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The Battle under the Trees - illustration by Tom Loback

The Battle of Mirkwood, also known as Battle Under the Trees, is an incident in J. R. R. Tolkien's fictional world of Middle-earth. In his legendarium it takes place during the War of the Ring at the end of the Third Age. Mirkwood is situated to the East of the Misty Mountains, and West of the Lonely Mountain and Dale, first being introduced in The Hobbit.

The battle was actually a major, prolonged series of battles in the War of the Ring. The Orcs of Dol Guldur tried to take Mirkwood and defeat the elves there but were repulsed. Sauron's main objective in the northern theatre of the war was the assault on Lothlórien, and the majority of the forces from Dol Guldur were used to attack it. Dol Guldur used its remaining forces against Thranduil's realm, to try to secure their flank. Sauron's plan was that his Easterling allies would join the attack on Thranduil, overwhelming them, thus allowing Dol Guldur to focus all of its forces on Lothlórien. However, the Easterlings were occupied with besieging the Dwarves and the men of Dale at Lonely Mountain, and were never able to join the attack on Thranduil. Fierce fighting raged throughout the forest, and there was "great ruin of fire"[1] as woods were set alight during the battle. King Thranduil led his elves to victory and defeated the orcs,[2] then with the help of Galadriel advanced on Dol Guldur after Sauron's fall, and destroyed the evil place.

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  1. ^ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, (1966 2nd edition), p.375
  2. ^ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, (1966 2nd edition), p.374