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Treebeard (Sindarin: Fangorn) is a fictional character from J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth fantasy writings. The eldest of the species of Ents, he is said to live in the ancient Forest of Fangorn and stands fourteen feet (4 m) in height. He is treelike in appearance – reminiscent of "beech-trees or oaks"[1] – with leafy hair and a rigid structure.[2] His home of Fangorn Forest lies close to Isengard, where Saruman the White resides.

AliasesFangorn; The Ent
Book(s)The Two Towers (1954)
The Return of the King (1955)

In The Two Towers he meets with Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took, two Hobbits of the Shire known also as Merry and Pippin.[2] Treebeard is known to have a strong hatred of Orcs, and, after Saruman's betrayal of the Ents, of Saruman as well.[2][3] During his initial encounter with the two hobbits, he is so agitated that he misidentifies them as orc spies.



Spirits were sent by Eru Ilúvatar to inhabit the trees, which the Vala Yavanna had created along with other plants or olvar. The Vala longed for their protection since Morgoth or Melkor was destroying the trees and olvar, which could not defend themselves from him. The Ents were created by Ilúvatar at the behest of Yavanna as the Shepherds of the Forest or Tree-herders. Entwives were also created for the Ents, but, in the Second Age, were driven out by Sauron.[2][3][4]

Treebeard is the oldest of three remaining original Ents.[2][5] He is said to have once roamed all of the forests in Middle-earth, which included the Misty Mountains, Mirkwood, Mordor, and the Blue Mountains. After the loss of the Entwives by the end of the Third Age, he and the remaining Ents dwelt in the Forest of Fangorn. This led the remaining Ents into isolation and all information from the outside world was cut off.[2] The arrival of Merry and Pippin shifted Treebeard's attention to take action against Saruman for hacking down his trees. He led the Ents to war against Saruman and his Orcs. Treebeard later realised that while Saruman had learned much from him, the Wizard had shared no useful information of his own.[2]

a large Man-like figure, at least fourteen foot high, very sturdy, with a tall head, and hardly any neck. Whether it was clad in stuff like green and grey bark, or whether that was its hide, was difficult to say. Arms, at a short distance from the trunk, were not wrinkled, but covered with a brown smooth skin. The large feet had seven toes each. Grey beard, deep brown eyes, shot with a green light.”

— The description of Treebeard in The Two Towers Volume III – "Treebeard"[5]

Treebeard had been friends with Saruman. It is described in The Two Towers that Saruman visited Treebeard in Fangorn Forest and had talked with him on various subjects of concern. Saruman gathered information from Treebeard about the Forest of Fangorn; its intertwining paths were of particular concern to him.[2]

After Merry and Pippin's meeting with Treebeard, Treebeard called an Entmoot, which lasted three days, to decide to call an attack on Isengard and Saruman.[2][3][5] Since Leaflock and Skinbark were the oldest of the Ents along with Treebeard, they refused to fight, however, Treebeard thought he was going to his doom during "the last march of the Ents."[2][5] Treebeard hoped that some of the younger Ents would come instead of just the two, and, during the night he spread the word. They later launched an assault on Isengard.[2][3][5]

After Treebeard ordered the Ents to march to Isengard, the Ents felled Saruman's walls and destroyed every object in and around Isengard; the Tower of Orthanc could not be breached, but Saruman was trapped within. Treebeard stopped the attack on the tower when he realised their efforts were in vain; the tower was too strong. The Ents were ordered to unleash the waters of the River Isen, which flooded Isengard.[3] When Merry and Pippin departed Treebeard he requested them to watch for the Entwives.[2] At one point in the book, Tolkien gives hints on the whereabouts of the Entwives. It is speculated[according to whom?] that they were spotted by Samwise Gamgee's cousin Hal in the North Farthing. However, this may or may not be conjecture:

But what about these Tree-men, these giants, as you might call them? They do say that one bigger than a tree was seen up away beyond the North Moors not long back ... But this one was as big as an elm tree, and walking – walking seven yards to a stride, if it was an inch.

— Samwise Gamgee and Ted Sandyman arguing over Sam's cousin's account of spotting Ents near the Shire in The Fellowship of the Ring Volume I – "The Shadow of the Past"[6]

In the Years of the Trees where the Ents were thriving in 1495 Morgoth had re-established his realm in Middle-earth.[2] With this the Entwives had moved across to the east where Anduin lay.[2] Treebeard's Entwife Fimbrethil was driven from her land and the two were separated forever. This may have been the dominant cause of the loss of the Entwives and the loss of the Entings.[2][7]

The Elven-realm Lothlórien was situated near the North of Fangorn Forest and Treebeard had met the Lord and Lady of the Galadhrim of Lothlórien, who refer to him as "Eldest".[2][8] Over time the Ents and the Elves separated and the Elves had nothing more to do with the business of Ents.[2][8]

Portrayal in adaptationsEdit

Treebeard, as portrayed in Ralph Bakshi's The Lord of the Rings.

Treebeard has inspired a number of artists and illustrators such as Inger Edelfeldt, John Howe,[9] Ted Nasmith,[10] Anke Eißmann,[11] and Alan Lee.[12]

In Ralph Bakshi's 1978 animated adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, John Westbrook provided the voice of Treebeard.[13] Stephen Thorne voiced the character in BBC Radio's 1981 serialization.[14] Treebeard was originated onstage by Brian Amidei in the Lifeline Theatre's 1999 production of The Two Towers.[citation needed]

In Peter Jackson's films The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), Treebeard is a combination of a large animatronic model and a CGI construct; his voice is performed by John Rhys-Davies, who also portrays Gimli. In The Two Towers, Merry and Pippin run into the Fangorn Forest in an attempt to escape a band of Uruk-hai and orcs that kidnapped them. There, they are pursued by one orc. Treebeard awakens, crushes the orc, and takes Merry and Pippin to the "White Wizard" (later revealed to be a revived Gandalf) to see if they were "little orcs" or not. Assured that they are not orcs, Treebeard keeps the hobbits with him for safety. The Ents at the Entmoot decline Merry and Pippin's request for help. Treebeard is carrying the Hobbits through Fangorn Forest when Pippin gets an idea: he asks Treebeard to carry them toward Isengard, because that is the "last place" Saruman would look for them. When Treebeard gets close to the forest's edge, he sees the devastation wrought by Saruman's Orcs. The trees have all been hacked down to serve as fuel for Saruman's war machines. In anger, Treebeard summons the other Ents, who emerge from the forest. They attack Isengard and flood it. Treebeard, in addition, sends the Huorns to attack Saruman's Orcs as they retreated from Helm's Deep. In a deleted scene, Treebeard mentions to the hobbits about the Entwives and how they literally were lost. He also rescues them from a tree that holds them captive (similar to a scene in the novel of The Fellowship of the Ring, with Tom Bombadil).

Treebeard makes a brief appearance in The Return of the King, keeping watch over Isengard with Merry and Pippin as Théoden, Gandalf, Legolas, Gimli, and Aragorn arrive to pick up the two hobbits.

A 6-metre-high sculpture of Treebeard by Tolkien's great-nephew Tim Tolkien was built in Birmingham, where Tolkien grew up.[15] There is also a statue of an Ent, which looks very similar to Treebeard, in Grizedale Forest, Cumbria.

Treebeard also makes an appearance in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers video game as an unplayable character. Treebeard is also a temporary playable character in the game Lego The Lord of the Rings.

In the Battle for Middle-earth series of video games, Treebeard appears as a purchasable hero for the forces of light.

In the Top Trumps games franchise card game the age stated of Treebeard is 17,051 years.

On the Dawn in Rivendell (the Tolkien Ensemble) compact disc, Treebeard is voiced by Christopher Lee.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ J. R. R. Tolkien (1954), The Two Towers, 2nd edition (1966), George Allen & Unwin, book 3 ch. IV p. 83; ISBN 0 04 823046 4
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Treebeard
  3. ^ a b c d e Ents
  4. ^ The Silmarillion – "Of Aulë and Yavanna" p. 46 and "Of the Ruin of Doriath" p. 235
  5. ^ a b c d e Tolkien, J.R.R. The Two Towers.
  6. ^ Fellowship of the Ring Volume I – "The Shadow of the Past"
  7. ^ The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien – Letters #144 and #338 – "Fate of the Entwives"
  8. ^ a b Unfinished Tales – "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn; Appendix C – The Boundaries of Lórien
  9. ^ "Treebeard". Illustrator John Howe. 2002. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
  10. ^ "Treebeard and the Entmoot". Ted Nasmith official website. Archived from the original on 24 May 2012. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
  11. ^ "Treebeard". Anke Eißmann official website. 2000. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
  12. ^ Joint, Laura (5 October 2007). "Trees as art". BBC. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
  13. ^ Beck, Jerry (2005-10-28). The Animated Movie Guide. Chicago Review Press. ISBN 9781569762226.
  14. ^ Simpson, Paul (2013-09-19). A Brief Guide to C. S. Lewis: From Mere Christianity to Narnia. Little, Brown Book Group. ISBN 9781472100672.
  15. ^ "LOTR statue in safety debate". CBBC Newsround. 9 April 2006. Retrieved 6 November 2010.

External linksEdit