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Fangorn | Gandalf | Radagast | J.R.R. Tolkien | Ent | Frodo | tree | The Two Towers

Treebeard, who is also called Fangorn, is the guardian of Fangorn forest and the trees and ents who live there. Being tree-like, his life is nearly timeless, and his conversation with Merry and Pippen in The Two Towers reveals as much: "I used to spend a week just breathing." He is not the oldest among living things (the song about the living creatures reveals as much), nor even older than all the trees; he freely admits that "there are hollow dales in this land where ... the trees are older than I am." Nevertheless he is Fangorn the tree-herd.

A good description of an ent is much sought after. It is said that ents came first (after elves and dwarves), then trolls were made as a mockery of them, so that trolls ought to appear as similar to ents. But ents are very similar in appearance to the trees they tree-herd, so ents like Quickbeam tend to look like the rowan, while others would look like the birch, beech, fir, or other trees. Treebeard was described as having "seven-toed feet" and being roughly fourteen feet tall, covered in a smooth brown skin. It's the ents' eyes that fascinate me, however. If I were given a choice of characteristics I would like to gain from characters in The Lord of the Rings, I would choose to have eyes like those of Treebeard. As Pippen said, "One felt as if there was an enormous well behind them, filled up with ages of memory and long, slow, steady thinking..." But I suppose I would need to live a while longer before anything like that starts happening...

A little more on ents:

Ents are extremely strong. When attacking Isengard they litteraly hew and break the stone wall surrounding it. Their hands cling to the rock like old treeroots and crack it. They break iron posts and throw them high into the air. As Treebeard puts it himself, they have the strength of the earth itself in them.

When going to war, the Ents are roused, they are wild and terrible. They do not like being roused however, and they only take part in war at all in the assault on Isengard and the slaying of the orcs at Helm's Deep. The Ents (Treebeard in any case) prefers walking in the forest talking to the trees and taking care of them.

Ents take a long time to think, and even longer to say anything in their own language. Indeed, their language is different from any other language in that the names of things grow longer as the thing grows older. As an example, Treebeard's name in old "Entish" would take a long long time to say (days, maybe weeks), as he is old as the forest of Fangorn itself.

The Entwives
The entwives were female Ents that dissapeared a long time ago, after the great war. Long ago they lived together with Ents, but they grew different and had different interests. The Ents preferred the forest as it is in the wild, while the Entwives would make gardens and tend them and organize them as they fashioned. At some point the Entwives left the Ents, and after the great battles at the end of the second age they were not seen again.

Tree"beard` (?), n. Bot.

A pendulous branching lichen (Usnea barbata); -- so called from its resemblance to hair.


© Webster 1913.

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