Our Sponsor Sideshow Collectibles Send us News
Lord of the Rings Tolkien
Search Tolkien
Lord of The RingsTheOneRing.net - Forged By And For Fans Of JRR Tolkien
Lord of The Rings Serving Middle-Earth Since The First Age

Lord of the Rings Movie News - J.R.R. Tolkien
Do you enjoy the 100% volunteer, not for profit services of TheOneRing.net?
Consider a donation!

  Main Index   Search Posts   Who's Online   Log in
The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Main:
larger relic and Ent heights


Apr 5 2014, 7:29pm

Views: 70
larger relic and Ent heights [In reply to] Can't Post

Here's my longer look at the external chronology. Corrections welcome if I've misinterpreted anything from home, and kudos to anyone who cares to check!


In probably late Sept 1938, or early October 1938, Tolkien will write the chapter Ancient History (partially based on some earlier material), within what is called the 'Second Phase', this will include the descriptions:

'Trolls of a new and most malevolent kind were abroad; giants were spoken of, a Big Folk only far bigger and stronger than Men the [?ordinary] Big Folk, and no stupider, indeed often full of cunning and wizardry.'

'(…) But what about these what do you call 'em -- giants? They do say as one nigh as big as a tower or leastways a tree was seen up away beyond the North Moors not long back.' [changed at the time of writing to] 'But what about these Tree-Men, these here -- giants? They do say one nigh as big as a tower was seen up away…'

From probably mid October 1938 -- December 1938 the 'Third Phase' is completed, meaning Tolkien returns to the beginning of the story making a new fair copy manuscript of the whole work as far as the conversation between Frodo and Gloin at Rivendell -- and this phase includes the mention of Gandalf being imprisoned by 'Giant Treebeard.' Thus a reference to Giant Treebeard (however conceived, with his admittedly suggestive name), exists quite close on the heels of the first version of the conversation in the Green Dragon. In this Third Phase the passage concerning giants becomes:

'Trolls and giants were abroad, of a new and more malevolent kind, no longer dull witted but full of cunning and wizardry.'

So giants of some sort are still around in the same phase as the mention of Giant Treebeard. No notable revision (with respect to our purposes here) is made to the passage concerning the conversation in the Green Dragon, noting that this version would appear to still contain 'as big as a tower' but without 'or leastways a tree'. Pausing to consider the final, published passages:

'Trolls were abroad, no longer dull-witted, but cunning and armed with dreadful weapons.'

'… Tree-men, these giants as you might call them? They do say that one bigger than a tree was seen up away…'
The Lord of the Rings

I don't know when these final revision were made, but Tolkien will take out the reference to giants in the passage where trolls are noted (leaving a reference to giants in the final form of Three's Company in any case), and revise the comparison to a tower to a comparison to a tree -- so now not 'as big' as a tower, or as big as a tree -- but bigger than a tree.

It would be interesting to know when this revision was made especially if it came after Treebeard became much smaller. Nothing of note here seems to have been altered in the 'Fourth Phase' of this chapter, and Hammond and Scull generally explain (unless I missed something earlier) that in 1946-47 Tolkien would make further alterations to books I and II (as well as later), which would be after the chapter on Treebeard in any event.

Back to the 1930s: from Dec 1938 we jump a bit to February 1939, where Tolkien states in a letter: 'though there is no dragon (so far) there is going to be a Giant'

Jump to Summer: on a letter dated 27-29 July 1939 Treebeard emerges: in this short text Frodo thinks Treebeard's leg is a tree-trunk and he has a 'rootlike foot and many branching toes'. Treebeard is in league with the Enemy here, pretending to be friendly. An outline page dated August 1939 reads: 'Adventure with Giant Tree Beard in Forest'

Continuing with the tale, Gandalf (in the house of Elrond) will warn of the Giant Treebeard who haunts the forest between the river and the South Mts. And at about this time Tolkien will then write an outline in which he describes:

'Fangorn is an evergreen (oak holly?) forest. Trees of vast height. (…) If Treebeard comes in at all -- let him be kindly and rather good? About 50 feet high with barky skin. Hair and beard rather like twigs. Clothed in dark green like a mail of short shining leaves. He has a castle in the black mountains and many thanes and followers. They look like young trees [?when] they stand. (…) The tree-giants assail the besiegers and rescue Trotter &c. and raise siege.'

So not relatively long after the conversation in the Dragon was written, Tree-beard is certainly more like a tree than simply being as tall as one, and he has thanes that look like young trees. Later when Tolkien is working on the chapter for Galadriel, Christopher Tolkien notes:

'Here the name Entwash clearly implies that Treebeard is an Ent, and he is specifically so called (for the first time) in the outline just given; but since Treebeard was still only waiting in the wings as a potential ingredient in the narrative this may be only a slight shift in the development of the word. The Troll-lands north of Rivendell were the Entish Lands and Entish Dales (Old English ent 'giant'); and only when Treebeard and the other 'Ents' had been fully realized would the Troll-lands be renamed Ettendales and Ettenmoors (see p. 65 note 32).' CJRT, commentary, Galadriel

In 'The Story Forseen from Lorien' there is an interesting note: 'it could be Merry and Pippin that had adventure in Minas Morgul if Treebeard is cut out' [this was struck out]. We also have an description of Fangorn that now seems to indicate that Fangorn forest itself was not gigantic (along with Treebeard being so giant), as implied earlier with the huge flowers, since the description seems to say that the forest was once part of a larger forested area.

Before we get to the actual chapter Treebeard there is a page of notes about how Ents came to be, including statements like: 'Did first lord of the Elves make Tree-folk in order to or through trying to understand trees?', or wondering about what they are, with: 'hnau that have gone tree-like, or trees that have become hnau?' and other details. But by the end of 1941 -- beginning of 1942: Tolkien finishes book II and began book III, completing the chapter Treebeard around the end of Jan 1942.

Another interesting thing is that Christopher Tolkien quotes his father's letter (the one I quoted already in the thread) about Tolkien having no recollection of inventing Ents, and writing the chapter without any recollection of previous thought and so on. Christopher Tolkien comments: 'This testimony is fully borne out by the original text. 'Treebeard' did indeed very largely write itself.'

And so at this point we begin to find out about Ents as Tree-shepherds, and Entwives and so on, or Ents as readers will come to know them. And as far as tallness, as noted earlier, here Treebeard was originally 'only' ten feet tall, revised to twelve, and then to fourteen.

in The Road to Isengard: three Ents are described 'as tall as trolls they were, twelve feet or more...'

Treebeard is described as 14 feet tall 'at least', but even if he is 16 feet tall that is significantly smaller to my mind (if large to us and a Hobbit especially) compared to Tolkkien's 'giant' Treebeard of 50 feet tall.

Whew, did anyone read all that? I didn't, thanks to 'copy and paste' from an older post of mine!

Subject User Time
Ents/Entwives in the Shire? KingHart01 Send a private message to KingHart01 Apr 4 2014, 2:08pm
    too tall for an Ent Elthir Send a private message to Elthir Apr 4 2014, 2:50pm
    Misquote. Otaku-sempai Send a private message to Otaku-sempai Apr 4 2014, 2:50pm
        It could be a relic of Tolkien's original conception. L. Ron Halfelven Send a private message to L. Ron Halfelven Apr 4 2014, 3:03pm
            relics Elthir Send a private message to Elthir Apr 4 2014, 3:15pm
            larger relic and Ent heights Elthir Send a private message to Elthir Apr 5 2014, 7:29pm
                P. S. Elthir Send a private message to Elthir Apr 5 2014, 7:50pm
                Story-internal, story-external dreamflower Send a private message to dreamflower Apr 9 2014, 10:15pm
                    Again, unlikely to be an Ent. Otaku-sempai Send a private message to Otaku-sempai Apr 10 2014, 8:16pm
                        Here an Ent, there a Huorn, everywhere a Hroom-Ha Bracegirdle Send a private message to Bracegirdle Apr 11 2014, 2:19am
                            Yes. Otaku-sempai Send a private message to Otaku-sempai Apr 11 2014, 3:33am
        interpretation Elthir Send a private message to Elthir Apr 4 2014, 3:09pm
        My apologies for the misquote KingHart01 Send a private message to KingHart01 Apr 4 2014, 4:06pm
        This is surprising .... Bracegirdle Send a private message to Bracegirdle Apr 4 2014, 6:18pm
            Tolkien was not the math professor. / Nomad Send a private message to Nomad Apr 4 2014, 8:51pm
            Ent strider Elthir Send a private message to Elthir Apr 4 2014, 11:19pm
                "I'm striding here -" Hoffman in "Midnight Cowboy" Bracegirdle Send a private message to Bracegirdle Apr 5 2014, 3:33am
                It takes Ent Strider all morning just to say "You draw far too much attention to yourself."// L. Ron Halfelven Send a private message to L. Ron Halfelven Apr 5 2014, 3:53am
    I think it was definitely Entish grammaboodawg Send a private message to grammaboodawg Apr 6 2014, 12:40pm


Search for (options) Powered by Gossamer Forum v.1.2.3

home | advertising | contact us | back to top | search news | join list | Content Rating

This site is maintained and updated by fans of The Lord of the Rings, and is in no way affiliated with Tolkien Enterprises or the Tolkien Estate. We in no way claim the artwork displayed to be our own. Copyrights and trademarks for the books, films, articles, and other promotional materials are held by their respective owners and their use is allowed under the fair use clause of the Copyright Law. Design and original photography however are copyright © 1999-2012 TheOneRing.net. Binary hosting provided by Nexcess.net

Do not follow this link, or your host will be blocked from this site. This is a spider trap.