The Lord of The Rings saga created many beloved characters, but few are as beloved as the native Mirkwood elf, Legolas. As a master bowman, a sayer of obvious statements, and a fabulously beautiful character, Legolas not only is a member of the Fellowship of The Ring but also a hero of The Battle of The Five Armies -- or at least as far as the movies say.
Fans have always adored the character, even though he never was as much of a main character as Frodo, Sam, or Aragorn. Whether they loved him for his skills, personality, or good looks, he's a well-known feature of Middle-earth. His addition to J. R. R. Tolkein's majestic, sprawling fantasy world only makes it all the better.
Since the movie release of The Hobbit, Legolas has only become more popular. To make the book into three films, the writers added Legolas into the story to better bind the two movie trilogies together. His presence in the lore has now shifted, and has become a little more prominent than it was before. As far as the movies go, he's become all the more important and has been through a lot more change and personal growth than his book counterpart.
However, what has changed? After all, 60 years did pass between The Hobbit saga and The Lord of The Rings trilogy. What was Legolas up to during that time? The answers are more interesting than you might think.
With that said, here are 20 Wild Things Legolas Did Between The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings.
Though the timelines don't quite match up with Thranduil's post-Hobbit advice for Legolas to find "Strider," it is implied that Legolas and Aragorn met between the two movies. If not from Legolas' travels, then they two met when Aragorn brought Gollum to Mirkwood, per Gandalf's request. It was a trusted place to keep the dangerous creature captive.
These two meeting would also give more context about why Legolas knows Aragorn is the true high king. Regardless, meeting Aragorn, an elf-raised human, would be a unique experience for the otherwise sheltered person. Perhaps their meeting made him a more level-headed and open-minded person. However, if they did meet, it was likely brief. When everyone met in Rivendell, they didn't act like close friends and still had a long way to go in their relationship.
Elves often have a poor outlook on dwarves, thinking of them as thieves and simple folk. Legolas felt no differently. He only helped the dwarves out because it was what Tauriel wanted. However, through meeting them, he did get to see that there was much more to them that being gold-obsessed mountain dwellers. It made him realize they were capable and loyal warriors, too.
That didn't erase his ill feelings towards them, though. He still felt betrayed and heartbroken over Tauriel choosing a lowly dwarf over him and the damage their quest for old wealth and history caused. While they showed good qualities, they also fully showed off their dangerous greed. In between the two movies, Legolas has time to contemplate these observations and emotions. He still feels negatively about dwarves, but in a much more nuanced way.
Historically, despite times of war, Elves didn't stray far from their homelands, and even then, they often only traveled to other elven kingdoms. After losing Tauriel and falling out with his father, Legolas decided he needed to leave Mirkwood for a time. His fairly sheltered life would now be exposed to the various peoples and races of Middle-earth.
It's unknown where he traveled between The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings, but he likely traveled through the Misty Moutains, some of Rohan or Gondor, and many other familiar places. However, he might have stuck to small towns and backroads, considering he had never been to Minas Tirith, Gondor's capital city. Fans may never know where Legolas went during those 60 years.
In The Hobbit, Legolas sports a fair amount of ornate outfits. He has some with impressive, leaved shoulder adornments and a lot of layers covering him. While they separate him from the other bowmen in Tauriel's guard, and ensure that people know of his high-born status, these outfits are clunky. It wouldn't be surprising if they sometimes got in the way of battle.
His clothing choices have simplified a lot by The Lord of The Rings. Though he appreciates his high-born status more, he wears simple tunics and thin armor that fit his fighting style. They're light and airy for flexibility and agility, but still have a little protective padding. Legolas has become a stronger, smarter warrior in the years between, and it shows.
Legolas is implied to have spent quite a few years traveling after The Battle of Five Armies, but it's clear he didn't want to go too far away from home. Many important places that don't seem that far away from Mirkwood are foreign to him in The Lord of The Rings. Though he wanted to explore and focus on righting himself, Legolas didn't want to abandon his homelands completely.
Despite all of his disputes with his father, he still cares about the kingdom he's built. It is only during The Lord of The Rings, when the fate of the world is at stake, that Legolas started to travel much further from home. Luckily, that choice helped save Middle-earth for all people, including the Elves of Mirkwood.
During The Hobbit, Legolas' character is much more troubled and headstrong. He's focused on hunting with the guard and spending time with Tauriel.
However, there is one thing his younger self was better at: conversation. He did spend all that time with his crush and debating his father, after all. In the majority of The Lord of The Rings, the bow-master is known for a lot of head-scratching, off-putting, and even hilariously obvious statements. It shows off his sheltered past and his isolated travels. The guy just doesn't know how to be that sociable anymore. This awkwardness does help his bond with Gimli, though, so perhaps it's for the best Legolas became an awkward expert.
The Legolas fans meet in The Hobbit has little to no interest in the larger issues of the world. Instead, he just wants to adventure through the woods with his bow and his good friend/object of affection, Tauriel. Despite being the high-born son of the king, he has no interest in those duties. He'd rather be a common member of the guard.
Over time, between The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings, Legolas grows a respect for his high-born status and the duties that come with it. Now, he works as an ambassador for his people and is very willing to go on dangerous missions that will save Mirkwood and the world. Before, however, all he cared about was the small world around him. As he matured, though, he grew into the high-born hero he was always meant to be.
Tauriel truly threw a wrench in Legolas' life when he fell in love with her. She was brave, fierce, and a protective leader of the guard. He was meant to be the dutiful son of King Thranduil, but in loving her, he became a stubborn, masterful archer instead. He loved exploration and adventure over his duties.
Once she fell in love with someone else, though, that lifestyle was shattered for him and he focused instead on adventuring on his own. By The Lord of The Rings, Legolas doesn't speak at all of lost loves or beautiful bow-women. Instead, he's wholly focused on saving the world he loves and protecting the people in it. She broke his heart, but he refused to let losing her break his spirit.
The rebellious Legolas we see in The Hobbit is hardly the person he ends up becoming. Fed up with the rules of being high-born, or the restrictions his father insisted upon, or who he's expected to be, the elf was more than happy to traverse the woods with "common Elves." He seemed absolutely exhausted with his heritage and what it meant for him.
After some time to reflect alone, though, he came to more of a compromise between his interests and his heritage. In The Lord of The Rings, Legolas is still an explorer, a fighter, and a bit of an outlier. However, he takes his history and what he needs to do to help his people seriously. He did travel all the way to Rivendell just to represent Mirkwood and relay a message, after all.
A younger Legolas had very simple priorities: he did the things that made him happy. During The Hobbit, he wanted to be a forest archer and spend time with Tauriel. These things were very selfish and, also, deliberately against his father's wishes.
In The Lord of The Rings, however, Legolas isn't a carefree woodsman in love with his guardsman. He's now very focused on doing what's best for Middle-earth and using his bow skills, "elf eyes," and general experience to help make that happen. His priorities have shifted towards the greater good, not just what's good for him. Between the two movie series, Legolas grew into the impressive member of the Fellowship who fans adored. His change in priorities was a big part of that.
The Elves of Middle-earth tend to keep to themselves. They try not become involved in the affairs of men or dwarves. Their priority is to care for their homelands and their kin. Often, only threats to the entire world can lure them away from their beloved forests. Legolas is no different, as he only helped the dwarves because his beloved Tauriel wanted to. Otherwise, though, he was very resistant to meddling.
Once the high council meets in The Fellowship of The Ring, however, he is one of the first people to offer his support and the only elf to do as such. Even in such a dire situation, he was the only one willing to cooperate and try to get the Ring safely to Mordor.
Thranduil and Legolas combated all throughout The Hobbit, arguing over what was best and how Elves should be -- particularly, of course, Legolas. By the end of The Hobbit, through his valor and dedication, Thranduil gave his son his respect and even encouraged his travels. However, that didn't mean that Thranduil trusted his son with the safety of the kingdom yet. That trust was broken when he chose Tauriel over his people, and chose travel over staying.
Over time, though, the two eventually built up that trust. After all, Legolas was the representative Thranduil sent to Rivendell not only to warn of Gollum's escape, but also to help plan the destruction of the One Ring. He clearly has more faith in his son to do right by his people.
Legolas was merely running with the guards of Mirkwood in The Hobbit when Bilbo and company first meet him. He may have been the son of the king, but he hardly enacted any of the duties that one might expect from him. He wasn't a dignitary nor a diplomatic. The rebellious elf was just a great bowmen of the woods.
Clearly, many things changed by The Lord of The Rings. After all, Legolas became a representative of his people and an ambassador to important councils. While his father watches over their lands, he takes care of faraway matters. In The Hobbit, he was no ambassador, diplomat, or representative. He was only focused on himself. Those 60 years really changed the role that Legolas played in his kingdom.
Under Tauriel's tutelage and companionship, Legolas became an impressive and skilled archer. He was able to fight off orcs in hordes. His abilities were worthy of a strong, high-born elf. Other than some illogical gravity-defying, though, in The Hobbit, Legolas has nothing on the prowess of Legolas in The Lord of The Rings. Between sheild-riding, troll-scaling, and single-handedly taking down an oliphant, he's more than just a master bowman: he's legendary.
All that time spent traveling the area and focusing his mind on the greater good elevated his skills. He learned how to use his already impressive bow abilities with a sharper mind. Also, of course, travel gave him a larger variety of target practice. Other elven archers can hardly compare.
Though Legolas was rebellious in The Hobbit, it wasn't much about rebelling against Elves. Instead, it was about rebelling against his father. When it came to Elven customs and heritage, he was much like his other Elves: sheltered, married to the woods, and staunch isolationists. However, The Hobbit ended with Legolas deciding to stay out of the forest and continuing to explore.
Legolas eventually reconnected with his people, but he began to diverge from their traditionalist views. He often left the forest. He was making close friendships with other races, even dwarves. When The Lord of The Rings ended, he even brought Gimli in the Undying Lands as his dearest companion, which is unheard of. While proud of his people and their culture, Legolas became an outlier among his race.
Loving Tauriel was a particularly harrowing event for Legolas. So much so, in fact, that he never shows any interest in romance ever again. He never even talks about romance in The Lord of The Rings trilogy. While he became averse to falling in love, the son of Thranduil did not become loveless. Legolas traded romance for strong, loving companionship among friends.
In the years after The Hobbit, he began finding heroes like him that he could relate to and learn from -- the kind of people who could make him stronger. He met Aragorn and Gandalf first. By The Fellowship of The Ring, he grew close to the entire group and those friendships lasted him the rest of his life. He even brought Gimli, his dearest companion, into the Undying Lands with him. He was the only dwarf ever to be invited.
Before The Fellowship of the Ring, Gandalf saw the danger in Gollum and worked with Aragorn to capture him. They brought the deranged creature to Mirkwood to keep him captive and away from Mordor. However, Gollum was able to escape with the help of orcs.
As the son of Mirkwood's king, Legolas undoubtedly was a part of keeping watch of Gollum. However, even if he didn't, the initial reason he was heading to Rivendell was to pass along the information that Gollum had escaped. Unfortunately, almost all of the Fellowship had to deal with the warped, tortured monster at one point or another. However, in a twisted way, this means that Gollum helped bring the Fellowship together and kick off the entire saga.
The biggest barrier between Thranduil and his son was the passing of his wife. Legolas always wanted to talk more about losing her, but Thranduil refused. It's implied that Legolas was too young to know her very well, which helped cause this rift.
Though his affection for Tauriel could be blamed for his rebellion in The Hobbit, it was more likely due to this tension with his father. After all, this conflict is exactly why he has more interested in a "common elf" than any high-born expectations. By The Lord of The Rings, though, Legolas has resolved this conflict within himself and with his father. It's not weighing on him like it does in The Hobbit. Instead, he has evolved into a well-balanced elf.
A fair amount of time passes, around 60 years, between The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings. In all of those years, physically, Legolas didn't age a day. However, the passage of time did effect him and mentally, as he has grown from the hot-headed elf he once was.
Over more than half a century, this king's son matured greatly. He started The Hobbit brash, heartbroken, rebellious, and lovestruck. By the saga to destroy the ring, he is a much more responsible, dutiful, and calming presence. Legolas has changed into a admirable hero instead of a headstrong young bowman. For Elves, that's a lot of growth in such a short time, especially when they're known to live for thousands of years.
The Legolas of The Hobbit struggles greatly with finding his own ground. He's either following what Tauriel wants, rejecting his father's wishes, or generally following someone's orders. He's not a leader and he doesn't have a sense of what he would choose in dire situations. His role changes depending on who he's with.
By The Lord of The Rings, he has grown in a grounded, confident individual. Legolas knows who he is, what he's good at, and what he needs to do very well. In any fight, he is quick to spring into action and get things done. The turmoil he felt at the end of The Hobbit series and the growing he did over those next 60 years made him into the invaluable archer that helped save all of Middle-earth.
Do you know any more things Legolas did between The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings? Tell us in the comment section!