After having been captured and wrapped up in spider webs, fighting the same spiders whose dinner they were meant to be, the Dwarves find themselves out of trouble, or so they thought.
Dwalin: “Come on. Keep up.”
Thorin: “We’re clear!”
Legolas: “Do not think I won’t kill you, Dwarf. It would be my pleasure.”
As soon as the Dwarves think they are finally in the clear another threat to their lives exposes itself. This time in a much more elegant way. Legolas, who we have already been introduced to in the original trilogy, uses the landscape of the forest to glide and slide as gracefully and as effectively as possible. He reaches Thorin’s nose with the tip of his arrow in seconds, with all the rest of his guards surrounding them.
The sentiment he has toward Dwarves is immediately revealed. It is the same one that Thorin has for the Elven race. So, two resenting races face one another.
Daughter of the Forest
Kili: “Throw me a dagger! Quick!”
Tauriel: “If you think I’m giving you a weapon, Dwarf you’re mistaken.”
Legolas: “Search them.”
Kili has fallen behind being attacked by a vicious spider. In his defense comes Tauriel, as elegantly and as smoothly as only an Elf can be. She is fast and effective but determined not to provide Kili with a weapon of his own. Kili is besotted by her almost immediately. Her grace and warrior-like behavior, not to mention her beauty leaves him speechless before her.
Tauriel, Daughter of the Forest, was an executive decision the creative team had molded to bring a balance in an almost exclusively boys club that permeates the trilogy.
A glimpse of Gimli
Glóin: “Hey! Give it back! That’s private!”
Legolas: “Who is this? Your brother?”
Glóin: “That is my wife!”
Legolas: “And what is this horrid creature? A Goblin-mutant?”
Glóin: “That is my wee lad, Gimli.”
Without being able to know in advance, Legolas looks upon the image of Glóin’s wee lad, who will become his close friend and comrade. It is interesting to see this link between Glóin, Gimli, and Legolas. Now, we know who Gimli’s father is and that he too had an adventure of his own, meeting his son’s future friend.
A small acknowledgment on the part of the creative team but a very powerful one, nonetheless. Knowing what we know of Legolas from the original trilogy we can now trace his behavior back to this moment in which he still saw Dwarves as unpleasant dwellers of Middle-Earth.
Legolas: “Are the spiders dead?”
Tauriel: “Yes, but more will come. They’re growing bolder.”
It would seem that spiders have been a scourge on their territory for some time now. As opposed to when they started to take up residence in Mirkwood they have become more dangerous and daring.
Legolas: “This is an ancient Elvish blade. Forged by my kin. Where did you get this?”
Thorin: “It was given to me.”
Legolas: “Not just a thief but a liar as well.”
As they search them per order of Legolas, they find weapons they never thought they would see again, like the Orcrist. Legolas can recognize the sword’s significance and origin the same way Lord Elrond had.
However, as opposed to their Elvish encounter in Rivendell and Gandalf’s telling where they found the swords, Thorin does not give information so willingly. It is questionable if he would have even told it to Lord Elrond had it not been for Gandalf.
To have someone of the Elvish race gift the Dwarves with such weapons is more than a ludicrous thought, it is impossible, which is why Legolas claims Thorin to be a thief and a liar. Both characteristics that impede any possibility for any form of discussion of freedom.
Simply trespassing on their land is grounds for incarceration, lying and thieving are just another argument the Elves could use to make the incarceration even more unbearable.
Bofur: “Thorin, where’s Bilbo?”
Legolas: “Close the gate.”
Dwaling: “Uh! This is not the end of it! Do you hear me?”
Glóin: “Hey, let us out of here!”
Nori: “Get off me!”
Dwarves enter the kingdom of king Thranduil, walking along a carved wooden path leading down to the cells. With this shot of them tugging along, handcuffed, the view opens on the beauty of this kingdom carved out of wood inside a mountain. It is of similar architectural design as Rivendell, with the same, albeit darker vibe.
The Dwarves are clearly not welcome here and there is no offering of food, drink, or rest. This treatment gives this otherwise wonderful cavernous space a threatening atmosphere. Here the Elves do not look upon Dwarves as anything more than a race inferior to theirs in every aspect of their existence.
Kili: “Aren’t you going to search me? I could have anything down my trousers.”
Tauriel: “Or nothing.”
As the Dwarves are placed into cells, with every possible weapon confiscated, one Dwarf remains unexamined. Kili looks over to his cohorts and wonders why he is not being frisked for weapons. The answer he is given can be heard as a double entendre. A slight flirting attempt on his part and a determined answer on Tauriel’s part.
They both, however, seem to be taken by each other. Kili intrigues Tauriel with his boldness to even suggest a search down his pants, and he is in awe of her mere presence and hard outside defense mechanism. As she leaves him in his cell a look they exchange between them tells a wider story than that of a jailer and convict. A spark has ignited between them.
Legolas: “Why does the Dwarf stare at you, Tauriel?”
Tauriel: “Who can say? He’s quite tall for a Dwarf. Do you not think?”
Legolas: “Taller than some but no less ugly.”
Balin: “Leave it! There’s no way out! This is no Orc dungeon. These are the Halls of the Woodland Realm. No one leaves here but by the king’s consent.”
As she leaves to rejoin the others of her guard, Legolas notices Kili’s leering look towards her. She smiles at this with delight, guessing he has taken an interest in her as much as she has in him. Legolas finds it distasteful to say the least. He himself obviously has feelings toward Tauriel that cross the line of friendship, which is precisely why he shows classic signs of jealousy toward the Dwarf.
He may be thinking “what can this Dwarf possibly have to entice Tauriel?”. If anyone is to win her heart, then he should be the one. It is more logical, more natural to find love within one’s own race than to stumble upon it in a race inferior to theirs.
The Dwarves take to forcefully opening the cell doors either kicking it or pushing against it. This effort fails as these are not cells that could simply be breached. There is only one way out that Balin can see, to have king Thranduil decide to let them leave his kingdom.
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Photo credit to “Middle-Earth: From Script to Screen” written by Daniel Falconer