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How do M&P Persuade Treebeard?

noWizardme
Valinor


Feb 28, 10:50am

Post #1 of 9 (3899 views)
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How do M&P Persuade Treebeard? Can't Post

How do M&P Persuade Treebeard?

The two junior hobbits don't of course turn up in Fangorn as apointed Ambassadors. Nor, as far as I have noticed, do they behave like that, trying to persuade the ents of the need to go to war. The hobbits (once they feel they are out of danger) seem to be perfectly comfortable to be someone's guest and to listen to their story (as they were in Bombadil's house). Maybe they have no particular plan for now, beyond Treebeard's offer to put them down on any point of his border they choose, once the three of them have decided to part company. They don't seem - as far as I've noticed - to be pushing events along at all.

They bring news, it is true, but it's local events that seem to weigh most heavily with Treebeard, and I'm not sure how much factual stuff he learns from them that he didn't know or suspect already. Certainly, if they do have some key piece of information, I've missed what it is.

So if it is not that they bring essential news, maybe it is something they get Treebeard to realise about himself, or about the situation? Or perhaps their very presence, after such an unlikely set of adventures, means something?

I'd be interested to know what people think.


It's worth noting, I think, that we're dealing here with book-Treebeard, rather than movie-Treebeard. Movie-Treebeard, I thought, was made into a silly old fool who didn't know what was going on. Therefore, he just needed to be shown the truth by a couple of teenager-like characters in order to be put passionately on the right course. It seems very straightforward. I didn't like the simplification, though for all I know it was necessary to make the movie work. By contrast, book-Treebeard (I think) knows a whole lot about what is going on, and has thought about what to do, but for whatever reaon he hasn't so far actually done anything. That may still make him silly, or a fool, and of course he's still old. But he's a more subtle (and maybe more realistic) kind of old character than the movie characture: one who has either in denial of an impending catastrophe; or has come to terms with it; or would like to do something but doesn't see what or how or when. But I certainly don't think he's ignorant of current affairs like movie-Treebeard.

~~~~~~
"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


Darkstone
Immortal


Feb 28, 11:32am

Post #2 of 9 (3866 views)
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Well [In reply to] Can't Post

I think they were sounding boards that Treebeard needed. Treebeard already knew what was going on, but talking it all out with M&P in his home helped him put it all into focus and the finally clear picture spurred him into action. I've had that happen in real life, where I know the facts and I know what needs to be done, but I just needed to talk with someone. They didn't really need to say yea, nay, or go jump in the lake, I just needed to say everything out loud and crystalize things.

******************************************
Character is what we do on the internet when we think no one knows who we are.


noWizardme
Valinor


Feb 28, 1:59pm

Post #3 of 9 (3853 views)
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That seems likely. I wonder... [In reply to] Can't Post

That seems likely. The tipping point of a long monologue seems to be Treebeard's realisation that, for all wars are usually the affairs of eleves and wizards, the local wizard is plotting to become a Power - that's what Trebeard is talking about when he becomes angry. And although he regains his temper quickly, I read it that he's come to a decision.

I wonder whether it is also significant that he's told the story of the loss of the entwives - an situation which, perhaps, Treebeard now regrets the ents having done too little while there was still time?

~~~~~~
"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Feb 28, 2:05pm

Post #4 of 9 (3850 views)
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You can't teach an old Ent a new trick (or a new war) [In reply to] Can't Post

Or you can, if you have a couple of hobbits.

As I pondered your question and the context you gave, I actually thought that, though I prefer book-Treebeard over the movie, I think the movie made an explicit plot point that the book leaves rather vague: M&P have to convince Treebeard to rally all the Ents to go to war against Saruman. That's the whole plot purpose for them winding up in Fangorn Forest.

Gandalf's explanation of the "how" they do it remains vague:

Quote

"But now his long slow wrath is brimming over, and all the forest is filled with it. The coming of the hobbits and the tidings that they brought have spilled it: it will soon be running like a flood; but its tide is turned against Saruman and the axes of Isengard. A thing is about to happen which has not happened since the Elder Days: the Ents are going to wake up and find that they are strong.’


I'm with you in being puzzled about what "tidings" they bring that Treebeard doesn't already know. He seems to know more than they do, including that Gandalf is alive again. Pippin even has to ask Treebeard who Saruman is and if he knows anything about him. And arguably, Treebeard could conclude that it's one Wizard's job to manage another, so why should he go to war at all?

Then there's this exchange between Gandalf and Treebeard after Isengard has been flattened that indicates they've been in touch and have already been conspiring against Saruman:

Quote
Gandalf obviously expected to find Treebeard here; and Treebeard might almost have been loitering about near the gates on purpose to meet him.
...
‘“Treebeard,” said Gandalf. “I need your help. You have done much, but I need more. I have about ten thousand Orcs to manage.”

So given that connection, how much did Gandalf do himself to persuade Treebeard to go to war that he's not telling us?

All of that is my context for thinking:
1. Treebeard was going to war anyway.
2. The hobbits weren't the only catalyst.
3. The hobbits were a catalyst by being a sounding board, as Darkstone says, and also because they shake Treebeard up just with their presence: they are creatures he's never heard of, they are new and fresh in a forest that's old and musty, they love nature as much as he does, and they make him think the world is changing or about to change in an epic way, so there's no more business as usual of being the passive tree shepherd.


noWizardme
Valinor


Feb 28, 4:05pm

Post #5 of 9 (3831 views)
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You mean: “What did the President-ent know, and when did he know it?” [In reply to] Can't Post

(Which is a reference to the Watergate scandal, which this LOTR episode doesn’t resemble at all, come to think of it, except that wouldn’t it be interesting if Treebeard had bugged the Entmoot.)

I sense M&P are needed to spark something, but as you say, Treebeard seems already to have been working towards this goal.

The Entmoot certainly seems to boil up quickly (for Ents) into a vote for war (if voting is how it works). And maybe Treebeard isn’t expecting to have to carry a narrow vote- Quickbeam, who is one of the hawks on the war issue, is happy to step out of the meeting to babysit the hobbits. It seems he and his hard line and experience of his “people” being chopped down aren’t needed to help carry the debate and decision.

~~~~~~
"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Feb 28, 5:16pm

Post #6 of 9 (3823 views)
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You're referring to the incident of the first precedent of ent-puns? [In reply to] Can't Post

Even entomologists lament the descent into ent-puns when presidents consent to breaking & entering.


hanne
Lorien

Feb 28, 6:25pm

Post #7 of 9 (3801 views)
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Exactly - they connect the dots for him [In reply to] Can't Post

Their story seems to make him realize that what's been going on locally is bigger than he thought and that the moment for the action he's been contemplating is therefore now - because now it will also make a wider difference.
These are the quotes that I think show the process:

Quote
Up sprout a little folk who are not in the old lists, and behold! the Nine forgotten Riders reappear to hunt them, and Gandalf takes them on a great journey, and Galadriel harbours them in Caras Galadhon, and Orcs pursue them down all the leagues of Wilderness.



Quote
I used to be anxious when the shadow lay on Mirkwood, but when it was removed to Mordor, I did not trouble for a while; Mordor is a long way away. But it seems that the wind is setting East, and the withering of all woods may be drawing near. There is naught that an old Ent can do to hold back that storm: he must weather it or crack.
But Saruman now! Saruman is a neighbour: I cannot overlook him. I must do something, I suppose. I have often wondered lately what I should do about Saruman.



Quote
I think that I now understand what he is up to. He is plotting to become a Power. ... And now it is clear that he is a black traitor.
I will stop it! And you shall come with me. You may be able to help me. You will be helping your own friends that way, too; for if Saruman is not checked Roham and Gondor will have an enemy behind as well as in front.



Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Mar 4, 11:52pm

Post #8 of 9 (3434 views)
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I suppose that [In reply to] Can't Post

The tale might have been written that Treebeard worked out for himself that those axes that where killing his trees and the Orcs raiding his forest had to come from somewhere and that Isengard with that suspicous looking smoke and fires and someone destroying its nice country was a good bet as from where they came! But that is realism and Tolkien did want his minor Hobbits to do something.


noWizardme
Valinor


Mar 5, 10:34am

Post #9 of 9 (3413 views)
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But that IS how the tale is written [In reply to] Can't Post

Treebeard (book-Treebeard, not the noodle in the movie) already knows what Saruman is doing when he meets M&P, but hasn't yet done anything about it. He says to the hobbits:


Quote

"Some time ago I began to wonder how Orcs dared to pass through my woods so freely,’ he went on. ‘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. He and his foul folk are making havoc now. Down on the borders they are felling trees –good trees. Some of the trees they just cut down and leave to rot –orc-mischief that; but most are hewn up and carried off to feed the fires of Orthanc. There is always a smoke rising from Isengard these days. ‘Curse him, root and branch! Many of those trees were my friends, creatures I had known from nut and acorn; many had voices of their own that are lost for ever now. And there are wastes of stump and bramble where once there were singing groves. I have been idle. I have let things slip. It must stop!’"


~~~~~~
"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.

 
 

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