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Re: [mythsoc] If it quacks like an ent

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  • David S. Bratman
    ... It could be a tree that had grown so Entlike that it had legs, even if it wasn t an Ent. The question is, are any of the moving trees that we see in the
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 26, 2001
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      At 09:42 AM 12/26/2001 , David Lenander wrote:

      >You know, my first reaction to this remark was "if it walks like an Ent
      >then it must be a duck" But does it quack? Actually, I think that Tolkien
      >would insist that it must TALK like an Ent before it was an Ent.

      It could be a tree that had grown so Entlike that it had legs, even if it
      wasn't an Ent. The question is, are any of the moving trees that we see in
      the Old Forest like that?

      >As far as I'm concerned, even if someone unearths another Tolkien letter
      >in which he specifically disavows this interpretation, that tree that was
      >walking near the Shire was and is an Entwife. I like to believe that,
      >despite the disavowal that you can find in the epilogue (see _Sauron
      >Defeated_) where Sam explains that the Ents never found their Entwives,
      >etc. What did Sam know?

      Sam could still have been right. The real tragedy would be if the Entwives
      were indeed living in the Shire, but Merry and Pippin didn't know it (they
      definitely don't know about what Hal saw, or they'd surely have mentioned
      it when Treebeard asked), and so Treebeard never learns where to go looking.

      But in at least one letter, Tolkien says not that the Ents never found the
      Entwives again, but that they simply never did find "a land where both
      their hearts may rest."

      >That walking tree in the Shire is an unfinished idea that never got
      >developed. I choose to think that if Tolkien had worked on it any more he
      >would have realized that the Entwives were indeed near the Shire.

      I expect your first sentence is correct. If the second sentence is also
      correct (which is possibly not, unless Tolkien forgot entirely about the
      relevant incidents when writing later letters), however, I fear it would
      have led to the softheartedness that Tolkien knew himself susceptible to,
      but which he tried to avoid, namely having everything come out happy.

      >But, looking back, I noticed something I hadn't before. But it explains a
      >confusion that I've apparently had for some time. I had thought that
      >Hobbiton and Bywater were not in the West Farthing, as the map shows that
      >they clearly are. Why, then does the story say: "a visitor on business
      >from Michel Delving in the Westfarthing" as if Michel Delving was in a
      >different Farthing? This is in reference to a speaker in the conversation
      >between the Gaffer and his drinking buddies in The Ivy Bush. I wouldn't
      >speak of "a visitor on business from Duluth, in Minnesota" if my story was
      >set in a bar in St. Paul.

      Because the visitor is a walking tree. Jeez, can't you figure out
      anything? <g>

      Hobbiton and Bywater are mid-Shire, legally in the Westfarthing but
      probably not thought of as typically Westfarthingoid. Once upon a time
      (not any more), London was in Middlesex, but I could easily imagine a
      visitor to London from an outside village as being described as "from

      Nevertheless, it's probably a tiny mistake of tone as it stands, and if it
      had been pointed out to Tolkien, he would probably have come up with a most
      ingenious explanation for it.
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