King kingdom

If Thranduil is the “king” of Mirkwood, is he more powerful than Elrond who is the “lord” of Rivendell?

On the other side The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings, there are three notable Elven rulers: Thranduil, Elrond, and Galadriel. The three are all very different in many ways, especially because they appear in different books, but there are many ways for audiences to see the same noble, regal, and experienced characteristics of elves shine through each of them. them.

But many fans of the movies have noticed that Thranduil is called “King” of Mirkwood, while Elrond and Galadriel are only called “Lord” of Rivendell and “Lady” of Lothlorien. So why is this?


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First, it is important to understand that traditionally, a “king” is the highest position in the monarchy or rulership, and all other titles fall under the authority and jurisdiction of the king. However, it is not so simple in the case of these three elves, for multiple reasons. The first reason is that they are all guardians of their respective lands. If each of the three members all lived in the same kingdom, it would be very clear that the “King” has power over the “Lord” and the “Lady”, but since they are all in different kingdoms, this makes the things a bit more complicated. The nature of each place that is governed is also a deciding factor that adds complexity to the mix.

middle earth map

Thranduil is the king of Mirkwood. Now Mirkwood is a vast, seemingly endless forest that is home to thousands of elves, an entire society that trades with outer lands, the protection of several creatures in the woods, and an internal structure that includes several different functions within the society, from guards to chiefs to loaders and unpackers of goods. In this sense, Mirkwood has a large enough capacity and population to be considered a kingdom, and therefore need a “king”.

On the other hand, Rivendell and Lothlorien are considerably smaller in number and function. Rivendell is known to many as the “Last Welcoming Home”, as it was founded as a place of safety and a place of refuge after the many wars the elves fought in. This is also why it is famous for its healing houses, for it was used to heal the wounded and those struggling after battle.

As such, Rivendell has a tiny population, enough to protect the valley in which it sits, but not enough to be considered a kingdom. Although Lothlorien was probably large enough to be a kingdom, it preferred not to accept the status as such for another key reason:

Location. The three elven kingdoms are in precarious positions. Mirkwood lies near the Lonely Mountains and on the doorstep of ruined northern realms like Angmar, where the Necromancer dwells. Lothlorien is the closest of the three to Mordor, along with the forest of Fangorn and once-magnificent Isengard, both of which become problematic when Sauron begins to use his wizarding abilities to manipulate politics and attempt to claim power.

Rivendell is geographically the safest of the three, but could still be exposed to the north if it came into too much of the limelight. Therefore, both Elrond and Galadriel chose to claim lesser titles and prevent any possible challenge to the opposition, like Sauron, who might have seen them as a threat if they tried to claim kingship, d especially since Galadriel and Elrond are of notable importance. decent, as Galadriel is believed to be related to Gil-galad, who defeated Sauron in the Battle of the Last Alliance, and Elrond is a direct descendant of the Valar, and had the honored choice of remaining a mortal elf or becoming related to the fate of humans.

Thranduil Crown

It is also essential to note that there are different types of elves. When Tolkien was creating his world, he created several different types of people within the same race. Thranduil is a Sindarian Elf, one of the High Elves, and as such claims to rule over the Wood Elves who follow him, whereas Galadriel and Elrond are a mixture of types, from Telerin to Noldorin to vanyarin.

This means that Thranduil had a stronger claim to kingship, and although Elrond and Galadriel could have claimed that title as well, they both decided against it and were happy to be referred to as guardians and protectors. of their land, rather than authoritarian rulers. This doesn’t make Thranduil more powerful than the other two, even though he has a higher title. In fact, Galadriel is probably the most powerful elf in Middle-earth in the Third Age, but she chooses to put that power into the life and vibrancy of her forest, rather than establishing her right to rule.

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