Chapter of the Week LOTR Bk 2, Ch 4: Treebeard

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Belba Grubb from Stock

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Jul 28, 2004, 5:37:10 AM7/28/04
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Chapter of the Week: The Lord of the Rings, Book 2
Chapter 4 - Treebeard

To check out the other Chapters of the Week or to sign up to do a
chapter of your own, go to http://parasha.maoltuile.org.
_____________________________________________________

"The wind's changing," said Merry.

And so is the story, deepening and taking us into unexpected and
delightful new areas. Here we have hobbits on the loose for the first
time since they entered Bree, and what a treasure they discover:
Treebeard and the forest of Fangorn. What an effect they have there,
too, starting a cascade of events that will eventually have a strong
effect on the direction and outcome of the War of the Ring.
______________________________________________________

SUMMARY:

Merry and Pippin follow the Entwash west, deeper into Fangorn.
Feeling stifled by the close forest, they pause for a drink at the
river and then climb up a nearby hill to look around, not noticing how
quickly their injuries have healed and their vigor has returned. On
the hill they meet Treebeard, the Ent, for whom the forest is named.

Treebeard takes the hobbits to Wellinghall, one of his Ent-houses, for
the night, and the hobbits not only learn much about Ents, they also
tell Treebeard what little they know about events in the greater
world. Hearing this, Treebeard is able to "connect the dots" and
recognizes that his neighbor, Saruman in nearby Isengard, against whom
the Ents already have a strong grievance, "is plotting to become a
Power…And now it is clear that he is a black traitor." The old Ent's
anger rises, but so does his wisdom, and he calls an Entmoot for the
next day. Merry and Pippin, of course, are unable to take part in
that and so they are entrusted to the care of Quickbeam, who has
already made up his mind on the matter, having seen so many of his
people, "the people of the Rose" or rowan trees, suffer at the hands
of Saruman's Orcs. For two days the hobbits have some R&R with
Quickbeam, but on the third day, in the late afternoon, Entmoot is
adjourned with a great "RA-HOOM-RAH!" and the Ents begin to march to
Isengard. Merry and Pippin rejoin Treebeard, perched on his shoulders
at the head of the great marching column. They march all day, and at
dusk cross some bare slopes as they approach Isengard. Pippin looks
back and is astonished to see the empty slopes they had just crossed
are now covered with trees, all moving forward.

"At last they stood upon the summit, and looked down into a dark pit:
the great cleft at the end of the mountains: Nan Curunir, the Valley
of Saruman.

"'Night lies over Isengard,' said Treebeard."
______________________________________________________

DISCUSSION:

In "On Fairy-stories," JRRT described "one of the primal 'desires'
that lie near the heart of Faerie: the desire of men to hold communion
with other living things." In this chapter, then, we are quite as
close to the "heart of Faerie" as we ever will be. I've always loved
it, and now I understand a little better why that is so.

1. Ents, ents, ents! Just a few of the possible discussion topics
found here:
-- Ent houses: Why do Ents live in houses? It's important,
apparently; when they are going treeish they begin to just stand
anywhere.
-- Ent draughts: what are they and has Treebeard turned the Entwash
into one big Ent draught, at least within the borders of Fangorn
(judging by its healing effect on Merry and Pippin after their
ordeal).
-- Ent-wives. That poem of the dialogue between the two seems close
to the actual likes and differences of men and women in a marriage.

In contact, lo! the flint and steel,
By spark and flame, the thought reveal
That he the metal, she the stone,
Had cherished secretly alone.
-- Ambrose Bierce

How sad that it turned out the way it did for the Ents. No more
Entings. Will they ever get together again?
-- How does Treebeard cause the light on the trees and in his
"lamps"? It brings to mind
-- The Ent language.
-- Treebeard compares Ents to Men and also to Elves. How are they
similar and different, from our POV?
-- The wood moves in "Macbeth," though it's been a long time since I
read that play. What other literary sources might have inspired JRRT
here (Stephen Crane, perhaps). Compare/contrast?
-- The oldest living thing: how old is Treebeard? And here we learn
that there are beings in Fangorn older than him! Are they, then, the
oldest living things in Middle-earth? But what about Bombadil?

2. Men are apparently familiar with parts of Fangorn - they have given
the name of Derndingle to the site of the Entmoot, for instance. How
is it men would have come so far into the forest?

3. History of Middle-earth. For all his staying in one place,
Treebeard is remarkably versed in events outside. He knows that the
wizards came at around the time of the arrival of Elendil; he speaks a
few times of the Great Darkness (Morgoth's time, or that of Sauron,
before the Numenoreans "captured" him?); how Lorien has changed. We
learn quite a bit about that in this chapter.

4. Saruman. What do we learn about this wizard here, as seen from the
l-o-o-o-n-g perspective of his closest neighbors?

5. We learn something about the Tooks, too, and the strong presence of
the Old Took (Gerontius - what a perfect name: was he ever young, I
wonder). Imagine them just leaving everything in that room at
Tuckborough the way it was when the Old Took was alive. And yet we do
the same sorts of things - near Saratoga, New York, is the house where
U.S. Grant last stayed and wrote his memoirs before he died. It's
open to the public now, and when you go in there, it's still exactly
as it was, right down to the floral arrangements people sent at
Grant's death (which are rather depressing to look at now, of course).
In a way, this not letting go is very similar to the Ents, although
with them, it's part of an ongoing living process.

6. Trees, trees, trees! For the dendrologists out there -- I studied
a little forestry and recognize the accuracy of Merry and Pippin's
first impression of the forest; indeed, the foresters call an old
forest "a biological desert," because few other living things can
exist there. In other respects, here as well as throughout the tale,
JRRT closely follows the actual characteristics and growing patterns
of trees. Whether you're a dendrologist or don't even care to know
what the word means, have you a favorite tree? If it's not among
those described by Tolkien already, what sort of an Ent would it make?
(Oaks are my favorite trees, and we have Treebeard already, though I'm
still looking, here in the South, for his beard: that long, trailing
lichen that grows in oak trees here.)

And your comments and thoughts and additions….?

Georg Schönegger

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Jul 28, 2004, 6:49:11 AM7/28/04
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> -- The wood moves in "Macbeth," though it's been a long time since I
> read that play. What other literary sources might have inspired JRRT
> here (Stephen Crane, perhaps). Compare/contrast?

iirc, tolkien didn't like shakespeare too much, but described the moving
wood as one of the inspiring passages - but dissatisfying because the
trees didn't move for real. anybody here who knows where this comes
from? letters?

georg

Dirk Thierbach

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Jul 28, 2004, 11:03:33 AM7/28/04
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A footnote to letter 163.

- Dirk

Emma Pease

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Jul 28, 2004, 8:39:12 PM7/28/04
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In article <phseg0drce0bur24q...@4ax.com>, Belba Grubb from Stock wrote:
> Chapter of the Week: The Lord of the Rings, Book 2
> Chapter 4 - Treebeard
>
> To check out the other Chapters of the Week or to sign up to do a
> chapter of your own, go to http://parasha.maoltuile.org.
> _____________________________________________________
>
> "The wind's changing," said Merry.
>
> And so is the story, deepening and taking us into unexpected and
> delightful new areas. Here we have hobbits on the loose for the first
> time since they entered Bree, and what a treasure they discover:
> Treebeard and the forest of Fangorn. What an effect they have there,
> too, starting a cascade of events that will eventually have a strong
> effect on the direction and outcome of the War of the Ring.
> ______________________________________________________

Many thanks for getting this done.

continuing with the timeline

Feb 29
- just before noon, Aragorn's party reaches the downs
- find Orc camp (36 hours old)
- night, rests, 10 leagues from Fangorn

- pre-dawn, Merry and Pippin escape
- dawn, Eomer attacks and destroys the orcs
- Merry and Pippin meet Treebeard, spend the night at his house

- evening, Frodo and Sam reach the edge of the Emyn Muil, catch
Gollum, Thunderstorm, hear a Nazgul

Feb 30
- morning, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli meet Eomer returning to Meduseld
given horses
- late afternoon, arrive at Fangorn and start searching the battlefield
- night, horses run off, old man sighted

- Start of the Entmoot. Merry and Pippin meet Bregalad

- Evening, Grima has the gates of Edoras barred

Mar 1
- Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli go into Fangorn. Meet Gandalf
- Noonish, party leaves for Edoras
- Rest a few hours in the night

- Day 2 of the Entmoot

- Frodo, Sam, and Gollum begin passage of the Dead Marshes

Mar 2
- Early morning, Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli reach Edoras
- mid-afternoon, Theoden heads to the fords of the Isen
- evening, Theoden's forces camp after 5 hrs ride

- Second battle of the Fords of Isen fought and lost

- Afternoon, Entmoot finishes.
- Night, Ents reach Isengard
- Night, last of Saruman's army heads south
- Night, Ents attack Isengard

- Frodo, Sam, and Gollum finish the passage of the Dead Marshes


> ______________________________________________________
>
> DISCUSSION:
>
> In "On Fairy-stories," JRRT described "one of the primal 'desires'
> that lie near the heart of Faerie: the desire of men to hold communion
> with other living things." In this chapter, then, we are quite as
> close to the "heart of Faerie" as we ever will be. I've always loved
> it, and now I understand a little better why that is so.
>
> 1. Ents, ents, ents! Just a few of the possible discussion topics
> found here:
> -- Ent houses: Why do Ents live in houses? It's important,
> apparently; when they are going treeish they begin to just stand
> anywhere.

How much time do Ents spend in their houses? I can easily imagine
Treebeard spending a few days in one place.


> -- Ent draughts: what are they and has Treebeard turned the Entwash
> into one big Ent draught, at least within the borders of Fangorn
> (judging by its healing effect on Merry and Pippin after their
> ordeal).

But probably not much otherwise the Eomer and his eored might have
gained some height after spending two nights and a day by the Entwash.
I can just see them no longer fitting into their armour and having to
adjust all their stirrups.

> -- Ent-wives. That poem of the dialogue between the two seems close
> to the actual likes and differences of men and women in a marriage.
>
> In contact, lo! the flint and steel,
> By spark and flame, the thought reveal
> That he the metal, she the stone,
> Had cherished secretly alone.
> -- Ambrose Bierce
>
> How sad that it turned out the way it did for the Ents. No more
> Entings. Will they ever get together again?

Hmm, do dead Ents go to the Halls of Waiting or what happens to a dead
Ent?


> -- The oldest living thing: how old is Treebeard? And here we learn
> that there are beings in Fangorn older than him! Are they, then, the
> oldest living things in Middle-earth? But what about Bombadil?

Speculation: Perhaps the longest embodied. Bombadil might have
started without a body and only later after Treebeard first woke
embodied himself.

Was Treebeard ever an Entling?

> And your comments and thoughts and additions

What was Treebeard doing on the edge of the forest near the battle?
Did he know about the battle and come to investigate? Looking ahead
to the next chapter, did he see and recognize Gandalf?

Things to remember for future discussion: when Aragorn and company
enter Fangorn is the atmosphere different? Note that they enter when
the Entmoot is in full swing.

Emma

--
\----
|\* | Emma Pease Net Spinster
|_\/ Die Luft der Freiheit weht

aelfwina

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Jul 28, 2004, 9:51:18 PM7/28/04
to

"Belba Grubb from Stock" <ba...@dbtech.net> wrote in message
news:phseg0drce0bur24q...@4ax.com...

> Chapter of the Week: The Lord of the Rings, Book 2
> Chapter 4 - Treebeard
>
> To check out the other Chapters of the Week or to sign up to do a
> chapter of your own, go to http://parasha.maoltuile.org.

Is this delay going to affect the posting schedule?


____
>
> "The wind's changing," said Merry.
>
> And so is the story, deepening and taking us into unexpected and
> delightful new areas. Here we have hobbits on the loose for the first
> time since they entered Bree, and what a treasure they discover:
> Treebeard and the forest of Fangorn. What an effect they have there,
> too, starting a cascade of events that will eventually have a strong
> effect on the direction and outcome of the War of the Ring.
>

(snip of nice summary)


______________________________________________________
>
> DISCUSSION:
>
> In "On Fairy-stories," JRRT described "one of the primal 'desires'
> that lie near the heart of Faerie: the desire of men to hold communion
> with other living things." In this chapter, then, we are quite as
> close to the "heart of Faerie" as we ever will be. I've always loved
> it, and now I understand a little better why that is so.
>
> 1. Ents, ents, ents! Just a few of the possible discussion topics
> found here:
> -- Ent houses: Why do Ents live in houses? It's important,
> apparently; when they are going treeish they begin to just stand
> anywhere.

Now that is a brilliant question, and one I'd never have thought of on my
own! Why *do* Ents live in houses? Maybe to *keep* from going treeish?

> -- Ent draughts: what are they and has Treebeard turned the Entwash
> into one big Ent draught, at least within the borders of Fangorn
> (judging by its healing effect on Merry and Pippin after their
> ordeal).

Here is something I have thought about: since the growth spurts and curlier
hair were a *permanent* effect of the Ent-draughts, then was their *healing
properties* a permanent effect too? After all, it *could* have given their
immune systems and healing faculties a permanent boost. Granted, hobbits
are tougher than they look, but Merry and Pippin both healed very quickly
from their battle injuries. Merry was up and moving after only a day or so,
and Pippin, who was squashed by a troll and injured severely enough that
Gimli thought him dead was well enough to serve feast at Cormallen only two
weeks later. If that's the case, then there may have been even more purpose
to their being in Fangorn than just to rouse the Ents.


> -- Ent-wives. That poem of the dialogue between the two seems close
> to the actual likes and differences of men and women in a marriage.
>
> In contact, lo! the flint and steel,
> By spark and flame, the thought reveal
> That he the metal, she the stone,
> Had cherished secretly alone.
> -- Ambrose Bierce
>
> How sad that it turned out the way it did for the Ents. No more
> Entings. Will they ever get together again?
> -- How does Treebeard cause the light on the trees and in his
> "lamps"? It brings to mind
> -- The Ent language.
> -- Treebeard compares Ents to Men and also to Elves. How are they
> similar and different, from our POV?
> -- The wood moves in "Macbeth," though it's been a long time since I
> read that play. What other literary sources might have inspired JRRT
> here (Stephen Crane, perhaps). Compare/contrast?
> -- The oldest living thing: how old is Treebeard? And here we learn
> that there are beings in Fangorn older than him! Are they, then, the
> oldest living things in Middle-earth? But what about Bombadil?

Somehow, I think Treebeard and Tom Bombadil are two different orders of
creation, though they do have a lot in common.

> And your comments and thoughts and additions..?
>


Shanahan

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Jul 29, 2004, 3:45:35 AM7/29/04
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Belba Grubb from Stock <ba...@dbtech.net> declared:

> Chapter of the Week: The Lord of the Rings, Book 2
> Chapter 4 - Treebeard
<snip nice, complete, concise summary done in record time!>

> "'Night lies over Isengard,' said Treebeard."

This line *always* gives me goosebumps. Dunno why, just does.

> -- Ent draughts: what are they and has Treebeard turned the
> Entwash into one big Ent draught, at least within the borders of
> Fangorn (judging by its healing effect on Merry and Pippin after
> their ordeal).

I've always thought of it the other way around. The original power
lies in the waters of the Entwash; the Ents' brewing has
concentrated that power into the potency of the Ent draughts. The
healing effect on M&P seems to be weaker than the growth effect
they experience from the draughts.

> -- Ent-wives. That poem of the dialogue between the two seems
> close to the actual likes and differences of men and women in a
> marriage.

I think Tolkien said almost exactly that in one of his letters. His
point, IIRC, was that men are more comfortable with 'the wild' than
women, and that women want to control things more. Gee, does that
mean that Tolkien was sexist, too? ;)

> -- How does Treebeard cause the light on the trees and in his
> "lamps"? It brings to mind

...the elven-lamps of the First Age?

> -- The Ent language.

Hilarious and wonderful. How else *would* a tree talk and think,
but slowly?

> -- The oldest living thing: how old is Treebeard? And here we
> learn that there are beings in Fangorn older than him! Are
> they, then, the oldest living things in Middle-earth? But what
> about Bombadil?

There's a difference between 'beings' and 'things', I think. This
might speak to Treebeard's age versus that of the trees who are
older than he; they are 'things', he's a 'being'. I would place
the line of demarcation, in this instance, at the ability to speak
("some of my trees are limb-lithe, and some can speak with me").

Somehow I think the statement Treebeard makes that "the Elves began
it ... waking up the trees and teaching them to speak. They wanted
to talk with everything, the old Elves did", must be important in
deciding this issue of who's the oldest. I just haven't worked out
quite how, yet!

> 2. Men are apparently familiar with parts of Fangorn - they have
> given the name of Derndingle to the site of the Entmoot, for
> instance. How is it men would have come so far into the forest?

Perhaps Treebeard is just giving a translation to the hobbits into
"Man-language"? But then he would have said "which Men [would]
call Derndingle". Hmm.

> 3. History of Middle-earth. For all his staying in one place,
> Treebeard is remarkably versed in events outside. He knows that
> the wizards came at around the time of the arrival of Elendil;
> he speaks a few times of the Great Darkness (Morgoth's time, or
> that of Sauron, before the Numenoreans "captured" him?); how

This is something that has always bothered me. I've gone back and
forth over which "Darkness" he refers to. My present opinion is
that it's the Darkness of the First Age, while the Eldar dwelt in
Aman, and Middle-Earth was largely ignored. Except by Yavanna and
Oromė and Ulmo, of course. But that is really based on The Silm.,
and doesn't take into account the later round-earth cosmology.
Does it? I must confess I'm still a bit confused by all that.
Anyone?

> well as throughout the tale, JRRT closely follows the actual
> characteristics and growing patterns of trees. Whether you're a

I'd like to vent a little disagreement I have with Tom Shippey,
here, if I may. I've heard him say that Tolkien was ambivalent
about trees, as much as he loved them. Shippey gives Old Man Willow
and the Huorns as examples of 'evil' trees. I don't think Tolkien
was ambivalent at all, nor do I think OMW or the Huorns are evil.
Dangerous, yes; evil, no. I think Tolkien empathically just
entered so completely into the existences of trees, that he
realized trees might very well be terribly angry at two-legged
creatures. This is supported by Yavanna's words to Aulė, also,
where she mourns that the olvar would have no one to protect them
from the ravages of fire and axe.

> dendrologist or don't even care to know what the word means,
> have you a favorite tree? If it's not among those described by
> Tolkien already, what sort of an Ent would it make?

The beech: a magnificent tree, and a magnificent Ent!

Ciaran S.
--
"Look! Messiah tracks....two, three days old..."
- mst3k, "Twelve to the Moon"

AC

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Jul 29, 2004, 1:57:20 AM7/29/04
to
On Wed, 28 Jul 2004 20:51:18 -0500,
aelfwina <aelf...@cableone.net> wrote:
>
> "Belba Grubb from Stock" <ba...@dbtech.net> wrote in message
> news:phseg0drce0bur24q...@4ax.com...
>>
>> 1. Ents, ents, ents! Just a few of the possible discussion topics
>> found here:
>> -- Ent houses: Why do Ents live in houses? It's important,
>> apparently; when they are going treeish they begin to just stand
>> anywhere.
>
> Now that is a brilliant question, and one I'd never have thought of on my
> own! Why *do* Ents live in houses? Maybe to *keep* from going treeish?

If I had to pick an answer, maybe that is it. A bit of a trapping of
civilization, otherwise they become like Old Man Willow.

And speaking of Old Man Willow:

"'The trees and the Ents,' said Treebeard. 'I do not understand all that
goes on myself, so I cannot explain it to you. Some of us are still true
Ents, and lively enough in our fashion, but many are growing sleepy, going
treeish, as you might say. Most of the trees are just trees, of course; but
many are half awake. Some are quite wide awake, and a few are, well, ah,
well getting Entish. That is going on all the time.'

'When that happens to a tree, you find that some have bad hearts. Nothing
to do with their wood: I do not mean that. Why, I knew some good old
willows down the Entwash, gone long ago, alas! They were quite hollow,
indeed they were falling all to pieces, but as quiet and sweet-spoken as a
young leaf. And then there are some trees in the valleys under the
mountains, sound as a bell, and bad right through. That sort of thing seems
to spread. There used to be some very dangerous parts in this country.
There are still some very black patches.'

'Like the Old Forest away to the north, you mean?' asked Merry.

'Aye, aye, something like, but much worse. I do not doubt there is some
shadow of the Great Darkness lying there still away north; and bad memories
are handed down. But there are hollow dales in this land where the Darkness
has never been lifted, and the trees are older than I am...'"
TTT - Treebeard

This whole passage has intrigued me the last few times I read it. A few
points of my own.

- This is another interesting link to the Silmarillion, obviously referring
to the time before the Sun and Moon. Is there an element of Melkor's
dominion before his Chaining, or is it simply an example of how the trees of
places like Fangorn and the Old Forest remember when they were the masters?

- It seems that Treebeard knows something of other forests, even those a
great distance. He seems to know about the Old Forest, and his description
of bad trees fits Old Man Willow to a tee.

- Or is Old Man Willow in fact an Ent that has become treeish? What about
the walking tree that Sam's cousin saw? Ent, entish tree, or possibly even
an Entwife?

- The Old Forest seems a bad enough place, so those vales in Fangorn "where
the Darkness has never been lifted" must be genuinely fearsome.

--
Aaron Clausen
mightym...@hotmail.com

Dirk Thierbach

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Jul 29, 2004, 4:20:04 AM7/29/04
to
Belba Grubb from Stock <ba...@dbtech.net> wrote:

> -- Ent houses: Why do Ents live in houses? It's important,
> apparently; when they are going treeish they begin to just stand
> anywhere.

Maybe it is a sign of civilized beeings to live in some sort of house.

> -- Ent-wives. That poem of the dialogue between the two seems close
> to the actual likes and differences of men and women in a marriage.

I noticed that, too :-)

> -- The Ent language.

When I started to get a few glimpes at Anglo-Saxon verse, I thought
that the agglomerative Ent language captures one characteristic feature
of it and takes it to the extreme: The long series of nouns (and somtimes
adjectives) put next to each other, that nevertheless are somehow
"dynamic" and not just a static description.

Modern German still uses agglomeration to build nouns, but it has
become either a joke (as in the "Donaudampfschiffahrtskapitaensmuetze..."),
or it is associated with bureaucratic language. That's a pity,
really -- the Anglo-Saxon verses are quite beautiful.


It might also be interesting to think about "name magic" in this
context: Apperently Tolkien thought that any "proper", "real" name of
the thing should be at least as detailed and complicated as the thing
itself...

> -- The oldest living thing: how old is Treebeard? And here we learn
> that there are beings in Fangorn older than him! Are they, then, the
> oldest living things in Middle-earth? But what about Bombadil?

My opinion on this old issue is that the superlative is here, as in
many old texts, just used es elative: Both are "very" old, older than
anything near them, but not "oldest" in an absolute sense. (And I also
think you don't learn very much about the works by trying to answer
the question who is the "older" of both. It's just not important.)

Shippey says one can resolve the conflict if one does not think
of Bombadil as a "living thing" (after all, he is a "genius loci"),

> 2. Men are apparently familiar with parts of Fangorn - they have given
> the name of Derndingle to the site of the Entmoot, for instance. How
> is it men would have come so far into the forest?

Hm. Story-externally, maybe Tolkien just used the phrase "Man call it X"
as a variant of "In your language, the name would be...", and didn't
really think about whether men ever went there.

Story-internally, one could invent some story of how men in very old times
that are now remembered by no one but the Ents used to go to this place,
etc., etc. That's probably what Tolkien would have done when asked this
question :-)

> 3. History of Middle-earth. For all his staying in one place,
> Treebeard is remarkably versed in events outside. He knows that the
> wizards came at around the time of the arrival of Elendil; he speaks a
> few times of the Great Darkness (Morgoth's time, or that of Sauron,
> before the Numenoreans "captured" him?); how Lorien has changed.

And he also seems to be actively involved in ME-politics -- after all,
he has to care for his Ents, as one of their apparent "leaders". He
seems to know Gandalf quite well, and they both probably talked
regularly to each other. (There are hints about that in 'Flotsam
and Jetsam').

> 5. We learn something about the Tooks, too, and the strong presence of
> the Old Took (Gerontius - what a perfect name: was he ever young, I
> wonder).

Many of Tolkiens names are just descriptive (even though in a
different language). That certainly helps with inventing them :-)

> Whether you're a dendrologist or don't even care to know
> what the word means, have you a favorite tree?

In /The Road to Middle Earth/, Shippey mentions that the birch and the
oak had a special meaning to Tolkien. For one, he quotes CT that the
'A' scheme of study ('A' for Old English ác='oak') was literature, as
opposed to the 'B' scheme ('birch'), which was language. Since Tolkien
was of course on the side of 'language' in the 'Lit. vs. Lang.' issue,
he prefers the birch. He even wrote poems about birches (in Gothic
and Old English), and the birch is also apperently symbolic when
Smith (of Wotton Major) is rescued from the Wild Wind in Fairie.

So I think Tolkien may allude to something else (or someone?) when he
talks about Skinbark, who "was wounded by the Orcs", and now lives
"among the birches that he loves best, and will not come down".

I also remember faintly having read some speculation about real
persons influencing what became Treebeard, but I cannot think of
the details. (C.S. Lewis, and his booming voice? But I may be mixing
things up here.)

- Dirk

Dirk Thierbach

unread,
Jul 29, 2004, 4:23:29 AM7/29/04
to
AC <mightym...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> - It seems that Treebeard knows something of other forests, even those a
> great distance. He seems to know about the Old Forest, and his description
> of bad trees fits Old Man Willow to a tee.

He has probably been to the Old Forest long ago: "Aye, aye, there was
all one wood once upon a time: from here to the Mountains of Lune, and
this was just the East End."

> - Or is Old Man Willow in fact an Ent that has become treeish? What about
> the walking tree that Sam's cousin saw? Ent, entish tree, or possibly even
> an Entwife?

Entwife is very unlikely. And I don't think it makes much difference
whether it's an Ent who has become tree-ish or a tree who has become
a bit ent-ish.

- Dirk

Larry Swain

unread,
Jul 29, 2004, 2:49:54 PM7/29/04
to

>
> > Whether you're a dendrologist or don't even care to know
> > what the word means, have you a favorite tree?
>
> In /The Road to Middle Earth/, Shippey mentions that the birch and the
> oak had a special meaning to Tolkien. For one, he quotes CT that the
> 'A' scheme of study ('A' for Old English ác='oak') was literature, as
> opposed to the 'B' scheme ('birch'), which was language. Since Tolkien
> was of course on the side of 'language' in the 'Lit. vs. Lang.' issue,
> he prefers the birch. He even wrote poems about birches (in Gothic
> and Old English), and the birch is also apperently symbolic when
> Smith (of Wotton Major) is rescued from the Wild Wind in Fairie.
>
> So I think Tolkien may allude to something else (or someone?) when he
> talks about Skinbark, who "was wounded by the Orcs", and now lives
> "among the birches that he loves best, and will not come down".
>
> I also remember faintly having read some speculation about real
> persons influencing what became Treebeard, but I cannot think of
> the details. (C.S. Lewis, and his booming voice? But I may be mixing
> things up here.)

Just to add to your comments here, in Old English (and Germanic
languages generally) "birch" is spelled either bec or boc and is
the root of our modern word "Book" whether because of the runic
habit of writing on a birch's soft bark, or because the
plentiful birch was used for the wood to make book covers or
whatever...but it just adds a little extra spice to your
observations above.

Sharon

unread,
Jul 29, 2004, 3:20:21 PM7/29/04
to
Dirk Thierbach <dthie...@gmx.de> wrote in message news:<2004072908232...@localhost.localdomain.local>...

> AC <mightym...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> > - Or is Old Man Willow in fact an Ent that has become treeish? What about
> > the walking tree that Sam's cousin saw? Ent, entish tree, or possibly even
> > an Entwife?
>
> Entwife is very unlikely. And I don't think it makes much difference
> whether it's an Ent who has become tree-ish or a tree who has become
> a bit ent-ish.

An Ent becoming tree-ish would be a sign of decline or sleep; a tree
becoming ent-ish, a sign of awakening.

Since it was seen walking, I wouldn't say it was a very tree-ish Ent
in any case!

I think of the walking tree as an Ent that is displaced or wandering
very far from home as a result of the rising disturbances caused by
Sauron.

Maybe the walking tree is part of another story entirely, an Ent still
wandering the world searching for the Entwives. I always have
regretted the loss of the Entwives immensely, and ever hope they'll be
found somewhere.

Wouldn't it be lovely if it *were* an Entwife? Then Treebeard's
question about Entwives in the Shire, could be answered "Yes". And
when he asks the hobbits to send word if they meet some Entwives, they
could oblige. Not that I believe it for an instant, alas.

__Sharon

Jette Goldie

unread,
Jul 29, 2004, 4:13:39 PM7/29/04
to

"Sharon" <pede...@bowdoin.edu> wrote

> I think of the walking tree as an Ent that is displaced or wandering
> very far from home as a result of the rising disturbances caused by
> Sauron.
>
> Maybe the walking tree is part of another story entirely, an Ent still
> wandering the world searching for the Entwives. I always have
> regretted the loss of the Entwives immensely, and ever hope they'll be
> found somewhere.
>
> Wouldn't it be lovely if it *were* an Entwife? Then Treebeard's
> question about Entwives in the Shire, could be answered "Yes". And
> when he asks the hobbits to send word if they meet some Entwives, they
> could oblige. Not that I believe it for an instant, alas.

I see the Entwives as being sort of like fruit trees - apple,
pear, plum........ maybe even olives. Those trees (bar the
olive) don't tend to grow terribly tall.


--
Jette
"Work for Peace and remain Fiercely Loving" - Jim Byrnes
je...@blueyonder.co.uk
http://www.jette.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/


Shanahan

unread,
Jul 29, 2004, 11:07:43 PM7/29/04
to
Dirk Thierbach <dthie...@gmx.de> declared:

> Belba Grubb from Stock <ba...@dbtech.net> wrote:
>
>> -- The Ent language.
>
> When I started to get a few glimpes at Anglo-Saxon verse, I
> thought that the agglomerative Ent language captures one
characteristic
> feature of it and takes it to the extreme: The long series of
nouns (and
> somtimes adjectives) put next to each other, that nevertheless
> are somehow "dynamic" and not just a static description.

Yes - the intricacy of placement so that the proper influences and
textures of meaning come out the way one wants - speaking a
language like that would make every word something of a poem.

Just a note, it's not Old Entish that Treebeard uses in this
agglomerative (what a great word!) fashion; it's Elvish: "fragments
of Elf-speech strung together in Ent-fashion". Apparently there's
no language capable of directly translating real Old Entish:
"The language they had made was unlike all others: slow, sonorous,
agglomerated, repetitive, indeed long-winded; formed of a
multiplicity of vowel-shades and distinctions of tone and quantity
which even the lore-masters of the Eldar had not attempted to
represent in writing. They used it only among themselves; but they
had no need to keep it secret, for no others could learn it." <g>
The only "Entish" that appears is "where the Hobbits seem to have
made some attempt to represent the shorter murmurs and calls made
by the Ents; a-lalla-lalla-rumba-kamanda-lindor-burúme....is the
only extant (probably very inaccurate) attempt to represent a
fragment of actual Entish."
(All quotes from Appendix F to LotR, 'Of Other Races')

<snip>


> It might also be interesting to think about "name magic" in this

> context: Apparently Tolkien thought that any "proper", "real"


> name of the thing should be at least as detailed and complicated
as
> the thing itself...

I loved that idea when I first read LotR! It fits so well with
what the Ents are, and is so amusing in a very quiet way. A real
name tells the story of what it names. Imagine trying to cast a
spell on an Ent: (evil wizard runs panting after an Ent, striding
away into the forest; "Wait! Wait! I haven't even finished *naming*
you to claim your soul yet, darn it!"). Seriously, though, this is
interesting in regard to 'name magic'. It feels right to me,
y'know? That a true name must be detailed and complex. But then I
think back to Eru saying "Ëa!" and creating - well, Ëa - surely the
most powerful act of name magic ever, and yet what could be
shorter?

(This reminds me of one evening long ago by the edge of a lake with
a friend. We were young, sophomore English majors, and in a
radically altered state of mind, so of course we were trying to
solve The Eternal Questions. We realized in a great flash of
illumination that the purpose of the human race was to create the
perfect Word: the Word that would be so accurate that it would
actually *be* the thing it named. Symbol and symbolized would
become One, and the world would end in a moment of perfect identity
and joy.)

>> -- The oldest living thing: how old is Treebeard? And here we
>> learn that there are beings in Fangorn older than him! Are
>> they, then, the oldest living things in Middle-earth? But what
>> about Bombadil?
>
> My opinion on this old issue is that the superlative is here, as

> in many old texts, just used as elative: Both are "very" old,


older
> than anything near them, but not "oldest" in an absolute sense.

"Absolutely" agreed. <g> (this "old" issue? did you mean that to
be a pun, or was it unintentional?)

> (And I also think you don't learn very much about the works by
> trying to answer the question who is the "older" of both. It's
just not
> important.)

Hear, hear.

> I also remember faintly having read some speculation about real
> persons influencing what became Treebeard, but I cannot think of
> the details. (C.S. Lewis, and his booming voice? But I may be
> mixing things up here.)

I recall something about Lewis and his voice being influences on
Treebeard, too. Apparently Lewis got quite loud sometimes when
"well oiled" at the Inklings meetings. He boomed and Tolkien
mumbled when lecturing, so there must have been quite an amusing
contrast between them!

Ciaran S.
--
If a ragnarök would burn all the slums and gas-works,
and shabby garages, and long arc-lit suburbs,
it could for me burn all the works of art -
and I'd go back to trees.
- JRRT

Dirk Thierbach

unread,
Jul 29, 2004, 3:42:23 PM7/29/04
to
Larry Swain <thes...@operamail.com> wrote:

> Just to add to your comments here, in Old English (and Germanic
> languages generally) "birch" is spelled either bec or boc and is
> the root of our modern word "Book" whether because of the runic
> habit of writing on a birch's soft bark, or because the
> plentiful birch was used for the wood to make book covers or
> whatever...

Isn't that beech, not birch? I tend to confuse the two, but this time
I am pretty sure that beech is german "Buche", which in turn is
related to the "Buchstaben" ("letters", literally "beech staves"), and
hence "Buch" (book). But maybe both trees had some connection to
books? Does anyone know for sure?

- Dirk

Dirk Thierbach

unread,
Jul 30, 2004, 2:19:37 AM7/30/04
to
Shanahan <pog...@bluefrog.com> wrote:

> Just a note, it's not Old Entish that Treebeard uses in this
> agglomerative (what a great word!) fashion; it's Elvish:

But it's

> "strung together in Ent-fashion".

and also very similar to

> a-lalla-lalla-rumba-kamanda-lindor-burúme

so it's good enough :-)

> But then I think back to Eru saying "Ëa!" and creating - well, Ëa -
> surely the most powerful act of name magic ever, and yet what could
> be shorter?

I don't think this is "name magic", either -- he doesn't create the
world *because* he is saying "ea!". Nor can anobody else by just
saying "let it be" create something. He creates the world because he
is God, and God is able to create the world, by definition.

> "Absolutely" agreed. <g> (this "old" issue? did you mean that to
> be a pun, or was it unintentional?)

Unintentional when I wrote it, but I realized it after I had sent it.
Quine would be pleased :-)

> I recall something about Lewis and his voice being influences on
> Treebeard, too. Apparently Lewis got quite loud sometimes when
> "well oiled" at the Inklings meetings.

So I didn't mix things up. Does anybody remember the exact source?

- Dirk

Jim Deutch

unread,
Jul 30, 2004, 12:47:58 PM7/30/04
to
On Wed, 28 Jul 2004 04:37:10 -0500, Belba Grubb from Stock
<ba...@dbtech.net> wrote:

[snipify]
This is one of my favorite chapters. I love the forest, and Treebeard
too, of course. And the young hobbits finally get some good POV time.
Their irrepressable natures really come out here and in the previous
chapter.

A point that might be worthy of discussion: we see in this chapter
another example of the deadly enmity between all other "speaking
peoples" and the orcs. Treebeard, who is very far from a hasty being,
tells the hobbits that if he hadn't heard their voices before he saw
them, he would have taken them for small orcs and stepped on them
before realizing his mistake.

That's pretty casual killing, more like swatting mosquitoes than like
killing thinking, feeling beings. But we know that orcs _are_
thinking, feeling beings (even if most of their feelings are what we
would call "negative" or "antisocial" ones). Shagrat and Gorbag's
conversation is a good example: they just wanted a nice, quiet spot
where they could do some easy pillaging without interference from all
the big bosses. Not unlike the dreams of many humans...

Jim Deutch (Jimbo the Cat)
--
"Utilitarianism? Pfagh! A useless concept!"

Shanahan

unread,
Jul 30, 2004, 4:10:34 PM7/30/04
to
Dirk Thierbach <dthie...@gmx.de> declared:
> Shanahan <pog...@bluefrog.com> wrote:
<snip>

>> But then I think back to Eru saying "Ëa!" and creating - well,
>> Ëa - surely the most powerful act of name magic ever, and yet
>> what could be shorter?
>
> I don't think this is "name magic", either -- he doesn't create
> the world *because* he is saying "ea!". Nor can anobody else by
> just saying "let it be" create something. He creates the world
> because he is God, and God is able to create the world, by
> definition.

Agreed. But I still think it's name magic. I think of the name,
or word, or spell, as a channel for power. Rather like a wizard's
staff. They act to focus, direct, perhaps to enhance, the power
that lives within the wielder of the spell. So the creative power
comes from Eru, but is channeled through the word "Ëa".

Ciaran S.
--
Coulrophobia. It's nothing to clown about.

Trevor Barrie

unread,
Jul 30, 2004, 2:59:11 PM7/30/04
to
In article <cec3e...@enews2.newsguy.com>,

Shanahan <pog...@bluefrog.com> wrote:
>(This reminds me of one evening long ago by the edge of a lake with
>a friend. We were young, sophomore English majors, and in a
>radically altered state of mind, so of course we were trying to
>solve The Eternal Questions. We realized in a great flash of
>illumination that the purpose of the human race was to create the
>perfect Word: the Word that would be so accurate that it would
>actually *be* the thing it named.

That would be the word "word", wouldn't it?

Shanahan

unread,
Jul 30, 2004, 10:51:35 PM7/30/04
to
Trevor Barrie <tba...@cs.toronto.edu> declared:

<ROFL> I *told* you we were in an altered state of consciousness!!

Ciaran S.
--
WWUD *** What would Ulmo do?

Stephan Hoffmeister

unread,
Jul 31, 2004, 6:36:40 PM7/31/04
to
Dirk Thierbach <dthie...@gmx.de> wrote:
> Shanahan <pog...@bluefrog.com> wrote:

[...]


>> I recall something about Lewis and his voice being influences on
>> Treebeard, too. Apparently Lewis got quite loud sometimes when
>> "well oiled" at the Inklings meetings.
>
> So I didn't mix things up. Does anybody remember the exact source?

They talk about this in the appendices of the TTT-SEE; at least that's
where I have first heard of it. Here's a rough transcript of that part:

John Rhys-Davies (Gimli):
"I think there is a suggestion somewhere in Tolkien, [...] that when he
was writing Treebeard the Ent, he was hearing C.S.Lewis' voice."

Brian Sibley (Author of 'The Lord of the Rings -
The Making of the Movie Trilogy'):
"I remember talking to someone who attended Lewis' lectures; and [the]
students would be sitting there and down the corridor he would hear
booming out this deep kind of 'Roomm-Roomm-Roommm...'. -- In he would
stride, down to the front of the Lecture-Theatre, and then just steam-
roller on in this great, loud, booming voice. And I think it's wonderful
to think that, you know, there, in Treebeard is the embodyment of his
friend Lewis; this great, booming voice."

I don't know if that's exactly the source; but it's the only source I can
come up with. -- Nothing canonical, it would seem. ;)


Stephan

--
There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what
the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be
replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another
theory which states that this has already happened. (Douglas Adams)

the softrat

unread,
Aug 1, 2004, 12:05:42 AM8/1/04
to
On Fri, 30 Jul 2004 19:51:35 -0700, " Shanahan" <pog...@bluefrog.com>
wrote:

>
><ROFL> I *told* you we were in an altered state of consciousness!!
>
Is that secret code for 'stupider than usual'?

the softrat
"Honi soit qui mal y pense."
mailto:sof...@pobox.com
--
"Do not condemn the judgement of another because it differs from your own.
You may both be wrong." Dandemis

TT Arvind

unread,
Aug 1, 2004, 12:55:59 PM8/1/04
to
Wes ðu Dirk Thierbach hal!

> Isn't that beech, not birch? I tend to confuse the two, but this time
> I am pretty sure that beech is german "Buche", which in turn is
> related to the "Buchstaben" ("letters", literally "beech staves"), and
> hence "Buch" (book). But maybe both trees had some connection to
> books? Does anyone know for sure?

You're right - it is beech, not birch. The OE word for beech was 'bece'
and for book was 'bóc'. These don't sound that similar, but the
etymological connection between the two - if it existed - would not have
been in Old English but rather in Common Teutonic, since the various
cognates of 'book' in the Germanic languages point to the existence of a
Common Teutonic root which meant 'writing tablet'.

--
Meneldil

Osborn's Law: Variables won't; constants aren't.

Shanahan

unread,
Aug 1, 2004, 2:34:14 PM8/1/04
to
the softrat <sof...@pobox.com> inquired:

> On Fri, 30 Jul 2004 19:51:35 -0700, " Shanahan"
> <pog...@bluefrog.com> wrote:
>>
>> <ROFL> I *told* you we were in an altered state of
>> consciousness!!
>>
> Is that secret code for 'stupider than usual'?

Well, duh.

Ciaran S.
--
Tim, Tim Benzedrine!
Hash! Boo! Valvoline!
First, second, neutral, park
Hie thee hence, you leafy narc!
-BotR

Shanahan

unread,
Aug 1, 2004, 4:05:05 PM8/1/04
to
(I tried to crosspost this to the inklings ng, but my server
doesn't carry that ng, so it may not make it. Anyone want to post
this there, and see if they have an answer?)

Stephan Hoffmeister <s...@shonet.de> declared:


> Dirk Thierbach <dthie...@gmx.de> wrote:
>> Shanahan <pog...@bluefrog.com> wrote:

>>> I recall something about Lewis and his voice being influences
>>> on Treebeard, too. Apparently Lewis got quite loud sometimes
>>> when "well oiled" at the Inklings meetings.
>>
>> So I didn't mix things up. Does anybody remember the exact
>> source?
>
> They talk about this in the appendices of the TTT-SEE; at least
> that's where I have first heard of it. Here's a rough transcript
> of that part:
> John Rhys-Davies (Gimli):
> "I think there is a suggestion somewhere in Tolkien, [...]
> that when he was writing Treebeard the Ent, he was hearing
> C.S.Lewis' voice."
> Brian Sibley (Author of 'The Lord of the Rings -
> The Making of the Movie Trilogy'):
> "I remember talking to someone who attended Lewis' lectures;
> and [the] students would be sitting there and down the
> corridor he would hear booming out this deep kind of
> 'Roomm-Roomm-Roommm...'. -- In he would stride, down to the
> front of the Lecture-Theatre, and then just steam- roller on
> in this great, loud, booming voice. And I think it's
> wonderful to think that, you know, there, in Treebeard is the

> embodiment of his friend Lewis; this great, booming voice."


>
> I don't know if that's exactly the source; but it's the only
> source I can come up with. -- Nothing canonical, it would seem.
> ;)

'Twould be hard to come up with a canonical source for this Real
Life question. What do we consider canonical for such things?
Carpenter's Biography, maybe, Letters, I guess...

Actually, Letters does have some corroborating evidence as to CSL's
loudness:

Letter 113 to C.S. Lewis:
Carpenter's Note 2 to Letter 113: It appears that Hugo Dyson had
been putting it about that Tolkien objected to Lewis's 'loud'
manner in the Inklings.
"But as for yourself: rest in peace, as far as I am any 'critic' of
behavior. At least you are the fautlest freke [ref to Chaucer,
'faultless knight'] that I know. 'Loudness' did you say? Nay! [...]
I don't find myself in any need of practising forbearance towards
any of you - save on the rarest occasions, when I myself am tired
and exhausted: then I find mere noise [...] trying. [...] I want
noise often enough. I know no more pleasant sound than arriving at
the B. and B. and hearing a roar, and knowing that one can plunge
in."

On drinking in general (as prone to lead to loudness, and 'cause
it's funny):
Letter 83 to Christopher Tolkien:
"C.S.L. had taken a fair deal of port and was a little
belligerent..."
Letter 56 to Christopher Tolkien:
"...a peculiarly misrepresentative and asinine paragraph in the
Daily Telegraph of Tuesday last. It began 'Ascetic Mr. Lewis'--!!!
I ask you! He put away three pints in a very short session we had
this morning, and said he was 'going short for Lent'."
Letter 90 to C.T.:
"C.S.L. was highly flown, but [...] O.B. is the only man who can
tackle C.S.L. making him define everything and interrupting his
most dogmatic pronouncements [...] The result was a most amusing
and highly contentious evening, on which (had an outsider
eavesdropped) he would have thought it a meeting of fell enemies
hurling deadly insults before drawing their guns."

(reminds me of some discussions around here)

Ciaran S.
--
He wears sorrow as others wear velvet.
Tears become him like jewels.

TT Arvind

unread,
Aug 1, 2004, 2:55:05 PM8/1/04
to
Wes ğu Shanahan hal!

> (I tried to crosspost this to the inklings ng, but my server
> doesn't carry that ng, so it may not make it. Anyone want to post
> this there, and see if they have an answer?)

There is hardly any non-spam traffic in the inklings newsgroup, and that
tends to be crossposts. Perhaps alt.books.cs-lewis would be a better
bet?

--
Meneldil

Contrary to popular belief, the apostrophe does not mean 'look out, here
comes an "s"'.
-- Peter Seebach

the softrat

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Aug 2, 2004, 12:39:25 AM8/2/04
to
On Sun, 1 Aug 2004 17:55:59 +0100, TT Arvind <ttar...@hotmail.com>
wrote:

>Common Teutonic root which meant 'writing tablet'.

Do German trees have Teutonic Roots?

the softrat
"Honi soit qui mal y pense."
mailto:sof...@pobox.com
--

Not the brightest crayon in the box, now, are we?

Dirk Thierbach

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Aug 2, 2004, 2:50:54 AM8/2/04
to
the softrat <sof...@pobox.com> wrote:
> On Sun, 1 Aug 2004 17:55:59 +0100, TT Arvind <ttar...@hotmail.com>
> wrote:

>>Common Teutonic root which meant 'writing tablet'.

> Do German trees have Teutonic Roots?

Depends on their age.

- Dirk (SCNR)

Tamf Moo

unread,
Aug 2, 2004, 1:03:19 PM8/2/04
to
Belba Grubb from Stock sa, og sa vel:

> -- How does Treebeard cause the light on the trees and in his
> "lamps"? It brings to mind

christmas lights!
or maybe trapped, or tame, fireflies.
it sounds unlikely that he would burn anything wooden to make light, and
this wouldn't make much light, either.
maybe it was another thing he learned from the elves?

> of trees. Whether you're a dendrologist or don't even care to know
> what the word means, have you a favorite tree? If it's not among


> those described by Tolkien already, what sort of an Ent would it make?

i have several favourite trees; but i would be most curious to see what
a palm-tree ent would look like. i'm imagining a graceful and possibly
somewhat hasty character, grey in bark, with a wild, afro-style hair.

and my favourite entwife would be a flame of the forest. which sounds
scary, but it isn't.

--
Tamf, lellow dwagin and CHOKLIT-eater at your service.

Love conkers all.

Belba Grubb from Stock

unread,
Aug 5, 2004, 3:14:16 PM8/5/04
to
On Wed, 28 Jul 2004 12:49:11 +0200, Georg Schönegger
<g.scho...@aon.at> wrote:

>
>> -- The wood moves in "Macbeth," though it's been a long time since I
>> read that play. What other literary sources might have inspired JRRT
>> here (Stephen Crane, perhaps). Compare/contrast?
>

>iirc, tolkien didn't like shakespeare too much,

Macbeth is indeed a work by a playwright who ought, at least
on this occasion, to have written a story, if he had the skill
or patience for that art.
-- "On Fairy-stories"

I must read the letters.

The Stephen Crane reference was to XXXVII in "Black Riders And Other
Lines" (1895), although it was the mountains not the forest speaking:

On the horizon the peaks assembled
And as I looked,
The march of the mountains began.
As they marched they sang
"Aye! We come! We come!"

Have often wondered if JRRT found some inspiration here for the Ent's
march and their marching song.

Barb

Belba Grubb from Stock

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Aug 5, 2004, 3:16:48 PM8/5/04
to
On 29 Jul 2004 05:57:20 GMT, AC <mightym...@hotmail.com> wrote:

>On Wed, 28 Jul 2004 20:51:18 -0500,
>aelfwina <aelf...@cableone.net> wrote:
>>
>> "Belba Grubb from Stock" <ba...@dbtech.net> wrote in message
>> news:phseg0drce0bur24q...@4ax.com...
>>>
>>> 1. Ents, ents, ents! Just a few of the possible discussion topics
>>> found here:
>>> -- Ent houses: Why do Ents live in houses? It's important,
>>> apparently; when they are going treeish they begin to just stand
>>> anywhere.
>>
>> Now that is a brilliant question, and one I'd never have thought of on my
>> own! Why *do* Ents live in houses? Maybe to *keep* from going treeish?
>
>If I had to pick an answer, maybe that is it. A bit of a trapping of
>civilization, otherwise they become like Old Man Willow.

Quickbeam's house was surely the bare minimum of civilization (g).
Yet he was the nearest thing to a hasty Ent. Maybe he kept it simple
because he was always roaming around.

In comparison, what Treebeard had at Wellinghall was pretty complex,
probably the Ent equivalent of a palace (all those trees that lit up,
for instance, and the ones that guarded the "gate"; the "batteries"
that provided light in the house (they reminded me of batteries,
anyway).

I am so far behind in reading posts that perhaps somebody has already
commented on this. Anyway, could the reference to trees that are
older than Treebeard be to trees that had begun to grow in the light
of the Two Lamps? These could have been surviving sections of the
"dark and perilous forests" that appeared when Melkor's hatred began
to poison Arda during its spring, before he overthrew the Lamps. Thus
they would be older than Treebeard, who dates back at the furthest
only to the awakening of the Firstborn (see "Of Aule and Yavanna").

Maybe Yavanna had never been able to get them to sleep, and they'd
been awake all during the darkness of Melkor....

Certainly such places would be horrible indeed. The hobbits probably
would never have gotten through the Old Forest had it contained one or
more of these very old, very evil sections. I would guess that Old
Man Willow was just the "pupil" of an older evil, perhaps just dating
back to the darkness after the Lamps and before the Sun and Moon.
(Don't ask me how that would work - g)


>
>- It seems that Treebeard knows something of other forests, even those a
>great distance. He seems to know about the Old Forest, and his description
>of bad trees fits Old Man Willow to a tee.

"In the willow meads of Tasarinan" he walked in the spring....

>- Or is Old Man Willow in fact an Ent that has become treeish?

Tom Bombadil knows the song for him, but his name, if he was or had
been an Ent...old Tom would would have been a long time singing into
that crack before OMW released Merry and Pippin.

>- The Old Forest seems a bad enough place, so those vales in Fangorn "where
>the Darkness has never been lifted" must be genuinely fearsome.

Yes. One wonders who those people were who came to grief, aye, to
grief, in those sections.

Barb
_____
Keep behind me. There's no sense in getting killed by a plant.
-- Tom Goodwin
_____

Belba Grubb from Stock

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Aug 5, 2004, 3:57:30 PM8/5/04
to
On Thu, 29 Jul 2004 00:45:35 -0700, " Shanahan" <pog...@bluefrog.com>
wrote:

>Belba Grubb from Stock <ba...@dbtech.net> declared:


>> Chapter of the Week: The Lord of the Rings, Book 2
>> Chapter 4 - Treebeard
><snip nice, complete, concise summary done in record time!>

This chapter is just about all dialogue, or at least the bulk of it
is, and that's so hard to sum up; I didn't even try. It is so
enchanting, how Treebeard and the two hobbits interact, it just has to
be read -- they say good fiction is character driven, and no better
evidence could exist to prove it than this chapter, IMHO.

>> "'Night lies over Isengard,' said Treebeard."
>
>This line *always* gives me goosebumps. Dunno why, just does.

Yes, it's very atmospheric. There they are, the two hobbits and the
Ents and apparently the whole forest looming up behind them, looking
over the crest of the hill, so creepy quiet after they've been booming
along...it's like a storm hanging over Isengard. And then JRRT makes
you wait!!!!

Interesting how the author eventually brings us back to Isengard with
Treebeard in a still important but more formal and stylized role, and
the events distanced through being told to us secondhand, as Merry and
Pippin returned to the main flow of the story. Perhaps JRRT knew the
power of this interlude in Fangorn and of the Treebeard character and
built that distance in so it wouldn't take over the story. I think
every reader would love to just settle down in Fangorn and listen to
Treebeard talk. (g)

>> -- Ent draughts: what are they and has Treebeard turned the
>> Entwash into one big Ent draught, at least within the borders of
>> Fangorn (judging by its healing effect on Merry and Pippin after
>> their ordeal).
>
>I've always thought of it the other way around. The original power
>lies in the waters of the Entwash; the Ents' brewing has
>concentrated that power into the potency of the Ent draughts. The
>healing effect on M&P seems to be weaker than the growth effect
>they experience from the draughts.

Yes...sort of like maple syrup making (which used to be done in the
neighborhood when I was a child growing up in New England), though of
course not involving any fire. The tree sap is mildly sweet and it is
intensified to make the syrup.

>> -- Ent-wives. That poem of the dialogue between the two seems
>> close to the actual likes and differences of men and women in a
>> marriage.
>
>I think Tolkien said almost exactly that in one of his letters. His
>point, IIRC, was that men are more comfortable with 'the wild' than
>women, and that women want to control things more. Gee, does that
>mean that Tolkien was sexist, too? ;)

More of a realist, I'd say. (g)


>> -- How does Treebeard cause the light on the trees and in his
>> "lamps"? It brings to mind
>
>...the elven-lamps of the First Age?

Agh, that was a typo, actually. I'd meant to say that it brought
Kirlian photographs to mind, but decided to delete that as it wasn't
'Tolkien" enough. Didn't quite delete the whole thing, unfortunately,
and only spotted it after the thing had been sent.

Hmm, elven-lamps. A good suggestion. Perhaps I'm not familiar enough
with them, but it seems too "technical" somehow.


>I'd like to vent a little disagreement I have with Tom Shippey,
>here, if I may. I've heard him say that Tolkien was ambivalent
>about trees, as much as he loved them. Shippey gives Old Man Willow
>and the Huorns as examples of 'evil' trees. I don't think Tolkien
>was ambivalent at all, nor do I think OMW or the Huorns are evil.
>Dangerous, yes; evil, no. I think Tolkien empathically just
>entered so completely into the existences of trees, that he
>realized trees might very well be terribly angry at two-legged

>creatures. This is supported by Yavanna's words to Aulë, also,


>where she mourns that the olvar would have no one to protect them
>from the ravages of fire and axe.

Well said! Given his excellent characterization of hobbits and the
Shire, it might also be that he accurately sensed some of the darkness
that can grow in the souls of some who remain in a small place and
don't have new experiences or contacts very often. Eventually, they
become inward looking and dull, or worse. Notice the "good Ents,"
Treebeard and Quickbeam, are always on the move; indeed, Treebeard is
concerned or at least aware of many things outside the forest and is a
great fan of Gandalf.

> dendrologist or don't even care to know what the word means,
>> have you a favorite tree? If it's not among those described by
>> Tolkien already, what sort of an Ent would it make?
>
>The beech: a magnificent tree, and a magnificent Ent!

Makes a darned good mallorn, too. :-)

Barb
_____
"...I think it's giving lessons in gravity;
Fagus grandifolia, single lamina bluntly

veined, fruit a prickly brown burr; wings coning
along twigs; all morning I tried to see

it for what I wanted it to be:
winged elm, a name that breathes

its sound; then tanbark, shingle oak; in truth,
saw-teeth and forest edge nearly pin
it down as smooth sumac,

branches Elder-stout; in Europe's jardins
it would be copper
beech, weeping beech; here, behind my bark-built
house, it's every inch American,

meaning in all likelihood, I'll wake to it, quae videmus,
tomorrow. For its open rounded crown
bursting dead yellow on the scene

I'd profess a life of silence.
"What they have a word for,
they have a thing for," wrote Thoreau:

wilderness guide, spring's
plagues, stacked

wheelbarrow, bud, open area,
old field, roadside salute, cloud-cover,
post-strike, real time

beech, beech, beech,
sturdy-toxic Ailanthus, shelter-shade

giver, Audubon's Tree-of-Heaven,
identified by tolerance

for wet
or dry or unspeakable conditions.
from "Beech Tree In March" by Joanna Goodman at

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2078/is_1_43/ai_58038179
_____

Belba Grubb from Stock

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Aug 5, 2004, 4:02:51 PM8/5/04
to
On Thu, 29 Jul 2004 00:39:12 +0000 (UTC), Emma Pease
<em...@kanpai.stanford.edu> wrote:

>What was Treebeard doing on the edge of the forest near the battle?
>Did he know about the battle and come to investigate? Looking ahead
>to the next chapter, did he see and recognize Gandalf?

Well, the band of Orcs was in the forest ready to come to Ugluk's aid,
though the Riders prevented it. Treebeard might have been aware of
that and wanted to keep an eye on the Orcs, though his initial
questions to Merry and Pippin all seem to center around Gandalf. I'd
guess that he did see and recognize Gandalf (and perhaps noticed the
change in the wizard), but didn't speak to him and tried to get more
information from the newcomers who knew him. As they were under the
impression Gandalf was dead, Treebeard didn't pursue it.

>Things to remember for future discussion: when Aragorn and company
>enter Fangorn is the atmosphere different? Note that they enter when
>the Entmoot is in full swing.

Well, this probably should wait until the next chapter, but what
really struck me was that they came in the same way Merry and Pippin
had (of course, they were tracking the two hobbits) and also had
pretty much identical experiences of the forest and ended up on the
hill just as Merry and Pippin had. It seemed artificial for a while,
but now I wonder if this is a Fangorn defense of some sort.

Barb

Igenlode Wordsmith

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Aug 5, 2004, 6:49:05 PM8/5/04