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Depiction of Ents



Tolkien R.J.J
Rivendell


Aug 17 2021, 11:58pm


Views: 1119
Depiction of Ents

So I am reading through TT at the moment and I am trying to get a visualization of the ents. Alan Lee and john howe are my two favorite artists, and they both depict the ents to varying degrees with many branches, leaves, etc coming off the top of the head and back area of their ents. I was just wondering what the justification was for this, or is it simply part of the "treeish" look they assumed.



thanks

“I am in fact a Hobbit (in all but size). I like gardens, trees and unmechanized farmlands; I smoke a pipe, and like good plain food (unrefrigerated), but detest French cooking; I like, and even dare to wear in these dull days, ornamental waistcoats. I am fond of mushrooms (out of a field); have a very simple sense of humour (which even my appreciative critics find tiresome); I go to bed late and get up late.”
J.R.R Tolkien


squire
Half-elven


Aug 18 2021, 12:39am


Views: 1101
It's a very difficult subject

Tolkien, with his usual economy, barely describes the Ents. To supplement the sparse text, I guess every fan has their own visual image, influenced by fan art, the New Line films, and their own preferences and imaginations about the fantasy genre.

For myself I much prefer a more humanoid form, taking into account Tolkien's references to bark-like skin and twig-like beard roots. The Ents are one of the Free Peoples, like the Elves, Men, Dwarves and Hobbits, as they themselves say in their list-song that Treebeard recites to Merry and Pippin, so they should look like a variation on the Children of Eru.

To me, they should be very tall men of different weights and heights and types of hair and coloring, in line with the different families of trees that they tend - but they should not look like walking trees with branches and leaves as you have noted in Lee and Howe's interpretations (not to mention very many others).

I admit there are several weaknesses to my ideas - one is that when Treebeard was standing on his hill behind the two hobbits he appeared much more like a tree than a man; and Treebeard notes that some Ents have become "tree-ish" in a kind of metamorphosis.

My best response is that, as we know that shape-shifting is possible in Middle-earth (Beorn, Radagast, Luthien, etc.), it would seem that Ents can, if they wish, assume a far more treelike form under certain circumstances.

It's not ideal, but one artist's approach that agrees with mine, I think, is that of the late Angus McBride, below:





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Elthir
Grey Havens


Aug 18 2021, 4:33pm


Views: 1045
a branch of study


In Reply To
I admit there are several weaknesses to my ideas - one is that when Treebeard was standing on his hill behind the two hobbits he appeared much more like a tree than a man;


Yet mistaken for an old stump "with only two branches left" (and) . . . "it almost looked like the figure of some gnarled old man" -- thus, I'd say two arms and not all branchy.


In Reply To
and Treebeard notes that some Ents have become "tree-ish" in a kind of metamorphosis.


In general our vision of Ents seem similar, with me avoiding this latter question by referring to the Ents of Entmoot . . . and so far, that is, (yet another Nature of Middle-Earth alert).


But fingers and toes? Anything from three to nine!


Elthir
Grey Havens


Aug 18 2021, 4:47pm


Views: 1046
did I dream this?

I vaguely recall a response from JRRT about him not being able to draw an Ent (at least very well) -- I think it was in response to a request from the then Princess of Denmark.

Or something else. Or not at all. Anyone? Anyone. Bueller?

I think JRRT briefly responded with something like: when moving, Ents were very difficult to catch, and when standing still, look just like trees. Well, if so, I realize "just like trees" could be interpreted to contradict my current vision of the Entmooters . . . but still, I'd like to know if I imagined this or not.

I once thought it was in that cool show show with Christopher Tolkien, Tom Shippey, V. Flieger, Judi Dench and others . . . but I still couldn't find it!

Help?

Drat: in my earlier post that should read: our vision of Ents "seems" similar.


(This post was edited by Elthir on Aug 18 2021, 4:51pm)


Tolkien R.J.J
Rivendell


Aug 18 2021, 4:53pm


Views: 1038
Very good insight

Gives me much to think on. I think for one variation is vital since that is what merry and pip noticed first at the moot. So perhaps there is no one ent and most depictions could find a place within Tolkien's descriptions.

“I am in fact a Hobbit (in all but size). I like gardens, trees and unmechanized farmlands; I smoke a pipe, and like good plain food (unrefrigerated), but detest French cooking; I like, and even dare to wear in these dull days, ornamental waistcoats. I am fond of mushrooms (out of a field); have a very simple sense of humour (which even my appreciative critics find tiresome); I go to bed late and get up late.”
J.R.R Tolkien


Elthir
Grey Havens


Aug 19 2021, 10:14pm


Views: 980
Bueller

I just found a post by me on the web (2014) that reads:

For a TV special (the one with Dame Judi Dench) the Tolkien family lawyer Dick Williamson read aloud JRRT's response to a letter from 7 year old Leslie Underwood, who had asked if he could draw an ent and the flag of Numenor. There's a bit more to the letter and the response, but here's the part I've now got written down (guessing at the punctuation).


"I'm afraid I'm not very good at drawing and I do not feel able to produce an ent, or the flag or Numenor. An ent, in any case, when moving is very difficult to catch, and when not moving looks just like a tree." JRRT

Okayyyy . . . but I just watched that program on youtube and it wasn't there!

Wha?

The Queen of Denmark was there, though Smile


noWizardme
Half-elven


Aug 25 2021, 11:37am


Views: 887
stumped

For not the first time, I think I might be lucky not to need to imagine characters all that visually. Tolkien is not all that helpful to readers who do!

~~~~~~
My profile picture is "Kaninchen und Ente" ("Rabbit and Duck") from the 23 October 1892 issue of Fliegende Blätter (see https://en.wikipedia.org/...2%80%93duck_illusion )


grammaboodawg
Immortal


Aug 29 2021, 3:12am


Views: 826
Bark-like skin


Quote
...For myself I much prefer a more humanoid form, taking into account Tolkien's references to bark-like skin and twig-like beard roots...
...To me, they should be very tall men of different weights and heights and types of hair and coloring, in line with the different families of trees that they tend...
...when Treebeard was standing on his hill behind the two hobbits he appeared much more like a tree than a man...


It's not a stretch to imagine a humanoid form with bark-like skin. Here are just a few...


.....Birch........................Sycamore..............................Gumbo limbo...........................Beech

When I started reading LotR, I also imagined the Ents resembling the type of tree they were herding/shepherds for. The Entmoot described the different types. And it wouldn't be hard for the humanoid form to go unnoticed by 2 starved, tired, newly-escaped hobbits in a dark forest. Treebeard would be very adept at being perfectly still standing within the trees keeping behind them. He'd already been watching and listening to them for a while.



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