About Lothlórien

compiled by Rogorn


Meaning ‘Dream-flower’, it’s a composite Sindarin and Quenya word which was the most widely used name in the Third Age for the Golden Wood of Wilderland, called also Lórien, Laurelindórenan, and, by the Nandor who originally peopled it, Lórinand. This ancient forest stood upon both sides of the river Celebrant, to the west of Anduin.

While it was not the most ancient forest in Middle-earth, it was unquestionably the most singular, for only there were to be found the great mellyrn, the mallorn-trees which gave the Golden Wood its name. Golden-leaved with silver-grey boughs, they grew to a height beyond the measure of all other living things.

The people of Lothlórien were as singular as their trees, for they did not dwell on the ground, but in the woven branches of the mighty mellyrn, on high platforms (or telain). For this reason, the Elves of the Golden Wood were called Galadhrim, ‘Tree-people’.

One of the Sindar, Amdir, became King of Lórien in the Second Age, and ruled until its end, when he led a small contingent of silvan archers to the Battle of Dagorlad, where he was slain.

His son Amroth then became King. Compared to his father, Amroth, though a noble and beautiful Elf, was somewhat fainéant. Early in his reign he conceived a great love for the silvan maiden Nimrodel, who dwelt in those days beside the falls that afterwards bore her name. She discouraged his suit for many years and in the meantime the lovelorn prince seems to have neglected his duties. Lórien was not fortified or put in a proper state of defence against the menace of Sauron. The Balrog had awakened in Moria, the Dwarves had been driven out and the Necromancer was in occupation of Dol Guldur, but Amroth chose this time to escape from Middle-earth with Nimrodel, who had vowed not to wed him until he brought her to a land of peace. Both of them were lost.

Then Celeborn of the Sindar, together with his wife Galadriel of the Noldor, the most royal of all the surviving High-elven exiles, came to dwell in Lórien. Moreover, she brought with her one of the Three Elven-rings, Nenya, the Ring of Adamant. Through it, Galadriel’s focused power laid a change on the wood so that it was set apart from the stream of time, agaeing far more slowly than other lands.

By now Lórien had become a source of strange rumours. Its borders were shunned by folk of other race, and even the Wood-Elves of Greenwood were sundered from their southern kinfolk. The court dwelt deep in the heart of the forest, in a great arboreal city: Caras Galadhon, ‘the City of the Trees’, where grew the tallest and most beautiful mellyrn of the land.

Throughout the Third Age the peril from Dol Guldur grew greater, and there was often deadly strife with Orcs and other fell creatures under the fair boughs of the mellyrn. At the end of the age, the Fellowship of the Ring, fleeing from Moria, were sheltered in Caras Galadhon and greatly assisted by Celeborn and Galadriel. It was now when Galadriel was offered the One Ring by Frodo the Ringbearer, and she resisted the temptation to wear it.

Shortly after the Fellowship’s departure, Lórien suffered the heaviest assaults it had experienced. In March 3019 Orc-hosts crossed Anduin and assailed the Galadhrim in three separate waves, but all were beaten back, and in the end the Elves of Lórien themselves took the offensive, crossing the Anduin eastwards and destroying Dol Guldur.

Nonetheless, with the victory of the War of the Ring, the great days of Lórien came at last to an end, for Galadriel’s long exile in Middle-earth was rescinded by the Valar as a reward for her labours against Sauron and for her rejection of the Ruling Ring. She took ship into the West, together with the bearers of the other Rings of Power, and some time after, Celeborn also deserted the Golden Wood. In the Fourth Age only a few of the Galadhrim still ‘lingered sadly and there was no longer light or song in Lothlórien.

(From JAE Tyler’s Complete Tolkien Companion)

Lórien in Tolkien’s letters

‘The passages that now move me most – written so long ago that I read them now as if they had been written by someone else – are the end of the chapter ‘Lothlórien’, and the horns of the Rohirrim at cockcrow.

I feel that it is unfair to use my name as an adjective qualifying 'gloom', especially in a context dealing with trees. In all my works I take the part of trees as against all their enemies. Lothlórien is beautiful because there the trees were loved; elsewhere forests are represented as awakening to consciousness of themselves.

Though dwindling, the population of Minas Tirith and its fiefs must have been much greater than that of Lindon, Rivendell, and Lórien.

Galadriel's power is not divine, and [Gandalf’s] healing in Lórien is meant to be no more than physical healing and refreshment.

[Rivendell] in no way resembled [Lórien].

I am getting used to Rivendells, Lóriens, Imladris, etc, as house-names – though maybe they are more frequent than the letters which say 'by your leave'.’