1. A very ENTertaining piece, well researched and well written. Soon everyone will be ‘tolkien’ about it!

  2. Thank you for that thoughtful piece. Yes. Tolkien’s love of trees runs through Lord of the Rings like sap in livewood. I’m surprised you say he “was not known for his conservationist views” though. ‘The Scouring of the Shire’ (sadly omitted from the film of ‘The Return of the King’) shows his passionate hatred of the wrong kind of development. But in the song of the Ent and the Ent-wife, he celebrates both wild nature and benign cultivation.

    Tolkien and CS Lewis were great friends, of course. They and other like-minded writers used to meet regularly in Oxford pubs and in their college rooms – the group was known as the Inklings. They obviously chatted about fighting trees. In Tolkien’s ‘The Two Towers’, the Ents shepherd trees called Huorns which mop up the Orcs after the battle of Helm’s Deep. In CS Lewis’s ‘Prince Caspian’ the Narnian walking trees go into battle and terrify the Telmarines.

    In the final Narnia chronicle, ‘The Last Battle’, a dryad comes to tell the Narnian king Tirian about the destruction of trees and dies in front of the King as her tree is felled.

    But what if the dryads could fight back? That was the starting point of my e-novel ‘Root Rage’. Melia, the angry dryad of a great ash tree that has been cut down to build a motorway, encounters a old pollard willow who sometimes revenges himself on humans by singing them to sleep and feeding them dreams. He is of course, a straight reference to Old Man Willow in the Old Forest in ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’, who sings the hobbits to sleep and traps them (another sequence missing from the film). This willow teaches Melia how to insert a spirit root into human minds. And she goes off and … but you’ll have to read the book to find out …

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