In the published version of The Silmarillion, Orodreth (IPA: [oˈrodreθ]) was an Elf of the First Age, the second son of Finarfin (with Finrod Felagund, Angrod, Aegnor, and Galadriel being his siblings), and a ruler of Nargothrond.
Orodreth held the tower of Minas Tirith on the island of Tol Sirion in the vale of Sirion until Sauron overran the isle and renamed it Tol-in-Gaurhoth. Orodreth then fled south to Nargothrond. Without the aid of Celegorm, and Curufin, who had suddenly attacked the forces of Sauron with whatever forces they could gather, Orodreth might have fallen.
When Beren came to Nargothrond, Finrod went with him on his quest for the Silmaril. However Celegorm and Curufin the Sons of Fëanor were also at Nargothrond, and forced Finrod to lay down his crown. Orodreth took it, ruling as regent, but the Sons of Fëanor held the real power.
When news came that Finrod had been killed, the Sons of Fëanor were expelled from Nargothrond, and Orodreth became its leader.
When Túrin Turambar arrived in Nargothrond he gradually became its de facto leader, although Orodreth remained lord in name.
Orodreth had one daughter: Finduilas. He later died fighting the hosts of Morgoth and Glaurung the Dragon in the Battle of Tumhalad and Finduilas was taken and slain shortly afterwards. The only other member of the house of Finarfin to have descendants was Orodreth's aunt Galadriel, who had left Beleriand before the end of the First Age.
Other versions of the legendarium
In earlier versions of the Silmarillion legendarium as detailed in the History of Middle-earth series, Orodreth was a more important character, and the original king of Nargothrond. However, his importance diminished over time.
Originally, he was the son of Finarfin and Finrod's brother. However, in his last version of the Quenta Silmarillion, Tolkien removed him from among the sons of Finarfin. His genealogy in the published book is thus an editorial mistake.  In Tolkien's late genealogies he was made the son of Angrod and Eldalótë, a Noldorin lady whose name in Sindarin became Edhellos. Together with Turgon's daughter Idril and possibly Curufin's son Celebrimbor, he was one of the few members of the Noldorin royal family in the third generation to come into exile. In this version, both Finduilas and Gil-galad were his children, while in the published Silmarillion, Gil-galad was the son of Orodreth's cousin Fingon. In this version, Orodreth and his father Angrod held Tol Sirion, while Aegnor alone held Dorthonion. In the Dagor Bragollach, Finrod rushed to the aid of his brothers, but could not come in time: Aegnor was slain and while Angrod held Tol Sirion for a while longer, he too was slain in the end while his son Orodreth escaped to Nargothrond with his unnamed wife (a Sinda from the north) and two children.
The House of Finarfin
*Orodreth is sometimes described as the son of Finarfin.
Unlike in the matter of Gil-galad, Christopher Tolkien believed that the decision to make Orodreth the son of Angrod was final. An earlier idea was that Orodreth's son was named Hallas, but Gil-galad replaced him.
In his last writings, Tolkien changed Orodreth's name to Artaher (Quenya) / Arothir (Sindarin), but it was never introduced in any narratives, so Christopher Tolkien left the name Orodreth unchanged.
OrodrethBorn: Years of the Trees 468 FA
|King of Nargothrond||Succeeded by
None; Realm Destroyed
- Tolkien, J. R. R. (1977), Christopher Tolkien, ed., The Silmarillion, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, "Of Beren and Lúthien", ISBN 0-395-25730-1
- History of Middle Earth: "The Book of Lost Tales vol. 2" and "The Lays of Beleriand"
- Of Eldanor and the Princes of the Eldalie "History of Middle Earth vol. X: Morgoth's Ring"
- The Shibboleth of Fëanor, in "History of Middle Earth vol. XII: The Peoples of Middle Earth"
- Gil-galad was an Elven-king... – an essay by Michael Martinez on the life of Gil-galad