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Treebeard’s Symbolic Role in Folklore, Environmental Protection and Eco-Critical Awareness

Luna's sixth Call for Papers, Not the Fellowship. Dragons Welcome! is now in pre-order and will be released on Tuesday 14th of June. Artwork, by Jay Johnstone. Here is a chance to discover the 11 brilliant papers you will find in the book, in reverse order of appearance.

Today, we would like to introduce you to Amie A. Brochu, presenting the paper: "Steward of Trees and Forests: Treebeard’s Symbolic Role in Folklore, Environmental Protection and Eco-Critical Awareness"


J.R.R. Tolkien’s strong connections to nature and concern for its preservation are well articulated throughout his written works, artistic illustrations and personal correspondences. Within his veneration for the natural world, trees are considered among his most favoured subjects and nowhere is this made more evident in the detailed and thoughtfully constructed character of Treebeard. Through a critical character analysis, I posit that Tolkien’s views of nature positions Treebeard as defender of the natural world and the quintessential male archetype of strength and wisdom reminiscent of the masculine symbolism of the oak tree. To further examine the aforementioned character, I will offer an exploration of Tolkien’s fondness of nature with an analysis of tree and forest folklore as the inspirational and gendered backdrop for Treebeard and the Ents. The discussion will continue to explore the patriarchal division of nature conceived through the Ents and Entwives embodied by Treebeard’s positioning as the paradigmatic warrior, hero and decision-maker. I will also draw significance to Treebeard’s figurative role as nature protector and preserver by way of a critical analysis of the neo-colonial exploitation of resources perpetuating environmental destruction and socio-economic disadvantage.

About Amie A. Brochu:

Amie Angèle Brochu has over 15 years of direct social and residential care experience working with vulnerable populations in mental health, education and the non-profit sector. Her educational background in social work, women’s and gender studies and psychology nurtures her research interests in critical theory, reflexivity, and social justice. Amie is currently a sessional lecturer with the School of Social Work at Dalhousie University in Atlantic Canada.

From a young age, stories of wizardry and magic have captivated her. Even as she completed a master’s degree in social work, Amie skilfully wove fantasy narratives into her research project. She is currently undertaking a PhD at Middlesex University London, UK exploring the progressive potential of fantasy literature in fostering a trans-liminal space contributing to individual, collective and social transformation. When Amie is not researching, writing or teaching she enjoys beachcombing, live theatre, and exploring historical medieval sites. You can usually find her writing in her favourite Muskoka chair with a glass of Korean Boba milk tea.

Not the Fellowship. Dragons Welcome!


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