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Old 05-25-2008, 12:28 PM   #1
Groin Redbeard
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Leaf Anger in the Old Forest!

I reading the Fellowship of the Ring a couple weeks ago when suddenly a question struck me (not literally of course): Why is there so much anger in the The Old Forest? Ever since the hobbits of Buckland can remember there has been great tension between the woods and the living things that dwell on it's borderes. I can never figure out why.

Now I'm not a genious, but I am a thinker. I've come up a hypothesis that the Old Forest is made up of the Entwives, and as it says in the the book, the Entwives left Fangorn because they had an argument with the Ents on whose land is best. The ents liked the untamed forests and natural growing of plants, while the entwives liked everything in neat rows, in a cultivated garden. I think some of the anger from this might have carried over. This also brings up another interesting question for me, was there a reason that Tom Bombadil dwelt so close to the forest, or was it purely by chance and not related at all the "angry forest."?

It's a long shot, but I thought it was still worth sharing with ya'll. Can anyone help me out here? Why is the Old Forest angry?
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Old 05-25-2008, 12:51 PM   #2
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I would say, the reason is simple as always. Compare to Fangorn (namely huorns). And even Merry says that. The trees don't like intruders. It may have something to do with the fact that the living (walking) beings tend to kill the trees (for wood) and such. And it may be that it is more like a "stereotypical xenophobia" than a conscious choice "let's be aware of these intruders".
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Old 05-25-2008, 01:18 PM   #3
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No the trees don't care for people. Remember, once a squirrel could jump from tree to tree all the way from the south of Gondor to what was later called the Shire. The Old Forest and Fangorn are some of the last remnants of this ancient forest, ever decimated by people and their need for timber. So I can see why the trees are a bit edgy around people.
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Old 05-25-2008, 01:35 PM   #4
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When I read the first post I knew how I would respond, unfortunately Legate and Mr. Spence used almost the exact same wording as I would have. . .

So I would just like to add that it seems improbable that The Old Forrest should be made by the entwives or that they should dwell there.

1. As Mr. Spence pointed out The Old Forrest and Fangorn used to be 1
2. The Entwives prefered their gardens
3. If the Entwives where to leave their home (the brown lands) for The Old Forrest, then the Ents would probably have detected them.
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Old 05-25-2008, 02:15 PM   #5
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This also brings up another interesting question for me, was there a reason that Tom Bombadil dwelt so close to the forest, or was it purely by chance and not related at all the "angry forest."?
It's mentioned at the Council of Elrond that Tom is in a self imposed retirement of sorts, withdrawn into a little land whose boundaries he will not cross. If what he desired was isolation or at least not being regularly disturbed, then living between the Old Forest and the Barrow Downs is a good choice.
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Old 05-25-2008, 04:32 PM   #6
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Well, I'm sure there must have been some huorns.

But was Old Man Willow one? that would explain a lot.
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Old 05-25-2008, 04:49 PM   #7
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A while back I discussed this sort of thing with some friends and some interesting theories arose. The odd thing that connects Fangorn to the Old Forest, besides the once physical connection, is the attitude of the trees. This raises the question; is this solely caused by age or are there other factors involved? During the discussion, one theory in particular struck me as interesting...

The Entwives were interested in order and, as it were, controlling the plants. I seem to recall Trebeard implying they wanted to, in a sense, bend them to their will. Given the reaction of more sentient lifeforms to similar attempts by Melkor, Sauron and so on, of rebellion and not a little anger, is it possible that the Entwive's 'ordering' of the forest caused at least some of the anger?

I would take this further. If the trees see the Entwives as 'things that go on two legs', so to speak, and the 'ordering' of their lives was seen as some sort of oppression, then other creatures who resemble them will encourage similar reactions. We know the Hobbits were fond of gardens, we know they made the hedge and cut back a lot of trees (albeit, when they attacked). If this theory bears some manner of truth, it seems likely to me that, perhaps, the trees felt that the Hobbits may have been continuing the sort of thing the Entwives were doing.

We know Sam's cousin (allegedly) saw an Ent-like creature prowling the Shire. Even if this is not an Entwife, it may well be the kind of thing that would re-open the trees' old hatreds, if it had been there since the forests 'split'.

Then we have Bombadil; always a spanner in the works. He, again, seems to be one for ordering things, in a way. He can, for whatever reason, control in song the Willow Man, the rain and the Barrow Wight. A controlling force of Bombadil's stature living so close may well be a constant annoyance to the forest (not to mention his songs ), again IF this theory is correct...

All the same, this is all speculation. What say you?
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Old 05-25-2008, 04:51 PM   #8
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I'm pretty sure that the Old Forest is made up of huorns rather than Entwives. First, Entwives seem too benevolent to me to be waylaying travelers. Second, Entwives don't live in forests, but gardens. Third, would Entwives really be mistaken for trees? They look even less like trees than their male counterparts, and all Onod-kind have humanoid bodies.

Old Man Willow seems to me like a black-hearted huorn, rather than an Entwife, as he is both stationary and masculine.

I'm inclined to agree with Rune and skip that the Old Forest trees are probably resentful of the intrusion of the Children of Illuvatar upon their ancient territory, whether it be hobbits or Bree-landers or whoever.
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Old 05-25-2008, 04:53 PM   #9
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Eye Bonfire glade

Also remember the trees/huorns/ents of the Old Forest had a specific grudge against the hobbits.

The trees approached the hedge some years before LoTR but were cut down and burnt by the Bucklanders, thus the 'Bonfire glade' a suitable clear patch for hobbit picknicks no doubt, but to 'the trees' a scene of grisly massacre surely!
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Old 05-25-2008, 07:34 PM   #10
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That just about does it

Leave it to me to make a mountain out of a simple mole-hill. Thanks for all the answers, ya'll got this problem solved in no time at all.
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Old 05-25-2008, 09:00 PM   #11
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Leaf

This subject does bring up a related topic. Why would
ents and huorns seem to be only endemic to Eriador and Fangorn?
Coming from Beleriand it would seem to be no great feat for them
to get to Mirkwood via, say, the Ered Mithrain, not even having
thereby to contend with rivers such as the Greyflood. Or even
getting to the trollshaws, where they could make mincemeat
of even the likes of Tom or Bert!
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Old 05-26-2008, 04:31 AM   #12
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Leave it to me to make a mountain out of a simple mole-hill. Thanks for all the answers, ya'll got this problem solved in no time at all.
We did not really solve much. . .still don't know what happened to the entwives.
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Old 05-26-2008, 11:24 AM   #13
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Why is Mirkwood not angry?

An excellent question, Tuor of Gondolin. My guess that we dont hear of Huorns in Mirkwood is because of the evil that has always dwelt within its borders. Dol Guldor for example, I dont think that you would want dwell in the same place that your enemy does. Eraidor is as far away from evil as you can possibly get, and Fangorn is right next to Orthanc (remember that Saruman was friendly towards trees back then) where they could get immediate protection from Treebeard and Saruman.
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Old 05-26-2008, 11:39 AM   #14
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An excellent question, Tuor of Gondolin. My guess that we dont hear of Huorns in Mirkwood is because of the evil that has always dwelt within its borders. Dol Guldor for example, I dont think that you would want dwell in the same place that your enemy does. Eraidor is as far away from evil as you can possibly get, and Fangorn is right next to Orthanc (remember that Saruman was friendly towards trees back then) where they could get immediate protection from Treebeard and Saruman.
Not always, sir, not always at all *points at the screenname* Mirkwood was a peaceful place until some 1000 TA, which gives us pleeenty time meanwhile. However, as for Tuor's question, I would find a simple answer - Mirkwood just wasn't a part of this "great wood complex" (from Beleriand to Fangorn; later from Old Forest to Fangorn); what more, it was beyond the river. As for Saruman's protection, while he had nothing against them, I won't be so humm hmm hasty about his help if something came. First, he didn't have much actual power - meaning military power or such - until he started to do these hum hmm evil things. Also, the Ents were already there when he (such a newbie) came. But mainly, I don't see the Ents expecting anyone's protection for any reason. "I am on nobody's side, because no one is actually on my side," as Treebeard said.
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Old 05-26-2008, 11:50 AM   #15
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As for Saruman's protection, while he had nothing against them, I won't be so humm hmm hasty about his help if something came. First, he didn't have much actual power - meaning military power or such - until he started to do these hum hmm evil things. Also, the Ents were already there when he (such a newbie) came. But mainly, I don't see the Ents expecting anyone's protection for any reason. "I am on nobody's side, because no one is actually on my side," as Treebeard said.
Thank you Legate for pointing that out, it gives me a chance to better explain myself. It's always nice to have someone with a head that's clearer than mine.

What I meant was that nothing really harmful would happen to the Fangorn because Saruman was friendly towards them, in the beginning, meaning that they could have had a worse neighbor than him; and who would want to burn or hurt a forest that is so close to a wizard. Although the legends about Fangorn would be enough to scare almost anyone away, having a powerful wizard as it's neighbor kind of adds to the danger.
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Old 05-31-2008, 02:44 AM   #16
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I think the taint of Sauron and Morgoth probably had a thing to do with it. As the hobbits crossed through the old forest, darkness and shadows were stirring throughout Middle Earth because Sauron had already been active again for some time, and was getting ready to wage war. After all, Mirkwood used to be the Greenwood before Sauron moved in for a period.
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Old 05-31-2008, 09:20 AM   #17
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I'm pretty sure that the Old Forest is made up of huorns rather than Entwives.

Old Man Willow seems to me like a black-hearted huorn, rather than an Entwife, as he is both stationary and masculine.
I don't think Old Man Willow, or the other malevolent trees in the Old Forest can be classified as huorns. As far as I can remember, Huorns were like Ents, of a humanoid shape, but slowly reverting to a more vegetative state of being, becoming more like trees. But they could still be roused and move much like the Ents, even to swiftly march great distances over open land, as the Helm's deep episode demonstrates. Old Man Willow in contrast is very much a tree, albeit an ancient and cunning one with a great singing voice. I don't think he can move much, or unroot himself. And since he's the most notorious tree in the Forest, I assume the others are more or less like him, only less powerful. In fact, during the wonderfully written Old Forest chapter, the Hobbits never actually witness anything that can't be attributed to a sudden gust of wind or lively imagination. That is, of course, with the exception of the cracks that swallow people. The story of when the trees attacked the hedge is also presented very much like a legend. Maybe something like that actually happened, but it happened many generations ago and the story must have been greatly elaborated upon since then.
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Old 05-31-2008, 09:29 AM   #18
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Why would
ents and huorns seem to be only endemic to Eriador and Fangorn?
Is this an assumtion or do you have any textual support for it? Because I see no reason to assume the Ents and Huorns were endemic to these places. Firstly, as can be understood from my previous post, I don't believe there were any Ents or Huorns in the Old Forest, at least not at the time Frodo and company passed through. Secondly, I find it easy to believe that there could have been remnants of the ancient forests in the eastern parts of ME as well as in the northwest, and that Ents and Huorns might be found there. After all, whatever happened to the Entwifes?
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Old 05-31-2008, 09:51 AM   #19
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I don't think Old Man Willow, or the other malevolent trees in the Old Forest can be classified as huorns. As far as I can remember, Huorns were like Ents, of a humanoid shape, but slowly reverting to a more vegetative state of being, becoming more like trees. But they could still be roused and move much like the Ents, even to swiftly march great distances over open land, as the Helm's deep episode demonstrates. Old Man Willow in contrast is very much a tree, albeit an ancient and cunning one with a great singing voice. I don't think he can move much, or unroot himself. And since he's the most notorious tree in the Forest, I assume the others are more or less like him, only less powerful.
Depends on how far huorns reach, and what do you classify as "huorn" yet and what not. There are ents who start to seem more treeish, but there are also trees who start to "awaken" and become more "entish", or simply, more "alive". In fact, Old Man Willow fits pretty well to this description given by Treebeard:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Two Towers; Chapter 4: Treebeard
Some of us are still true Ents, and lively enough in our fashion, but many are growing sleepy, going tree-ish, as you might say. Most of the trees are just trees, of course; but many are half awake. Some are quite wide awake, and a few are, well, ah, well getting Entish. That is going on all the time.
When that happens to a tree, you find that some have bad hearts.
The funny thing is that in the next moment he speaks about willows by Entwash who were good. Just a remark on Treebeard's side, however from the position of the author, it may be a signal to the reader: "willows! Remember?" So that you may connect these two speeches. It's just my interpretation, though. However, the dialogue continues...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Two Towers; Chapter 4: Treebeard
"There used to be some very dangerous parts in this country. There are still some very black patches."
"Like the Old Forest away to the north, do you mean?" asked Merry.
"Aye, aye. something like, but much worse. I do not doubt there is some shadow of the Great Darkness lying there still away north; and bad memories are handed down. But there are hollow dales in this land where the Darkness has never been lifted, and the trees are older than I am."
I suggest reading the whole passage about this; while it is not clear if we can just label Old Man Willow as one of those, it is interesting thing about the nature of the trees.
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Old 05-31-2008, 10:00 AM   #20
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Depends on how far huorns reach, and what do you classify as "huorn" yet and what not.
Of course. I don't know what is and what isn't a huorn, ent or tree. Guess my point is that the huorns at Helm's Deep seem very different to Old Man Willow, how should I say, more "alive" and mobile. Old Man Willow is very much a tree, despite his cunning and dark influence.
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Old 05-31-2008, 10:49 AM   #21
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Perhaps the anger in the forest flows out of Old Man Willow to the rest of the trees, as he seems to be the heart of the forest and the book says that the Withywindle valley where Old Man Willow was is "the centre from which all the queerness comes". I could see Old man Willow being the type to keep the trees angry and full of hate.
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Old 05-31-2008, 12:08 PM   #22
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Of course. I don't know what is and what isn't a huorn, ent or tree. Guess my point is that the huorns at Helm's Deep seem very different to Old Man Willow, how should I say, more "alive" and mobile. Old Man Willow is very much a tree, despite his cunning and dark influence.
Well, if you look at what Treebeard says, the trees are actually awakening, which is a process, so there may be "just a tree", then "a tree which feels the presence of others stronger", then "a tree who can move his branch", then "a tree who can move his roots", then "a tree who can actually walk 5 km/h" or something like that. So you see, Old Man Willow may simply be lower on this "awakening ladder" than the Huorns from Helm's Deep are. Or, he simply doesn't want to move. If nothing else, he can move his branches and roots (using both to push Frodo into the water) and make openings in itself to imprison the Hobbits. Of course, if he really is not something different - but something like a huorn is as much probable as anything else, I'd say.

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Perhaps the anger in the forest flows out of Old Man Willow to the rest of the trees, as he seems to be the heart of the forest and the book says that the Withywindle valley where Old Man Willow was is "the centre from which all the queerness comes". I could see Old man Willow being the type to keep the trees angry and full of hate.
Funnily enough, I always associated the "queerness" Merry spoke about with Tom Bombadil; thus, misinterpretating it, or misunderstanding the way it goes in the forest. That's just to mention it, however.
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Old 06-01-2008, 05:17 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Legate of Amon Lanc View Post
Well, if you look at what Treebeard says, the trees are actually awakening, which is a process, so there may be "just a tree", then "a tree which feels the presence of others stronger", then "a tree who can move his branch", then "a tree who can move his roots", then "a tree who can actually walk 5 km/h" or something like that. So you see, Old Man Willow may simply be lower on this "awakening ladder" than the Huorns from Helm's Deep are. Or, he simply doesn't want to move. If nothing else, he can move his branches and roots (using both to push Frodo into the water) and make openings in itself to imprison the Hobbits. Of course, if he really is not something different - but something like a huorn is as much probable as anything else, I'd say.


Funnily enough, I always associated the "queerness" Merry spoke about with Tom Bombadil; thus, misinterpretating it, or misunderstanding the way it goes in the forest. That's just to mention it, however.
I don't think you could describe Old Man Willow as lower than the Huorns, I see him as more powerful, but I think the right word to use would be "different". You seem to work with the idea that that "awakening of trees" go by a very specifick pattern, I see no reason for that and I do think the ents are important in this matter. I belive that the entish presence in Fangorn incourages a sertain type of development for trees that are wakening up, but not controling it. This awakening is probably also happening in the Old Forrest, but the trees have no ents to learn fro and so creates their own type of society, whith Old Man Willow as the maestro.

So I belive you might be right in saying that Old Man Willow does not want to move. . .why should he? He pretty much controls the forrest so that he can get people let to him and when they arrive he makes them fall a sleep. When you can do that, then why should you move if you have found a nice spot. . .come to think of it, I don't think that trees after they learn to walk is tinking "oh this is brilliant, now I can play football, run the marathorn and hunt down squirrels" I think it is more of a useful tool that they might use, but that they mostly stand still and act. . .well treeish.

Anyways, Legate's theory of the development latter leaves us with a question: When does trees gain awareness (or thoughts if you may)
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Old 06-01-2008, 05:36 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Rune Son of Bjarne View Post
I don't think you could describe Old Man Willow as lower than the Huorns, I see him as more powerful, but I think the right word to use would be "different". You seem to work with the idea that that "awakening of trees" go by a very specifick pattern, I see no reason for that and I do think the ents are important in this matter. I belive that the entish presence in Fangorn incourages a sertain type of development for trees that are wakening up, but not controling it. This awakening is probably also happening in the Old Forrest, but the trees have no ents to learn fro and so creates their own type of society, whith Old Man Willow as the maestro.
Well I never meant the "lower" thing in any other sense than as "lower" on the line from a tree towards an Ent, as I outlined it (with 5km/h the walking trees etc.). Of course the views may be many and the movement away from "just a tree" can be made in several ways - a tree may start to "think" differently, or have other powers... and in any case, I don't think the presence of Ents themselves has anything to do with the process of the awakening. Quite the opposite, when you read the whole part in the book from which I quoted above, Treebeard emphasises among other things the task of the "tree-herders" as controlling these awakened trees, especially those with "bad hearts", i.e. simply the Ents are responsible for the trees in all aspects, and the awakening seems more like something that is not quite welcome, mainly because of the possibility of its ill effects when a "bad" tree (like Old Man Willow?) awakens. So the problem is opposite: in the Old Forest, there is none (except Bombadil) to watch over the awakened trees, no tree-herders, and that may be a part of the reason why Old Forest is as tainted by Old Man Willow's will as it is. And actually, Treebeard implies (although I am rather convinced that here he does not really know anything and is talking with the Hobbits about something he doesn't know) that the awakening of the Old Forest has something to do with the lingering evil of Morgoth - that's somewhat far-fetched assumption, I think; but anyway, what I said before, I believe, should apply in any case.

Quote:
Anyways, Legate's theory of the development latter leaves us with a question: When does trees gain awareness (or thoughts if you may)
I think the only information we can gather about that is what Treebeard tells the Hobbits.
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Old 06-01-2008, 07:58 AM   #25
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I thknk that Old Man Willow, is awakening (or has awakened), but went through more of a mental than physical change. He can move his brances, but they're still branches, not arms as such.

Anyway, I get a sense that because he's so old, his roots have spread throughout most of the forest. Like they've sort of become mixed with the ground, and are entwined (not entwifed) with all the other roots of younger trees. It sounds like that to me when treebeard describes it.

I don't think he really needs to walk.
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