After having helped the Dwarves escape their lands by protecting them from Orcs, Tauriel and Legolas return to their kingdom in order to interrogate the one Orc they left alive for just this purpose. It is important for them to know why this particular Orc pack was following the company. On the surface of it all, it does not make much sense to them.
Since the Wood Elves have been keeping to themselves, the happenings in the rest of the world have not held any interest for them. Now, however, with this new development, it is almost their duty to know what the bigger picture is. They have the right to know who and why trespasses on their land.
Thranduil: “Such is the nature of evil. Out there in the vast ignorance of the world it festers and spreads. A shadow that grows in the dark. A sleepless malice as black as the oncoming wall of night. So it ever was. So will it always be. In time, all foul things come forth.”
An interesting view of the world. Thranduil seems to believe that darkness and evil is the component of the Earth, building a nest for itself among all other kingdoms, keeping a low profile, gathering strength until it releases it onto the rest of the world. The “ignorance of the world” represents the earth’s inhabitants and their unknowledgeable mind that is only interested in their own lives.
The habits of everyday folk blind them to everything else that might be lurking in the shadows. So long as they have a complete life, with their own worries and troubles, the rest of the world does not interest them. Which is precisely why the guardians are there. They protect the masses from anything that might be deemed harmful to their existence.
For all its secrecy and shadow lurking, anything that wants to inflict harm onto another, anything that wreaks evil on the land has to come forth one way or another. It has to present itself to the world so the world would know its presence and its power.
Thranduil, as it can be interpreted from his words, is already familiar with evil, deeming the rest of the world ignorant of not acknowledging its existence.
Legolas: “You were tracking the company of 13 Dwarves. Why?”
Orc: “Not 13. Not anymore. The young one, the black haired archer we stuck him with a Morgul shaft. The poison’s in his blood. He’ll be choking on it soon.”
Tauriel: “Answer the question, filth.”
Orc: “I do not answer to dogs, She-Elf!”
There is a sense of pride and accomplishment as the Orc mentions Kili. Tauriel’s gaze on the Orc changes from anger to rage upon hearing this information. It was one thing to see him hurt but it is a totally different one to have the Orc relish the fact. As she presses him to answer Legolas the Orc spouts an insult to her. To call a Captain of the Elven Guard a dog is to risk death.
Legolas: “I would not antagonize her.”
Tauriel: “You like killing things, Orc? You like death? Then let me give it to you!”
Thranduil: “Enough! Tauriel, leave! Go now! I do not care about one dead Dwarf.”
The personal insult coupled with his pride of hurting Kili drives Tauriel to rash action. She comes within an inch of the Orc’s head with the intention to kill. She would have killed him had her king not stopped her. Tauriel is obligated to follow her king’s wishes and leave the interrogation. She is obviously not emotionally stable enough to participate or simply remain present there.
Tauriel leaves with bloodthirst and rage in her eyes that she wants to unleash onto the Orcs. The only way she could do that is to run away from the kingdom, defy her king and deal with them on her own. It might not have come to that had Thranduil not explicitly stated the insignificance of the life of the Dwarf that she has begun to feel deeper emotions toward than simply sympathy.
It is obvious to her that the Dwarves will not have a chance at salvation if there isn’t someone to help them. Tauriel takes it upon herself to be that someone and do as much as she can not just for them but for the rest of the world as well.
The Dwarf runt
Thranduil: “Answer the question. You have nothing to fear. Tell us what you know and I will set you free.”
Legolas: “You had orders to kill them. Why? What is Thorin Oakenshield to you?”
Orc: “The Dwarf runt will never be king.”
Legolas: “King? There is no King Under the Mountain nor will there ever be. None would dare enter Erebor whilst the dragon lives.”
It is interesting to see Thranduil give his word on his actions so lightly and so smoothly. The Orc appears to believe that the king will not hurt him if he tells him what he knows. They seem to agree on the premise that Thorin would never become King Under the Mountain. The Elves believe that he wouldn’t dare enter the Lonely Mountain on his own. The Orcs, however, have another reason for wanting him dead.
Firstly, there’s the whole history with Azog and his attempts on his life. His efforts contribute to the overall plan of overtaking Middle-Earth from a strong strategic point, namely the Lonely Mountain. If they destroy the line of Durin before the Dwarves reach the Mountain, and therefore the Arkenstone, the Orcs could then march on the world without hindrance. They would enslave the services of the dragon to assist them, of course. If the Dwarves were successful in killing the dragon, then it would rid them of a powerful ally.
Orc: “You know nothing. Your world will burn.”
Legolas: “What are you talking about? Speak!”
Orc: “Our time has come again. My Master serves the One. Do you understand now, Elfling? Death is upon you. The flames of war are upon you.”
Whatever the fate of the Dwarves, it seems it comes down to what Thranduil has said at the beginning of their interrogation session. The darkness is spreading rapidly, and not only by the sheer force of the Orcs. The Necromancer, or Sauron, is the puppetmaster behind it all.
Thranduil’s eyes widen in fear and concern as the destruction of his kingdom flashes in his mind. He has lived long enough to remember a time when evil had ruled the lands of Middle-Earth. He knows what awaits them if they do not find a way to protect themselves.
As the Orc’s emotions of anger and revenge spew out of his words and boil to the point of unbearable, Thranduil swiftly and virtually unseen cuts off the Orcs head with his sword, leaving Legolas holding the head by the hair, and the body of the Orc spasming on the floor.
Freed by death
Legolas: “Why did you do that? You promised to set him free.”
Thranduil: “And I did. I freed his wretched head from his miserable shoulders.”
Legolas: “There was more the Orc could tell us.”
Thranduil: “There was nothing more he could tell me.”
It would seem that Legolas cannot predict his father’s behavior any more than Tauriel can. He naively thought his father would keep his word and release their prisoner. However, the concept of “release” can apparently be interpreted in many different ways. Death is a type of release, the ultimate release it would seem. Legolas being more humanely oriented toward all creatures than his father, cannot understand or condone his behavior.
Furthermore, Legolas would have taken his time with the Orc, asking him everything he could, to obtain as much information as possible. This was a prisoner of the enemy camp, an enemy to all. To kill him simply because he told the truth of what is coming is irresponsible to the rest of the world. It would have been their duty to obtain and pass on information to other kingdoms. They all deserve to know what is coming, not only the Elves.
The flames of war
Legolas: “What did he mean by “the flames of war”?”
Thranduil: “It means they intend to unleash a weapon so great it will destroy all before it. I want the watch doubled at our borders. All roads, all rivers. Nothing moves but I hear of it. No one enters this kingdom and no one leaves it.”
True to form, Thranduil keeps the information for himself, ordering to seal his doors so that he could cocoon himself in his kingdom and not leave it until all was alright with the world again. He does not mean to interfere or help, he just wants to hideaway. There was never any doubt as to what position he should take toward other kingdoms. His flight or fight instinct lacks the fighting option. To remain living, surviving within closed doors does not automatically mean life.
He is alive, yes, and immortal, yes, but his experiences are limited to that of his own kingdom under the mountain. Therefore, his life revolves on a loop of the same old same old that he had been experiencing for hundreds of years. His only goal in life is to remain immortal and live as long as possible. It would make sense if he had the want of seeing the world change around him and adapt accordingly, but if it is only to preserve himself and his kingdom without even second-guessing his own nature in all those years, then it all is senseless and selfish.
Legolas: “Close the gate! Keep it sealed by the order of the King.”
Elros: “What about Tauriel?”
Legolas: “What about her?”
Elros: “She went into the forest armed with her bow and blade. She has not returned.”
The guards inform Legolas of Tauriel’s escape out of the kingdom. She went hunting Orcs by herself, leaving the kingdom behind. There is no life for her within the walls of the Woodland Realm. There isn’t much for here anymore anyway. As she heard Kili talking about the blood-red moon, it seemed as if she were longing to go into the world and experience it as well. She had long fought on the side of the repressed, now she wants to take her chances and explore what else is out there, helping the Dwarves as she goes.
Orcs on the hunt
Orc: “Dwarf blood! They were here.”
Bolg: “There is another scent, Man flesh! They have found a way to cross the lake.”
The Orcs reach the river bank where the Dwarves took a quick rest before negotiating with Bard for transport. They can taste Kili’s blood in the pool of blood left in the rock. But more than that, Bolg can sense the smell of a human, a human that must have helped them cross the lake. Their only option now is to follow the trail and scout Lake-town for the Dwarves.
Follow me to my next post.