I am not an Orlando fanboy. You will not see me running around going, "omfg i luv legolas!111!1" I simply love the character of Legolas. Both in the book and in the movie form.
I love Tolkien for his work, the man was a genius and a very dedicated author. He put a lot of thought and work into his material. He invented languages and layers of history to go with his writings.
The first use of the name in Lord of the Rings is "Legolas" as he is pointed out to Frodo in Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, Book 2 , "Council of Elrond". This also tells that he is the son and messenger of Thranduil, King of the Elves of Northern Mirkwood.
The reference continues to be "Legolas" until Two Towers, when he is referred to twice as "Legolas Greenleaf". Once is in Galadriel's letter warning him of his danger if he goes to the Sea, and he believes her words to mean that he will die there, but he goes anyway (Two Towers, "The White Rider" wink . The other time is when Gandalf calls to stop him from going back to see the Ents near Helm's Deep, using a long name much as a parent might do with a child, warning him not to go back into the wood, "Now is not your time." (Two Towers, "The Road to Isengard" wink . In the Return of the King, once again he is only referred to as "Legolas".
Another version of this name is shown for Legolas of Gondolin. When he moves to the Isle of Balar (Sil) or Tol Eressea (BoLT 2) taking service with Gil-galad, the people there call him Laiqualassë. Laiqa (green), lassë (leaf). Los and lass can also mean "leaf", although we see los more as "flower". Los was once a name of Gondolin.
Legolas can be a bringing together of Laigolas (green leaf) and Legolast (keen sight, piercing look). Leg (keen, piercing). Last (look, glance).
In Tol Eressea, chances are good that when the Gnomes (early name for Noldorin Elves) changed his name from Legolas, they used both names as Laigolas Legolast, in the same manner as one would say Turin Turambar, because they delighted to give two similar sounding names of different meanings.
Legolas is a Sindarin elf of the woodland realm, Mirkwood. In the year 3019, Legolas journeyed to Rivendell to sit on the Council of Elrond, and was chosen to represent the Elves in the Fellowship. In Lorien, Legolas and Gimli became close friends, a friendship that lasted the rest of their lives. Legolas' keen sight and archery skills were his greatest asset to the Fellowship. After the Breaking of the Fellowship, Legolas went with Gimli and Aragorn in search of Merry and Pippin, and fought in the battle of Hornburg. He eventually went to Gondor, and fought in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields; while in Gondor, he had his first glimpse of the sea, and was overcome by a deep desire to sail from that moment on. After the War of the Ring, he journeyed with Gimli to visit the Glittering Caves and Fangorn Forest. In the Year 120 FO, after the death of Aragorn, Legolas sailed over the sea, taking Gimli the dwarf with him, the last of the Fellowship.