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The Ents were walking and talking tree-like beings who dwelled in Forests, most famously Fangorn Forest. What was the original purpose for Ents in Middle-Earth?

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    Creation by Eru, or creation by Tolkien? – Superbest Sep 13 '16 at 23:09
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To protect plantlife that otherwise could not protect itself (especially from Dwarves)

[T]he kelvar can flee or defend themselves, whereas the olvar that grow cannot. And among these I [Yavanna] hold trees dear. Long in the growing, swift shall they be in the felling, and unless they pay toll with fruit upon bough little mourned in their passing. So I see in my thought. Would that the trees might speak on behalf of all things that have roots, and punish those that wrong them!'

[...]

'O Kementári, Eru hath spoken, saying: "Do then any of the Valar suppose that I did not hear all the Song, even the least sound of the least voice? Behold! When the Children awake, then the thought of Yavanna will awake also, and it will summon spirits from afar, and they will go among the kelvar and the olvar, and some will dwell therein, and be held in reverence, and their just anger shall be feared.

[...]

[I]n the forests shall walk the Shepherds of the Trees.'

Then Manwë and Yavanna parted for that time, and Yavanna returned to Aulë; and he was in his smithy, pouring molten metal into a mould. 'Eru is bountiful,' she said. 'Now let thy children beware! For there shall walk a power in the forests whose wrath they will arouse at their peril.'

The Silmarillion III Quenta Silmarillion Chapter 2: "Of Aulë and Yavanna"

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    Yavanna to Aulë: “Hey, those dwarves you made behind my back won’t like trees, you jerk!” Aulë: “They’ll love trees! They’ll need their lumber to build stuff.” – Molag Bal Sep 13 '16 at 2:02
  • Before reaching "you jerk" with my eyes, I was more than sure, that you're actually citing some work of J.R.R. Tolkien. – trejder Sep 13 '16 at 11:22
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    @trejder It's a pretty accurate paraphrasing of what Tolkien did write; Jason Baker omitted Aulë's response from his quote. "'Nonetheless they will have need of wood,' said Aulë, and he went on with his smith-work." – chepner Sep 13 '16 at 12:08
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    @DevSolar Other way around. "Elves began it, of course, waking trees up and teaching them to speak and learning their tree-talk." (*The Two Towers, Book III, Chapter 4, "Treebeard") – Matt Gutting Sep 13 '16 at 18:07
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    Ents would be an excellent addition to Dwarf Fortress. The trees present during the initial embark would be excluded, but new ones would have a chance to spawn an ent when cut down. Or maybe it should be a curse that happens when you anger the elves. – John Dvorak Sep 13 '16 at 19:48

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