Silvan Elves (also known as Woodland Elves [1]) are described as being less interested in knowledge seeking than other Eldar, like the Noldor. Some of them are mistaken for Avari, those who never joined the Great Journey from Cuiviénen to Aman.


The Silvan elves were notably of Nandorin background and descended from the followers of Lenwë who were fascinated by the landscape and its features of the lands East of the Misty Mountains, and followed the Great River down into south and beyond. Many centuries later, they reappeared and spread themselves throughout the regions between the Misty Mountains and the Blue Mountains. Later yet, they appeared in the Beleriand under the leadership of their only king Denethor and were allied to Thingol, the elven King of Doriath. When Morgoth attacked Beleriand, Denethor was killed and his people suffered heavy causalities and later became a secretive people throughout the rest of the First Age.

When the Beleriand was lost and the Second Age was to begin, the Silvan elves who survived rejoined their kindred east of the Misty Mountains and gradually became citizens of the Elven realms of Lórien and Greenwood the Great (later northern Mirkwood), or were at times wanderers.

Portrayal in AdaptationsEdit

In the film adaptions of The Hobbit, Beorn describes the Woodland Elves as being less wise and more dangerous than their kin. Most of the Silvan Elves are shown to have red hair, and some have brown. The Silvan Elves are shown to be highly skilled in combat, and very agile. A notable member, who is created for the films, is the Elf captain Tauriel. In Mirkwood the Silvan Elves are treated as a lower class by Thranduil, as he and Legolas are Sindarin Elves, marked out by their white blond hair. The Silvan Elves are shown to be great in number when Thranduil unveils his entire army in the Battle of the Five Armies. Their number is estimated to be at least 8,000 strong in the film. Thranduil's army consists of spearmen, archers, and swordsmen. When they battled the Dwarves, the Elven archers wielding longbows fired at the Dwarves, but the arrow volley was destroyed by spinning ballistas. As the Dwarf goat-cavalry was about to charge the Elves, the archers from the front retreated back and the Elven spearmen wielding long spears, and quickly formed a shield wall. The Dwarf cavalry then jumped to the shield wall but the Elves formed a unique formation, with spearmen from the sides and the archers firing at them.

Translations around the WorldEdit

Foreign Language Translated name
Chinese (Hong Kong) 西爾凡精靈
French Elfes Sylvains

See alsoEdit


  1. The Silmarillion, Index

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