Apparently, there is a lot of grumbling and criticism around the net regarding the character of Legolas and his improbable feats in the last installment of ‘The Hobbit’ trilogy. Yes Legolas the elvish Prince jumps, leaps, and almost flies all over the place. He travels by borrowing airborne lifts from evil bats, climbs crumbling steps while they drop in the void, pirouettes over the heads of orcs and monsters, and shoots arrows which find their mark, while climbing, running, and vaulting over improbable surfaces at incredible speed.
And that is not realistic.
Seriously, you are watching a legendary tale which is happening in a non-existent land where elves, dwarves, humans, hobbits, orcs, ents, goblins, wizards, and a number of other races intermingle, where magic is a well-known force, where immortal beings are the order of the day… and you expect realism?? lol
However, awesome fantasy apart, the greatness of an epic fantasy writer and creator is to write about fantastical worlds and yet impose on them understandable limits, laws of nature, as well as an emphasis on the characters’ consequences for their actions, much like in the ‘real world’. This is what Tolkien did, and this is why most people seem to find Legolas’ feats extreme. And I can understand that.
However the viewers seem to be forgetting one important thing.
LEGOLAS IS AN ELF.
He is not a human being and is therefore not limited by a human’s physical boundaries. Tolkien describes elves as having heightened hearing and senses, their voices can reach pitches that human voices can’t, they are lights which can pierce the Dark One’s shadow, they are lovers of nature and at one with it, they can see the hidden signs in leaf and tree and cloud, and they are immortal – meaning that they have accumulated an immense amount of knowledge, patience and other traits in the eons they have been alive. Therefore yes, elves can perform feats that humans cannot. They can heal with a few words, sing magic, create metals and artifacts which are beyond ‘normal’, etc, etc.
While watching the movie (twice) I gasped and gawped at Legolas’ improbable jumps and leaps myself, however I accepted the fact that he was an elf warrior, and as such not only physically capable of them, but also trained from birth as a prince and a lord to feats of arms, and since he is immortal, ‘from birth’ probably means that his training had gone on for hundreds of years.
I will say it again and again, I am so sorry that Tolkien died before writing more about the elves! Sure we have the LOTR trilogy, the Hobbit, and the Silmarillion, as well as his ‘Unfinished Tales’, but none of these solely focus on the elves as much as I would wish.