Thranduil: "What were you doing in the forest?"
Thorin: "Looking for food and drink, because we were starving."
Thranduil: "Take him away and keep him safe, until he feels inclined to tell the truth, even if he waits a hundred years."
The Hobbit, "Flies and Spiders"

Thranduil was an elven king who ruled over the Woodland Realm in the Second and Third Ages. Though inherently cautious, he eventually committed his kingdom to fighting Sauron in the War of the Ring.


First and Second Ages


Thranduil was the only son of Oropher. He was born sometime during the beginning of the First Age and lived in Doriath with Thingol and Melian before its fall. At the beginning of the Second Age, Thranduil lived in Lindon with Gil-galad while his father lived in Greenwood. After Oropher died in the war of Last Alliance, Thranduil went east to claim his inheritance and some time before TA 1000 inherited Oropher's title of King of the Woodland Realm, reigning over the entirety of Greenwood the Great

Third Age

At the beginning of Thranduil's reign his kingdom encompassed all of Greenwood the Great and was known as the Woodland Realm, but as the Third Age progressed, the shadow of the Necromancer advanced, the Greenwood grew dark and became known as Mirkwood, and became infested with orcs and giant spiders. The Silvan Elves of Mirkwood were reduced in number and retreated to lands in the north of Mirkwood. By the time of the events of The Lord of the Rings Thranduil's title was King of the Elves of Northern Mirkwood.[1]

The Quest of Erebor

The Elven king arrives in the Lonely Mountain (Erebor) before King Thror.

When Thorin Oakenshield and his party of dwarves entered northern Mirkwood, Thranduil captured Thorin and locked him up in a secure room (although treating him quite well, with plenty of food and drink) when he refused to divulge his true intentions.[2] Subsequently, when the rest of the dwarves had been captured by the elves, Thranduil had them unbound and treated them as his guests (save that they were not allowed to leave the caverns), until they angered him by being surly and impolite, insulting him for keeping them as prisoners, and not revealing why they had entered the forest, after which he gave them each their own cell. He did not tell them that Thorin was also his prisoner.[3]

After the death of the Dragon Smaug, Thranduil supported Bard the Bowman's claim of a share of the treasure the dwarves recovered from the Lonely Mountain (Erebor), since Bard was a descendant of Lord Girion of Dale, and the treasure of that town had been taken by Smaug to the Lonely Mountain.[4][5][6]

Thranduil led the elven forces in the Battle of the Five Armies. During the War of the Ring, he sent his son Legolas to Rivendell, along with other Elves, to report Gollum's escape from Mirkwood. The gradually-established friendship between the dwarf Gimli and Legolas later helped to reconcile Thranduil's people with the Dwarves.

War of the Ring

When the forces from Dol Guldur later attacked Mirkwood, Thranduil repulsed an attack and had the victory. His actions were in concert with the Dwarves and the Men of Dale against the Easterlings who attacked from the East. He came into an agreement with Celeborn that the southern part of Mirkwood would be counted as East Lórien. Thranduil took the northern region as far as the mountains; the wide forest between Mirkwood and East Lórien was given to the Beornings. By this time also, Thranduil renamed Mirkwood Eryn Lasgalen, the Wood of Greenleaves.[7]

Fourth Age

After the fall of Sauron, Thranduil fixed the southern boundary of his realm as the Mountains of Mirkwood, and his realm flourished well into the Fourth Age. He may have stayed on as the king of the Great Forest or left Middle-earth.[8]

Names and styles

Thranduil first appears as a character in The Hobbit, where he is not named. Tolkien refers to him as the elf-king or the king,[2] and also by the titles Elvenking and King of the Elves of the Wood.[9] The name Thranduil first appears in The Lord of the Rings, in which his title was given as the King of the Elves of Northern Mirkwood.[1] Elsewhere in Tolkien's writings he was also referred to as King of the Woodland Realm, a title he inherited from his father.

Appearance in the Books and Films

In the books

In the films

Portrayal in adaptations

"Such is the nature of evil. In time all foul things come forth."
Thranduil in The Desolation of Smaug

The Hobbit film trilogy

Lee Pace portrays Thranduil in Peter Jackson's adaption of The Hobbit and is a major character in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. The films incorporated several changes to Thranduil's character and actions. While the Dwarves of the Lonely Mountain are fleeing their home after Smaug's attack, Thranduil, riding an Elven elk, arrives with an army. Thorin sees them and asks for help, but Thranduil, realizing that he would just be leading his soldiers to their deaths, refuses, not wanting to risk the lives of his kin, causing Thorin to develop a strong dislike of the Elves. In the extended edition of An Unexpected Journey, it was revealed that King Thror withheld gems from Thranduil, causing goodwill between dwarves and elves to run thin.

In The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Thranduil appears on his throne after the capture of Thorin and Company. Thranduil offers to release the Dwarves from captivity and help them in their quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain if Thorin will give Thranduil a share of the treasure. Thorin refuses, recounting the time when Thranduil refused to help his people during the siege of Smaug in the Lonely Mountain. As Thorin continues his narrative, Thranduil looks horrified and angry. He demands that Thorin should not talk to him about the dragon fire for he has suffered from it himself (at which—by temporarily either creating or removing an illusion—he briefly shows himself with severe burns on the left side of his face, including a missing cheek and an apparently blind left eye), and asserts that it was Thror's greed that incurred the dragon's wrath. He then orders his guards to take Thorin away. Additionally, Thranduil is more antagonistic toward the dwarves in the films, locking them into dungeon cells as soon as they arrive, whereas in the book The Hobbit he was more generous, giving the dwarves (aside from Thorin, whom he had previously captured and imprisoned) free run of his stronghold until they proved insulting and disagreeable toward him.

Thranduil confronts Narzug the captured Orc

Later, Thranduil confronts Tauriel, telling her that as a captain of the guard she must drive the Giant Spiders out of Mirkwood. She explains that new spiders would enter the kingdom after the previous ones were wiped out, and suggests sorties to destroy the spider's source outside the kingdom's boundaries near Dol Guldur, but Thranduil quickly dismissed this idea due to his isolationist doctrine. When she brings up that other lands would also be susceptible to spiders, Thranduil says that he doesn't care about other lands. He mentions then that Legolas, his son, has grown fond of her but that she should not give him hope, because she is a common Silvan (woodland) elf and Legolas is the son of a king. Thranduil is once again seen when Legolas and Tauriel return with an orc hostage, Narzug. He is interrogated but refuses to answer, mocking Tauriel about the impending death of a dwarf. Thranduil dismisses Tauriel after she threatens to kill the orc, commenting that he doesn't care about the death of one dwarf. However, when Narzug begins to mock Thranduil about a coming great war, saying his master serves The One, the Elf-king swiftly decapitates the captive with a stroke of his sword, clearly fearful of what the orc had revealed. When Legolas asks why he did that when the Orc could have told them more, Thranduil replies, "There was no more he could tell me." Reminded of his promise to free the Orc, Thranduil replies, "I did free him. I freed his wretched head from his miserable shoulders." He then orders that all the gates to the kingdom to be closed, now knowing that the dangers of war were upon them, stating that,"No one enters this kingdom, and no one leaves it."

Rankin/Bass's The Hobbit

Thranduil as he appeared in the 1977 animated version of The Hobbit.

In the Rankin/Bass 1977 animated version of The Hobbit, Thranduil was voiced by Otto Preminger.

Voice Dubbing actors

Foreign Language Voice dubbing artist
Portuguese (Brazil) (Television/DVD) Guilherme Briggs
French (France) Anatole de Bodinat
Spanish (Latin America) Ricardo Tejedo
Spanish (Spain) Dani Albiac
Italian (Italy) Marco Foschi
Czech Lumír Olšovský
German Jaron Löwenberg
Polish Piotr Grabowski


In the 1968 BBC radio series, he is voiced by Leonard Fenton.

Video games


The Hobbit- The Desolation of Smaug 20.jpg
King Thranduil in his character poster
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Thranduil's character design 1
Thranduil design 2.jpg
Design 2
Thranduil design 3.jpg
Design 3
Thranduil design 4.jpg
Design 4
Thranduil design 5.jpg
Design 5
The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug - Forst Page.jpg
Thranduil with Legolas in The Desolation of Smaug
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Thranduil, the Elven king.
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Thranduil astride an Elven Elk


  1. 1.0 1.1 The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Chapter II: "The Council of Elrond"
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Hobbit, Chapter VIII: "Flies and Spiders"
  3. The Hobbit, Chapter IX: "Barrels Out of Bond"
  4. The Hobbit, Chapter XVI: "A Thief in the Night"
  5. The Hobbit, Chapter XVII: "The Clouds Burst"
  6. The Hobbit, Chapter XVIII: "The Return Journey"
  7. The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B
  8. The Atlas of Middle-earth
  9. The Hobbit, Chapter XIV: "Fire and Water"

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