After creative interpretation, Legolas rationalizes that being a messenger for Thranduil requires he not only tell Elrond and the Council of Sméagol's escape but also tell—and show—the growing might of Mordor that Greenwood's elves are willing to face their foes outside the boundaries of their realm.
Legolas will never understand why wizards, Rangers, dwarves, and hobbits, all of whom seem to relish the purifying air of Imladris, find it necessary to suffocate themselves with pipe-weed smoke.
Before the Fellowship ever sets forth, there are signs of Mithrandir, Aragorn, and Boromir all vying for command, and Legolas realizes he and the dwarf will not have the only strained relationship on this journey.
The first time the Fellowship is allowed a small fire, Merry and Pippin task Legolas with watching water heat over the coals until it boils, claiming his immortal patience means nothing if he cannot pass this bizarre test of endurance.
Moving lightly atop the snow of Caradhras, Legolas wonders if this is how birds feel as they soar above the clouds and observe the toil of those below; he decides they are wise to keep their comments to themselves when he dodges several snowballs thrown by irate men struggling in the drifts.
"What you hear are the sounds of a distant Warg pack calling to its scouting members," Legolas says grimly the evening after Caradhras, "but what you do not hear are any answering calls, meaning the scouts are too close to risk howls of their own."
After Samwise Gamgee is the first—and initially only—Fellowship member to attack the water creature that seizes Frodo, Legolas swiftly revises his opinion of hobbits.
When the lonely dark of Moria makes Legolas stare twice at every shadow, he is humiliated to observe the demeanor of the dwarf: steadfast, resolved, and utterly unaffected by the walls pressing in from all sides.
Though a gaping chasm now stands between them and pursuit, Legolas has eyes only for the creature of darkened flame whose writhing shadows fill the immensity of the ancient dwarven chambers; his nocked arrow clatters to the stone floor, for he knows the vanity of any defense against the Elven Bane stepping forth from the nightmares of younger days.
Galadriel's deep gaze pierces his heart, seizing upon his growing temptation when he cannot hide his doubts and fears, but Legolas is his father's son and he coolly meets her eyes as his mind challenges back: "What of your own temptation, my lady, now that the Balrog on your border has overcome even an Istar?"
Legolas thinks himself alone when he finally allows tears to fall in memory of Mithrandir and so does not expect the sudden and silent company of a dwarf, whose eyes are no longer unfathomable stone but filled with the terrible weight of not only Mithrandir's loss but the loss of kin, heritage, and home.
There is form and grace to the elven boats, and it takes a certain skill to guide them down the Anduin; Legolas finds no small amusement in the fact that his is the only boat to avoid crashing into something by the end of their first day away from Lothlórien.
Legolas is no expert on the wiles and whims of men, but he cannot help seeing echoes of his own dark temptation in Boromir, whose eyes stray to Frodo far more often than they should.
Watching Aragorn bow himself over Boromir's broken form, Legolas is both astonished and grieved at the courage needed to court the shadows of mortal death, having no assurances of the fate of those loosed from the circles of the world and bereft of the comfort that no parting is ever final.
As he feels the orcs and the captive hobbits pull further away, Legolas bitterly realizes the failure of their hunt will come not from any machination on the part of Sauron or Saruman but from sheer exhaustion on the part of a man and a dwarf who simply cannot run another day without rest.
Even as he rouses the others from sleep, Legolas knows Aragorn and Gimli are too young to understand the difficult omen of a red dawn, for they have never seen a sunrise accompanied by a dragon's flames engulfing an entire village—men, women, and children, all lost.
If the Rohirrim know and fear tales of Lothlórien, it is possible they have heard somewhat concerning Thranduil; thus the title Thranduilion cannot be mentioned among the suspicious Riders, even though they might not grasp its full significance.
Gimli views the fallen branches only as fuel for the fire, but Legolas senses the latent wrath growing and spreading throughout Fangorn and knows that if they venture to remove even a single leaf from any of the trees, it will quite possibly be the last thing they ever do.
After the battle of Helm's Deep is over and the contest finally ceded to Gimli, Legolas pauses to wonder just when he began to think of ending another's life as a sporting game rather than a grim necessity.
Gimli makes the only vocal protests when Aragorn explains how he wrested the palantír from Sauron's control, but Legolas is careful to keep the Ranger in his sights for the next three days until he is certain the man's mind remains his own.
Though the dead stir no fear in elven hearts, something about the way Gimli keeps looking over his shoulder makes Legolas keep a closer watch on the hosts of the departed.
Even amid the walls of Minas Tirith, the gulls bid him abandon all ties and soar; only a steadying dwarven presence at his side draws him back.
He feels the other's eyes on him long before the soldier-turned-thief makes his move; Legolas is impressed with the brazen audacity needed to steal from an elf—on the way to the Black Gate, no less!—but not so impressed that he feels any remorse in twisting his belt pouch out of reach, seizing the Gondorian's arm in a steel grip, and bearing the man to the ground in a hold that is painful, immobilizing, and a stern warning to all.
Legolas makes no less than ten turns around the newly planted sapling, studying every detail keen eyes can glean in the way its roots dig into the earth and its limbs reach for the sun: "Both of you will do well here, Aragorn," he finally says as he completes his last circle, "and the White Tree will flourish and blossom in harmony with your reign."
When Legolas returns to Mirkwood—or rather, Greenwood—after the War, it is not the sea-longing that draws him back to Gondor but rather the swiftly-moving lives of his mortal friends; he has known them only a short time, but they have changed him in ways that all his long, immortal years never have and never will again.