Lord Of The Rings: 20 Things Wrong With Legolas We All Choose To Ignore
One of the most beloved characters in J.R.R. Tolkien's epic fantasy The Lord of The Rings is none other than Legolas, son of Thranduil, Elvenking of Mirkwood. As prince of the Woodland Realm, the Sindarin elf was well-versed in the tale of the One Ring, which, combined with his own Elven skills, made him a prime candidate for the Fellowship of the Ring. Legolas served the Fellowship well, and without his presence, the members of the quest would have indubitably experienced greater losses. Even though Legolas is a prime example of an Elf warrior, from his lighter-than-snow tread, ability to see miles in the distance, and superior fighting skills, there are a few things about him that we tend to overlook. Between the books and the films, Legolas is often problematic, and some of his characteristics just don't make any sense. While he may be Elven, his creator and director Peter Jackson, along with the rest of the creative team who brought him to life on the big screen are all only human, so we can't expect the character to be flawless. A character without flaws wouldn't be interesting, anyway.
Still, between his age issues to his combat moves, there are some truly questionable things about Legolas that we simply turn our heads from as we just want to enjoy the character. So, let's uncover all of that willful ignorance and take a deeper look at our favorite Elven hero with 20 Things Wrong With Legolas We All Choose To Ignore.
20 He Looks Like He Gets Younger As He Ages
Legolas wasn't even in Tolkien's adored book The Hobbit, but given his popularity in the previous Lord of the Rings films, Peter Jackson cast Orlando Bloom as the character once again, giving him a pretty significant role. Since TheHobbit was filmed years after Lord of the Rings, Bloom had already aged prior to playing Legolas back in time, giving himself an older look despite the fact that The Lord of the Rings takes place a whopping 60 years later.
We get that Elves live to be thousands of years old and age pretty gracefully, but that doesn't make them time travelers with beauty remedies who age in reverse. We're pretty sure there's no Botox on Middle Earth.
19 He's Older Than His Dad
Lee Pace was spot-on as the haughty Elvenking Thranduil of Mirkwood, and we have no complaints about his portrayal of the character... except that he's younger than his own son. Pace was only 35 when the latest Hobbit was released (The Battle of the Five Armies); Orlando Bloom, who played Legolas, was two years older at 37. It's kind of hilarious when you think about it, and it inspires all kinds of questions. Do Elves adopt? Can Elves magically create progeny prior to their own conception? If so, how does that work?
Of course, it doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things as long as the two appear to be their characters' respective ages in the film, but they still pretty much look a similar age to one another.
18 We Know Basically Nothing About His Mother
Women unfortunately often take a backseat in J.R.R. Tolkien's work, even though Eowyn, Shieldmaiden of Rohan, totally rules and inspired a whole generation of girls to declare, “I am no man!” during confrontations. In terms of Legolas' mother, she isn't even a footnote in the long and winding history of the Elves. We have no idea who she is, where she came from, or what happened to her.
Even the slight backstory that Legolas' mother, who remains nameless in film, received in The Hobbit is neither detailed nor canon. In a series where someone's parentage is announced as regularly as it is in the Bible, it seems problematic at the very least. And if including her in The Hobbit at all, why not write her in as the team did with Tauriel?
17 He Can Be A Debbie Downer
As majestic and noble as Elves may seem, they don't always have personalities to match. When faced with seemingly insurmountable odds at the Battle of Helm's Deep in the film The Two Towers, Legolas glares at Aragorn, son of Arathorn and Isildur's heir, almost imploring him to abandon the fight. This seems like bit of a dishonorable thing to do, even if spoken in Elvish in a room full of worried men.
Legolas' discouraging remarks, “Aragorn, nedin dagor hen ú-'erir ortheri. Natha daged dhaer” translate to, “Aragorn, they cannot win this fight. They are all going to [perish]” Luckily, Aragorn holds his ground, answering, “Then I shall [perish] as one of them!” We tend to ignore this hopeless side of Legolas, who normally exhibits such positive behavior.
16 If He Can Feel The Same Things As Plants And Rocks, Shouldn't He Get Cold?
It makes zero sense that Elves like Legolas can feel the plants and rocks, yet never feel cold. During their trek in the snow to cross the Caradhras, Legolas is visibly the only member of the party not to feel the cold while simultaneously being the only member of the party who can feel what plants can feel. Shouldn't Elves get cold if plants can?
The same logic extends toward other parts of the story, such as when trees are uprooted or even burned. Why don't the Elves feel the trees' pain? Tolkien makes sure to show that Elves react to the changes in nature due to their intense connection to their environment, but shouldn't they cry out if a tree is on fire or something?
15 He Doesn't Sing In The Movies
Fans of the Tolkien books are well aware of Legolas' singing, which is a fairly common activity for many characters. While characters like Aragorn and Eowyn sang in the original trilogy, Legolas, who famously sang a lament for Boromir and “The Song of Nimrodel" in Lothlórien, wasn't given a chance to croon on camera as he did in the books and the animated Hobbit film.
Can Orlando Bloom carry a tune? Given that he went out to a karaoke bar with then girlfriend Katy Perry during the holidays in 2016, we can infer that he at least enjoys the pastime, but we'll never know what Legolas' voice might have sounded like in the Peter Jackson films.
14 He Falls For An Elf That Doesn't Exist
Oh Tauriel. Where do we begin to cover the mess that is this Elf? Not only was she not even a real character in any of the Tolkien works, but she was a wasted opportunity to create a strong female character. Instead of using Tauriel's acceptance of Dwarves as a starting point for a better society, she was exiled to conveniently wipe her out of the next trilogy, and was used only for her role in a love triangle that really wasn't a love triangle at all.
Legolas harbors feelings for the non-character, but his dad forbids the connection due to her lowly status beneath his towheaded princeling, and that's that. It's a love story that wasn't, and a waste of film; one of many that made The Hobbit feel much longer than it should have been in the first place.
13 His Ears Are Too Pointy
Creative liberties are often taken while adapting a book to the big screen, and sometimes it's for the better, especially if it's difficult to really portray something that's better left to the imagination. Sometimes, meaningless additions are also added, as is the case with Legolas' unnecessarily pointy ears. In the books, Elves have ears that are similar to hobbit ears, which really don't have pronounced points so much as upward curvature.
The fact that Legolas' ears look much more like they might belong to Santa's Elves rather than a Tolkien character is a bit unsettling. We get that movie makers are tasked with ensuring that the audience knows who's who in the movie, but there were plenty of other Elvish identifiers present.
12 He Turns Into Weird CGI Sometimes
Computer graphics have given us some pretty incredible visuals in many movies, but once in a while, they mess up and weaken a shot. There's a reason why Gmork of The Neverending Story is so much more menacing than the wolves of Twilight. Okay, there are several reasons, but that's another story. In both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, Legolas' usual, perfect appearance falls flat when his CGI gets wonky.
These weird effects can be seen in the barrel scene of the former film and the Oliphaunt-riding moments in the latter. The effects are so poor that they look as if they've been generated by a kid in an animation 101 course rather than a professional movie-maker. So, why do we ignore them? Because the rest of it is just that good.
11 His Hair Is Always Perfect
Maybe he's born with it, or maybe it's the perfect meme, but Legolas' locks are the subject of many jokes, and not just because his hair is an unconventional color for an Elf. The fact that his perfectly coiffed locks remain so pretty and straight, even after rumbling with hundreds of Orcs, riding an Oliphaunt, or a horse, is sort of ridiculous. It would even detract from a movie if it were attributed to a standard human being. Could you imagine Rambo without debris in his hair?
Still, he's Legolas, and he's a butt-kicking Elf we all adore, so we let him get away with it, turning away from his illogically perfect Regina George hair.
10 He Comes Out Of Battles Totally Unscathed
Aragorn routinely comes out of battles looking worse for wear, as do most other fighters in The Lord of the Rings films... save for Legolas. Nary a hair out of place, Legolas also seems to have pristine clothes and skin following every rumble, whether it be a quick dispatch of a few enemies or a full-blown war scene.
Elvish clothes are great, and we get that, while they wear slippers, their fabric is meant to be well-made to last, but that doesn't explain why not even a little bit of dirt or debris should fall onto Legolas. Getting dirty is part of any fight, and it really makes no sense that Legolas always looks so fresh while his companions could definitely use a shower and a shave.
9 He Fights In Close Range (Even When He Doesn't Have To)
The fact that Legolas can track and see Orcs from miles away is clearly evident in the series as his Elf senses make him a formidable opponent from any range. So, why does he fight at close range all the time when he certainly doesn't have to?
Legolas could easily take out Orcs much sooner than Gimli and Aragorn could, either by shooting as far as he can see or, if he's not able to do so, by approaching parties sooner to get the upper hand and decimate their numbers long before a battle even needs to take place. Of course, that would defeat the purpose of the books and films and withhold cool battles from being held and seen, which is why we ignore this detail.
8 He Only Speaks To Frodo Once In The Movies
After Legolas tells Frodo that he can have his bow as part of the Fellowship of the Ring, he doesn't address the hobbit again... ever. Even when Frodo exclaims over every face that greets him back in Rivendell once the One Ring has been destroyed, he doesn't mouth Legolas' name. It's just weird.
To be fair, Legolas is barely on the screen with Frodo once the Fellowship breaks up, and he didn't know him from Adam prior to meeting him at the Council of Elrond (or rescuing him from the Nazgul, depending on which story you're following). But, he does exchange more words with Frodo in the latter version, whereas the entire scene was replaced with a rescue from Arwen in the film.
7 We Have No Idea How Old He Is
While plenty of Tolkien scholars have mulled over his extensive works, painstakingly piecing together timelines and histories for each character, we're still not exactly sure how old Legolas is. The Elf's age isn't specified in any of the works and Tolkien experts are hard-pressed to pin down an exact number without a full biography for the character.
Some estimate that Legolas is about 3,000 years old, half the age that Elrond was before departing Middle-Earth, but it's really just a ballpark guess. It's strange that Tolkien, who gave such detailed accounts for many other characters, ignored Legolas' history like that, so we just sweep it under the rug and pretend that the Elf is about... Orlando Bloom's age.
6 He's Not Supposed To Be Pretty
While better-looking actors are often cast to portray less-than-attractive characters (just look at Peter Dinklage's handsome version of Tyrion Lannister as proof), Orlando Bloom is unnecessarily made downright pretty. Everything from his straight, almost glowing blond hair, to his perfect features and clothing make him appear to be a model from Elf GQ rather than a warrior in the war for Middle-earth.
That might be forgivable, but we tend to ignore the fact that Tolkien explicitly did not want his solid warriors looking like cute shampoo ad models, and his son, Christopher Tolkien, hasn't minced his words on the subject, saying: “The chasm between the beauty and seriousness of the work, and what it has become, has [overpowered] me. The commercialization has reduced the aesthetic and philosophical impact of the creation to nothing.”
5 He Uses Two Knives
It might not seem like an enormous difference, but Tolkien's Legolas only wielded one knife, as most people do during a fight. The change doesn't alter Legolas' abilities, since he does employ a knife in the books, but it does attempt to paint a picture of him in which he's a much more skillful fighter than he might be with the weapon.
Using two knives is a great way to lose a fight, considering the fact that most people aren't ambidextrous and dual-wielding is a trope better left for the movies than reality... which is why Peter Jackson and company employed it and Tolkien, who probably pictured the Elf a bit more realistically, did not.
4 He Absurdly Slides Down Staircases During Battle And Defies The Laws Of Physics
Legolas routinely defies the laws of physics, looking absurd as he climbs a falling stone bridge, slides down the trunks of Oliphaunts, and surfs on a shield, pummeling arrows into opponents while he appears to be a majestic Elven surfer. However, this is a fantasy world, and many of the regular rules of life don't apply. There are Orcs, wizards, hobbit-carrying eagles, and dangerous spiders, but there is no indication that Tolkien intended for concepts like gravity to not exist on Middle-earth.
Legolas looks super cool doing these things, so we tend to look the other way while he (and his CGI counterparts) pull Shoot 'Em Up levels of over-the-top feats for viewer enjoyment.
3 He Might Not Even Be Blond
It's clear in Tolkien's books that many Elves are dark-haired, and while we don't really know exactly what Legolas looks like, it's very possible that he wasn't meant to have blond hair. While it's true that his father, Thranduil, is blond in the books, which is why filmmakers went with the color choice, we still have no idea who Legolas' mother was and what her hair color was like. Even if she were blond, without a full description of Legolas' appearance or an Elven punnet square, we really have no idea what an accurate shade of his hair might be.
It's hard to picture Legolas as anything but the pretty, sleek-haired blond we all know and love, but it's quite possible that he didn't appear that way at all in Tolkien's mind palace.
2 How Did He Not Make That Shot?
Legolas is known to be a fantastic archer. His Elven senses allow him to see clearly for miles away and he's demonstrated over and over again that he can make impossible shots. That said, he should have been able to take out a shielded Orc quite quickly with one arrow. So, why didn't he take out the Orc who lit the bomb at Helm's Deep and rendered the entire fortress vulnerable for invasion?
The fact that Helm's Deep has such a Death Star-like flaw in the first place is something we also ignore, but this can all be chalked up purely as a plot device. Had Legolas brought that Orc down as Aragorn so desperately demanded, all would not have seemed as lost as it did before reinforcements arrived.
1 His Eyes Randomly Change Color In The Movies
Contact lenses are a pain. Anyone who's worn them can attest to how they truly take some getting used to, so we can empathize with Orlando Bloom, who has brown eyes. That said, we tend to ignore the fact that his eyes change color multiple times throughout the movies.
Bloom struggled with irritation and pain with the contacts, which also fell out randomly during takes. Why not use CGI to alter the color instead of letting his original color show, or just use his natural eye (and hair) colors for the character? Tolkien would have likely appreciated it more, although it would have led to an abundance of brunettes on set.
Did you notice any other details about Legolas that are hard to believe? Let us know in the comments below!