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Orodreth, by Filat


Biographical information

Other names
Artaher, Arothir, Artaresto
Date of birth
YT ?
Year ascended to the throne
Date of death
Realms ruled
Unnamed wife

Physical description

Ñoldor (House of Finarfin), Falmari (House of Olwë), Elves of Nargothrond
Hair color
Eye color

Orodreth was a Ñoldorin Elf of the First Age who was a ruler of the underground city of Nargothrond in western Beleriand. He was born to Angrod and Eldalótë in Tirion during the Years of the Trees and was the nephew of Finrod Felagund, Aegnor and Galadriel. He was killed in the Battle of Tumhalad.


Through his grandmother Eärwen of the Falmari (Teleri of Aman), he shared the blood of both the Ñoldor (House of Finarfin) and that of the Falmari (House of Olwë). After the Doom of Mandos was announced in Araman, he and the rest of the Ñoldor left for Middle-earth. Even as his grandfather Finarfin and many of his House turned back to Valinor, Orodreth stayed with Fingolfin and his host and pursued his journey to Middle-earth.

In later versions Orodreth is described as the son of Angrod and a grandson of Finarfin and Eärwen so it holds true that together with Turgon's daughter Idril and Curufin's son Celebrimbor, he was one of the three members of the Ñoldorin royal family in the third generation to come into exile. His father held Dorthonion, but Gil-galad was sent to the safer Nargothrond with his uncle Finrod.

Orodreth once held the isle of Minas Tirith in the vale of Sirion until Sauron overran the isle and turned it into Tol-in-Gaurhoth. Orodreth then fled south to Nargothrond.

When Beren came to Nargothrond, Finrod went with him on his quest for the Silmaril. However, Celegorm and Curufin, the Sons of Fëanor, were also at Nargothrond, and forced Finrod to lay down his crown. Orodreth took it, ruling as regent, but the Sons of Fëanor held the real power. When news came that Finrod had been killed, the Sons of Fëanor were expelled from Nargothrond and Orodreth became its leader.

When Túrin Turambar arrived in Nargothrond he gradually became its leader and Orodreth held no actual power, even if he was still Lord in name. High in Orodreth's councils, Túrin convinced him to build the Bridge of Nargothrond and abandon their secretive method of warfare in favor of open warfare. In FA 495, he and Túrin marched out to meet the hosts of Morgoth and the Dragon Glaurung at Tumhalad and died fighting there, and his realm was subsequently conquered.

Orodreth was married and had only one known child to an unnamed wife: the beautiful Elf Maiden Finduilas.[1][2]


The name Orodreth is Sindarin for "mountaineer", which came from the word orod, meaning 'mountain'. The latter element reth is more difficult to trace, and so appears to have no immediate origin. 

His name in Quenya was Artaresto, which appears to have come from the word arta, which is interpretable as both 'fortress' and 'high'. The second element of his name resto could have originated from the word retta, meaning 'climber'. This would mean that his Quenyan name meant either "fortress climber" or "high climber", though it is more likely to mean "high climber" as it is in alignment with his Sindarin name. 

Interestingly, if the second part of his Quenyan name did come from 'retta', It is easily concievable that the second component of his Quenyan name 'resto' was converted into 'reth' when translated into Sindarin, hence 'mountaineer', or more literally in this case, 'mountain cilmber'.

Earlier and later versions of the legendariumEdit

In earlier versions of The Silmarillion legendarium as detailed in The History of Middle-earth series, Orodreth was a more important character, and the original King of Nargothrond. However, his importance diminished over time.

In the published Silmarillion, Orodreth is a son of Finarfin, with the Quenya name Artanáro. This was an editorial decision by Christopher Tolkien, made on the grounds that the later revision was not fully integrated into the extant texts by his father. Gil-galad, later High King of the Ñoldor, was his son, but in the published Silmarillion Gil-galad is made into Fingon's son instead. An earlier idea was that Orodreth's son was named Hallas, but Gil-galad replaced him.

In his last writings, Tolkien changed Orodreth's name to Artaher (Quenya)/Arothir (Sindarin), but it was never introduced in any narratives, so Christopher Tolkien left the name Orodreth unchanged. It is probable the Sindarin name Orodreth would have been retained nonetheless: Tolkien seldom changed names after they had long been used, even if only in unpublished writings.

In late writings, Tolkien apparently intended to make Orodreth the son of Angrod and the father of Gil-galad. However, this would have impacted a number of other characters and storylines and therefore the change was not made in the published Silmarillion.

Preceded by:
Finrod Felagund

Lord of Nargothrond
FA 465 - FA 495
Followed by:
None recognized, realm effectively destroyed

House of FinarfinEdit

House of Finarfin



  1. The Silmarillion: Quenta Silmarillion
  2. The Children of Húrin

External linkEdit

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