The Rings of Power | What are the Differences Between Eldar and Silvan Elves

What are some key differences among the most graceful, fair peoples of Middle-earth?

by J.R. Waugh

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The people and creatures of Middle-earth as rendered in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power are an embattled and diverse variety, recovering from the disasters brought on by the First Age and seeking ways to build their society and persevere. While some, like the Harfoots, choose to hide, others would live in what would become parts of Mordor like Tirhirad for the Men. One interesting race in all of this, though, is that of the Elves, and their complicated cultural backgrounds. Read on for our coverage of The Differences Between Eldar and Silvan Elves in The Rings of Power!

The Rings of Power | What are the Differences Between Eldar and Silvan Elves

The principal difference between Eldar and the Silvan Elves is that the term Eldar is a broader term for Elves in general. The Eldar were the Elves who had embarked on the Great Journey from the shore of Cuiviénen, where they first awakened, to travel to the Undying Lands, Valinor. The Elves who successfully made this journey were considered Calaquendi, the “Elves of Light” or Amanyar, those who reached the continent of Aman. Those who remained on Middle-earth, the Moriquendi, the “Elves of Darkness,” were dubbed Úmanyar. Of those Úmanyar, those who remained on Middle-earth before passing through the Misty Mountains were considered the Nandor, of whom the Silvan Elves are a subgroup.

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The Silvan Elves, also known as the ‘Wood Elves,’ have not featured heavily in previous adaptations of Tolkien’s world. They are a much more specific group of Elves that feature more heavily in the Second Age. They have been shown to have red or brown hair in The Hobbit adaptations. Legolas, despite living among the Silvan Elves and sharing many of their characteristics and combat prowess, was not one, but rather a Sindarin carrying ‘High Elf’ characteristics, with his father Thranduil ruling over the Silvan Elves of Mirkwood.

We’ve not seen many properly featured characters of Silvan Elven descent, except possibly for Haldir, although he met a bitter end at Helm’s Deep. The most prominent example of a Silvan Elf in the Peter Jackson film adaptations comes in the form of Tauriel, an original character.

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This brings us to Arondir, the Silvan Elf featured in The Rings of Power. While the series is non-canonical, it’s a refreshing change of pace to see the underrepresented Silvan Elves in Middle-earth, whose culture and language become less prominent by the Third Age. With his particular, personal task of tracking down corruption found in the Southlands, he could make for a great character to enjoy in the series.

This concludes our guide on The Differences Between Eldar and Silvan Elves in The Rings of PowerBe sure to check out our entertainment column for more coverage like this!

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power premiered exclusively on Amazon Prime Video on September 1, 2022, with a 2-episode premiere. The first season will have 8 episodes total, so check every Friday for new content!

- This article was updated on September 7th, 2022

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