silvan Elves, a group hardy
and valiant, yet ill-equipped with armor or weapons when compared with
the Eldar of the West. Also, they were too independent to place
themselves under the command of Gil-galad who was supposed to be
supreme commander. For these reasons,
their losses were terrible, more than should have been even in such a
In the battle of Dagorlad, Malgalad of Lorien and
his followers were cut off from the main host and killed when driven
into the Dead Marshes. Their faces were some of those seen by Frodo,
Sam, and Gollum during the War of the Ring.
Oropher, heading his finest warriors, did not wait
for Gil-galad's signal, but charged towards Mordor without the rest of
the forces. Oropher died in that assault, but his son Thranduil
Barely a third of the army was therefore left for
Thranduil to lead home, a year before Isildur's march.
experience, Thranduil afterwards had the fear that Mordor would rise
again, even though it seemed broken. Humans spread out around his
stronghold, growing in power, and the wild men of the East were
restless, their minds still filled with the evil from the time in which
they had worshipped Sauron. Thranduil and his people therefore were
retreat when the Shadow of Sauron fell on the Greenwood as the
Necromancer, no doubt saving many lives. Not until then was the forest
After the War of the Ring, Thranduil and Celeborn
Eryn Lasgalen, the Wood of
Reference: Unfinished Tales: "The History of Galadriel and
Appendix B "The Sindarin Princes of the Silvan Elves"