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Thranduil is an elf character who appears in The Hobbit and is referenced in The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. He is the father of Legolas and is the king of the elves in Mirkwood. In the Peter Jackson Hobbit trilogy, he is played by Lee Pace.
Thranduil fanworks existed before the 2012 Hobbit film. Legolas is one of the most popular LotR characters, and Thranduil is often written in the context of his son's upbringing. Portrayals as a bad or even abusive father predominate to the point that Evil!Thranduil was a noted cliche, which Coriel described in 2004 as unquestionably the prime chimera of fanon Elvendom. Evil!Thranduil is lampooned, for example, in Thranduil: Owner's Guide and Maintenance Manual:
The Mk I THRANDUIL comes with three preset modes:
Royal Attitude - when set in this mode, your THRANDUIL will become assertive, stubborn and somewhat argumentative.
Family Instinct - in this mode, THRANDUIL acts fatherly to younger elves, lost animals, and small beings (except dwarves: see above), and triggers the 'Doting Husband©' programme towards you.
Gleeful Elfling - this mode will make your THRANDUIL sly, cheeky, fun-loving, and fond of merrymaking.
The Mk II THRANDUIL has only one setting:Tyrant - no matter to what model he is interacting with, be it GALADRIEL or LEGOLAS, your THRANDUIL will be obnoxious and volatile to the point of temper tantrums.
He's often portrayed as an obstacle to the Legolas/Gimli pairing. The rift between the Mirkwood elves and the Rivendell elves also generated backstories both humorous & angsty. Those works that don't go the Evil!Thranduil route often assume that his wife is nowhere mentioned because she's dead, and pile on the angst.
There was an uptick in Thranduil's popularity following the film, possibly encouraged by interest in the actor (who was known to fandom through other roles). Tumblr fandom is very active, with many fanart and cosplay posts, as well as gifs and screencaps.
A series of fanart posts by gingerhaze on Tumblr depicting Thranduil as a "dwarf racist party dad" starting in August 2012 inspired many more fanworks. See Thranduil wearing shutter shades and a cosplay inspired by it.
- Der Erlkönig by San Antonio Rose. One of the earliest Thranduil-centric works on the Henneth Annûn archive (2002)
- Promises to Keep by Jasta Elf. Angsty bereaved Thranduil (2002)
- The Last Elf Standing by Suzene Campos. Epistolary Thranduil vs Elrond humour (2003)
- A Case of Mistaken Identity by Coriel. Meta refuting the Evil!Thranduil trope (2004)
- In Defense of the Elvenking by Karri. Another refutation of evil Thranduil (~2004)
- Moriquendi: The Gendered Other in Tolkien Fanfiction by adn_heming. Meta that suggests Thranduil's Dark Elf heritage leads to feminised, hysterical portrayals in fanfiction (2005)
- thranduilfans group on DeviantArt
- Thranduil fanworks at AO3
- thranduil tag on Tumblr
- The Trees Remember (link) Mirkwood archive (pre-film)
- entry at Wikipedia
- entry at Tolkien Gateway
- entry at TheOneRing.net
- entry at The Encyclopedia of Arda
- LOTR wiki entry (Wikia)