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Mirkwood

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Mirkwood is a forest in Middle-earth. It located in the north-east of Middle-Earth. It was the Kingdom of Mirkwood Elves, and being ruled by Thranduil in 3rd Age. His father, Oropher, is the 2nd Age ruler of Mirkwood.

Background

Mirkwood dates back to the earliest days of Middle-earth. The Elves passed through it on their Great Journey from Cuiviénen into the Far West - it was where they made their first long stop before continuing onward. Thereafter, Mirkwood was the dwelling of the Wood-elves (the Nandor, elves descending from the wandering Teleri elf Lenwë) for many thousands of years. The Sindarin elf Oropher, the grandfather of Legolas Greenleaf, established the Woodland Realm proper, and it become the primary settlement of the elves from the Second Age onward. It was around this time that Men, possibly ancestors of the Northmen, began making permanent settlements in and around the forest. When Oropher was killed in the War of the Last Alliance, the kingship passed to his son Thranduil.

Mirkwood had been called Greenwood the Great until around the year TA 1050 of the Years of the Sun, when the shadow of the Dark Lord Sauron fell upon it, and men began to call it Mirkwood, or Taur-nu-Fuin and Taur-e-Ndaedelos in the Sindarin tongue. From then on, Mirkwood became a haunted place inhabited by many dark and savage things. Sauron established himself at the hill-fortress of Dol Guldur on Amon Lanc within its southern region, and drove Thranduil and his people ever northward, so that by the end of the Third Age they were a diminished and wary people, who had entrenched themselves within the Mountains of Mirkwood. The Old Forest Road (also called the Old Dwarf Road) crossed the forest east to west, but because it was so close to Dol Guldur the road was mostly unusable. The elves then made a path farther to the north, which ended somewhere in the marshes south of Laketown.

Quest of Erebor

Bilbo Baggins, along with Thorin Oakenshield and his band of Dwarves, ventured into Mirkwood during their quest to regain the Lonely Mountain or Erebor from the dragon Smaug. There, the dwarf Bombur fell into the Enchanted river. Later, they came across many great Giant Spiders. Shortly after the Dwarves' escape, they were captured by the elves. After or during these events the White Council attacked Dol Guldur, and Sauron fled to Mordor, his influence in Mirkwood diminished for a while. Years later Gollum, after his release from Mordor, was captured by Aragorn and brought a prisoner to Thranduil's halls. He escaped during an orc raid, and fled south to Moria.

After Sauron was reduced to a powerless spirit of malice at the conclusion of the Third Age, the darkness was lifted from Mirkwood, and it became known again by its old name of Eryn Lasgalen (Sindarin, wood of green leaves), or Greenwood.

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