- Treebeard, the oldest of Middle-earth beings, befriended Merry and Pippin and played a pivotal role in the fight against Saruman in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.
- Tolkien provided few specifics about Treebeard’s age, but he is estimated to be at least 11,000 years old, having tended to the trees before the Elves woke up in Middle-earth.
- Ents like Treebeard possess devastating physical strength and have a harmonious fluency in communicating with the beings of the forest, turning the tide of the fight against Sauron’s servant in a powerful display.
Treebeard is among the more mysterious characters in The Lord of the Rings, with much of his history and power only implied rather than overtly stated. The tree-like being, who was also named Fangorn, told the Hobbits, Merry and Pippin, a fraction of his story, and Gandalf later provided a bit more about the old tree as he talked with Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. This allows us to understand who this oldest of Middle-earth beings was, where he came from, and how long he tended to the trees in Fanghorn Forest.
Treebeard befriended Merry and Pippin after they escaped from the Orcs, and his decision to get the Ents involved in the fight against Saruman was pivotal in the end result of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. A guardian of Middle-earth’s trees, Treebeard was excruciatingly patient, speaking slowly and making decisions at an even slower pace still. He claimed no interest in taking sides in wars since he believed no one was wholly on his side, but it’s clear from beginning to end of The Lord of the Rings that Treebeard was a solidly good character—which is fortunate since his aged wisdom and extreme strength would have made him a formidable foe.
Treebeard Is At Least 11,000 Years Old In Lord Of The Rings
Tolkien didn’t provide many specifics regarding Treebeard’s age, but Gandalf once mentioned that he was the “oldest of the Ents” and the “oldest living thing that still walks beneath the Sun upon this Middle-earth.” Treebeard himself provided a more specific answer to this question, telling Merry and Pippin that he was tending to the trees before the Elves first woke up in Middle-earth.
The Elves were created by the god of The Lord of the Rings, Eru Ilúvatar, and placed in a slumber in Middle-earth until it was time for them to begin their lives. Their awakening is estimated to have occurred a little over 11,000 years before the events of The Lord of the Rings. Treebeard’s claim suggests that he witnessed this, so he must have been at least this old when he met the Hobbits in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. However, since Middle-earth was already about 43,000 years old when the Elves woke up, Treebeard could still have been much older.
Treebeard’s character is believed to be based on Tolkien’s friend, author C.S. Lewis.
Treebeard’s Power & Ent Strength Explained
Ents are believed to have been created by the Vala Yavanna (with the help of Eru Ilúvatar and the Secret Flame), who desired beings to protect the beloved forests she had fostered in Middle-earth. Yavanna was never a fighter, so her shepherds weren’t designed to be destructive or instruments of war. However, they needed to be as unyielding as the trees they were tasked to care for. Therefore, Ents like Treebeard are described as having devastating strength. This is seen in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, when the tree shepherds of Middle-earth easily laid waste to Saruman’s stronghold.
Aside from their immense physical strength, Ents aren’t thought to have powers like that of wizards or even Elves. However, they have a sort of harmonious fluency in communicating with the beings of the forest. When Treebeard and his fellow Ents headed for Isengard in The Two Towers, other tree beings called Huorns headed to Helm’s Deep to assist Rohan in the fight against Saruman’s Uruk-hai. With subtlety, patience, and strength, Treebeard seemed to effortlessly turn the tide of the fight against Sauron’s corrupted servant, demonstrating just how powerful the ancient being of The Lord of the Rings truly was.