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Related: What is the inspiration behind Tolkien's Ents?

The Ents/Onodrim and Groot are both walking, "talking" (quotes in terms of Groot) tree-like beings. Groot was first shown in Marvel comics in Tales to Astonish #13 (1960) and Tolkien published The Lord of the Rings on the 29 July 1954, 11 November 1954 and the 20 October 1955, with the Ents first appearing in The Two Towers (11 November 1954). There was therefore around 6 years between them. Also on the LOTR fandom Wiki page for the Ents it states "The Marvel character Groot bears many similarities to Ents".

Considering how The Lord of the Rings became so iconic in world literature, as well as the short space of time between its publication and the introduction of Groot, was the character of Groot inspired by the Ents and is there any input from Groot's creators about this?

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    I asked Groot just now, and he said: "I am Groot". Does that answer your question? :) – James Douglas May 2 at 8:01
  • It's a little sad -at least to me- when a guy openly copies (like all the modern authors do) everything he can copy from thousands years of human literature, honestly admit it (which is perfectly fine), and a bunch of years later hordes of illiterate fanatics try to link everything to him... – motoDrizzt May 2 at 14:27
  • Not in the case of the Ents. I've read that they were Tolkien's most original creation, not based on any myths or folklore. – Shawn V. Wilson May 4 at 20:41
  • @motoDrizzt no need to be rude – James Douglas May 7 at 7:53
  • @ShawnV.Wilson: Intelligent/ talking trees have existed in mythology for thousands years. Tolkien wrote in the footnote of his letter 163 that he got inspiration for the Ent from MacBeth. Ent is an ancient anglo-saxon word for "giant". – motoDrizzt May 8 at 7:35
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While the Groot character was first introduced only five years after Lord of the Rings was first published, there does not seem to be any nod to fantasy. Rather, the character seems to originally have been more of a sci-fi monster "from outer space".

(check out this sweet cover)

Great Atlas monsters were also retconned to be major players in Earth-616’s history: Fin Fang Foom, Xemnu the Titan, Goom (and his son Googam), and Spragg the Living Hill. All of these monsters are branches on Groot’s family tree.

Source

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Well, this is a little tricky. Let me put forth some points before I answer this. Groot and the Ents are both:

  • Tree-like characters
  • Have the ability to speak

However, there are quite a few differences too:

  • Ents have a larger vocabulary (at least to the way it sounds to the humans/humanoids)
  • And Groot can't practically die, he can regenerate from even a small twig (as seen in GOTG vol.1), while the Ents can be actually killed.
  • Groot can grow at an extremely advanced speed at will, growing to his normal size from a twig or growing from his normal size to a giant form. On the other hand, the Ents cannot do so.

However, I found something interesting. According to ScreenRant's here (point # 8), the Ents were most likely the source that inspired Groot's character. Some other characters that were inspired by Ents included Warcraft's Skylanders, Dungeons & Dragons, and a character in C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia series.

CONCLUSION: It is not completely known if the Ents were a source, but they might as well be.

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