Dwarves and Elves
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Folk of Different Race: 1. Words with the Wise and Weary
This is both book
and movie verse, provided they didn’t contradict one another. In my bravado, I set out to write the scene Tolkien left out that tells exactly how Legolas
and Gimli became “fast friends” – as many fans
have. Naturally, that proved impossible
since I’m not Tolkien, but the fortunate residue is a
story consistent in character, even if it’s not what Tolkien
himself would have written.
The Fellowship of the
Ring: ‘A Journey in the Dark’
‘Well, here we are at last!’ said Gandalf. ‘Here the Elven-way
from Hollin ended.
Holly was the token of the people of that land, and they planted it here
to mark the end of their domain; for the West-door was made chiefly for their
use in their traffic with the Lords of Moria. Those were happier days, when there was still
close friendship at times between folk of different race, even between Dwarves
‘It was not the fault of the Dwarves that the friendship
waned,’ said Gimli.
‘I have not heard that it was the fault of the Elves,’ said Legolas.
‘I have heard both,’ said Gandalf; ‘and I will not give
judgment now. But I beg you two, Legolas and Gimli, at least to be
friends, and to help me. I need you
~ Words with the Wise and Weary ~
Legolas mounted the stairs behind
the messenger, his eyes on his feet despite the beauty of Lothlórien
spread out on the ground below and in the trees around him. The lament for Gandalf continued, filling the
air, drifting from where the Elves continued to mourn. Spiraling higher and higher toward the
luminous royal talan, it seemed with each step
he could see more of the splendors of the Golden Wood and could feel more
harshly how it was entirely lost on him in his current state of mind.
The messenger halted at the foot of the steps that ascended
to the ruling chambers, standing silently beside Legolas
to await the Lord of Lórien. They did not have to wait for long.
‘Son of Thranduil,’ Celeborn greeted, gracefully descending the stairs to stand
beside him, lacking all the ceremony of his previous entrance. ‘I only just sent for you. I thank you for your ready attendance.’
‘The hospitality of you and your lady deserves more than
punctuality,’ said Legolas, bowing his head in
respect, ‘but as I have nothing to give beyond it, it is at your command.’
Receiving a nod from the liege of the land, the messenger
quickly departed down the stairs. ‘A
kind sentiment,’ Celeborn said. ‘And not unlike those spoken by the man
Aragorn.’ His eyes narrowed, framed by his silver hair, and Legolas
instantly felt the weight of his inspection.
‘Though short of words, the hardship of your journey shone plainly on
his face and in his eyes…as it shows in yours as
Legolas lowered his gaze, though
the comment did not surprise him; he had long assumed that the ability to read
others was not solely a talent of Galadriel’s.
‘In the beauty of your land, we had lost our woes, for a time,’ he
said. ‘Now, within the comforts of Caras Galadhon, they return.’
Celeborn moved to stand in front
of the younger Elf, inclining his head to force eye contact. ‘While my lady Galadriel concerns herself
with the necessary and weighty burdens of the Ring-bearer, I turn my attention
to those of the rest of the company, and I find much of my interest falls on
you,’ he said.
‘My burdens are nothing when compared to those with whom I
travel and they certainly do not warrant the attention of Celeborn
the Wise,’ Legolas uttered.
‘I am glad to hear you say so for it means you, at least, do
not think your troubles insurmountable,’ the liege reasoned. ‘But small though they may be, your troubles
do concern me. Even Celeborn
the Wise may play favorites.’ He smiled
warmly. ‘I have not heard your voice
among the others in lament. Why do you
not sing to ease your grief?’
‘My heart is not yet light enough to do so,’ Legolas explained.
He did not say that it felt as though it might not be again, nor that the depth of his sorrow was a worry for him as
well, for he could not best serve the quest in a body wracked with grief. But to the intense scrutiny of Celeborn he presented a light smile. ‘I do believe that before my stay here has
ended, I will join in the lament.’
Celeborn lifted his head, looking
down on him with a skeptical gaze. Legolas sighed faintly, knowing that his attempt at
deception, half-hearted though it had been, had utterly failed.
‘That is, I hope that
I will,’ he amended.
‘Thank you for that attempt at accuracy,’ Celeborn replied fondly.
‘Despite your well-stated argument that your worries and concerns are
not worth my attention, I would like you to tell me why you only “hope” and do
‘Those who sing,’ Legolas began
carefully. ‘They did not pass these last
weeks in the wizard’s company. They did
not see his bravery and leadership…they did not watch him fall.’ Tears burned behind Legolas’
eyes even as the lament swelled louder.
‘I do not doubt their grief; I simply do not know how to lighten my
heart to join them.’
Celeborn looked upon him with a
gaze that radiated compassion. Legolas could feel it all around him. ‘Time will always be the greatest healer, but
it is also a notorious dawdler and there are ways to speed its affects,’ he
said. ‘I would recommend you find
one. The company needs you, Legolas. They need
your mind and your heart on the quest and the quest alone.
‘I bid you search your memory,’ he continued. ‘In all lives that end, there lies a key for
those who mourn to find joy within the pain.
The answer is there and only waits to be found. And when you have, I ask you return and join
in song with the others. It will do their
grief good to hear you sing out yours.’
‘Your advice is sound,’ Legolas
said. ‘But I do not know how to follow
To his surprise, Celeborn broke
into amused laughter. ‘I fear I have
underestimated the insight of my Northern kin,’ he cried, ‘for I have told you
nothing you did not already know! You
have long since discovered the key, have you not, Legolas?’
‘I have, but I do not know what to do with it,’ Legolas answered honestly.
The Lord of Lórien chuckled softly
to himself, looking upon Legolas with infinite
affection. ‘I will not waste your time
with more of my perspicacious understandings for I believe you know yourself
quite well enough to be your own guide.’
He clamped a hand on Legolas’ shoulder. ‘Trust yourself in
this matter and all others,’ he said with a smile. ‘It is a foolish Elf who would ignore the
counsel of Legolas the Wise.’
Beneath the warmth and light of Celeborn’s
visage, Legolas felt a genuine smile cross his
features. ‘I cannot accept such a title
even in jest,’ he refused kindly. ‘And certainly not tonight when Legolas
the Confused seems a better fit.’
‘What has you confused, then? Perhaps those who mistakenly call themselves
Wise may still be of some aid,’ Celeborn said.
Legolas hesitated. Somehow, saying his thoughts aloud, revealing
to another what his grief-laden memory had brought him
meant he could no longer ignore it as he had done. If he spoke of it, he forced himself to
‘My mind returns to words spoken at the doors of Moria,’ said Legolas
finally. ‘There, Gandalf spoke of
happier days when friendship existed between Dwarves and Elves.’
Long, hard days later, Legolas
could still hear the disappointment in the wizard’s rumbling voice as he spoke
of the end of those happier times.
Unbidden, a longing awoke in his heart; how he yearned to feel happiness
Celeborn’s expression became
serious and the gravity in his face chilled the younger Elf standing before
him. ‘I begin to understand,’ he
said. Then, with a sympathetic smile, he
shook his head. ‘But I cannot help
you. I do not recall what ended the
friendship and I do not know what is needed for it to grow once again. A dwarf’s presence in these woods is a start,
but if my own misjudgments are an indication, the end is still very far off.
‘I can only wish you luck, Son of Thranduil,
and leave you with these words: What you
feel Gandalf wished of you has not been tried for many years, perhaps not even
within your lifetime. Keep that
perspective, for what you begin, others may finish.’ He leveled his eyes with Legolas’. ‘If you cannot make a tree,’ he said, ‘then
simply plant the seeds.’
Gimli sat in the shadow of the
woods, sharpening the blade of his dwarf-axe, though it did not need it. The light from the pavilion glowed only dimly
in his direction, swallowed by the silvery darkness of the trees.
The heart-aching music of the Elves continued all around
him, filling his head, and he was happy the music was light, almost
reverential, rather than dark and somber.
He was unsure his heart could have taken it if it were otherwise. As it was he knew the full beauty of the song
wasn’t reaching him; couldn’t reach him in this state of mind.
Moments later, footsteps approached, crunching in the fallen
leaves, and Aragorn crouched down before him. ‘Master Gimli,’ he
said, ‘you do not sit with the others.
They speak of Gandalf now. It
might do your sadness good to speak of happy memories.’
‘Do not trouble yourself,’ Gimli refused, his attentions focused solely on the care of
his weapon. ‘You have far more pressing
concerns now, Aragorn. I will return in
Not heeding him, the Ranger lowered himself to the ground
and leaned back, sharing the tree.
‘Though we would all wish it otherwise,’ said Aragorn, ‘it seems I am
now the leader of this company. That
makes all those in it – including you – my concern. I need you strong, Gimli. I need you unburdened.’
Gimli laughed hollowly. ‘I fear you ask too much,’ he said.
‘I am sure I do,’ Aragorn uttered. ‘These times are most unfair in their
demands, but we must all endeavor to be…more than we are.’ He smiled faintly. ‘If you do not find solace in speaking with
your fellows, will you speak with me?’
No, Gimli thought to answer. He wanted to sit quietly with his axe and let
his grief and worries wash over him, or to climb another towering staircase and
see the kindness of Galadriel’s eyes again, or to wander about and frighten a
few Elves by the sudden appearance of a dwarf.
He wanted to do many things, but he did not want to talk.
Nor did he want to callously dismiss their new leader. ‘Perhaps I should be less solitary,’ he
‘Perhaps,’ Aragorn mused, seeming uncertain. ‘Though we all knew it to be a possibility,
we did not expect this. I, myself, feel
as though I would like to stay years within these borders, but our task will
not allow it. Time and the Enemy press
on and so we must do the same. We must
each of us find the quickest way to drive grief from our minds and bodies and
return to the quest.’
‘I agree,’ said Gimli, ‘but my
mind is a terrible companion sometimes, Aragorn. It suggests ridiculous solutions to serious
The Dwarf realized he was close to exposing the ludicrous
notions that the strain of the journey and the company’s loss had put into his
mind. The only path Gimli
saw before him to achieve some sense of purpose and closure was an unpleasant
one. He did not want to journey down
it. In fact, at that exact moment, he
would have rather walked blindfolded and naked into Mordor.
‘And like us all, I do not suppose yours is such that merely
wishing to reach the solution is enough?’ Aragorn chuckled.
‘No, the thought is not what counts, unfortunately,’ Gimli replied, ‘though perhaps that is in my favor, for I
do not wish to do it at all. If my
thoughts counted, I might be facing a very difficult task, indeed.’ He feigned a bit of laughter for the sake of
‘It has seemed to me that our actions alone speak for us on
this journey,’ the swordsman said. ‘I would
not imagine your personal quest to be any different.’
‘This place has an odd affect on a dwarf, I think,’ Gimli said, his eyes drifting to their ethereal
surroundings. ‘It has me thinking that
the Lady of this land was not what I had expected and so others might be as
‘By your musings, I would guess your mind dwells upon
Gandalf’s words at Moria,’ Aragorn said.
‘Indeed, it does,’ said Gimli, shocked, ‘but I am surprised you remember. It was such an idle comment and addressed
only to the Elf and I.’
‘No words of Gandalf were idle and those to whom he speaks
remember what he says, if they have sense,’ Aragorn explained, ‘as I know both
you and Legolas do.
‘I can tell you how it is to be among the Elves,’ he
continued with a sigh that seemed to press upon Gimli’s
heart, ‘but it would likely be useless for I imagine being a dwarf among
Elves is something quite different. I am
uncertain how to lead this company and if that succeeds, how to lead the race
of Men, so I cannot begin to know how to repair the divide between your two
With his every word, Gimli felt as
though another parcel were being added to his pack, weighing him down. ‘I can only say this, Gimli:
It is in both of you to heal a great rift, but know that we all of us strive
for an end we may never see.’
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