IN AFTER YEARS
In reading and rereading Tolkienís writings every year since 1975, I have found myself always drawn to the elves. Of late I have been terribly disturbed by the postings over the internet of comments and stories regarding a character I always liked. The movies have generated a Legolas who bears little likeness to what we can glean from Tolkienís writings. Although I have greatly enjoyed the movies, I believe they have changed the basic nature of many of Tolkienís characters. Since an actor all the young girls have swooned over has portrayed Legolas, we have been treated to some of the most inane comments and stories imaginable. I believe, however, the backlash against Legolas caused by these postings as being an insignificant character is unwarranted. The Legolas character in the books gives us a glimpse at exactly what Tolkien envisioned as his woodland elves. In addition, I will never be able to consider any of the characters chosen to be a part of the fellowship as unnecessary to the story.
Therefore, I have written this as my view of the character strictly based upon Tolkienís writings of both the character itself, and elves in general.
- - - - -
Elves have kept the ancient histories alive through song, poem and written word through time uncounted. Our stories remain unchanged and that which was told a thousand years ago is still remembered unchanged today. Our history and the events which have affected the world and our people make us who we are and are known by all and cherished and retold often. Knowing this, you may be able to imagine how strange it is to me that men, who keep many written accounts of the great events in the world, can change and distort the truth through the telling of these tales over such a short span of time.
I find this happening already, in what seems a very short time, with the telling of the story of the ring of power and those involved with its destruction.
The elves are fading, and knowledge of them among men is also fading and changing. They tend to give us thoughts and characteristics such as they would have. Most men do not know or understand us.
I tell you of myself as already stories concerning me bear little truth. I am Legolas, son of Thranduil. My father is lord of the silvan elves of Northern Mirkwood. Men would name him King and me Prince of our people who dwell in the forest. My name means Green-Leaf, very fitting for one born under the trees. I was born in times already forgotten by men, thousands of years ago. This is but a short time in the reckoning of our people for we do not die unless by mortal wound or through a broken heart, and then are reborn in the Halls of Mandos. For the most part we could, if we did not grow weary of the hurts of this world, live here until the end of all.
My home, the Great Greenwood, now known as Mirkwood, is a place of great beauty and was home to many birds and beasts. We are woodland elves, and happiest under tree and leaf are we. We delight in song and the sounds of nature, in bird, beast, water and plant. Our people have always been skilled hunters, but as a darkness and evil fell over part of the forest, many of us, through necessity became fell and deadly warriors.
Bow, knife and sword I wield as well as any, but find the bow my best and most treasured weapon. As aide to my father, and being yet young, unwearied and knowing no fear, I many times led our people in raids and battles to defend our home and clear the forest of the fell beasts of the enemy.
For the most part, we have little contact with the other races unless it is in trade or the gathering of news. We have, however, maintained contact with and assisted the Dunedain, as do many of the elven kingdoms. When Aragon, leader of the Dunedain, asked us to hold the creature Gollum captive, we bowed to his wishes; although if he had another choice, I am sure he would have made it. The silvan folk make for poor jailers, as we do not wish to see any living thing held against its will. When we failed in our charge, my father determined that we should advise the Lord Elrond of Rivendell of what had befallen. Journeying through the wilds had become perilous and contact between our kingdoms had become difficult. At my fatherís bidding I left our underground halls and journeyed with several companions to Rivendell.
Upon arriving, I was called to a great council where the one ring was revealed and a decision was made to attempt its destruction. A fellowship was formed to aide the ring bearer in this quest. It was here Elrond chose me to represent the elves. Why he did not pick a great lore master of his own house or one of the ancient of our race I did not understand at the time. Now that the task is done, I believe I come to understand his wisdom. Mithrandir was our leader; wise wizard, learned in the lore of all races. What further wisdom could be needed? I believe it was a choice in that the silvan elves have always been part of Middle Earth and will remain long after many of our brethren departs. Elrond having keen sight saw this, I believe, as a task for those bound to our world. I was able to bring the natural skills of my people to aid in the quest: longer sight than men, keen hearing, the ability to sense changes in the world around us and the knowledge that comes with the living of many lifetimes of men.
I found that although we traveled through great danger and much sorrow, I took great pleasure in journeying through some areas in which I was not familiar. All the world holds beauty untold and I found happiness in unlikely places.
A great friendship and respect I have always had for Aragorn, and joyous was the day of his crowning. More joyous still did I find his marriage to Arwen, joining once again our two races. Haflings I still find a wonder; innocent, gentle, yet courageous beyond measure. Of all those I journeyed with, my greatest friendship grew in an likely place. Gimli the dwarf has remained my close friend and off times companion. In times past elves and dwarves once shared great friendship, in fact they helped to build our underground dwellings in Mirkwood. I think I have come to understand this friendship. In Gimli I see one of the dwarf fathers of old reborn. He possesses the knowledge of the foundations of the earth, the skill of their hands, and yet has a heart open to wonder at the beauty around us. Many travels we have taken together since the end of the wars. We have learned from each other and I have remained here in Middle Earth knowing the pain I would cause him upon my leaving.
Called and pulled through longing I indeed feel now. The ocean surges through my thoughts and a longing to sail possesses my being. Yet still I reside for a little longer in Ithlin, now made fair through the love and caring of some of my people.
I stand under the stars and my mind yet runs under the trees and by the pools of Middle Earth.