‘The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’: Who Is Arondir & Who Are the Silvan Elves?

Editor’s note: The below article contains spoilers for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

Although The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is clearly leading up to the first war to defeat Sauron and his army of evil, it’s not the first time that conflict has plagued Middle Earth. As we learn in the first two episodes of the series, the Elves have already waged war against the dark lord, Morgoth. Morgoth is defeated and imprisoned in the mystical land of Valinor. However, the ramifications of the conflict have impacted the way the Elven military works.

In the Southlands of Middle Earth, we are introduced to an Elven warrior named Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova). Arondir and a battalion of Elves watch over the human peasants that reside peacefully in the rural area. There is tension between the two species. During Morgoth’s war, some of the humans in the area sided with the dark lord in his conquest of Middle Earth. The Elven guards are sent to watch over the remaining villagers in case of another uprising.

Gil-Galad Orders That Arondir and Other Elves Leave Their Posts and Return Home

Within Arnodir’s brief interactions with humans in a local tavern, we see that the tensions between the species continue to linger. Arondir is both hated and feared by the peasants who want to live in an environment that is free from Elves. They get their wish soon enough as Arnodir is informed by his presiding officer that the Elves are being called back from their posts. High King Gil-galad (Benjamin Walker) has chosen to ignore Galadriel’s (Morfydd Clark) suggestion that the forces of evil have not yet been defeated. The veterans of the conflict are being dispatched to leave their posts and return home.

This pains Arondir, not just because he has his suspicions about the local villagers, but because of a secret romantic relationship that he has fostered with the human Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniadi), a healer who lives in the Southlands with her son, Theo (Tyroe Muhafidin). It’s implied that Elven law would forbid any relationship between the species. However, Arondir’s affair with Bronywn presents more practical issues.

This Is Far From the First Time We’ve Seen Elves Falling in Love With Non-Elves

Since Arondir is an Elf, he is immortal. Relationships between immortals and mortals are inherently difficult, as one partner is destined to watch the other grow old and die. This was something explored in Peter Jackson’s trilogy. Elrond (Hugo Weaving) warns his daughter, Arwen (Liv Tyler), not to pursue her relationship with Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen). He knows that Arwen will be heartbroken when Aragorn dies, leaving her to live alone for eternity.

This theme was brought up again in The Hobbit trilogy. One of the storylines that Jackson added to the trilogy was a romantic relationship that emerged between the Dwarf Kíli (Aidan Turner) and the Elven huntress Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly). While the romantic triangle that emerges with Legolas (Orlando Bloom) was one of the weaker aspects of the film, it did show the struggles that the Elves face in relation to the other beings of Middle Earth. It’s part of the reason that they are so secluded by the time of the Third Age.

Who Are the Other Silvan Elves in Middle-earth?

Like Tauriel, Arondir is a Silvan Elf. Unlike the High Elves that reside in Lindon, the Silvan Elves (or “Wood-Elves”) are known for their diligence in combat and connection to the natural world. In The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) and his company of Dwarves enter the Silvan Elves’ land in Mirkwood. Beorn (Mikael Persbrandt) tells Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) that the Silvan Elves are “less wise, and more dangerous” than the Elven politicians.

We see the Silvan Elves’ skill in combat in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. During the massive conflict outside the Dwarf’s sacred kingdom, a battalion of Silvan Elves follow King Thranduil (Lee Pace), who rides a giant stag. It’s not until the end of the battle that Thranduil realizes the weight of Kili’s romance with Tauriel; he sees that Tauriel is heartbroken over Kíli’s death and tells her that her relationship was “real.”

Tauriel’s mourning has also clearly affected Thranduil’s son, Legolas (Orlando Bloom). Although Legolas has fought alongside the Silvan Elves, he is not considered to be one of them due to his heritage. In the aftermath of the battle, Thranduil dispatches Legolas to seek out Aragorn.

It will be interesting to see how Arondir’s story continues in the first season of The Rings of Power. Romance wasn’t a huge aspect of either The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings, but other works within Tolkien’s bibliography have explored stories of forbidden love. The end of “Adrift” suggested that Arondir is in danger, but given his wartime experience, it’s likely that he’ll emerge standing strong.

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