TTT, Book 3, Chapter 4 - Treebeard

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TTT, Book 3, Chapter 4 - Treebeard

Postby Notta Hobbit » Tue Nov 27, 2012 3:57 pm

Welcome to the new thread discussion of The Two Towers! I have a brief (probably too brief) summary of the action in Chapter 4, where our beloved Treebeard enters the story. There actually isn't much action in this chapter, and much of the dialogue is recapping past events. I trust that my summary hasn't left out anything important, but please speak up if you think it has.

The questions are just the ones that occurred to me as I reread this chapter. The first two and #5 are real mysteries to me. Questions 3 and 4 I do have opinions on, which I can talk about later. If you have other questions, please bring them up!

Summary

Merry and Pippin follow the Entwash into the edge of Fangorn Forest. They drink from the Entwash and don't notice how it quickly begins to refresh and heal them. They see a sunny area and head for it, finding it eventually to be a rock outcropping with an old tree on top. This is in fact Treebeard, who is initially somewhat suspicious of them but is pleased at Pippin's saying he "almost felt I liked the place." They chat briefly and discover that Treebeard considers Gandalf a friend. Treebeard carries them to "one of my homes" and tells them a bit of Entish history on the way. They explain to him what hobbits are. At Wellinghall the hobbits tell the complete story of their adventures so far, omitting mention of the Ring. Talk of the Uruk-hai gets Treebeard to talking about Saruman, and he gets quite riled up. After calming down, he tells the story of the Entwives.

The next morning Treebeard calls an Entmoot. After 3 days the decision is made to attack Isengard.

Questions

1. Soon after meeting, Pippin asks Treebeard why Celeborn warned them against his forest. Treebeard shows no sign of being surprised at Pippin's knowing Celeborn. Is this a plot hole, or just Treebeard's reserve? If the latter, why doesn't Tolkien describe it as such?
2. Treebeard says Gandalf is "the only wizard that really cares about trees." What about Radagast?
3. Discuss Pippin's character as revealed in this chapter.
4. Compare the description of the forest in this chapter with the description of the Old Forest near Bombadil in Book 1 of FOTR.
5. Suppose Treebeard had learned of the Ring. Would he have wanted it?
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Re: TTT, Book 3, Chapter 4 - Treebeard

Postby rowanberry » Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:00 am

Nice that someone's taking this up again. 8) I'll pop in as often as I can, and post if I come up with something to say. But, I'd have to reread at least the chapters that are being discussed...

As for #2, although Radagast used to live in Mirkwood, and had been around for as long as Gandalf, he may not have been so much in touch with the Ents. Also, I've got the impression that his love and interest was more for animals, especially birds; he seems to have been some kind of St. Francis of Middle-earth. Gandalf was probably the only wizard who really knew the ents and understood them and their world.
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Re: TTT, Book 3, Chapter 4 - Treebeard

Postby Old_Begonia » Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:06 pm

I’m greedy so I will tackle several of the questions.
1. Soon after meeting, Pippin asks Treebeard why Celeborn warned them against his forest. Treebeard shows no sign of being surprised at Pippin's knowing Celeborn. Is this a plot hole, or just Treebeard's reserve? If the latter, why doesn't Tolkien describe it as such?
I have always taken it as the sort of hand tipping that happens when there’s a conversation between older people, who have learned to keep their business to themselves, and younger people, who often speak openly of things about which their elders might be more circumspect. The hobbits’ friendship with Gandalf had already been established, and that he was their guide. From this Treebeard would easily surmise they are on a journey. Why should it surprise him that their journey should have led them to cross paths with Celeborn?
2. Treebeard says Gandalf is "the only wizard that really cares about trees." What about Radagast?
What Rowanberry said.
3. Discuss Pippin's character as revealed in this chapter.
One word: inquisitive. This bit of his character comes up more than once in the course of the story, e.g., wizard wheedling. But it is mainly his questions that move this chapter forward. Merry has little to say or ask.
4. Compare the description of the forest in this chapter with the description of the Old Forest near Bombadil in Book 1 of FOTR.
Word used to describe the Old Forest: queer; alive; unfriendly; [trees have feelings: they do not like strangers; the trees of Fangorn are not ascribed this attribute]; Merry describes the Old Forest as very much alive, active, aware, watching, able to stick out a root or grasp at one with a long trailer.
Words used to describe Fangorn: dark and tangled; a queer, stifling feeling came over them; dim and stuffy; old; untidy; frightfully tree-ish. Merry observes: “You can’t imagine animals living here at all, or staying for long.” In short, it’s simply nothing but trees, trees, trees. There is nothing conveyed of intelligence embodied in Fangorn itself, whereas the Old Forest seemed to have a sense of self, and a will.

5. Suppose Treebeard had learned of the Ring. Would he have wanted it?
No, I don’t imagine he would. Just knowing it was made by Sauron would be enough for him to know it is evil and altogether not to be trusted. And, Treebeard has a profound sense of who he is and what is his place in Middle Earth. I don’t imagine that he ever, at any time, even before the Entwives left, ever gave a fleeting moment’s thought to ruling over anyone or anything. The Ring would have little appeal for Treebeard.
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Re: TTT, Book 3, Chapter 4 - Treebeard

Postby Notta Hobbit » Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:13 am

This is so cool, I have to respond even though it's midnight! Rowanberry, so nice to have you here! I never felt like I knew Radagast that well so I appreciate your thoughts. O.B., Treebeard does keep a lot to himself, doesn't he. Plus, I'm now thinking, even if he had said, "Oh, Celeborn, you've met him!?" where was there to go with that? It wouldn't affect things either way, I suppose.

As you noted, there's a real difference between the hobbits' personalities now. I feel like this is the first time it's been so obvious before. Merry, the older and somehow more substantial one, is in the background and Pippin is kind of running with the ball. He seems brave to me! Can't anything scare this kid? P.S. I love "wizard wheedling." And you picked up on a difference between the two forests that had escaped me, the alive-versus-dead one. I had been thinking more about how the Old Forest seemed completely evil, whereas Fangorn seemed dangerous yet somehow not truly evil. Maybe it's because the trees are just trees in Fangorn.

I originally had one other question about this chapter: Since this meeting seems to be so important for later events, how could it happen that the Council at Rivendell didn't take Treebeard into consideration? Maybe they did and we just don't know that?
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Re: TTT, Book 3, Chapter 4 - Treebeard

Postby Old_Begonia » Mon Dec 17, 2012 12:59 pm

Will there be mor Q & A?
"And it is said by the Eldar that in water there lives yet the echo of the Music of the Ainur more than in any substance else that is in this Earth; and many of the Children of Ilúvatar hearken still unsated to the voices of the Sea, and yet know not for what they listen."

There is something profound about standing AT sea level.
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Re: TTT, Book 3, Chapter 4 - Treebeard

Postby Old_Begonia » Mon Dec 17, 2012 1:56 pm

Wait, I just realized I did not respond to the last question. Why wasn't Treebeard taken in to account at the Council of Elrond?
First, while Celeborn mentions him, I don't think Elrond knows him at all, though my memory is vague on this point. Gandalf knows him, obviously, but I don't think the Fellowship had any notion of going anywhere near Fangorn.
Second, like Bombadil, Treebeard has his own agenda and pretty much stays put. "It's not our war."
Overall, I don't think it would have occurred to the Council to enlist TB to assist w Saruman's duplicity.
And I am not sure that the Professor knew about Treebeard when he was writing the Council chapter.
"And it is said by the Eldar that in water there lives yet the echo of the Music of the Ainur more than in any substance else that is in this Earth; and many of the Children of Ilúvatar hearken still unsated to the voices of the Sea, and yet know not for what they listen."

There is something profound about standing AT sea level.
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Re: TTT, Book 3, Chapter 4 - Treebeard

Postby Notta Hobbit » Tue Dec 18, 2012 1:41 pm

OB, check out the next thread, The White Rider.
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