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