gandalf stormcrow

Thranduil's Not-So-Isolationist Policies

Summary:  At best, fans and scholars view Thranduil as a cautious isolationist;  at worst, he is seen as a greedy dwarf-hater beset by paranoia.  In fact, he is not an isolationist at all.

Thranduil’s Not-So-Isolationist Policies

Thranduil would not risk the lives of his kin against the wrath of the dragon.  No help came from the elves that day, or any day since. (1)

The narrator presents a clear picture of Thranduil’s policy toward the Dwarves.  This scene has just one problem:  Tolkien did not write it.  It is Peter Jackson’s interpretation.  Tolkien did not tell us anything about the Woodland Realm’s reaction to Smaug’s attack on Dale and the Dwarves.  At best, we have a snippet describing Thranduil’s realm, which

…extended into the woods surrounding the Lonely Mountain and growing along the west shores of the Long Lake, before the coming of the Dwarves exiled from Moria and the invasion of the Dragon. (2)

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Gandalf and Thranduil in tBotFA

Their relationship actually felt pretty true to canon to me. (Of course, since we never actually see them meet, all we can do is speculate, but speculate we will.) To be honest, the only leaders who ever seem happy to see Gandalf are Elrond and Galadriel/Celeborn.

For comparison, here was Gandalf’s greeting from Theoden (sure, he was sort of possessed or whatever, but still):

‘I greet you,’ he said, 'and maybe you look for welcome. But truth to tell your welcome is doubtful here, Master Gandalf. You have ever been a herald of woe. Troubles follow you like crows, and ever the oftener the worse. I will not deceive you:
when I heard that Shadowfax had come back riderless, I rejoiced at the return of the horse, but still more at the lack of the rider; and when Eomer brought the tidings that you had gone at last to your long home, I did not mourn. But news from afar is seldom sooth. Here you come again! And with you come evils worse than before, as might be expected. Why should I welcome you, Gandalf Stormcrow? Tell me that.’

And when Gandalf arrives in Minas Tirith, his welcome from Denethor is a little chilly as well:

'Dark indeed is the hour,’ said the old man, 'and at such times you are wont to come, Mithrandir.

You’ve got to view Gandalf from the leader’s perspective. While Elrond and Galadriel know him as an ally from the Valar, to everyone else he’s just Gandalf the Grey, wizard and busybody. He sweeps into town (usually when things are bad) and often delivers more bad news, telling kings and stewards what they Absolutely Must Do. Whether his advise is wise or not, it’s no wonder that Thranduil isn’t really thrilled to see him. And, specifically in regards to Thranduil vs other elves, not only does Thranduil not know of Gandalf’s true identity (see this post for who did), but he’s also firmly on the Sindarin/Silvan side of the How Much Do I Care About the Valar spectrum, while Elrond and Galadriel are way over on the Noldorin/Sindarin side.

If interested, here’s a post I wrote about Gandalf and Thranduil’s hypothetical relationship, written before even Desolation of Smaug came out.


I’ve got a confession to make: during my childhood I was a coward and really scared of the outside world. That’s until I read the lotr and fell in love with Gandalf. He’s a character that inspired me to become courageous and go out on epic journeys. Also he taught me to never give up and fight for justice. Long live stormcrow.


So storytime; I’ve been hanging out. A lot at the park next to my office for lunch these days because Pokemon Go, also I’ve taken to feeding these friendly freeloader crows. They’re a little wary but pretty intelligent (and greedy) birds who’ve figured out to wait in-pounce when I cock my hand back (to throw food) and they’re avian hamsters because they’ll sit there with a beak halfway full of bread waiting to pick up more (and sometimes superkick others into giving up their share).
Also, they sometimes follow me around the park on my walks.

There’s young crows who still have their baby floof and I think old crows who seem to have bald/little white patches.
Then there’s this guy, who I’ve taken to calling Gandalf Stormcrow.

I can’t really tell but birdwatchers of Tumblr, is this handsome dude leucistic?