“O Lórien! The Winter comes, the bare and leafless Day; The leaves are falling in the stream, the River flows away. O Lórien! Too long I have dwelt upon this Hither Shore And in a fading crown have twined the golden elanor.”
― Galadriel, Farewell to Lórien
Lothlórien was a kingdom of Silvan Elves on the eastern side of the Hithaeglir. It was considered one of the most beautiful and 'elvish' places in Middle-earth during the Third Age, and had the only mallorn-trees east of the sea.
The first inhabitants of the forested area later known as Lórien were a group of Nandor that refused to cross the Hithaeglir. Lórien was probably one of their scattered settlements in the area. Later, however, as the power of the Longbeards of Moria grew, they relocated to the eastern side of the Anduin, across the Nimrodel. The land in which they dwelt (the forest east of the Hithaeglir, above Fangorn and below Mirkwood) became known in the Silvan tongue as Lórinand, or Laurelindórenan.
The Sindarin Dynasty
After the War of Wrath, Sindar came from the deluge of Beleriand in the West. Their migration was a great boost to the power and culture of the Nandor. Their language was replaced by Sindarin. The arrival of the Sinda Amdír affected the Nandor of Laurelindórenan. He took over as their King, while another Sinda, Oropher, became king of Greenwood the Great.
Celeborn, a Sindarin elf, dwelt with his Noldorin wife Galadriel in Eregion. They made contact with the Nandor of Lórinand, and before long they passed through Moria and arrived in the woods. After the Fall of Eregion and the death of Celebrimbor, Nenya, one of the Three Rings of the Elves, was delivered to Galadriel.
As Sauron's power grew over the Westlands, King Amdír marshaled the Elves of Lórinand to the War of the Last Alliance. His division was cut off from the main body during the Battle of Dagorlad and many of the Nandor went down into the Dead Marshes with their King.
The survivors of the battle, which included Amdír’s son Amroth, returned to Lórinand. Amroth was the new King, but he was tired of Middle-earth, and wished to go West and seek Valinor. When Moria fell to evil in T.A. 1981, many of the Lórinand elves fled south. Around that time Amroth departed to Edhellond with his beloved, Nimrodel. The Nandor never saw either of them again.
The Lord and Lady
After Amroth and Nimrodel had passed away, Celeborn and Galadriel took the title of Lord and Lady of Galadhrim, the common Sindarin name for Lórinand. With Nenya, the land was kept pure and alive, and evil was not permitted to penetrate it. They moved back to the western side of Anduin, and built Caras Galadhon, the great center of the woodland kingdom. There Galadriel planted the seeds of the mallorn trees that was given to her by Gil-galad when she lived in Lindon, where they couldn't grow. It was because of the mellyrn that Lothlórien became known as the Golden Wood thenceforth. Lothlórien was filled with light and life, and became beautiful and by the power of the Elven Ring the trees did not die.
Under the Lord and Lady, Lothlórien prospered for more than a thousand years as time passed without decay under the golden boughs. Celeborn and Galadriel produced a daughter, Celebrían who married Elrond, and their granddaughter Arwen Undómiel was considered the fairest of the elven race at that time.
War of the Ring
But as the Third Age began to grope for its culmination, troubles at last began to touch the Valley of Singing Gold. As the shadow of Sauron lengthened, and the War of the Ring raged, Lórien received the remnant of the Fellowship of the Ring, a group of travelers on a quest of immeasurable importance. The border-wardens came across them. Among the company were Aragorn, a prince of the Dúnedain and a friend of the Lady, as well as Legolas of Mirkwood. The only reservation the border-wardens had about them was the dwarf, Gimli. The Fellowship were led in blindfolded for a time, but at Galadriel's word they were taken to Caras Galadhon on 17 January, T.A. 3019, and their blindfolds were released. The very night the Fellowship arrived, a band of Orcs crossed the Nimrodel. A regiment or so of the Galadhrim were sent out, and destroyed the Orcs.
There the Elves learned of the death of Gandalf, and Galadriel knew what evil had been brought into the Golden Wood. She revealed her own ring to Frodo, and showed him her mirror. Then the Fellowship was furnished with new supplies, and sent off down Anduin, bearing the gifts of the Lord and Lady.
Right when the Company left, Gwaihir brought Gandalf to the Golden Wood, who was only recovering from his battle with Durin's Bane. He was healed, clothed and given a new staff, before leaving for Fangorn.
But the coming of The One Ring was only the beginning of their troubles. But they were only the heralds of greater conflicts that were to occur. Sauron unleashed massive attacks on the Golden Wood.
On 11 March, Orcs from Dol Guldur swarmed into the forest in a full-scale assault. By the power of the Wood-elves and Galadriel’s ring, they were repulsed. The second wave came on 15 March, at the same time as the invasion of Mirkwood. Again, the Orcs were forced out. The third and last attack was made seven days later, 22 March. They caused much destruction, but Celeborn led the Nandor in a great counterattack that routed them utterly. Boats were made, and the armies of Lórien crossed the Anduin. They stormed Dol Guldur (the Nazgûl being absent in the war to the south), and took it. Galadriel threw down its walls, and Mirkwood was cleansed. The southern part of Mirkwood fell into the dominion of Lothlórien, and it was called East Lórien.
Only two-and-a-half years after the War of the Ring, Galadriel, the Lady of Lórien, took ship West to Valinor. Celeborn left to Rivendell several years later, and light departed from Lórien.
The Eastern border of Lothlórien in the southern Eryn Lasgalen became the East Lórien. The Nandor of that land either merged into the Kingdom of Thranduil, or stayed in Lórien to fade and eventually pass away westward.
In the Fourth Age 121, a grief-filled Arwen Undómiel traveled to Lothlórien after Aragorn surrendered his life, surrendering her own life upon Cerin Amroth. '[T]here is her green grave, until the world is changed, and all the days of her life are utterly forgotten...'
Lothlórien stood between the southeastern end of the Misty Mountains and the great river Anduin. The river Celebrant ran through the wood from its source in the mountains to the west through to the Anduin to the east.
In its earlier days, the woods of Lothlórien extended south into Fangorn Forest. In these days there was no true border between the two territories, though after conversation between Treebeard and the King of the Golden Wood it was agreed that the inhabitants of either land could walk freely at their leisure across whatever borders there may be. It is also possible that the woods of Lórien extended into the southern regions of Greenwood the Great, though there is only a small amount of evidence supporting this possibility. By the Third Age, Lórien was separate from Fangorn in the south and Mirkwood in the east by many miles.
- Caras Galadhon
- Cerin Amroth
Lothlórien, said to mean 'Lórien of the Blossom', is a compound of Sindarin loth + Quenya Lórien '?Dream Land'). Treebeard translates the name as 'Dreamflower'.
Lothlórien was often shortened to Lórien, or the Golden Wood (referring to the golden mallorn trees that grew in that land). Other names recorded for the region were:
- Laurelindórenan Q. ('Valley of Singing Gold')
- Lórinand ?N. ('valley of gold')
- Laurenandë Q. 'Valley of gold'
- Glornan S. 'Valley of gold'
- Nan Laur S. 'Valley of gold'
- Lindórinand ?N. 'Vale of the Land of the Singers'
- Dwimordene. The name means 'haunted valley' in Old English.