Episode 18
September 11, 2020

Speak Softly and Be a Big Stick

Hosted by Jared Pechaček, Ned Raggett, and Oriana Schwindt

Jared, Oriana and Ned talk about Jared’s choice of topic: the Ents. Like many elements of The Lord of the Rings, Treebeard appeared suddenly in the course of Tolkien actually writing it, and he himself wondered more about the unusual creation he had introduced to his already long-standing legendarium and how it fit within the whole. But whatever the impulse, Treebeard and his people, seemingly the last defenders of a vanished world of trees and forests, became one of the most beloved in the entirety of the book, though also one of the most curious and, as the story clearly shows, even alien. What were some of the impulses and feelings that went into Tolkien’s creation of the Ents, and how much of them were based on a particular perception or assumption of natural history rather than reality? How do the Ents regard the others in the world they share, and what are their priorities? How does the specifically gendered world of the Ents and the Entwives function as we know it, and how does it either reconfirm or perhaps upend perceived stereotypes on that front? What impulses of the Ents’ demonstrated capacity for almost terrifying violence in defense of their world suggest for ours, whether it be the dark spectre of ecofascism or the feeling of righteous rage against a broken socioeconomic system’s environmental fallout? And will Jared’s attempt to destroy us right at the start with a truly terrible pun succeed?

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Show Notes.

Jared’s Doodle, a lovely and mysterious portrait.

Gennifer Hutchison being clear she has nothing to share about the Amazon TV series.

Maybe Kaya Scodelario is on that TV series now, maybe not, who knows…

I mean who could blame Hugo Weaving at this point.

Look if you really want to follow news of this Gollum video game, fine by us.

A useful Ent summary via Tolkien Gateway. And don’t forget the Huorns.

Beyond Bree is still around, and long may they thrive!

The recent Tides of History episode by Patrick Wyman mentioning how the ancient primeval forests of Europe aren’t THAT ancient, comparatively.

The article Jared read on a related subject: “The Lost Forest Gardens of Europe

There are approximately eight million artistic depictions of Treebeard out there. But do any of them truly work? We leave that up to you.

The Entish language is its own mystery. (Hawaiian is not, and is very much worthy of its own separate study if you’re interested.)

Treebeard’s speaking voice being modeled on C.S. Lewis is another part of Lewis and Tolkien’s lengthy, complex relationship.

The fate of the Entwives, as well as the specific gender split in the species’s goals and drives, is at once forcefully clear and sadly mysterious. Here’s a piece reflecting on it all some more, including such details as the curious sighting of a ‘walking’ tree in the Shire. (Per Oriana’s comparison, here’s the episode we did on Aldarion and Erendis.)

Quickbeam, a favorite of ours. Pity he didn’t make the film specifically.

So how do plants break down rocks and things anyway? There are answers of course.

You’re more than welcome to read about Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. But not while listening to us, surely.

We did indeed have a few thoughts about Galadriel last year.

Frankly the Treegarth of Orthanc seems like it would be a lovely place to visit.

Don’t be an ecofascist, it’s not a good look.

Quiet is disappearing, but there are attempts otherwise.

There are indeed Ent-draught recipes. Like this one. Or you could try the CBD cocktail. (And here was our episode on magic.)

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