The Ents seem to have considerable animosity toward the Dwarfs

After the Dwarves were put to sleep by Eru to await the coming of the Elves, the Vala Aulë told his wife Yavanna, "the lover of all things that grow in the earth,"[T 6] of the Dwarves. She replied, "They will delve in the earth, and the things that grow and live upon the earth they will not heed. Many a tree shall feel the bite of their iron without pity." She went to Manwë and appealed to him to protect the trees, and they realized that Ents, too, were part of the Song of Creation. Yavanna then warned Aulë, "Now let thy children beware! For there shall walk a power in the forests whose wrath they will arouse at their peril." The Ents are called "the Shepherds of the Trees". Much later, when Beren and a force of Green Elves waylay the force of Dwarves returning from the sack of Doriath, the Dwarves are routed and scatter into the wood, where the Shepherds of the Trees ensure that none escape.

Wikipedia: Ent

Given that theirs seems to be an ancient grudge, why then did Treebeard not attack Gimli, or vice versa, when they encountered each other in The Two Towers?

You would think that at the very least there should have been some mutual suspicions and disdainful comments. I would think an answer may consider other interactions between dwarves and ents, if this gives more of a view into the general sentiment between them.

  • 2
    Because it would spoil the plot that Tolkien had in mind? Commented Sep 22, 2023 at 11:10
  • Still, could have consistency. At least a comment, like, "hey, who brought the f'in dwarf!" could have occurred. Guess ppl don't like such questions, I fail to see any unclarity.
    – user167831
    Commented Sep 22, 2023 at 11:14
  • 4
    That isn't Ents killing Dwarves in general, it's Ents retaliating against a specific group of Dwarves who just attacked their friends. There isn't the level of animosity you're suggesting, though Treebeard is a bit uneasy that Gimli owns an axe.
    – Nolimon
    Commented Sep 22, 2023 at 13:12
  • 1
    Attacking Gimli right away would be very hasty indeed.
    – Sam Azon
    Commented Sep 22, 2023 at 16:50
  • 1
    @user14094230 - They're very much against anyone that cuts down trees
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 22, 2023 at 19:22

1 Answer 1


There was indeed some animosity expressed

‘I will come, if I have the fortune,’ said Legolas. ‘I have made a bargain with my friend that, if all goes well, we will visit Fangorn together – by your leave.’

‘Any Elf that comes with you will be welcome,’ said Treebeard.

‘The friend I speak of is not an Elf,’ said Legolas; ‘I mean Gimli, Glóin’s son here.’ Gimli bowed low, and the axe slipped from his belt and clattered on the ground.

‘Hoom, hm! Ah now,’ said Treebeard, looking dark-eyed at him. ‘A dwarf and an axe-bearer! Hoom! I have good will to Elves; but you ask much. This is a strange friendship!’

‘Strange it may seem,’ said Legolas; ‘but while Gimli lives I shall not come to Fangorn alone. His axe is not for trees, but for orc-necks, O Fangorn, Master of Fangorn’s Wood. Forty-two he hewed in the battle.’

‘Hoo! Come now!’ said Treebeard. ‘That is a better story! Well, well, things will go as they will; and there is no need to hurry to meet them. But now we must part for a while. Day is drawing to an end, yet Gandalf says you must go ere nightfall, and the Lord of the Mark is eager for his own house.’
The Lord of the Rings - Book III - Chapter 10 - "The Voice of Saruman"

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