I’m working on a fantasy romance story, as well as living in Oxford where JRR Tolkien wrote the Hobbit and the LOTR trilogy, so I’ve been trying to get into the spirit of the Ox and high fantasy.
Aside from the obvious reasons like he’s an elf and he knows how to use a bow, Legolas was central to this amazing scene in the Fellowship of the Ring.
I haven’t read LOTR since I was in my teens, and they’re just as good, or better, than I remember. This particular scene is not fully shown in the films, but it takes place when the company (4 hobbits, 2 men, 1 dwarf and 1 elf) are entering Lorien, the magical elf sanctuary.
They encounter an elf named Haldir who is patrolling the area with his elf buddies and says there’s no way they’re going to let a dwarf pass through their land because of a long history let’s just say elves don’t trust dwarves.
The company insists that Gimli the dwarf should come with them, and Haldir agrees to let him pass, but only if Gimli is blindfolded while they are led to the city. Gimly is like nope, not happening.
Things get pretty tense…
Then Aragorn suggests a compromise, for the whole company to walk blindfolded, even Legolas the elf.
To this Gimli replies, “a merry troop of fools we shall look! Will Haldir lead us all on a string, like many blind beggars with one dog? Bu I will be content, if only Legolas here shares my blindness.”
Legolas is pretty pissed off like, “I’m an elf. I don’t think I should be the one blindfolded.”
So finally they all settle on the whole company walking blindfolded, and Legolas says the coolest thing:
“Alas for the folly of these days!” said Legolas, “Here all are enemies of the one Enemy, and yet I must walk blind, while the sun is merry in the woodland under leaves of gold!”
… which is such an elvish thing to say. And it reminded me so much of everything that’s going on in the world right now. Although Tolkien states specifically that the books are not meant to be an allegory, he also said he wanted readers to be free to draw their own conclusions.
I completely agree that interpretations shouldn’t be prescriptive, and I don’t think a writer’s job is to get involved in politics, but rather to make people think by reminding them of some basic human values and ideals. The statements made in the book are just perfect at describing human folly both in Tolkien’s time and today.
I can’t help but think JRR Tokien is a genius for putting it so eloquently. It seems the world is as ever filled with folly, and the only sane thing to do is to read a good book.