Legolas: The most skilled of the Fellowship?

Discussion in 'The Hall of Fire' started by sousuke22, Dec 12, 2006.

  1. sousuke22

    sousuke22 Registered User

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    I have been an avid LOTR fan for quite some time now, though I have not frequented these forums in a while. I am opening a debate on whether or not Legolas may have been the greatest of the Fellowship- excluding Gandalf, of course- in the art of individual warfare.

    As we all know, Legolas is the oldest of the fellowship- referring to Aragorn and Gimli as "children" at one time. The combination of this age and experience, combined with his probable experiences in battles long-past has led me to believe that where skill at arms, both with the bow and with the sword, is concerned, Legolas Greenleaf is truly unequaled in the trilogy.

    By Tolkien's own admission, Legolas accomplished the least of note out of the nine members of the Fellowship, so could he have been introduced as the "warrior" of the group?

    According to one source- and most of us here will likely agree- Legolas is protrayed in the movies as "an unstoppable fighter, arguably to the point of stealing the show..."

    And, according to Tolkien himself, "He was tall as a young tree, lithe, immensely strong, able swiftly to draw a great war-bow and shoot down a Nazgûl, 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..."

    So, is Legolas the greatest in war of the Fellowship?
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2006
  2. YayGollum

    YayGollum Conscience of TTF

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    Ugh. Nasssty elveses! Although he may have been older and stronger and plenty of other great things, he was a random elf from boring old as well as backwater Mirkwood. How many battles did he run into? Maybe a few skirmishes with some giant spiders, maybe two seconds of tossing arrows at the Battle Of Five Armies before Beorn came to save him. The evil Aragorn, on top of a different hand, was well trained by those Ranging dudes as well as a bunch of Noldor type elves, a bit more well known for fighting abilities than the boring Mirkwood types. Also, he most probably had a bit more experience at warrioring about. Ick. YayGollum, writing anything at least halfway decent about the evil Aragorn? No way, man! Gollum was the best fighter of the fellowship, id est, the evil torturer Gandalf died, and Gollum the hero took his place, yes? :rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2006

  3. Ingwë

    Ingwë Creeping Death

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    It would be an interesting debate. Reading the post of the author of the thread I think Legolas is really a great warrior, probably the most skilled except Gandalf. But reading Yay's post I think Legolas is not that great. I think Aragorn is greater than Legolas, Legolas is less skilled than Gandalf so it is something like
    1. Gandalf
    2. Aragorn
    3. Legolas
    4. Boromir
    5. Gimli
    6. ...
    The debate should be Legolas or Aragorn - who was more skilled :) if someone wants to debate :)
     
  4. sousuke22

    sousuke22 Registered User

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    Agreed, but I personally think that given his age, ubringing, and Tolkien's own words that he is the most skilled in war aside from Gandalf; I think Aragorn would be a match for him, but he is not quite as well rounded in my view, but he probably has a significant edge in leading troops into battle and possibly in strategizing large scale battles.
     

  5. Thorondor_

    Thorondor_ Registered User

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    Did Boromir accomplished more? Or, for that matter, even Gimili? I hardly think so.

    As far as Aragorn's skills are concerned, he is described as the most hardy of all living Men, and (perhaps metaphorically) that he took journeys of greater haste and weariness than any of the fellowship - but I havent found absolute or relative characterisations of his martial skills. He is a descendant of the numenoreans, who were supposed to be elevated similar to that of Men unmarred, who in turn were quite at the same level with the elves; I would say that even if he achieved the maximum his current race allowed, he would still be less than a scion of an elvish king, representative of the elves in this mission, as Elrond put it.
     
  6. Starbrow

    Starbrow Tolkien Fan

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    Aragorn has considerable experience in battle, serving in both the armies of Rohan and Gonder. I don't know how often Legolas has been in those kind of situations. While Legolas is highly skilled and has the Elvish vitality, I think Aragorn's greater experience, plus his swordmanship, may tip the scales in his favor.
     
  7. Bucky

    Bucky Registered User

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    And, according to Tolkien himself, "He was tall as a young tree, lithe, immensely strong, able swiftly to draw a great war-bow and shoot down a Nazgûl, 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..."




    Nonsense....

    According to Tolkien himself, in one of his letters, I believe, he plainly states, 'Legolas probably accomplished the least of the Nine Walkers'.

    End of discussion.....

    You've been watching too much of Peter Jackson's revisionist History. :rolleyes:

    And, for the record, Legolas NEVER shot down a Nazgul, he shot down it's steed.

    And, Aragorn & Boromir would've torn him to shreds in single combat, no question - even if he fired an arrow (at least if they saw it coming).
     
  8. Isteth

    Isteth Loremistress in Exile

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    Firstly, Hi! My name's Isteth, and I've been a Tolkien addict for 18 years. I've been clean for... 0 days, 0 hours, and 0 minutes. Probably never will be.

    Secondly, I love this thread to tiny pieces.

    All joking aside, I think I'll jump feet-first into my first post by saying that I'm of the opinion that, save Gandalf, Legolas and Aragorn are tied for "Most Skilled of the Fellowship".

    Taking into each of their named and likely abilities and their experiences, making assumptions based on historical fighting styles in our world (and figuring that the Elves and Men of Middle-Earth would've figured those out, as well), and factoring in some leeway for various unknowns about backgrounds (coughLegolascough), it seems to me that they could be quite evenly matched in terms of skill.

    First, we have Aragorn: Heir of Numenor, distant descendant of Elros, raised in Rivendell as younger foster-brother to Elladan and Elrohir (known Orc-hunters), 87 years old by the time of LotR (plenty of time to gain experience), served in leadership positions in both the Gondorian and Rohirric armies, knowledgeable in herb lore and the healing arts, and accomplished swordsman and Ranger.

    Then, we have Legolas: Prince of Mirkwood, grandson of Oropher of Doriath, presumably born and raised in Greenwood/Mirkwood, probably had some martial experience defending his realm from spiders and Orcs, Elvish stature, archery skills.

    Those are just the things that we can glean strictly from LotR and the Hobbit. If we're talking presumption and speculation, we have more to go on, but the fact is, we just don't know enough about Legolas as a character from Tolkien's works to be able to make a solid argument. We know more about Aragorn, so we can say more about him.

    Concerning Legolas.

    Here are some things we know for certain:
    1. We don't know when he was born. He could be 500 years old (judging from his comments about Edoras), he could be 5,000. We just don't know. Even if he didn't see the Last Alliance, that could've been because he was serving as regent at home in place of his father and grandfather; if he was involved in the Last Alliance, he could have remained silent about Elrond's tale because there was nothing for him to say, or because the memories were too painful.
    2. He obviously is a skilled archer, probably through long practice and a lot of experience. If you've ever shot a longbow, you know it's tough to hit a stationary target on a clear day without wind, let alone at nighttime, from a canoe, and hit a Nazgul's steed on the wing from a distance.

    Assumptions:
    1. Legolas probably had some experience fighting the forces of the Necromancer if he's more than 80-odd years old (which it can be assumed that he is). If his calling Aragorn and Gimli "children" and his comment about "500 times have the leaves fallen" since Edoras was built can be taken as observations from personal experience, then we can safely assume that he is 500+ years old.
    2. Legolas probably has abundant leadership experience. Whether as crown prince or lesser prince (if he had older siblings), he would have gained leadership experience in some capacity or other. Perhaps he was in charge of organizing diplomatic galas at home; perhaps he was a commander or captain of the guard. That's 500+ years worth of it.
    3. Legolas probably has some diplomatic experience. Again, stemming from his heritage as the son and grandson of kings, he probably learned diplomacy from an early age. Maybe he wrangled the nobles of the court; perhaps he was an emissary to Erebor and Dale before Smaug came. Who knows? We know nothing of Legolas Thranduilion prior to FotR.
    4. Warrior abilities. Based on the fighting styles that humans have developed over the years, as well as tactical soundness, it can be assumed that Legolas is skilled with all sorts of weaponry, not just the bow. I think it likely from a tactical standpoint that he probably was trained to use the bow itself as a staff weapon in case his opponents got too close; the same goes for him being trained in the use of knives, swords, axes, etc. Doesn't do anyone much good if your enemy can kill you as soon as they get too close. He's had many years to hone those skills. Not a far leap to assume that he's probably the best warrior on the team.
    So, while we have more anecdotal canon evidence that Aragorn is the most skilled member of the Fellowship, the skills that we can speculate about Legolas having would clearly make him the winner of the contest IF they were truly part of his repertoire.

    Again, this is just speculation. Any thoughts, anyone?

    If you've made it this far through my post, thank you for reading my long-winded assumptions!
     
  9. CirdanLinweilin

    CirdanLinweilin The Wandering Wastrel

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    Welcome to the Forum!

    I believe if Legolas is indeed 500+ years old, then its safe to assume that he is deadly efficient in weaponry and fighting, perhaps from actual battle experience, if not hundreds, if not thousands of years of training.

    Can we even fathom how deadly a person is after THAT much training? :eek::eek::eek:

    Just my .2

    CL
     
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  10. Isteth

    Isteth Loremistress in Exile

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    Thank you! I think you're right. That would be terrifying, haha. Guess that makes Elrond pretty deadly, then. Fostered first by Maedhros and Maglor, then with two Ages to practice? *shiver* But I digress.
     
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  11. The Old Eregionan

    The Old Eregionan New Member

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    Some of Legolas' abilities are somewhat hidden. For one thing he is not in a commander role as he would be in Mirkwood where he is a prince. Here is another: Gandalf asked the elf to look the many miles to Isengard during the ride with the Rohirrim to battle because as Gandalf said Legolas' eyes "can tell a sparrow from a finch a league off ". A league in old English measure is 3.45234 miles. Pretty incredible because Gandalf is not exaggerating. Then Legolas says looking the many many miles toward Isengard ..."It is as if the twilight under endless trees were flowing downwards from the hills". He is basically seeing the ents and trees move to attack Isengard, something we do not learn about till later.
     
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  12. Isteth

    Isteth Loremistress in Exile

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    Another point in Legolas's favor! Good catch! It's been so long since I've really read the Lord of the Rings (I've been going through HoME and the Silmarillion lately) that I'd completely forgotten about Legolas's exceptional eyesight. Thank you for the reminder!
     
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  13. Azrubêl

    Azrubêl Drúadan

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    Tolkien actually describes Legolas this way in the Istari chapter of Unfinished Tales:

    "In Sauron's final overthrow, Elves were not effectively concerned at the point of action. Legolas probably achieved least of the Nine Walkers."

    I'm not exactly sure of what to make of it, but I do think it's funny that he wrote this, considering how his fandom probably worships Legolas the most from the movies :D
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2017
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  14. Isteth

    Isteth Loremistress in Exile

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    I think it's hilarious, frankly. :D
     
  15. Ingolmin

    Ingolmin Member

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    Sorry, but you can't compare the fighting skills of great fighters Aragorn and Gimli with Legolas.
    The three persons you have mentioned are of different races and having different capabilities.
    It's ambiguous, I will give you an example but don't link it with your question, just see how you cannot compare the powers of great persons.
    Compare Tar Meneldur with Veantur, does it make any sense? Compare Hurin Thalion with Gwindor, both were able fighters. And lastly compare Durin 1 with Elrond, you can give differences between them but you cannot say that who was more skillful in fighting.
    Now I hope you would have got an understanding that you can't compare the mights of great. It's not at all logical.
     

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