Book 3, Chapter 4 Notes from The Two Towers

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The Two Towers Book 3, Chapter 4

The hobbits leave with great speed and pause only for a drink of water. They find themselves lost in a maze of trees. These trees look ancient and are covered with moss and lichen. The forest itself is dim. There is only enough food to last them for five or six days. Light breaks through the canopy and they find an opening in the forest. A stone wall forms a kind of giant stair onto a rock ledge. They follow it to the top and see that they have only come a few miles. Pippin says that he almost likes the forest and a voice answers that he is almost kind. The voice came from a large tree-like creature clothed in leaves and bark. Its eyes are immensely deep. It tells itself not to be hasty and remarks that the hobbits are odd creatures. Pippin asks what he is and he responds that he is an Ent named Treebeard. He tries to figure out what they are by reciting a rhyme of all the creatures of the forest but they don't quite fit. Pippin tells him that they are hobbits and then gives their names. Treebeard thinks that this is much too hasty. They mention Gandalf and Treebeard asks about Gandalf, the orcs, and Saruman. Treebeard knows Gandalf and is sad when they tell him that the wizard fell into a pit. He decides to take them to his home and picks them up. When they ask if it is far, he responds "'You might call it far perhaps, but what does that matter?'" Book 3, Chapter 4, pg. 87.

The ent makes great strides through the forest for a couple of hours. Pippin asks why they were warned to stay out of the forest and Treebeard says he would say the same thing about other forests. He tells them that the forest is changing: some ents are becoming tree-ish and some trees are becoming ent-ish. Ents were originally tree shepherds. The elves began waking trees up because they wanted to talk to everything in the world. When the elves fled the first coming of Sauron, they left the ents alone.

They go through two great trees and enter a hall cut in the side of a hill roofed with arching branches. There is a falling spring near the center. Treebeard stands under this and then shakes himself dry. Then, he sets them on his table and feeds them bowls of a green drink that makes them feel refreshed. He lies down and tells the hobbits to sit next to him. They begin to tell them his tale and he asks if they have seen any Entwives in their home. Merry doesn't know what he is talking about. Treebeard is very interested in anything having to do with Gandalf. The tale amazes him and he is not quite sure what to do about it. He explains to the hobbits that he is not really on a side but is definitely against anything having to do with orcs. He doesn't like to worry about the future. When the trouble was just in Mordor, he could hope that it would be contained. Now that is comes from Saruman, who lives right on the border of the forest, he is worried. He remembers when wizards came from over the sea and knows that Saruman was considered great among them. He thinks that Saruman has done something to make the orcs impervious to the sun. Steadily, the giant ent gets more angry and declares that something must be done to stop Saruman. The hobbits pledge to help him and he realizes that he is being too hasty. After thinking for a couple moments, he reasons that there may not be enough ents left to do anything. There have been no young ents in a long time because the entwives were lost. The entwives loved gardens and places of natural order so they kept lands apart from the ents. The ents would go visit them. When the darkness of Sauron first fell, the ents did not see the entwives for many years. When the ents went looking for them, their lands were barren and dry and they were nowhere to be seen.

"'And now the Entwives are only a memory for us, and our beards are long and grey. The Elves made many songs concerning the Search of the Ents, and some of the songs passed into the tongues of Men. But we made no songs about it, being content to chant their beautiful names when we thought of the Entwives.'" Book 3, Chapter 4, pg. 100

Treebeard sings them one of the songs in the tongue of Men. They lay down to sleep.

In the morning they wake and Treebeard tells them that they are going to a gathering of ents called Entmoot. Humming, he carries them for a while through the forest. When they come near a grove, Treebeard lets a low echoing sound from his mouth. They enter through a wall of evergreen trees and in a grassy circle, there are a number of ents standing around. The ents are of all different kinds: every tree imaginable, young and old. They begin to murmur to each other in their slow, rolling speech. Treebeard puts the hobbits down and they walk over to a point where they can look over the forest. They talk about Isengard. It is circled with great stones and in the center is a powerful tower called the Orthanc. Merry thinks that the ents would make an odd force to attack such a fortress. The hobbits speak of their friends in yearning. Treebeard approaches them and tells them that they have not even finished reviewing the facts yet. After he tells them that it may take a couple of days, he introduces them to a hasty ent named Quickbeam. Quickbeam has already decided what he wants to do.

He picks up the hobbits and takes them to his nearby home. He sings and tells them about beautiful trees that were planted to please the entwives. Birds ate away all of the fruit and the orcs cut them down. They spend the next two days with him. On the last, they hear load voices coming from the gathered ents. Later on, there is a procession and the ents sing that they are coming. They march through the forest trying to rouse as many trees as possible. Treebeard picks the hobbits up and says that the ents roused themselves to action more quickly than he expected. They were very angry at Saruman's treachery. "'If we are not hewn down, or destroyed...we could split Isengard into splinters and crack its walls into rubble.'" Book 3, Chapter 4, pg. 113. He thinks that the ents will calm down rather than attack immediately. The number in the procession steadily grows. Trees seem to move with them. They march into the dusk and enter Saruman's valley.

Topic Tracking: Sacrifice 2
Topic Tracking: Metamorphoses 4
Topic Tracking: Trust 3

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