58

Whilst rereading The Lord of the Rings, I came to the part with the Ents. Curiously, the book gives the impression that there were many Ents at the Entmoot, or at least far more than the movie would suggest.

Ergo, I was wondering if there was a specific number, or a rough estimate as to how many Ents were supposedly present at the Entmoot.

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    Possibly it was all of them? – Seeds Jan 18 '17 at 23:24
  • 65
    This Entire question is moot... Aaaaaand I'm out! – Möoz Jan 19 '17 at 0:25
  • The movie doesn't really make it clear how many ents there are at entmoot. As far as I can remember, there was no video of the meeting actually in session. Certainly no shot that shows everybody present at once. When it shows the ents marching to Isengard, there certainly seem to be a lot of them – Daniel Jan 19 '17 at 3:01
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    @Daniel, there is definitely a scene at the entmoot in the movie, but it might only be in the extended special edition. – Wildcard Jan 19 '17 at 4:04
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    @Daniel there's about 8-10 in the extended edition of the film – Edlothiad Jan 19 '17 at 8:12
71

There were a few, but not very many.

The closest thing we get to a number is here:

Altogether there were about two dozen standing on the wide grassy floor of the dingle, and as many more were marching in.
The Two Towers - Book Three: Chapter 4, Treebeard

This would suggest about 48. There is no further mention of concrete numbers after this point.

There is a mention of the variety of Ents, suggesting there were quite a few, however around 50 seems to cover the variation:

At first Merry and Pippin were struck chiefly by the variety that they saw: the many shapes, and colours, the differences in girth, and height, and length of leg and arm; and in the number of toes and fingers.
ibid.

Pippin then goes on to list another 8 or so types of trees that they could've been.

A few seemed more or less related to Treebeard, and reminded them of beech-trees or oaks. But there were other kinds. Some recalled the chestnut: brown-skinned Ents with large splayfingered hands, and short thick legs. Some recalled the ash: tall straight grey Ents with many-fingered hands and long legs; some the fir (the tallest Ents), and others the birch, the rowan, and the linden.
ibid.

The first mention of numbers, suggests something in the 20s, but then again that's only as Treebeard walks in:

Several Ents had already arrived. More were coming in down the other paths, and some were now following Treebeard.
ibid.

The initial description already lists 4 types of tree at various different "ages":

...some as different as one tree-kind from another, as birch from beech, oak from fir. There were a few older Ents, bearded and gnarled like hale but ancient trees (though none looked as ancient as Treebeard); and there were tall strong Ents, clean-limbed and smooth-skinned like forest-trees in their prime;
ibid.

If we look at Pippin's descriptions, he suggests that a few seemed related to Treebeard, suggesting around 3 to 5 Ents. Now extrapolating that for the other types, the chestnut, ash and fir all got some form of description, possibly suggesting enough were there to generalise (5-8) and the final 3 had enough to distinguish, which we could assume to be around 3-5 again. Taking the upper and lower bounds, we get about 27 as the minimum up to about 44.

In conclusion, there were definitely more than there were in the movies, but even then there were only around 50 or so Ents, however no specific number is given.

36

Tolkien isn't precise but it seems to be at least 48

Several Ents had already arrived. More were coming in down the other paths, and some were now following Treebeard. As they drew near the hobbits gazed at them. They had expected to see a number of creatures as much like Treebeard as one hobbit is like another (at any rate to a stranger’s eye); and they were very much surprised to see nothing of the kind.

The Ents were as different from one another as trees from trees: some as different as one tree is from another of the same name but quite different growth and history; and some as different as one tree-kind from another, as birch from beech, oak from fir.

There were a few older Ents, bearded and gnarled like hale but ancient trees (though none looked as ancient as Treebeard); and there were tall strong Ents, clean-limbed and smooth-skinned like forest-trees in their prime; but there were no young Ents, no saplings.

Altogether there were about two dozen standing on the wide grassy floor of the dingle, and as many more were marching in.

Treebeard - The Two Towers - JRR Tolkien

1

In the end of Chapter 4 (Treebeard) of The Two Towers, there is another excerpt soon after the Entmoot where above 50 Ents were following Treebeard in direction of Isengard, corroborating the already mentioned estimate of 48 Ents:

Before long they saw the marching line approaching: the Ents were swinging along with great strides down the slope towards them. Treebeard was at their head, and some fifty followers were behind him, two abreast, keeping step with their feet and beating time with their hands upon their flanks. As they drew near the flash and flicker of their eyes could be seen.

In relation to the total number of Ents in the Fangor Forest, before the Entmoot, Treebeard said "a fair number promised to come", so it's possible that a larger number of Ents live in the Forest.

'Hoo, eh? Entmoot?' said Treebeard, turning round. 'It is not a place, it is a gathering of Ents – which does not often happen nowadays. But I have managed to make a fair number promise to come. We shall meet in the place where we have always met: Derndingle Men call it. It is away south from here. We must be there before noon.'

  • Neither of these give us a number as to how many were at the Entmoot. Interesting details none the less. – Edlothiad Sep 8 '17 at 6:16
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    @Edlothiad, since it happened immediately after Entmoot ended, I thought it can be used as an estimate, unless there are some Ents who entered the march after Entmoot or some Ents in Entmoot who choose to don't go to Isengard, and there is no mention of that soon after Entmoot (although it is suggested in the end of chapter that more tree creatures, possibly Huorns, joined the march) – Brian Hellekin Sep 8 '17 at 13:59

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