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: Reading Room:
Treebeard — 1. A ‘frightfully tree-ish’ introduction
First page Previous page 1 2 Next page Last page  View All

visualweasel
Rohan


Apr 28 2008, 1:38pm

Post #1 of 37 (2561 views)
Shortcut
Treebeard — 1. A ‘frightfully tree-ish’ introduction Can't Post

I have always had rather a soft spot – “Nothing to do with [my] wood: I do not mean that” – for Fangorn, as both a character and a place. Too, we’ve seen the idea of the larger-than-life character who really embodies the whole sense of a place before, and in connection with forests, no less – Tom Bombadil in the Old Forest, and Galadriel in Lothlórien. Surely, these are not coincidences – and I’ll be returning to this later on in the discussion.

“Treebeard” is a chapter steeped in a sense of the almost immeasurably remote past, and with a strong undercurrent of nostalgia and loss. It’s a chapter where we return to song and language. We’ve had only one short verse since the elegy for Boromir so far this entire book. Here, in “Treebeard”, we get five more songs. Here too, we meet another language, Entish, and you can be sure I’ll have a few things to say about that! The chapter is also a bit of a respite from the larger policies and machinations of the Powers Outside; in some ways, it’s a short “hobbit holiday.” But the impact of those two little hobbits, Merry and Pippin, will prove instrumental in moving forward the events of the War of the Ring. Even if they were left out of the Old Lists.

In discussing this chapter, I’m going to take a leaf from N.E. Brigand’s book (no pun intended), and will jump around as I see fit. Unlike NEB, I’m going to begin, rather than conclude, with a long, systematic, and chronological trip through the chapter. After that, I’ll bounce around to a number of different topics that interest me (and hopefully you as well). I’ll seek to make a few contextual connections to works by other authors; feel free to chime in when, where, and if you like. I’ll be bringing in a little from the drafts in The History of Middle-earth, but not too much; despite this chapter’s being among the longest in the book, its treatment in HoMe is one of the most cursory. I’ll be asking a lot of questions. Often, I’ll have my own answers for these. Sometimes, I’ll share them up front; other times, I’ll hold back. I want to hear what you all have to say!

And so, with that Entishly long preamble out of the way, I’d like to throw out a series of questions, working my way through the chapter from start to finish, hitting a few points that jumped out at me. If I seem to overlook something important, like the poetry, it’s only because I’m going to return to it in another post. I’ve also stayed away from the secondary literature, for the most part – by design: if you want to bring any in any of it, be my guest!


Quote
A queer stifling feeling came over them, as if the air were too thin or too scanty for breathing. [… Pippin] clambered on to a great tree-root that wound down into the stream, and stooping drew up some water in his cupped hands. It was clear and cold, and he took many draughts. Merry followed him.



1. Does this remind anybody of the adventure in the Old Forest? The scene seems staged to remind readers of Frodo’s similar position at the edge of the water, straddling the roots of Old Man Willow. This is just the first of many implicit and explicit comparisons between the two woods in this chapter. How is Fangorn like the Old Forest? How is it different? Just a bit later, we’ll read of “a rock-wall before them: the side of a hill, or the abrupt end of some long root thrust out by the distant mountains. No trees grew on it, and the sun was falling full on its stony face.” Have we seen a place like this before? :)


Quote
‘Yes, it is all very dim, and stuffy, in here,’ said Pippin. ‘It reminds me, somehow, of the old room in the Great Place of the Tooks away back in the Smials at Tuckborough: a huge place, where the furniture has never been moved or changed for generations. They say the Old Took lived in it year after year, while he and the room got older and shabbier together – and it has never changed since he died, a century ago.’



2. What do you make of this unexpected, and highly specific, reference back to the Shire? How long are hobbit generations anyway?


Quote

‘But the Sun at any rate must peep in sometimes.’ said Merry. ‘It does not look or feel at all like Bilbo’s description of Mirkwood. That was all dark and black, and the home of dark black things. This is just dim, and frightfully tree-ish. You can’t imagine animals living here at all, or staying for long.’



3. First, the Old Forest, now Mirkwood. What do you make of the comparison? Why allude to Mirkwood and Bilbo’s original adventure at this point in the present tale?


Quote
They climbed and scrambled up the rock. If the stair had been made it was for bigger feet and longer legs than theirs. They were too eager to be surprised at the remarkable way in which the cuts and sores of their captivity had healed and their vigour had returned.



4. From the Old Forest to Mirkwood to Lothlórien? Does the atmosphere of Fangorn convey healing properties, as well as a sense of timelessness, the way Lothlórien does? Or am I making too much of this, and it’s nothing more than the general doughtiness of hobbits, as discussed in last week’s chapter? Treebeard makes a more explicit reference to Lorien later in the chapter. How similar, and how different are the two woods?


Quote
They found that they were looking at a most extraordinary face. It belonged to a large Man-like, almost Troll-like, figure, at least fourteen foot high, very sturdy, with a tall head, and hardly any neck. Whether it was clad in stuff like green and grey bark, or whether that was its hide, was difficult to say.



5. This is the first, but not the only, comparison of Ents to Trolls. I’m going to be returning to this in the next couple of days with greater attention (some of it of a linguistic, some mythological), but would anyone care to comment? We were just reminded of Bilbo’s adventure with the mention of Mirkwood. Does this make you think of The Hobbit also?

6. Bark or hide? Which is it? Are Ents flora or fauna?


Quote
Often afterwards Pippin tried to describe his first impression of [Treebeard’s eyes].



7. The paragraph that follows seems to be a statement, or perhaps an excerpt from a written document (e.g., supplementary material from the Red Book?), made long afterwards by Pippin. What do you make of this aside? Does it interrupt the flow of the chapter? When would Pippin have said or written this? To whom is/was he speaking or writing? Why give this description to Pippin in the form of direct address instead of offering it through the narrative, as in the previous descriptive passages?


Quote
‘Then I can answer your other questions,’ said Treebeard. ‘I am not going to do anything with you: not if you mean by that ‘do something to you’ without your leave. We might do some things together. I don’t know about sides. I go my own way; but your way may go along with mine for a while.’



8. Does this remind you of Tom Bombadil? Back at the Council of Elrond, he was described in a rather similar way. Treebeard and Tom Bombadil even have the “same initials,” as it were: TB. And they are each described as “the eldest” – which one is really older? What else do they have in common? Do they know each other?


Quote
‘Those were the broad days! Time was when I could walk and sing all day and hear no more than the echo of my own voice in the hollow hills. The woods were like the woods of Lothlórien, only thicker stronger, younger. And the smell of the air! I used to spend a week just breathing.’



9. Is this the same restorative “green smell” that Legolas praises a couple of chapters back? For the botanists – all one of you! – could “spend[ing] a week just breathing” be a reference to transpiration in plants?


Quote
‘I have brought you about seventy thousand ent-strides, but what that comes to in the measurement of your land I do not know. Anyhow we are near the roots of the Last Mountain. Part of the name of this place might be Wellinghall, if it were turned into your language. I like it. We will stay here tonight.’



10. What does it come to in our measurements? Has anyone ever tried to figure it out? Fonstad? Strachey? An industrious amateur cartographer here?

11. Is the “Last Mountain” another oblique reference back to The Hobbit, or is it mere coincidence? It sounds rather like the Lonely Mountain, no? We’ll see some other possible links between Ents and Dwarves in a moment. Do you find it at all strange that this mountain is actually named (Methedras)? What does that name mean? Do you find it plausible that Merry actually knows/remembers this name? It’s an awfully specific geographical detail to stick in one’s mind – even if one is partial to maps.


Quote
Treebeard lifted two great vessels and stood them on the table. They seemed to be filled with water; but he held his hands over them, and immediately they began to glow, one with a golden and the other with a rich green light; and the blending of the two lights lit the bay; as if the sun of summer was shining through a roof of young leaves.



12. It seems to me this image alludes to the Two Trees of Valinor. Perhaps also, in a lesser afterimage, to Galadriel’s Mirror. Thoughts?


Quote
He went to the back of the bay, and then they saw that several tall stone jars stood there, with heavy lids. He removed one of the lids, and dipped in a great ladle, and with it filled three bowls, one very large bowl, and two smaller ones.



13. Why does Treebeard own smaller bowls? After all, he doesn’t have seats for the hobbits, or beds. Or are these bowls left over from ages past when there were Entings? Did Treebeard ever have any Entings of his own, do you think? If so, what happened to them?


Quote
The drink was like water, indeed very like the taste of the draughts they had drunk from the Entwash near, the borders of the forest, and yet there was some scent or savour in it which they could not describe: it was faint, but it reminded them of the smell of a distant wood borne from afar by a cool breeze at night. The effect of the draught began at the toes, and rose steadily through every limb, bringing refreshment and vigour as it coursed upwards, right to the tips of the hair. Indeed the hobbits felt that the hair on their heads was actually standing up, waving and curling and growing.



14. Is this magic? Is the Ent-draught related in some way to miruvor, the cordial of Imladris? Is it related, not in a literal but a literary sense, to the curative liquor of the Orcs from the last chapter? Is it intoxicating?


Quote
[Saruman] settled down at Angrenost, or Isengard as the Men of Rohan call it.



15. This is the only use of the Elvish name, Angrenost, in the entire novel. Why does Tolkien have Treebeard give us this piece of information? Is any particular effect achieved thereby? In the ensuing paragraph of exposition, Treebeard is essentially giving the hobbits a history lesson. Why give this job to Treebeard, as opposed to, say, having included it in the Council of Elrond? Considering the concrete description of Isengard a bit later in the chapter, does its layout remind you of any other Tolkienian locale? Perhaps from a different Age?


Quote
‘It is a mark of evil things that came in the Great Darkness that they cannot abide the Sun; but Saruman’s Orcs can endure it, even if they hate it. I wonder what he has done? Are they Men he has ruined, or has he blended the races of Orcs and Men? That would be a black evil!’



16. What has he done? How did Saruman achieve this, if Sauron could not? Or perhaps Sauron never bothered to try? One has a sense of Saruman as an alchemist, a scientist, a tinker – “a mind of metal and wheels,” Treebeard says); this does seem a contrast with the more “organic” evil of Sauron, no?


Quote
‘Only lately did I guess that Saruman was to blame, and that long ago he had been spying out all the ways, and discovering my secrets.’



17. Spying out what, exactly? Discovering what secrets? What secrets would Treebeard have, other than his real name?


Quote
‘Yes!’ said Pippin. ‘I should like to see the White Hand overthrown. I should like to be there, even if I could not be of much use: I shall never forget Uglúk and the crossing of Rohan.’



18. This bit of synechdoche seems rather out of character for Pippin, doesn’t it? The diction seems closer to the speech of Aragorn or Théoden, perhaps even approaching the “heigh stile” of The Silmarillion. When has Pippin heard Saruman referred to in this way? As to his wish to be there, even if of little use, does this foreshadow Pippin’s participation in the Battle of the Morannon at the conclusion of the War of the Ring?


Quote
‘Only three remain of the first Ents that walked in the woods before the Darkness: only myself, Fangorn, and Finglas and Fladrif [..]’



19. Only thee of the first Ents remain. Is the number significant? Three Elven Rings? Three Silmarils? How many “original Ents” were there? Could it have been seven, to set against the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves? Is it only coincidence that the names all alliterate (as does that of Fangorn’s Entwife, Fimbrethil)?


Quote
‘And now the Entwives are only a memory for us, and our beards are long and grey.’



20. The also reminds me of the Dwarves. Not just the mention of long, grey beards, of course, but the Ents, like the Dwarves, seem to reproduce only very slowly and to suffer from an acute insufficiency of women-folk. I believe only one female Dwarf is ever explicitly named (Dís); likewise, only one Entwife (Fimbrethil). Are there other similarities or points of relationship between the Ents and Dwarves –secretiveness about their respective languages, maybe? What else?


Quote
‘It is Elvish, of course: lighthearted, quickworded, and soon over. I daresay it is fair enough. But the Ents could say more on their side, if they had time!’



21. Does this description (“lighthearted, quickworded”) harken back to the Elves of The Hobbit? And if the Ents could say more, why don’t they? Why would the Elves’ song seem to sympathize with the Entwives over the Ents? And why don’t the Ents have time to say more? It would seem they have nothing but time, actually. Like the other verses, I’ll be coming back to the song again later, so don’t feel that you have to “say everything there is to say” all right now.


Quote
‘Lie down to sleep!’ said Treebeard. ‘Why of course you do! Hm, hoom: I was forgetting: singing that song put me in mind of old times; almost thought that I was talking to young Entings, I did.’



22. If Merry and Pippin were Entings, what sort of tree-types would they be? A pippin is a kind of apple. What about Merry?


Quote
The bright stars peered out of the sky, and lit the falling water as it spilled on to his fingers and head, and dripped, dripped, in hundreds of silver drops on to his feet. Listening to the tinkling of the drops the hobbits fell asleep.



23. Does this remind you of Merry’s dream (or a part of it) from the house of Tom Bombadil, followed by a rather similar image of real falling water (“Goldberry’s washing day”)? Treebeard wakes the hobbits similarly – “Hoo, ha! Good morning,” as compared to “Hey! Come merry dol! derry dol! My hearties!” Is Tolkien trying to remind us of the safety of Tom Bombadil’s house?


Quote
[The dingle] was smooth and grassclad inside, and there were no trees except three very tall and beautiful silver-birches that stood at the bottom of the bowl.



24. What is the significance of these three trees? Their number, and color?


Quote
He put the hobbits down. Before they walked away, they bowed low. This feat seemed to amuse the Ents very much, to judge by the tone of their murmurs, and the flicker of their eyes; but they soon turned back to their own business.



25. Is it amusement, or surprise? After all, Ents would not be capable of this action, would they?


Quote
Not far away the voices of the Entmoot could be heard still going on; but now they seemed deeper and less leisurely, and every now and again one great voice would rise in a high and quickening music, while all the others died away.



26. Strongly evocative of the Music of the Ainur, it seems to me. If so, is this deliberate on Tolkien’s part, do you think?


Quote
‘Night lies over Isengard,’ said Treebeard.



27. To me, this is one of the most moody, ominous concluding lines to a chapter in the entire book. You?

And with that, let’s hear from you! I’ll be checking in with my own comments and feedback all day. Then I’ll be back tomorrow with a post(s) on some of the more interesting words in the chapter, some linguistic and mythological connections, sources and contemporaries, and more. The posts over the following days shouldn’t be quite as long or exhausting to read, either, I hope. ;)

Jason Fisher
Lingwë - Musings of a Fish


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Apr 28 2008, 4:33pm

Post #2 of 37 (805 views)
Shortcut
"Tombombadil". [In reply to] Can't Post

Twenty-seven questions in one post?!

Slacker.


Quote
8. Does this remind you of Tom Bombadil? Back at the Council of Elrond, he was described in a rather similar way. Treebeard and Tom Bombadil even have the “same initials,” as it were: TB. And they are each described as “the eldest” – which one is really older? What else do they have in common? Do they know each other?


Their names were even more alike in drafts, where Treebeard, as I recall, refers to Tom Bombadil as "Tombombadil": both "T-b". Doesn't Treebeard also says something there about their natures differ? I think Bombadil is less active than Treebeard in maintaining his domain.

Once I posted a one-question quiz, listing all but the most revealing words in one chapter and asking people to identify it. The correct answer was "In the House of Tom Bombadil", and almost everyone got it (I should have cut "weather-master") but several people noticed similarities to "Treebeard", as noted here.



Quote
'Night lies over Isengard,' said Treebeard.
27. To me, this is one of the most moody, ominous concluding lines to a chapter in the entire book. You?


One of them, yes. There's also:

"Over all the leagues of waste before the gates of Mordor there was a black silence." (The Taming of Sméagol)

and

"There will be no dawn." (Minas Tirith)

Here's a link to a list by Curious of first and last lines for each chapter.

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
We're discussing The Lord of the Rings in the Reading Room, Oct. 15, 2007 - Mar. 22, 2009!

Join us Apr. 21-27 for "The Uruk-hai".


weaver
Half-elven

Apr 28 2008, 4:55pm

Post #3 of 37 (778 views)
Shortcut
hmm..a very Entish post here... [In reply to] Can't Post

These are quite intriguing questions you ask!

A starting observation, though, is that you made me consider that the different forests in LOTR have "personalities." I had not quite put it in those terms before. But if you consider landscape is a "character" in LOTR, then of course this makes perfect sense.

I will attempt answers for Questions and 1 and two as well:

1. Fangorn does most definitely have similarities to the Old Forest. In the part you quoted, I think not so much of a flashback to Frodo, but of the similar sense of claustrophobia that the hobbits felt in the Old Forest -- of it being hard to breathe in there. You compare Treebeard to Bombadil later on in your questions, but to me, he's more of a cross between Bombadil and Old Man Willow. Bombadil did not seem to have the "dangerous" side to him that Treebeard exhibits when the Ents go on the attack. Which is not to say Tom couldn't take you out if he wanted to, it's just not emphasized. And Bombadil doesn't live in the Old Forest, but on the edge of it. Treebeard, like Old Man Willow, are creatures who make their homes there. In temperament, they are sort of like Gandalf and Saruman, perhaps? Alike and yet unalike?


2. I like the connection the hobbits make between Fangorn and the Great Place of the Tooks. In both cases, you have a sense of someone left behind while the world moved on, who is living in place where there is no progress or change. After the initial sense of oppression the hobbits get, I think here is a clue that whoever the hobbits meet here will be a friend and not a foe. This is smart writing by Tolkien as the last time he took us through a forest in LOTR it was not much fun. We have fond memories of the Shire, though, and this reference here helps to start to shift our perceptions of Fangorn more to the positive side, setting us up to accepting and embracing Treebeard as a character.

Nice opening post, thank you! Looking forward to the rest of the week, though it's likely I'll only be able to lurk after this...


Weaver



visualweasel
Rohan


Apr 28 2008, 5:13pm

Post #4 of 37 (777 views)
Shortcut
Tree-rings for the Elven-kings [In reply to] Can't Post

Intriguing analogy, suggesting that Treebeard and Tom Bombadil have a relationship analogous to Gandalf and Saruman's. Of course, one of these four is not like the others: Saruman is the only one who "goes bad", rotting from the inside out, as it were. But "alike and yet unalike", that's a good point or comparison between the two pairs. And Saruman makes a special study of Rings of Power, yet Rings of Power have no power over Bombadil; Gandalf feels (but masters) a temptation to wield the Ring, and of course, Treebeard is concerned with rings, too — tree-rings!

I also liked your idea that Treebeard is a bit like a cross between Bombadil and Old Man Willow. I definitely think that's a good observation. While Bombadil could certainly "take you out", as you say, one imagines him singing nonsense verse and smiling while he did so. Not exactly an intimidating image. Nothing like the Ents on the march!

Jason Fisher
Lingwë - Musings of a Fish

The Lord of the Rings discussion 2007-2008 – The Two Towers – III.4 “Treebeard” – Part 1


weaver
Half-elven

Apr 28 2008, 6:30pm

Post #5 of 37 (747 views)
Shortcut
hoom, hum. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Intriguing analogy, suggesting that Treebeard and Tom Bombadil have a relationship analogous to Gandalf and Saruman's. Of course, one of these four is not like the others: Saruman is the only one who "goes bad", rotting from the inside out, as it were. But "alike and yet unalike", that's a good point or comparison between the two pairs. And Saruman makes a special study of Rings of Power, yet Rings of Power have no power over Bombadil; Gandalf feels (but masters) a temptation to wield the Ring, and of course, Treebeard is concerned with rings, too — tree-rings!

I was thinking more of Treebeard/Old Man Willow as a Gandalf/Saruman parallel. Sorry if I wasn't clear. It's confusing, though, as Treebeard is also a bit like Bombadil. That's why I put him between OMW and TB on my Venn diagram of Tolkien characters...

Tree-rings - ha!

Weaver



a.s.
Valinor


Apr 28 2008, 6:41pm

Post #6 of 37 (772 views)
Shortcut
a.s. looks up "synecdoche" [In reply to] Can't Post

Found it, here!!

OK! Now. Hooo. Hmmmm. 27 questions AND you'll be back tomorrow?!! Well now, don't be hasty.

Wink


Quote
But the Sun at any rate must peep in sometimes.’ said Merry. ‘It does not look or feel at all like Bilbo’s description of Mirkwood. That was all dark and black, and the home of dark black things. This is just dim, and frightfully tree-ish. You can’t imagine animals living here at all, or staying for long.’



3. First, the Old Forest, now Mirkwood. What do you make of the comparison? Why allude to Mirkwood and Bilbo’s original adventure at this point in the present tale?




It's interesting that Merry and Pip don't directly say "this reminds me of the Old Forest". Instead, they hearken back to what they remember of Bilbo's tales. You'd think they would be more afraid of an "Old Man Willow"ish person, than of the old tale of big spiders, since they had a direct encounter with the first.



Quote

They were too eager to be surprised at the remarkable way in which the cuts and sores of their captivity had healed and their vigour had returned.



4. From the Old Forest to Mirkwood to Lothlórien? Does the atmosphere of Fangorn convey healing properties, as well as a sense of timelessness, the way Lothlórien does? Or am I making too much of this, and it’s nothing more than the general doughtiness of hobbits, as discussed in last week’s chapter?




No, I definitely think we're supposed to notice this point, as it is so explicitly mentioned right here. We're supposed to pause and think, "hmm. That's very unusual, I wonder what's going on with that"? We've seen some magical forests twice now in the novel (Old Forest, Lorien) and heard about a third (Mirkwood) and so we are primed to consider there's a force at work here in this one, too.


Quote

8. Does this remind you of Tom Bombadil? Back at the Council of Elrond, he was described in a rather similar way. Treebeard and Tom Bombadil even have the “same initials,” as it were: TB. And they are each described as “the eldest” – which one is really older?



Tom is older. Tom remembers a time before the first tree; no trees, no tree-shepherds.


Quote
14. Is this magic? Is the Ent-draught related in some way to miruvor, the cordial of Imladris? Is it related, not in a literal but a literary sense, to the curative liquor of the Orcs from the last chapter? Is it intoxicating?



Yes, I'd say it's magic, in a sense. Mostly, though, it's "Other". The draughts are made to nourish trees (or things that have a tree-like anatomy and metabolism), unlike miruvor or even the orc-liquor which are both made to sustain beings with a similar anatomies and metabolisms. It's like Merry and Pip are drinking stuff from another planet, made to nourish strange creatures who don't resemble men (or hobbits) except in fairly exterior ways.



Quote
19. Only thee of the first Ents remain. Is the number significant? Three Elven Rings? Three Silmarils? How many “original Ents” were there? Could it have been seven, to set against the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves? Is it only coincidence that the names all alliterate (as does that of Fangorn’s Entwife, Fimbrethil)?



We once had a discussion about numbers and their appearance/significance in Tolkien's works. Maybe NEB can find that old discussion, and we can see what we came up with for "three" besides its obvious significance for someone who believed in the Trinity.

That's it for me today!!

a.s.

"an seileachan"



"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

"I suppose you are real?" said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive.

But the Skin Horse only smiled.



N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Apr 28 2008, 7:06pm

Post #7 of 37 (746 views)
Shortcut
Schenectady? [In reply to] Can't Post

Synechdoche, NY.

(Spoiler warning: link includes a little plot description of a film not yet released.)

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
We're discussing The Lord of the Rings in the Reading Room, Oct. 15, 2007 - Mar. 22, 2009!

Join us Apr. 28-May 4 for "Treebeard".

(This post was edited by N.E. Brigand on Apr 28 2008, 7:07pm)


Curious
Half-elven


Apr 28 2008, 7:28pm

Post #8 of 37 (766 views)
Shortcut
Thoughts. [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote

Quote
A queer stifling feeling came over them, as if the air were too thin or too scanty for breathing. [… Pippin] clambered on to a great tree-root that wound down into the stream, and stooping drew up some water in his cupped hands. It was clear and cold, and he took many draughts. Merry followed him.


1. Does this remind anybody of the adventure in the Old Forest? How is Fangorn like the Old Forest? How is it different?


Similar, but not the same. We have already been prepared for this by Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli's experience with the tree glad of a fire, even chronologically that happens after this scene. So we have some idea of what to expect. The trees are aware, yes, but not necessarily unfriendly -- then again, the parallels with the Old Forest are also clear. Will the great tree-root try to drown the hobbits? No. Okay, what will happen then? Because we know something the hobbits don't, we anticipate that something will happen, we're just not sure what. Tolkien plays with those expectations.

The Ents play a different role than Bombadil. They are shepherds and gardeners. They are stewards like Gandalf, although with a smaller scope. Bombadil does not seem to take any responsibility for the Old Forest, or for anything else, for that matter -- much like Gandalf after his job is over.


Quote
Just a bit later, we’ll read of “a rock-wall before them: the side of a hill, or the abrupt end of some long root thrust out by the distant mountains. No trees grew on it, and the sun was falling full on its stony face.” Have we seen a place like this before? :)


I'm not good at quizzes.


Quote


Quote
‘Yes, it is all very dim, and stuffy, in here,’ said Pippin. ‘It reminds me, somehow, of the old room in the Great Place of the Tooks away back in the Smials at Tuckborough: a huge place, where the furniture has never been moved or changed for generations. They say the Old Took lived in it year after year, while he and the room got older and shabbier together – and it has never changed since he died, a century ago.’


2. What do you make of this unexpected, and highly specific, reference back to the Shire? How long are hobbit generations anyway?


It's a much more friendly image than the Old Forest. Old and shabby, but not hostile. I would say a hobbit generation is 33 years rather than 21, since hobbits don't reach full adulthood until they get through their tweens.


Quote


Quote
‘But the Sun at any rate must peep in sometimes.’ said Merry. ‘It does not look or feel at all like Bilbo’s description of Mirkwood. That was all dark and black, and the home of dark black things. This is just dim, and frightfully tree-ish. You can’t imagine animals living here at all, or staying for long.’


3. First, the Old Forest, now Mirkwood. What do you make of the comparison? Why allude to Mirkwood and Bilbo’s original adventure at this point in the present tale?


Again, a signal that the Old Forest is not necessarily hostile, just "frightfully tree-ish." But it still could be like the Old Forest, which was not black like Mirkwood, and where the hobbits met no animals. So Tolkien is still toying with us by deliberately having the hobbits mention Mirkwood but not the more obvious comparison, the Old Forest. We still don't know what to think.


Quote


Quote
They climbed and scrambled up the rock. If the stair had been made it was for bigger feet and longer legs than theirs. They were too eager to be surprised at the remarkable way in which the cuts and sores of their captivity had healed and their vigour had returned.


4. From the Old Forest to Mirkwood to Lothlórien? Does the atmosphere of Fangorn convey healing properties, as well as a sense of timelessness, the way Lothlórien does? Or am I making too much of this, and it’s nothing more than the general doughtiness of hobbits, as discussed in last week’s chapter? Treebeard makes a more explicit reference to Lorien later in the chapter. How similar, and how different are the two woods?


It's the water they drank that heals them, I would guess, although Tolkien keeps it ambiguous.

Lorien is much, much more designed, not "shabby" at all. And although the trees are well cared for, Lorien is designed for the elves, not for the trees. Because of the power of Galadriel's ring and the well-guarded borders, Lorien is also free of evil; Fangorn, as we will learn, is not.


Quote


Quote
They found that they were looking at a most extraordinary face. It belonged to a large Man-like, almost Troll-like, figure, at least fourteen foot high, very sturdy, with a tall head, and hardly any neck. Whether it was clad in stuff like green and grey bark, or whether that was its hide, was difficult to say.


5. This is the first, but not the only, comparison of Ents to Trolls. I’m going to be returning to this in the next couple of days with greater attention (some of it of a linguistic, some mythological), but would anyone care to comment? We were just reminded of Bilbo’s adventure with the mention of Mirkwood. Does this make you think of The Hobbit also?


I have not yet seen a version of Treebeard I liked, and that may be Tolkien's intent. After all, what does a humanoid tree look like? Everything I have seen is either too treeish or too human, although I tend to lean towards the more human figures. Still, would a human figure really be mistaken for an old stump? It's a puzzle. But in literature Tolkien can gloss over the puzzle, and emphasize the treeish or humanoid characteristics of the ents by turn.

I don't know if Tolkien is deliberately trying to remind us of The Hobbit when he mentions Mirkwood and trolls. If so I'm not sure why. Perhaps because this is a hobbit adventure?


Quote

6. Bark or hide? Which is it? Are Ents flora or fauna?


Yes. See above.


Quote


Quote
Often afterwards Pippin tried to describe his first impression of [Treebeard’s eyes].



7. The paragraph that follows seems to be a statement, or perhaps an excerpt from a written document (e.g., supplementary material from the Red Book?), made long afterwards by Pippin. What do you make of this aside? Does it interrupt the flow of the chapter? When would Pippin have said or written this? To whom is/was he speaking or writing? Why give this description to Pippin in the form of direct address instead of offering it through the narrative, as in the previous descriptive passages?


This is one of Tolkien's periodic hints that the hobbits survive their adventure, and by implication that the Ring is unmade. Allowing Pippin to address the readers directly expresses the indescribable nature of Treebeard's eyes, which in Tolkien's world are windows on the soul. The narrator should not struggle to describe what he shows us, so Pippin struggles instead. Tolkien does something similar with Saruman's voice, which no one can accurately describe. But he also does something similar in Rivendell and Lorien, where the hobbits struggle to describe elf-magic, or even with Gandalf the White, who struggles to describe what happened to him after he defeated the Balrog. This is one of the techniques Tolkien uses to maintain ambiguity about indescribable marvels -- thus allowing the reader to fill in the blanks.


Quote


Quote
‘Then I can answer your other questions,’ said Treebeard. ‘I am not going to do anything with you: not if you mean by that ‘do something to you’ without your leave. We might do some things together. I don’t know about sides. I go my own way; but your way may go along with mine for a while.’


8. Does this remind you of Tom Bombadil? Back at the Council of Elrond, he was described in a rather similar way. Treebeard and Tom Bombadil even have the “same initials,” as it were: TB. And they are each described as “the eldest” – which one is really older? What else do they have in common? Do they know each other?


As I noted above, Treebeard is a steward of the trees, with a sense of responsibility; Bombadil is not. I think Treebeard is the oldest physical creature; I think Bombadil is pure spirit, and resided in Middle-earth before the first acorn or tree or ent arrived. I would not be surprised if they know of each other. In some ways Bombadil has more in common with Gandalf than Treebeard; in other ways Gandalf and Treebeard have more in common with each other than with carefree Bombadil.

Quote


Quote
‘Those were the broad days! Time was when I could walk and sing all day and hear no more than the echo of my own voice in the hollow hills. The woods were like the woods of Lothlórien, only thicker stronger, younger. And the smell of the air! I used to spend a week just breathing.’


9. Is this the same restorative “green smell” that Legolas praises a couple of chapters back? For the botanists – all one of you! – could “spend[ing] a week just breathing” be a reference to transpiration in plants?


I'm sure what Legolas smells is a faint echo of what it used to be, when the woods was young and untainted and spanned all of Middle-earth. It's more like Lorien, which has artificially maintained that pure air through the power of Galadriel's ring.


Quote


Quote
‘I have brought you about seventy thousand ent-strides, but what that comes to in the measurement of your land I do not know. Anyhow we are near the roots of the Last Mountain. Part of the name of this place might be Wellinghall, if it were turned into your language. I like it. We will stay here tonight.’


10. What does it come to in our measurements? Has anyone ever tried to figure it out? Fonstad? Strachey? An industrious amateur cartographer here?


Google leads me to the Encyclopedia of Arda, which says about fifty miles.


Quote
11. Is the “Last Mountain” another oblique reference back to The Hobbit, or is it mere coincidence? It sounds rather like the Lonely Mountain, no? We’ll see some other possible links between Ents and Dwarves in a moment. Do you find it at all strange that this mountain is actually named (Methedras)? What does that name mean? Do you find it plausible that Merry actually knows/remembers this name? It’s an awfully specific geographical detail to stick in one’s mind – even if one is partial to maps.


Is it any surprise that Methedras means Last Mountain? I don't see it as a reference to The Hobbit, but this part of the story does remind me of The Hobbit because it is a hobbit adventure and Treebeard kindly translates names into Common. In Gondor they would just call it Methedras, without translation. The mountain itself reminds me more of Mindolluin, the last mountain at the eastern end of the White Mountains. Which, by the way, is never called Isolated Towering Blue Mountain, even though that's roughly what Mindolluin means.

I don't find it plausible that the hobbits remember all these names, but I find it even less plausible that they remember all this dialogue, not to mention all these events. That's why I don't think of LotR as a memoir or history when I read it. However it is a hobbitcentric book, and this chapter is more hobbitcentric than usual. So we do see everything through the hobbits' eyes, not later as they try to remember it, but instantly as they experience it, with the help of an omniscient narrator.


Quote


Quote
Treebeard lifted two great vessels and stood them on the table. They seemed to be filled with water; but he held his hands over them, and immediately they began to glow, one with a golden and the other with a rich green light; and the blending of the two lights lit the bay; as if the sun of summer was shining through a roof of young leaves.


12. It seems to me this image alludes to the Two Trees of Valinor. Perhaps also, in a lesser afterimage, to Galadriel’s Mirror. Thoughts?


Tolkien does like light, but where's the light of the moon? This reminds me more of the story in Unfinished Tales about the origin of the Elessar or Elfstone:


Quote

There was in Gondolin a jewel-smith named Enerdhil, and he was the greatest of that craft among the Noldor after the death of Feanor...it came into his heart to make a jewel within which the clear light of the sun should be imprisoned, but the jewel should be green as leaves. And he made this thing, and even the Noldor marvelled at it. For it is said that those who looked through this stone saw things that were withered or burned healed again or as they were in the grace of their youth, and that the hands of one who held it brought to all that they touched healing from hurt.


There are many lights in LotR, and plants, people, water, and swords will at times shine with an inner light, a spiritual light. Even evil creatures will glow with an evil light, or their eyes will gleam an evil gleam.


Quote


Quote
He went to the back of the bay, and then they saw that several tall stone jars stood there, with heavy lids. He removed one of the lids, and dipped in a great ladle, and with it filled three bowls, one very large bowl, and two smaller ones.



13. Why does Treebeard own smaller bowls? After all, he doesn’t have seats for the hobbits, or beds. Or are these bowls left over from ages past when there were Entings? Did Treebeard ever have any Entings of his own, do you think? If so, what happened to them?


Maybe they're for snacks. Or for Gandalf, or even Saruman, when they used to visit. I'm sure after all this time Treebeard knows how to shape his own bowls out of stone when necessary.

Quote


Quote
The drink was like water, indeed very like the taste of the draughts they had drunk from the Entwash near, the borders of the forest, and yet there was some scent or savour in it which they could not describe: it was faint, but it reminded them of the smell of a distant wood borne from afar by a cool breeze at night. The effect of the draught began at the toes, and rose steadily through every limb, bringing refreshment and vigour as it coursed upwards, right to the tips of the hair. Indeed the hobbits felt that the hair on their heads was actually standing up, waving and curling and growing.



14. Is this magic? Is the Ent-draught related in some way to miruvor, the cordial of Imladris? Is it related, not in a literal but a literary sense, to the curative liquor of the Orcs from the last chapter? Is it intoxicating?


I would say it is magic, i.e. something the hobbits don't understand. For the Ents it is perfectly natural, but for others it is not. None of the other restorative liquids or solids (i.e. lembas) make the hobbits grow.


Quote


Quote
[Saruman] settled down at Angrenost, or Isengard as the Men of Rohan call it.



15. This is the only use of the Elvish name, Angrenost, in the entire novel. Why does Tolkien have Treebeard give us this piece of information? Is any particular effect achieved thereby? In the ensuing paragraph of exposition, Treebeard is essentially giving the hobbits a history lesson. Why give this job to Treebeard, as opposed to, say, having included it in the Council of Elrond? Considering the concrete description of Isengard a bit later in the chapter, does its layout remind you of any other Tolkienian locale? Perhaps from a different Age?


There's enough history in The Council of Elrond as there is, without adding more. The hobbits learn this kind of stuff throughout the book, although this is the first time Merry and Pippin are learning in the absence of Frodo and Sam. The history gives Middle-earth depth, even when it never becomes important.

Isengard reminds me a bit of Gondolin, I suppose, although it is smaller than that city, and not as well hidden. There are lots of isolated towers in Middle-earth, however.


Quote


Quote
‘It is a mark of evil things that came in the Great Darkness that they cannot abide the Sun; but Saruman’s Orcs can endure it, even if they hate it. I wonder what he has done? Are they Men he has ruined, or has he blended the races of Orcs and Men? That would be a black evil!’



16. What has he done? How did Saruman achieve this, if Sauron could not? Or perhaps Sauron never bothered to try? One has a sense of Saruman as an alchemist, a scientist, a tinker – “a mind of metal and wheels,” Treebeard says); this does seem a contrast with the more “organic” evil of Sauron, no?


From Morgoth's Ring, HoME X, "Myths Transformed":


Quote
Finally, there is a cogent point, though horrible to relate. It became clear in time that undoubted Men could under the domination of Morgoth or his agents in a few generations be reduced almost to the Orc-level of mind and habits; and then they would or could be made to mate with Orcs producing new breeds, often larger and more cunning. There is no doubt that long afterwards, in the Third Age, Saruman rediscovered this, or learned of it in lore, and in his lust for mastery committed this, his wickedest deed: the interbreeding of Orcs and Men, producing both Men-orcs large and cunning, and Orc-men treacherous and vile.


Once again, Saruman models himself after Sauron. Both had their Uruks or Uruk-hai. Sauron had them much earlier.

Quote


Quote
‘Only lately did I guess that Saruman was to blame, and that long ago he had been spying out all the ways, and discovering my secrets.’



17. Spying out what, exactly? Discovering what secrets? What secrets would Treebeard have, other than his real name?


Remember that Saruman's orcs sought the safety of Fangorn. Why would Fangorn be safe to them? Because they knew which paths to take, and which to avoid. They knew the methods Treebeard used to guard the forest.


Quote


Quote
‘Yes!’ said Pippin. ‘I should like to see the White Hand overthrown. I should like to be there, even if I could not be of much use: I shall never forget Uglúk and the crossing of Rohan.’



18. This bit of synechdoche seems rather out of character for Pippin, doesn’t it? The diction seems closer to the speech of Aragorn or Théoden, perhaps even approaching the “heigh stile” of The Silmarillion. When has Pippin heard Saruman referred to in this way? As to his wish to be there, even if of little use, does this foreshadow Pippin’s participation in the Battle of the Morannon at the conclusion of the War of the Ring?


Wow, I had to look "synechdoche" up. Pippin heard it from the orcs, of course. The hobbits do have their formal moments, they just don't talk like that all the time. They save it for ceremonies and legal adoptions with seven witnesses and such. Frodo's quite good at it, but as the Thain in waiting Pippin should have been exposed to such matters. He just wasn't that interested until now. He's growing up. (Although he will regress later.)

Quote


Quote
‘Only three remain of the first Ents that walked in the woods before the Darkness: only myself, Fangorn, and Finglas and Fladrif [.]’


19. Only thee of the first Ents remain. Is the number significant? Three Elven Rings? Three Silmarils? How many “original Ents” were there? Could it have been seven, to set against the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves? Is it only coincidence that the names all alliterate (as does that of Fangorn’s Entwife, Fimbrethil)?


Three branches of elves whose representatives went to Valinor? Three hobbits in Three's Company? Three hobbits returning from the Grey Havens? Three trolls by the fire in The Hobbit? Not every use of the number three is significant, I judge. But no, I don't think the alliteration is a coincidence.


Quote


Quote
‘And now the Entwives are only a memory for us, and our beards are long and grey.’



20. The also reminds me of the Dwarves. Not just the mention of long, grey beards, of course, but the Ents, like the Dwarves, seem to reproduce only very slowly and to suffer from an acute insufficiency of women-folk. I believe only one female Dwarf is ever explicitly named (Dís); likewise, only one Entwife (Fimbrethil). Are there other similarities or points of relationship between the Ents and Dwarves –secretiveness about their respective languages, maybe? What else?


Since the Ents and Dwarves aren't sailing west, Tolkien had to come up with some way for them to dwindle in number. It's part of the melancholy undertone -- everything cool about Middle-earth is disappearing, leaving us with the Age of Men, for better or for worse.

I don't think Ents and Dwarves have much in common, judging by Gimli's reaction to the ents. Ents and Eagles, on the other hand, have more in common, as stewards of flora and fauna, respectively.


Quote


Quote
‘It is Elvish, of course: lighthearted, quickworded, and soon over. I daresay it is fair enough. But the Ents could say more on their side, if they had time!’


21. Does this description (“lighthearted, quickworded”) harken back to the Elves of The Hobbit? And if the Ents could say more, why don’t they? Why would the Elves’ song seem to sympathize with the Entwives over the Ents? And why don’t the Ents have time to say more? It would seem they have nothing but time, actually. Like the other verses, I’ll be coming back to the song again later, so don’t feel that you have to “say everything there is to say” all right now.


The elves don't seem lighthearted and quickworded in LotR, do they? But then we only meet the most serious elves in the most serious of times, and we are comparing them to even more lighthearted and quickworded hobbits. The ents have a different perspective. Does the elves' song sympathize with the entwives? It seems pretty even handed to me, more even handed than Treebeard would be, I imagine, if he composed the song. The ents are probably like Tolkien; always composing, never finished.


Quote
‘Lie down to sleep!’ said Treebeard. ‘Why of course you do! Hm, hoom: I was forgetting: singing that song put me in mind of old times; almost thought that I was talking to young Entings, I did.’


22. If Merry and Pippin were Entings, what sort of tree-types would they be? A pippin is a kind of apple. What about Merry?

I don't know.


Quote


Quote
The bright stars peered out of the sky, and lit the falling water as it spilled on to his fingers and head, and dripped, dripped, in hundreds of silver drops on to his feet. Listening to the tinkling of the drops the hobbits fell asleep.


23. Does this remind you of Merry’s dream (or a part of it) from the house of Tom Bombadil, followed by a rather similar image of real falling water (“Goldberry’s washing day”)? Treebeard wakes the hobbits similarly – “Hoo, ha! Good morning,” as compared to “Hey! Come merry dol! derry dol! My hearties!” Is Tolkien trying to remind us of the safety of Tom Bombadil’s house?


If so, it never worked for me. I just think Tolkien loved nature. Also, as I noted before, this is the first time the hobbits have had an adventure on their own since they left Bombadil. So there is that connection.

Quote


Quote
[The dingle] was smooth and grassclad inside, and there were no trees except three very tall and beautiful silver-birches that stood at the bottom of the bowl.


24. What is the significance of these three trees? Their number, and color?


It's a pretty image. Other than that, I'm not sure.

Quote


Quote
He put the hobbits down. Before they walked away, they bowed low. This feat seemed to amuse the Ents very much, to judge by the tone of their murmurs, and the flicker of their eyes; but they soon turned back to their own business.


25. Is it amusement, or surprise? After all, Ents would not be capable of this action, would they?


It's amusement. They know other people can bend at the waist, I presume.


Quote
Not far away the voices of the Entmoot could be heard still going on; but now they seemed deeper and less leisurely, and every now and again one great voice would rise in a high and quickening music, while all the others died away.


26. Strongly evocative of the Music of the Ainur, it seems to me. If so, is this deliberate on Tolkien’s part, do you think?

I don't know. Tolkien has a habit of reusing imagery he likes.


Quote


Quote
‘Night lies over Isengard,’ said Treebeard.


27. To me, this is one of the most moody, ominous concluding lines to a chapter in the entire book. You?

I think I'll go with Book V, Chapter 1, "There will be no dawn." But there are a number of moody, ominous concluding lines from which to choose.



Dreamdeer
Valinor


Apr 28 2008, 7:50pm

Post #9 of 37 (767 views)
Shortcut
Can't see the forest for the Treebeard [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
1. Does this remind anybody of the adventure in the Old Forest? The scene seems staged to remind readers of Frodo’s similar position at the edge of the water, straddling the roots of Old Man Willow. This is just the first of many implicit and explicit comparisons between the two woods in this chapter. How is Fangorn like the Old Forest? How is it different? Just a bit later, we’ll read of “a rock-wall before them: the side of a hill, or the abrupt end of some long root thrust out by the distant mountains. No trees grew on it, and the sun was falling full on its stony face.” Have we seen a place like this before? :)



I cannot remember ever seeing anything but a connection between Fangorn and the Old Forest. It runs so deep in me that I find I cannot comment on it.


In Reply To



Quote
2. What do you make of this unexpected, and highly specific, reference back to the Shire? How long are hobbit generations anyway?



I liked the reference to Pippin's family and background. Hitherto I had not learned enough about Pippin. Now that I'm finally getting the story from his perspective, I can finally get to know him better. And sharing one's home with an old curmudgeon who lives on in decaying squalor with nothing ever changing, might well scare a young fellow into somewhat wild and reckless behavior--which could explain his eagerness to join Merry's conspiracy!

As for hobbit generations, if you accept that a human generation takes twenty years, then you divide that by half and multiply the result by three, coming up with thirty years. This is only logical, since they have longer childhoods (as evidenced by their coming of age somewhat later) and live longer lives in general.


Quote
3. First, the Old Forest, now Mirkwood. What do you make of the comparison? Why allude to Mirkwood and Bilbo’s original adventure at this point in the present tale?



In this case I think the point is not so much to say what Fangorn is like, so much as what it is not like. Our past experience with the Old Forest was menacing, and Tolkien does not wish to belittle that, but he also wants to clarify that Fangorn is not evil, no more than a lion or a javalina is evil--you simply must treat wild things with respect and caution.


Quote
4. From the Old Forest to Mirkwood to Lothlórien? Does the atmosphere of Fangorn convey healing properties, as well as a sense of timelessness, the way Lothlórien does? Or am I making too much of this, and it’s nothing more than the general doughtiness of hobbits, as discussed in last week’s chapter? Treebeard makes a more explicit reference to Lorien later in the chapter. How similar, and how different are the two woods?



Had this merely involved the hobbit tendency to heal fast, there would be no need to say, "They were too eager to be surprised at the remarkable way..." that they healed. It would not seem remarkable to them. They would not be surprised even if they felt no eagerness or distraction. Accepting the conceit of Pippin's authorship, I can imagine him putting pen to paper and thinking, "Wow--why didn't I notice that at the time?"

So yes, I consider the Entwash to have healing properties, but in a way unrelated to the waters of Lorien. Rather than the influence of Elvish magic, I think this has something to do with Treebeard and the other ents tending to the trees, rendering the water richer and more nourishing, which would also hasten healing. It might operate something like "Willard's Water". http://www.willardswater.com/...amp;navc=info_realww



Quote
5. This is the first, but not the only, comparison of Ents to Trolls. I’m going to be returning to this in the next couple of days with greater attention (some of it of a linguistic, some mythological), but would anyone care to comment? We were just reminded of Bilbo’s adventure with the mention of Mirkwood. Does this make you think of The Hobbit also?



If anyone wants my speculation on the troll/ent connection, I can refer them to the relevant chapter of my fanfic, at http://www.dreamdeer.grailmedia.com/...frodogardner184.html (The "Frodo" is Frodo Gardner, Sam's son, not Baggins.) WARNING: contains much angst and scandal. I will not think less of you if you skip it. I am rather shocked that I wrote it. But it does give some explanation as to how trolls might have been created "in mockery of ents" without Morgoth or Sauron being capable of creating independant creatures from scratch.


Quote

6. Bark or hide? Which is it? Are Ents flora or fauna?



I tend to think of them as a sort of missing link halfway in between. Such creatures do exist on the microscopic level (slime-mold comes to mind.) So what if you evolved a creature from such stock without diverging either to animal or vegetable?



Quote


Quote
Often afterwards Pippin tried to describe his first impression of [Treebeard’s eyes].



7. The paragraph that follows seems to be a statement, or perhaps an excerpt from a written document (e.g., supplementary material from the Red Book?), made long afterwards by Pippin. What do you make of this aside? Does it interrupt the flow of the chapter? When would Pippin have said or written this? To whom is/was he speaking or writing? Why give this description to Pippin in the form of direct address instead of offering it through the narrative, as in the previous descriptive passages?



I don't think it interrupts the flow at all, since hurry doesn't belong in Fangorn Forest. If Pippin had stopped to describe the eyes of the troll he had just stabbed before the Morannon, now that might have slowed the narrative! In any case, I love the description of entish eyes!




Quote
8. Does this remind you of Tom Bombadil? Back at the Council of Elrond, he was described in a rather similar way. Treebeard and Tom Bombadil even have the “same initials,” as it were: TB. And they are each described as “the eldest” – which one is really older? What else do they have in common? Do they know each other?



Treebeard may be eldest of the ents, but Tom Bombadil is the eldest living thing. He was in Middle Earth before the first tree, after all. Whereas Yavanna only made ents (with Illuvatar's assitance and permission) after her husband made dwarves, with the intention of providing her already existant trees with protectors.

And yes, I expect that Treebeard knows Tom Bombadil. He immediately recognizes Merry's reference to the Old Forest, after all. Treebeard and Tom Bombadil would doubtless consider each other persons of interest, and make each other's acquaintance when Treebeard passed through.

He does not, however, seem to recognize the Shire itself, thinking that it sounds lovely, as one hearing of something unknown. I conclude that he had not gone that way since hobbits came into existence and settled the region.


Quote
9. Is this the same restorative “green smell” that Legolas praises a couple of chapters back? For the botanists – all one of you! – could “spend[ing] a week just breathing” be a reference to transpiration in plants?



I don't know. I'm not a botanist. I do know that when I have breathed in that wonderful green scent of a healthy forest, I feel as though I could life on breath alone (at least until my allergies kick in!) But then I am somewhat tree-ish, myself.


Quote
10. What does it come to in our measurements? Has anyone ever tried to figure it out? Fonstad? Strachey? An industrious amateur cartographer here?



I am not even going to try.


Quote
11. Is the “Last Mountain” another oblique reference back to The Hobbit, or is it mere coincidence? It sounds rather like the Lonely Mountain, no? We’ll see some other possible links between Ents and Dwarves in a moment. Do you find it at all strange that this mountain is actually named (Methedras)? What does that name mean? Do you find it plausible that Merry actually knows/remembers this name? It’s an awfully specific geographical detail to stick in one’s mind – even if one is partial to maps.



I consider it coincidence. To me it just means that here the mountain range ends, or begins, depending on your viewpoint

As for the name sticking in Merry's memory, Tolkien had long maintained that odd words stick in the memory better than familiar ones.


Quote
12. It seems to me this image alludes to the Two Trees of Valinor. Perhaps also, in a lesser afterimage, to Galadriel’s Mirror. Thoughts?



There might be some of that. But more, to me, it seemed like the shady light that one receives while lying under a tree on a summer's day--a mingling of the golden sunlight passing between the leaves, and the green light passing through the leaves.


Quote
13. Why does Treebeard own smaller bowls? After all, he doesn’t have seats for the hobbits, or beds. Or are these bowls left over from ages past when there were Entings? Did Treebeard ever have any Entings of his own, do you think? If so, what happened to them?



They might have been for a different use, or a different draught. This might be the equivalent of pouring his own drink in a tankard and theirs into cordial-goblets or demitasse cups. Everybody has vessels in all sorts of shapes and sizes around the house. If you had to, in a pinch, entertain creatures of a different size than yourself, I am sure you could find something of a suitable size for them.



Quote
14. Is this magic? Is the Ent-draught related in some way to miruvor, the cordial of Imladris? Is it related, not in a literal but a literary sense, to the curative liquor of the Orcs from the last chapter? Is it intoxicating?



I am not sure if one could call it magic or extraordinarily good gardening. Ents have the skill to encourage growth and health down to a science, an art, and perhaps a spell,

And yes, I would consider it intoxicating. Treebeard has to lay down to keep it from rushing to his head too fast. Even so, the conversation excites him on a level not at all characteristic of his sober self. And he forgets that he is talking to something other than young entings, and he is not usually that fuzzy-brained.


Quote
15. This is the only use of the Elvish name, Angrenost, in the entire novel. Why does Tolkien have Treebeard give us this piece of information? Is any particular effect achieved thereby? In the ensuing paragraph of exposition, Treebeard is essentially giving the hobbits a history lesson. Why give this job to Treebeard, as opposed to, say, having included it in the Council of Elrond? Considering the concrete description of Isengard a bit later in the chapter, does its layout remind you of any other Tolkienian locale? Perhaps from a different Age?



Treebeard would value the older name over any newer one.

As for history lessons, the Council of Elrond already had too many, nor could Elrond have prepared Merry and Pippin with background on a land nobody expected them to visit.


Quote
16. What has he done? How did Saruman achieve this, if Sauron could not? Or perhaps Sauron never bothered to try? One has a sense of Saruman as an alchemist, a scientist, a tinker – “a mind of metal and wheels,” Treebeard says); this does seem a contrast with the more “organic” evil of Sauron, no?



The "black evil" of the deed implies, to this woman's mind at least, that no human woman would willingly mate with an orc. Tolkien would not want to spell it out any more graphically than that. But that's how Saruman did it, I expect--by force. Contrary to the movie (and I can understand Peter Jackson not wanting to get too graphic on camera) orcs breed like the Children of Illuvatar, and Tolkien cites this as evidence that they are Children of Illuvatar, debased from their original natures.

Some of Tolkien's writings do imply that Sauron tinkered with mixing human blood into orkish bloodlines, and Sauron merely took it to the next level. However, had this not been the case, I would speculate that Sauron simply got into old habits of thought, as an ancient being might, and Saruman came up with something original.

Saruman's mind of metal and wheels might have everything to do with his inspiration. It does not occur to Saruman to treat life forms as any different from inanimate objects. Thus he treats trees the same way he would ores--as mere raw materials, not living things. So why shouldn't he treat sentient beings like mere metals, to be alloyed as he sees fit?


Quote
17. Spying out what, exactly? Discovering what secrets? What secrets would Treebeard have, other than his real name?



If I knew, Treebeard would have to kill me.


Quote
18. This bit of synechdoche seems rather out of character for Pippin, doesn’t it? The diction seems closer to the speech of Aragorn or Théoden, perhaps even approaching the “heigh stile” of The Silmarillion. When has Pippin heard Saruman referred to in this way? As to his wish to be there, even if of little use, does this foreshadow Pippin’s participation in the Battle of the Morannon at the conclusion of the War of the Ring?



Several explanations come to mind:

1) Just as the hobbits started singing under the influence of Tom Bombadil, so they start to speak in nobler styles in the presence of Treebeard and while full of ent draughts.

2) Pippiin feels more inspired than usual, and so speaks in a more inspired fashion. Even the most mundane person can get all excited and lyrical under the right conditions.

3) Pippin is writing all of this down much later, and has unconsciously polished up his memories of his exact words. In reality he said, "Whoa yeah! Let's go and kick Saruman's fanny!"


Quote
19. Only thee of the first Ents remain. Is the number significant? Three Elven Rings? Three Silmarils? How many “original Ents” were there? Could it have been seven, to set against the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves? Is it only coincidence that the names all alliterate (as does that of Fangorn’s Entwife, Fimbrethil)?



Long question-answering has dulled the edge of my mind; I have no idea how to answer this, except to say that three is a pretty standard number in fairy-stories, as are seven and nine.


Quote
20. The also reminds me of the Dwarves. Not just the mention of long, grey beards, of course, but the Ents, like the Dwarves, seem to reproduce only very slowly and to suffer from an acute insufficiency of women-folk. I believe only one female Dwarf is ever explicitly named (Dís); likewise, only one Entwife (Fimbrethil). Are there other similarities or points of relationship between the Ents and Dwarves –secretiveness about their respective languages, maybe? What else?



Tolkien often associates, in his writing, infertility and/or sexual decline or absence with something going wrong on a spiritual level. Both ents and dwarves are out of balance. They are not Children of Illuvatar, but lesser subcreations, doomed to die out. I don't think Tolkien wanted to have ents die out, but he needed some explanation as to why the forests of today are so defenseless.


Quote
21. Does this description (“lighthearted, quickworded”) harken back to the Elves of The Hobbit? And if the Ents could say more, why don’t they? Why would the Elves’ song seem to sympathize with the Entwives over the Ents? And why don’t the Ents have time to say more? It would seem they have nothing but time, actually. Like the other verses, I’ll be coming back to the song again later, so don’t feel that you have to “say everything there is to say” all right now.



Treebeard is biased. The elvish song seems fair to me. Nobody in a divorce wants to say that their ex had a point, and basically this is kind of an accidental divorce--the ents and the entwives went their separate ways until they couldn't find each other anymore. They no longer live as married people do. The ents don't have time only because they never did make time for their wives. Treebeard is not yet able to face that he had a choice in the matter. According to the song, both will need to lose everything before they ever become humbled enough to come back together again.


Quote
22. If Merry and Pippin were Entings, what sort of tree-types would they be? A pippin is a kind of apple. What about Merry?



Not just any apple, but a breed specifically grown for making cider, which suits his lighthearted temperament. Considering Merry's practicality and the numerous ways he finds to make himself useful, I'd peg him for an olive.


Quote
23. Does this remind you of Merry’s dream (or a part of it) from the house of Tom Bombadil, followed by a rather similar image of real falling water (“Goldberry’s washing day”)? Treebeard wakes the hobbits similarly – “Hoo, ha! Good morning,” as compared to “Hey! Come merry dol! derry dol! My hearties!” Is Tolkien trying to remind us of the safety of Tom Bombadil’s house?



To some extent. Yet he also goes out of his way to invoke Treebeard's strangeness, treeishness. Creatures that are wholly animal do not typically sleep by choice under running water, unless they are aquatic to begin with.


Quote
24. What is the significance of these three trees? Their number, and color?



I am too tired at this point to speculate, except to say that they sound pretty.


Quote
25. Is it amusement, or surprise? After all, Ents would not be capable of this action, would they?



I seem to recall that Quickbeam did manage a sort of willowy bow later on. But the depth of the hobbit-bows would have seemed like something out of Cirque de Soleil to an ent--an entertaining bit of acrobatics or contortionism.


Quote
26. Strongly evocative of the Music of the Ainur, it seems to me. If so, is this deliberate on Tolkien’s part, do you think?



In a sense. If everything is made of music (and surprisingly, String Theory Physics seems to support this long after Tolkien's death) then one could expect to find echoes and reflections of that music everywhere. And sure enough, in Middle Earth, even goblins and barrow-wights sing.





Quote
‘Night lies over Isengard,’ said Treebeard.




Quote
27. To me, this is one of the most moody, ominous concluding lines to a chapter in the entire book. You?


Yes--but ominous for Saruman!

My website http://www.dreamdeer.grailmedia.com offers fanfic, and message-boards regarding intentional community or faerie exploration.


visualweasel
Rohan


Apr 28 2008, 8:10pm

Post #10 of 37 (747 views)
Shortcut
Nicely put! [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
Saruman's mind of metal and wheels might have everything to do with his inspiration. It does not occur to Saruman to treat life forms as any different from inanimate objects. Thus he treats trees the same way he would ores--as mere raw materials, not living things. So why shouldn't he treat sentient beings like mere metals, to be alloyed as he sees fit?



Very well put, Dreamdeer.


Quote
Not just any apple, but a breed specifically grown for making cider, which suits his lighthearted temperament. Considering Merry's practicality and the numerous ways he finds to make himself useful, I'd peg him for an olive.



I like it! This is one of those questions that I expect most people will ignore (and there's nothing wrong with that). The old interviewing saw, "if you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be" and all that rot – no pun intended. Thanks for venturing a playful answer to what was, after all, meant as a playful question.

P.S. It's pretty hard to avoid the puns when discussing this chapter, isn't it? And speaking of flora, dangerous and otherwise, it's a pretty unfortunate coincidence that I'm dealing with a nasty bout of poison oak even as we speak. Ack, I need an ent-draught STAT.

Jason Fisher
Lingwë - Musings of a Fish

The Lord of the Rings discussion 2007-2008 – The Two Towers – III.4 “Treebeard” – Part 1


Darkstone
Immortal


Apr 28 2008, 9:53pm

Post #11 of 37 (795 views)
Shortcut
"Resistance is floral!" [In reply to] Can't Post

 1. Does this remind anybody of the adventure in the Old Forest?

Me!


How is Fangorn like the Old Forest?

It’s in an uneasy truce with its neighbors.


How is it different?

Whereas The Old Forest wasn’t able to defeat an army of mere Hobbits, Fangorn is going to bring down a Wizard! (Then again, an army of Hobbits is going to put the finishing touches on that same Wizard.)


Just a bit later, we’ll read of “a rock-wall before them: the side of a hill, or the abrupt end of some long root thrust out by the distant mountains. No trees grew on it, and the sun was falling full on its stony face.” Have we seen a place like this before?

The Walls of Moria? Only there were two trees, and it was the moon. (Even though it is astronomically impossible for a waning moon to shine on a western facing wall before midnight. Ooops!!)


2. What do you make of this unexpected, and highly specific, reference back to the Shire?

Obviously the Shepherds of the Forest have gotten as neglectful as the Charwomen of Tuckborough.


How long are hobbit generations anyway?

Like now they're getting shorter as time passes.


3. First, the Old Forest, now Mirkwood. What do you make of the comparison?

Merry and Pippin are getting the innocent young boys’ adventure that Frodo dreamt of.


Why allude to Mirkwood and Bilbo’s original adventure at this point in the present tale?

There are quite interesting parallels (and anti-parallels) with The Hobbit all through LOTR.


4. From the Old Forest to Mirkwood to Lothlórien?

From antipathy to neglect to regimented.


Does the atmosphere of Fangorn convey healing properties, as well as a sense of timelessness, the way Lothlórien does? Or am I making too much of this, and it’s nothing more than the general doughtiness of hobbits, as discussed in last week’s chapter?

It’s like cocaine. You only feel smarter. In reality you sound like an idiot. (Watch Saturday Night Live. QED)


Treebeard makes a more explicit reference to Lorien later in the chapter. How similar, and how different are the two woods?

Fangorn is a forest, Lorien is a garden. Galadriel is an Entwife at heart. It’s basically wild anarchy versus regimented fascism.


5. This is the first, but not the only, comparison of Ents to Trolls. I’m going to be returning to this in the next couple of days with greater attention (some of it of a linguistic, some mythological), but would anyone care to comment?

Well, Treebeard was indeed almost a troll. (Or ettin as the Anglo-Saxons would say.) Again, is the word as same as the reality to Tolkien?


We were just reminded of Bilbo’s adventure with the mention of Mirkwood. Does this make you think of The Hobbit also?

What does Treebeard look like? What did the Stone Giants look like? The Stone Giants seemed to have a great time tossing boulders around. What do you think Ents do for fun?

“We cannot go further tonight,” said Boromir. “Let those call it the wind who will, but there are evil voices on the air and those stones are aimed at us.”

Yeah, huorns vacation in the Misty Mountains.


6. Bark or hide?

A dog can’t do both.


Which is it?

An unholy combination!


Are Ents flora or fauna?

Both. They’re “arborgs”: Arboreal Organisms: “You will be assimilated. Resistance is floral.”


7. The paragraph that follows seems to be a statement, or perhaps an excerpt from a written document (e.g., supplementary material from the Red Book?), made long afterwards by Pippin. What do you make of this aside?

Nice.


Does it interrupt the flow of the chapter?

No more than all the sailing stuff interrupts the flow of Moby Dick.


When would Pippin have said or written this?

Afterwards.


To whom is/was he speaking or writing?

Those future generations we were talking about.


Why give this description to Pippin in the form of direct address instead of offering it through the narrative, as in the previous descriptive passages?

Pippin is maturing. He’s literally taking a more active part in the story.


8. Does this remind you of Tom Bombadil?

Not at first. There’s no poetry. Yet.


Back at the Council of Elrond, he was described in a rather similar way. Treebeard and Tom Bombadil even have the “same initials,” as it were: TB.

So did the hero of the ultimate in 19th century British young boys’ adventures, Tom Brown. And the hottest sex symbol of Tolkien’s adolescence was Theda Bara (aka “The Vamp”), but I’m not going there.


And they are each described as “the eldest” – which one is really older?

To paraphrase letter #153, Treebeard may have been one of the eldest, but he wasn’t one of the Eldest.


What else do they have in common?

Tom seems to know something that Treebeard learned far too late: “Bring her flowers.”


Do they know each other?

They’re just good friends.


9. Is this the same restorative “green smell” that Legolas praises a couple of chapters back?

Yes. It’s now illegal in 48 states.


For the botanists – all one of you! – could “spend[ing] a week just breathing” be a reference to transpiration in plants?

Why not? Tolkien knows his botany!


10. What does it come to in our measurements?

Fünf hundert fünf und fünfzig furlongs. (Try saying that three times real fast! No wonder Ents take their time!)


Has anyone ever tried to figure it out? Fonstad? Strachey?

I figured out the speed of light in “Furlongs per Fortnight” once. It came out to a spookily round number. (2 followed by a bunch of zeros.)


An industrious amateur cartographer here?

Any real industrious amateur cartographer would be out drawing maps.


11. Is the “Last Mountain” another oblique reference back to The Hobbit, or is it mere coincidence?

There are no coincidences. This is proof of a Higher Power. Or at least a Higher Cartographer.


It sounds rather like the Lonely Mountain, no?

And if it walks like the Lonely Mountain and quacks like the Lonely Mountain, then it must be the Lonely Mountain. (How’d it wind up here? Must be migrating. Pining for the fjords, you know.)


We’ll see some other possible links between Ents and Dwarves in a moment.

Not as long as TORn is a family board, we won’t.


Do you find it at all strange that this mountain is actually named (Methedras)?

I know every rock and tree and mountain, has a voice, has a spirit, has a name.


What does that name mean?

“Last Peek”. (Or “Last chance for a look around.”)


Do you find it plausible that Merry actually knows/remembers this name?

He studied the maps. What else was he going to do all those weeks in Rivendell? Besides eat, drink, and party all day and all night? (Well, come to think of it, it does seem rather implausible.)


It’s an awfully specific geographical detail to stick in one’s mind – even if one is partial to maps.

For some reason I can quite clearly picture Merry and Pippin giggling hysterically over the name “Methedras”.


12. It seems to me this image alludes to the Two Trees of Valinor.

It begs for the sound of a theremin.


Perhaps also, in a lesser afterimage, to Galadriel’s Mirror. Thoughts?

It seems more like something Vampira would do in “Plan 9 From Outer Space” (1959).


13. Why does Treebeard own smaller bowls?

They’re for the cat.


After all, he doesn’t have seats for the hobbits, or beds.

He’s a bachelor. In a bachelor pad visitors sit, eat, and crash on the floor.


Or are these bowls left over from ages past when there were Entings?

All that’s long since gone to Goodwill.


Did Treebeard ever have any Entings of his own, do you think?

Well, yes. Unless Fimbrethil was actually a guy’s name, but even then they probably adopted. I picture Ents as being institutionally conservative, but socially progressive.


If so, what happened to them?

They grow up so fast. Then they leave the forest, get a job as a street sign in the big city, and never write a letter or light a beacon. Even a red arrow now and then asking for money would be nice.


14. Is this magic?

It could be sufficiently advanced technology.


Is the Ent-draught related in some way to miruvor, the cordial of Imladris?

They are both heavily regulated by international trade laws. And serving them to tweeners is a criminal offence in over two dozen countries.


Is it related, not in a literal but a literary sense, to the curative liquor of the Orcs from the last chapter?

Rum, whiskey, vodka, it’s all the Devil’s Drink! I bet that’s why the Entwives left and good for them!


Is it intoxicating?

“Intoxicating” comes from “toxin”, and “toxin” means “poison”.

“Tis here we pledge perpetual hate,
To all that can intoxicate."
- Fimbrethil, aka Carrie Nation


15. This is the only use of the Elvish name, Angrenost, in the entire novel. Why does Tolkien have Treebeard give us this piece of information?

It shows Elvish is Treebeard’s first language.


Is any particular effect achieved thereby?

Typical Tolkienese obfuscation.


In the ensuing paragraph of exposition, Treebeard is essentially giving the hobbits a history lesson. Why give this job to Treebeard, as opposed to, say, having included it in the Council of Elrond?

That’s several chapters ago! Who remembers what all they said in the Council of Elrond anyway? Who cares?


Considering the concrete description of Isengard a bit later in the chapter, does its layout remind you of any other Tolkienian locale?

Lessee. A keep behind a wall? Helm’s Deep!


Perhaps from a different Age?

Gondolin? (Why does that word always remind me of an instrument a Venetian boatman would play?)


16. What has he done?

According to Gamling Saruman has crossed orcs with goblin men. And Gamling has never lied to me before, so I believe him.


How did Saruman achieve this, if Sauron could not?

Who said he didn’t? Maybe Uruks were not exactly state-of-the-art minions. Like how lots of countries in the Third World still fly MIG-21s but run into a buzzsaw if they find themselves up against an F-15 or an Su-33.


Or perhaps Sauron never bothered to try?

Ever hear of an Olog-hai?


One has a sense of Saruman as an alchemist, a scientist, a tinker – “a mind of metal and wheels,” Treebeard says); this does seem a contrast with the more “organic” evil of Sauron, no?

It’s soulless mass production versus good old home cooking. Sauron doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty. Melkor made orcs in subterranean heat from slime and mud. (Like in the movies.) Which is better? Hostess Twinkies or Mom’s apple pie?


17. Spying out what, exactly?

He wanted a nice glass of ent draught to go with his pipeweed. And pâté de crebain on lembas. While sitting at a chair and table made of solid rowan. Now that’s living!


Discovering what secrets?

How to make things glow by holding your hands over them.


What secrets would Treebeard have, other than his real name?

They’re so secret that even he doesn’t know what they are! (Kind of like the present administration.)


18. This bit of synechdoche seems rather out of character for Pippin, doesn’t it? The diction seems closer to the speech of Aragorn or Théoden, perhaps even approaching the “heigh stile” of The Silmarillion. When has Pippin heard Saruman referred to in this way?

I suppose he’s had a White Hand right up close in his face for the past forty some odd leagues so the image is pretty much first on his mind ahead of the name “Saruman”.


As to his wish to be there, even if of little use, does this foreshadow Pippin’s participation in the Battle of the Morannon at the conclusion of the War of the Ring?

Well, he was there, so he got his wish. Even though he had a troll fall on him and he died though he didn’t. Kinda like Bilbo at the end of The Hobbit. Apparently hobbits make quite effective speed bumps on the battlefield. The 101st Airborne of the Shire: “Annoyance From Above!”


19. Only thee of the first Ents remain.

That’s what the man says.


Is the number significant?

Three usually is.


Three Elven Rings? Three Silmarils? How many “original Ents” were there?

I’m betting eleven. A nice prime number like one, three, and seven, but not nine.


Could it have been seven, to set against the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves?

The number seven is taken by the Dwarves. Ents should get their own number!


Is it only coincidence that the names all alliterate (as does that of Fangorn’s Entwife, Fimbrethil)?

Maybe it has something to do with “bioavailability”.


20. The also reminds me of the Dwarves. Not just the mention of long, grey beards, of course, but the Ents, like the Dwarves, seem to reproduce only very slowly and to suffer from an acute insufficiency of women-folk. I believe only one female Dwarf is ever explicitly named (Dís); likewise, only one Entwife (Fimbrethil). Are there other similarities or points of relationship between the Ents and Dwarves –secretiveness about their respective languages, maybe?

The degree of sexual dimorphism. One wonders how you tell a boy tree from a girl tree? And yes, trees just spring out of the ground.


What else?

Well, they’re alike in that one is really tall and one is really short, though actually that’s a difference rather than a similarity.


21. Does this description (“lighthearted, quickworded”) harken back to the Elves of The Hobbit?

Well it sure ain’t the Elves of The Silmarillion!


And if the Ents could say more, why don’t they?

They ain’t got the time. And if they did who’d stick around and listen?


Why would the Elves’ song seem to sympathize with the Entwives over the Ents?

Because like the Entwives the Elves are neat freaks. As for me, I’m like the Old Took, “Give me a big dusty library, and a comfy old chair to steer her by.”


And why don’t the Ents have time to say more?

We need to get back to Frodo and Sam some day.


22. If Merry and Pippin were Entings, what sort of tree-types would they be?

Saplings.


A pippin is a kind of apple.

So is a rambo. Rambos were supposedly Johnny Appleseed’s favorite trees. You think Johnny Appleseed was an Enting?


What about Merry?

Conan Meriadoc founded the House of Rohan in Brittany, and Brittany has it’s own two Johnny Appleseeds by the name of Saint Teilo and Saint Samson. And Brittany is famed for its apple cider!


23. Does this remind you of Merry’s dream (or a part of it) from the house of Tom Bombadil, followed by a rather similar image of real falling water (“Goldberry’s washing day”)?

Only there’s no Goldberry.


Treebeard wakes the hobbits similarly – “Hoo, ha!….”

I’m distinctly reminded of Wally Wood.


”… Good morning,” as compared to “Hey! Come merry dol! derry dol! My hearties!” Is Tolkien trying to remind us of the safety of Tom Bombadil’s house?

There is safety in the woods. For those who respect it. Like all the animals and plants loved Johnny Appleseed because he respected and cared for them. (You know he would buy old sick horses, buy a pasture to keep them in, then pay someone to care for the horse? He was one of the richest men in America when he died. But the lawyers got most of it.)


24. What is the significance of these three trees?

Birch sap provides xylitol, a low calorie sugar substitute just as sweet as sugar that doesn’t cause tooth decay. (So we Americans don’t use it.) Birch bark provides birch beer. You use the fragrant leafy bough of a silver birch to beat yourself with in a Finnish sauna. I guess the significance is that Treebeard has a big white smile while he sits in a sauna sipping his microbrew.


Their number,…

Okay, okay. Three is the number of the Norns, the number of Wyrd, or Fate. Birches are magical. Bfarkan (or twigs of birch) are used to make divining runes. (“Having bound up the threatening twigs of birch”: Measure For Measure, Act I, Scene 3) Witches make their broomsticks from birch. The birch was associated with the Norse gods Thor and Freya.

(BTW, did you know “MacBeth” means “son of a birch”? Seriously!)


…and color?

Well, the only types of birch are either the silver birch or the white birch. The silver birch is the national tree of Finland, so I guess Treebeard is Finnish.


25. Is it amusement, or surprise?

Tolkien says “amuse”. I’d guess it would be like how you’d feel if a mouse did a sweeping bow to you.


After all, Ents would not be capable of this action, would they?

I’d suppose Ents could bow from the waist. It’s just they couldn’t do a proper curtsy. And how would they… Never mind.


26. Strongly evocative of the Music of the Ainur, it seems to me. If so, is this deliberate on Tolkien’s part, do you think?

Reminds me of an orchestra tuning up just before a symphony. Which it is, kinda.


Quote
‘Night lies over Isengard,’ said Treebeard.


27. To me, this is one of the most moody, ominous concluding lines to a chapter in the entire book. You?


Or as Virgil beautifully put it: “ponto nox incubat atra“ (Aen. 4:89). Only he’s talking about the sea before the coming storm, not Isengard.

******************************************
The audacious proposal stirred his heart. And the stirring became a song, and it mingled with the songs of Gil-galad and Celebrian, and with those of Feanor and Fingon. The song-weaving created a larger song, and then another, until suddenly it was as if a long forgotten memory woke and for one breathtaking moment the Music of the Ainur revealed itself in all glory. He opened his lips to sing and share this song. Then he realized that the others would not understand. Not even Mithrandir given his current state of mind. So he smiled and simply said "A diversion.”



N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Apr 28 2008, 10:05pm

Post #12 of 37 (738 views)
Shortcut
Hobbits as speed-bumps? [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
Even though he [Pippin] had a troll fall on him [at the Morannon] and he died though he didn’t. Kinda like Bilbo at the end of The Hobbit. Apparently hobbits make quite effective speed bumps on the battlefield.


And in the skirmish between orc-tribes in the Emyn Muil ravine, an orc tripped over Merry, which saved its life from the Isengard uruk's blades.

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
We're discussing The Lord of the Rings in the Reading Room, Oct. 15, 2007 - Mar. 22, 2009!

Join us Apr. 28-May 4 for "Treebeard".


sador
Half-elven

Apr 28 2008, 10:26pm

Post #13 of 37 (756 views)
Shortcut
If I may nitpick on your long and well-thought answer [In reply to] Can't Post

Pippin never shared his home "with an old curmudgeon who lives on in decaying squalor with nothing ever changing" - he was born seventy years after the Old Took died.
But Old Gerontius was something of a legend, so I suppose nobody dared to change a thing in his room. Only somebody with a child's sensitivity, and innocent iconoclasm (like Pippin) would come up with this description.

I still intend to answer these questions in detail. But I'm not sure if and when I'll find the time to do it properly.

"I'm not going to do anything with you: not if by that you mean 'do something to you' without your leave. We might do some things together" - Treebeard


sador
Half-elven

Apr 28 2008, 10:45pm

Post #14 of 37 (708 views)
Shortcut
Night-time here. Too tired to answer seriously. [In reply to] Can't Post

Your words

Quote

Rum, whiskey, vodka, it’s all the Devil’s Drink! I bet that’s why the Entwives left and good for them!

Made me think of Treebeard's

Quote

their hair parched by the sun to the hue of ripe corn and their cheeks like red apples.

I guess the Entwives prefered cider. And surely the 'ripe corn' here refers to barley!
And if I add this to question no. 8, might the Treebeard-Fimbrethil relationship invoke the other TB's with Barley Butterbur?
OK, it's the hour. As you put it so sweetly:

Quote

You only feel smarter. In reality you sound like an idiot.

Good night (good afternoon to you).

"I'm not going to do anything with you: not if by that you mean 'do something to you' without your leave. We might do some things together" - Treebeard


Elenedhel
Rivendell


Apr 29 2008, 1:00am

Post #15 of 37 (698 views)
Shortcut
whew! lots of questions! [In reply to] Can't Post

4. I think Lorien and Fangorn are similar in the way that they can be very dangerous or very safe depending on who has entered them. I think that both forests in a way conceal a great power ( Fangorn: the Ents, Lorien: Galadriel and Nenya).
7. "Why give this description to Pippin in the form of direct address instead of offering it through the narrative, as in the previous descriptive passages?"
Because then you can really get the description of what Pippin saw, and not someone else's description of what Pippin told them. It also gives the narrative of the story a bit of change and keeps it from getting repetitive.
8. I don't think that they know each other because Treebeard doesn't get out of Fangorn much, and Tom doesn't like to go beyond where his country ends.
10. Lol! I tried once, I really did, but it involves math and I'm terrible at math!
13. Treebeards' Entings could have grown up and turned Treeish with the almost all the other Ents. Or they could have left with the Entwives.
14. I agree that the Ent-draught is a lot like the miruvor and the orc-draught. I think it is also a lot like lembas because it gives the hobbits new strength.
15. I think Tolkien has Treebeard tell us that to show how old he is: everyone used to call Isenguard "Argrenost" but now only Treebeard remembers the name. It's a bit like him calling Lothlorien "laurelindorenan." Only he remembers it's original name.
16. I agree that Saruman is more of an experimenter that Sauron. I think to some lengths he is also a bit cleverer than Sauron.
18. As I said in last week's talk about "The Uruk-hai," from the point when he cuts himself loose with the dead orc's knife onward, Pippin becomes much braver and seems to want to be involved more with fighting and helping to save Middle-earth than he did before. I think that is another example of this.
22. I think Merry might be an apple tree too, because apples are sweet and cheerful-looking :)



"O Elbereth! Gilthoniel!
We still remember, we who dwell
In this far land beneath the trees,
Thy starlight on the Western Seas."


Dreamdeer
Valinor


Apr 29 2008, 2:40am

Post #16 of 37 (747 views)
Shortcut
Foolish of me! [In reply to] Can't Post

I should know better than to answer off the top of my head, before checking dates! Blush Thank you for gallantly offering a "save" for my blunder.

My website http://www.dreamdeer.grailmedia.com offers fanfic, and message-boards regarding intentional community or faerie exploration.


squire
Valinor


Apr 29 2008, 12:28pm

Post #17 of 37 (742 views)
Shortcut
A few answers, at least. [In reply to] Can't Post

I will follow Curious' lead here with a series of partial responses. I just don't have time during the weekday to get through such a long post in one sitting! But thank you for putting such effort into your opening salvo. I enjoy thinking of these chapters thematically also, especially after a few too many weeks of thinking about chapters in strict narrative order.

Quote: A queer stifling feeling came over them, as if the air were too thin or too scanty for breathing. [… Pippin] clambered on to a great tree-root that wound down into the stream, and stooping drew up some water in his cupped hands. It was clear and cold, and he took many draughts. Merry followed him.
1. Does this remind anybody of the adventure in the Old Forest? The scene seems staged to remind readers of Frodo’s similar position at the edge of the water, straddling the roots of Old Man Willow. This is just the first of many implicit and explicit comparisons between the two woods in this chapter. How is Fangorn like the Old Forest? How is it different? Just a bit later, we’ll read of “a rock-wall before them: the side of a hill, or the abrupt end of some long root thrust out by the distant mountains. No trees grew on it, and the sun was falling full on its stony face.” Have we seen a place like this before? :)
Yes, Fangorn and the Old Forest are linked in the story, though not yet explicitly at this point. I have never connected this tree-root escapade with the Willow scene. You might be right, but I think the parallel here is between Pippin, and the tree: both reach into the river to get water, so that Pippin is already becoming more treelike, just minutes after entering the forest!
I think it is odd to use “stifling” to describe a lack of air. I think of stifling as the feeling of the air being too thick.
The rock wall – you may be thinking of the sunny hilltop in the Old Forest? – reminds me of the Doorstep in The Hobbit, or even the West Wall of Moria: entrances to a mysterious environment. The “rock-wall” or “face” image seems more important to me than the sunny bit. Note again the “root” image, too.

Quote: ‘Yes, it is all very dim, and stuffy, in here,’ said Pippin. ‘It reminds me, somehow, of the old room in the Great Place of the Tooks away back in the Smials at Tuckborough: a huge place, where the furniture has never been moved or changed for generations. They say the Old Took lived in it year after year, while he and the room got older and shabbier together – and it has never changed since he died, a century ago.’
2. What do you make of this unexpected, and highly specific, reference back to the Shire? How long are hobbit generations anyway?
A hobbit generation would be about 33 years. I think Tolkien is using a very English image to convey the feeling of Fangorn: an old person’s room in some Great House, preserved from some previous century. Such a place was far more common in his time and for his class, than it is for us today. As always with Old Took references, we should be alert to the possibility that Tolkien is specifically describing his memories of visiting his Suffield grandfather.

Quote: ‘But the Sun at any rate must peep in sometimes.’ said Merry. ‘It does not look or feel at all like Bilbo’s description of Mirkwood. That was all dark and black, and the home of dark black things. This is just dim, and frightfully tree-ish. You can’t imagine animals living here at all, or staying for long.’
3. First, the Old Forest, now Mirkwood. What do you make of the comparison? Why allude to Mirkwood and Bilbo’s original adventure at this point in the present tale?
The hobbits are thinking in terms of adventure stories. They are well aware that they are in one, and their point of reference is of course The Hobbit and so Mirkwood. Remember that Merry at least was not afraid of the Old Forest, and would not necessarily associate it with fairy tales and adventures!
Also, we recall that Merry says he has had one fast glimpse at Bilbo’s book. Probably not the opening of the Mirkwood adventure! So here we have an example of the kind of stories Bilbo told to his younger relations.

Quote: They climbed and scrambled up the rock. If the stair had been made it was for bigger feet and longer legs than theirs. They were too eager to be surprised at the remarkable way in which the cuts and sores of their captivity had healed and their vigour had returned.
4. From the Old Forest to Mirkwood to Lothlórien? Does the atmosphere of Fangorn convey healing properties, as well as a sense of timelessness, the way Lothlórien does? Or am I making too much of this, and it’s nothing more than the general doughtiness of hobbits, as discussed in last week’s chapter? Treebeard makes a more explicit reference to Lorien later in the chapter. How similar, and how different are the two woods?
I think the hint here is that the Entwash has invigorating powers, as we will soon more explicitly learn.
Lorien and Fangorn both incorporate the guiding spirits of their respective Mistress and Master. But they are quite different, and frankly Fangorn is more original. Lorien, after all, is the traditional Enchanted Wood of fairy-tale tradition, while Fangorn, like the Ents, is unique to Tolkien.
Originally this was to be just another fairy-tale forest, when Tolkien looked ahead to using it in his story-notes. It was to be the home of the “giant Treebeard”, a good old “giant” like in Jack and the Beanstalk, etc. But the treelike Ent concept arose even as Tolkien wrote the chapter out, and his personal tree-fetish finally broke through his earlier preconceptions of what a “Giant” might have been in Old England, in either fact or fiction.

Quote: They found that they were looking at a most extraordinary face. It belonged to a large Man-like, almost Troll-like, figure, at least fourteen foot high, very sturdy, with a tall head, and hardly any neck. Whether it was clad in stuff like green and grey bark, or whether that was its hide, was difficult to say.
5. This is the first, but not the only, comparison of Ents to Trolls. I’m going to be returning to this in the next couple of days with greater attention (some of it of a linguistic, some mythological), but would anyone care to comment? We were just reminded of Bilbo’s adventure with the mention of Mirkwood. Does this make you think of The Hobbit also?
I never think of Tolkien’s trolls at all. He just doesn’t describe them well enough, even in the famous Hobbit scene. So I never knew what he meant by “Troll-like” in this passage! I do tend to think of trolls generically as stooped over and lumpen-shaped, rather than tall and straight as this creature seems to be. If anything comes to mind from The Hobbit on first reading this, I guess it might be Beorn, whose gigantic proportions are clearly described.

6. Bark or hide? Which is it? Are Ents flora or fauna?
Excellent question, and one that will never be answered satisfactorily. Given that Ents seem to be able to become trees, one might think that they must be animated creatures with essentially woody anatomies, at least in their muscled areas. That’s not really reconcilable with their possession of faces, drinking through the mouth, breathing of air (voices), etc., since those things imply a head and trunk that are animalic in their organ structure.
I often speculate that Ents are like insects with two different life-stages, larval and adult: the bodies have the latent capacity for diminishing the animal features and expressing the arboreal features, during a hibernation phase.
Tolkien, when trying to solve the Ent problem in his Silmarillion rewrites a few years after completing this book, says that Ainu spirits “inhabited” trees to become Ents, rather than having them be created as knock-offs of the Children of Iluvatar the way the Dwarves were. I find this unsatisfactory, since Treebeard does say there were “Entings”, presumably generated by sexual intercourse of some kind between the Ents and Entwives. Where did those new little beings come from: the mind of Eru directly like their parents, or the gift of reproduction that he gave to his more natural Children and lesser creatures?
But then the same problem comes up when we try to imagine what exactly the Maia Melian “was” when she was married to Thingol and bore the Elf-child Luthien Tinuviel.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


a.s.
Valinor


Apr 29 2008, 1:35pm

Post #18 of 37 (687 views)
Shortcut
like...shiver..."walking sticks" [In reply to] Can't Post

   

Quote
Given that Ents seem to be able to become trees, one might think that they must be animated creatures with essentially woody anatomies, at least in their muscled areas. That’s not really reconcilable with their possession of faces, drinking through the mouth, breathing of air (voices), etc., since those things imply a head and trunk that are animalic in their organ structure.
I often speculate that Ents are like insects with two different life-stages, larval and adult: the bodies have the latent capacity for diminishing the animal features and expressing the arboreal features, during a hibernation phase.

Tolkien, when trying to solve the Ent problem in his Silmarillion rewrites a few years after completing this book, says that Ainu spirits “inhabited” trees to become Ents, rather than having them be created as knock-offs of the Children of Iluvatar the way the Dwarves were. I find this unsatisfactory, since Treebeard does say there were “Entings”, presumably generated by sexual intercourse of some kind between the Ents and Entwives. Where did those new little beings come from: the mind of Eru directly like their parents, or the gift of reproduction that he gave to his more natural Children and lesser creatures?



Your thoughts led me on a tangent to think about living creatures that "look like" other things, including both animate and inanimate objects. Such as lizards that can look like rocks, or fish that look like fronds of underwater vegitation.

Or, more appropriately, stick insects.

However, ents don't put the "ick" factor into me like those giant walking stick insects do. But it's what makes me think of Ents as entirely "other", as more akin to a species from another planet than as life on Earth as we know it. To be a tree who thinks and reasons and moves, enjoys sexual congress in some animate way (vs seeds, pollination, etc---I'm really vague on plant life!) is even more strange than eagles who talk or bears who turn into men, or dragons. Or wizards. It's even stranger than the One Ring, which is an inanimate object imbued with some form of reasoning in some way.

A tree who thinks must have strange, alien thoughts. Trees, after all, experience "life" in a much different way than any animate life. I suppose to interact with trees at all as fellow thinking beings we would have to have the go-between of something like an Ent; otherwise, we would be so disparate we would literally be unable to communicate.

NOT SAYING Ents are anything like stick insects! Just saying we have things around us that appear to be what they are not, like Ents who look like trees and yet are not--exactly--trees. I would be petrified (no pun intended) if, in my real world, a tree spoke to me and moved around.

a.s.

"an seileachan"



"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

"I suppose you are real?" said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive.

But the Skin Horse only smiled.



visualweasel
Rohan


Apr 29 2008, 2:43pm

Post #19 of 37 (649 views)
Shortcut
“There are Ents and Ents, you know” [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
NOT SAYING Ents are anything like stick insects! Just saying we have things around us that appear to be what they are not, like Ents who look like trees and yet are not--exactly--trees. I would be petrified (no pun intended) if, in my real world, a tree spoke to me and moved around.



Treebeard agrees with you, saying, "There are Ents and things that look like Ents but ain't as you might say."

Couldn't have put it better! Wink

Jason Fisher
Lingwë - Musings of a Fish

The Lord of the Rings discussion 2007-2008 – The Two Towers – III.4 “Treebeard” – Part 1, 2


visualweasel
Rohan


Apr 29 2008, 2:44pm

Post #20 of 37 (662 views)
Shortcut
Some great answers! Hope to see more when you have time. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Jason Fisher
Lingwë - Musings of a Fish

The Lord of the Rings discussion 2007-2008 – The Two Towers – III.4 “Treebeard” – Part 1, 2


Eowyn of Penns Woods
Valinor


Apr 29 2008, 5:28pm

Post #21 of 37 (691 views)
Shortcut
*whacks Darkstone with knitting needles* [In reply to] Can't Post

I could birch you within an inch o' yer life, son! "Seriously", my arse!
*remains precariously perched on the Duncan branch of that tree.*



Aunt Dora Baggins
Half-elven


Apr 29 2008, 8:43pm

Post #22 of 37 (640 views)
Shortcut
As usual [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't have anything profound to add, but I do want to say how much I enjoyed your very interesting questions and comments. In general, but also particularly in this thread.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"For DORA BAGGINS in memory of a LONG correspondence, with love from Bilbo; on a large wastebasket. Dora was Drogo's sister, and the eldest surviving female relative of Bilbo and Frodo; she was ninety-nine, and had written reams of good advice for more than half a century."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"A Chance Meeting at Rivendell" and other stories

leleni at hotmail dot com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



visualweasel
Rohan


Apr 29 2008, 8:49pm

Post #23 of 37 (611 views)
Shortcut
Thanks! :) // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Jason Fisher
Lingwë - Musings of a Fish

The Lord of the Rings discussion 2007-2008 – The Two Towers – III.4 “Treebeard” – Part 1, 2


sador
Half-elven

Apr 30 2008, 3:46pm

Post #24 of 37 (619 views)
Shortcut
I'll try to be brief [In reply to] Can't Post

1. Does this remind anybody of the adventure in the Old Forest?
It doesn't remind the hobbits, apparantly; perhaps the lack of flies made the difference!
2. What do you make of this unexpected, and highly specific, reference back to the Shire?
Intrigued by the contrast with Bilbo's memories of his grandfather.
How long are hobbit generations anyway?
Sam married when he was 39. Frodo was looked at as queer, when he didn't marry some years after being 33. I guess the average if 40.
3. First, the Old Forest, now Mirkwood. What do you make of the comparison? Why allude to Mirkwood and Bilbo’s original adventure at this point in the present tale?
What gets me is Merry comment about no animals living in Fangorn. That is queer.
4. From the Old Forest to Mirkwood to Lothlórien? Does the atmosphere of Fangorn convey healing properties, as well as a sense of timelessness, the way Lothlórien does? Or am I making too much of this, and it’s nothing more than the general doughtiness of hobbits, as discussed in last week’s chapter? Treebeard makes a more explicit reference to Lorien later in the chapter. How similar, and how different are the two woods?
I wouldn't make much of it.
5. This is the first, but not the only, comparison of Ents to Trolls. I’m going to be returning to this in the next couple of days with greater attention (some of it of a linguistic, some mythological), but would anyone care to comment? We were just reminded of Bilbo’s adventure with the mention of Mirkwood. Does this make you think of The Hobbit also?
Not really. The cave trolls in Moria did that (they were in the books!).
6. Bark or hide? Which is it? Are Ents flora or fauna?
The quote says it's skin, but like bark. There is room for discussion, but not at this moment in the book. That will come later, when Treebeard talks about the Ent-tree relationships, and I haven't much to add to squire's post.
7. The paragraph that follows seems to be a statement, or perhaps an excerpt from a written document (e.g., supplementary material from the Red Book?), made long afterwards by Pippin. What do you make of this aside?
In 'Three is Company', we hear how Sam later described the Elvish food, and he addresses his words to Frodo. This quote is not enough to refute the 'Red Book' conceit.
8. Does this remind you of Tom Bombadil? Back at the Council of Elrond, he was described in a rather similar way. Treebeard and Tom Bombadil even have the “same initials,” as it were: TB. And they are each described as “the eldest” – which one is really older? What else do they have in common? Do they know each other?
They know each other, Tom is the eldest (Treebeard isn't even exactly the eldest of living creatures; Ents awoke simultanously with the children of Iluvatar)
9. Is this the same restorative “green smell” that Legolas praises a couple of chapters back?
Legolas was breathing the fields. I skip the botanist question.
10. What does it come to in our measurements? Has anyone ever tried to figure it out? Fonstad? Strachey? An industrious amateur cartographer here?
Answered already.
11. Is the “Last Mountain” another oblique reference back to The Hobbit, or is it mere coincidence? It sounds rather like the Lonely Mountain, no? We’ll see some other possible links between Ents and Dwarves in a moment. Do you find it at all strange that this mountain is actually named (Methedras)? What does that name mean? Do you find it plausible that Merry actually knows/remembers this name? It’s an awfully specific geographical detail to stick in one’s mind – even if one is partial to maps.
I don't see it a reference to The Hobbit. Merry is good with names and languages, as we will see when he meets Theoden (and some remeber from the prologue).
12. It seems to me this image alludes to the Two Trees of Valinor. Perhaps also, in a lesser afterimage, to Galadriel’s Mirror. Thoughts?
Possibly. Valinor, probably; Galadriel, not really likely.
13. Why does Treebeard own smaller bowls? After all, he doesn’t have seats for the hobbits, or beds. Or are these bowls left over from ages past when there were Entings? Did Treebeard ever have any Entings of his own, do you think? If so, what happened to them?
I'll skip this one, and the next.
14. Is this magic? Is the Ent-draught related in some way to miruvor, the cordial of Imladris? Is it related, not in a literal but a literary sense, to the curative liquor of the Orcs from the last chapter? Is it intoxicating?


Must be leaving now. I'll try to find time to answer the other questions later. Interesting musings!




"I'm not going to do anything with you: not if by that you mean 'do something to you' without your leave. We might do some things together" - Treebeard


Beren IV
Gondor


May 1 2008, 4:46am

Post #25 of 37 (636 views)
Shortcut
Response from the botanist in the room [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
9. Is this the same restorative “green smell” that Legolas praises a couple of chapters back? For the botanists – all one of you! – could “spend[ing] a week just breathing” be a reference to transpiration in plants?


No - plant transpiration does not by itself produce plant odor. That is the function of various other glands on the plants. What transpiration does do, however, is provide that feeling of coolness and freshness that becomes evident when you walk over a field of grass or other plants. Transpiration also makes the air around you very humid...


Meanwhile, more botanical questions:


Quote
6. Bark or hide? Which is it? Are Ents flora or fauna?


I get the impression that the Ents have tree-like anatomy, regardless of whether we call them flora or fauna. That means that they have a cambium of growing tissue around their trunks that produces layers of tough but breakable and somewhat flexible tissue to the outside - bark. We can presume that this cambium is like that of modern conifers or flowering plants in that it makes another layer of tissue to the inside as well (actually, flowering plants have two cambia...), but not all plants in the past did that, and in fact quillworts and some ferns today still don't. But I think that Tolkien was thinking of oaks and beeches and pines and whatnot.

Once a paleontologist, now a botanist, will be a paleobotanist

First page Previous page 1 2 Next page Last page  View All
 
 

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.