8 Famous Fictional Trees
Whether you’re waiting in the checkout line at the grocery store or flipping through channels on TV, you see celebrity faces everywhere. Are you tired of hearing about human celebrities? Then read about some arboreal celebrities instead. Here’s a list of eight famous fictional trees in books, movies, and videogames.
1. Groot – “Guardians of the Galaxy”
“Guardians of the Galaxy” turned some heads in Hollywood by breaking box office records in spite of the movie’s quirky theme. With a loudmouth raccoon and a talking tree, “Guardians of the Galaxy” isn’t your typical comic book movie.
Groot represents all the best qualities of real-life trees. He’s protective, sheltering, and sturdy. He might not have the most extensive vocabulary; his only words being “I am Groot”-but he still captured the hearts of moviegoers through his surprising personality and heroic actions.
2. The Whomping Willow – Harry Potter
The Harry Potter books have created a cultural tidal wave, and now we’re swimming in Harry Potter books, movies, toys, and games. There’s even a Harry Potter theme park here in Florida.
In the second book, young wizards Harry Potter and Ron Weasley crash their flying car into a sentient, ornery tree called the Whomping Willow. Upset at the intrusion, the tree attempts to whomp the young wizards, but they escape. In later books, readers find out that the Whomping Willow guards the entrance to a secret passage.
3. Sudowoodo – Pokémon
First seen in a pair of games for the Nintendo Game Boy, the tiny creatures known as Pokémon eventually spawned multiple television shows, films, video games, toys, and card games. The game’s tagline, “gotta catch ‘em all,” is now almost an impossible dream as there are simply too many varieties of Pokémon out there.
Sudowoodo is a Pokémon shaped like a strange, two-legged, bulbous tree. This Pokémon pretends to be a tree and can be quite a nuisance in the videogames. Sudowoodo blocks important paths and won’t move out of the way until the player squirts the tree-imitating Pokémon with a water bottle. (He is a Rock type, strange but true, instead of Grass like most other plant based okémon.)
4. Treebeard – “The Lord of the Rings”
J.R.R. Tolkien set out to create a mythology for his home country of England when he wrote his series “The Lord of the Rings.” Some might debate whether or not he achieved that goal, but there’s little doubt that his stories had a significant cultural impact.
Treebeard, also known as Fangorn, isn’t technically a tree. He is an Ent, or a “shepherd of the trees” who looks like a walking, talking tree himself. Plodding and long-winded, some readers might have skipped over Treebeard’s lines in the book. But every reader remembers the Ents’ exciting march to Isengard, where the Ents tear apart the evil wizard Saruman’s fortress.
5. The Sycamore Tree – “Flipped”
“Flipped,” a young-adult novel written by Wendelin Van Draanen, is both heartwarming and heartbreaking. The book was adapted to film several years later, and the movie stays true to the original text.
The main female character in the story, Juli, loves an old sycamore tree in the neighborhood. While this tree isn’t sentient or even named, when a landscaping crew cuts the tree down, Juli falls into depression. To Juli, the tree was something sturdy in her life that helped her see the world from a different vantage point-both literally and figuratively.
6. Grandmother Willow – “Pocahontas”
Disney’s animated film “Pocahontas” adds a lot of magical details to the historical account of the Native American girl. Disney also added the romance with Jamestown explorer John Smith, but that’s a whole different story.
Grandmother Willow is one of the magical additions in Disney’s take on Pocahontas. Wise, sharp, and sassy, the old willow tree offers Pocahontas sage advice, urging her to listen to the spirits of the earth-and to her heart-throughout the movie.
7. The Great Deku Tree – The Legend of Zelda
One of the most beloved videogames of all time, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time features the elfin boy Link, who must save the land from the dark-armored, red-headed villain Ganondorf.
Link’s first adventure begins when a fairy named Navi guides him to the Great Deku Tree. Ganondorf has cursed the tree, which Link enters to try to break the curse. Before the Great Deku Tree dies, it warns Link about Ganondorf and sends Link to visit Princess Zelda, so that Link can finally meet the videogame’s namesake. In later games trees from this original tree's seeds can be seen.
8. “The Giving Tree”
No famous tree list would be complete without a mention of “The Giving Tree.” Shel Silverstein, well known for his zany, charming children’s poems, wrote and illustrated this picture book in 1964. Despite its melancholy tone and subject matter, “The Giving Tree” is frequently heralded as one of the best children’s books of all time.
The simple plot of the book inspires multiple interpretations. Some find religious meaning in the story. Others believe the plot represents a cautionary tale about environmental ethics. Many think that the picture book depicts the relationship between a parent and a child. No matter the interpretation, the completely selfless attitude of the giving tree is unforgettable.
Trees are a popular subject for poets and storytellers. Something about the longevity and size of trees inspires writers, filmmakers, and even game designers to include trees as significant characters in their stories. Maybe someone will write a story about your tree someday-keep it trimmed and looking nice just in case.