To understand Lothlórien, you first need to understand the element that makes up the area: Mallorn. Mallorn is a grand Elven tree that only grows in Tol Eressëa, Númenor and Lothlórien. The exception to this rule is one such tree given as a gift to Samwise Gamgee by Lady Galadriel. You might know this tree as a replacement to The Party Tree in Hobbiton, which was cut down in the time that Sam and Frodo were on their quest.
The woods of Mallorn in Lothlórien were created when Gil-galad was given the young trees as a gift from Tar-Aldarion. The land was originally settled by the Nandor, who were actually Eldar who had left the Great March. These Nandor eventually became known as the Silvan Elves who began the nurturing of the forest.
Soon, the Sindarin Elves began to settle in the area as they arrived from the west of the mountains. One of these Sindarin was Amdír who later become their first lord. Galadriel and Celeborn also settled in this area after the destruction of Eregion during the War of the Elves and Sauron. Amdír and Oropher -- another Sindarin lord -- led great Elven forces against the encroaching forces of Sauron, and Lothlórien became their last sacred retreat.
The area has had many names throughout the years, but most refer to its golden or dreamlike presence. One of the original names was Lindórinand, which was given by the early Nandorin to mean Vale of the Land of the Singers. Once the Mallorn trees were introduced to the area, it was named Lórinand (Valley of Gold) by the Nandorin and Laurelindórenan (Valley of Singing Gold) by the Sindarin. The name Lothlórien itself means "The Dreamflower", with the shortened version Lórien simply meaning "Dream Land".
The importance of Lothlórien
So how has this area become so peaceful and protected from the onslaught of Orcs to the east? How have the Elves remained so protected in their platforms built high above in the Mallorn trees? The answer is simple: Galadriel's ring. If you'll remember from a previous Know Your LotRO Lore, Lady Galadriel possessed one of the rings of power, and it was revealed that her ring helped enrich the land, much as Elrond's ring had helped build Rivendell. It has been said that the only way Lothlórien could be destroyed is if Sauron himself visited the forest.
Caras Galadhon was established as the area's capital city, and was comprised entirely inside and around the Mallorn trees of the land. The architecture of the city was very important as a strategic force against the encroaching armies of Sauron. However, this could not last forever. When Galadriel left for Valinor in the early Fourth Age, Celeborn led the Elves across the Anduin to found a larger realm known as East Lórien. The forest and its capital city were deserted by the time Queen Arwen, Celeborn and Galadriel's granddaughter, had passed away.
Lothlórien in the game
As the game stands currently, we only have access to Lothlórien near the Mirrormere. The Book 7 content will open up the lands east of the Nimrodel, which is exactly what this article focuses upon. You'll be able to visit the battlefields of northern Lothlórien, the capital city of Caras Galadhon, the magnificent Banquet Lawn and the river Andwin. You will climb ladders to the great platforms in the Mallron trees and even meet up with the land's rulers: Galadriel and Celeborn. We're very excited for what Turbine has in store with this interpretation of Lothlórien.
We hope this lore article gives you a bit more insight into the upcoming lands of Lothlórien when Book 7 launches soon. It's really important to note just how much of an impact this land has had on popular culture and other Tolkien lore buffs. According to wikipedia, there are several notable institutions named after Lothlórien. There's a family-based Christian community in southern Scotland, a neopagan retreat in Indiana, a vegetarian co-op at USCA, Berkley and the Australian School for Rudolf Steiner Education named Lorien Novalis, after the fictional forest and the Poet Novalis.
The next two weeks I will be predisposed with a trip and GDC the following week, so a lore article -- at least for LotRO -- will not be going up. I look forward to diving head-first back into the lore-a-lisciousness in three more weeks from now. Na-den pedim ad!