Meanwhile in the woods of Fangorn…
After Treebeard brought Merry and Pippin before Gandalf the White to be judged, their tale continues with the shepherd of the forest himself. He had been given an important task to look after the Hobbits and keep them safe. As Treebeard takes his work very seriously, so does this task become a priority.
O rowan mine
I saw you shine
Upon a summer`s day
Upon your head
The crown you bore aloft
Treebeard: “Such beautiful verse.”
Merry: “Is it much further?”
Treebeard: “Bru-ra-hroom. Don`t be hasty. You might call it far, perhaps. My home lies deep in the forest near the roots of the mountain. I told Gandalf I would keep you safe. And safe is where I`ll keep you. I believe you will enjoy this next one too. It`s one of my own compositions.”
A romantic soul
As he trods through the forest with Merry and Pippin among his branches, he entertains them with a beautiful verse, one of his own making of which he is most proud.
Beneath the roof of sleeping leaves
And the dreams of trees unfold
When woodland halls are green and cool
And the wind is in the West
Come back to me
Come back to me
And say my land is best
I find it sweet that Treebeard is a poet. And old fashioned romantic he is. His own composition is quite touching. It sings of longing and sadness for their long lost Entwives.
However, Merry and Pippin aren`t taken with verse. They find it tedious and boring, which is why they easily fall asleep among his branches. Treebeard brings them to his home, the safest place in the forest. Here he leaves them to sleep while he turns to roam his woods.
I have business in the forest. There are many to call. Many that must come. The Shadow lies on Fangorn. The withering of all woods is drawing near.Treebeard
Although not at war, or any oncoming battle, the Fangorn forest is facing extinction itself. Treebeard is calling for aid, for the darkness that has been creeping into his forest has reached a critical point. The trees have begun to wither as if a disease had been inflicted upon them.
Whilst there is still time to heal the woods, Treebeards calls for a gathering of other forest shepherds. They cannot let this Shadow overtake their beautiful forest and simply let it die. Something must be done.
I had the loveliest dream last night. There was this large barrel, full of pipe-weed. And we smoked all of it. And then you were sick. I`d give anything for a whiff of Old Toby.Pippin
The simple pleasures of life. As the mind tries to escape the perilous adventures they were a part of until now, it brings back the simple life in the Shire to the forefront. There is no way for them to leave the Shire at this moment, so the only way for their minds to escape is through dreaming of something more pleasant.
Becoming an Ent
Merry: “Did you hear that? There it is again. Something`s not right here. Not right at all. You just said something…Treeish.”
Pippin: “No, I didn`t. I was just stretching.”
Merry: “You`re taller.”
Pippin: “Than what?”
Merry: “Than me!”
Pippin: “I`ve always been taller than you.”
Merry: “Pippin, everyone knows I`m the tall one. You`re the short one.”
Pippin: “Please, Merry. You`re what? Three-foot-six? At the most? Whereas me, I`m pushing three-foot-seven. Three-foot-eight!”
Merry: “Three-foot-eight. You did something.”
Pippin: “Merry, don`t! Don`t drink it! Merry! No, Treebeard said that you shouldn`t have any.”
Merry: “I want some!”
Pippin: “It could well be dangerous! Give me it back. Merry!”
The water Pippin had been drinking had taken effect. It has made him taller and able to sound like an Ent. Not wanting to be left shorter, Merry snatches Pippin`s bowl of water in the hopes of becoming taller himself. Merry does not want this to happen because he likes the fact that he is now taller than Merry. Therefore, he pleads Merry not to drink the water as it might be dangerous for him.
This entertaining row is halted as they stumble over the roots of a tree. As it happens, the tree starts to pull them in. It uses its roots to disable them from fighting against it. They are buried ever deeper underneath the tree`s roots. As the motion of the roots stops, the two Hobbits are nowhere to be seen. Fortunately, Treebeard has heard their cries for help and addresses the tree.
Away with you! You should not be waking! Eat earth! Dig deep! Drink water! Go to sleep! Away with you!Treebeard
Treebeard saves the two Hobbits from their imprisonment under this old tree`s roots. This particular tree could be the Old Man Willow. Although he belonged in the Old Forest on the borders of Buckland, the creative team alluded to his existence in this instance. They did the same with Tom Bombadil
Since this particular character never made it onto the silver screen in his own right, the words Treebeard uses to rescue the two Hobbits are an homage to his character.
Come, the forest is waking up. It isn`t safe. The trees have grown wild and dangerous. Anger festers in their hearts. Black are their thoughts. Strong is their hate. They will harm you if they can. There are too few of us now. Too few of us Ents left to manage them.Treebeard
The forest is becoming an unsafe place for Merry and Pippin. Through the rise of evil and a plague of darkness sweeping the land, it is no wonder that the trees would be affected as well. They have grown fierce, angry and hostile towards anyone who might be of a different race. This hold over the trees is there to eliminate any goodness left in Middle-Earth.
When he first met Merry and Pippin, Treebeard had the same anger and hate. Thinking they were Orcs, he showed hostility through his tight grip on them. He was angry as all the other trees are.
The anger began to spread with the first introduction they had to the Orcs, through hacking and burning. The Orcs used the trees as building material they needed to construct their industrial infrastructure. The fact that the forest was alive never crossed their minds, and if it did, they wouldn`t care about it.
As a result, the entire forest is now conspiring against anyone coming into their surroundings. Not being able to trust anyone, leaves them with a violent manner of getting rid of them.
Pippin: “Why are there so few of you when you have lived so long? Are there Ent children?”
Treebeard: “Bru-ra-hroom. There have been no Entings for a terrible long count of years.”
Merry: “Why is that?”
Treebeard: “We lost the Entwives.”
Pippin: “Oh, I`m sorry. How did they die?”
Treebeard: “Die? No. We lost them. And now we cannot find them. I don`t suppose you`ve seen Entwives in the Shire?”
Merry: “Can`t say that I have. You, Pip?”
Pippin: “What do they look like?”
Treebeard: “I don`t remember now.”
As Pippin asks about the Ent children, sadness covers Treebeards eyes. The loss of the Entwives may well have been the single most sorrowful event of his existence. The loneliness it continues to bring him is visible to the two Hobbits.
The story of the Entwives
The Entwives started their move from the great forest sometime in the First or Second Age. They wanted to plant and tend flowers, grass, and vegetables. Everything blossomed as the Morgoth was overthrown.
The Brown Lands, as their land would later be known, was a prosperous land in which the Entwives taught the Men agriculture. However, their efforts were then burned as Sauron looked to stop the Last Alliance advancing. Since then, the fates of the Entwives could only be presumed.
To live as long as Treebeard has, having spent almost two Ages with his Entwife, only for them to be eternally lost to the Ents, must be a heavy burden to carry. It is, therefore, no wonder they are still celebrated through songs and poems.
The Entwives` story is still being told. It is how the Ents express their longing for their return with hope in their hearts of seeing them again. An incredibly romantic notion, to be forever in wait for long lost love.
Treebeard`s long walk filled with information about his race brings them to a clearing, a very important place for the Ents. A place of gathering.
Follow Treebeard, Merry and Pippin`s adventures in my next post.
Featured photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash.