Thranduil, also known as the Elvenking, was a Sindarin Elf and King of the Silvan Elves of Mirkwood in the Woodland Realm. He was the father of Legolas who was a member of the Fellowship of the Ring.
Thranduil was an Elf of Sindarin descent and the only son of Oropher
Thranduil's date of birth is not known but he was among the Sindar travelling eastward from Lindon sometime before S.A. 1000. Together with his father and a few Sindar who had come with them, Thranduil traveled to Greendwood the Great. At this time, the forest was primarily populated by scattered and leaderless elves of Nandor descent. Oropher united them and became their leader and founded the Woodland Realm. They choose the hill Amon Lanc in southern Greenwood for their capital.2
In S.A. 3434, Thranduil and his father led an army of Elves in the War of the Last Alliance.1
The Wood-elves did not want to be under the command of Gil-galad and attacked in the Battle of Dagorlad before Gil-galad had given the command. Oropher was slain along with half of his army, leaving Thranduil as their new leader. After the defeat of Sauron in S.A. 3441, Thranduil led his people back to the Woodland Realm. Their losses had been great and only a third of the original army remained.
After the return of Sauron around T.A. 1000, the southern parts of Greenwood became dangerous and the forest was renamed Mirkwood.1
Due to the growing of an evil presence, Thranduil was forced to lead his people north from their capitol at Amon Lanc. After moving north several times they finally settled in the northeaster corner of Mirkwood, near the Forest River. There he built a fortress with great halls built underground.
One day in T.A. 2941, Thranduil and some of the Wood-elves were feasting in the woods when they were repeatedly disturbed by Thorin Oakenshield and his company.3
They captured the Dwarves but the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins
managed to escape using his magic ring.4
Thranduil questioned the Dwarves but they refused to reveal their errand, a quest to reclaim Erebor from the Dragon Smaug, and he imprisoned them. With the help of Bilbo, the Dwarves were able to escape in barrels released on the Forest River.
Word came to Thranduil of the death of Smaug from the messengers he had sent out after the Dwarves escape.5
Thranduil set out for the Lonely Mountain with an army of Elves and sought to claim part of the treasure. On the way to the mountain they met messengers from Bard the Bowman who was seeking aid after the destruction of Lake-town. After helping the Lake-men with shelters for the winter, Thranduil and Bard both proceeded to the mountain where they found that Thorin and his companions had claimed the treasure.5, 6
Thorin refused to share Smaug's treasure with Bard and Thranduil and sent for aid from his cousin Dáin II Ironfoot.6
This caused Thranduil and Bard to lay siege to the mountain. In the night, Bilbo brought the Arkenstone, a great jewel that Thorin valued above all, to Bard and Thranduil in attempt to force Thorin to negotiate.7
Thranduil urged Bilbo to remain with them in fear of Thorin's wrath.
The next morning Bard and Thranduil entered into negotiations with Thorin and he agreed to pay one-fourteenth share of the treasure in exchange for the stone.8
Dáin and his army arrived the next day and fighting seemed impossible to avoid. At the last minute, Gandalf intervened and revealed that the the Orcs of the Misty Mountains and Grey Mountains marched against them under their leader Bolg. Thranduil, Bard and Dáin agreed to unite their forces against the Orcs and so the Battle of the Five Armies began.
Thranduil's army was positioned on the lower slopes on southern side of the Mountain and they were the first to charge.8
The battle was won after the help of Beorn and the Eagles but at a terrible cost. Thorin was mortally wounded and his nephews Fíli and Kíli died defending him.9
Thranduil laid Thorin's sword Orcrist on his tomb.
The treasure was divided between the victors and Bard recieved Bilbo's share in return for the Arkenstone.9
Bard gave Thranduil the emeralds of Girion, the precious stones the Elvenking loved the most. Before leaving Bilbo gave Thranduil a necklace of silver and pearls after which Thranduil named him "Elf-friend". Thranduil returned with the remainder of his host to Mirkwood.
On March 21, T.A. 3018, Gollum was delivered as a prisoner to Thranduil by Aragorn.10
Gollum was heavily guarded, day and night, but was allowed to climb a tree since the elves pitied him. One night in June, T.A. 3018, Gollum refused to come down and the elves were ambushed by Orcs.11
In the confusion Gollum managed to escape. Thranduil sent his son, Legolas, to inform Elrond. When Legolas arrived in Rivendell he participated in the Council of Elrond and was selected as a member of the Fellowship of the Ring.
On March 15, T.A. 3019, an army from Dol Guldur attacked Mirkwood.12
The battle, called the Battle Under Trees, was long and set the woods on fire but Thranduil's forces ultimately defeated the enemy. On April 6, after the defeat of Sauron, Thranduil met with Celeborn in Mirkwood. Celeborn's forces had stormed Dol Guldur and Thranduil's army had cleared Mirkwood of Sauron's servants.
After the Shadow over Mirkwood was lifted, Thranduil and Celeborn renamed it Eryn Lasgalen, the Wood of Greenleaves.12
They divided it up, so that Thranduil received the northern part as far as the Mountains, and Celeborn took the southern part, naming it East Lórien. The wide forest in-between was given to the Beornings and the Woodmen.
After the War of the Ring, the Wood-elves lived in peace for many years. Legolas brought Wood-elves to help rebuild and improve Minas Tirith.
Although Thranduil's fate is unknown it is believed he passed to the West eventually.
Positions & titlesKing in the north of Greenwood the Great S.A. 3434 - T.A. 1050 King of the Elves of Northern Mirkwood T.A. 1050 -
1 - J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, The History of Galadriel and Celeborn, Appendix B: The Sindarin Princes of the Silvan Elves
2 - J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, The Disaster of the Gladden Fields
3 - J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, Flies and Spiders
4 - J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, Barrels Out of Bond
5 - J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, Fire and Water
6 - J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, The Gathering of the Clouds
7 - J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, A Thief in the Night
8 - J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, The Clouds Burst
9 - J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, The Return Journey
10 - J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, The Hunt for the Ring
11 - J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Council of Elrond
12 - J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, The Great Years