Study Guide

The Two Towers Treebeard (voiced by John Rhys-Davies)

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Treebeard (voiced by John Rhys-Davies)

Treebeard is a leader of the ents, the guardians of the huorns that make up Fangorn Forest.

And yes, when you can read that sentence without saying "Whowhatnow?" you too, young padawan, will be an official member of the Tolkien Nerds Club.

Not only does Treebeard look like a great big anthropomorphized tree, he talks and acts like one too. Entish (the language of the ents) is characterized by a low, creaking noise, like what you might hear a tree make under the pressure of the wind. And they speak so slowly. It takes all day and all night for them to have a meeting.

Trees live long, sedentary lives, so the slow speech reflects this extended perception of time. Just think— if you lived to be two thousand years old, spending five minutes cleaning your room would seem like such a miniscule investment. And when it comes to war, the ents have a very tree-like mentality:

"The ents cannot hold back this storm. We must weather such things as we have always done… this is not our war." 

But at the same time he admits, "War? Yes. It affects us all. Tree, root, and twig."

Treebeard's stubbornness is broken when he sees all of the burnt huorns on the southern edge near Isengard. He lets out a cry of such anger and sorrow that we know it's not just sap that runs through his wooden veins. With this, he leads his ent brethren in an assault against Orthanc. For such a passive species, they sure know how to fight.

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