An elf of Sindarin origin. King of the elves of northern Mirkwood. Later revealed as Thranduil, son of Oropher, b. FA or earlier in Beleriand. Father of Legolas.

In “The Hobbit” Thorin and Company first saw the Elvenking among the trees of Mirkwood feasting with his folk, who soon captured them and consigned them to his dungeons.

The Elvenking’s stronghold, both fortress and place of refuge for his wood-dwelling folk, lay in a cave-system some miles within the edge of Mirkwood where a strong stream, crossed by a bridge, flowed before its great stone doors

Within, the tunnels were lighter and less noisome than those of the goblins and the Elvenking, held court, seated on a carven chair and bearing a staff of carven oak. He had golden hair and wore a crown of leaves or flowers according to the season. He had good trade relations with the Men of Lake-town and beyond, importing wine from Dorwinion for his own use.
The Elven-king’s name and background were not mentioned in The Hobbit, but his situation and character were quite clear. He was hypersensitive, believing Thorin and Company were attacking his folk. He was unsympathetic and kind by turns, but stern even when merciful. The dwarves were imprisoned, yet were well-fed, and he claimed the right to know their business, in which he was probably justified, being guardian and maintainer of the forest ways.

Thorin and Company believed the Elvenking had long ago employed dwarves to shape gold and silver but had refused to pay them, possibly confusing him with ancient tales of Thingol of Doriath. Although they knew that Thror's family had no part in that quarrel, they believed the Elvenking to have a weakness for treasure and a longing for wealth like the ancient kings.

The Elvenking was determined the dwarves should bring no treasure back through the forest without his knowledge or permission, and was quite unaware that Thorin and Company intended to reclaim the Lonely Mountain and remain there.

Later, at the news of Smaug’s demise the Elvenking set out to claim a share of the treasure, leading an army under his green banner. Yet he turned aside to aid the people of Lake-town when he heard of their plight. After that he marched his army north with Bard’s men.

During their siege of the Lonely Mountain, despite his reputed avarice, the Elvenking refused to join Bard in a pre-emptive attack on Thorin, saying that he would not start a war for gold. The arrival of Dain I’s dwarves almost changed his mind but when the goblins (orcs) turned up, elves, men and dwarves joined forces to oppose them in the Battle of Five Armies.

After the battle Bard gave to the Elvenking the Emeralds of Girion, and Bilbo gave him a silver and diamond necklace. The king had been very impressed by the ingenuity and bravery of Bilbo Baggins and named him elf-friend and blessed.

NOTE: The earlier history and later deeds of the Elvenking are to be found under the term Thranduil.
Encyclopedia entry originally written by cirdaneth