riddle me this, o tolkien nerds: the fractal dimensionality of fangorn

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""Hm! Here we are!" said Treebeard, breaking his long silence. "I have brought you about seventy thousand ent-strides, but what that comes to in the measurement of your land I do not know."’

mark s (mark s), Saturday, 25 September 2004 10:25 (eighteen years ago) link

OK Treebeard is (at least) 14ft tall, so a stride of (at least) two metres is surely MINIMALLY plausible - but this wd mean Treebeard carries Merry and Pippin for 140 kilometres!! Fangorn is only abt 50 miles across and 70 tall!

for these numbers to be correct, ents have to walk w.like tiny little skittery steps!!

mark s (mark s), Saturday, 25 September 2004 10:26 (eighteen years ago) link

hence i think something weird and dimensional is going on, like in dr who

mark s (mark s), Saturday, 25 September 2004 10:30 (eighteen years ago) link

I reckon one ent stride is around 10 feet. So, 700,000 feet...Around 460?

jel -- (jel), Saturday, 25 September 2004 10:32 (eighteen years ago) link

I'm just judging by the film.

I had a lot of trouble finding out how many feet were in a mile.

jel -- (jel), Saturday, 25 September 2004 10:33 (eighteen years ago) link

460 miles? then fangorn = a woody tardis!!

(10 feet per stride for a 14-ft being? i guess if ents are all abt the legs, maybe?)

mark s (mark s), Saturday, 25 September 2004 10:36 (eighteen years ago) link

here's something totally cool btw jel:

type "how many feet in a mile" into google and press submit!!

mark s (mark s), Saturday, 25 September 2004 10:37 (eighteen years ago) link

scale of ents in film = v.misleading cz we only see them close up w.hobbits (which = little)

mark s (mark s), Saturday, 25 September 2004 10:38 (eighteen years ago) link

hah, oh I get around 130 miles this time!

When people ask for homework advice on ILx, we should redirect them to wronganswers.com

jel -- (jel), Saturday, 25 September 2004 10:40 (eighteen years ago) link

aren't we assuming that Treebeard was completely logical and Euclidian in the way he made the journey? Maybe there were bits where he got a bit lost and retraced his steps, or went round in circles and even if he had the Middle earth A-Z under one of his branches to consult he would still have to make detours to avoid obstacles in his path.

MarkH (MarkH), Saturday, 25 September 2004 10:44 (eighteen years ago) link

sorry, rural area, for A-Z read Ordnance Survey, obv.

MarkH (MarkH), Saturday, 25 September 2004 10:44 (eighteen years ago) link

Mark H has a point, they were lost in the woods, kinda like Blair Witch but with hobbits.

jel -- (jel), Saturday, 25 September 2004 10:45 (eighteen years ago) link

we could just ask the Ents Rep.

MarkH (MarkH), Saturday, 25 September 2004 10:48 (eighteen years ago) link

i doubt treebeard got lost much, though, he's been patrolling that forest since the First Age surely? but yes, detours for obstacles wd add to the actual number of steps (steps = not strictly the same as strides but whatever)

if we think abt this v.v.v.hard we may be able to calculate the fractal decimal of the intra-dimensionality of the average step-per-step deviation from a straight line required for an ent-path to get from A-B in fangorn!

mark s (mark s), Saturday, 25 September 2004 10:51 (eighteen years ago) link

hurrah!

mark s (mark s), Saturday, 25 September 2004 10:51 (eighteen years ago) link

Maybe Tolkien JUST DIDN'T COUNT!!! OH NO!!! COULD THE OL'PEDANT HAVE DONE SUCH A THING??!!

Tuomas (Tuomas), Saturday, 25 September 2004 10:52 (eighteen years ago) link

quiet tuomas, i'm calculating the density of trees per square ent-stride necessary for this figure to be correct

mark s (mark s), Saturday, 25 September 2004 10:54 (eighteen years ago) link

The fact that this discussion exists is kinda sad and beautiful at the same time.

Tuomas (Tuomas), Saturday, 25 September 2004 10:55 (eighteen years ago) link

sh!

mark s (mark s), Saturday, 25 September 2004 10:58 (eighteen years ago) link

possible clues as to tree-density in fangorn:

http://ltrtm.free.fr/images/foret_de_fangorn.jpg

(but again the problematic of scale: yes there's a a figure for comparison but is it a man an elf or - unlikely - a hobbit?)

mark s (mark s), Saturday, 25 September 2004 11:09 (eighteen years ago) link

They could take lots of small steps, kind of moving one root-leg at a time, not making too much progress with any one leg movement - kind of like a spider, if you see what I mean. So a 'stride' may not be much at all. Getting lost is pretty unlikely, and there would surely be enough sense of purpose, even urgency, not to take a much lengthier scenic route.

Are we sure ents can count? Might he have been lying to pad his part?

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Saturday, 25 September 2004 11:38 (eighteen years ago) link

unreliable character.

Jarlr'mai (jarlrmai), Saturday, 25 September 2004 12:25 (eighteen years ago) link

Hold on, that figure is actually Beleg from the tale of Turin Turambar. He just reworked the image later for LOTR. (You can see Gwindor collapsed at the foot of the big tree in the middle.)

Ned Raggett (Ned), Saturday, 25 September 2004 13:04 (eighteen years ago) link

maybe when he first painted it he THOUGHT it wz beleg and gwindor but afterwds realised it wz actually merry and pippin?

mark s (mark s), Saturday, 25 September 2004 13:25 (eighteen years ago) link

But he painted it back in the twenties I thought. Hm.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Saturday, 25 September 2004 13:27 (eighteen years ago) link

yes but lots of the stuff he first thought up in the 20s wz wrong eg calling the deep elves GNOMES!!

mark s (mark s), Saturday, 25 September 2004 13:30 (eighteen years ago) link

Haha, now I have this image of Tolkien channelling things like Ramtha.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Saturday, 25 September 2004 13:31 (eighteen years ago) link

"wrong"

MarkH (MarkH), Saturday, 25 September 2004 14:11 (eighteen years ago) link

The Ents seemed to be pretty much stomping quickly in the film.

jel -- (jel), Saturday, 25 September 2004 14:14 (eighteen years ago) link

"Almost felt you liked the Forest! That's good! That's uncommonly kind of you... Turn around and let me have a look at your faces. I almost feel that I dislike you both, but let us not be hasty" = proof conclusive that this here Treebeard character wz based in the Pinefox!!

mark s (mark s), Saturday, 25 September 2004 14:18 (eighteen years ago) link

The Pinefox has a tree inside him?

jel -- (jel), Saturday, 25 September 2004 14:20 (eighteen years ago) link

Or maybe the Pinefox was inside a tree.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Saturday, 25 September 2004 14:41 (eighteen years ago) link

Escher to thread!

jel -- (jel), Saturday, 25 September 2004 14:44 (eighteen years ago) link

The mind boggles at the thought of such. BOGGLES

johnny z (johnny z), Saturday, 25 September 2004 14:52 (eighteen years ago) link

The Entfox

Ned Raggett (Ned), Saturday, 25 September 2004 14:54 (eighteen years ago) link

If Treebeard was The Pinefox, who was Jerry The Nipper?

Ricardo (RickyT), Saturday, 25 September 2004 17:30 (eighteen years ago) link

radagast the brown

mark s (mark s), Saturday, 25 September 2004 17:31 (eighteen years ago) link

You mean he breathlessly rides around looking wizards while talking to birds?

Ned Raggett (Ned), Saturday, 25 September 2004 17:31 (eighteen years ago) link

Looking FOR wizards, I should say.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Saturday, 25 September 2004 17:32 (eighteen years ago) link

it works on so many levels!

mark s (mark s), Saturday, 25 September 2004 17:32 (eighteen years ago) link

Hm, it does, doesn't it!

Ned Raggett (Ned), Saturday, 25 September 2004 17:34 (eighteen years ago) link

OK, if Fangorn is 50*70 and kinda roughly rectangular, that gives us a diagonal of about 85 miles. Which is about 135 km. So it's not entirely ridiculous that Fangorn could have walked 70,000 two metre strides.

Ricardo (RickyT), Saturday, 25 September 2004 17:34 (eighteen years ago) link

i think markH's point is actually pretty good, esp.if we assume fangorn to be genuine full-on virgin forest (which tolk's painting ain't obv but i doubt he'd ever seen any since there hasn't been any the the uk since abt the 12th century): that wd require lots of non as-crow-flies sidestepping

so it does work kinda sorta borderline just about, if you allow sidesteppage of i dunno, two strides for every one diagonal - think of the other two sides of an equilateral triangle

(is that a fractal dimensionality of 1.5? i forget how to calculate it)

(i think if TB had walked the *entire* SE->NW diagonal, tolk wd have said: it's surely not a day's journey - judged by onset of hobbithunger - and plus a little later, aragorn, gimli and legolam get major props from the rohirrim for running 135 miles in three days)

mark s (mark s), Saturday, 25 September 2004 17:45 (eighteen years ago) link

i doubt he'd ever seen any

He did a number of European hiking trips when younger, in Switzerland in particular, possibly he saw something more like it then? Admittedly just as settled and gone over I'm sure but the ruggedness of the land would probably allow for wilder conditions.

legolam

I trust this was intentional. ;-)

Ned Raggett (Ned), Saturday, 25 September 2004 17:54 (eighteen years ago) link

eleven years pass...

tolkien never uses the subjunctive EVER! each time he writes "was" instead of "were" it goes clangggggg in my mind.

i think dwarves use the subjunctive. be he himself doesn't.

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Thursday, 5 May 2016 22:57 (six years ago) link

be = but

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Thursday, 5 May 2016 22:57 (six years ago) link

six years pass...

time for more cats* among other pigeons folks**

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/sjp.12477 : The Wretched of Middle-Earth: An Orcish Manifesto (Charles W. Mills)

*queen beruthiel's cats obv
**does the team have opinions?

mark s, Wednesday, 21 September 2022 11:09 (one week ago) link

also note my proof upthread that treebeard is based on the pinefox :D

mark s, Wednesday, 21 September 2022 11:32 (one week ago) link


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