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Old 02-10-2003, 11:41 PM   #1
Sauron the deciever
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Question What does legolas look like?

Hello all
In some pics of legolas (as in legolas from the books not the movies)He looks very different from the Legolas i imagined. As i am reading the books for the first time i might have missed a description of him...so i was wondering if anywhere it actually gives a description of him? Does he have black hair in the books!?
Thanks [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 02-10-2003, 11:50 PM   #2
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His hair colour is not given. His father's hair was noted to be blonde in The Hobbit, so it's possible that he had golden hair also.

Quote:
Ultimately, of course, the Elves shed all associations and qualities that would be now commonly considered 'fairylike', and those who remained in the Great Lands in Ages of the world at this time unconceived were to grow greatly in stature and in power: there was nothing filmy or transparent about the heroic or majestic Eldar of the Third Age of Middle-earth. Long afterwards my father would write, in a wrathful comment on a 'pretty' or 'ladylike' pictorial rendering of Legolas:
'He was tall as a young tree, lithe, immensely strong, able swiftly to draw a great war-bow and shoot down a Nazgul, endowed with the tremendous vitality of Elvish bodies, so hard and resistant to hurt that he went only in light shoes over rock or through snow, the most tireless of all the Fellowship.'
Quote:
There was also a strange Elf clad in green and brown, Legolas, a messenger from his father, Thranduil, the King of the Elves of Northern Mirkwood.
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Old 02-11-2003, 12:19 AM   #3
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There is a lot of confusion over what he actually was supposed to look like, because Tolkien never really gives a discription. He says some things (like the quotes above) here and there, but you kind of have to come up with your own idea of what he looks like. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 02-11-2003, 08:43 AM   #4
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Legolas-Where did you get that first quote from?
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Old 02-11-2003, 10:01 AM   #5
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The Book of Lost Tales 2, VI. 'The History of Eriol and fwine and the End of the Tales'

A few paragraphs before the notes start.

[ February 11, 2003: Message edited by: Legolas ]
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Old 02-11-2003, 11:12 AM   #6
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I've never really bothered to read the notes for Eriol. Thanks for that!

(This also shows that the notes include a wealth of intresting info.)

[ February 11, 2003: Message edited by: Inderjit Sanghera ]
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Old 02-11-2003, 11:53 AM   #7
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Quote:
(This also shows that the notes include a wealth of intresting info.)
Or some useless information about the most thoroughly uninteresting character in LotR. Who cares what Legolas looks like, really?
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Old 02-11-2003, 01:23 PM   #8
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In the books it said that Legolas was "Elven Fair". I interpreted this as a beardless, blonde hair, blue eyed slender man. Actually, Orlando Bloom was almost exactly how I thought Legolas looked. (shorter hair)

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Old 02-11-2003, 02:43 PM   #9
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This is kind of a semi-related question I guess. It is always assumed that elves have pointed ears. Is this an assumption on our part, because I can't think of anywhere that this is specifically mentioned?

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Old 02-11-2003, 02:44 PM   #10
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Legolas was described as being "fair of face beyond the measure of men", as well as that he had long hands. I believe that Tolkien meant for him to be dark-haired, as it mentions in the chapter "The Great River"...

"Frodo looked up at the Elf standing tall above him, as he gazed into the night, seeking a mark to shoot at. His head was dark, crowned with sharp white stars that glittered in the black pools of the sky behind."

Perhaps it was just shadow, but hey! score one for dark.

Also...
"There was also a strange Elf, clad in green and brown, Legolas."

"Yrch!" cried Legolas, falling into his own tongue.

Did anyone else have pictures of Leggers actually falling into his own tongue? Lol. I am disturbed.

Purple "Every Legolas mention highlighted in bright green - and brown" Monkey



PS: I remember that in one M.E related book it was mentioned that Elven ears are more leaf-shaped than pointed. What kind of leaf, one wonders...perhaps there are some funky elves with oak leaf ears?

[ February 11, 2003: Message edited by: Purple Monkey ]
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Old 02-11-2003, 03:11 PM   #11
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Quote:
What does legolas look like?
Good. I imagine he looks good. Delectable even, though I seriously doubt Tolkien imagined him that way.

Quote:
Alright, Obloquy, what the hell is your problem?
Oblo is a spiritualist and an intellectual. He finds wordly topics such as this offensive to his sensibility as a conscientious Tolkien reader. Whereas someone like me can readily admit that the Elves initially interested me because they were hot, and not much else. [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]

[ February 11, 2003: Message edited by: Lush ]
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Old 02-11-2003, 03:17 PM   #12
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Well good on ya. He just needs to lighten up, I know it's about Tolkien and his book as well, but it's just a bit of fun! [img]smilies/evil.gif[/img]
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Old 02-12-2003, 09:11 AM   #13
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Sting

Still, I agree with Obloquy on Legolas being unintresting, I was just pointing out that the Notes have quite a bit of good information as well. But, I do care about what Elves look like.
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Old 05-07-2003, 01:42 AM   #14
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This is actually a topic that I've shared with my mate, who is much more of a scholar in this feild.
Her reply is that, in The Hobbit, you learn that the elves of Mirkwood are dark haired.
Since this is where Legolas is from, she had always assumed that he followed the same trend.

I, however have not read The Hobbit in over 10 years and do not recall such details, but I do trust in her recollection.

And I ask, what questions could not be considered a waste of time when dealing with fiction... or non-fiction, for that matter.
 
Old 05-07-2003, 06:53 PM   #15
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Nowhere does it say all the elves of Mirkwood had dark hair. In The Hobbit, no elven hair colour is mentioned apart from Thranduil's hair colour - golden. You might note that Thranduil is Legolas' father. If Legolas was following any given genetic 'trend,' his hair would be golden.
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Old 05-07-2003, 07:35 PM   #16
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Sting

If you're going to talk about genetic trends you'd have to know his mothers hair colour too. Sorry I'm a bit too science oriented, I think.

I personally never thought elves had pointed ears until the movies came out.(well, except when my dad read me the hobbit and I thought hobbits were funny, furry little creatures. I was 8 or something.) I always thought they wouldn't cos Tolkien wanted to move away from the little "elfs" Not to mention why in middle earth do hobbits have pointed ears. It is expressly stated that hobbits are far more closely related to men than elves.

That was alot only half on topic but with questions like this they sort of pop up in my mind.
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Old 05-07-2003, 08:24 PM   #17
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Quote:
If you're going to talk about genetic trends you'd have to know his mothers hair colour too. Sorry I'm a bit too science oriented, I think.
Not what I said.

I said if you're going to bank on him following a genetic trend, the only possibility we're given is blonde, his father's hair colour. His father had blonde hair, so it's a *possible* genetic trend. If the elven genome in Tolkien's Middle-earth is the same as ours, blonde hair is recessive and we limit the possibilities of his mothers hair to blonde or brown, Legolas could have either 100% chance (mother's hair being blonde), 50% chance (mother's hair being brown but carrying the recessive blonde trait), or 0% chance (mother's hair is brown without carrying the recessive blonde trait). Then again, Legolas' mother could have had silver hair or, though much less likely, red hair. This is all rather complicated and is based on many assumptions - that's why I kept my initial response concise. [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]

The main point was that simply living in a community of brown haired people (though it doesn't say anywhere that all of them had brown hair) does not make you and your family have brown hair, and that the only genetic possibility we had to base Legolas' hair colour on was Thranduil's blonde hair.

[ May 07, 2003: Message edited by: Legolas ]
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Old 05-08-2003, 12:45 AM   #18
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I can't believe how much this issue of hair color is discussed. Even more bizarre is the interest in what Legolas looked like in particular. There's no reason to believe that Quendian hair color trends were anything special. All of the normal hair colors are present in the Elven gene pool, and no unusual ones are. So what is so damn fascinating? The various human hair colors had to have come from individuals -- and thus families or tribes -- in the beginning, so why aren't people all over that topic?
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Old 05-08-2003, 05:08 AM   #19
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Sting

Actually, when I asked this question in another thread, it was because I recently read a book about the Hildebrandt calendars of the 1970s (fascinating account of a major piece of creativity, BTW - it's called The Tolkien Years and is by Greg Hildebrandt's son, Gregory). Apparently, the Hildebrandts painted Legolas as fair, but were told by the expert at Ballantine that Legolas should be dark. Not sure where he got that from. I'm glad to know I didn't miss anything! Orlando Bloom in his blonde wig is a lot like MY vision of the character too - and not just his colouring. The way he moved, like a dancer, was so very Elvish and when he jumped from is horse in his first scene it was like a leaf falling to earth...As for Elvish ears, I like to think they're pointed, but I don't think Tolkien ever says so - generally, people recognise Elves by the look in their eyes (not sure how you'd do that, but...). Hobbits, however, do, according to one of Tolkien's letters, where he said they were slightly pointed - sorry, can't tell you which one!
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Old 05-08-2003, 06:50 PM   #20
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Sting

Trying to figure out what Legolas 'really' looks like is like trying to figure out how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. "The world may never know."

I guess its just up to your imagination.

P.S. I am not a new member. I use to be TealDude3, but my parents recently changed ISP's so I didn't know my password. It took me 2 days to realize I would never find out my password so I got a new name.
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Old 05-12-2003, 09:03 AM   #21
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On the subject of elves ears, Tolkien mentions somewhere (I think it was in the prologue) about Hobbits having ears being slightly more or less pointed than the elves. Of course, this could be a reference to the elfs, but I think he means his elves.
I will edit in a quote if I can find it.

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Old 05-12-2003, 10:37 AM   #22
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Sting

No need, everyone's seen it already.
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Old 05-12-2003, 08:59 PM   #23
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I never consciously thought about what Legolas (or any other member of the Fellowship) looked like until the first movie came out. But I thought Orlando Bloom fit the part of Legolas just fine. I guess subconsciously I'd always imagined Legolas looking something like that. The colour of his hair was never a question to me until lately [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
 
Old 06-24-2003, 09:49 PM   #24
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Silmaril

I think the movie was pretty close to what Legolas looked like. If he had Vanyar blood in him, (and considering that his father was fair, I'd say this is pretty likely) then it is almost certain that he would be fair haired and light eyed. Galadriel was an example of this. Her mother was Vanyar, as was her grandmother. So, he turned out fair, as did all of her siblings. Seems like the Vanyar apperance dominates over the darker Noldor
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Old 06-25-2003, 09:50 AM   #25
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Whoever said something about leaf shaped ears is right, that came up on another thread.

As for what Legolas looks like, I always figured along the tall, blonde, and fair lines. I guess I never considered the fact that dark hair is a possibility. There were many High Elves in the Silm. that had dark hair, but I guess Legolas isn't technically a high elf. I just remember Tolkien saying that he had long hands. Just a thought.
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Old 06-25-2003, 10:07 AM   #26
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StarJewel, since when was Galadriel's mother a Vanya?!?! Read the Silmarillion. Galadriel's mother is Earwen, the daughter of Olw, the King of the Teleri. Earwen had silver hair, and Galadriel inherited some of it. That was why her hair was considered so beautiful. It had both the gold of her father Finarfin (inherited from his mother Indis of the Vanyar) and the silver of her mother Earwen (inherited from Olw of the Teleri).

As for Legolas' hair, I'd stick with the white-blond color that it is in the movies, or golden like his father. Silvan Elves were slightly stockier than the Eldar, who were most often described as tall and slender, so I can also see Legolas as being slightly shorter than the Noldor at Elrond's Council. I think that his coloring was right in the movie. Only the Noldor, or those of Noldorin blood, had dark dark hair. The darkest that most of the others got was golden-brown, or probably a light chocolate-brown. I don't think that he was as dark as Elrond.

You also have to remember that when Tolkien refers to the Moriquendi, or the Dark Elves, he doesn't mean their coloring. That has confused many people. He means that they were the Elves who did not see the light of Aman (the Two Trees), NOT their color. So they could have been white-blond, with blue eyes.
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Old 06-25-2003, 12:47 PM   #27
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Quote:
Only the Noldor, or those of Noldorin blood, had dark dark hair. The darkest that most of the others got was golden-brown, or probably a light chocolate-brown.
Wrong.

Quote:
In general the Sindar appear to have very closely resembled the Exiles, being dark-haired, strong and tall, but lithe. Indeed they could hardly be told apart except by their eyes; for the eyes of all the Elves that had dwelt in Aman impressed those of Middle-earth by their piercing brightness.
Quendi and Eldar

Also, where do you come up with this 'golden-brown' and 'chocolate-brown'? I'll give you a dollar if you can produce a quote of Tolkien describing Elven hair with either of these colors.

Quit making crap up.
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Old 06-25-2003, 02:00 PM   #28
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My bad. You're right Finwe. I have read the Silmarillion( awesome book [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img] ). The thing I wrote was a combination of no caffeine and hallucinations. Three days w/o sleep tends to do that
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Old 06-25-2003, 05:10 PM   #29
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Since we know that Thranduil had blonde hair, although he is Sindarin, the question of Thranduil's ancestry comes into this. Perhaps his mother or grandmother was of the kindred of the Vanyar, but an Avari who never went to Valinor. This could explain why he was accepted as a leader of the Wood Elves who seem mostly to have been Avari. The other question is about Mrs. Thranduil, sadly we know nothing of her, neither her 'tribe' nor hair colour, which could, of course, have been inherited by Legolas.
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Old 06-25-2003, 08:27 PM   #30
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I have a theory that can reconcile both the dark & light ideas... In the movie, Legolas' wig starts out with a fair amount of dark hair interspersed with the blonde. As the movies progress, the wig bleaches. (Don't ask me why I noticed that, because I have no idea. I'm not even a crazed Legolas fangirl.) Perhaps this bleaching is caused by being out in the sun: Legolas did live in Mirkwood and probably wasn't out in direct sunlight a whole lot. Of course, "normal" hair doesn't bleach that fast but maybe it would go blonde faster if it hadn't seen too much continual sunlight. Just a thought. [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]
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Old 06-26-2003, 04:44 AM   #31
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Silmaril

i also noticed that his hair gets lighter... in the movie ofcourse.
and in the last part of fotr movie, his face becomes whiter.. i think... right?
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Old 06-26-2003, 10:49 PM   #32
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Question

Arrr. This is a question that has been argued for ages. I gave up on it long ago. When I first read the books I was under the impression that all Elves were light-haired and fair. (From The Hobbit.) It was just the first impression I got - and I noticed that those with Man-traits (Elrond, FOTR) seemed to have dark hair and grey eyes.
But this has nothing to do with what we've learned from studying the different races of Elves and their mixing with Men. Those descriptions can get muddled and complicated.

Frankly, it's much easier to let one's mind wander and stick with the character of Legolas. I found him to be caring, at first, and somewhat disconnected, and then - haughty, frustrating, even snotty.
It was wonderful when he was finally worn down by the loss of the Hobbits. He mellowed quickly and seemed to shed his cold exterior for a much more worldly, friendly feel. His friendship with Gimli further pushed that sense of learning and wonder in Legolas. By the end of the books I felt quite comfortable with him. Tolkien certainly knew how to make a character grow and blossom.

[ June 27, 2003: Message edited by: Tirned Tinnu ]
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Old 06-27-2003, 08:44 AM   #33
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Well, since Tolkien did not really explain what Legolas looked like, I like to stick to the movie version.
What caught my interest, is that why did Finarfin have golden hair? If blonde (his mother) gene is weaker (there's a word for that, but English isn't my first language) and dark (his father) is stronger, does that mean Finwe had blonde genes as well?
Pheww.... Feel free to ignore me, too much coffee [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]
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Old 06-27-2003, 08:49 AM   #34
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obloquy: I mentioned those "golden-brown" and "chocolate-brown" hair colors because children from unions of, for example, a Vanya and a Noldo can have those hair colors. It's just an intermingling of genes from the parents that could result in those hair colors.

As for your challenge to produce a quote from Tolkien, can you produce a quote that specifically says that Elves can't have those hair colors? Tolkien didn't describe every Elf in Middle-earth. For all we know, there could have been Elves with those hair colors.

Oh, and frankly, I don't appreciate you calling my ideas "crap." If you can produce a quote that distinctly disproves any of my ideas, I'd be more than happy to accept it. There's no reason to insult me to do that.
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Old 06-27-2003, 09:44 AM   #35
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Aredhel, I suppose it is possible for Finw to have such a recessive trait. My own parents were brown haired both (one green eyed and one brown eyed), but my brother is blonde and blue eyed. That means my brown eyed, brown haired mother must have had a recessive blonde in there. Perhaps it is so with Finw. What exactly are the mechanics of red haired children though? (Would much rather discuss why Maedhros' hair is red than why Legolas' may be blonde, but only for matters of visualization! [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img] ) And while we're at it, what color was Frodo's hair? Hobbits are generally brown haired, but in an addendum (unpublished) to LOTR, Sam is telling his children that Pippin's hair was "almost golden". Fallohide trait? I suppose that would be brown with blonde highlights. And how in the world did hobbits suddenly start coming out with blonde children (viz. Elanor) when it had been supremely uncommon before? I wonder if it is an external representation of heroic legend at work here, rather than genetics! What was Rosie Cotton's coloring? Or did Sam get some genetic modifications while he was in Mordor? [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img] Now I'm getting outlandish! I've had a lot of coffee too, Aredhel! Speculation about trivia such as this can be fun!

And Finw, I like your ideas, so don't worry about it! I enjoy speculations, and the time that someone believes a topic is not worthwhile is the point at which he or she should find other topics that suit better! [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

Cheers,
Lyta
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Old 06-27-2003, 10:06 AM   #36
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I think it's quite possible for Finw to have a recessive blond gene in there, but in the case of Fingolfin and Finarfin, Indis's dominant blond gene probably took over. Fingolfin's hair color isn't really mentioned, so he can be either dark or blond. I'm much more inclined to think of him as dark, since I have a penchant for tall, dark Noldor.

The way that the genes for red hair work something like this. Those genes, actually, are incomplete dominant, which means that they will blend colors with other incomplete dominants or dominant. Fanor probably had a black dominant gene, and a silver recessive gene (I remember reading somewhere that Miriel had silver hair, correct me if I'm wrong.). Nerdanel had auburn hair, which means that she had a incomplete dominant red gene and a recessive brown gene. So 50% of their children should have red hair, 25% black, and the other 25% should have brown (or something like that).

The website that I got this information from is http://www.luchau.org/writing/elven_genetics.htm

Try checking it out, it has a lot of helpful information on Elven hair colors in general.

The mechanics of red hair genes work something like this. If one parent has a dominant dark-hair gene, and the other one has a
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Old 06-27-2003, 11:46 AM   #37
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Red hair is not controlled by the blond/brown hair gene. It's located elsewhere in the human genome - not even on the same chromosome. Every red-haired person has a gene for blond or brown hair, but the red hair gene cancels it out - to have red hair, you must have GG or Gg (G = red pigment, g = no red pigment). People with GG will be more likely (obviously) to have intensely red hair, while I imagine Feanor's sons had a Gg genotype, displaying a more auburn hair colour (since that's how Tolkien describes it, and their trait came only from their mother, it is said, from her father, Mahtan; I can't think of any reason to expect Feanor having a gene for it). Having a gg genotype would of course result in no red pigment. The amount of red hair that comes through is dependent on the extent of the brown or blonde genes. It's actually not stated that Nerdanel had red hair (that I can remember), so it's possible that hers did not show through much. The number of possibilities of the genotypes of these elves makes it almost silly to speculate because of the lack of information given. That website is accurate (what I read of it, anyway).

Quote:
I think it's quite possible for Finw to have a recessive blond gene in there, but in the case of Fingolfin and Finarfin, Indis's dominant blond gene probably took over. Fingolfin's hair color isn't really mentioned, so he can be either dark or blond.
This is entirely false. Fingolfin's hair IS mentioned in that Finarfin and his house alone are the only line of Finw's house to inherit the blonde hair of his mother, Indis. The only person to have blonde hair in the Noldorin royal family (outside of Finarfin's line) is Idril, daugther of Turgon, son of Fingolfin. Idril (obviously then) inherited her blonde hair from her Vanyarin mother, Elenw.

Quote:
Finarfin The third son of Finw, the younger of Fanor's half-brothers; remained in Aman after the Exile of the Noldor and ruled the remnant of his people in Tirion. Alone among the Noldorin princes he and his descendants had golden hair, derived from his mother Indis, who was a Vanyarin Elf (see Vanyar). 63, 69, 75. 93-6, 100, 117, 202, 213, 310. Many other occurrences of the name of Finarfin relate to his sons or his people.
[ June 27, 2003: Message edited by: Legolas ]
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Old 06-27-2003, 12:07 PM   #38
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Ah, sorry Legolas! I stand corrected. I forgot about that little quote about Finarfin's House. I'm also curious, Finarfin and his House were the only "true blondes" in the House of Finw (except for Idril), but could Fingolfin have had dirty blond hair, or light brown hair? I'm just curious. I'm sure that light brown/dirty blond hair doesn't count as golden hair, so Fingolfin had that hair color, or was he dark like Feanor?
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Old 06-27-2003, 06:57 PM   #39
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I find myself wondering where the house of Finwe comes into play with the looks of Legolas. I am slightly confused.
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Old 06-29-2003, 05:15 PM   #40
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We were just wondering how Legolas could have inherited his golden hair (if he had it), since the only "High" Elves in Middle-earth who had it were descended from Finarfin. If he was of Silvan coloring, then that's another matter, since we don't really have much of a description about the Silvan Elves.
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