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Musings on Tolkien!elves, and on FotR [Jan. 18th, 2003|06:41 pm]
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You know, I don't know why everyone always brings up the thing about movie!Legolas and "oh, I almost had a facial expression". He's an elf! He's not supposed to show much emotion, and I think Orlando does a damn good job of playing him, so it's not fair to criticise this one aspect that makes perfect sense anyway.

Take the scene in Moria. The phrase "Ai! A Balrog!" works perfectly well on the printed page, but spoken? Naaaah. So what's the alternative? A good actor who knows how to show emotions in an understated way. The sheer terror on Legolas' face when Gandalf talks about the Balrog shows how bad this threat they're facing is. Legolas is several thousand years old, and has undoubtedly faced many terrible enemies, and yet he's terrified at the prospect of this particular beastie? He didn't need to say anything, the look on his face said it all for him!

Bottom line: elves don't show their emotions, except in extreme circumstances. I'm glad they're portrayed that way in the movies, because that's how it's supposed to be. [/rant]
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From:chibiakki
Date:January 18th, 2003 - 10:53 am
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I dunno about that . . . Yes, Elves are supposed to be above Men in that way, and emotions would get tiresome after living so long, I can imagine, but I don't think they are above feeling them anyway. Take a look at movie-Arwen, for example. She cries. More than once. She shed tears for a dying Frodo!


Also, Legolas' age is inconsistant. No one can pin down an exact age for him. Some say about 3 thousand, others say a few hundred. And simply because there's a debate still going on that, I don't think Tolkien actually said how old he was either. The debate would have been stopped if he had, after all.


Legolas' facial expressions seem to range from 'angry' to 'hehe, I made fun of Gimli again' to 'damn orcs/goblins' and a few shades in between. But then he, like Aragorn in most cases, seems to be a person that gives away more emotion in his eyes than on his face. I see that a lot through the movies!


Also, look at Elrond. He sure shows emotion with his face. (Re: council scene.) Elves, like Men, show their emotions in different ways.


Of course, that's just my own observation. I'm personally ticked off with the whole "I almost had a facial expression" bit too. A joke can only be told so many times before getting old.
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From:here_in_spain
Date:January 18th, 2003 - 11:35 am
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Very well stated. :D

But... I don't think it's that elves just don't show emotion. *I* personally think Legolas is young (for an elf) maybe only a thousand years old. He hasn't experienced much outside of his land and what he's been told by his elders. So when we do see his emotion, it's something like confusion for Gandalf's death (because he's never had to deal with it before and doesn't undertstand). Or in TTT, when Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas are surrounded by the Rohirrim, it's fierce protection for Gimli, who he's become fast friends with. Like you said, fear of the balrog in Moria, and then of course there's the numb grief that comes with thinking Aragorn is dead (supposedly).

Thinking of the elder elves, like Elrond and Galadriel, they show emoton too. Like when Elrond gets angry talking with Gandalf right before the Council, or Galadriel's sadness right after Frodo offers her the ring. I think that because they have so much more wisdom that the emotion isn't noticible so much, unlike with anyone younger like Arwen or Legolas. They're leaders of their people, and are looked to in times like that, so they just don't show it.

Does any of that make sense?
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From:muffytaj
Date:January 21st, 2003 - 07:29 am
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Actually, I didn't have any problems with his facial expressions. In TTT when Gimli says: "You could have picked a better spot" you see Legolas just smiling to himself. When Gimli joins the group at first and stands next to Legolas, you see his face going: Oh no. Not him. And the look on his face when Gandalf died was...confused to the extreme.

I think that he showed enough. Imagine an emotional elf! But really, I didn't get how people couldn't see that emotional underplay. I saw it with quite a few. I think it might be because they're not used to looking for it.
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From:littleshebear
Date:January 21st, 2003 - 08:09 am
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Hmmm...I'm not sure. I don't think elves should be thought of as unemotional beings, they may have pointy ears but they're not vulcans. They're very passionate; three kinslayings, Fingolfin challenging Morgoth to single combat 'cos he was that ticked off and Eol was a scheming little bastard. They feel extremes of joy and sorrow; when they're happy, they (literally) sing it to the rooftops and when they're sad they can die from it. I think of them as quite bi-polar, people who don't do things by halves.
From:olukemi
Date:January 21st, 2003 - 09:31 am
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Thank you! I admit, I'm guilty of the "oh look! he almost had a facila expression!" comments, but I do it all in fun. I know that elves are supposed to be very reserved people, and I can understand that. Their race tends to feel things very deeply--one of the few ways elves can die is of a broken heart--and after living long enough to realize that there are situations--and people--that would and could take advantage of those emotions, I think they have learned to keep their feelings closed off. It's still there, but they don't feel they should wear them on their sleeves.