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Tengwar Legolas

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LegolasTDOS
Orlando Bloom portrays Legolas in Motion Pictures

Legolas Greenleaf

Biographical information

Other names
Greenleaf [1]
Titles
Prince of the Woodland Realm
Date of birth
Unknown; after TA 1000?
Year ascended to the throne
Date of death
Departed to Aman, FO 120
Realms ruled
Spouse
Weapon

Physical description

Race
Culture
Sindar, Elves of Mirkwood)
Gender
Male
Height
Hair color
Uncertain (book), Blonde (films)
Eye color
Grey (book), Blue (films)
Voice
Character

This article is about a the Elf of Mirkwood. For the Elf of Gondolin, see Legolas (elf of Gondolin).

Legolas Greenleaf was an Elf who was part of the Fellowship of the Ring in the Third Age. He is the son of the Elf-king Thranduil of Mirkwood, a Prince of the Woodland Realm (Mirkwood), a messenger, and a master bowman. With his keen eyesight, sensitive hearing, and excellent bowmanship, Legolas is a valuable resource to the other eight of the Fellowship. His age was never stated by Tolkien. Legolas became great friends with the dwarf Gimli , despite their long held differences, who was also a member of the Fellowship.

It is not known whether Legolas was Thranduil's only son, or whether he was heir to his father's crown.

Biography

Early Life

Legolas was the son of Thranduil, the King of the Elves of Northern Mirkwood. The date of his birth is unknown and little to nothing was revealed on his earlier life in Middle-earth.

War of the Ring

Legolas came to the Council of Elrond in Rivendell, the great meeting held by the Elf lord Elrond, as a messenger from his father to discuss the escape of Gollum. When the council was choosing the "Nine Walkers" to pit against the "Nine Riders," Legolas volunteered to represent the elves, and become one of the members of the Fellowship that set out to destroy the One Ring.[2]

Legolas in Moria

Legolas in combat with the Goblins during the Skirmish in Balin's Tomb.

During their journey, Legolas stayed at the rear due to his keen eyes. On Caradhras, Legolas was able to run nimbly over the snow, making little imprint in it, whereas his companions struggled to plow through it.[3] When Gandalf gave his counsel, Legolas voted against passing through Moria. In the morning, the Fellowship was waylaid by wargs and Legolas fought for their defense. After the battle, he picked up his arrows save by one which was damaged.[4]

Gimli quarreled with him in Moria which was not unexpected considering the ancient quarrel between Elves and Dwarves, which began after the destruction of Doriath, and also because Legolas' father Thranduil once imprisoned Gimli's father, Glóin.[5]

He and Gimli became friends, moreover, when Gimli greeted the Elven queen, Galadriel, with gentle words. The Fellowship left Lothlórien after receiving several gifts. Legolas was given a new Galadhrim longbow, along with other gifts that Galadriel and Celeborn gave him and the rest of the Fellowship, such as Elven cloaks and Lembas, elven bread.[6] While the Fellowship was travelling over the River Anduin, Legolas used his new bow to shoot down a nearby Nazgûl with one masterful shot in the dark.[7]

Legolas and Aragorn sang a song of lament for the fall of Boromir.[8] He led the rest of the Fellowship through Rohan when Merry and Pippin were taken by the Uruk-hai. Also in Rohan, he acquired a grey horse named Arod on which he and Gimli would often ride together.[9]

In Fangorn Forest, Legolas, Aragorn, and Gimli were reunited with Gandalf, now called the White. Upon their meeting, Gandalf delivered the messages of Galadriel to the Three Hunters:


"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."
—Galadriel's message to Legolas[1]
John Howe - Legolas and Gimli at Helm's Deep

Legolas and Gimli at Helm's Deep, by John Howe

In the Battle of the Hornburg, Legolas and Gimli engaged in an Orc-slaying contest[10] that Gimli won (the score being 41 to 42, respectively), though Legolas was not jealous, stating "You have passed my score by one but I do not grudge you the game, so glad am I to see you on your legs."[11]

In Rohan, he and Gimli followed Aragorn and Elladan and Elrohir to the Paths of the Dead. His horse, Arod, refused to enter the paths, and Legolas calmed him. Their company rode on, with Elladan on the last, but Legolas turned back and saw the Dead following the Grey Company.


"The Dead are following. I see shapes of Men and of horses, and pale banners like shreds of cloud, and spears like winter-thickets on a misty night. The Dead are following."
—Legolas in the Paths of the Dead [12]

Legolas fought in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields with Gimli and the sons of Elrond.[13] After the battle, he and Gimli entered Minas Tirith; Legolas sang an elven-song as he walked, and suggested that the place needed more gardens. They meet Prince Imrahil and went to the Houses of Healing. There he heard the cries of the gulls at Pelargir and sang a song about his sea-longing.[14]

Silver flow the streams from Celos to Erui
In the green fields of Lebennin!
Tall grows the grass there. In the wind from the Sea
The white lilies sway,
And the golden bells are shaken of mallos and alfirin
In the green fields of Lebennin,
In the wind from the Sea! [14]

After the War

Legolas and Gimli arrive in Valinor

Legolas and Gimli sail to Valinor, by Ted Nasmith

After the destruction of the One Ring and of Sauron, Legolas stayed for the coronation of Aragorn and his marriage to Arwen. Later, Legolas and Gimli went travelling together to Helm's Deep, visiting the Glittering Caves, and then later traveled through Fangorn Forest as Legolas and Gimli had agreed. Eventually, Legolas came to Ithilien with some of his people, with his father's leave, to live out his remaining time in Middle-earth helping to restore the devastated forests of that war-ravaged land. After the death of King Elessar, Legolas made a ship in Ithilien, and through Anduin, he left Middle-earth to go over the sea and meet his father. Legolas' strong friendship with Gimli prompted him to invite Gimli to go to the Undying Lands; making him the first and only Dwarf to do so.[15][16]

Etymology

Magali Villanueve Legolas2

Legolas, by Magali Villenueve

The name Legolas is a Silvan dialect form of pure Sindarin Laegolas, Greenleaf. It consists of the Sindarin words laeg ("green") ans golas ("a collection of leaves, foliage (being a prefixed collective form of las(s) "leaf"). The Quenya translation of Legolas is Laiqualassë.[17][18]

There might, however, be a certain meaning to his name: laeg is a very rare, archaic word for "green", which is normally replaced by calen (cf. Calenhad, mutated Parth Galen and plural Pinnath Gelin) and is otherwise almost only preserved in Laegrim, Laegel(d)rim (Sindarin form of Quenya Laiquendi), the Green Elves of the First Age. It may be that Thranduil named his son Legolas to at least in part refer to this people, who were remote kin and ancestors of the later Silvan Elves, the people Thranduil ruled.

Character

Young Legolas by Anna Lee

Young Legolas, by Anna Lee

Although he lived among them and in their culture, Legolas was not fully of the Silvan Elves. As a son of the Elven-king Thranduil, who had originally come from Doriath, Legolas was at least part Sindarin Elf, as his mother's identity is completely unknown. This is complicated by the fact that a small minority of Sindarin Elves ruled the predominantly Silvan Woodland Realm of Northern Mirkwood, a minority to which Legolas belonged. The Sindarin minority in that realm, who should have been nobler and wiser than the Silvan Elves, can be seen as having "gone native" at the end of the First Age: after Morgoth was defeated and all of the grand Elf-kingdoms of Beleriand were destroyed, they can be seen as going back to "a simpler time" in their culture.[19]

Like all elves, Legolas has a great respect and appreciation for nature. While in Fangorn Forest he longed to return once more in order to explore its wonders more thoroughly. He is kind, and cares greatly for his friends, even Gimli the Dwarf, though it was a rarity for Elves and Dwarves to express a liking for one another because of their feud. Due to his age however, he sometimes seems rather patronizing toward the mortals around him.[1]

Age

Tolkien does not specifically give Legolas' age but many have used what details Tolkien does give to hazard a guess. There are no known dates concerning Legolas before TA 3018. It's safe to say that Legolas was most likely born after Oropher, his grandfather, moved his people across the Misty Mountains, since in the book he referred to the Ñoldor elves as a "strange race". That would mean he's at most 5000 years old which places his birthdate in the latter part of the Second Age, at the earliest. Legolas is never mentioned in any account of the Last Alliance of Elves and Men, so most assume he was born in the Third Age, after Isildur took the Ring of Power.

Legolas has never been to Lórien before he travels there with the Fellowship. Therefore, we can assume that he was not with his grandfather's people when they left Lórien for Northern Mirkwood. Before the Shadow of Dol Guldur fell on Mirkwood in TA 1000, Legolas' people spent time amongst their Lórien neighbors. But when the Shadow fell, they "retreated before it as it spread ever northward, until at last Thranduil established his realm in the north-east of the forest and delved there a fortress and great halls underground." So it seems likely that Legolas' birth-date was after TA 1000, when the Kingdom of Northern Mirkwood was created. This would make him younger than any other elf character in the series, including Arwen. In the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Legolas refers to his travelling companions many times as "children". Yet when he arrived at Fangorn, he claimed to feel young compared to the forest, saying, "It is old, very old. So old that I almost I feel young again, as I have not felt since I journeyed with you children."[1]

Weapons

Legolas uses an Elven bow and a long, white dagger with lethal precision. He prefers to pierce his enemies from afar, but he does sometimes use his daggers in close combat. In Lothlorien, he was given a long-bow of the Galadhrim, which was longer and stouter than those of the fashion of Mirkwood.[20] Nevertheless he adapts to his new bow and makes deadly use of it in the remainder of the War of the Ring. This bow had a draw weight of about 150 pounds. It could reputedly send an arrow with fatal force for over 400 yards. The bow was over six feet tall, and was made from a single piece of Mallorn heartwood. Its string had a single strand of Galadriel's hair entwined with it to help speed the arrow along even faster. Legolas' skill with the bow is revered, even as good as that of Beleg Cúthalion in the First Age.

Legolas mirkwood bow
Legolas's Mirkwood bow and arrows
Lothlorien Bow
Legolas' Bow of Galladhrim
LEGOLAS12
Legolas' iconic dual long knives (One in the books)

Behind the Scenes

The Elves in Tolkien's legendarium were often associated as "fairy-like" who grew great in stature. However, when Legolas was visually rendered as "pretty or lady-like", Tolkien was "wrathful" and added a description as Legolas as:


"He was as 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."
—J.R.R. Tolkien on Legolas[21]

Appearance in the Books and Films

In the books

In the movies

Portrayal in adaptations

Lord of the Rings film trilogy

Legolas animated

Legolas in Ithilien

In Peter Jackson's movie adaptation, Legolas's role stays much the same as it does in the books, although the bond between Legolas and Gimli is greatly expanded. While Legolas's skill described in the book is fantastic, the movie adaptations make it somewhat unrealistic, but still great movie moments. Legolas wields a Rohirric sword at the Battle of Helm's Deep, presumably because his daggers would not be very effective from horseback. He also carries two knives across his back, instead of a single knife in his belt.

In the extended version of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), Legolas is shown to hold his liquor very well. Éomer challenged Legolas and Gimli to a drinking game.

Legolas: "I feel something, a slight tingling on my fingers. I think it's affecting me."
Gimli: "What did I tell you? He can't hold his liquor... (passes out)"
Legolas: "Game over."
The drinking game in The Return of the King Extended Edition


In the official movie guide for The Lord of the Rings, a birthdate for Legolas is set to TA 87. This would make him 2931 years old at the time of the War of the Ring. But also take note that Aragorn was born during the year 2931 in the Third Age.

Due to a technical mishap involving Orlando Bloom's contact lenses, in the films Legolas' eye colour sometimes changes between brown and blue. Peter Jackson also filmed, but never used, footage of Legolas in his new home.

The Hobbit film trilogy

"Do not think I won't kill you, dwarf! It would be my pleasure."
—Legolas to Thorin, in The Desolation of Smaug
Desolation - Legolas in Mirkwood

Legolas confronts Thorin and Company.

In The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Orlando Bloom returns to the role of Legolas. Although Legolas does not appear anywhere in the novel The Hobbit, he has a significant role as the son of the Elven king Thranduil within their Mirkwood realm. Bloom joins Ian McKellen, Ian Holm, Andy Serkis, Christopher Lee, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving and Elijah Wood from the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

As Thorin and Company are attacked by spiders, Woodland Elves led by Legolas and Tauriel help rescue the Dwarves. They take the Dwarves into custody and confiscate their weapons. Legolas' attention is attracted by Orcrist, which he recognizes as a sword from Gondolin. Upon reaching Gloin, Legolas confiscates a locket which showcases his wife and son Gimli, and speaks insultingly about both of them.

In the palace, Legolas remarks that Kíli has been looking at Tauriel in a different way, to which Tauriel only smiles and remarks that Kíli is tall for a Dwarf. Later, Thranduil confronts Tauriel and remarks that Legolas has grown fond of her and that she should not give him hope where there is none, since he is the son of a king and she is only a common woodland elf, even if she is captain of his guard. Later, Legolas watches from the far as Tauriel stands outside Kíli's cell and talks with him.

After the Dwarves escape Thranduil's caverns, Legolas leads the Mirkwood guard after them. Along the way, they encounter Bolg and his troops who have killed the Elven guards by the bridge and are attacking the doors. Legolas and his elves manage to kill most of the Orcs and drive off the rest, but Thorin and Company are able to escape.

Legolas and Tauriel return to the palace, bringing Narzug, a hostage Orc for questioning. They interrogate the orc about Thorin Oakenshield but the enemy does not answer properly, prompting the Elven king to slay Narzug himself. Thranduil then orders that no one enter or leave his kingdom without his knowledge. As Legolas gives out the orders, a soldier informs him that Tauriel has left the forest. Legolas goes after her.

Legolas with Orcrist

Legolas using Orcrist

In Lake-town, Legolas and Tauriel arrive just in time to rescue Kíli, Fíli, Bofur and Oin from being killed by Bolg. Legolas runs after the escaping Orcs, decapitates Fimbul and confronts Bolg himself, using Thorin's sword Orcrist. Amidst the fight, Legolas has to fight several Orcs who intercede, which allows Bolg to escape. After dispatching the other Orcs, Legolas, only slightly wounded, takes a horse and pursues Bolg.

Speaking of Legolas' return for The Hobbit (films), Peter Jackson has remarked, "He's Thranduil's son, and Thranduil is one of the characters in The Hobbit, and because elves are immortal it makes sense Legolas would be part of the sequence in the Woodland Realm."

As for his return as Legolas, Orlando Bloom remarked that, "The Elves always steal the show."

Ralph Bakshi version

BakshiLegolas

Legolas in Ralph Bakshi's animated version of Lord of the Rings.

Legolas has also been portrayed by Anthony Daniels in the 1978 Ralph Bakshi animated version of The Lord of the Rings.

Radio versions

Legolas was voiced by Frank Duncan in the 1956 radio series, by John Vickery in the 1979 radio series, and by David Collings in the 1981 BBC Radio 4 adaptation.

Voice Dubbing actors

Foreign Language Voice dubbing artist
Spanish (Latin America) José Antonio Macías
Spanish (Spain) Sergio Zamora
Portuguese (Brazil) (Television/DVD) Sérgio Moreno (FOTR, TTT, Extended Edition ROTK)
Alexandre Marconatto (ROTK)
Philippe Maia (The Hobbit trilogy)
German Philipp Moog
Italian (Italy) Massimiliano Manfredi
Hungarian Károly Rékasi
French (France) Denis Laustriat
Czech (Czech Republic) Michal Jagelka
Slovak Vladimír Kobielský
Polish Lesław Żurek (The Hobbit trilogy)
Turkish Murat Şen

Video games

  • In Peter Jackson's movie The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers (2002) video game and the movie based The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King (2003) video game and The Lord of the Rings The Third Age (2004) Legolas is voiced by Orlando Bloom.
  • Legolas appears as a hero in The Lord of the Rings: Conquest, and voiced by Crispen Freemen in the PS3 and Xbox 360 version. There is a specific achievement called "That still only counts as one", which is earned by using Legolas to kill an Oliphaunt single handedly, just like Legolas did in the third of Peter Jackson's movies and is named after what Gimli said to him immediately afterwards.
  • In LEGO The Lord of the Rings: The Video Game, Legolas is voiced by Orlando Bloom since in the game, actual movie audio is used for cutscenes and other dialogue needed. Legolas is able to jump higher than other characters in game.
  • Legolas also appears in The Lord of the Rings Online, and can be found in the Guest Rooms of Rivendell, and in Cerin Amroth, in Lothlórien.
"A Prince of the Woodland Realm, Legolas is a lethal fighter who is fiercely loyal to his father. However, as the outside world encroaches on the Wood Elves, Legolas has ventured forth to help defend his people from dwarves, orcs and other threats."
—Description of Legolas in The Hobbit: Armies of the Third Age

Gallery

Legolas
Legolas - in Two Towers
Legolas The Hobbit
Legolas' full appearance for The Hobbit films
Legolas portrait - EmpireMag
A close-up on Legolas from Empire Magazine
The Hobbit- The Desolation of Smaug 24
Legolas' character poster for The Desolation of Smaug
FR Desolation - Legolas
A French character poster of Legolas
Hobbit the desolation of smaug tauriel legolas poster2
Tauriel and Legolas poster
LEGO Legolas
LEGO Legolas
LEGO Legolas Greenleaf
LEGO Legolas
Legolas lego final
Legolas as a LEGO minifigure.
LOTRO-Legolas
Gome-legolas
Legolas in Guardians of Middle-earth
The Hobbit-Armies of the Third Age Legolas 01
Legolas' full appearance for The Hobbit: Armies of the Third Age
Legolas - Hero
Legolas in Armies of the Third Age
LegolasandBardTBOT5A
Legolas and Bard in the The Hobbit films
Legolask
Legolas
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Legolas The Hobbit
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References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, Book Three, Chapter V: "The White Rider"
  2. The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Chapter II: "The Council of Elrond"
  3. The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Chapter III: "The Ring goes South"
  4. The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Chapter IV: "A Journey in the Dark"
  5. The Hobbit, Chapter IX: "Barrels Out of Bond"
  6. The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Chapter VI: "Lothlorien"
  7. The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Chapter IX: "The Great River"
  8. The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, Book Three, Chapter I: "The Departure of Boromir"
  9. The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, Book Three, Chapter II: "The Riders of Rohan"
  10. The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, Book Three, Chapter VII: "Helm's Deep"
  11. The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, Book Three, Chapter VIII: "The Road to Isengard"
  12. The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, Book Five, Chapter II: "The Passing of the Gray Company"
  13. The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, Book Five, Chapter VI: "The Battle of the Pelennor Fields"
  14. 14.0 14.1 The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, Book Five, Chapter IX: "The Last Debate"
  15. The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A: Annals of the Kings and Rulers, III: Durin's Folk
  16. The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B: The Tale of Years (Chronology of the Westlands), "Later Events concerning the Members of the Fellowship of the Ring"
  17. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 2: The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, III: "The Fall of Gondolin"
  18. The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 211, (dated 14 October 1958)
  19. Unfinished Tales, Part Two: The Second Age, IV: "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn, and of Amroth King of Lórien", Appendices: Appendix B, The Sindarin Princes of the Silvan Elves
  20. The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Chapter VIII: "Farewell to Lorien"
  21. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 2: The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, VI: "The History of Eriol or Ælfwine and the End of the Tales"

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