Almost every character in The Lord of the Rings is iconic. Each and every one of them has a moment or a line that is inscribed in fans' heads for all of eternity, and each one will always be remembered for those reasons. One such character, Legolas, has plenty of moments that prove what an essential part of this story he was. He’s a pretty self-serious character, but his interplay with Gimli is a huge part of what makes this trilogy work. He’s a vivid creation, capable of incredible, inhuman feats.
Still, even the greatest of characters have flaws, either in their writing or in their portrayal. These flaws may come from a dangling thread in the character’s story, or because of a particularly awesome stunt that nonetheless defies the law of gravity. As portrayed by Orlando Bloom in the films, Legolas is undoubtedly a character worth remembering, but that doesn’t mean that every single thing about him makes sense. Like most people, there are some strange quirks to Legolas that don’t totally add up. Some of these confusing qualities come straight from Tolkien’s novels, while others were invented for the screen adaptation.
Here are 15 Things About Legolas That Make No Sense.
15 His Many Camera Stares
This likely has more to do with the actor than the character, but Legolas seems to spend quite a bit of time breaking the fourth wall. It’s possible, of course, that Legolas is so preternaturally gifted that he’s the only character in the series who’s aware that he’s in a movie.
On the other hand, it’s likely that Bloom, who few regard as a hugely gifted actor, simply couldn’t help but look at the camera every once in a while. It’s not so blatant or so frequent that it ruins the experience of watching the films. Still, it does suggest that Bloom is not the most focused or trained actor on the set. He does have a pretty face though, and in most movies, that means you can get away with quite a bit.
14 His Mother
Given Tolkien’s obsession with fleshing out even his most minor characters, the fact that Legolas’s mother is unknown even in the books seems a bit strange. Perhaps this mystery is intentional, although that would mean that it is ultimately unresolved, which isn’t really all that satisfying.
That’s why it’s ultimately pretty confusing that Legolas isn’t given the same kind of concrete backstory as many of the other characters.
It seems to suggest that Tolkien just couldn’t be bothered to come up with one.
Even if she was a character who didn’t exist in the story otherwise, you would think that Tolkien would have come up with some definitive answer to the question of Legolas's mother, as he did for most of the Lord of the Rings lore. Here, that just wasn’t the case.
13 His Blonde Hair And Pointy Ears
Jackson’s adaptation of Tolkien’s novels is widely regarded as one of the best examples of how books can be transformed as they come to life on the big screen. In spite of Jackson’s enormous success in adapting the trilogy, there are certain things about Legolas in particular, and the Elves in general, that don’t totally line up with Tolkien’s descriptions.
One example of this is Legolas’s hair, which is so blond it’s almost white in the films, even though Tolkien suggests that Elves have dark hair. Another are the pointy ears that all Elves possess in the films. While Tolkien suggested that Elves have ears similar to those of hobbits, many believe they shouldn’t be quite as pronounced and sharp as they are in Jackson’s trilogy.
12 His Slide Down The Stairs On A Shield
Action movies always strain credulity, especially when it comes to their most elaborate stunts. Battles are rarely as interesting to watch as they are on screen, and there’s a reason that elaborate fight choreography is so important to the action genre.
Even so, there are some things that are so obviously staged that they become slightly ridiculous, like when Legolas slides down some steps at Helm’s Deep on a shield, killing orcs the whole way down.
Legolas seemed to get one crazy, almost certainly impossible stunt in almost every film he appears in, and this stunt at the Battle of Helm’s Deep was the first sign of just how skilled he was. Legolas is too good to be true, but that’s just because he’s a fictional creation.
11 His Eyes Change Colors
Elves are pretty cool beings. They have tons of physically implausible abilities, including extreme eyesight and enhanced grace and speed. Although it’s true that Elves have all of these abilities, the ability to change their eye color is never mentioned, in part because that would probably be a fairly useless ability. Nevertheless, Legolas’s eye color does change throughout the original trilogy, but this change is not intentional.
It is the result of a mix-up with Orlando Bloom’s contacts.
It’s ultimately a fairly minor goof, but it’s one that shows just how powerful these movies are. Little goofs rarely register with the audience, because they are far more focused on the grander stories that are being told in the films. As a result, Legolas’s changing eye color is easy to miss.
10 He Invited Gimli To The Undying Lands
While this is undoubtedly a nice gesture and one that speaks to the unbreakable bond between Legolas and Gimli, the move is a bit strange because of how Gimli will likely be received upon his arrival. Every indication we have is that the Undying Lands are filled to the brim with Elves like Legolas.
Although Legolas can certainly vouch for Gimli’s character, it won’t be enough to overcome the prejudice that most Elves have against Dwarves.
It’s possible, of course, that the Undying Lands are so perfect and utopian that differences that were a problem on Middle-earth are no longer a problem there. Considering that Gimli would be the first Dwarf to ever visit the Undying Lands, it’s unclear what might happen. Gimli might find himself short a few friends when he arrives.
9 His Age And Inheritance Are Unclear
Tolkien was a great world-builder, among his many other achievements. He was the kind of person who wanted every history and detail of his story to be known. That’s why Tolkien scholars are able to call upon a vast number of texts and stories in explaining Lord of the Rings. While we know that Legolas is a prince of the Mirkwood realm and a son of Thranduil, everything else about him is unclear.
It’s not known whether Legolas has any brothers, or whether he will inherit the throne at Mirkwood when his father dies.
It’s also unclear exactly how old Legolas is. These details feel like strange exclusions; as if Tolkien felt that Legolas would be more interesting if we knew less about him. That may or may not be the case, but Legolas’s backstory is certainly a strange omission.
8 Galadriel's Message To Him
Galadriel is a fairly impenetrable being generally, but her message to Legolas is especially confounding. The message is delivered by Gandalf after Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas discover him in Fangorn Forest: “Legolas Greenleaf, long under tree, In joy thou hast lived. Beware of the Sea! If thou hearest the cry of the gull on the shore, Thy heart shall then rest in the forest no more.”
This message doesn’t initially seem to make a whole lot of sense.
Fans have tried to puzzle out its meaning ever since the books were first released. Some believe that the gull that Galadriel refers to is a reference to Legolas’s journey to Minas Tirith, although even that is still debated. Galadriel must have been trying to tell Legolas something, but if that’s the case, he didn’t get the message.
7 He Only Speaks To Frodo Once
You may not think of Legolas and Frodo as close allies, but they were in a fellowship together, and Legolas’s entire mission was to stall so that Frodo could get the ring to Mordor. Given all of that, you would think that Legolas would have more than a passing acquaintance with the Hobbit. In fact, the two of them only spoke once in the entirety of Peter Jackson’s trilogy.
Legolas and Frodo are on the same side, but it doesn’t seem as though they were all that friendly with one another. Of course, Legolas doesn’t speak a ton, and when he does, he doesn’t always seem too interested in making friends.
Legolas probably should have talked to Frodo more, but he ultimately succeeded at ensuring Frodo’s success, and that’s what matters most.
6 His Appearance In The Hobbit Trilogy
Legolas was a great and necessary part of the original trilogy. He was a skilled archer and a great companion for both Aragorn and Gimli. It felt like he belonged in that story. In The Hobbit films, on the other hand, Legolas feels like a forced reminder of the trilogy that you used to love.
He’s an unnecessary tie-in that failed to save The Hobbit trilogy.
What’s more, pushing Legolas into this story directly goes against Tolkien’s work in ways that Jackson would never have dreamed of doing when he was making his first trilogy. Legolas’s introduction in The Hobbit trilogy was an unnecessary callback that contributed to the bloating of this brisk adventure novel that ultimately proved to be a huge part of the problem.
5 His Love For Dwarves
Although Legolas and Gimli are supposed to begin their story together as enemies, it’s quite clear that Legolas harbors no large amount of ill will for him, or for any other Dwarf. This is surprising, considering the prejudices that Elves tend to have against these miners.
The idea, of course, is that Legolas slowly forms a close and permanent bond with Gimli over the course of the trilogy, and learns that Dwarves aren’t as bad as he’s come to believe. In the films, though, that bond seems to form pretty quickly. It forms so quickly, in fact, that it begins to seem like Legolas never had any problem with dwarves at all.
He and Gimli can certainly learn to love each other, but at least on screen, it seems almost like they start out as best friends.
4 His Eyesight
Middle-earth is a fictional world inhabited by tons of outlandish, strange things. That’s all totally true. It’s a mystical land that doesn’t seem to play by many of the rules that govern life here on Earth. Having said all of that, Legolas’s incredible eyesight is almost definitely impossible.
Even if he was able to discern horsemen from 24 kilometers away, as he does in the film, it’s unlikely that he would be able to grasp the level of detail that he provides to Aragorn and Gimli about them.
Even if Legolas had basically perfect human eyesight, the fact that light bends and shifts means that objects that far away would likely be little more than blurs. Legolas may have known they were coming, but there’s no way he could have known what they were.
3 His Ability To Take Down Oliphaunts
Legolas’s skills are great, there’s no denying that. Even so, it began to stretch credulity when Jackson had Legolas take down a massive Oliphaunt during the Battle of Pelennor Fields. That battle, which was meant to save Gondor from total domination, accomplished its ultimate goal, and it’s probable that Legolas’s oliphaunt takedown had something to do with that.
This is another example of Legolas doing something that would be impossible for almost any other character.
Even Gandalf, who took on the Balrog, may not have been capable of taking down an Oliphaunt all by himself. While it’s easy to chalk Legolas’s insane abilities up to a desire for cool action sequences, when you really stop and think about them, they don’t make a whole lot of sense.
2 He Can Pilot A Troll
Much of what happens in The Hobbit films is nonsensical, especially when it comes to the action sequences. During one sequence in particular, Legolas notice that his fellow Elf Tauriel is in need of some assistance, so he decides to hop on a troll and stab two daggers into the troll’s brain.
For reasons that have little to do with logic, Legolas is now able to control the troll and tell it where he wants to go.
Not only does this defy every law of physics and biology in existence, it also seems incredibly convenient. It’s the kind of sequence that stems not from any character motivation, but instead from a desire to see something cool on screen.
1 He Can Defy Gravity
In addition to his other wonderful qualities, Legolas can fly. At least, that’s what The Hobbit would lead viewers to believe, given the way Legolas seems to be able to use falling blocks to run horizontally. Anyone with any basic understanding of gravity will also be able to tell you that those blocks would fall as quickly as Legolas himself, and so it would be impossible for him to use them to run.
Still, the fact that it ended up in The Hobbit trilogy means that we have to wonder whether Legolas can fly and he’s just hiding it from everyone. However implausible that scenario might seem, it makes about as much sense as any other explanation for his truly miraculous run across falling blocks.
What else doesn't make sense about Legolas from The Lord of the Rings? Let us know in the comments.