Re: Hal's walking tree
- --- In mythsoc@y..., "David S. Bratman" <dbratman@s...> wrote:
> Once again, I'll try to summarize.No, we CANNOT tell that it is not an Old Forest style tree. You're
> We do not know specifically what Hal saw. It's not actually
> described as a walking tree. (We do not even know if Hal really
> saw what Sam says he saw, nor how, if he didn't, the error arose.)
> It might even not be an Ent, but something unknown to us, totally
> unrelated to Ents and only compared to a tree because of its
> height. That's part of the beautiful ambiguity in Tolkien that
> makes Middle-earth feel real.
> But we can tell some things it is not. For instance, it is not
> (unless Sam's account is not accurate) a very tall man. And it is
> not an Old Forest-style moving tree, the original suggestion which
> I am concerned to refute.
assuming things about the Old Forest trees which cannot be
substantiated or refuted. The Old Forest trees move around. We
don't know how they move around or how any of them would appear if a
Hobbit saw it moving by itself in the open or on the North Moors or
All we know is that Sam reports in the pub that his cousin Hal saw
something that looked like a giant tree-man. Later on, Sam is part
of a group of Hobbits who are driven along a specific path by a group
of trees in the Old Forest.
Those trees, according to Merry, were at one time animate enough to
move over to the High Hay and bend over it and do some dirty work.
But they were vulnerable to counter-assaults by the Hobbits, who
burned a lot of trees. Did the trees fight back? Did any of them
flee? How many Hobbits were injured? Merry doesn't say. So we
can't make any comparisons, except for the fact that the trees were
> Michael writes,Piffle. Don't recast what I write in nasty overtones in a cheap
> >They don't have to be Ents just because they are animate (if that
> >implies walking -- as opposed to floating or whatever animation you
> >may be envisioning as opposed to walking).
> This reads to me as mocking any attempt to suggest that animate
> trees don't walk, offering an intentionally absurd counter-
> explanation of floating, and implying a challenge to come up with
> something else.
effort to discredit me.
You're making assumptions and I merely pointing out that your
assumptions cannot be either proven or disproven.
The relationship between Ents and animate trees is not spelled out by
Tolkien. So there is absolutely no basis for saying that Hal's
walking tree MUST be an Ent or cannot be an Ent.
If you want to make a case for legless trees, you'll have to show
that Tolkien would have defined a leg to be something that a self-
animating tree cannot use or possess. And that is impossible.
Chairs and tables have legs, for example, and they don't move.