Legolas has always been one of the favorite characters, you have to admit. (I mean, besides the stupid lines everyone hates.) He has always been the best archer with the most amazing of skills.
Legolas is an interesting character, mainly considering his elvish background. Being an elf means a lot of things in Middle Earth. Elves are immortal beings that hardly see death in their time.
One of my favorite scenes with Legolas that tells you so much about him is at Amon Hen. Uruk Hai have just attacked the Fellowship and everyone is fighting. The horn of Gondor sounds, and most know what it means. Legolas doesn’t make it to where Boromir blew his horn until he is speaking his dying words.
The moment Legolas sees Aragorn speaking with the fatally wounded Boromir, you can see a lot about elves by the look on Legolas’ face. He has a look of curiosity mixed with confusion. Being immortal and living in a land where everyone else is as well, Legolas never experienced death. Much like for Pippin (as stated in my post ‘Peregrin Took: The Childish Cousin) Gandalf’s death was much like the Atonement of Christ for us. We know what Christ did for us, and we appreciate it so much, but we tend to forget about it in our daily lives and don’t always think about how important his sacrifice was.
Seeing the death of someone so close, and realizing how cruelly life can be cut short, sparks curiosity in Legolas. He had never thought about death before, and after that moment, he realizes how probable it could be for him to die as well.
Legolas could be compared to a lot of things symbolically, most of which one can never be sure if it was intended by Tolkien himself.
One thing Legolas makes me think of is a prophet. He can see things we cannot, and knows more about things to come than we have the power or ability to do ourselves. Because Legolas’ eyesight is so much stronger, it can compare to revelation. Each time Legolas speaks what things he sees, it is almost always for the benefit of more than just himself. He is using his gift of seeing to guide and direct his friends.
For never being around death, Legolas sure has a sensitivity to dangerous things. When Pippin looks into the Palentir, Legolas instantly knows that the presence of Sauron is with them. He also has the ability to interpret signs of death and bloodshed (like the red sun quote everyone seems to hate). Again, this is very similar to the ways of prophets.
Legolas, being a woodelf, has a special connection with trees. When the three hunters are in Fangorn, he can feel the life in the trees. Think about trees for a moment. What things do trees do for us? The provide oxygen, represent life and fertility, and provide for every creature on the earth. Legolas understands this and respects the trees for it. In a way, it seems that the trees themselves could be what represents the long life of elves. Seeing as trees make life possible, you can assume that the trees are directly related to the elves.
Think about Legolas’ line of royalty for a moment. Legolas has always known that he will one day be a king for his home in the forest, and yet, he still chooses to go on an adventure to help beings that will very possibly be dead before he even begins his rule. Thinking about the attitude of many elves, it is interesting to see that Legolas would be so willing to help those who seem like ants in comparison to them. This shows the compassion for life that Legolas has, going back to the life giving quality of trees.
Legolas would be a great king, if given the chance. It is a common theme among the Lord of the Rings trilogy to see compassion and caring from those in leadership positions. This may be because of Tolkien’s belief in the love that Christ expressed through his sacrifice to us, even though he could have been a king as well.