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Old 04-02-2010, 03:53 PM   #1
Laurinquë
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Question Why Entwives? Must trees be bound in matrimony?

I may be grievously ignorant, but it seems odd to me that female Ents should be distinctly referred to as Entwives. Could there be no independent female Ents that did not feel the need to be seen as a 'wife'? What were Tolkien's reasons for their naming? It certainly seems evident from the Ent-lore in the trilogy that female Ents were independent, capable, individuals who were more than happy to do as they pleased without help from male Ents. So why the all the emphasis on matrimony in their name?

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Old 04-02-2010, 05:13 PM   #2
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Maybe he didn't mean it to be 'wife' in the sense of matrimony. The word comes from the Old English 'wif' which from what I can tell only meant 'woman', it didn't necessarily have a connection to marriage. Also if you consider the word 'midwife', that does not necessarily have to apply to someone who is married, and actually literally means 'woman who is with'. So even though we would assume 'wives' means marriage, perhaps Tolkien was not using the word in that sense?
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Old 04-02-2010, 05:19 PM   #3
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Possibly for the same reason as the 'Husbandmen' of Gondor?
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Old 04-02-2010, 06:40 PM   #4
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Maybe he didn't mean it to be 'wife' in the sense of matrimony. The word comes from the Old English 'wif' which from what I can tell only meant 'woman', it didn't necessarily have a connection to marriage. Also if you consider the word 'midwife', that does not necessarily have to apply to someone who is married, and actually literally means 'woman who is with'. So even though we would assume 'wives' means marriage, perhaps Tolkien was not using the word in that sense?
That is quite plausible, but it still "with"? With what? Ent + with (if we assume wife means a woman who is with) a woman who is with an Ent. They are of the Ent species, so are they with themselves or . . . I think I am confusing myself here.

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Possibly for the same reason as the 'Husbandmen' of Gondor?
Possibly. But the whole idea just seems so unnecessary. Husbandmen huh?
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Old 04-02-2010, 06:56 PM   #5
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That is quite plausible, but it still "with"? With what? Ent + with (if we assume wife means a woman who is with) a woman who is with an Ent. They are of the Ent species, so are they with themselves or . . . I think I am confusing myself here.
I think she means midwife, which I believe comes from the Old English mid (with) + wif (woman).

Entwif, which would be translated as "giant-woman" from Old English, would easily be able to turn into Entwife over time.
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Old 04-02-2010, 06:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurinquë View Post
That is quite plausible, but it still "with"? With what? Ent + with (if we assume wife means a woman who is with) a woman who is with an Ent. They are of the Ent species, so are they with themselves or . . . I think I am confusing myself here.
Haha, I actually meant that the word 'midwife' means 'woman who is with', the wife part meaning woman, and the 'who is with' part referring to 'mid'. I was just saying that the word 'wife' is the suffix in that word as it is for 'entwife', but it is used only to refer to women, not necessarily marriage, so perhaps it is the same for entwives.

Basically what Eonwe just said.
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Old 10-27-2010, 04:27 PM   #7
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Also, you say "man and wife", not husband and wife. so it makes sense that wife means woman
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Old 10-27-2010, 05:03 PM   #8
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http://forum.barrowdowns.com/showthr...hlight=midwife

This thread might be of interest.

Originally man mean person and was genderneutral- a man in our usage was a wereman while a woman was a wyfman.
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Old 10-29-2010, 02:29 PM   #9
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exactly: wyfman = wife man
here you go! wife means woman
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Old 10-30-2010, 06:05 AM   #10
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What were Tolkien's reasons for their naming? It certainly seems evident from the Ent-lore in the trilogy that female Ents were independent, capable, individuals who were more than happy to do as they pleased without help from male Ents. So why the all the emphasis on matrimony in their name?
I may be going out on a limb, but I don't beleaf Tolkien was willing to bough to poplar concerns regarding the ent's family tree. But the roots of such naming conventions are not my branch of study.
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Old 10-30-2010, 04:17 PM   #11
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Old 10-30-2010, 04:59 PM   #12
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What were Tolkien's reasons for their naming? It certainly seems evident from the Ent-lore in the trilogy that female Ents were independent, capable, individuals who were more than happy to do as they pleased without help from male Ents. So why the all the emphasis on matrimony in their name?
What if wife did indeed mean the spouse of the Ent? What if they were actually supposed to be in harmony with their husbands? Didn't this independent streak (or divisive if you will), plus desire to control and bend the environment develop the more they went East - towards Sauron? Corruption is in all matter, and it does manifest itself sooner or later - why wouldn't their behavior, and the fall of the Ent race as a result, be a sign of that?
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Old 11-03-2010, 06:11 PM   #13
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Maybe. I wouldn't say that their going toward Sauron matters very much, but because they've left the Ents are bound to die out.
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