We went up the mountains today, my parents, my dog and I. We haven't done that in a while. And I tell you, there is nothing like going up a mountain of a November evening and watching silver sunlight fall out across the mists and the grey-green flanks of the mountains rolling away from you onto the plains. It's all height and wind and the fall of the land and the silver sky, and there is nothing like it in all the world.
Which reminds me, while I'm vaguely on the subject and also waxing poetic over here. I've been going through a burst of reading Thranduil fanfic lately. I can't remember why. I do, however, remember why I've always been rather fond of him. Aside from the whole 'fey forest dweller' thing, I mean, because I am Irish and I did grow up with the Fair Folk, and Thranduil is basically the Erlking of Middle Earth.
I like him because he's one of the single most bloody-minded stubborn people in the whole of Middle Earth. No rings, no power, no particular virtues, but he's the last Elven power standing into the Fourth Age, and he gets there basically by out-stubborning everybody else going. He planted his forest on the map, adopted what looks like basically a policy of "come and have a go if you think you're hard enough, otherwise piss off" towards international relations, and then simply outlasted war, corruption, spiders, dragons, necromancers, a couple of almost apocalypses, the fading of the other elven realms east of the sea, and an age or two of Middle Earth. Successfully, if not always particularly helpfully. All by dint of being stubborn, cautious, forward-thinking, well-positioned, and perfectly capable of fielding violent deterants when it comes to it. He's angry, suspicious, prideful and arrogant, but he's held his own by hook or by crook, and by Eru if you want him to go down then you damn well better put your back into it.
I just ... I like that. He's kind of like what you'd get if you took the pride of Men, the temper of Dwarves, and the priorities of Ents, and wrapped them in the mobility, decisiveness and lifespan of an Elf. I mean, is it any wonder Legolas is perfectly happy knocking around Fangorn with a dwarf and a man? It's just like home for him. Thranduil has nobody to blame but himself.
Sometimes I wonder if Elrond really envies Thranduil sometimes. If you want someone to help everyone in range and put effort into international relations and save the world on a repeated basis and suffer every possible grief in the process, the Elf you want is Elrond. The Elf you want is always Elrond. Looking at that picture of him in the movies, cradling his head in exhausted exasperation while the Council of Elrond cheerfully dissolves into racial and political blood feuds around him, I wonder if he doesn't imagine Thranduil locking them all in his dungeons or kicking them all the hell out of his forest in a fit of imperious fury and wish he could be that Elf just this once. It probably wouldn't help, but I bet it would be reeeaaaallllly satisfying just for a second there.
Though to be fair to Thranduil, he probably wouldn't actually do that either. Think it, yes, but probably not do it. He's reasonably good at negotiations when he wants to be, is Thranduil, he just has waaayyyy less patience than Elrond. Which, to be fair, can probably be said of some mountains as well.
I just ... I like bloody-minded perseverance in a character? If a lot of Elves are creatures of metal, water and light, Thranduil is a creature of wood, stone and fire, and I do like it about him. He's very Entlike, in many ways. One of the hasty ones, admittedly, who'll rip your arms off if you're not careful, but still. Heh. I like him.