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Old 01-09-2006, 02:27 AM   #1
Ardamir the Blessed
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I Found the Entwives!

Well, not I, but a member by the name of Teleporno (Telerin for Celeborn) of the Tolkien board Minas Tirith claims in the thread "I Found the Entwives!" to have found them. He has not revealed exactly where in LOTR he found them, but he has given several hints. But only one other member, Ararana, has managed to find what Teleporno is hinting at, or so she says. There is a common belief among the other members that this discovery is a hoax.

As for myself, I am the member Herendil who has posted in the thread. I am now wondering if the members of The Barrow-Downs can have better success in this search than what the members of Minas Tirith have had so far. You could read the whole MT thread to get the full idea of Teleporno's and Ararana's hints and the progress of the search, but for your convenience, I will list their hints below in chronological order. The member Halion found a few hints by Teleporno on the board The Land of Rohan (his replies to the thread “Did Treebeard ever find the Entwives?” here), I will list these as well.


Teleporno


Quote:
I found the Entwives!

At least I think so. In my nineteenth rereading of the The Two Towers, I found 'em, right there. Tolkien answered his own riddle.

Now I understand why he was so cagey in his letters about them. He wanted readers to discover the answer to his riddle.

Can you find the Entwives?

I'll come back within the week with quotes so you can see for yourself whether I'm right.

PS -- Is Christopher Tolkien alive? It seems like I read his obituary, but I can't find any evidience of his death on the Net. I'd like to write him.

Quote:
Hey, okay, I'm short on time -- a hasty mortal. But they're in the second half of The Two Towers.

I'm considering not revealing it since I can hardly believe that nobody's noticed them in the fifty years of publication of these books! Of ocurse my "evidence" is subjective. Tolkien does not say "here are the Entwives." But he does, I think, make a very deliberate joke.

I wanna at least get honorary membership in the Tolkien Society for this one...

Teleporno
"eves of grass"

Quote:
I'm in the process of corresponding with The Tolkien Society about my discovery. I'll list the chapter when they reply to me.

I decided it is such a pleasant little mystery that to detail it all would be to spoil it for you, sort of like answering a riddle you should figure out yourself.

It also, to me, now means I must reread the books all over yet again (no pain there!) to see how many other hidden things the Professor put in there.

The TS webpage says they usually respond within several days, but it may take longer.


I checked out all the links posted above and none of them come close to my apparent discovery.

Quote:
I'm now doubly worried about the Nazgûl finding the remaining Entwives and scorching them.

Congratulations, you've made a compelling argument to NOT post my discovery here.

And true enough to my word, I have already narrowed it down sufficiently that careful readers should be able to find them now that they suspect they're there.

Where?

Goodbye.

Sincerely,
Teleporno

Quote:
Wow, I come back after a year and my little thread about the Entwives is still kicking.

Tolkien Society people tell me to publish a paper on the idea. As if.

It's a joke I'm sure some of Tolkien's cronies got, especially his cloistered academic friends parodied (and ennobled) by the Ents. Think of British women in the early 20th century...Suffragists...women who wouldn't put up with foolish, boorish men...

Read The Two Towers and closely note clusters of words.

I can't say anymore and keep the joke secret. It's there. I'm certain.



Ararana


Quote:
Holy crap! ok I dont really think any of you are going to believe me, becuase well, how many of you really believed Teleporno? I didnt, but the thought of finding the Entwives in the back of my head drove me crazy and before I knew it I was reading TTT, over and over again. And YES its right there! Tolkien has a good sense of humor! its so a deliberate joke. Its like tolkien is saying "Duh, there right here, were the blazes did you think they'd be!".

And hats off to Teleporno for not revealing their location. It is so rewarding to find them on your own like this, for any hardcore tolkien fan. Come on guys your so close to finding them! Teleporno gave you enough clues. just piece it together like a puzzle.

And yeah, I dont think the Nazgul had anything to do with the disappearance of the Entwives.

For those of you who DO believe me, just keep looking your so close just use Teleporno's clues.

Quote:
Yeah, I didnt think any of you would believe me. And now my name on this board probably went to hell. Sorry, I found it, you dont believe me. Thats your problem, not mine.



Teleporno (on The Land of Rohan)


Quote:
The Entwives are alive and living in The Lord of the Rings but you must look closely to find and decipher the riddle. Once you find them, don't tell anyone!

Quote:
It's an elaborate inside joke as much as a riddle, just as the Ents can be taken as a broad spoof of haughty English academics (specifically Treebeard is JRRT's rendering of C.S. Lewis) the Entwives are the middle-class British women who don't tolerate the foolish behavior of men -- like the suffragists. I know it's an extremely obscure thing to find and you have to do a lot of homework to understand my explanation of the riddle. Reading such as Humphrey Carpenter's authorized biography (yeah, I know it's very flawed and omits a lot) and the Letters of JRRT. The letters where he answers readers questions about the Entwives are deliberately cagey for exactly this reason -- he wants YOU to find them.

Remember, he's a subtle writer and every word counts.

Quote:
It's all in The Two Towers. Keep an eye on the clustering of certain types of words.

That's all I'm writing.

Happy 2004 to all Tolkien fans worldwide!
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Old 01-09-2006, 02:19 PM   #2
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A couple of days ago a friend told me that he thought the entwives were mentioned at the very beginning, when Sam is talking to Ted Sandyman and mentions that his cousin had seen a man, as huge as an elm, walking outside the Shire. If that was true, it could have been easily an ent-wife as I don't think hobbits would be able to tell the difference between ent and entwife.

Regarding the entwifes being mentioned on The Two Towers, I must have missed it.
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Old 01-09-2006, 03:08 PM   #3
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I recommend reading closely Book IV, the second book of TT, since that book was specified by Teleporno. Or rather, 'the second half of The Two Towers' - there is a slight risk that Teleporno did not mean Book IV by 'the second half of The Two Towers', but Book IV plus the last chapters of Book III.

And keep an eye on 'the clustering of certain types of words'!
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Old 01-09-2006, 03:23 PM   #4
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I'm wondering if possibly this Book IV reference could refer to the flowers bound around the old statue's head like a crown at the crossroads. I thought there might be more to that than sheer coincidence, and as the Entwives were supposed to represent more ordely gardens than wild woods, perhaps they might have been responsible for "crowning" the king again. Just a thought.

And this would make sense somewhat in light of the idea that they were somehow in danger of being scorched by Sauron, seeing as Ithilien is rather close to Mordor.
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Old 01-09-2006, 03:32 PM   #5
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I'm not too sure what this is all about finding answers and keeping them secrets, we usually like to share our knowledge and thus help each other grow in our understanding of Tolkien. Cyptic games are usually in The Quiz Room. Is that what this is, or am I misunderstanding you?

In response to what it is that may have been found in the second half of the Two Towers, without having done any research the instance describing Ithilien in its dishevelled dryad loveliness jumps to mind.
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Old 01-09-2006, 05:51 PM   #6
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Well, here's the two sections I think might be the likely candidates:

Quote:
Many great trees grew there, planted long ago, falling into untended age amid a riot of careless descendants; and groves and thickets there were of tamarisk and pungent terebinth, of olive and of bay; and there were junipers and myrtles; and thymes that grew in bushes, or with their woody creeping stems mantled in deep tapestries the hidden stones; sages of many kinds putting forth blue flowers, or red, or pale green; and marjorams and new-sprouting parsleys, and many herbs of forms and scents beyond the garden-lore of Sam. The grots and rocky walls were already starred with saxifrages and stonecrops. Primeroles and anemones were awake in the filbert-brakes; and asphodel and many lily-flowers nodded their half-opened heads in the grass: deep green grass beside the pools, where falling streams halted in cool hollows on their journey down to Anduin.
Quote:
Presently, not far ahead, looming up like a black wall, they saw a belt of trees. As they drew nearer they became aware that these were of vast size, very ancient it seemed, and still towering high, though their tops were gaunt and broken, as if tempest and lightning-blast had swept across them, but had failed to kill them or to shake their fathomless roots.
Though I must admit I can't yet see the joke or riddle in there!
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Old 04-05-2017, 06:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Farael View Post
A couple of days ago a friend told me that he thought the entwives were mentioned at the very beginning, when Sam is talking to Ted Sandyman and mentions that his cousin had seen a man, as huge as an elm, walking outside the Shire. If that was true, it could have been easily an ent-wife as I don't think hobbits would be able to tell the difference between ent and entwife.

Regarding the entwifes being mentioned on The Two Towers, I must have missed it.
Was just thinking that. Also the ents' lack of knowledge regarding hobbits makes them more likely.

Add in the Shire is some of the remaining unspoiled "gardens"
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Old 05-10-2017, 04:24 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Morsul the Dark View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Farael
A couple of days ago a friend told me that he thought the entwives were mentioned at the very beginning, when Sam is talking to Ted Sandyman and mentions that his cousin had seen a man, as huge as an elm, walking outside the Shire. If that was true, it could have been easily an ent-wife as I don't think hobbits would be able to tell the difference between ent and entwife.

Regarding the entwifes being mentioned on The Two Towers, I must have missed it.


Was just thinking that. Also the ents' lack of knowledge regarding hobbits makes them more likely.

Add in the Shire is some of the remaining unspoiled "gardens"
But that can't be what the person ("Teleporno") quoted in the original post was talking about- if indeed he wasn't merely a troll, which is the vibe I'm getting.

Speaking of which, I'm inclined to think the creature described by Sam was also merely a troll- but did Tolkien ever clarify that? Anyone know?
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Old 05-10-2017, 10:37 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Nerwen View Post
Speaking of which, I'm inclined to think the creature described by Sam was also merely a troll- but did Tolkien ever clarify that? Anyone know?
Sadly, I don't recall that he ever did.

Perhaps he just intended it to be a piece of gossip to lend a certain ominous tone to that part of the story.
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Old 05-10-2017, 08:05 PM   #10
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I'm inclined to think the creature described by Sam was also merely a troll- but did Tolkien ever clarify that? Anyone know?
In Letters, Tolkien says nothing about the strange creature seen in the Shire. However:

Quote:
There are or were no Ents in the older stories-because the Ents in fact only presented themselves to my sight, without premeditation or any previous conscious knowledge, when I came to Chapter IV of Book Three.
Letter 247

In HOME I Christopher Tolkien notes that the conversation in the Green Dragon about the Tree-men was present in the original draft, and posits that it could indeed have been a "premonition" of the Ents.

Back in Letters, Tolkien says:

Quote:
Though I knew for years that Frodo would run into a tree-adventure somewhere far down the Great River, I have no recollection of inventing Ents. I came at last to the point, and wrote the 'Treebeard' chapter without any recollection of any previous thought: just as it is now.
Letter 180

With that, I think I lean to the idea that Tolkien had put the line in the hobbits' talk at the inn to presage the undeveloped adventure with the 'Tree-Men', and then just forgot about it (after all, it did take him a long time and a lot of rewriting to finish the book).
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Old 05-11-2017, 08:15 AM   #11
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Thanks, Zil. So it's another "Balrogs' wings" situation, with no definite answer.

That said, I don't think it fits for the creature to be an Entwife (as opposed to an Ent). I mean, what's she supposed to have been doing for the entirety of the Third Age?
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Old 02-04-2006, 04:31 PM   #12
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I've been watching this forum for awhile and I've decided that I'll say my two cents. If the Entwives are alive, there are several places they could have went besides the usual theories. I've been studying these places in the Atlas of Middle Earth and the atlas, period. Here are the places that I think they could have went:

1. In Eriador on the west and to the south of the Blue Mts. (both ranges), there are several forest. one being the Eryn Vorin in Minhiriath. It seems to be uninhabited by man nor elf. Another being the forest on the slopes of the southern chain of the Blue Mts. I don't think it's visited very by elf or dwarf. For one, the elves live one hundred fifty to two hundred miles north of this forest. The other being that the dwarves don't go out of there mountains unless they have to. Also there is a forest on the slopes of the northern chain of the Blue Mts, in North Lindon. It's more likely that the entwives would be in the northern end of the wood, because the elves probably live in the southern end. Considering that it's only around sixty miles east of the wood.

2. they could have went two the forest on the northern coast of the sea of Rhun? or the could have went to the Wild Wood. That is where elves and men came from and later abandoned. The only race I see being there are the dwarves. Which they say the clans the Ironfists, Stiffbeards, Blacklocks, and Stonefoots originated from the east (probably the Mountains of the East which were the Red Mts). They could be there protecting the Wild Wood from the Dwarves? Because weren't the Ents and Entwives made also to protect the forest from the dwarves? Tell me if I'm wrong.

3. Beyond Far Harad there are many huge forests. There doesn't seem to be anybody living that far south, so it is possible.

That's my two cents.

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Old 02-09-2006, 06:48 AM   #13
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I don't really get the point of that topic. I tried reading it all, but its a lot.

What I don't get it this:
First Teleporno starts by saying that the answer to the riddle is 'right there' in the second half of TT. Then it should be easy to point out where they are once you know where to look, right?
But then Teleporno writes a huge confusing essay about all references to entwives in anything Tolkien ever wrote. This is all very interesting, but no where does he tell us: this is where the entwives are. After reading his essay I still don't have a clue where the entwives are.
Why write a complicated essay about it when he can just quote that part of the TT that matters? If he's going to go public with his discovery, why not just tell us in one line where the ents are?
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Old 02-09-2006, 08:14 PM   #14
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Funny tha t Teleporno hasnt responded to it....
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Old 02-09-2006, 10:45 PM   #15
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I remember seeing that “Can you find the Entwives?” topic on Minas Tirith back in 2003

After reading that post I went back and reread the book and failed to find any mention apart from one of the hobbits claiming to see a tree like creature.

I myself think that the original poster was just looking to get attention and pump up his post count. My question is why would you make such a statement and fail to give us proof

Quote”

Congratulations, you've made a compelling argument to NOT post my discovery here.

And true enough to my word, I have already narrowed it down sufficiently that careful readers should be able to find them now that they suspect they're there.

/end quote

If he had indeed found them he would have told us all exactly what paragraph he was reading.
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Old 02-10-2006, 12:09 AM   #16
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Searching for Entwives...scrath that, I am searching for Teleporno

Bear with me...this may be long. Michael Martinez, who is far more knowlegable than I, posted on the Minas Tirith forum and couldn't make head or tail of Teleporno. However, I think I've dredged up enough to convince me he did find something and I don't agree with it (whatever "it" is).

Here is some more information on Teleporno from the Land of Rohan website: here. Both Minas Tirith and Rohan contain a reference to Kansas. (Did anyone say Wizard of Oz? ) For some reason, this particular thread in Rohan is not accessible through the link Ardamir originally provided for us. I found it through google.

Quote:
The place I'm writing from looks a lot like Lothlorien in the Peter Jackson extended DVD release of the film of FotR. It's a large hill with beautiful trees. It's even got it's own mythical name, Mount Oread. I work for the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas. It's about a half-hour drive from downtown Kansas City, Missouri, hometown of jazz hero Charlie Parker.

I received a bachelor's degree in English and Film Studies at KU in 1992. Some of my coursework included study of Old English (a grad class) and fantasy literature. I also read lots of mythology and ancient heroic writing, from Egil's Saga to Beowulf to The Kalevala to the Eddas.

Of Tolkien, I've read
The Hobbit: at least four times, first time at age 10; just reread it over the weekend in about ten hours;

Lord of the Rings: At least six times, first time around age 13, just started it again today;

The Silmarillion: Three times. Finished it in December;

Unfinished Tales: Once, finished it Friday;

Lost Tales, Vol. I: Once, in the mid-eighties in hardback;
Lost Tales, Vol. II: Partially read;
Lays of Beleriand: Partially read;
Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien: Once, rereading again.
My first inclination was to assume that this person never found anything about the Entwives and was merely posting to irritate the posters at Minas Tirith. But looking at what we know about his credentials from the post above, his knowlege of sources (though not the greatest, he knew something), and also an anlysis of his other posts, I've come to believe that he thought he'd found something. It wasn't purely a joke.

I have no idea what he found re the Entwives but his posts point consistently to an approach he is taking---both in terms of the Entwives and the few other posts that are on these sites. He thinks that Tolkien uses hidden jokes, conscious allusions to other authors, and bases some of his characters on real people. He actually spells out some of these supposed links not re the Entwives but in other posts he's written re other scenes and characters in Tolkien.

Here's a post from Jan 2003 on Minas Tirith that gives a hint of this.

Quote:
Aiwrendel is correct according to my reading. And the Shakespeare stuff is clearly present throughout Tolkien (he was 'recording' the lost mythology of England, after all):

Ents = Wood coming to Dunsinane (Macbeth); and
Aragorn = Reluctant king in waiting (King Henry IV Part One) are two that are very obvious. Back when I was a college student studying Shakespeare I noticed many references JRRT made to WS, as well as Chaucer, Mallory, Beowulf, and Milton, to name a few.

The reference of being "born of no woman" is to Julius Ceasar. The reverse, "slain by no man" (sic) is clearly his little joke. Prof Tolkien did have to earn the respect of his Oxford cronies, after all!
We can see from this that Teleporno had a thing about Tolkien making "little jokes" and that these jokes are hidden. In this regard he also seems to be searching for allusions that JRRT made to other authors. This all ties in nicely with what he said on the Minas Tirith thread re the Entwives......references to jokes and hidden things. My inclination then is that Teleporno was following a particular train of thought in all his posts, and, using particular techniques he favored, he did think he'd discovered "something" concerning the Entwives.

Quote:
Tolkien does not say "here are the Entwives." But he does, I think, make a very deliberate joke.
Quote:
I decided it is such a pleasant little mystery that to detail it all would be to spoil it for you, sort of like answering a riddle you should figure out yourself.

It also, to me, now means I must reread the books all over yet again (no pain there!) to see how many other hidden things the Professor put in there.
I think his posts on Tom Bombadil are also a key. There's nothing new here in terms of content but Teleporno is insistent that JRRT based many characters on actual people. (We'll see this same suggestion later in the Entwife thread.) See here on a non- entwife reference:

Quote:
I'm rather new around here, but I've been reading Tolkien for twenty-five years. So when I found this thread I thought I'd drop in my favorite theory about Tom, but Ensa Lucis already said it here in May 2001.

Tom is the author himself. He's in the center of the world, yet removed. He's old both among Tolkien's characters, having been dreamt up by JRRT around 1907 (if memory serves). And JRRT knew that when he died, although his Middle-Earth stories would survive, the world would cease to be revealed since he was it's sole creator. So, Tom and Ronald are both "last as they were first".

Plus, all the "Goldberry is waiting" lines make me think about a busy academic whose hobby was writing, but was yet a devoted husband. Goldberry is Mrs. Tolkien.

I've always guessed that JRRT based many of his characters on actual people, although I've never read of who they might've been. Radagast might be Charles Williams. Whoever Saruman was, Tolkien clearly developed contempt for him!
I do not believe for one minute that Tolkien based his characters on real people and put them as hidden jokes into the text, but that is what Teleporno seems to be hinting at, whether we're talking about Entwives or other characters. Take a look at this reference regarding the Entwives. The Ents are Tolkien's academic friends and the Entwives some sort of suffragists who won't put up with the baloney of cloistered academics. This was posted months afterward on both Rohan and M.T. and is the most explicit statement we have from him concerning the identity of the Entwives.

Quote:
It's a joke I'm sure some of Tolkien's cronies got, especially his cloistered academic friends parodied (and ennobled) by the Ents. Think of British women in the early 20th century...Suffragists...women who wouldn't put up with foolish, boorish men...

Read The Two Towers and closely note clusters of words.

I can't say anymore and keep the joke secret. It's there. I'm certain.
Where does all this lead? Ahem.....on the basis of the scholarly evidence available, I would say this. The poster Teleporno uses a consistent approach in both the Entwife and non-Entwife threads. Therefore, it is not a total spoof: he thought he found something using the same approach he'd taken on his other posts: hidden jokes, allusions to real people and/or other authors. For some reason, probably because he enjoyed seeing people squirm, he preferred not to spell out his findings.

I, for one, think that his idea of allusions to real people is hokum. His earlier reference to Charles Williams as Radagast is double hokum! Moreover, I simply do not accept his bald analogy that Ents are a parody of Tolkien's academic friends. And since I can't accept his characterization of the Ents, I also can't accept the other half of the equation: his views on the Entwives (whatever or wherever they are)! This gets us into another level of contention. There has been much conversation on this website as to whether Tolkien appreciated or engaged in parody. Teleporno strongly suggest that the Ent/Entwife paradigm is some sort of parody. I, for one, do not believe that.

Am I barking up the wrong tree? (Let's just hope I'm not tugging at an Entwife's skirt!) I am also at a total loss as to those "cluster of words".
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Old 12-23-2006, 01:48 PM   #17
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I just wanted to interject...

I think I've found what Teleporno is referring to. In the first few pages of Book 4 (chapter 1, like the first 5-8 pages of the book) Frodo and Sam are travelling through Emyn Muil (note the proximity of Emyn Muil to the Brown Lands, the last known domain of the entwives according to Treebeard) when they come upon ... well, here's the exerpt:

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The cleft was longer and deeper than it seemed. Some way down they found a few gnarled and stunted trees, the first they had seen for days: twisted birch for the most part, with here and there a fir-tree. Many were dead and gaunt, bitten to the core by the eastern winds. Once in milder days there must have been a fair thicket in the ravine, but now, after some fifty yards, the trees came to an end, though old broken stumps straggled on almost to the cliff's brink. The bottom of the gully, which lay along the edge of a rock-fault, was rough with broken stone and slanted steeply down. When they cam at last to the end of it, Frodo stopped and leaned out.
This is the only mention of trees in the second half of the two towers that might mean something to someone (that I could find, don't stop looking on my account), but does this mean we've found the entwives?

It does not mean that to me. I'll admit when I found this exerpt and looked up the proximity of Emyn Muil to the Brown Lands, there was a flicker of hope. But IMO Tolkien did not give enough evidence to support this theory, if this is what Teleporno intended. What it means to me, I think, is the extent of the entwives gardens were larger than we originally may have thought on first read. They are larger than just the Brown Lands (if it encompassed Emyn Muil as well), and who knows how far in any and all directions they reached?

And that's my two cents.

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Old 12-23-2006, 02:00 PM   #18
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Bah! The same bit of conjecture was made by "Wetwang" on the minas tirith board. Looks like he beat me by 3 years, 10 months, and 18 days. The search continues, I suppose. Or languishes in obscurity, whichever your taste prefers.
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Old 12-23-2006, 07:11 PM   #19
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I think Teleporno was trying to wrile up the Tolkien community and see how long it would last. Because he said he was taking it to the Tolkien Society to see if they would agree with him, and that was several years ago.
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Old 12-27-2006, 11:29 AM   #20
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Eye

I didn't have much to do during Christmas break, so I got out LOTR and started reading.

I won't claim that I found the entwives. It is completely possible that the evidence I found is coincidence, and that Tolkien never intended for anyone to find the wives. But the fact remains that I found precisely what that Teleporno character was talking about- "word cluster" and "joke" and all.

What really amuses me is that the best piece of evidence is never mentioned at all by old Teleporno. Aside from the word cluster and the joke I found a very logical and rational reason to believe that I had spotted the entwives. To help you spot the logic, I will say this- there is something that does not make sense in the second half of TTT. It is a little thing. A tiny little action that is inconsistent with something that happens in the second half of FOTR and with information we know from FOTR and TTT.

And no, this isn't April Fool's Day come early.
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Old 12-29-2006, 05:21 PM   #21
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Intriguing, the phantom... so the legend lives on. But how do we know if you are just another hoax? It seems that everyone who claims to have found this clue about the Entwives (3 people so far) is reluctant to provide much information, and nobody has fully revealed his/her discovery as of yet. But I guess that it is understandable that you do not want to reveal it all at once - it is such a neat thing to find so you want to give people a chance to do it themselves?

Are you sure that what you have found is not something that has been suggested before? Have you read this thread and the MT thread thoroughly?
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Old 12-29-2006, 05:30 PM   #22
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it is such a neat thing to find so you want to give people a chance to do it themselves?
Depends on how you see it. Personally I'd rather have these peoplele come and say directly what they found.
But considering his remarks on the Entwives in the letters I doubt that any of these trees might have been the Entwives.

And to end this, I'd like to quote Tolkien. The quote is used to explain the presence of Tom Bombadil, but I believe that it can be used in many other cases:

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And even in a mythical Age there must be some enigmas, as there always are.
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Old 11-28-2017, 06:03 PM   #23
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Teleporno's passage?

Forgive me if this has already been discussed and dealt with somewhere. Rereading the Two Towers, I noticed a brief passage that might be the one Teleporno was referring to.

In the chapter "Journey to the Crossroads", Frodo, Sam and Gollum have traveled for about 3 days since parting from Faramir, and they are nearing the crossroads. It is night, and the sinking moon is ringed with a sickly yellow glare. Gollum wants them to hurry, as where they are is too open to remain by day.

The pertaining paragraph reads as follows:

"He quickened his pace, and they followed him wearily. Soon they began to climb up onto a great hog-back of land. For the most part it was covered with a thick growth of gorse and whortleberry, and low tough thorns, though here and there clearings opened, the scars of recent fires. The gorse-bushes became more frequent as they got nearer the top; very old and tall they were, gaunt and leggy below but thick above, and already putting out yellow flowers that glimmered in the gloom and gave a faint sweet scent. So tall were the spiny thickets that the hobbits could walk upright under them, passing through long dry aisles carpeted with a deep prickly mould."

Note the description of the gorse-bushes. They are leggy below; ents have legs yet can be mistaken for trees. In addition, there is agreement with a couple details in Treebeard's description of Entwives in the chapter "Treebeard".

Like most gorse they have yellow flowers. Treebeard says the Entwives' hair was parched by the sun to the hue of ripe corn. That color matches.

Treebeard also says Entwives were bent and browned, with cheeks like red apples. Large varieties of gorse are like small trees that are often bent, and their brown bark is sometimes splotched with red.

Larger varieties of gorse grow to around 7-10 feet in height. That seems to fit.

A couple days before reaching the land described above, the area the hobbits passed through was described as partly open, with ilexes, ash, and oaks surrounded with launds of grass dappled with flowers. This agrees with part of Treebeard's description of the Entwives' preferences in environment.

Teleporno also hinted something about the Nazgul being a threat. The east road from the nearby crossroads leads directly to Minas Morgul, the stronghold of the Nine, and the passage does indicate recent fires in the area.

As posted earlier by Galin, there is another possible connection with Minas Morgul: "In The Story Forseen from Lorien there is an interesting note: "it could be Merry and Pippin that had adventure in Minas Morgul if Treebeard is cut out" [this was struck out]. " That might correspond to a later idea of Frodo and Sam having a related adventure as they neared Minas Morgul.

Where it stands, the gorse description is a little odd. Tolkien's descriptions are usually either directly bound to the story line or they frame an integrated context. Any loose ends are often explicitly proclaimed as such. However, at the described point in the hobbits' journey they are entering the fringes of Mordor, and the context being set is one of their leaving more or less normal woods and entering an area of corruption and danger and evil. Why then remark on the glimmering flowers and sweet scent of these old, tall gorse trees? One might be forgiven for taking it is a clue.

The passage above may or may not be what Teleporno was alluding to; I suspect it is. There's no indication of sentience by the trees; there's nothing about entish eyes. Whether the description was consciously meant to indicate Entwives, or it's just gorse, remains up to individual readers. For me it's pleasant to imagine that the Entwives did not entirely disappear.
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Old 11-30-2017, 09:26 AM   #24
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Vladimir - I think you're onto something! I've made something of a sad little study of this weird thread over the last couple of weeks, and I'm pretty sure you've found something no-one has pointed to before.

First things first: Tolkien was very clear that he never wrote the Entwives into the books. Teleporno was almost certainly wrong. But we can still try and figure out what he was looking at - and I think you've done just that.

So what do we need to be looking for? Ardamir collected it all in the first post: Teleporno believes the Entwives are 'alive and living' in Book 4, that they're a sort of in-joke referencing the Suffragists or women like them, that we need to look at clusters of certain types of words, and that they're in danger from the Nazgul.

There are five passages in The Two Towers which people have pointed to (I said I'd looked into this... I've combed all three threads in case someone came up with something):

The Taming of Smeagol

The cleft was longer and deeper than it seemed. Some way down they found a few gnarled and stunted trees, the first they had seen for days: twisted birch for the most part, with here and there a fir-tree. Many were dead and gaunt, bitten to the core by the eastern winds. Once in milder days there must have been a fair thicket in the ravine, but now, after some fifty yards, the trees came to an end, though old broken stumps straggled on almost to the cliff's brink.

For a long time, this was my favoured option. Treebeard is originally described as looking like a stump, there are references to both fir and birch at the Entmoot, and the Emyn Muil is directly adjacent to the Brown Lands. The idea of Suffragists being on the edge of a cliff, or willing to throw themselves off a cliff out of spite, sounds plausible as a Tolkien opinion. There's also the notion that Sam's rope (which was tied around one of the stumps) was untied by a kindly Entwife.

Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit

All about them were small woods of resinous trees, fir and cedar and cypress. and other kinds unknown in the Shire, with wide glades among them; and everywhere there was a wealth of sweet-smelling herbs and shrubs. The long journey from Rivendell had brought them far south of their own land, but not until now in this more sheltered region had the hobbits felt the change of clime. Here Spring was already busy about them: fronds pierced moss and mould, larches were green-fingered, small flowers were opening in the turf, birds were singing. Ithilien, the garden of Gondor now desolate kept still a dishevelled dryad loveliness.

The plants of Ithilien are strongly anthropomorphised - the word 'dryad' is a key one, as are the green 'fingers' of the larches. Nearby paragraphs also specifically reference the Northfarthing of the Shire (which is where Sam's tale of a walking tree comes from, plus Treebeard thought the Entwives would like the Shire). It's inarguable that the Entwives would feel right at home here. But... there is also a specific mention of 'falling into untended age', and (of course) no suffragist jokes.

Journey to the Cross-roads 1

"[The staves given by Faramir to Frodo and Sam] are made of the fair tree lebethron, beloved of the woodwrights of Gondor, and a virtue has been set upon them of finding and returning."

This is a quite horrifying idea I came across... 'lebethron' means something like 'polished fingers' or 'finger-tree', which is highlighted as a perfect name for an Ent, and the link to finding and returning is a good one. But I can't quite believe that Teleporno believes the Entwives were being chopped up for use in walking sticks...!

Journey to the Cross-roads 2

For the most part it was covered with a thick growth of gorse and whortleberry, and low tough thorns, though here and there clearings opened, the scars of recent fires. The gorse-bushes became more frequent as they got nearer the top; very old and tall they were, gaunt and leggy below but thick above, and already putting out yellow flowers that glimmered in the gloom and gave a faint sweet scent. So tall were the spiny thickets that the hobbits could walk upright under them, passing through long dry aisles carpeted with a deep prickly mould.

On the further edge of this broad hill-back they stayed their march and crawled for hiding underneath a tangled knot of thorns. Their twisted boughs, stooping to the ground, were overridden by a clambering maze of old briars. Deep inside there was a hollow hall, raftered with dead branch and bramble, and roofed with the first leaves and shoots of spring. There they lay for a while, too tired yet to eat; and peering out through the holes in the covert they watched for the slow growth of day.

But no day came, only a dead brown twilight.


As discussed by Vladimir immediately above. I would add that the 'hollow hall', 'stooping', and specific use of 'dead brown' as a descriptor in the following paragraphs are words that could easily evoke the Ents/Entwives - and also that the idea that suffragists could easily be 'prickly' when confronted with 'foolish, boorish men' (per Teleporno's description). The presence of a suffragist joke which isn't a massive stretch is what's convinced me that this is the best candidate.

Journey to the Cross-roads 3

Presently, not far ahead, looming up like a black wall, they saw a belt of trees. As they drew nearer they became aware that these were of vast size, very ancient it seemed, and still towering high, though their tops were gaunt and broken, as if tempest and lightning-blast had swept across them, but had failed to kill them or to shake their fathomless roots.

[...]

At length they reached the trees, and found that they stood in a great roofless ring, open in the middle to the sombre sky; and the spaces between their immense boles were like the great dark arches of some ruined hall.

Suddenly, caught by the level beams, Frodo saw the old king's head: it was lying rolled away by the roadside. `Look, Sam!' he cried, startled into speech. `Look! The king has got a crown again!'


This is one of my favourite passages of The Two Towers, and the conspicuous formation of living trees - specifically noted to be ancient - at a location associated both with attacks from the Nazgul and a gardening-type miracle caught my eye. I really wanted this to be Teleporno's reference - perhaps suffragists liked to hang out in circles? - but I don't think it can be. These are gigantic trees with massive roots, which... isn't how the Entish folk are described. Alas.

~

Finally, since we're doing Entwife theories: my personal pet theory is that Treebeard (and Tolkien) got their fate precisely backwards. The Brown Lands and their inhabitants were burned during the War of the Last Alliance - but not by Sauron. Whose country did they live right next to? Who did the men they taught agriculture to serve, obey, and worship? Who would absolutely sympathise with the Entwives' efforts to bend their entire country to their will, setting it all into neat rows with nothing out of place? Who, in point of fact, would be utterly wasting his time trying to stop the Last Alliance by burning the Brown Lands, seeing as most of his enemies would probably come up from the south (by way of Gondor and the Gap of Rohan)?

Exactly. The Brown Lands were the Breadbasket of Sauron, and were burned by the Men and Elves to stop them from supplying his armies any longer. When the Ents came looking, they would have looked around shiftily and said, "Er, yeah, I've seen them, they went... south. I mean west! Definitely west. Go back that way."

(What, you don't think? ^_^)

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Old 12-01-2017, 10:12 AM   #25
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Huinisoron, I'm not quite down with your Brown Lands / breadbasket theory. Admittedly, Tolkien omitted any explanation of how Sauron would provision his forces, and that's a bit of a hole in things, given that plants don't grow in Mordor. No doubt orcs can get by on smegma and guano, and trolls can just eat dirt (though it makes them cranky at potty time,) but food is needed for the legions of Southrons and Easterlings et al. Maybe Sauron can pull some wizardry like the loaves & fishes thing. But then there's all the industry to forge weapons and arms, and all the other requirements of an immense army. Of course, there are evidently no female orcs, just sayin', so maybe Sauron gets a bit of a break in that regard.

But the idea that Entwives were servants of Sauron is just too untidy in the big picture. It would break Treebeard's heart.
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Old 12-01-2017, 05:10 PM   #26
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The Brown Lands were the Breadbasket of Sauron
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plants don't grow in Mordor.
What about Nurn? It was the largest part of Mordor, and was completely given over to farming to feed Sauron's armies.
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Old 12-04-2017, 04:43 AM   #27
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Of course, there are evidently no female orcs, just sayin', so maybe Sauron gets a bit of a break in that regard.
Yes, and if you look at Trajan's Column, you'll see clear evidence that Roman legionaries reproduced asexually, with females only existing amongst their captives...

I don't think there's much grounds for the 'no female orcs' theory, since the only place we ever meet them is in military camps (or, if we're including Goblin Town, in a context where our protagonists hardly had time to go checking for pigtails and petticoats, as it were). We know orcs can breed - Azog had a son, Bolg, and there are sundry half-orcs in the later stages of the books - so assuming that they didn't (because... what?) seems to be in violation of Occamwë's Razor (which states 'Do not unnecessarily multiply entities, or they'll be like this razor - completely useless, what do I need with a razor, do I look like I'm in my third stage of life?!').

Back towards (though not on) topic... I should clarify that the Breadbasket of Sauron theory shouldn't be taken entirely seriously, since it does go directly against the closest we have to an authoritative statement from Tolkien. It is rather depressing - but is it more so than the flirted-with notion that Luthien died early because wearing the Silmaril burned her out? 'The Entwives fall to evil by their love of Order' is at least more nuanced than Saruman's fall, which seems to have been 'because power is fun'. It's on a level with Denethor's, I think, which also ends in fire.

Zigûr, Nurn is indeed the biggest argument against the necessity of the Breadbasket; without it, I would probably be convinced by my own theory (Lorien help me). But it's always possible to theorise inconvenient facts away (maybe Nurn wasn't yet farmed, due to being not as fertile), and it doesn't address the big question of whose side the Men taught by the Entwives were on...
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Old 12-04-2017, 06:55 AM   #28
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I don't think there's much grounds for the 'no female orcs' theory
To take it further, there is in fact quite hard evidence of the existence of female Orcs from the pen of Professor Tolkien himself, as seen in the 'Munby Letter', quoted at the Tolkien Gateway here: http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Mrs._...1_October_1963
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There must have been orc-women. But in stories that seldom if ever see the Orcs except as soldiers of armies in the service of the evil lords we naturally would not learn much about their lives. Not much was known
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Old 02-15-2019, 05:10 AM   #29
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The Taming of Smeagol

...

For a long time, this was my favoured option. Treebeard is originally described as looking like a stump, there are references to both fir and birch at the Entmoot, and the Emyn Muil is directly adjacent to the Brown Lands. The idea of Suffragists being on the edge of a cliff, or willing to throw themselves off a cliff out of spite, sounds plausible as a Tolkien opinion. There's also the notion that Sam's rope (which was tied around one of the stumps) was untied by a kindly Entwife.
I hate to come back to this, but on further consideration, I've swung back towards this passage. The key piece of evidence is the 'clusters of words' concept. Compare this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Treebeard
In the face of the stony wall there was something like a stair: natural perhaps, and made by the weathering and splitting of the rock, for it was rough and uneven. High up, almost level with the tops of forest-trees, there was a shelf under a cliff. Nothing grew there but a few grasses and weeds at its edge, and one old stump of a tree with only two bent branches left: it looked almost like the figure of some gnarled old man, standing there, blinking in the morning-light.

[...]

They came at length to the edge of the shelf almost at the feet of the old stump; then they sprang up and turned round with their backs to the hill, breathing deep, and looking out eastward.
With this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Taming of Smeagol
Some way down they found a few gnarled and stunted trees, the first they had seen for days: twisted birch for the most part, with here and there a fir-tree. Many were dead and gaunt, bitten to the core by the eastern winds. Once in milder days there must have been a fair thicket in the ravine, but now, after some fifty yards, the trees came to an end, though old broken stumps straggled on almost to the cliff's brink. The bottom of the gully, which lay along the edge of a rock-fault, was rough with broken stone and slanted steeply down.

[...]

The outer fall was indeed no longer sheer, but sloped outwards a little. It looked like a great rampart or sea-wall whose foundations had shifted, so that its courses were all twisted and disordered, leaving great fissures and long slanting edges that were in places almost as wide as stairs.

[...]

With that he stood up and went down to the bottom of the gully again. He looked out. Clear sky was growing in the East once more.

[...]

He took up the rope and made it fast over the stump nearest to the brink...
Teleporno made a big deal of 'clusters of words', and in these two passages we have a whole heap of matching pairs:
  • 'Something like a stair' versus 'almost as wide as stairs'.
  • 'Rough and uneven' rock versus 'rough with broken stone'.
  • 'One old stump' versus 'old broken stumps'.
  • 'Gnarled' old man versus 'twisted' birch.
  • M&P 'looked out' eastward; Frodo 'looked out', also to the East.
  • M&P move 'to the edge of the shelf almost at the feet of the old stump'; Sam ties his rope 'the stump nearest to the brink'.

Both quotes also make a point that very little grows where they are, and on a trivial level, both descriptions of the view (not quoted) include smoke.

I don't think Tolkien wrote the two sequences as intentional mirrors to each other (for one thing, you can see how broken up the description in Book 4 is), but I think it's entirely possible Teleporno thought he had. It fits with the claim that they're in danger from the Nazgul (we get a Nazgul screech in the Emyn Muil sequence), and, as I said before, the Emyn Muil is right where you would expect to find fleeing Entwives: on the edge of their old lands, run right up against a cliff.

But I still rank vladimir's thicket as a close second. ^_^

hS
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Old 02-15-2019, 09:41 PM   #30
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Teleporno...perhaps the most unfortunate name in the whole of Tolkien's canon.
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Old 02-16-2019, 05:19 AM   #31
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Teleporno...perhaps the most unfortunate name in the whole of Tolkien's canon.
Poor J.R.R.T never dreamed that the term could one day be used for an actual prurient operation.

I still think Sam's mention of the "Tree-man" was 1. An RL move by Tolkien to foreshadow the "giant" episode he planned; and 2. An in-book appearance of a Huorn from the Old Forest.
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