Who are Arondir and the sylvan elves of The Rings of Power?

We take a look at the mysterious elves who protect the humans in the Lord of the Rings series and the romance between Arondir and Bronwyn.

One of the main plots of the first episodes of The Rings of Power has to do with the forbidden romance between Arondir, a sylvan elf, and Bronwyn, the healer of the southern lands. The dalliances between the two occur while Arondir and the rest of his faction remain stationed in Bronwyn's village. But what are they doing there, why this rivalry between humans and the pointy ears, where do these characters come from and what role do they play in Tolkien's Legendarium? Let's find out.

Who are the sylvan elves?

You will often see Arondir described not only as an elf, but as a sylvan elf. And you may ask, what are the differences, what other sylvan elves do we know? It is simpler than it seems. The sylvan elves, also called wood elves, are different from the high elves because of their origin and the connection it gives them with nature. In The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, when Bilbo and his company enter the land of the sylvan elves, Beorn describes them as "less wise" than the rest of the elves, more inclined to politics, "but more dangerous", more diligent and skilled in combat.

Their lethality is clear in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, in which we see in action a battalion of sylvan elves led by King Thranduil, who also makes clear their relationship with nature by appearing on the back of a giant stag. And of course, its biggest icon to date is Tauriel, the character played by Evangeline Lilly. Although he also fought alongside them in that battle and owes them his training and many of his combat movements, Legolas has never been considered a sylvan elf for reasons of ancestry.

Who is Arondir of The Rings of Power?

Unfortunately, Arondir and Bronwyn are characters created solely and exclusively for the series and did not appear in the Tolkien stories, so their story is yet to be written. In any case, relationships between elves and humans are not new in Middle-earth. In Jackson's trilogy we witnessed the love between Arwen and Aragorn, always disapproved by Elrond, and in the Hobbit films it went even further, and instead of humans, the passion arose between Tauriel and a dwarf, Kíli.

Arondir and the rest of the sylvan elves were dispersed throughout Middle-earth on the orders of High King Gil-Galad, who feared that Sauron would take over from Morgoth and subjugate the continent, becoming its new Dark Lord. They feared that the orcs would increase and that the humans would allow the shapeshifters to run wild and grow. The years of peace have caused the humans to view this extra help and protection with resentment as if they were being scalped, guarded and undervalued by the elves.

The series starts at an interesting moment, just when the humans, after making it clear that they do not want to continue welcoming the elves into their lands, see how they leave and withdraw, and they do it just at the moment when evil resurfaces and they need them. It remains to be discovered in the remaining chapters of The Rings of Power if the relationship between Arondir and Bronwyn is able to flourish in this hostile climate and if both races are able to overcome their differences to fight against the new threat in the making.