Aka: Treeherds; the Earthbora; S. “Onodrim”; List-makers; Slow-thinkers; Folk of Root and Twig; Orc-haters; Bones of the Earth; Stone-splitters; Dwellers in the Deep Forests; Shepherds of the Trees; Guardians of the Forests; Wood-giants; Yavanna’s Folk.
An Overview of the Ents
Quiet and slow, awesome and strange, the Ents are the most powerful of Era’s speaking children. The tallest, strongest, and most ancient beings born into the World, they dwarf even Trolls by their size and strength, and a company is more potent than a dragon. With their fingers, they were able to rip the very rock of Isengard and break the armies of Saruman. A peace-loving and compassionate people, the Ents can muster a rage that is nothing short of overwhelming. Content to rest and tend the trees of the great forests, the Ents can nevertheless stir themselves into a unified wrath that makes them the most dangerous army this side of Valinor. The armies of darkness bewailed the days past when they earned the wrath of the Tree-lords, for the Ents settled the score against the evil armies of the far west.
Elven historians recorded the belief that the Ents were conceived in the thoughts of Yavanna, Queen of the Earth, as the Shepherds of the trees. Like her, the Onodrim have always loved the trees and the Olvar — all the plants of the world — best of all. Most peoples think the Ents to be the oldest of the speaking races. Yet, the High Elves say that the Onodrim were not mentioned in the Valar’s creation song, but were created by one Vala, much as the Dwarves were fabricated by Aulë. Galadriel believed that when Yavanna noted the mercy Eru extended to Aulë in allowing the stone-formed Khazad life, she requested a living spirit for her children, the Olvar, as well. It seems Oromë also had a part in this request, because the males of the Onodrim hold closer allegiance to him, although the females are aligned with Yavanna. Whether the Ents were initially trees that received souls, or if they were separate creatures that came to look like trees after having loved and cared for the forests so long, is not clear.
This Elven view of afterthought creation, however, is a misconception. Everything that is now present in Middle-earth was in The Music, but may not have been recognized by the Valar for what it was until much later. Eru always knew that the Ents, like the Giants and the Eagles, would be bom through The Song. The Valar sang the notes that they were taught by Eru. And he taught understanding that their unique personalities would unknowingly alter the melody to create all that he wished to be.
Originally mute, silently communicating only with the trees, the Onodrim were taught the gift of speech by the Speakers (Q. “Quendi”), the Elves, and learned many tongues. In fact, Treebeard said that the Elves actually wakened the Ents to consciousness. In time, the Onodrim came to understand even the rapid and foolish languages of Men, but they preferred their own incredibly slow rumbling language best of all. It is spoken full of adjectives and finally, rarely, anoun. The Ents are definitely “tree-ish” about jumping to conclusions.
Rarely, when some pressing need arises, any Ent may call the others to meet together in great Ent-moots, community meetings where issues are wrestled and solutions resolved. Normally, an Ent will confer with a couple of nearby Ents to determine if the matter really is so significant that an Ent-moot must be called. Once summoned, the Ents converge on the Derhdingle, the “secret dell” in Fangorn Forest, which is the prescribed place of meeting.
The Ent-moots are not conducted on some pattern of government or hierarchy, but are founded completely on mutual trust, care and respect. Each Ent is considered a participating and contributing individual and the discussion seeks consensus. Very slow and careful to act, Ent-moots are distinguished by the constant use of the low rambling Entish tongues. It is difficult for Humans to understand just how hard it is to hurry an Ent. They simply ignore a hurrier and take enough time to reach their own conclusion. It is helpful to remember that in the War of the Ring, having reached the peak of rage at repeated assaults from Saruman, it still took the Ents three days to determine their course of action. They are not stupid. They are very intelligent and perceptive. But they simply are remarkably careful in their decision making, which is likely very fortunate for the rest of the world! Once the Ents finally arrive at a decision, they act with strength and solidarity, and their united will is potent and indomitable.
The Onodrim were never aroused in wrath until the first Orcish armies came bearing steel weapons, hacking the forests indiscriminately. Well-beloved trees were wantonly felled, and then more, despite Entish protest and reprisal. The Treeherds’ rage grew and solidified into an implacable hatred. The Woodlands suffered wherever Orcs invaded; hatred eventually led to decisive action: Ents killed Orcs on sight. Tree demons, the Orcs named them. But the Ents have many names, and longer, for their Orcish foes.
Ents also mistrust Dwarves deeply because they consider them likewise to be hewers of wood. For example, in the First Age of the Sun, the entire community of the Dwarves of Nogrod were caught by the Ents on Mount Dolmed and utterly destroyed following the Dwarvish sack of the Grey-elven citadel of Menegroth. The Ents and Dwarves have remained tense and suspicious of each other ever since, and Yavanna had predicted this tension between the People of the Stones and the People of the Trees. Ents have remained suspicious of humans, because the Men vary so in disposition and temperament. Some seem to deeply respect the woodlands and forests, while others are as foolish and wicked as the Orcs. And some Men, especially the shipbuilders of the Second Age, earned the disrespect and anger of the Ents by their prodigal wood-hewing. Naturally, the Ents are fondest of the forest and nature-loving Elves, although they do not involve themselves in the endless Elvish issues of government, craft, and magic. Ents were nearly as fond of Hobbits, when they discovered them in the War of the Ring. But Treebeard did tea.se Merry and Pippin for disliking the forest of which they were so afraid.
The Gardens of the Ent-wives
One of the greatest tragedies and mysteries in the histories of Middle-earth is that connected with the story of the Entwives. It came about that the males and females among the Ents became gradually more distant from one another, for their hearts and loves grew differently. The males cherished the great, close trees of the forests, and the wild things of the world: the mountains, the streams, and whatever fruit was deposited on the ground for the passer-by. The females meanwhile loved best the more open orchards, fruit trees, and so-called lesser Olvar: the grasses, flowers, and the shrubs, and all those things which could be cultivated, directed, and commanded. So the Ent-wives left their mates and dwelt in the open lands across the Anduin. There, they taught mankind the art of tending the Earth’s fruits, and receiving the benefits of agriculture. In those gardens the Ent-wives lived, and occasionally the Ents would visit. Then, in the Second Age, the Ent-wives’ gardens were destroyed in the terrible conflict between Sauron and the Last Alliance of Men and Elves. They fled to build a new home elsewhere, away from the evil darkness rolling down on them from the north.
And, at that point, all history lost track of them. They may have successfully escaped and hidden themselves away from the tragedies and travails of the world. They may have been discovered and slaughtered by Sauron, perhaps even used as food for his armies. Yet the true story remains unknown. The Ents searched literally across millennia for their Wives, but they never found so much as a trace. Even at the end of the Third Age, some hope lingered in Treebeard’s heart that Fimbrethil might still be found.
The Breaking of Isengard
The Ents had retreated almost entirely into Fangorn Forest by the time of the War of the Ring and seldom traveled beyond its boarders. Three Ents were then considered the oldest among those living: Fangorn, Finglas, and Fladrif. Of the three, only wise and ancient Fangorn remained involved in the affairs of the present world. Finglas had withdrawn into himself and become almost like a tree, never anymore speaking or walking. Fladrif, grievously injured in battle against Orcs, and suffering the loss of many of his Entings and all his birch groves, had withdrawn to high mountain slopes apart from all his own people.
During the War of the Ring, Treebeard and the younger Ents became further enraged at the mistreatment of the Ents and the forests by the agents of Saruman. Treebeard was stirred by the Hobbits Merry and Pippin into realizing that the moment of decision was at hand. So came about Treebeard’s calling of the Ent-moot and the resolute March of the Ents, wherein they descended upon the host and tower of Saruman. Ranks upon ranks the Ents came, their number filled out by many Huorns, and Isengard’s strength was shattered. Simultaneously, at the Battle of the Homburg, the Ore legions were wiped out by the forest of Onodrim and Huorns. From then on, the Ents were left to live peacefully into their last age.
Documents de la section
Entish Nature ⇨
The Ents are the Treeherds of the world and resemble their charges. Ranging from ten to twenty-five feet tall, and from three to six feet in girth, they have rough bark-like skin on their “trunks” and beards like a mat of thatch, twigs, and moss.
Entish Character Glossary ⇨
We have chosen a limited number of Entish characters to focus upon in some detail.
Entish Short Description Glossary ⇨
A series of short descriptions covering the majority of the Ents in the lore of Middle-earth.
Entish Characters List ⇨
A list of all the known Ents from Middle-Earth.
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