tanithryudo: (Read)
[personal profile] tanithryudo
"To Legolas she (Galadriel) gave a bow such as the Galadhrim used, longer and stouter than the bows of Mirkwood, and strung with a string of elf-hair." Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Chapter 8

So, according to this video, you don’t actually need to have long hair to make a bowstring; clumps of shorter hair will also do just fine.

My interpretation of Tolkien’s sentence is that all elf bows use elf hair as the string, and the main difference between the Galadhrim bow to Legolas’ original Mirkwood bow is that it was longer & stouter because it was presumably made from mallorn tree wood.


My headcanon of Legolas’ original bow is that it was strung with hair from his ada. Thranduil would only allow the best quality hair to be used for his beloved son’s bow, and probably enchanted it for extra protection to boot. Those were the strongest enchantments he learned in Doriath, which had produced Middle Earth’s greatest archer (aka Beleg) and Rapunzel+++ (aka Luthien). In my headcanon, Doriath was probably reknowned as the source of great elvish bowmaking the same way that Gondolin was known for shiny magic swords.

(Movie-verse Thranduil’s own bow was originally made from his own ada’s hair. It snapped at Dagorlad, in the same battle where Oropher died. Since then, Thranduil has preferred the sword to bow & arrow, because it just wasn’t the same anymore.)

Also my headcanon is that after they left Lothlorien, Legolas secretly restrung his new Galadhrim bow with his original bow’s string, possibly making up the extra length by adding in a few strands of his own hair. Because nothing beats Ada’s protection. (Unless if it was maybe Galadriel’s hair. But she never gives those out. Except to Gimli.)

Final headcanon: Movie-verse Aragorn’s first bow was strung with Elrond’s hair. Before he left Imladris with the Fellowship though, Arwen swiped his bow and replaced the string with one from her own hair. Aragorn probably noticed a difference but didn’t immediately realize whose hair it was. Legolas did though, and teased him about it in sindarin all the way up to Moria. Of course after Lorien, Aragorn got his own back teasing Legolas about keeping his ada’s bowstring.


(Also crossposted to Tumblr)

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Date: 2015-04-01 10:04 pm (UTC)
cashew: Sumomo acting like Sumomo (Chobits // Sumomo)
From: [personal profile] cashew
I don't even know... :p

Also, huh, did not know people strung bows with hair. Always figured it was some leather string, a la GW2. :p
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