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Minas Tirith Forums » Library Council of Minas Tirith » What was Old Man Willow?
Author Topic: What was Old Man Willow?
ZENITH
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Now what was old man willow?
your thoughts please!

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From: The Mens Room. ENGLAND | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Kosomot
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An evil Huorn.
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ZENITH
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Ive always thought that but for some reason I have a nagging thought in the back of my head that says no.
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Roll of Honor Gandalf the White
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It does not exactly say what Old Man Willow was I don't think, but we do know that the Old Forest and Fangorn are related to each other. The relation between them is that they both have ents and huorns in them, thought we are not told they are ents in the Old Forest, we can assume so since they did move on their own.

It seems that the ents in Fangorn are much friendlier than the ents in the Old Forest though, because the ents (or huorns) in the Old Forest tried to block the hobbits in, and Old Man Willow attacked them. The ents in Fangorn welcomed Merry and Pippin into the forest, and took care of them. Quite a difference.

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Fëanáro
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There are NOT Ents or Huorns in the Old Forest! All they are is trees that have partially 'woken up' Some trees COULD move. This is stated very clearly by Fangorn (Treebeard) 'Sheep get like sheperds, and shepersd get like sheep, but it is much closer and quicker with Ents and Trees' 'some of those trees had voices of their own and could speek to me' . These might not be quite write, but their close enough. If an ent can almost become a tree, then wy couldn't a tree almost become an Ent?
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Roll of Honor Kosomot
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A partially woken up tree could be called a Huorn, or something close related to a one.
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Roll of Honor Thorondor
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I've always thought that the Huorns were special trees that could move about, and that Old Man Willow was just a particularly nasty tree.

It's hard to say whether the trees of the old forest can move or just "seem" to move. Tom's description of OMW seems to imply that he does not move about, but that he is especially ba hearted and has far reaching power.

It's tough to say whether the Huorns of Fanhorn and "woken-up" trees that Treebeard describes are the same thing as OMW.

In reviewing the text I am struck by the passage that says of OMW, "his song and thought ran through the woods". He and Tom both use song to influence their world. An interesting thing to ponder.

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Dingalen
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"Song" is an often used metaphor for magic in mythology - and especially in Prof. Tolkien's. But here it implies an ancient & harmonic way of communication that is reminiscent of the tales from the Silmarilion. The basic ideas is that trees do not speak - but on middle earth anything living is accorded some degree of sentience - and so the sentient (woken) trees have their means of communication. Which is the song of an ent or old man willow.

And whatever name you give it (huorn, awakened tree, old man willow) - it is an active tree, begrudging the younger races their dominance and mobility.

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Mirkgirl
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OMW was one more mystery of the Old Wood.
It made three with Goldberry and Tom.
Good number, don't you think?
Maybe they were all one-of-its-kind creatures.

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Neff
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Old Man Willow was a disturbed and misunderstood ent that had a sad childhood... in other words I think he was a Huorn.
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Dingalen
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Did you use the expression "I think" with that statement?
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ZENITH
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[]

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The one and only ZENCHEN™
Citzen #88 according to the oldbies
Oh that reminds me Zen, YOU ROCK man! - Whyte Chyld Wyelder
...shooting newbies is like smoking pot, its technically illegal, but everyone does it anyway-OSSY *Drools at Avatar*
And I figure if Zen doesn't know it, it's probably not WORTH knowing... - Cloudstrife
Zillionaire Exchanging Naughty, Intense, Thrilling Hugs
The Most Crazy CitiZEN

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Neff
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HA-HA-HA. Lighten up. It was a joke. 'I belive Old Man Willow was a Huorn.' Is that a good way to re-phrase what I said.

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We are shaped and changed by what we love.
-Goethe

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Imbëar
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Old Man willow was Nature activated.
To the subjective mind, objective Nature is doomed to appear hostile.
I believe the Willow serves this warning:
if the hobbits falter, or nap too long, the world will consume them. It is a subtle reminder that life is brief, an hour upon the stage, and we haven't much time to work our own magic, chant our own song.

The Withywindle, wayward wander, wither-do-ye-windle(wind)? Hmm, something purposefully resonant about the name, no?
Anyhow, the morning is green and fair, with seeming stark clarity from the bald hill - perhaps the dome of the head, the confidence of the fertile mind in youth.
The day is spent toiling along a rut clear enough, but a clear rut similar to a forest unperceived for the thickness of its trees.
The afternoon is calm and dizzying after the veritable Storm of Middle Age - the yellowing leaves lull us to sleep, we accept the lazy brown current of the stream, and we sleep along the bank, just for a moment, and are caught in the roots of eternity - food for the gods, in a very soylent sense.

Or so it would seem to speak to me. It is a powerfully convincing episode, a narrowly avoided disaster. But that's part of it; life is comprised of many small disasters that prepare us for that one big, happy one.

Imbëar

[ 02-14-2002, 09:06 PM: Message edited by: Imbëar ]

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Dingalen
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Your ability to distill poetical philosophical interpretations sometimes frigthens me. Nature is not as good natured as in fairy tale - as it has to obey the same impersonal physical laws as the rest of creation. But why illuminating this scene in particular in such a dramatic light?
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Snöwdog
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Pretty much everything about the Old Forest is a mysterious anomaly. You have Old Man Willow who seemed to have power to influence yet likely stayed by the banks of the Withywindle at the heart of the forest. The Withywindle itself was a somewhat enchanted river that Old Man Willow drank from. I believe Old Man Willow was an ancient tree that grew dark in heart, but wasn't an ent. He despised that which walked freely.
From: In the Shadows of Annuminas | Registered: Aug 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Flammifer
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Howdy Snowdog

I notice all the posts above yours are from 12 years ago.
I wonder how many folks are still around?

Anyway I agree with you that Old Man Willow wasn't an Ent, nor was he a Huorn, as you say he hated those that were free to move about. And he seemed to me pretty well "rooted" in spot.

I see him just as an anomaly like Tom & Goldberry.

Cheers [] []

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Hamfast Gamgee
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And where did the fog on the Barrow-Downs come from?
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Snöwdog
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quote:
Howdy Snowdog

I notice all the posts above yours are from 12 years ago.
I wonder how many folks are still around?

I am the dumpster-diver of threads. I like combing through the parchments that lie in the depths of the White City. No matter the age, much good discussion was made over the last decade+, and much more could be added should people be inclined to. I've on occasion tripped a few auto email notifications that has led citizens long forgotten back here. []

Zenith is around still on occasion, usually when he isn't out fishing.

The whole tale of The Old Forest, The Withywindle, Tom & Goldberry, and maybe the leading edge of the Barrow Downs is a bit of transition tale used by Tolkien but never developed any further in the story because it didn't need to be. Good for speculation though.

Back to Old Man Willow, he was a seedling in the earliest days of Middle Earth.

From: In the Shadows of Annuminas | Registered: Aug 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Iarwain
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I've always thought of omw as the grumpy teenager. When Yavanna went through awakening the trees it was kind of "oh mum, it's too early, just five more minutes"!

I've always wondered about the withywindle and the enchanted river in mirkwood. Would there be other malevolent trees stalking around. Maybe even in the north downs of the shire?

Snöwdog is a great dumpster diver! Even a re animator at times. The necromancer of threads. (Tip of the hat)

[ 10-18-2014, 12:52 PM: Message edited by: Iarwain ]

From: Pembrokeshire | Registered: Oct 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Snöwdog
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Good to see ya Iarwain!

I always wondered about the tales in the Shire... tham maybe the wayward entwives were lurking about? The Old Forest and the Withywindle is an interesting area. Too bad the tale was interrupted by Tom. []

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Iarwain
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Hang on. Anybody who can get "hey dol merry dol" and hop along me hearties" into every day speech can't be that bad surely?
Oh wait ... Yes it is.

I remember used to thinking that the entwives must be in the old forest and that was what omw was. It actually took someone else to point out that old man willow and entwives didn't really match up. Oh well! (remember that long pointless thread about finding the entwives! Even all these years later I'm still not sure if there was an answer or if it was a ruse?)

For me omw and the bowing trees at treebeard 's house always had syimilarities. I was amazed to see that PJ also thought so in his film and was dismayed to see that he jammed the omw scene in there - no need.
I wonder whether the professor and C S Lewis had tree discussions. The nyads and dryads of Narnia seem far more humanised but the idea of the trees holding some sort of personality is shared.

[ 10-19-2014, 03:41 PM: Message edited by: Iarwain ]

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Hey dol merry dol

From: Pembrokeshire | Registered: Oct 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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