Place from J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium
Other names Lórien
Golden Wood
The Hidden Land
Description Refuge of the Elves
Location None
Lifespan Founded circa S.A. 1350[1]
Abandoned by F.A. 119[2]
Lord Celeborn and Galadriel

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

The realm 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 C.) 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 mellyrn trees
Laurelindórenan Valley of Singing Gold[8] Sindarin name after introduction of mellyrn trees
Lothlórien The Dreamflower[9] Sindarin name in the Third Age
Lórien Spearhead[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 come 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 around Amon Lanc. By the time of the death of Queen Arwen, Celeborn and Galadriel's granddaughter, Lothlórien itself was deserted.


Lothlórien was located East of Moria between the Misty Mountains and the river Anduin. Other than a small strip of forested land to the south, the realm was located between the rivers Anduin and Silverlode, a region called the Naith (S. spearhead)[11] by the Elves or the Gore in Westron. The city of Caras Galadhon was located in the narrowest portion of the Naith, where the two rivers came together, called Egladil (possibly (S. 'egol'=elf, 'till'=point))[12] or the Angle.[4]



Many people have named their property or community "Lothlórien"; Notable examples include:

  • A family-based Christian community in southern Scotland founded by Rosemary Haughton.[13] [14]
  • A neopagan retreat in Indiana[15]
  • An all-vegetarian student house and cooperative affiliated with the BSC located in Berkeley, California
  • Australian School for Rudolf Steiner Education, Lorien Novalis, named after the Poet Novalis, and the forest of Lórien.
  • An alternative high school in Palo Alto, CA in the 1970s, housed in the Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto. Although the high school no longer exists, its graduates maintain a Facebook page.

Songs about the place in Tolkien include Irish singer Enya's song "Lothlórien" from her album, Shepherd Moons. (Enya also wrote music heard in Peter Jackson's film of Lord of the Rings.) It is also the title of a song from the West End musical version of The Lord of the Rings.

Singer-songwriter Tori Amos named her daughter Natashya Lórien Hawley, after Lothlórien.[16]

Music bands named Lothlorien, include Nashville indie rock band Lórien, the New Zealand Celtic folk group Lothlorien, and Brazilian metal band Lothlöryen.

The Internet domain "www.lothlorien.com" is registered to a family that lives in a heavily wooded area of the Santa Cruz Mountains in the vicinity of Boulder Creek.


As well as inspiring real-world places, 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.[17]


  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. ^ Ryan, Eilish. Rosemary Haughton: Witness to Hope p.54 1997 Rowman & Littlefield, ISBN 1-55612-860-6
  14. ^ [1] Dammann, Guy. "The Guardian" obituary: Algy Haughton, July 2008
  15. ^ Blain, Jenny et al. Researching Paganisms p.98, 2004, Rowman Altamira, ISBN 0-7591-0523-5
  16. ^ The Independent on Sunday magazine interview. 16, Nov 2003
  17. ^ [2] Book 7: Leaves of Lorien


External links

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