Elwë was the greatest King of the Eldar of Middle-earth during the First Age. He was the Lord of Doriath and the High King of Beleriand. He was also known as Elu Thingol, and Grey-Cloak. He was the husband of Melian the Maia, and the father of Lúthien. His name meant "Star-man".

While the elves were dwelling at Cuiviénen, Oröme came to them and took three of their leaders to Valinor - Elwë, Ingwë and Finwë - and when they returned, they persuaded their own peoples to make the journey to the Blessed Realm.

With his brother Olwë, Elwë led the Host of the Teleri on the Great Journey from Cuiviénen, but he was ensorcelled by Melian and he spent many years with her in the woods of Nan Elmoth. While he was there, most of the Elves passed into the West, as they believed him dead. Only some of the Teleri stayed behind to seek for him. Eventually, he came back out of the wood, with Melian as his bride.

Elwë renounced any desire to pass to the West, and he made his domain in Beleriand. Soon after, Melian bore him a daughter, Lúthien.

Thingol sought the aid of the Dwarves, and they built him an underground city and palace, which was named Menegroth. Melian set up an enchantment around the city known as Melian's Girdle.

When Morgoth was set free from his imprisonment, he came back to Middle-earth with the Silmarils. Thingol was unprepared for war, but first managed to vanquish a host of Orcs in the First Battle of Beleriand. However, after that he withdrew to his citadel of Menegroth, and the Noldor, recently returned from Valinor, cleared the rest of Beleriand.

Thingol gave the Noldor leave to make realms in the North of his domain, as long as they did not interfere with the affairs of the Teleri. But many of the Noldor thought that Thingol was ungrateful for their aid against the Orcs, and the seeds of mistrust were sown between the Noldor and the Sindar. When Thingol learnt of the Kin-slaying, he barred all but his closest kin among the Noldor from Doriath. And Thingol never came forth from Menegroth for the rest of his life. He vowed to have nothing to do with the war for the Silmarils, and he named the Sons of Fëanor as his enemies.

However, Thingol was eventually ensnared by the Silmarils. Beren managed to recover a Silmaril from Angband, and this was kept in Thingol's hoard in Doriath. Thingol then displayed the jewel before some Dwarves, and they slew Thingol to acquire it.

[with added information by Remmirath and Atalante_Star]
Encyclopedia entry originally written by Orofâniel