- "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 (Book of Lost Tales 2, pg. 333)
Legolas is an Elf who was part of the Fellowship of the Ring in the Third Age. He is the son of the Elvenking 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 but was estimated by some to be between 500 and 3000 years old, which is not uncommon for Elves. 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.
- "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 (The Two Towers, Chapter 5).
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.
Gimli quarreled with him concerning the Ring at the Council (only in the movie) and at Moria (both in the movie and the book), 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, (during Bilbo's Quest to the Lonely Mountain). Unfortunately they lost Gandalf the Grey during combat with the goblins and the Balrog in Moria.
During their journey, Legolas stayed at the rear due to his keen eyes. Once in Caradhras, Legolas was able to walk above the snow, whereas his companions struggled. He also voted against passing through Moria. Legolas 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 bread. While the Fellowship was travelling over the River Anduin, Legolas used his new bow to shoot down a nearby Nazgul with one masterful shot in the dark.
Legolas and Aragorn sang a song of lament for the fall of Boromir. 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. In the Battle of the Hornburg, Legolas surfed on a shield while shooting orcs and then, Legolas and Gimli engaged in Orc-slaying contests with Gimli winning by one, the score being Forty one and Forty two 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."
After the War
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 travelled 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 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.
Character and Personality
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.
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.
The name Legolas is a Silvan dialect form of pure Sindarin Laegolas, Greenleaf. It consists of the Sindarin words laeg, green; and golas, a collection of leaves, foliage (being a prefixed collective form of las(s), leaf). The Quenya form (mentioned in the Book of Lost Tales in the context of another character of that name) is Laiqualassë.
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 and to whom - very likely - Thranduil's wife belonged.
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. 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.
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, most likely, Legolas was born after Oropher, his grandfather, moved his people across the Misty Mountains, since in the book, he referred to the Noldor 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' birthdate 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 arrives at Fangorn, he claims to feel young compared to the forest. Legolas says, "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."
The problem with that opinion, however, is that the birth year for Elladan and Elrohir, relatively minor characters born in the Third Age, is given in the appendices, so it seems likely Legolas' would have been mentioned as well if that was the case.
Appearance in the Books and Films
In the movies
- The Fellowship of the Ring
- The Two Towers
- The Return of the King
- The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
- The Hobbit: There and Back Again
Portrayal in adaptations
Lord of the Rings film trilogy
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 remarked, "I feel something, a slight tingling on my fingers. I think it's affecting me." Then Gimli said "What did i tell you? He can't hold his liquor..." Then Gimli passed out. Legolas smirked, "Game Over."
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!"
- —Legolas in The Desolation of Smaug
Orlando Bloom returns to the role of Legolas in The Hobbit. However, Legolas does not appear anywhere in the book, so it is expected that his role will be minor within Thranduil's 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 seen briefly in the trailer, Legolas confronts Thorin's company and threatens them. Later, he and Tauriel are in charge with battling the upcoming Orcs and by then, Orcrist is seen on Legolas' hip, implying that Orcrist may have been confiscated like what happened in the book.
About Legolas' return for the Hobbit, Peter Jackson says: "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 remarks that: "The Elves always steal the show."
Ralph Bakshi version
Legolas has also been portrayed by Anthony Daniels in the 1978 Ralph Bakshi animated version of The Lord of the Rings. He is reduced to an extra with no lines the Rankin and Bass animated adaptation of The Return of the King. His appearance there retcons the appearance of Wood Elves in Rankin and Bass adaptation canon.
Legolas was voiced by Frank Duncan in the The Lord of the Rings (1956 radio series), by John Vickery in the The Lord of the Rings (1979 radio series), and by David Collings in the 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 and TTT) / Alexandre Marconatto (ROTK) / Philippe Maia (The Hobbit trilogy)|
|Italian (Italy)||Massimiliano Manfredi|
|French (France)||Denis Laustriat|
- 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.
- In The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest (based on Peter Jackson's movie Trilogy) Legolas is voiced by Orlando Bloom.
- Legolas appears as a hero in The Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth and The Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth II is voiced by Crispen Freeman for both games.
- 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 The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, Legolas was voiced by voice actor Crispin Freeman.
- In The Guardians of Middle-Earth , Legolas appears as an online multi-player character.
- 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.
- In The Hobbit: Armies of the Third Age, Legolas makes his most recent appearance, as a hero for the Elven faction.
- "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
|The Fellowship of the Ring|
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- ↑ The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Council of Elrond"
- ↑ The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Great River"
- ↑ The Lord of the Ring: Appendix A, "Durin's Folk"
- ↑ The Lord of the Ring: Appendix B, "Later events concerning the Members of the Fellowship of the Ring"
- ↑ The Book of Lost Tales
- ↑ The Complete Guide to Middle-earth
- ↑ The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
- ↑