Last of the Ancient Forests of Middle-earth

“I catch only the faintest echoes of dark places where the hearts of trees are black.
There is no malice near us; but there is watchfulness and anger.


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The Forest of Fangorn was old. A last remnant of the once green mantle of forest that covered most of Middle-earth. Unlike it’s neighbor to the east, this ancient stretch of forest was not consumed by the evil of Sauron, but that’s not to say it wasn’t dangerous. There were dark valleys within Fangorn, where the hearts of trees were black, with malice and anger for all things that walked upon two legs. In such places, the unwary adventurer could find his life forfeit for daring to enter this wood unprotected.

Fangorn was unlike Mirkwood, having more in common with the Old Forest in the West, though many mountains lay between. The trees were watchful in Fangorn and the Huorns, the waking trees, could pull their roots from the earth and use them to move from place to place. A veiling mist or shadow was said to surround the trees, if they moved about outside the boundaries of the forest.

In Fangorn the Ents of old legend still roamed the woods, though few if any ever saw them. They were the tree herders, like shepherds to sheep, they guarded it’s borders from dangers coming from without and kept those who wandered in alone from falling victim to anger of the Huorns.

Fangorn5Little is know about the strange thoughts and hearts of trees, only the Elves took the time to learn their ways and awaken them from slumber.

Two small persons stood on the edge of the dark forest, like figures out of the midst of time.

He led the way in under the huge branches of the trees. Old beyond guessing, they seemed. Great trailing beards if lichen, hung from them, blowing and swaying in the breeze. Out of the shadows the hobbits peeped, gazing back down the slope: little furtive figures that in the dim light looked like elf-children in the deeps of time peering out of the Wild Woods in wonder of their first Dawn.
Far over the Great River, and the Brown Lands, leagues upon grey leagues away, the Dawn came, red as flame.

From The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers in the chapter ‘The Uruk-hai’


When the three companions, a man, an elf and a dwarf entered the shadows of Fangorn, they felt the rumor of war.

‘I do not think the wood feels evil, whatever tales may say,’ said Legolas. ‘ He stood under the eves of the forest, stooping forward, as if listening, and peering with wide eyes into the shadows.’No, it is not evil, or what evil is in it is far away. I catch only the faintest echoes of dark places where the hearts of trees are black. There is no malice near us; but there is watchfulness and anger.
‘Well it has no cause to be angry with me,’  said Gimli. ‘I have done it no harm.’
‘That is just as well,’ said Legolas. ‘But nonetheless it has suffered harm. There is something happening inside, or is going to happen. Do you not feel the tenseness? It takes my breath.’
‘I feel the air is stuffy,’ said the Dwarf. ‘This wood is lighter than Mirkwood, but it is musty and shabby.’
It is old, very old’, said the Elf. ‘So old that almost I feel young again, as I have not felt since I journeyed with you children. It is old and full of memory. I could have been happy here, if I had come in days of peace.

From The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers in the chapter ‘The White Rider’




The forest was filled with shadows and the air was stuffy, the hobbits made for a shelf of rock where light spilled down to the forest floor.

Just then they became aware of a yellow light that had appeared, some way further on into the wood: shafts of sunlight seemed suddenly to have pierced the forest-roof.
‘Hullo!’ said Merry. ‘The Sun must have run into a cloud while we’ve been under these trees, and now she has run out again; or else she has climbed high enough to look down through some opening. It isn’t far – let’s go and investigate!’
They found it was further than they thought. The ground was rising steeply still, and it was becoming increasingly stony. The light grew broader as they went on, and soon they saw that there was a rock-wall before them: the side of a hill, or the abrupt end of some long root thrust out by the distant mountains. No trees grew on it, and the sun was falling full on its stony face. The twigs of the trees at its foot were stretched out stiff and still, as if reaching out to the warmth. Where all had looked so shabby and grey before, the wood now gleamed with rich browns, and with the smooth black-greys of bark like polished leather. The boles of the trees glowed with a soft green like young grass: early spring or a fleeting vision of it was about them.


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 the forest-trees, there was a shelf under a cliff.
Nothing grew there but a few grasses and weeds at it’s 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.

From The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers in the chapter ‘Treebeard’


The two hobbits met someone in the forest, they did not expect.

They found they were looking at a most extraordinary face.  It belonged to a large Man-like, almost Troll-like,  figure, at least fourteen foot high, very sturdy, with a tall head, and hardly any neck. Whether it was clad in stuff like green and grey bark, or whether that was its hide, was difficult to say. At any rate the arms, at a short distance from the trunk, were not wrinkled, but covered with brown smooth skin. The large feet had seven toes each.
The lower part of the long face was covered with a sweeping grey beard, bushy almost twiggy at the roots, thin and mossy at the ends. But at the moment the hobbits noted little but the eyes. These deep eyes were now surveying them, slow and solemn, but very penetrating. They were brown, shot with a green light.

From The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers in the chapter ‘Treebeard’



‘Even as he spoke the dark edge of the forest loomed up straight before them.
Night seemed to take refuge under it’s great trees, creeping away from the coming Dawn.’


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 Posted by at 9:37 am