Legolas Shall Be For The Elves

appendix (and other stuff you didn't need to know)

Moonlight on running water...

The best description of Legolas of the Fellowship comes from the Master himself, in a "wrathful comment on a 'pretty' or 'ladylike' pictorial rendering of Legolas: "(Christopher Tolkien in "Book of Lost Tales 2, The History of Eriol or Aelfwine"):

"He was as tall as a young tree, lithe, immensely strong, able to swiftly draw a great war-bow and shoot down a Nazgul, 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."

I fell in love with "the strange elf clad in green and brown" in 1978, when I first read LOTR half a lifetime ago. I have since learned to run on snow (a few Siberian huskies and a dogsled help), paddle the swift forest river (OK, the really sluggish slow one), and bemused a patient half-Arab gelding by asking him to work without saddle or rein. I can occasionally hit the broadside of a stack of haybales with an arrow.

When not chasing cats off the keyboard I have carved pumpkins and raced tricycles underwater, demonstrated projectile pooping (with the aid of Thermal the Wonder Hawk) to awed third graders (as a volunteer for a local wildlife rehabber), and driven in a closed van with a vomiting vulture.

Where's the Elvish Way With All Good Beasts when you need it...


Michael Martinez, author of Visualizing Middle Earth says in an article called Speaking of Legolas... (http://www.suite

"...both old and young, both wise and yet inextricably ignorant of the wide world around him. Legolas is a subtle stroke of Elvish youth at the end of the Elder Days."

In The Fellowship of the Ring: After the Council of Elrond, scouts were sent out to the four directions seeking news of the Nazgul. "Many had gone east and south; and some of these had crossed the Mountains and entered Mirkwood..." Legolas' reaction to the impact of the news he carries ("on his fair elvish face there was great distress") leads me to believe he would not stay at Imladris and party. He would be out there with the scouts scouring the countryside, perhaps one of those returning to Mirkwood.

Or not. His folk might expect him to stay home, as he was only sent out as a messenger, not as a warrior on a mission. Perhaps he would avoid returning home.

In the course of the quest to destroy the ring, he undergoes his own Hero Journey, though an Elf would not show the amount of change a Hobbit like Frodo or a Man like Aragorn might. Through it all Legolas has a spark of something missing in older, wiser characters like Elrond or Glorfindel: something that can be seen when he gallops back to the huorn wood after Helm's Deep:

"Legolas halted and looked back with regret. Then he gave a sudden cry. 'There are eyes!' he said. 'Eyes looking out from the shadows of the boughs! I never saw such eyes before.' "

...or in the way he peers wide-eyed into the shadows of Fangorn;

"Legolas stood alone in the open, looking towards the profound shadow of the wood, leaning forward, as one who listens to voices calling from a distance."

"'I do not think the wood feels evil, whatever tales may say,' said Legolas. He stood under the eaves of the forest, stooping forward as if he were listening, and peering with wide eyes into the shadows.

A Long Time Ago in a kingdom far far away...

Glorfindel and Galdor ( who appears at the Council of Elrond as Galdor of the Havens), and Legolas Greenleaf are in The Fall of Gondolin (Book of Lost Tales 2), a tale of Turgon's kingdom, one of Tolkien's earliest writings. (Gandalf's sword, Glamdring, was Turgon's, and Turgon begat Idril who begat Earendil who begat Elrond, and Elros, Aragorn's distant ancestor).

Glorfindel slays a balrog, falling to his own doom, defending the fleeing refugees of Gondolin.There is some debate whether Glorfindel of Rivendell is the same Noldorin elf-lord reincarnated. For this fanfic, I've assumed he is, because it's more fun.

"But the others, led by one Legolas Greenleaf of the House of the Tree, who knew all that plain by day or by dark, and was night sighted, made much speed over the vale for all their weariness, and halted only after a great march. ...Galdor and a band of men (elves of Gondolin) spear-armed went ahead, and Legolas was with them, whose eyes were like cats' for the dark, yet could they see further."

The Legolas Greenleaf who appears in the Fall of Gondolin is most definitely NOT the Prince of Mirkwood, the Gondolin Elf is Noldorin, and our Sindarin prince is not well traveled at all;

"'You have journeyed farther than I,' said Legolas."

(to Aragorn in The Riders of Rohan)

...nor can he see well in the dark;

"Would that this night would end and I could have better light for shooting."

(Legolas at Helm's Deep).

It is, according to Christopher Tolkien, the first use of any of the names later used for the Fellowship.

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