Tolkien’s Trees and Wonderful Transformation

This article is part of the Eucatastrophe “Top Ten” sent out to all new subscribers.

If I had the privilege of serving as executive producer for an upcoming Tolkien flick—either big screen or television—I know how I would craft the opening scene. Sunbeams would swiftly rise over a mountain peak. This leading camera shot would roll our vision into a shimmering, green-grass field with morning mist. The shot would then take us up close on a lone tree in the center of the dew-dripped, steaming field. The stately tree would be beautifully shimmering with golden leaves. Suddenly, the pervasive steam would wisp upward into a smoke-like ring. Then, with gathering momentum, it would rush with rapid descent into the stump of a pipe. Viewers would discover the pipe to be in the mouth of a middle-aged author seated on a felled log, sketching words in Elvish script…