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In J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium, Lothlórien or Lórien is the fairest realm of the Elves remaining in Middle-earth during the Third Age.[3]

J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium location
Typerealm of the Elves
hidden refuge
RulerAmdír, Amroth (Second Age), Celeborn and Galadriel (Second and Third Ages)
Notable locationsCaras Galadhon, Cerin Amroth, Egladil, the Nimrodel, the Silverlode
Other name(s)Lórien
the Golden Wood
the Hidden Land
Locationwestern Wilderland
LifespanFounded circa S.A. 1350[1]
Abandoned by F.A. 119[2]
CapitalCaras Galadhon

The realm, a broad woodland valley, plays an important part in The Lord of the Rings[4] as the Elven centre of resistance against Sauron and is a symbol for the Elves' aesthetics of preservation[5] which provides a space 'out of time' for the characters who both live and visit there.[6] With Lothlórien, Tolkien reconciles otherwise conflicting ideas regarding time-distortion in Elfland from various traditional sources such as Thomas the Rhymer (13th/14th century) and the Danish folk-play Elverhøj (1828).[7]


Tolkien gave the same forest many different names:

Name Meaning Origin
Lindórinand Valley of the Land of the Singers[8] Older Nandorin name of the area
Lórinand Valley of Gold[8] Nandorin name after introduction of mallorn trees
Laurelindórenan Valley of Singing Gold[8] Sindarin name after introduction of mallorn trees
Lothlórien The Dreamflower[9] Sindarin name in the Third Age
Lórien Dream Land[9] Shortened form of Lothlórien matching the name of the Gardens of Lórien in Aman

The form Lórinand was also rendered in Quenya as Laurenandë and in Sindarin as Glornan or Nan Laur, all of the same meaning.[8] Other, later names given to the land included the much later Rohirric name Dwimordene (from dwimor "phantom", an allusion to the perceived magic of the Elves), and the Westron name the Golden Wood.


Early in the First Age some of the Eldar left the Great March and settled in the lands east of the Misty Mountains. These elves became known as the Nandor and later the Silvan Elves. By S.A. 1200 Galadriel had made contact with an existing Nandorin realm, Lindórinand, in the area that would later be known as Lothlórien,[8] and planted there the golden mallorn trees which Gil-galad had received as a gift from Tar-Aldarion.[10]

The culture and knowledge of the Silvan elves was considerably enriched by the arrival of Sindarin Elves from west of the mountains and even the Silvan language was gradually replaced by Sindarin. Amongst these arrivals was Amdír, who became their first lord, as well as Galadriel and Celeborn, who also crossed the mountains and the Anduin to join these southern Nandor after the destruction of Eregion during the War of the Elves and Sauron. Ultimately, Amdír led an army out of the forest as part of the Last Alliance of Elves and Men, just as Oropher, another Sindarin lord, led the Silvan Elves of the north in the same victory over Sauron, so it can be assumed that both northern and southern woodland realms had been founded by then.

With the gradual return of Sauron's malign influence to the forest east of Anduin, the northern Silvan Elves led by Thranduil son of Oropher (and father of Legolas), moved even further north to escape it, and those of the south returned west across the Anduin, although without their last Sindarin lord Amroth son of Amdír, who departed to Edhellond after his lover Nimrodel had fled there.

It was later revealed that Galadriel's Ring enriched the land by preserving its flora from death and decay, and in wielding it she created a powerful ward against all creatures of evil intent: in fact, the only way that Galadriel's Lothlórien could have been conquered by Mordor is if Sauron himself, the master of all the Rings of Power, had gone there.

Following the departure of Galadriel for Valinor at the beginning of the Fourth Age, the Elves of Lothlórien were ruled by Celeborn alone, who led them across the Anduin to found a new, larger realm, East Lórien, centred on Amon Lanc. By the time of the death of Queen Arwen, Celeborn and Galadriel's granddaughter, Lothlórien itself was deserted.


Lothlórien was located in the west of the large region of Wilderland. On its west stood the great Misty Mountains, and on its east ran the great river Anduin. The fabulous Dwarf-realm of Moria was situated nearby to the north-west, at the entrance to routes through the Misty Mountains. Across the Anduin lay the vast forest of Mirkwood and the fortress of Dol Guldur; these could be glimpsed from high points in Lothlórien.

The river Silverlode flowed through Lothlórien until it flowed into the Anduin. The realm lay primarily to the north of the Silverlode, other than the small strip of forested land to the south. The main part of the realm was the region called the Naith (Sindarin for spearhead)[11] by the Elves or the Gore in Westron; this was a reference to the shape of the land between the converging rivers. The narrowest portion of the Naith, where the two rivers came together, was called Egladil (possibly (S. 'egol'=elf, 'till'=point)),[12] or the Angle,[4] or the Tongue. Caras Galadhon, a city of great trees and the capital of Lothlórien, stood "some ten miles" back from the point.[13]

The Elves of Lothlórien typically resided in flets, or tree-houses. These ranged from simple guard-posts on the borders to elaborate houses and halls in Caras Galadhon.


For thousands of years Lothlórien had an unnatural climate. Essentially the weather remained in perpetual Spring, regardless of the change of seasons in the surrounding lands. This feature, which was ascribed to the magical power of Elves, was experienced by the Fellowship of the Ring. When the Elves left Lothlórien in the early Fourth Age, the climate reverted to that of the surrounding areas.

Despite the unnatural climate of Lothlórien, the annual cycles of its mallorn trees continued in synchronization with the normal seasons outside Lothlórien.


As well as inspiring real-world places,[vague] Lothlórien has been depicted in other media.

In the Middle-earth Role Playing supplement Lórien and the Halls of the Elven Smiths (Iron Crown Enterprises, 1986), Lórien society is divided into several guilds, or "Glades" with each one taking a specific craft (such as baking, weaving or hunting). The hidden nature of the place is accorded to effects of the ring Nenya, and Elessar, the elf-stone—which are both said to slow the effects of time. Its particular geographic position, being sheltered by the Misty Mountains from storms, and the environmental effect of mallorn trees (which do not lose their leaves and so provide constant shelter from the elements all year round) are also claimed to cause a reduction in the effect of the passing seasons.

In The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria, Lorien was a region introduced to the game in March 2009, which allows players to visit Caras Galadhon and other locations, and complete quests from the elves.[14]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ (Unfinished Tales 1980, History of Galadriel and Celeborn, pg 237)
  2. ^ (Return of the King 1955, Appendix A.I.v, The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen)
  3. ^ Plechowicz,Sue. Classworks Literacy: Year 4 Nelson Thomas, 2004, p142-146
  4. ^ a b (Fellowship 1954a, Lothlórien, The Mirror of Galadriel)
  5. ^ Matthew T. Dickerson, Jonathan Evans. Ents, Elves, and Eriador: The Environmental Vision of J. R. R. Tolkien University Press of Kentucky 2004
  6. ^ Flieger, Verlyn (1997). "Over a Bridge of Time". A Question of Time. Kent State University Press. ISBN 0-87338-699-X.
  7. ^ Shippey, Tom: Tolkien: Author of the Century, Harper Collins, 2000, p.89
  8. ^ a b c d e (Unfinished Tales 1980, History of Galadriel and Celeborn, note 5)
  9. ^ a b (Hammond & Scull 2005, note for pg 335, Lothlórien)
  10. ^ (Unfinished Tales 1980, A Description of Númenor)
  11. ^ (The Lost Road 1987, Etymologies, SNAS)
  12. ^ (Salo 2004)
  13. ^ J. R. R. Tolkien (1954), The Fellowship of the Ring, 2nd edition (1966) George Allen & Unwin, book 2 ch. VIII p.387; ISBN 0 04 823045 6
  14. ^ [1] Book 7: Leaves of Lorien


External linksEdit