Forests in Fantasy, new oddball question


Has Danced with Dragons
Ok, so this is my new weird question for the Forum.

What are the most amazing enchanted forests/woods you'd encountered in fiction, especially (but not only) in fantasy and SF?
And what made the experience of reading about those woods so special?

Mine are: Mirkwood of course, and the Old Wood in the Shire.
What was so special: it gave a profound sense of why woods are enchanting and scary, especially how they drowse people's attention...

Second best is probably Sturdust's forest, especially the version drawn by Charles Vess.

What's yours?
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Journeyed there and back again
There is the forest in Memory, Sorrow and Thorn where elves can find a secret entrance to an Elf city but other people can't. It isn't a doorway or anything but just being an elf or being in the company of elves allows you to pass over into another realm. At least that's what I kinda remember. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong.


Journeyed there and back again
Fangorn is the one that stuck with me from Middle Earth probably because it's where the Ents originated.

There are a lot of awesome fantasy forests but I'm going to have to peak into some of my old books to jog my memory.

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
Nice topic!

Some memorable forests:
- LOTR > Mirkwood and Fangorn. Both have an ancient and mysterious feeling to them.
- Memory, Sorrow and Thorn > Like Khartun said, this one has a nice atmosphere too.
- Malazan > In Blood and Bone you'll find the most broody, sombre and magic-ridden forest you've ever encountered. I really liked the depiction of this forest/jungle.
- Conan the Barbarian > the books by Howard also contain some very atmospheric forests.


Journeyed there and back again
I enjoyed the forest of Alterra in the Elfhunter trilogy by C. S. Marks, one of the regular posters at the Amazon fantasy forum. The series gets very serious about elf civilizations and the threats to them by men and various monsters. The forest of course is their natural homeland and the source of many adventures and elf-lore. Highly recommended and the price is right.

Otherwise the forests of LOTR and The Hobbit are the best. Great topic Gio.


Journeyed there and back again
Haven't read it by I think Mythago Wood series by Robert Holdstock has something to do with enchanted woods?
The clue is kinda in the name... ;)

But yes, it was the first one I thought of. The concept of a forest whose heart is kinda a pocket dimension inhabited by the myths that inhabit humanity's head tickled me pink. Holdstock did a great job of writing it too, the way it changes and the strangeness of being that close to nature for a normal mostly urbanised human.

Other fantasy forests I love

Mossflower - Great place for childlike adventures
Fangorn and the Old Wood for reasons given

Will have to think more on this.

David Sims

Warded demons with Arlen
There are forests in the Land, in the world created for the Thomas Covenant series by Stephen R. Donaldson. In my opinion, Donaldson left these forests under-developed. He could have done more with them, mysterious things, meaningful things that lend an eerie aura to some of the tale. Monsters seen vaguely in the mist, whose nature is but poorly understood. Entire magical civilizations that are occasionally dimly seen but never entered, until one of its mischievous residents steals your shoes and disappears again.


Journeyed there and back again
Does the forest in Uprooted count? I thought it was well-done. Dunno if I'd call it 'iconic,' but it was a pretty neat and ominous thing.

Seconding Mythago Wood. Already been described fairly well above. The actual Mythago Wood book is also my favorite book, and I make it a point to avoid anything else in the 'series,' because subsequent books ruining the mystique of it (and Holdstock is dead, so he obviously doesn't need my money).

Darth Tater

Journeyed there and back again
Also recommend Niven's Inferno, where much (all?) of the background is closely based on Dante.
I think I will probably go with Neff’s very modern translation of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s original English translation of Inferno from Italian. It is written in regular narrative form but contains everything in the original poem.Yes, I understand that I will miss out on the original beauty of the poem which loses something regardless when translated from the Italian. But frankly, Scarlet I don’t give a damn. I’m allergic to poetryl likely because I’m much to to decipher the meaning and rarely understand it. So I plead ignorance. It is much more important to me to comprehend Dante’s important tale.

So I plan to start tomorrow or the day after. I stated my intention to do this after completing Dan Brown’s Inferno. As a bonus, I get to cross off “a horror story” and “a story not originally written in English” off @TomTB Reading Challenge” :cool:


Journeyed there and back again
The frontier forests near the Black and Thunder rivers of Howard's Hyborean age are pretty cool, along with the other 'mysterious, eerie, probably inhabited by malicious and blood-thirsty demon-apes' ones that are often nameless.
Mirkwood, Fangorn, and the Old Forest are all good contenders.

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
The frontier forests near the Black and Thunder rivers of Howard's Hyborean age are pretty cool, along with the other 'mysterious, eerie, probably inhabited by malicious and blood-thirsty demon-apes' ones that are often nameless.
Mirkwood, Fangorn, and the Old Forest are all good contenders.
The forests and jungles of Howard's stories are indeed amazing. You really feel the broody atmosphere.

Some time ago I read Blood and Bone by Esslemont (a Malazan story). It has the same feeling. Strangely enough one of the storylines almost felt a bit like your Anaimon story as well in an indefinable way. Could have been just me, but that's how it struck me when I read it.