The Last March of the Ents

I think that ’Treebeard’ closely resembles the Lothlórien chapters in the way they all describe peoples and places that are fading, a world that is passing. But neither the Golden Wood nor Fangorn are ready to go quietly.

First of all, I’m intrigued by the way Treebeard uses comparison to both Elves and Men as a way to describe Ents:

For Ents are more like Elves: less interested in themselves than Men are, and better at getting inside other things. And yet again Ents are more like men, more changeable than Elves are, and quicker at taking the colour of the outside, you might say. Or better at both: for they are steadier and keep their minds on things longer.

Now, for an Ent to call himself and his kin ‘more changeable’ than Elves, is to call Elves well-nigh immutable. And that’s not all Treebeard has to say of Elves, or the Elves of Lórien in particular: ‘They are falling rather behind the world in there, I guess,’ he said. ‘Neither this country, nor anything else outside the Golden Wood, is what it was when Celeborn was young.’ In essence, he’s saying Celeborn has some nerve to warn the Fellowship off Fangorn, while ensconcing himself in the self-contained pocket of past glory and magic that is aptly named ‘Dreamflower’.

Although Fangorn could also be dubbed an enclave, Treebeard is not ignorant nor indifferent to the goings-on in the world outside; in fact he’s eager for news, and it’s one item in particular – that of Saruman’s treachery and day-walking Uruk-hai – that provides the proverbial final straw, the spark that rouses him to action, quite hastily, it seems at first.

But in truth the slow anger of Fangorn’s guardians has been a long time in brewing. It seems they only ever needed a slight – hobbit-size – nudge to come together, because the decision to go to war is reached so quickly to surprise even Treebeard.

However, the resolution is not without a price: ‘Now at least the last march of the Ents may be worth of a song,’ Treebeard says, and the sentiment and words echo: both the Last Alliance of the previous Great War, and ‘such an end as will be worth a song’ called for by Théoden at Helm’s Deep.

It is such sad thought that Ents might be marching to their doom, in a final effort to try and preserve what is theirs to shepherd and protect, and thus giving up on their chance to ever find the Entwives, if any yet remain to be found within the circles of the world. Then again, I recall what Sam said of tree-things seen beyond the North Moors of the Shire (see ‘Shadow of the Past’): ‘this one was as big as an elm tree, and walking – walking seven yards to a stride,’ which sounds very close to the ent-strides of Treebeard as witnessed by Merry and Pippin in the present chapter. Also, it’s worth noting how Treebeard describes Entwives:

’They did not desire to speak with these things [fruit-bearing trees and edible plants]; but they wished them to hear and obey what was said to them. The Entwives ordered them to grow according to their wishes, and bear leaf and fruit to their liking; for the Entwives desired order, and plenty, and peace (by which they meant that things should remain where they had set them).’

Now this sounds familiar. This sounds positively hobbitish. And I can’t help wondering if it is a pure coincidence – or start wishing for a more hopeful outcome for Ents and Entwives than ‘it is foreboded that that [them finding one another again] will only be when we have both lost all that we now have’. The tale of Brown Lands is grim enough; Fangorn being laid waste in like manner does not bear thinking.

Which is precisely why those who would not be roused in finally are compelled to do so – and when that dam bursts, it is Isengard that is flooded.

‘But the Entwives gave their minds to the lesser trees, and to the meads in the sunshine beyond the feet of the forests; and they saw the sloe in the thicket, and the wild apple and the cherry blossoming in spring, and the green herbs in the waterlands in the summer, and the seeding grasses in the autumn fields…So the Entwives made gardens to live in…We crossed over Anduin and came to their land; but we found a desert: it was all burned and uprooted, for was had passed over it. But the Entwives were not there. Long we called, and long we searched; and we asked all folk that we met which way the Entwives had gone. Some said they had never seen them, and some said that they had seen them walking away west, and some said east and others south. But nowhere that we went could we find them.’ - Treebeard, The Two Towers.
“But what about these Tree-men, these giants, as you might call them? They do say that one bigger than a tree was seen up away beyond the North Moors not long back…But this one was as big as an elm tree, and walking - walking seven yards to a stride, if it was an inch.”
“Then I bet it wasn’t an inch. What he saw was an elm tree, as like as not.”
“But this one was walking, I tell you; and there ain’t no elm tree on the North Moors." 
-The Shadow of the Past, The Fellowship of the Ring.

It’s a tiny moment in the series, and probably just inconsequential conversation, but I’ve always held onto some naïve hope that what Hal saw was an Entwife in the north of the Shire, and that there is still a chance that the Ents and Entwives may meet again in Middle-earth after the shadow of Sauron passes.

Entwives were the mates of the Ents. They had gardens in the regions later known as the Brown Lands and had taught agriculture to Men and Hobbits. When Sauron burned that region to stop the advance of the Last Alliance down the Anduin, the Entwives were either destroyed, or escaped into the wilds of Middle-earth and were lost to the Ents (or so the Ents themselves believed). Some of those who fled to the East were probably enslaved as farmers to feed the armies of the Men of Darkness. Treebeard would tell Merry and Pippin that the Entwives would love their country. Indeed sometime before the War of the Ring, Halfast Gamgee claimed that he saw an elm-like “Tree-Man” walking in the North Moors. However it was never learned whether the “Tree-Man” was an Ent, an Entwife, or just a story.

I finished listening to the unabridged audio recordings of the Lord of the Rings books today and I’m left with just one burning question.

What the hell happened to the Entwives? Over 48 hours of Hobbits and Elves and Dwarves and Men and all I really want to know is where the Entwives went and if the Ent dudes ever see them again.

Guys I just realized we spend our entire time complaining about our ships and how we hate Makorra and wish Borra was canon or Zutara or Tyzula, or how they just broke up or something, and we forget about the Ents.

The Ents literally just decided to go visit their girlfriends one day in the Gondor area and all of them were just GONE. Tolkein said later that he thought all of the Entwives had died. DIED. ALL OF THEM. EVERY SINGLE ONE.

So think about that. Think about how at least Makorra is possible because there’s not just one gender of humans on the entire planet. REMEMBER THE ENTWIVES. And seriously just shut up already with the Zutara Kataang wars. They’re fucking annoying.


Today in Middle-Earth: Entmoot ends in the afternoon. The Ents march on Isengard. (March 2nd, 3019 T.A.)

  ‘Of course, it is likely enough, my friends,’ he said slowly, 'likely enough that we are going to our doom: the last march of the Ents. But if we stayed at home and did nothing, doom would find us anyway, sooner or later. That thought has long been growing in our hearts; and that is why we are marching now. It was not a hasty resolve. Now at least the last march of the Ents may be worth a song. Aye,’ he sighed, 'we may help the other peoples before we pass away. Still, I should have liked to see the songs come true about the Entwives. I should dearly have liked to see Fimbrethil again. But there, my friends, songs like trees bear fruit only in their own time and their own way: and sometimes they are withered untimely.' 

“On your travels, would you happen to have seen any Entwives?” boomed Treebeard, leaning towards them (and creaking as he did so).

Merry and Pippin looked at each other. “Entwives? No, I don’t believe we have.”

Treebeard sighed, and the green glow in his eyes dimmed. “Pity. They may have just been ambulatory trees, but they were super hot. And so well domesticated!”

Merry winced. Although they knew the Ent was at least 10,000 years old, his deeply patriarchal and heteronormative attitudes were shockingly confronting.

"Imagine humming a song you knew from your childhood, and your lover hearing you; He wraps his arms around you before finishing the line you couldn't remember."

coloursofmysweg || imagine

Lanterns glowed faintly from within your talan. You had a book of blank pages and charcoal set out in front of you as you subconsciously began drawing a tree. This tree was jagged and bent, branches almost completely gone due to wear of the elements and age. It was a beautiful, well worn kind of tree. You couldn’t help but to hum an ancient song as you did so.

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icebluecyanide  asked:

the dwarves in tolkien's works seem to be quite musically talented, do you think they come up with their songs on the spot? the songs do seem to fit the circumstances really well so I imagine they must but that's quite impressive

I mean everyone in Tolkien’s works is musically talented, they’re pretty much always composing something in their heads—Bilbo actually is hugely prolific about it, he writes the “Song of Earendil” and “The Road Goes Ever On” and “A Walking Song”  (which you might know as part of the song Merry sings to Denethor.)

Merry and Pippin are pretty much constantly singing in Fellowship, Frodo sings when they’re walking through the Old Forest, and then you get Tom Bombadil making shit up while he does whatever the fuck Tom Bombadil does and then Sam sings the Fall of Gil-Galad and Aragorn sings about Beren and Luthien, both of which are old school, and thematically important because of Silmarillion reasons.

Legolas sings near a waterfall and Gimli sings in Moria and Galadriel sings her farewell to Middle Earth, Legolas and Aragorn sing a lament for Boromir, Treebeard sings like eight songs about trees, Galadriel sends them messages in song, Gandalf sings to Grima, there is a fuckton of singing is what I’m trying to say.

Tolkien was kind of obsessed with it. Probably because he was drawing on an oral culture, where the stories of the day would be sung instead of recited (it’s easier to remember something set to music). You’ll notice most of the songs are histories, like the burning of Erebor, the fall of Gil-Galad, the disappearance of Entwives. And Bilbo—the singer and scribe of the first cycle—passes on his talent for poetry and music to Sam, who keeps the Red Book of Westmarch and becomes the skald of the second Ring cycle.

It’s all very mythic and narrative and junk.