Things Only Book Readers Know About Legolas

The elves of Tolkien lore have little in common with the mythological creatures of old children’s books. Depicted as beings of beauty, knowledge, and spiritual power unknown to the other races of Middle-earth, they are also the oldest race and live forever.

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The lore surrounding life in Middle-earth is detailed and varied, and constitutes some of the most fascinating and unique literature of the 20th century. the silmarillion, which records the early years of the Elves and their heroic deeds, is written on an epic scale not seen very often in the modern age. Legolas, the Fellowship member who represents the Elves of Middle-earth, has some great moments in the movies, but the viewer never really gets to know much about his background or history unless he reads the books.

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6 he is a sindar elf

The Elves were divided into several different groups and races throughout history, but there were always two main groups above all other regional or blood ties: the Eldar and the Avari. Early in the history of Arda, the realm that includes Middle-earth, the Eldar were the Elves who answered Oromë’s call to join him in Valinor with the other Valar. The Avari refused and stayed in the wilds of Middle-earth.

The Eldar are also divided into three groups, the Vanyar, the Noldor, and the Teleri. The largest group is the Teleri, and the Sindar are their descendants. Legolas’s father, Thranduil, was from a place called Doriath, a kingdom ruled by the legendary king Thingol and his wife Melian, who was of Maiar like the magi. The identity of Legolas’s mother is completely unknown, so it is possible that she is half Sindar.


5 He negotiates passage to Lothlorien

In the movies, it’s Aragorn who does the heavy lifting here, making sure everyone in the Fellowship can get through Lothlorien. This makes sense for the cinematic narrative, because Aragorn is going to be king of all of Middle-earth, and part of that is uniting all the races under one banner.

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In the books, on the other hand, it’s Legolas who takes care of this, and being King Thranduil’s son, it would have been expected of him. It was his idea to blindfold the entire company, including himself, as they were led to Lothlorien. This agreement ensured passage for all, in part because in literature, the Elves were far more concerned with the presence of a Dwarf than with the One Ring.


4 Galadriel’s Message

In the books, when Gandalf was “returned” after defeating the Balrog, he was not sent directly to his friends in Fangorn but to Lothlorien, to recover under the care of Galadriel and Celeborn. While he was there, Galadriel gave him a personal message that was specifically meant for Legolas.

The message consisted of four lines of a song, the last two of which are: “If you hear the cry of the seagull on the shore, your heart will rest no more in the forest.” At that time, Legolas had not yet seen the sea, always happy in his home in the forest. True to Galadriel’s warning, when he heard the cry of the gulls at Pelargir, where he and Aragorn took the Black Ships, the longing to sail to the Undying Lands awoke in his heart.


3 speak old english

Most readers know that Legolas has a lot more to say in the literature than he does in the movies, with most of his poetic dialogue lost in the adaptations. However, only really die-hard readers know that Legolas quotes some Old English poems. These are something of an Easter egg for book nerds who like obscure historical references and those who know Tolkien’s distinguished history as a brilliant and accomplished linguist.

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In The Fellowship of the Ring, Legolas quotes some poetic lines as the party passes some ancient elven ruins, taken from an 8th or 9th century poem called The ruin. As Legolas, Gimli, and Aragorn approach Rohan’s capital, only Legolas has eyes sharp enough to see the Hall of Meduseld and describes it using a line of Beowulf.


two Minas Tirith needs more landscaping

Speaking of Legolas expressing himself through poetry and music, he had something to say about Minas Tirith, and he wasn’t exactly fawning over it like everyone else. As the community ascended to the Houses of Healing, he sang an elven song that suggested the city had too much stone and needed more gardens.

Once they reached the Houses of Healing, Legolas listens to the birdsong and remembers the cries of seagulls by the sea. He goes on to recite a poem about flowers and trees, but this time he mentions a place called Lebennin, a delta of five rivers in southern Gondor that flow into the sea.


1 It’s not even mentioned in The Hobbit

This may sound strange to fans of the series who haven’t read the books. There is a substantial part of The Hobbit novel that literally takes place in Legolas’ house, but he doesn’t appear in the book at all. King Thranduil doesn’t even mention his son.

People who read the books may never wonder about Legolas’s absence in The Hobbit. Since Mirkwood was becoming more dangerous due to Sauron’s growing power at the time, he had a good reason to stay in the wild instead of spending time at home. More speculation on The story of The Hobbit by John D. Rateliff argues that if Tolkien had gone ahead with a 1960 edition of the novel, Legolas might have been included after all.

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