Olwë was an Elf of the Teleri of Aman. When he and his kin reached Aman, they chose to remain there in both Tol Eressëa and Alqualondë apart from the rest of the Elves of Aman. He became both Lord of Alqualondë and King of the Teleri.

Olwë was the father of Eärwen and had several unnamed sons.[2] He was the younger brother of Elwë (Elu Thingol) and the older brother of Elmo.[3] Other Telerin elves such Nowë (Círdan) were said to be akin to Olwë.[4]


Elwë and Olwë were both lords of the third clan of the elves, the later Teleri, and together they lead their people from Cuiviénen to the West.[5] However, during a long wait in Beleriand Elwë disappeared. After years of searching, Olwë grew impatient, and led the greater part of the Teleri to Valinor, on the insistence of the Vala Ulmo.[2]

Olwë became Lord of the island of Tol Eressëa, where the Teleri built a great number of cities, and grew in number. When they finally came to Eldamar some centuries later, Olwë became Lord of Alqualondë. His daughter Eärwen married Finarfin son of Finwë[2] and later High King of the Ñoldor in Valinor, and thus their children, when these returned to Middle-earth, could claim kinship to Thingol, for Eärwen had several sons.

When Fëanor resolved to return to Middle-earth in pursuit of Morgoth, he came to Alqualondë and spoke to the Teleri asking for aid and for the use of the Swanships but he could not move them. He then grew hot and wrathful and, grudging he spoke to Olwë, he accused him of renouncing their friendship and for being ungrateful for the help that the Ñoldor had given his people in the past. Then Olwë said to Fëanor that this was not so and that he believed that as a friend it was right for him to keep a friend from doing something unwise. Then he spoke to him of the many things that they accomplished on their own without any aid from the Ñoldor, and that the Swanships were one of those things and were very dear to them.[6]

Seeing that he was not going to get what he wanted, Fëanor waited beyond the walls until he gathered his strength and then in defiance of Olwë he and his people began manning the ships. His people resisted and a battle had begun and many on both sides were slain, but the Teleri withstood them for a time. Then the host of Fingon arrived and believing that the Teleri had been told to waylay the Ñoldor by command of the Valar, joined the battle and the Teleri were overcome. No doubt Olwë had watched in horror many of his people dying and he could do little for he called upon Ossë, their patron Maia but there was no answer.[6]

The cruel slaying at the havens continued to haunt Olwë and his people for many years to come. Towards the end of the First Age when the Valar were preparing for the final assault on Morgoth, the Teleri of Olwë agreed only to sail the ships for very few of them were willing to go to war.[7]


It is mentioned that the name Olwë seems to have no meaning. There are provided "extended" stems such as olos ("dream") and olob ("branch") but no connections to the Telerin elf.[8] He was called Volwë by some of the Teleri.[9]

House of Olwë


Translations around the world

Foreign Language Translated name
Azerbaijani Olve
Arabic ولوي
Armenian Օլւե
Belarusian Cyrillic Олве
Bengali বলবে
Bulgarian Cyrillic Олве
Chinese 奧爾威
Georgian ოლუეი
Greek Όλγουε
Gujarati ઓલ્વે
Hebrew אולווה
Hindi ओल्व्ऐ
Japanese オルウェ
Kannada ಒಲ್ವೆ
Kazakh Олве (Cyrillic) Olve (Latin)
Korean 올웨
Kyrgyz Cyrillic Олвэ
Marathi ओल्वे
Persian اولوه
Punjabi ਓਲਵੇ
Russian Ольвэ
Serbian Олве (Cyrillic) Olve (Latin)
Sinhalese ඔල්වේ
Telugu ఆలవె
Thai โอลเว
Ukrainian Cyrillic Олве


  1. 1.0 1.1 The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 10: Morgoth's Ring, The Later Quenta Silmarillion, The First Phase, "Of the Coming of the Elves"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter V: "Of Eldamar and the Princes of the Eldalië"
  3. Unfinished Tales, Part Two: The Second Age, IV: "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn, and of Amroth King of Lórien"
  4. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 12: The Peoples of Middle-earth, XIII: "Last Writings", CIRDAN
  5. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter III: "Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor"
  6. 6.0 6.1 The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter IX: "Of the Flight of the Noldor"
  7. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XXIV: "Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath"
  8. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 12: The Peoples of Middle-earth, XI: "The Shibboleth of Fëanor", Names of Finwë's descendants
  9. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 12: The Peoples of Middle-earth, XI: "The Shibboleth of Fëanor", Note 20
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