Ok, learn something new every day. You know that scene in J.R.R Tolkien’s The Two Towers, when the giant tree-creatures known as Ents march on Saruman’s tower? Remind anybody of a certain Scottish play? Coincidence, you say?
Maybe not. From Tolkien’s letter #163 to W.H. Auden:
Take the Ents, for instance. I did not consciously invent them at all. The chapter called ‘Treebeard’, from Treebeard’s first remark on p. 66, was written off more or less as it stands, with an effect on my self (except for labour pains) almost like reading someone else’s work. And I like Ents now because they do not seem to have anything to do with me. I daresay something had been going on in the ‘unconscious’ for some time, and that accounts for my feeling throughout, especially when stuck, that I was not inventing but reporting (imperfectly) and had at times to wait till ‘what really happened’ came through. But looking back analytically I should say that Ents are composed of philology, literature, and life. They owe their name to the eald enta geweorc of Anglo-Saxon, and their connexion with stone. Their part in the story is due, I think, to my bitter disappointment and disgust from schooldays with the shabby use made in Shakespeare of the coming of ‘Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill’: I longed to devise a setting in which the trees might really march to war. And into this has crept a mere piece of experience, the difference of the ‘male’ and ‘female’ attitude to wild things, the difference between unpossessive love and gardening.
There you go – straight from Tolkien’s mouth. Or, pen. I’d provide a link, but unfortunately this comes from a PDF document that I received through …. ummm…..unlinkable means.
You have to admit, though – if we want to pit modern movie special effects against Shakespeare’s ability to paint a picture with words….the march of the Ents still rocks.
UPDATED: Found a link, here.