It was also known as Greenwood the Great or Taur-e-Ndaedelos, and was later re-named Eryn Lasgalen.
Mirkwood was a dense and heavy woodland that made up much of the eastern part of Rhovanion or the Wilderland, that maintained its borders and relative shape for many ages. Its natural land features included (in the northern part of the forest) the Mountains of Mirkwood (Emyn Fuin, formerly the Emyn Duir or "Dark Mountains"), a sizable river referred to in Tolkien's map as the Forest River, that ran from the Grey Mountains down to Long Lake, and a smaller river that ran from the Dark Mountains (Emyn Duir) to join with the Forest River west of the Elven-king's Halls. This smaller river was enchanted (or polluted) to such an extent that it caused slumber and forgetfulness to anyone who fell into it.
Mirkwood's climate was relatively mild. Except for ways through the thickets of the forest, there were very few commonly used routes through Mirkwood save the Old Forest Road and the Forest Path. Mirkwood was approximately 600 miles long from north to south and 250 miles across from west to east at its width. During the events of The Hobbit it was home to giant spiders and the kingdom of King Thranduil and his woodland elves.
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, 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 the Long Lake of Esgaroth or Laketown.
Quest to EreborEdit
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.
Appearances in adaptationsEdit
The Hobbit film trilogyEdit
Mirkwood is depicted in multiple video games, such as The Lord of the Rings: War of the Ring, The Hobbit (2003 video game), The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth, The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II, The Lord of the Rings Online and The Lord of the Rings: War in the North.
- Despite being called Mirkwood ever since Third Age 1050, Mirkwood is referred to by Radagast in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey as Greenwood.
|Elven Realms of Middle-earth throughout the Ages|
|Years of the Trees:||Cuiviénen | Eglador | Havens of the Falas|
|First Age:||Doriath | Dorthonion | Gondolin | Havens of Sirion | Havens of the Falas | Himlad & Pass of Aglon | Hithlum | Maglor's Gap | March of Maedhros | Nargothrond | Nevrast | Ossiriand | Pass of Sirion | Thargelion|
|Second Age:||Eregion | Greenwood the Great | Lindon | Rivendell|
|Third Age:||Lindon | Lothlórien | Northern Mirkwood | Rivendell|
|Fourth Age:||Lindon | Lothlórien & East Lórien | Rivendell | Wood of Greenleaves|