Elves as they appear in modern fantasy fiction were plucked from Norse mythology, where there were High and Dark Elves, and the Dark Elves were the forerunners of Dwarves as we know them in fantasy fiction.
But Wood Elves were not part of Norse mythology. They have evolved from the light and dark Norse elves and become their own special species.
There are five groups of wood elves that are perhaps more well known than any others in modern fiction, as listed by Wikipedia:
- Silvan Elves – a fictional race in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth of northern Mirkwood and Lothlórien.
- Wood Elves (Warhammer) – a fictional race in the Warhammer universe.
- EverQuest – a player character race in the video game series, similar to those of Tolkien’s fiction.
- Wood Elves is a playable character in the game Sacred
- Wood Elves are also found in The Elder Scrolls series, known as Bosmers.
Certainly one of the best known wood elves, thanks to the popularity of movies, would be Legolas, from the The Lord of the Rings trilogy of movies, who was a prince of the Mirkwood Realm.
In general, drawing from similar traits across all the fictional universes, Wood Elves are similar to High Elves. They are a slender, tall and noble, with pale skin and often pointed ears. Wood elves live in deep forests and are guardians of the natural world. They work with trees and try not to damage natural forestation. Wood elves are extremely agile. Their main method of attack is the bow, but they will use hand-to-hand fighting. Wood elves like to use stealth as there are fewer of them compared to the High Elves and Dark Elves. Wood Elves prefer not to wear armour, as this allows them to move more rapidly through forests. They tend to wear fabrics in greens and browns to blend with their surroundings.
As I write this, there are no novels I could find using advanced search tools that specifically feature wood elves, on either Ellora’s Cave, or indie-published.
If you know of any, please let me know via comments.
…and I do believe I feel a book coming on! A whole (sub)race that has never been featured in a series? Too good to pass up! 😉