In the fourth chapter of The Two Towers, we meet Treebeard. All is right with the world. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Lord of the Rings.
CHAPTER FOUR: TREEBEARD
THIS IS THE BEST THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED IN MY LIFE. HOW HAVE I SURVIVED A SINGLE MOMENT WITHOUT KNOWING TREEBIRD WAS A FICTIONAL CHARACTER THAT EXISTED? HOW HAVE I LIVED A FRUITFUL, SATISFYING EXISTENCE WITHOUT ENTS OR ENTWIVES OR ENTMAIDENS IN MY BRAIN? I HAVE NOT. MY LIFE UP UNTIL THIS MOMENT HAS BEEN POINTLESS. I HAVE DONE NOTHING BUT SWIM IN NIHILISTIC FUTILITY UNTIL TREEBEARD.
They found they were looking at a most extraordinary face. It belonged to a large Man-like, almost Troll-like, figure, at least fourteen foot high, very sturdy, with a tall head, and hardly any neck.
SO IT’S HENRY ROLLINS? SORRY I HAD TO.
Whether it was clad in stuff like green and grey bark, or whether that was its hide, was difficult to say. At any rate the arms, at a short distance from the trunk, were not wrinkled, but covered with a brown smooth skin.
THERE ARE LIVING TREES IN MIDDLE-EARTH. LIFE HAS MEANING AGAIN.
The large feet had seven toes each.
FIVE TOES IS NOT ENOUGH FOR THE ENTS. YOUR FIVE-TOED FEET ARE PEDESTRIAN TO THEM. THEY HAVE SEVEN TOES ON EACH FOOT AND THAT MEANS THEY ARE BETTER THAN ALL OF US.
THIS ENT IS NAMED TREEBEARD. IT IS ALSO KNOWN AS FANGORN. IT IS ALSO KNOWN AS OUR TRUE LORD AND SAVIOR. JUST WANTED YOU TO KNOW THAT.
ALSO, THE ENTS HAVE A SONG THAT IS A LIST OF EVERY LIVING CREATURE IN MIDDLE-EARTH. YOU KNOW WHAT’S CUTER THAN THAT? TREEBEARD LEARNING ABOUT THE HOBBITS AND THEN LATER GETTING PERMISSION TO ADD A LINE ABOUT THE HOBBITS INTO THE LIST. THIS IS THE EQUIVALENT TO AN AVALANCHE OF PUPPIES. YES, IT’S EXACTLY THE SAME AS THIS. JUST IMAGINE YOU’RE LAYING ON YOUR BED AND ALL OF A SUDDEN A BUNCH OF PUPPIES COME TUMBLING FROM THE CEILING AND THEY ALL START WAGGING THEIR TAILS AND YIPPING AND YOU CAN BARELY BREATHE, BUT YOU DON’T CARE BECAUSE IT’S AN AVALANCHE OF PUPPIES, SO YOU JUST SUBMIT TO THEIR OPPRESSIVE CUTENESS. THAT’S WHAT JUST HAPPENED WHEN I READ THIS CHAPTER.
‘Real names tell you the story of the things they belong to in my language, in the Old Entish as you might say. It is a lovely language, but it takes a very long time to say anything in it, because we do not say anything in it, unless it is worth taking a long time to say, and to listen to.’
THAT’S RIGHT. NOT ONLY IS TREEBEARD DROPPING SOME KNOWLEDGE ON US ALL, BUT WE FIND OUT TOLKIEN INVENTED ANOTHER LANGUAGE FOR THIS BOOK, AND IT’S UNLIKE ANYTHING EVER, AND EVEN ENTISH CULTURE MEANS COMMUNICATING IS DISSIMILAR FROM WHAT EVERYONE ELSE DOES WHEN THEY SPEAK.
‘And did you know Gandalf?’
‘Yes, I do know him: the only wizard that really cares about trees,’ said Treebeard.
SERIOUSLY, WAY TO MAKE ME FEEL JOYOUS AND HEARTBROKEN AT THE EXACT SAME TIME. OH GANDALF, I SERIOUSLY MISS YOU AND YOUR SASSY WIZARD ADVICE. WHY CAN’T YOU JUST MAGICALLY COME BACK WITH AFTERLIFE MAGIC? DAMN IT, THAT’S NOT HOW THIS WORKS, BUT WHATEVER. I SUPPOSE I HAVE YET ANOTHER ANGRY LETTER TO WRITE TO TOLKIEN. DAMN IT, I SHOULD REALLY GET ON THOSE.
At once he set off with long deliberate strides through the trees, deeper and deeper into the wood, never far from the stream, climbing steadily up towards the slopes of the mountains.
HE CAN FUCKING WALK. THERE ARE WALKING TREES IN MIDDLE-EARTH. JUST BURY ME HERE ON THIS PAGE. THIS IS THE END. I CANNOT DEAL WITH HOW AMAZING AND CUTE THIS IS. I JUST LOVE HOW WELL-DEVELOPED AND COMPLETE ENTISH CULTURE IS, HOW UNLIKE HUMANITY IT IS, AND HOW MUCH IT’S EXACTLY THE SAME. THIS IS SOME OF THE MOST BRILLIANT AND IMMERSIVE WORLD-BUILDING I HAVE EVER COME ACROSS IN LITERATURE.
As the old Ent approached, the trees lifted up their branches, and all their leaves quivered and rustled. For they were evergreen trees, and their leaves were dark and polished, and gleamed in the twilight.
THE ENTS USE TREES AS GATES. BLESS THEM. BLESS THEM FOREVER.
PS: TREEBEARD HAS HIS OWN HOUSE. JUST…I CAN’T.
PPS: ENTS MEASURE DISTANCE IN ENT-STRIDES. THEY HAVE THEIR OWN SYSTEM OF MEASUREMENT. THIS IS ALL JUST A CONSTANT REMINDER THAT MY IMAGINATION WILL FOREVER PALE IN COMPARISON TO J.R.R. TOLKIEN’S. MY GOD.
PPPS: ENTS DOWN OWN CHAIRS
PPPPS: ENTS OWN BEDS THOUGH. ENTS CAN SLEEP IN BEDS. THERE IS A GOD, AND GOD IS TREEBEARD.
I ALSO THINK IT IS A TESTAMENT TO HOW COMPLETE AND ENGROSSING THIS WORLD IS THAT I BECAME INCREDIBLY SAD THAT THE ENTWIVES HAVE EITHER DISAPPEARED OR BEEN KILLED OFF. I HAVE KNOWN THAT ENTS HAVE EXISTED FOR MAYBE FORTY-FIVE MINUTES, AND I’M ALREADY DEDICATING MY LIFE TO THEM. THIS IS WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME. WHAT HAS THIS BOOK DONE TO MY LIFE. WHAT IS MY LIFE. WHAT ARE MY CHOICES.
OH GOD, HOW CLEVER AND FANTASTIC IS IT THAT THERE IS ACTUALLY INFO-DUMPING DISGUISED AS DIALOGUE HERE? LIKE, I WAS SO FASCINATED BY TREEBEARD THAT I COMPLETELY DIDN’T NOTICE THAT HE WAS GIVING ME CRUCIAL INFORMATION ON HOW SARUMAN CAME TO BE, HOW HE FIGURED OUT THE WIZARD HAD BEEN ON A PURSUIT FOR POWER FOR A VERY LONG TIME.
ALSO, THE FACT THAT I’VE LIVED ON THIS PLANET FOR OVER TWENTY-EIGHT YEARS AND NOT HAD A SLUMBER PARTY WITH AN ENT IS PURE TRAGEDY. I’LL JUST ADD IT TO MY LIST OF THINGS THAT ARE OPPRESSIVE TO MY VERY BEING, WHICH INCLUDES:
1) NO LETTER FOR HOGWARTS
2) NO TARDIS
3) I CAN’T BEND THE ELEMENTS
4) I’M NOT TEXT MESSAGE BUDDIES WITH DANA SCULLY, AMY POEHLER, OR MICHELLE OBAMA.
5) I DON’T OWN A COAT LIKE HAGRID’S
THESE ARE REAL OPPRESSIONS THAT WE MUST FIGHT AGAINST, FYI.
THE NAMES OF THE OTHER GREAT ENTS ARE LEAFLOCK AND SKINBARK. IT’S OKAY FOR YOU TO ADMIT THAT MY OWN NAME PALES IN COMPARISON TO THEIRS. YOU WOULD JUST BE TREATING ME WITH HONEST AND RESPECT AND I WOULD NOT BE MAD AT ALL. YOU WOULD ALSO BE CORRECT IN SAYING THAT SINCE I HAVE NEVER BEEN TO AN ENTMOOT, MY LIFE IS MEANINGLESS AND UNFORTUNATE. NOTHING ABOUT THAT WOULD BE INCORRECT.
CAN WE JUST TALK ABOUT THE ENTMOOT. IF THIS IS NOT IN THE TWO TOWERS FILM, I WILL WRITE PETER JACKSON AN ANGRY LETTER. I NEED TO SEE THIS. I NEED TO SEE SO MANY VARIED ENTS IN ONE PLACE, WHISPERING AND MUTTERING IN THE GORGEOUS LANGUAGE, TAKING AN HOUR JUST TO SAY HELLO TO ONE ANOTHER.
‘I wonder what the Entish is for yes or no,’ he thought. He yawned.
PIPPIN, YOU ARE JUST WONDERFUL. LET ME LOVE YOU.
REALLY, THOUGH, TREEBEARD DESERVES ALL OF MY LOVE. I CAN ALREADY TELL HOW THOUGHTFUL HE IS WHEN HE BECOMES CONCERNED IF THE HOBBITS ARE BORED. HE IS SO WORRIED THAT HIS NEW FRIENDS AREN’T INTERESTED BY THE CONVERSATION THEY CAN’T UNDERSTAND, SO HE SENDS THEM OFF TO HANG OUT WITH ANOTHER ENT, BREGALAD. LOOK, I JUST HAVE THIS MENTAL IMAGE THAT BREGALAD IS LIKE A CHILD ENT, WALKING AND LEAPING ABOUT THE FOREST, LAUGHING AT EVERY LITTLE THING THAT MOVES. HE IS SO HOPEFUL AND JOYOUS, AND AFTER THE CONSTANT SHITSTORM MERRY AND PIPPIN HAVE BEEN THROUGH, IT IS SO REFRESHING TO HAVE THEM JUST ENJOY WALKING AROUND WITH A LIVING TREE. ALSO IT IS A LIVING TREE THAT LAUGHS. NOTHING ABOUT THAT IS TERRIBLE. I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH.
ALSO, CAN WE DISCUSS HOW THE COUNCIL OF THE ENTS TAKES THREE DAYS? I APOLOGIZE FOR SAYING THE COUNCIL OF ELROND IS LONG. CLEARLY I HAD NO IDEA WHAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT. HOWEVER, I WOULD TOTALLY WAIT AROUND FOR THREE DAYS IF I GOT TO HANG OUT WITH ENTS, SO THIS IS NOT A COMPLAINT. IT’S PRETTY VICTORIOUS THAT THE ENTS HAVE DECIDED TO HEAD TO ISENGARD TO FIGHT AGAINST THE DARK LORD. I SUPPOSE THAT THIS CHAPTER ENDS ON A SOMBER NOTE, BUT I’M OKAY WITH THAT. IT’S SUCH A GLORIOUS MOMENT TO HAVE THE ENTS TAKE A LARGER PART IN THE STORY, AND I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE HOW THIS PANS OUT.
TREEBEARD FOR 2012 REPUBLICAN NOMINATION, FOR THE RECORD. HE IS THE ONLY ENT THAT CAN BRING US TO THE PROMISED LAND.