When I first met Treebeard, I was enamored! He was completely outside of the realm of my reading experience up to that point in my life. The closest character I had read about was the titular character from Roald Dahl’s BFG. I was amazed by this walking, talking tree. Unlike the other characters whom the company meet, I instantly liked Treebeard. His first passage is very similar to the humorously brusque tone that Gandalf sometimes adopts:
‘Almost felt you liked the Forest! That’s good! That’s uncommonly kind of you’ said a strange voice. ‘Turn round and let me have a look at your faces. I almost feel that I dislike you both, but do not let us be hasty’ (TT, III, iv, 463).
The way that Treebeard tactlessly offers an unkind judgement of the hobbits, but then castigates himself for jumping to conclusions was endearing to me. I must admit that I was an inordinately tactless child. The remainder of his first day with the hobbits, getting to know them and taking them to shelter and to sustenance won me over. Interestingly, I sometimes imagine that what I felt about Treebeard is how many people recount feeling about Tom Bombadil. I supposed that I trusted Treebeard more because he seemed more natural to me. I did not suspect his motives because, unlike Bombadil, Treebeard would speak plainly about his motives.
Interestingly, because I grabbed onto Treebeard with my entire imagination, it deeply impacted me when he becomes angry on his way to drop off the hobbits. This tempestuous state of emotions is probably what lead the war march of the Ents to become one of my favorite songs from the text.
Where Do We Go From Here?
What Do You Think?
What was your first impression of Treebeard?
Where do you rank the Ent March among Tolkien’s songs?
Have I missed anything? Let me know!