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Old 07-24-2000, 07:47 PM   #1
Mithadan
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Ring A revelation about Legolas

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Several months ago, a spirited debate took place on another board about the color of Legolas' hair. I lost interest before any consensus was reached and also because I had a firm personal view that his hair was dark. The debate focused upon which elven host had what color hair (the vanyar had golden hair, the teleri silver(?) and the noldor dark, went the debate). Others pointed out that passages in LoTR implied his hair was blonde.

Anyway, I reread The Hobbit and came across the folowing about Legolas' father, Thranduil: &quot;and at the head of a long line of feasters sat a woodland king with a crown of leaves upon his GOLDEN hair.&quot; Ch. 8 Annotated Hobbit, P. 165 (emphasis added of course). Coupled with the LoTR refernce about his hair making a golden halo, this about does it for me. Comments?

And if this is old news. let me try another, how does he walk on top of snow after the storm on Caradhras?

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Old 07-24-2000, 07:59 PM   #2
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/bluepal.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: A revelation about Legolas

I always figured he could walk on snow because he was a magical Elf. Good thinking on finding his father's hair color.

What's a burrahobbit got to do with my pocket, anyways?</p>
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Old 07-24-2000, 08:11 PM   #3
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/bluepal.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: A revelation about Legolas

JRRT rather specifically mentions that Legolas wore some sort of elf-slippers rather than boots. Now those of us who have ever walked in snow know perfctly well that this is a radically inadequate answer. I could dance en-pointe in toe shoes in relatively well-packed snow and I'd still go through. (And in boring fact, physics argues that the smaller the area supporting the mass, the more likely I'd be to go through, hence snowshoes.) Legolas explained that elves are uniquely suited for light stepping the same way that ploughmen plow and otters swim. It seems to me that this is the kind of postulate that literary merit gets away with.

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Old 07-24-2000, 09:06 PM   #4
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/bluepal.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: A revelation about Legolas

The Teleri (Sindar) tended to be dark-haired just like the Noldor, with some variance (eg those kin to Elwe were often Silver-haired). In the debate on 'the other board' I mentioned the passage in The Hobbit to which you are refering.

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Old 07-25-2000, 08:27 AM   #5
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/bluepal.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: A revelation about Legolas

Then, good catch, Tar Elenion. I should have followed that thread to its end, but I was laboring under a preconception that Legolas had dark hair. I recall looking at an early 1980s calender by Hildebrandt and being annoyed that Legolas was depicted with butter-yellow hair.

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Old 07-26-2000, 08:29 AM   #6
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/onering.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: A revelation about Legolas

I always thought he could walk on top of the snow because he moved so lightly. It says several times that elves walk differently than other races; maybe they have hollow bones, like birds?

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Old 12-28-2002, 02:40 AM   #7
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Just because his father had blonde hair, doesn't mean that Legolas did. From the miniscule amount I know about genetics, then if you can prove his mother had blonde hair then okay, but otherwise you'll need more proofs than this!

This is quite a hotly debated issue, isn't it? I guess noone wants their view of Middle-Earth messed with. I wonder if there are many people out there who boycotted the movies??
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Old 12-28-2002, 03:58 AM   #8
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This is quite a hotly debated issue
It was. When I was young
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Old 12-28-2002, 04:05 AM   #9
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Ah to be young and in love and posting on threads that never should have been brought back up! Ah, H-I!
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Old 12-28-2002, 07:32 PM   #10
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I thought someone said recently that Tolkien's Drawings depicted Legolas with dark hair. Does anyone know if that is true?
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Old 12-28-2002, 08:52 PM   #11
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JRRT never drew Legolas.
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Old 12-28-2002, 09:09 PM   #12
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Actually, both his mother and father could have blond hair and Legolas have brown, however unlikely that may seem. If the brown hair gene was recessive and was not physically evident in the parents, it may have been passed to Legolas and been dominant in him while it was not in his siblings. Anyways, just wanted to add that in...
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Old 12-29-2002, 06:41 AM   #13
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I'm sure that the blonde gene (b) would be recessive, and not the brown (B). So if both his parents were blonde, they would be "bb" and not "Bb", making it impossible for Legolas to have anything but "bb". Of course, it makes little difference since we know much less about his mum than we do about the Elf himsElf. I hope no geneticists see this. I'm sure this is a gross oversimplification that I learned in the dark ages before sheep cloning.

Nice pic btw. Maybe Agent Elrond can't stand the smell of Aragorn...
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Old 12-29-2002, 10:05 AM   #14
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I still don't think that Legolas should be blonde. Personally i always saw Legolas with Silver hair and deep green eyes ever since i first hear the book when i was seven.
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Old 12-30-2002, 08:28 PM   #15
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I knew somebody would come along who knew more about genetics than me...
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Old 12-30-2002, 10:11 PM   #16
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You knew I couldn't leave this one alone, BW. [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]

Actually, hair color is not determined by the simple Mendelian genetics that is taught in high school biology. Hair color is determined by several alleles found in several different loci. Sorry. It just ain't that simple, guys. [img]smilies/tongue.gif[/img]
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Old 12-30-2002, 11:23 PM   #17
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I don't know much about genetics but I'm the mother a a blonde, a brunette, and a redhead.

I always pictured Legolas as blonde.

Descriptions of the other characters in the Fellowship put them as mostly dark-haired so I guess I projected that onto Legolas for contrast.
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Old 12-31-2002, 02:20 AM   #18
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I think the Fellowship was made up more by race or political allegiance than by hair colour. Of course, Elrond is an Elf after all (yes I know he's only half but he chose to be considered an Elf and so he probably does care a lot about everyone looking nice).

Thank you, red!! Finally! We definitely need someone with intelligence about genetics on this forum... thread... thing.

Silver hair, interesting, that sounds pretty good. Anyone know how the old threads about this turned out?
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Old 12-31-2002, 11:54 AM   #19
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I agree, i believe Legolas has blonde hair as well. and the guy who played sauruman in the movie knew tolkien and so he most likely had a bit of input for the movie so i think they got it right too. lol.
as for your question, elves are the eldest race in middle earth, therefor,they have had a BIT of time id say to become more... um, i guess tuned to the environment and such. all elves have the ability to walk on snow, they see farther and hear better and they dont suffer pestilence or disease... and they dont smell bad. lol. so yea... if that answers your question. [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]
 
Old 12-31-2002, 12:49 PM   #20
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I have found a wonderful essay on this topic, no matter which side you're on...
It can be viewed here: http://www.henneth-annun.net/stories...inal=1&pop=pop




'Nev [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]
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Old 12-31-2002, 02:48 PM   #21
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Blast! I knew I should have stayed away from the genetics...
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Old 12-31-2002, 04:54 PM   #22
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maybe they have hollow bones, like birds?
Maybe that's how Maedhros could hang by his wrist from a rock face and not have his arm pulled off.
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Old 12-31-2002, 05:27 PM   #23
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Thanks for the link, Nevolosse! I agree with that article, though I doubt they'd use peroxide to dye their hair -- they're elves, they'd use something more "natural". [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]
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Old 12-31-2002, 05:46 PM   #24
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i always imagined his hair as blonde, BUT there is the whole thing that throws you off about him being a "Dark Elf" too, Dark Elf meaning they have never seen the light of the undieing land.

[ December 31, 2002: Message edited by: Guildo ]
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Old 12-31-2002, 06:21 PM   #25
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since elves can walk on snow, don't get sick, and are immortal, maybe thay can order their hair to change colour. I've always pictured him a blond, but I have a tendency to have hair colours a bit...strange. I picture Varda having Purple hair, Manwe hve red hair ( really, REALLY red hair) and Morgoth not having any hair. ( I thiink the Valar are just spirits, so they probably don't have hair, but I need to reread the Silmarillion)
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Old 01-01-2003, 03:59 PM   #26
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Quote:
since elves can walk on snow, don't get sick, and are immortal, maybe thay can order their hair to change colour.
I doubt that is the case. If (note if) Elves changed their hair color at all, it would most likely be through natural coloring. However, there would really be no reason for Elves to change their hair color (unless they are vainer than I think them to be), as I doubt they really care.

I just think that the issue with Legolas's hair color is one of those unsolved mysteries that will remain unsolved to all of us until we move on to the next plane of existence (whatever your religion promotes as the next plane) and get the chance to ask Tolkien himself [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img] . And, when we reach that next stage, we will probably have stopped caring (unless you are like me, and already just let the question go). I, personally, just let the issue go and agree with whatever anyone says, as we really do not know.

Hmmm...I just thought: did anyone ever write a letter to Tolkien that may have turned up in some book somewhere where Tolkien describes Legolas's physical appearance? Because the closest thing I have to a physical description is Tolkien's frustrated defense of Legolas's masculinity in "The Book of Lost Tales Volume 2".
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Old 01-01-2003, 07:28 PM   #27
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yesh... biology!

If Legolas' dad was blonde, and if references in LotR say he was too, he likely was. As for his walking on snow trick, if elven cloaks make you practically invisible, elven boats don't tip without much effort and elven ropes can hold the weight of two hobbits but come untied with a request and a simple tug- I'm pretty sure Legolas' elven slippers could make him light as a feather and walk over snow. [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]
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Old 01-01-2003, 08:02 PM   #28
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I really should stay out of these hair color conversations, but I just can't.

To me Legolas has almost always been dark-haired. My reason is a little whacked from the whole genetics idea. I always pictured him as having dark hair because he's a Wood Elf and Wood Elves live in the woods where there is a lot of brown because of the trunks of trees- so it seems natural that dark hair would be nice natural camoflage. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img] But you must remember that I formed this opinion when I was about three years old.

Recently though, I've walked off the beaten path and gone straight for the idea that Legolas has red hair. This has happened for several reasons. The first is that Tolkien didn't say that the Sindarin and/or Silvan elves couldn't have red hair. Also, Maedhros and two (or was it just one) of his brothers had red hair (I will never forgive Tolkien for giving Maedhros the nickname of Coppertop, which I loathe, as I have had that name directed at me) and Nerdanel had reddish hair, I think. They were Noldorin, but they were still Elves. Also, what better way to stand out in a group of people with dark hair than to have red hair? Also, as a redhead, I like to make my favorite characters redheads too. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

I like my redheaded Legolas. Red hair looks good on my mental image of him.

[ January 01, 2003: Message edited by: Cúdae ]
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Old 01-02-2003, 12:47 AM   #29
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I did not read the books until I saw the movies, so he has always kind of had blonde hair to me, but I have seen the drawings and art featuring him, and I like both.
Since he is a Wood Elf, it would be understandable that he would have brown hair, and also since he is from Mirkwood, you would just kind of think of darker things. Just think of it as different interpritations.
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Old 01-02-2003, 05:12 AM   #30
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just a quick question sort of off topic -Does anyone know how old Legolas was exactly? Or is it not specified anywhere?
Doesn't the name appear somewhere in the Silmarillion, in which case it would make him very old indeed.... Unless he got dropped back on Middle Earth by Mandos, which brings us nicely to the question of Elvish reincarnation.... damn.
Sorry, in short, how old is he?
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Old 01-02-2003, 05:39 AM   #31
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He is only named in one other legend, which is a very old version of the Fall of Gondolin, which originated from 20 odd years before Legolas appeared in the LoTR drafts. So yeah that may or may not be him, but there is a thread somewhere about it.

As for his hair, I say blonde if his father's hair was blonde. Also if the book cant reach a conclusion one way or the other lets take the movies as evidence! (that should annoy them)

[ January 02, 2003: Message edited by: Galorme ]
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Old 01-02-2003, 08:28 AM   #32
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There is a movie rumor going around about Legolas' age...about 1900 something. But I personally believe that is a tad too old. In the book he seemed....immature..to an extent. Most elves wouldn't have the orc-counting contest! (no matter how awesome that was)

[img]smilies/rolleyes.gif[/img]
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Old 03-18-2003, 07:08 PM   #33
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That whole thing with Thranduil being a blonde never even registered in my tiny brain. [img]smilies/rolleyes.gif[/img] Now I'm all confused. I had always though he had dark hair, but now maybe I was wrong. Oh well [img]smilies/tongue.gif[/img]
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Old 03-18-2003, 08:51 PM   #34
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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 glimmered in the black pools of the sky behind.
However this doesn't really mean anything, as the fact that there were stars in the sky implies that it was night, and most peoples (and Elves) heads look dark at night [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img] ...
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Old 03-18-2003, 11:44 PM   #35
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how does he walk on top of snow after the storm on Caradhras?
I'm sure any half-decent yogi practiced in "centering" and body control would not think that Legolas' "feet feat" was any big deal. There are some amazing instances of body control sited amongst people who practice these disciplines, and being immortal, Elves must have had a lot of time to practice.

I myself experienced this once with an animal. I went to pick up a cat who did not want to be picked up. For a few seconds, as I pulled up on the cat's body, it felt as if this 5-pound animal weighed as much as a boulder. I could not lift this cat! Talk about being "centered". [img]smilies/eek.gif[/img]

Anyway, my point is: Legolas did not sink into the snow because he did not want to sink into the snow. And Elves wore slippers because they didn't need to wear anything else.

[ March 19, 2003: Message edited by: Birdland ]
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