This website contains archives of the Tolkien Discussion Group from 2009 to early 2013.

The discussion group continues to meet
in Second Life in Alqualonde the Swanhaven. Contact AelKennyr Rhiano in Second Life.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Yavanna and the Ents

Damian                     (silverwing.benoir)
Sequoyah                  (vlosh.troncon)
Lihan Taifun            
AelKennyr Rhiano 
Belenos                    (belenosstormchaser.magic)
Rajani Milton         

Tolkien originally wrote the story of Aulë creating the Dwarves and the story of Yavanna and the Ents separately. It was Christopher Tolkien's editorial decision to put them together as two halves of Chapter 2 of the Silmarillion. The decision does make sense, and the two stories go together well.

After Aulë created the Dwarves, and after he and Eru have settled the matter of the Dwarves, Yavanna tells Aulë that, because he didn't consult her while making the Dwarves, Dwarves will have little respect for living things.  She continues to worry, and talke to Manwë, asking for a protector for her defenseless plants.  "Would that the trees might speak on behalf of all things that have roots, and punish those who wrong them!"  Manwë consults with Eru, and agrees that this is foretold in the Song.  Manwë declares: "when the Children awake, then the thought of Yavanna will awake also, and it will summons spirits from afar, and they will go among the [animals] and the [plants], and some will dwell therein, and be held in reverence, and their just anger shall be feared. For a time: while the Firstborn are in their power, and while the Secondborn are young."

That passage suggests some kind of protectors for animals, as well, but no one knows what Tolkien – or Manwë – was referring to. The “spirits from afar” are never explained, either. We wonder about Tom Bombadil, but he would require a discussion of his own.

What about huorns? They appear, in Lord of the Rings, as semi-sentient beings partway between ents and trees.

At this point, the sim crashed. We will continue the discussion next week.

Lihan Taifun:             hello
Damian:                      hello
Lihan Taifun:             two new people tonight
Damian:                      only two people tonight!
Lihan Taifun:             there will be more; they straggle in
Damian:                      I invited my friend also. hope that's ok; Sequoyah
Lihan Taifun:             that is wonderful
Damian:                      he's an ent :-)
Lihan Taifun:             perfect
Damian:                      he doesn't talk much
Lihan Taifun:             heh heh, ok
Damian:                      but don't piss him off!
Lihan Taifun:             glad to have you both
Damian:                      while we are waiting can you tell me about this group?
Lihan Taifun:             Tolkien Discussion Group?
Damian:                      hmm I guess the name pretty much describes it
Lihan Taifun:             we meet once a month, and have geeky discussions about Tolkien
AelKennyr Rhiano:  We are home for the Fellowship of the 4th Age, whose Tolkien inspired, Fantasy inclusive rp is called "Dawn of the 4th Age."
Lihan Taifun:             although the Discussion Group is not strictly part of Fourth Age
AelKennyr Rhiano:  no, it is not exclusive to the 4th Age at all.
AelKennyr Rhiano:  But I can imagine someone wanting to know our interest.

Lihan Taifun:             Belenos, do you want to start out about Yavanna, or ents, since you picked the topic. we won't put our visiting ent on the spot first thing
Rajani Milton:          hehe
AelKennyr Rhiano:  so we put Yavanna on the spot :P
Rajani Milton:          ha
Damian:                      he doesn't mind
Belenos:                     Well then, *smiles at the visiting ent*... I'd love to hear about Yavanna..
Damian:                      (whatever you do, don't call him a tree!)
AelKennyr Rhiano:  heh heh
Rajani Milton:          :D
Belenos:                     well, not so much put yavanna on the spot.. but our dear resident tolkien expert.. that's why i asked for the topic.. I'm sure Lihan knows quite a lot about Yavanna
Lihan Taifun:             hmph, pass the buck
Belenos:                     and I'd really value hearing that so I can put some depth into my rp character. Belenos smiles and puts sugar on the buck as she passes
AelKennyr Rhiano:  lol!
Rajani Milton:          nai-ji, you are likely to have bucks passed to you frequently in this group :D ooh, candy-bucks!
Lihan Taifun:             :P
AelKennyr Rhiano:  some without sugar.
Lihan Taifun:             :P
Lihan Taifun:             so, inte Silmarillion, we have the story of Aule creating the Dwarves
Rajani Milton:          nod nod
Lihan Taifun:             then, Christopher Tolkien attached the story of Yavanna and the ents, in the same chapter
AelKennyr Rhiano nods and listens
Lihan Taifun:             those two stories do make sense together, though Tolkien wrote them separately
Belenos:                     attached it? ahhh..
AelKennyr Rhiano:  as a counterpoint?
Lihan Taifun:             Tolkien didn't write those two on the same sheet of paper, that was an editorial decision by Christopher
Rajani Milton:          they seem to go together so well that I am surprised he didn't write them together
Lihan Taifun:             although I think it makes sense
Belenos:                     so you are saying it was his son who chose to put yavanna and Aule together as a 'couple'?
Lihan Taifun:             no no, Tolkien wrote all the family relationships of the Valar. just that Christopher put those two stories -- Aule and the Dwarves, and Yavanna and the Ents -- back to back as a single chapter
Belenos nods.. ok
Sequoyah:                   I love hearing about myself
Rajani Milton:          hee
Lihan Taifun:             but it does make some sense -- Aule creates the Dwarves, outside the original Music, and then Yavanna gets worried, and wants protectors for her creatures
Rajani Milton:          Dwarves have axes O.O
Lihan Taifun:             you have read the story, Sequoyah?
AelKennyr Rhiano:  to grind, even.
Sequoyah:                   only parts of it. I did see the movie
Lihan Taifun:             Yavanna says:
Belenos:                     this is where I get stuck I have to admit.. I find the silmarillion very hard to read.. *listens to what yavanna says*
Lihan Taifun:             "Yet because thous hiddest this thought from me until its achievement, thy children will have little love for the things of my love. They will love first the things made by their own hands, as doth their father. They will delve in the earth, and the things that grow and live upon the earth they will not heed. Many a tree shall feel the bite of their iron without pity"
Belenos:                     ouch
Rajani Milton:          This Eru talking to Aule after he made the dwarves on his own initiative, right? or is it Yavanna?
Lihan Taifun:             this is Yavanna talking to Aule, after Eru has talked to Aule, and given the dwarves true life
AelKennyr Rhiano nods, listening.
Lihan Taifun:             so Yavanna continues to worry, and talks to Manwe, and asks about making some protectors for her trees, since (unlike the animals) the trees can't defend themselves
AelKennyr Rhiano:  so the trees needed a protector? And there is no Smoky the Bear in Tolkien.
Rajani Milton:          nod nod
Lihan Taifun:             "Would that the trees might speak on behalf of all things that have roots, and punish those who wrong them!" says Yavanna
Belenos:                     lol
Sarah B (etierre.bonde) is Online
Lihan Taifun:             and she says that she remembers, in the Song, some of the trees singing amid the wind and rain
AelKennyr Rhiano:  and thus the idea came about?
Lihan Taifun:             so Manwe consults with Eru, and announces that "when the Children awake", ...
Lihan Taifun:             "then the thought of Yavanna will awake also, and it will summons spirits from afar, and they will go among the kelvar and the olvar, and some will dwell therein, and be held in reverence, and their just anger shall be feared. ...
Lihan Taifun:             "For a time: while the Firstborn are in their power, and while the Secondborn are young."
Belenos:                     *spirits from afar*.. interesting though
Lihan Taifun:             it is, and never explained
Damian:                      a bit obscure
Lihan Taifun:             ("kelvar" is Quenya for animals, and "olvar" for plants)
AelKennyr Rhiano:  so there are protectors for the animals, too?
Lihan Taifun:             that is what it sounds like. mysterious
AelKennyr Rhiano:  It does indeed
Rajani Milton:          hmmm. wonder if they are related to Tom Bombadil ? :D
Lihan Taifun:             that's a good question
AelKennyr Rhiano:  How would they be related to tom?
Lihan Taifun:             we could do a whole night on him
AelKennyr Rhiano:  probably should
Lihan Taifun:             doesn't he seem to be some kind of protector? maybe not of "animals" specifically, but of his forest
AelKennyr Rhiano:  well, yes, I guess he does at that.
Lihan Taifun:             so the Ents were created to be protectors of plant-kind
Sequoyah:                   so I have a purpose
Lihan Taifun:             was there anything you wanted to add about ents?

{The sim crashes. Eventually some of the people make it back.}

AelKennyr Rhiano:  Perhaps we should try to continue the discussion next week, too? Since we all got thrown out so rudely
Lihan Taifun:             that did kinda ruin the momentum
AelKennyr Rhiano:  nod nodnod
Belenos:                     yes.. that would make sense
Belenos:                     would help our visitors too

AelKennyr Rhiano:  so...There were not just Ents but some kind of protector for animals as well as for the plants?
Lihan Taifun:             that one line suggests that, Ael. I'm not sure what the protectors of the animals would be
AelKennyr Rhiano:  And what was the difference between Ents and Huorns?
Lihan Taifun:             the huorns weren't well explained at all
AelKennyr Rhiano:  no, they really are not.
Belenos blushes.. this is the first i've heard of them?
AelKennyr Rhiano:  It almost sounds like Treebeard was one...but he was an Ent, right?
Lihan Taifun:             he was an ent. the huorns seemed to be something between a tree and an ent
Belenos:                     you mean there is something in between that?
AelKennyr Rhiano:  Correct me if I have a wrong understanding.
Lihan Taifun:             in Quenya, "huorn" would mean "heart-tree"
AelKennyr Rhiano:  There were the trees, and these huorns who seem to watch over the trees, but then they were, in turn, watched over by the Ents?
Lihan Taifun:             in the Lord of the Rings, there are huorns
AelKennyr Rhiano:  right
Lihan Taifun:             the huorns were sentient, but not as intelligent or friendly as ents
AelKennyr Rhiano:  so...Perhaps the huroms were like the Maiar...helpers...but to the Ents?
Lihan Taifun:             it wasn't clear whether they were devolved ents or enlightened trees, or what
Belenos:                     and she's changed too.. :)
Lihan Taifun:             Treebeard makes some comment about "sheep get like shepherds and shepherds get like sheep"
AelKennyr Rhiano nods. They still have voices and can speak to the Ents, but unlike Ents, they do not seem able to speak intelligibly to other races. It just struck me that Tolkien created a two-tier structure among the Ainur, and he seems to have done the same with the shepherds of the trees.

AelKennyr Rhiano:  So if growing things were affected by Yavanna's sadness, it would first affect the trees, and then the huorms, and then the ents. or could it go the other way? the more sentient, the more affected by what affect Yavanna?
Lihan Taifun:             I would guess trees first, but it could go either way
AelKennyr Rhiano:  Soo...if the protectors of the plants are divided into two groups, then it would be reasonable that the protectors of the animals would be also divided into two groups.