Tolkien Gateway

Legolas

(Difference between revisions)
m (Undo revision 301151 by Naeramarth (talk))
Line 53: Line 53:
 
After the fall of Gandalf, Aragorn led the Fellowship eastwards to the borders of the forest of Lórien. Legolas was seized with a deep excitement, for none of his kindred had been into the wood for many a year, and he himself had only heard of it from tales. He was grieved, though, that it was winter, and the full glory of the ''[[Mellyrn]]'' was departed. The Fellowship splashed across the [[Nimrodel]] river, feeling their weariness drained away by its cool waters. As they rested on the shore, Legolas told the tales of [[Lothlórien]] still remembered by the Mirkwood Elves and sang to them part of the [[Song of Nimrodel]]. At last, the Company turned aside from the path in order to shelter in the trees for the night, not caring to be caught on the ground by the Orcs pursuing them from Moria. Upon being surprised and questioned by the Elves of Lórien who were watching from a tree, Legolas responded cautiously in their own tongue. When [[Samwise Gamgee|Samwise]] queried as to what they were saying, Legolas slyly responded, "They say that you breathe so loud they could shoot you in the dark." He hastened to add that they need not fear the Elves.
 
After the fall of Gandalf, Aragorn led the Fellowship eastwards to the borders of the forest of Lórien. Legolas was seized with a deep excitement, for none of his kindred had been into the wood for many a year, and he himself had only heard of it from tales. He was grieved, though, that it was winter, and the full glory of the ''[[Mellyrn]]'' was departed. The Fellowship splashed across the [[Nimrodel]] river, feeling their weariness drained away by its cool waters. As they rested on the shore, Legolas told the tales of [[Lothlórien]] still remembered by the Mirkwood Elves and sang to them part of the [[Song of Nimrodel]]. At last, the Company turned aside from the path in order to shelter in the trees for the night, not caring to be caught on the ground by the Orcs pursuing them from Moria. Upon being surprised and questioned by the Elves of Lórien who were watching from a tree, Legolas responded cautiously in their own tongue. When [[Samwise Gamgee|Samwise]] queried as to what they were saying, Legolas slyly responded, "They say that you breathe so loud they could shoot you in the dark." He hastened to add that they need not fear the Elves.
  
Legolas was called up to meet with the [[Galadhrim]], bringing Frodo, though Sam followed, as always. The Galadhrim had heard Legolas' singing and knew him for one of their northern kindred. They had had tidings from the sons of Elrond as to the Quest upon which the Company was embarked, and readily accepted all of the fellowship save Gimli, who was only grudgingly allowed, for the suspicion of the Elves of Lórien towards the Dwarves was especially accute. Legolas was forced to answer for the company, with the reminder to keep an eye on "that dwarf". The next morning, when the Elves took the company across the river [[Celebrant]] on their way to [[Caras Galadhon]], they told Gimli he would have to be blindfolded, but he was outraged and refused. When Aragorn offered for all of the Company to wear blindfolds, Gimli said if only Legolas would wear one, he would. Legolas was outraged in turn, but Aragorn settled the dispute by asking to blindfold the whole of the Company. In the end, Legolas had no choice but to agree.<ref>{{FR|Lorien}}</ref>
+
Legolas was called up to meet with the [[Galadhrim]], bringing Frodo, though Sam followed, as always. The Galadhrim had heard Legolas' singing and knew him for one of their northern kindred. They had had tidings from the sons of Elrond as to the Quest upon which the Company was embarked, and readily accepted all of the fellowship save Gimli, who was only grudgingly allowed, for the suspicion of the Elves of Lórien towards the Dwarves was especially accute. Legolas was forced to answer for the company, with the reminder to keep an eye on "that dwarf". The next morning, when the Elves took the company across the river [[Celebrant]] on their way to [[Caras Galadhon]], they told Gimli he would have to be blindfolded, but he was outraged and refused. When Aragorn offered for all of the Company to wear blindfolds, Gimli said if only Legolas would wear one, he would. Legolas was outraged in turn, but Aragorn settled the dispute by asking to blindfold the whole of the Company. In the end, Legolas had no choice but to agree.<ref>{{FR|Lothlórien}}</ref>
  
 
[[Image:Michael Kaluta - Legolas Draws the Bow of Galadriel.jpg|thumb|left|200px|[[Michael Kaluta]] - ''Legolas Draws the Bow of Galadriel'']]In Lothlórien, many Elves sang of Gandalf, and their language was such that only Legolas could understand. Legolas would not translate the lamentations for the rest of the Company, saying that he had neither the skill nor the heart. During their time in Lórien, however, with the influence of the Lady [[Galadriel]] permeating the air, he became fast friends with Gimli, a friendship that would never be broken.<ref>{{FR|Mirror}}</ref> He was one of the Company that could handle boats, and when the Fellowship prepared to leave Lórien, he was assigned to paddle one with Gimli. From the lady Galadriel, he received an Elven cloak and brooch, and a bow and quiver such as the Galadhrim used.<ref>{{FR|Farewell}}</ref>
 
[[Image:Michael Kaluta - Legolas Draws the Bow of Galadriel.jpg|thumb|left|200px|[[Michael Kaluta]] - ''Legolas Draws the Bow of Galadriel'']]In Lothlórien, many Elves sang of Gandalf, and their language was such that only Legolas could understand. Legolas would not translate the lamentations for the rest of the Company, saying that he had neither the skill nor the heart. During their time in Lórien, however, with the influence of the Lady [[Galadriel]] permeating the air, he became fast friends with Gimli, a friendship that would never be broken.<ref>{{FR|Mirror}}</ref> He was one of the Company that could handle boats, and when the Fellowship prepared to leave Lórien, he was assigned to paddle one with Gimli. From the lady Galadriel, he received an Elven cloak and brooch, and a bow and quiver such as the Galadhrim used.<ref>{{FR|Farewell}}</ref>
  
When the Company was ambushed by orc-archers on the [[Anduin]], Legolas quickly leaped out onto dry ground and up the riverbank with his bow, searching in the darkness for any sign of the Orcs. From Frodo's low position in the boats, he appeared to be crowned with white stars as he stood tall upon the bank. Suddenly, the south wind chased the clouds away, and a chilling dread fell on the Company. Legolas looked up, and sighed, "[[Elbereth Gilthoniel]]!" as if to draw strength to face the terror riding high in the wind. As the Shadow approached, he bent the great bow of Lórien and shot the descending [[Fell beasts|Fell beast]] from the sky, one of his most masterful deeds. He was praised by the rest of the Company for this, especially Gimli.<ref>{{FR|River}}</ref>
+
When the Company was ambushed by orc-archers on the [[Anduin]], Legolas quickly leaped out onto dry ground and up the riverbank with his bow, searching in the darkness for any sign of the Orcs. He was standing tall, crowned with white stars, when the wind suddenly chased the clouds away, and a chilling dread fell on the Company. Legolas looked up, and sighed, "[[Elbereth Gilthoniel]]!" as if to draw strength to face the terror riding high in the wind. As the Shadow approached, he bent the great bow of Lórien and shot the descending [[Fell beasts|Fell beast]] from the sky, one of his most masterful deeds. He was praised by the rest of the Company for this, especially Gimli.
  
 
===The Three Hunters===
 
===The Three Hunters===
[[Image:Ted Nasmith - Pursuit in Rohan.jpg|thumb|right|200px|[[Ted Nasmith]] - ''Pursuit in Rohan'']]When the company was ambushed on [[Amon Hen]], Legolas shot many [[Orcs]] until his arrows ran out, and then used his knife.<ref>{{FR|Breaking}}</ref> Upon the [[breaking of the Fellowship]], when he learned that Boromir had fallen, he sang a lament with Aragorn, taking the part of the South Wind, which came from the Sea.<ref>{{TT|Departure}}</ref> Legolas was of great aid to Aragorn in the days following, as he helped to track the [[Uruk-hai]] across [[Rohan]]. His eyes could see many leagues, and for a while he could see their quarry far ahead of them.<ref>{{TT|Riders}}</ref>
+
[[Image:Ted Nasmith - Pursuit in Rohan.jpg|thumb|right|200px|[[Ted Nasmith]] - ''Pursuit in Rohan'']]When the company was ambushed on [[Amon Hen]], Legolas shot many [[Orcs]] until his arrows ran out, and then used his knife. Upon the [[breaking of the Fellowship]], when he learned that Boromir had fallen, he sang with Aragorn a lament, taking the part of the South Wind, which came from the Sea. Legolas was of great aid to Aragorn in the days following, as he helped to track the [[Uruk-hai]] across [[Rohan]]. His eyes could see many leagues, and for a while he could see their quarry far ahead of them.
  
When accosted by the [[Riders of Rohan]] led by [[Éomer]], Legolas stood by his friend Gimli when confronted by the haughty Marchwarden, threatening him with death if he attempted to harm the dwarf. When Éomer lent them horses to speed them on their way, Legolas was given [[Arod]], a very high-spirited horse. But Legolas had the Elvish way with beasts, and after he had leaped lightly upon Arod, the horse was docile beneath him. Legolas let Gimli ride behind him on the way to [[Fangorn Forest]] in their search for Merry and Pippin. When they arrived by the smoking pile of Orc ashes, they combed the battle field for any sign of the Hobbits for several hours, but gave up as night approached. Camping under the eaves of the forest, Legolas noticed how the tree beneath which they sat seemed glad of the fire they lit, stretching out its limbs and leaves to the heat. Though the night was very dark, he was also the first to notice the absence of the horses. Later he asserted to Aragorn that the beasts sounded joyful, confirming Aragorn’s own guess.
+
Legolas stood by his friend Gimli when confronted by the haughty [[Éomer]], threatening him with death if he attempted to harm the dwarf. He let Gimli ride behind him on the way to [[Fangorn Forest]]. Under its eaves, Legolas noticed how the tree beneath which they sat seemed glad of the fire. He was reluctant to enter Fangorn, having no knowledge about it save for stories of the [[Onodrim|Ents]], and that it was very old. Though the night was very dark, he was also the first to notice the absence of the horses. Later he asserted to Aragorn that the beasts sounded joyful, confirming Aragorn’s own guess.
  
 
Upon entering Fangorn, Legolas declared that he almost felt young again beside those trees. He commented that in earlier days he could have been happy there. Gimli snorted, saying, “''I dare say you could. You are a Wood-elf, anyway, though Elves of any kind are strange folk.''” Legolas would later reverse this declaration at the [[Hornburg]]. When the [[Three Hunters]] met with the apparition of an old man, whom they believed to be [[Saruman]], despite Gimli’s encouragement Legolas did not shoot him, feeling moral objections to this. The old man declared, "''Put away that bow, Master Elf.''" Legolas dropped his bow, but later picked it up again, and was about to shoot when it was seen that beneath the old man’s robes there was white. Yet he recognised that it was [[Gandalf]] just in time, and shot his arrow high in the air to be consumed by fire. Gandalf coolly added, "''Well met, I say to you again, Legolas!''"
 
Upon entering Fangorn, Legolas declared that he almost felt young again beside those trees. He commented that in earlier days he could have been happy there. Gimli snorted, saying, “''I dare say you could. You are a Wood-elf, anyway, though Elves of any kind are strange folk.''” Legolas would later reverse this declaration at the [[Hornburg]]. When the [[Three Hunters]] met with the apparition of an old man, whom they believed to be [[Saruman]], despite Gimli’s encouragement Legolas did not shoot him, feeling moral objections to this. The old man declared, "''Put away that bow, Master Elf.''" Legolas dropped his bow, but later picked it up again, and was about to shoot when it was seen that beneath the old man’s robes there was white. Yet he recognised that it was [[Gandalf]] just in time, and shot his arrow high in the air to be consumed by fire. Gandalf coolly added, "''Well met, I say to you again, Legolas!''"
Line 82: Line 82:
 
Legolas showed great interest in the [[Huorns]] on the way to [[Isengard]], discussing them with Gandalf and a less willing Gimli. Legolas promised Gimli that he would go to [[Glittering Caves|Aglarond]] after the war upon hearing the dwarf’s eloquence, if only Gimli would accompany him on a return to Fangorn. At Isengard he enjoyed a meal in the company of Gimli, Aragorn, and the [[Hobbits]], Merry and Pippin.
 
Legolas showed great interest in the [[Huorns]] on the way to [[Isengard]], discussing them with Gandalf and a less willing Gimli. Legolas promised Gimli that he would go to [[Glittering Caves|Aglarond]] after the war upon hearing the dwarf’s eloquence, if only Gimli would accompany him on a return to Fangorn. At Isengard he enjoyed a meal in the company of Gimli, Aragorn, and the [[Hobbits]], Merry and Pippin.
  
===The Return of the King==
+
===The Return of the King===
When Aragorn made clear his purpose as to the taking of the [[Paths of the Dead]], Legolas and Gimli willingly volunteered to go with him. Legolas predicted, when Gimli suggested that Galadriel might have sent them soldiers from their own lands, that they need not ride away to find war.=
+
When Aragorn made clear his purpose as to the taking of the [[Paths of the Dead]], Legolas and Gimli willingly volunteered to go with him. Legolas predicted, when Gimli suggested that Galadriel might have sent them soldiers from their own lands, that they need not ride away to find war.
  
 
Amidst the Paths of the Dead, riding with the [[Grey Company]], Legolas alone, save for [[Elladan]] and [[Elrohir]], [[Elrond|Elrond's]] sons, felt no fear of the [[Oathbreakers]], and it may be remembered that the High Elves had power both in the worlds of the seen and unseen. Yet his turn came to be struck to the heart in the opposite sense – when he heard the gulls at [[Pelargir]], fulfilling Galadriel’s prediction and warning. While telling this story later, he stopped there, while Gimli promptly said, "''For my part I heeded them not''". Legolas saw as Aragorn led the Dead Men what a mighty lord he might have been if he had taken the [[One Ring]].
 
Amidst the Paths of the Dead, riding with the [[Grey Company]], Legolas alone, save for [[Elladan]] and [[Elrohir]], [[Elrond|Elrond's]] sons, felt no fear of the [[Oathbreakers]], and it may be remembered that the High Elves had power both in the worlds of the seen and unseen. Yet his turn came to be struck to the heart in the opposite sense – when he heard the gulls at [[Pelargir]], fulfilling Galadriel’s prediction and warning. While telling this story later, he stopped there, while Gimli promptly said, "''For my part I heeded them not''". Legolas saw as Aragorn led the Dead Men what a mighty lord he might have been if he had taken the [[One Ring]].
Line 89: Line 89:
 
Legolas came with Aragorn from the ships during the [[Battle of the Pelennor Fields|Battle of Pelennor Fields]], and fought there beside his comrades. He survived the battle, and several times afterward commented on the longevity and eventual domination of [[Men]] to the dubious Gimli.
 
Legolas came with Aragorn from the ships during the [[Battle of the Pelennor Fields|Battle of Pelennor Fields]], and fought there beside his comrades. He survived the battle, and several times afterward commented on the longevity and eventual domination of [[Men]] to the dubious Gimli.
  
===Battle of the Morannon and Aftermat
+
===Battle of the Morannon and Aftermath===
Legolas rode for the last time into battle beside his friends to the [[Battle of the Morannon]]. He witnessed the Fall of the Dark Tower, and after the battle attended the ceremonies of the [[Field of Cormallen]] in the honour of Frodo and Samwise and their victory. That night Legolas would not go to bed, but instead went away to walk in the woods, singing of the Sea.h===
+
Legolas rode for the last time into battle beside his friends to the [[Battle of the Morannon]]. He witnessed the Fall of the Dark Tower, and after the battle attended the ceremonies of the [[Field of Cormallen]] in the honour of Frodo and Samwise and their victory. That night Legolas would not go to bed, but instead went away to walk in the woods, singing of the Sea.
  
 
At the urging of Aragorn, Legolas remained in [[Minas Tirith]] for a time, after attending the coronation of Elessar. During the parting of the [[Fellowship of the Ring|Fellowship]], Legolas went with Gimli to Aglarond. After that, he rode off with Gimli to return [[Fangorn Forest]].
 
At the urging of Aragorn, Legolas remained in [[Minas Tirith]] for a time, after attending the coronation of Elessar. During the parting of the [[Fellowship of the Ring|Fellowship]], Legolas went with Gimli to Aglarond. After that, he rode off with Gimli to return [[Fangorn Forest]].
  
===After the War of the Rin
+
===After the War of the Ring===
 
[[File:Lorraine Brevig - Legolas and the Sea.jpg|thumb|Lorraine Brevig - ''Legolas and the Sea'']] Legolas brought south Elves out of Greenwood, and they dwelt in [[Ithilien]], and it became once again the fairest country in all the westlands.<ref>{{App|Durin}}</ref> They stayed in Ithilien for "a hundred years of Men."<ref>{{RK|Cormallen}}</ref> After King Aragorn died, Legolas sailed West, reportedly taking Gimli with him.<ref>{{App|Durin}}</ref>
 
[[File:Lorraine Brevig - Legolas and the Sea.jpg|thumb|Lorraine Brevig - ''Legolas and the Sea'']] Legolas brought south Elves out of Greenwood, and they dwelt in [[Ithilien]], and it became once again the fairest country in all the westlands.<ref>{{App|Durin}}</ref> They stayed in Ithilien for "a hundred years of Men."<ref>{{RK|Cormallen}}</ref> After King Aragorn died, Legolas sailed West, reportedly taking Gimli with him.<ref>{{App|Durin}}</ref>
  
==Personality==g===
+
==Personality==
 
Legolas showed almost irrepressible cheerfulness throughout the journey, passing through Caradhras and even the Paths of the Dead without hesitation or complaint. His youthful nature can be seen from the mocking way he treated the "strong men" on Caradhras, whom Boromir (excluding Legolas) had said could forge a way out through the snow. He is perhaps most remembered for his friendship with Gimli the Dwarf, and it was during this friendship that we see his faithfulness, and also his love of beauty. Gimli's words moved him when the dwarf spoke of the [[Glittering Caves]].
 
Legolas showed almost irrepressible cheerfulness throughout the journey, passing through Caradhras and even the Paths of the Dead without hesitation or complaint. His youthful nature can be seen from the mocking way he treated the "strong men" on Caradhras, whom Boromir (excluding Legolas) had said could forge a way out through the snow. He is perhaps most remembered for his friendship with Gimli the Dwarf, and it was during this friendship that we see his faithfulness, and also his love of beauty. Gimli's words moved him when the dwarf spoke of the [[Glittering Caves]].
  
==Description and Equipment=
+
==Description and Equipment==
At Rivendell, Legolas was dressed in green and brown garb, and he was probably dressed similarly for the duration of the quest.=
+
At Rivendell, Legolas was dressed in green and brown garb, and he was probably dressed similarly for the duration of the quest.
  
 
He bore a bow from Mirkwood, and later a [[Bow of the Galadhrim|bow of the Galadhrim]]. He also had a long white knife.  
 
He bore a bow from Mirkwood, and later a [[Bow of the Galadhrim|bow of the Galadhrim]]. He also had a long white knife.  
Line 119: Line 119:
 
''Legolas'' consists of the [[Sindarin]] words ''laeg'', a very rare, archaic word for "green" (cf. ''Laegrim, Laegel(d)rim'', the [[Green Elves]]), which is normally replaced by ''calen'' (cf. ''[[Calenhad]], [[Parth Galen]]'' and ''[[Pinnath Gelin]]''); and ''golas'', a collection of leaves, foliage (being a prefixed collective form of ''[[lass|las(s)]]'', "leaf").<ref>{{L|211}}</ref><ref>{{PE|17}}, pp. 84, 153</ref> The [[Quenya]] cognate of Laegolas is said to be ''Laicolasse''.<ref>{{PE|17}}, p. 56</ref><ref>[[Helge Fauskanger]], [http://folk.uib.no/hnohf/quen-eng.htm ''Quettaparma Quenyallo'']. Entry for '''laica'''. Retrieved 30 August 2010.</ref>
 
''Legolas'' consists of the [[Sindarin]] words ''laeg'', a very rare, archaic word for "green" (cf. ''Laegrim, Laegel(d)rim'', the [[Green Elves]]), which is normally replaced by ''calen'' (cf. ''[[Calenhad]], [[Parth Galen]]'' and ''[[Pinnath Gelin]]''); and ''golas'', a collection of leaves, foliage (being a prefixed collective form of ''[[lass|las(s)]]'', "leaf").<ref>{{L|211}}</ref><ref>{{PE|17}}, pp. 84, 153</ref> The [[Quenya]] cognate of Laegolas is said to be ''Laicolasse''.<ref>{{PE|17}}, p. 56</ref><ref>[[Helge Fauskanger]], [http://folk.uib.no/hnohf/quen-eng.htm ''Quettaparma Quenyallo'']. Entry for '''laica'''. Retrieved 30 August 2010.</ref>
  
==Other versions of the Legendari
+
==Other versions of the Legendarium==
A character "[[Legolas (elf of Gondolin)|Legolas Greenleaf]]" appears firstly in ''[[The Fall of Gondolin (chapter)|The Fall of Gondolin]]'' in ''[[The Book of Lost Tales]]'' (in the context of another unrelated character) who guided some survivors of the sack of the city to safety. His [[Qenya]] name is ''Laiqalassë''.<ref>{{LT2|IIIn}}, §2 Entries in the Name-list to The Fall of Gondolin</ref>um==
+
A character "[[Legolas (elf of Gondolin)|Legolas Greenleaf]]" appears firstly in ''[[The Fall of Gondolin (chapter)|The Fall of Gondolin]]'' in ''[[The Book of Lost Tales]]'' (in the context of another unrelated character) who guided some survivors of the sack of the city to safety. His [[Qenya]] name is ''Laiqalassë''.<ref>{{LT2|IIIn}}, §2 Entries in the Name-list to The Fall of Gondolin</ref>
  
 
Tolkien considered [[Glorfindel]] to be the Elven character of the Fellowship, however he dropped the idea, and Legolas was created to replace him. Perhaps this is the reason why Legolas is considered the most underdeveloped character of the Fellowship, playing only a minor role in ''[[The Lord of the Rings]]''.<ref>{{webcite|articleurl=http://askmiddlearth.tumblr.com/post/53965333513/why-is-legolass-character-so-underdeveloped|articlename=Why is Legolas so underdeveloped?|website=[http://askmiddlearth.tumblr.com Ask About Middle-Earth]}}</ref>
 
Tolkien considered [[Glorfindel]] to be the Elven character of the Fellowship, however he dropped the idea, and Legolas was created to replace him. Perhaps this is the reason why Legolas is considered the most underdeveloped character of the Fellowship, playing only a minor role in ''[[The Lord of the Rings]]''.<ref>{{webcite|articleurl=http://askmiddlearth.tumblr.com/post/53965333513/why-is-legolass-character-so-underdeveloped|articlename=Why is Legolas so underdeveloped?|website=[http://askmiddlearth.tumblr.com Ask About Middle-Earth]}}</ref>
  
==Portrayal in adaptations=
+
==Portrayal in adaptations==
 
<center><gallery>
 
<center><gallery>
File:The Lord of the Rings (1978 film) - Legolas 2.jpg|<center>[[The Lord of the Rings (1978 film)|''The Lord of the Rings'' (1978 film)]]</center>=
+
File:The Lord of the Rings (1978 film) - Legolas 2.jpg|<center>[[The Lord of the Rings (1978 film)|''The Lord of the Rings'' (1978 film)]]</center>
 
File:The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring - Legolas at Amon Hen.jpg|<center>[[The Lord of the Rings (film series)|''The Lord of the Rings'' (film series)]]</center>
 
File:The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring - Legolas at Amon Hen.jpg|<center>[[The Lord of the Rings (film series)|''The Lord of the Rings'' (film series)]]</center>
 
File:The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring (video game) - Legolas.JPG|<center>[[The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (video game)|''The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring'' (video game)]]</center>
 
File:The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring (video game) - Legolas.JPG|<center>[[The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (video game)|''The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring'' (video game)]]</center>

Revision as of 22:16, 9 September 2018

"Who told you, and who sent you?" — Gandalf
This article or section needs more/new/more-detailed sources to conform to a higher standard and to provide proof for claims made.
"The wise will stay here and hope to rebuild our town..." — Master of Lake-town
This article needs to be rewritten to comply with Tolkien Gateway's higher standards...
This article is about the elf of the Fellowship of the Ring. For the the elf in The Fall of Gondolin, see Legolas (elf of Gondolin).
Legolas
Sinda
Līga Kļaviņa - Legolas.jpg
"Legolas" by Līga Kļaviņa
Biographical Information
Other namesGreenleaf
TitlesPrince of Woodland Realm
LocationWoodland Realm
Ithilien
AffiliationFellowship of the Ring
LanguageSindarin and Westron
Sailed westFo.A. 120
Ithilien
Family
ParentageThranduil
Physical Description
GenderMale
ClothingGreen and brown garb[1]
WeaponryBow of Lórien and "long white knife"
SteedArod
GalleryImages of Legolas
Legolas was the prince of the Woodland Realm of Mirkwood. His grandfather, Oropher, was of the Sindar of Doriath, and his father Thranduil was king of Mirkwood (Greenwood the Great). His exact date of birth is not known, nor are his earliest exploits, but his most important recorded role is that which he played in the War of the Ring, during which he was the Elven representative in the Fellowship of the Ring. His Elven giftings, such as superior sight and hearing, lightness of foot, and skilled archery, were valuable assets to his eight companions.

Legolas was counted unusual for his strong friendship with a Dwarf, Gimli son of Glóin. Such a friendship was rare between the two races, on account of the long-standing grievances between Dwarves and Elves dating back to the Elder Days. Also, friendship between these two was unlikely because of the grudge between their two particular houses for the rough treatment given Glóin and the rest of Thorin Oakenshield's company by Thranduil on an earlier occasion.

Contents

History

As has been said, little is known about his life before or during the Third Age, restricted to the few things he himself has said on the matter.

During the War of the Ring, the creature Gollum was captured by Aragorn, and put under lock and key by the Elves of Mirkwood. Through their over-kindliness to him, however, Gollum managed an escape with the help of Sauron's Orcs. Legolas was dispatched to Rivendell to bring this ill news to Elrond and Gandalf.[2]

Legolas was present at the Council of Elrond and related the news of Gollum's escape, being quick to add that it was not through lack of vigilance that he slipped their grasp, and gave detailed account of the whole affair to the Council.[2] He spoke little after his report, if at all, but later was chosen as the representative of the Elves in the Nine Walkers of the Fellowship of the Ring to perform the Quest of the Ring. His capabilities would prove invaluable to the Company.

The Fellowship of the Ring

For the early part of the quest, the nine companions walked single file, Gandalf leading, Legolas, with his keen eyes, providing the rearguard. When the Company came to Hollin, Legolas was very deeply moved: the wholesome air yet spoke of the Elves that dwelt there long ago, and his sharp ears heard the very stones crying out for grief at their departure and memory of their ways.

Ted Nasmith - The Anger of the Mountain
As they ascended Caradhras, Legolas in his light shoes could walk on top of the snow, whereas the others were forced to trudge and wade their way forward. But snow or no snow, nothing could dampen his buoyant Elven spirit, and he joked lightly with Gandalf even at the darkest moments. He scouted ahead and behind the company, dancing over the snow with great ease, and brought news that the storm was, as they had been fearing, put out to stop them by some Power greater than they. When this report arrived, Gandalf reluctantly decided to abandon the idea of crossing by the Redhorn Gate. Legolas stayed close by the Hobbits on the dangerous descent.[3]

At the bottom of the mountain, the company took a vote as to whether or not to attempt passing through Moria. Legolas was silent until asked his opinion, and then said simply and seemingly reluctantly, "I do not wish to go to Moria." His loyalty and respectful deference to the decisions of the two leaders, Aragorn and Gandalf, extended even to following them through darkness and unknown horror; of all the Company, he was arguably the most loyal to leadership. When the voices of the Wargs were heard and the attack began, Legolas did perhaps more than anyone save Gandalf, shooting numerous Wargs and even collecting his spent arrows to fire again, retrieving them, like a responsible bowman, after the fight ended.[4]

The Fellowship reached the West Gate of Moria, and were halted by the doors fast shut. At last gaining entrance, the Company, following Gandalf's staff, began their march through Moria, a pit so profoundly dark that even Legolas' eyes could see nothing. He served his turn, like the others, in lookout duty through the night on the march. When they came to the Chamber of Mazarbul and were brought to battle by the Orcs, Legolas dispatched at least two before following the others out the east door, having to drag Gimli away from Balin's tomb. When Durin's Bane made its frightful appearance, Legolas was the first to recognize it as a Balrog, and it is the only recorded time he was ever truly afraid: a Balrog held far more terror for an Elf than for any other, for only they remembered where the Demons of Fire had come from and whom they had first served.[5]

After the fall of Gandalf, Aragorn led the Fellowship eastwards to the borders of the forest of Lórien. Legolas was seized with a deep excitement, for none of his kindred had been into the wood for many a year, and he himself had only heard of it from tales. He was grieved, though, that it was winter, and the full glory of the Mellyrn was departed. The Fellowship splashed across the Nimrodel river, feeling their weariness drained away by its cool waters. As they rested on the shore, Legolas told the tales of Lothlórien still remembered by the Mirkwood Elves and sang to them part of the Song of Nimrodel. At last, the Company turned aside from the path in order to shelter in the trees for the night, not caring to be caught on the ground by the Orcs pursuing them from Moria. Upon being surprised and questioned by the Elves of Lórien who were watching from a tree, Legolas responded cautiously in their own tongue. When Samwise queried as to what they were saying, Legolas slyly responded, "They say that you breathe so loud they could shoot you in the dark." He hastened to add that they need not fear the Elves.

Legolas was called up to meet with the Galadhrim, bringing Frodo, though Sam followed, as always. The Galadhrim had heard Legolas' singing and knew him for one of their northern kindred. They had had tidings from the sons of Elrond as to the Quest upon which the Company was embarked, and readily accepted all of the fellowship save Gimli, who was only grudgingly allowed, for the suspicion of the Elves of Lórien towards the Dwarves was especially accute. Legolas was forced to answer for the company, with the reminder to keep an eye on "that dwarf". The next morning, when the Elves took the company across the river Celebrant on their way to Caras Galadhon, they told Gimli he would have to be blindfolded, but he was outraged and refused. When Aragorn offered for all of the Company to wear blindfolds, Gimli said if only Legolas would wear one, he would. Legolas was outraged in turn, but Aragorn settled the dispute by asking to blindfold the whole of the Company. In the end, Legolas had no choice but to agree.[6]

Michael Kaluta - Legolas Draws the Bow of Galadriel
In Lothlórien, many Elves sang of Gandalf, and their language was such that only Legolas could understand. Legolas would not translate the lamentations for the rest of the Company, saying that he had neither the skill nor the heart. During their time in Lórien, however, with the influence of the Lady Galadriel permeating the air, he became fast friends with Gimli, a friendship that would never be broken.[7] He was one of the Company that could handle boats, and when the Fellowship prepared to leave Lórien, he was assigned to paddle one with Gimli. From the lady Galadriel, he received an Elven cloak and brooch, and a bow and quiver such as the Galadhrim used.[8]

When the Company was ambushed by orc-archers on the Anduin, Legolas quickly leaped out onto dry ground and up the riverbank with his bow, searching in the darkness for any sign of the Orcs. He was standing tall, crowned with white stars, when the wind suddenly chased the clouds away, and a chilling dread fell on the Company. Legolas looked up, and sighed, "Elbereth Gilthoniel!" as if to draw strength to face the terror riding high in the wind. As the Shadow approached, he bent the great bow of Lórien and shot the descending Fell beast from the sky, one of his most masterful deeds. He was praised by the rest of the Company for this, especially Gimli.

The Three Hunters

Ted Nasmith - Pursuit in Rohan
When the company was ambushed on Amon Hen, Legolas shot many Orcs until his arrows ran out, and then used his knife. Upon the breaking of the Fellowship, when he learned that Boromir had fallen, he sang with Aragorn a lament, taking the part of the South Wind, which came from the Sea. Legolas was of great aid to Aragorn in the days following, as he helped to track the Uruk-hai across Rohan. His eyes could see many leagues, and for a while he could see their quarry far ahead of them.

Legolas stood by his friend Gimli when confronted by the haughty Éomer, threatening him with death if he attempted to harm the dwarf. He let Gimli ride behind him on the way to Fangorn Forest. Under its eaves, Legolas noticed how the tree beneath which they sat seemed glad of the fire. He was reluctant to enter Fangorn, having no knowledge about it save for stories of the Ents, and that it was very old. Though the night was very dark, he was also the first to notice the absence of the horses. Later he asserted to Aragorn that the beasts sounded joyful, confirming Aragorn’s own guess.

Upon entering Fangorn, Legolas declared that he almost felt young again beside those trees. He commented that in earlier days he could have been happy there. Gimli snorted, saying, “I dare say you could. You are a Wood-elf, anyway, though Elves of any kind are strange folk.” Legolas would later reverse this declaration at the Hornburg. When the Three Hunters met with the apparition of an old man, whom they believed to be Saruman, despite Gimli’s encouragement Legolas did not shoot him, feeling moral objections to this. The old man declared, "Put away that bow, Master Elf." Legolas dropped his bow, but later picked it up again, and was about to shoot when it was seen that beneath the old man’s robes there was white. Yet he recognised that it was Gandalf just in time, and shot his arrow high in the air to be consumed by fire. Gandalf coolly added, "Well met, I say to you again, Legolas!"

With the Rohirrim

Legolas was the first to ask Gandalf about Merry and Pippin, and Gandalf’s apparently miraculous escape. After the story, Gandalf delivered Galadriel’s messages to each of them, Legolas' being:

Legolas Greenleaf long under tree
In joy thou hast lived. Beware of the Sea!
If thou hearest the cry of the gull on the shore,
Thy heart shall then rest in the forest no more.

Later, Legolas again used his eyes for the help of the company, as he spied both the of Isengard and Edoras from afar. At the gates of Meduseld, Legolas was the only one to lay down his weapons without hesitation. He played only a passive role in the healing of Théoden King, and later was arrayed in shining mail beside Aragorn. Gimli would not ride on Éomer's horse unless Legolas rode beside them, which he did gladly. Éomer declared, "Legolas upon my left, and Aragorn upon my right, and none will dare to stand before us!"

John Howe - Legolas and Gimli at Helm's Deep
As Legolas stood at the Hornburg at the eve of battle, he said that though he did not like the place. Gimli comforted him, and he was glad that the dwarf stood by his side. He also wished that a hundred archers of Mirkwood were there, noting the small number of bowmen among the Rohirrim. At the opening of the battle, Legolas shot twenty at least, this figure being taken as precise by Gimli. When Gimli returned to the elf for the second time to declare that he slew twenty-one, Legolas counted his kills as twenty-four. By the time the Fire of Orthanc blew out a piece of the wall, his quiver was nearly empty. With the last arrow the elf saved Aragorn’s life when he stumbled while pursued. At the end of the battle, Legolas had shot a total of forty-one, though Gimli surpassed his count by one.

Legolas showed great interest in the Huorns on the way to Isengard, discussing them with Gandalf and a less willing Gimli. Legolas promised Gimli that he would go to Aglarond after the war upon hearing the dwarf’s eloquence, if only Gimli would accompany him on a return to Fangorn. At Isengard he enjoyed a meal in the company of Gimli, Aragorn, and the Hobbits, Merry and Pippin.

The Return of the King

When Aragorn made clear his purpose as to the taking of the Paths of the Dead, Legolas and Gimli willingly volunteered to go with him. Legolas predicted, when Gimli suggested that Galadriel might have sent them soldiers from their own lands, that they need not ride away to find war.

Amidst the Paths of the Dead, riding with the Grey Company, Legolas alone, save for Elladan and Elrohir, Elrond's sons, felt no fear of the Oathbreakers, and it may be remembered that the High Elves had power both in the worlds of the seen and unseen. Yet his turn came to be struck to the heart in the opposite sense – when he heard the gulls at Pelargir, fulfilling Galadriel’s prediction and warning. While telling this story later, he stopped there, while Gimli promptly said, "For my part I heeded them not". Legolas saw as Aragorn led the Dead Men what a mighty lord he might have been if he had taken the One Ring.

Legolas came with Aragorn from the ships during the Battle of Pelennor Fields, and fought there beside his comrades. He survived the battle, and several times afterward commented on the longevity and eventual domination of Men to the dubious Gimli.

Battle of the Morannon and Aftermath

Legolas rode for the last time into battle beside his friends to the Battle of the Morannon. He witnessed the Fall of the Dark Tower, and after the battle attended the ceremonies of the Field of Cormallen in the honour of Frodo and Samwise and their victory. That night Legolas would not go to bed, but instead went away to walk in the woods, singing of the Sea.

At the urging of Aragorn, Legolas remained in Minas Tirith for a time, after attending the coronation of Elessar. During the parting of the Fellowship, Legolas went with Gimli to Aglarond. After that, he rode off with Gimli to return Fangorn Forest.

After the War of the Ring

Lorraine Brevig - Legolas and the Sea
Legolas brought south Elves out of Greenwood, and they dwelt in Ithilien, and it became once again the fairest country in all the westlands.[9] They stayed in Ithilien for "a hundred years of Men."[10] After King Aragorn died, Legolas sailed West, reportedly taking Gimli with him.[11]

Personality

Legolas showed almost irrepressible cheerfulness throughout the journey, passing through Caradhras and even the Paths of the Dead without hesitation or complaint. His youthful nature can be seen from the mocking way he treated the "strong men" on Caradhras, whom Boromir (excluding Legolas) had said could forge a way out through the snow. He is perhaps most remembered for his friendship with Gimli the Dwarf, and it was during this friendship that we see his faithfulness, and also his love of beauty. Gimli's words moved him when the dwarf spoke of the Glittering Caves.

Description and Equipment

At Rivendell, Legolas was dressed in green and brown garb, and he was probably dressed similarly for the duration of the quest.

He bore a bow from Mirkwood, and later a bow of the Galadhrim. He also had a long white knife.

Genealogy

Oropher
d. S.A. 3434
 
 
 
 
Thranduil
Unknown
 
 
 
 
LEGOLAS
Sailed West Fo.A. 120


Etymology

The name Legolas is a Silvan dialect form of pure Sindarin Laegolas, which means "Greenleaf". At one point he is called "Legolas Greenleaf" by Gandalf, coupling his name and its translation like an epithet.[note 1]

Legolas consists of the Sindarin words laeg, a very rare, archaic word for "green" (cf. Laegrim, Laegel(d)rim, the Green Elves), which is normally replaced by calen (cf. Calenhad, Parth Galen and Pinnath Gelin); and golas, a collection of leaves, foliage (being a prefixed collective form of las(s), "leaf").[12][13] The Quenya cognate of Laegolas is said to be Laicolasse.[14][15]

Other versions of the Legendarium

A character "Legolas Greenleaf" appears firstly in The Fall of Gondolin in The Book of Lost Tales (in the context of another unrelated character) who guided some survivors of the sack of the city to safety. His Qenya name is Laiqalassë.[16]

Tolkien considered Glorfindel to be the Elven character of the Fellowship, however he dropped the idea, and Legolas was created to replace him. Perhaps this is the reason why Legolas is considered the most underdeveloped character of the Fellowship, playing only a minor role in The Lord of the Rings.[17]

Portrayal in adaptations

1955: The Lord of the Rings (1955 radio series):

Frank Duncan was the voice of Legolas.

1978: The Lord of the Rings (1978 film):

Legolas was voiced by Anthony Daniels. In the film, he takes Glorfindel's place in the Flight to the Ford sequence; he meets Strider and the hobbits on their way to Rivendell, and sets Frodo on his horse before he is chased by the Nazgûl to the ford of Bruinen. Here, he is apparently from Rivendell, because he answers to Elrond; he is not identified as a Wood-elf.

1979: The Lord of the Rings (1979 radio series):

John Vickery provided the voice of Legolas.

1980: The Return of the King (1980 film):

Neither Legolas nor Gimli appeared in this film, as they were essentially followers irrelevant to the plot.

1981: The Lord of the Rings (1981 radio series):

David Collings provided the voice of Legolas.

2002: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (video game):

Michael Reisz provided the voice of Legolas.

2001-03: The Lord of the Rings (film series):

Legolas was portrayed by Orlando Bloom.
In the "official movie guide" for The Lord of the Rings, a birthdate for Legolas is set to 87 of the Third Age. This would make him 2931 years old at the time of the War of the Ring. This date for Legolas' birth was made up by the movie writers. Curiously, the year 2931 was the year Aragorn was born; the writers may have picked the number at random from the Tale of Years in the Appendices.
He is presented as an unstoppable fighter, arguably to the point of stealing the show; he performs show-stopping yet implausible stunts in battle scenes. For example, in the Battle of the Hornburg, he slides down a staircase using a shield, shooting arrows all the while, and in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, he takes down an Oliphaunt all by himself. However, in the books, Legolas's exploits in battle are not presented in great detail. Aside from shooting the fell beast, he undertakes no major actions other than to make peace with Gimli, overcoming their longstanding mutual racial animosity — he and Gimli are followers, rather than leaders. The film-makers later stated that the entire scene of Legolas killing the Oliphaunt and its entire crew was filmed during pick-ups (months after original filming) to insert a major action scene showcasing him, because at that point they realized that he simply doesn't get to do much in the third part of the trilogy.
Legolas bears two long knives, while in the book he bears only one. Another, more trivial change, was the number of Orcs he and Gimli kill at Helm's Deep: 42 and 43, respectively. It is not clear whether this was an intentional change on the part of the filmmakers, though it seems likely that it was, since the original numbers were so clear in Tolkien's own text.
Playing Legolas in the trilogy was Orlando Bloom's breakout route to superstardom. His handsome features and Legolas' "coolness", so to speak, as depicted in the film, have led to the character becoming an unprecedented fan favourite with both fangirls and fanboys, not to mention other Tolkien fans. Although the disproportionate popular reaction to Legolas met with mixed reactions from fans, many debaters on the Internet during earlier stages of production were worried that a film portrayal of Legolas might render him as far too effeminate for popular consumption. Later, many felt that Bloom was able to avoid this entirely. Christopher Tolkien recounts that his father wrote the following "wrathful" comment protesting against a "pretty" or "ladylike" depiction of Legolas:
"He was tall as a young tree, lithe, immensely strong, able swiftly to draw a great war-bow and shoot down a Nazgûl, endowed with the tremendous vitality of Elvish bodies, so hard and resistant to hurt that he went only in light shoes over rock or through snow, the most tireless of all the Fellowship."
The Book of Lost Tales Part Two

2002: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (video game):

Legolas is a non-playable character, accompanying the Ring-bearer since Rivendell.

2002: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (video game):

Legolas is one of the three playable characters.

2003: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (video game):

Legolas is a playable character, skilled in both ranged and melee. He and Gimli accompany Aragorn through Paths of the Dead, later he fights on Pelennor fields and at the Black Gate.

2004: The Lord of the Rings: War of the Ring:

Grant George provides the voice of Legolas.[18] The game depicts Legolas's hunt for Gollum in northern Mirkwood, which is interrupted by the orcs.

2004: The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth:

Legolas is a Hero Unit for the Rohan faction in skirmishes, and accompanies the Fellowship in the storyline mode. He specializes in powerful ranged attacks.

2006: The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II:

Legolas is now the Hero for the Elven faction.

2007: The Lord of the Rings Online:

Legolas can be found in Rivendell, where before the Fellowship's departure he accompanies the player on a mission to find the missing Nazgul (as only eight horses were found in the book). Later, he can be found in Lothlorien, displaying Gimli the beauty of Cerin Amroth.

2009: The Lord of the Rings: Conquest:

Crispin Freeman plays Legolas, who is available as a Hero in several missions.[19]

2011: The Lord of the Rings: War in the North:

Legolas can be found and talked to in Rivendell, he retains the appearance from the movies. While he provides insight into many events, interactions with him do not affect the main plot.

2013: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug:

Orlando Bloom reprised his role as Legolas in Peter Jackson's adaptation of the Hobbit.[20] He is one of the Elves who capture Thorin and Company who traverse Mirkwood. As he examines Gloin, he finds a locket with a picture of Gimli, his future friend, and comments on his ugliness. His father notices Legolas's affection for Tauriel, which he doesn't approve because she is a pure Silvan-elf. However he joins her in pursuit of the pack of Orcs (led by Bolg) who are after Thorin.

2014: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies:

Legolas appears after the destruction of Lake-town. With Tauriel he goes to investigate the Orcs' armies in Gundabad where his mother was killed during an old battle, something about which his father never talks. He returns to the ruins of Dale where the Lake-men are regrouping. He participates in the Battle of Five Armies and goes with Tauriel to the Ravenhill to support Thorin. In order to save Tauriel from Bolg, he uses a mutilated Troll to demolish an ancient tower and duels with Bolg. Bitter with his father's treatment towards Tauriel, he says that he won't return to Mirkwood; Thranduil advices him to go to the North and find the Dúnedain and a young ranger called "Strider." Before parting, Thranduil assures him that his mother loved him more than anything else.

See also

Notes

  1. Greenleaf is not his surname, as is sometimes erroneously believed; nor is it an epithet (like Oakenshield).

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "Many Meetings"
  2. 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Council of Elrond"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Ring Goes South"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "A Journey in the Dark"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Bridge of Khazad-dûm"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Mirror of Galadriel"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "Farewell to Lórien"
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "Durin's Folk"
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Field of Cormallen"
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "Durin's Folk"
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 211, (dated 14 October 1958)
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings", in Parma Eldalamberon XVII (edited by Christopher Gilson), pp. 84, 153
  13. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings", in Parma Eldalamberon XVII (edited by Christopher Gilson), p. 56
  14. Helge Fauskanger, Quettaparma Quenyallo. Entry for laica. Retrieved 30 August 2010.
  15. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "The Fall of Gondolin": "Notes and Commentary", §2 Entries in the Name-list to The Fall of Gondolin
  16. "Why is Legolas so underdeveloped?", Ask About Middle-Earth (accessed 18 November 2018)
  17. http://www.dynamicduovo.com/aboutgrant.html
  18. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/crispin_freeman_fansite/message/9438
  19. Peter Jackson, "Ten years ago,..." dated 27 May 2011, Facebook (accessed 23 December 2011)
Attendees of the Council of Elrond
Aragorn · Bilbo Baggins · Frodo Baggins · Boromir · Elrond · Erestor · Galdor · (Samwise Gamgee) · Gandalf · Gimli · Glóin · Glorfindel · Legolas
Members of the Fellowship of the Ring
Frodo · Sam · Merry · Pippin · Gandalf · Aragorn · Legolas · Gimli · Boromir