Welcome Guest 

Register

Author Topic:
DarkLord153
Council Member
Posts: 75
Send Message
Post The Ent-Wives
on: February 02, 2017 11:00
I'm not sure if there is an exact answer on this,there are more people that asked this but got a rather foolish question,still it could be the only one.Anyways,does anyone know what actaully happened to the Ent-Wives treebeard talked about? Everyone said that just right before the Battle of the Last Alliance,Sauron unleashed some kind of fire spell that killed all the Ent-Wives,but that doesn't make sense,because there should be at least some Ent-Wives that survived.If this the only answer,i would like someone to explain,because for a total wipe out of so many Ent-Wives could be extremely unlikely,unless the spell was so strong that it indeed cause major destruction.

[Edited on 02/03/2017 by DarkLord153]
That Still Only Counts As One!
tarcolan
Movies Moderator and General Dogsbody
Posts: 5799
Send Message
Post
on: February 03, 2017 02:51
There is a clue as to the fate of the entwives in one of Tolkien's letters from the Carpenter book, #338. He says that he does not know what happened to the entwives but hoped that they and the ents found some 'earthly paradise' until the end of the world. With this in mind I'd say it was wrong to annihilate them in a firestorm.
Elthir
Council Member
Posts: 432
Send Message
Avatar
Post
on: February 03, 2017 06:04
I don't recall a reference to a fire spell specifically, but in letter 144 Tolkien said that he thought that the Entwives "had disappeared for good, being destroyed with their gardens when Sauron pursued a scorched earth policy and burned their land against the advance of the Allies down the Anduin."

He then [same letter] notes that they survived only in the "agriculture" transmitted to Men and Hobbits, but adds that some "may have fled East, or even have become enslaved" and (...) "if any survived so, they would indeed be far estranged from the Ents, and any rapprochement would be difficult -- unless experience of industrialization and militarized agriculture had made them a little more anarchic. I hope so. I don't know."

Letter 338 was written much later [1972], where, as already noted, Tolkien says he doesn't know, adding "But I think in Vol. II pp. 80-81 it is plain that there would be for Ents no re-union in "history" -- but Ents and their wives being rational creatures would find some "earthly paradise" until the end of the world; beyond which the wisdom neither of Elves nor Ents could see, Though maybe they shared the hope of Aragorn that they were "not bound for ever to the circles of the world and beyond them is more than memory..."

So the "fire element" maybe comes, in part, from the much earlier letter, in any case.

[Edited on 02/04/2017 by Elthir]
GreenhillFox
Council Member
Posts: 66
Send Message
Post
on: February 04, 2017 12:07
The following information comes (only) from LotR.

Treebeard told the story as follows:

"Then when the Darkness came in the North, the Entwives crossed the Great River, and made new gardens, and tilled new fields, and we saw them more seldom. After the Darkness was overthrown the land of the Entwives blossomed richly, and their fields were full of corn. Many men learned the crafts of the Entwives and honoured them greatly; but we were only a legend to them, a secret in the heart of the forest. Yet here we still are, while all the gardens of the Entwives are wasted: Men call them the Brown Lands now."

So at the time when their land was ruined, the Entwives were expelled or had perished. Without a witness of this event, the doubt remains throughout the book.

About their reunion, Treebeard said:

"We believe that we may meet again in a time to come, and perhaps we shall find somewhere a land where we can live together and both be content. But it is foreboded that that will only be when we have both lost all that we now have. And it may well be that that time is drawing near at last. For if Sauron of old destroyed the gardens, the Enemy today seems likely to wither all the woods."

This feels somehow like a catholic view of a reunion in the afterlife. Also the elvish song that Treebeard sang feels alike; it ends like this:

"Together we will take the road that leads into the West,
And far away will find a land where both our hearts may rest."


... and Treebeard observed later on: "But there, my friends, songs like trees bear fruit only in their own time and their own way: and sometimes they are withered untimely."

So where are the Entwives? On a lighter note: I will let you know when I see one!

PS - Dear Tarcolan and Elthir, would you mind telling us how/where you consult Tolkien's letters? Are these in HoME? Thanks!

[Edited on 02/04/2017 by GreenhillFox]
'There’s something mighty queer behind this.'
Elthir
Council Member
Posts: 432
Send Message
Avatar
Post
on: February 04, 2017 02:25
Hi Greenhill Fox... the book is The Letters of JRR Tolkien edited by Humphrey Carpenter with the assistance of Christopher Tolkien.

Other letters have become known since Carpenter's book was published (some have come up for auction from private owners for example), but many letters cited in Tolkien chat forums come from this book. Not all of Tolkien's private letters have been published, and some in the book (at the moment I can't recall how many) are drafts and were not sent.

Anyway, some interesting stuff within!

Edit: letter 144 [the one with the reference to Sauron's scorched earth policy] was written in 1954 to Naomi Mitchison, who had been reading page-proofs of the first two volumes of The Lord of the Rings.

[Edited on 02/04/2017 by Elthir]
Gandolorin
Council Member
Posts: 24040
Send Message
Post
on: February 05, 2017 03:06
Hi DarkLord153!

While the beginning of the Fourth Age, the age of men, is mostly contrasted with the waning of the Elves, very much so with the fact that the last of the High Elves (Elrond, Galadriel, ...) left Middle-earth, to my feeling it also means a waning of the other beings capable of speech. Most notably the Dwarves, then of course the Ents (humanity as a well-documented history of destroying forests all over the planet). About Hobbits, there are two trains of thought: one, that they drew back from the Big Folk, became more like Sméagol's people, and in the end became extinct - or second, being so close to us, melded with us and thus disappeared as a distinct people (something that may be happening to the pygmies of the central African rain forest).

The latter theory throws up a question about what happened to the Orcs. Hints abound that there may have been cross-breeding by Saruman, at least. JRRT may have commented about the survival of Orcish behavior to be found in most if not all of "human" history. And most recent news to be found on TV or in wood-pulp based media (aka newspapers) makes me wonder about Trolls ...
Image
Elthir
Council Member
Posts: 432
Send Message
Avatar
Post
on: February 05, 2017 04:26
Hmm, in my opinion some Hobbits still exist today, as they did in the 1950s anyway, or so it seems. The prologue to The Fellowship of the Rings notes that Hobbits were more numerous formerly than they are today (1954), and now avoid us with dismay and are becoming hard to find... Tolkien even knows that "They seldom now reach three feet; but they have dwindled, they say, and in ancient days they were taller."

Possibly because Tolkien had some Hobbit help with certain details? "Much information, necessary and unnecessary, will be found in the Prologue. To complete it some maps are given, including one of the Shire that has been approved as reasonably correct by those Hobbits that still concern themselves with ancient history." JRRT Foreword, 1954

In posthumously published texts, Tolkien does refer to the general poor state of Hobbit life in later years, noting that they became poor and wandering, forgetful of their arts, fearful of being seen, and living a precarious life in the search for food, for examples, but I don't recall (at the moment) that he ever stated that all Hobbits had become extinct...

... and if he did, to my mind at least, it wouldn't mesh that well with certain things he had already published himself, in any case.
Members Online
Print Friendly, PDF & Email