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A Case of Mistaken Identity  by Conquistadora

Legolas ~ A Dutiful Son

Unfortunately, Tolkien seems to have neglected Thranduil and Greenwood somewhat, so we have very little canon knowledge of his familial background or progeny. We know only one canon son, and he very little. But several conclusions can be drawn, if only of the common-sense variety.

It will be readily obvious to any follower of Legolas through canon that he never once explicitly mentions Thranduil as his father. When he spoke of him at all, he was "my Elven-lord". This does not have to connote a son beaten into cold and impersonal submission; often royal heirs Ė eldest or not Ė addressed their fathers as "my Lord," or "my Lord Father" if they did not care to be quite so formal. †In a more intimate setting, I do not doubt he was simply "Father" to Legolas, but amid foreign company was not the place for such familiarity. Furthermore, in the given circumstances it could be construed as an attempt on Legolasí part to quiet his own lineage lest he steal the spotlight from Aragorn and his claim.

Even through his sparse description and showing in-text, Legolas comes across as a bright-hearted individual. It is my humble opinion that his cheer would have been dampened somewhat if he had come from a disruptive and broken home, if he had lived beneath the volatile shadow of an abusive and detrimental father for all the several centuries previous that had been his life. And as said Lady Galadriel, who read hearts, "Legolas Greenleaf, long under tree; in joy thou hast lived . . ." (TTT, LotR)†I cannot imagine that a hectoring parent provides a very joyful existence for his son. Long under tree: no, he didnít live in Rivendell for the greater part of his adult life, no matter how deep one may want his friendship with Aragorn to be.

The fact that Legolas was sent to Elrond with the tidings of Gollumís escape does not imply that Thranduil carelessly thrust his son onto the perilous roads of Mirkwood and Rhovanion, deeming him of no more importance than a common messenger. Aragorn brought Gollum "to Thranduil in Mirkwood," where his people kept him "with such kindness as they can find in their wise hearts." (FotR, LotR) (Would Thranduil torment his own son, and yet be kind to Gollum?) Thranduil accepted Gollumís keeping as his responsibility; it was an affair of honor. When he escaped in spite of them, the formal blame fell upon Thranduilís shoulders regardless of who was literally more or less at fault. Ideally, he would have gone himself to admit their failure, but since a conflict of duty required that he stay home and drum up an army, the next best thing would be to send his son as a personal representative of the royal family to explain matters as they stood and apologize†in his stead.†

And by the way, Legolasí "Elven-lord" did allow him to bring some of their people south to Ithilien, showing him not unreasonable in granting the requests of his son.

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