Our Sponsor Sideshow Send us News
Lord of the Rings Tolkien
Search Tolkien
Lord of The RingsTheOneRing.net - Forged By And For Fans Of JRR Tolkien
Lord of The Rings Serving Middle-Earth Since The First Age

Lord of the Rings Movie News - J.R.R. Tolkien

  Main Index   Search Posts   Who's Online   Log in
The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
**'The Fellowship of the Ring' Discussion, Chapter Six: "The Old Forest"**
First page Previous page 1 2 3 4 5 Next page Last page  View All

BlackFox
Half-elven


Jan 18 2015, 12:39pm

Post #1 of 119 (3190 views)
Shortcut
**'The Fellowship of the Ring' Discussion, Chapter Six: "The Old Forest"** Can't Post

Greetings, one and all! We continue our discussion of The Fellowship of the Ring with Chapter Six of Book One, "The Old Forest".

I'd like to begin by apologizing in advance for the lack of references to previous installments -- I've sadly been unable to follow much of the previous discussion. *hangs head in shame*

With that out of the way, I invite you to make yourselves comfortable, grab the book and off we go!

Here are some questions for you to consider -- feel free to answer as many or as few (if any) as you like.

1. First of all, why the "detour" (which encompasses not only the chapter currently in question, but also Chapters Seven and Eight, "In the House of Tom Bombadil" and "Fog on the Barrow-downs")? Is it merely a relic from the time LOTR was only to become a sequel to The Hobbit? How vital is it to the story? What "purpose" does it serve (other than functioning as a manifestation of the joy of storytelling)?

2. "The Old Forest" presents the reader with a rather self-contained story (reminiscent of the more episodic nature of The Hobbit). How (well) does it fit in with the rest of the narrative, the "big picture"?

3. What are the key features of the setting, notably the Old Forest? How does it compare to other forests of Middle-earth (Mirkwood, Fangorn, Lothlórien etc.)? Does it bear a resemblance to any other fictional or non-fictional forest?

4. How would you describe the atmosphere/mood of the chapter (namely, that of the titular forest)? How has it been created? Do any patterns emerge?

After an hour or two [the hobbits] had lost all clear sense of direction, though they knew well enough that they had long ceased to go northward at all. They were being headed off, and were simply following a course chosen for them - eastwards and southwards, into the heart of the Forest and not out of it.

5. When did you realize that something was "off"? Later, Tom Bombadil tells the hobbits that "all paths lead [to Withywindle]" and that "it's hard for the little folk to escape [the Old Man Willow's] cunning mazes" -- were the hobbits doomed to end in the Willow's trap from the moment they stepped into the woods or is it possible to track down a moment when they take a "wrong turn" (as in "Fog on the Barrow-downs")?

6. Does this chapter shine any new light on the characters of the four hobbits or on hobbit folk in general?

Suddenly Frodo himself felt sleep overwhelming him. His head swam. There now seemed hardly a sound in the air. The flies had stopped buzzing. Only a gentle noise on the edge of hearing, a soft fluttering as of a song half whispered, seemed to stir in the boughs above. He lifted his heavy eyes and saw leaning over him a huge willow-tree, old and hoary. Enormous it looked, its sprawling branches going up like reaching arms with many long-fingered hands, its knotted and twisted trunk gaping in wide fissures that creaked faintly as the boughs moved.

7. Who or what is the Old Man Willow? How typical/atypical villain does it make? Can you think of any examples of similar beings in other literary texts?

8. What do you think would have happened hadn't Tom Bombadil come to the hobbits' rescue?

9. If you remember the first time you read the book, do you recall who you thought Bombadil was when he first appeared in "The Old Forest"? How has your perception of him changed over time?

10. Can Bombadil's sudden appearance be said to exemplify deus ex machina? How does it compare to Tolkien's (other) uses of the device (and of eucatastrophe)?

11. Compare the use of song by the Old Man Willow and Tom Bombadil. Do similarities outweigh differences, or vice versa?

After that the hobbits heard no more. Almost at once the sun seemed to sink into the trees behind them. [---] Great shadows fell across them; trunks and branches of trees hung dark and threatening over the path. White mists began to rise and curl on the surface of the river and stray about the roots of the trees upon its borders. Out of the very ground at their feet a shadowy steam arose and mingled with the swiftly falling dusk.

It became difficult to follow the path, and they were very tired. Their legs seemed leaden. Strange furtive noises ran among the bushes and reeds on either side of them; and if they looked up to the pale sky, they caught sight of queer gnarled and knobbly faces that gloomed dark against the twilight, and leered down at them from the high bank and the edges of the wood. They began to feel that all this country was unreal, and that they were stumbling through an ominous dream that led to no awakening.
(my emphasis)

12. How, if at all, does this passage relate to Tolkien's recurring use of the dream motive?

13. The Ring is curiously absent from this chapter, i.e. it's not mentioned once. How noticeable is it? Do you think it's a deliberate decision by the author or a mere chance?

14. Any thoughts on the language and/or style of the chapter? Any passages that stand out from the rest (for better or for worse) for you?

15. Is there anything else you'd like to say about this chapter? Any additional comments or observations?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.



Brethil
Half-elven


Jan 18 2015, 2:52pm

Post #2 of 119 (2735 views)
Shortcut
Old Man Willow...can't resist [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

Suddenly Frodo himself felt sleep overwhelming him. His head swam. There now seemed hardly a sound in the air. The flies had stopped buzzing. Only a gentle noise on the edge of hearing, a soft fluttering as of a song half whispered, seemed to stir in the boughs above. He lifted his heavy eyes and saw leaning over him a huge willow-tree, old and hoary. Enormous it looked, its sprawling branches going up like reaching arms with many long-fingered hands, its knotted and twisted trunk gaping in wide fissures that creaked faintly as the boughs moved.

7. Who or what is the Old Man Willow? How typical/atypical villain does it make? Can you think of any examples of similar beings in other literary texts?





Simply fascinating. (I am rushing out the door soon for the day but HAD to comment quickly first...) We have information from Treebeard later on that the Old Forest was once part of the wide swath of Fangorn - which as we know, can look after itself and also has dangerous elements in the Huorns. Here is the first personification I think of JRRT's love for trees and also his anger at their destruction: this gives them a voice. Early because they 'move' (as Merry points out, they shift to direct the Hobbits) yet they don't stride or communicate like Treebeard does later on.


I recall reading that JRRT was soundly disappointed when the great Birnam wood *doesn't* walk: its all just a trick of language (Macbeth shall never vanquish'd be until great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill shall come against him..."). From that early time, I think he had the sense of life and agency within trees as a romantic projection of his own childhood attachment to the countryside. Old Man Willow is clearly full of memory...and anger... which we hear about later.


Yet Old Man Willow is much more faerie to me: he can be got 'round with the rhymes that Tom uses. Which puts him firmly in Tom's realm which is most certainly some singular manner of faerie. I should not like to try to sing to an angry Huorn, for example. It may not go well. So I think that the Old Forest life-force is an old remnant of the life-force of Fangorn; but being disconnected from the greater wisdom of the Ents maybe the Willow and his companions only remember damage and trespass, and evolve their own ways. Because they have Tom around, certainly: but Tom is not their owner. He may be 'master' and he can save the Hobbits, but I think other than in an emergency Tom will simply not exert influence or control. He observes, he coexists: he does not rule. So the fact that Tom tolerates Old Man Willow in exactly the fashion the Willow chooses to live says a lot about Tom, too.


I find that Frodo does not struggle when the Willow tries to drown him significant. The Willow's hypnotic (?) song has perhaps taken Frodo's mind to another realm - this he recalls being tipped in the water when pulled free by Sam, but does not fight for air.


Dashing out but more later! Thanks for the leadership, BlackFox!








Bracegirdle
Valinor


Jan 18 2015, 3:34pm

Post #3 of 119 (2731 views)
Shortcut
Quick thoughts before the 'tome writers' invade. . . :) [In reply to] Can't Post

1. First of all, why the "detour" (which encompasses not only the chapter currently in question, but also Chapters Seven and Eight, "In the House of Tom Bombadil" and "Fog on the Barrow-downs")? Is it merely a relic from the time LOTR was only to become a sequel to The Hobbit? How vital is it to the story? What "purpose" does it serve (other than functioning as a manifestation of the joy of storytelling)?

The ‘detour’ through the Old Forest seems a quite logical progression. As Frodo said in the last chapter “. . .the Bridge and the East Road near the borders will certainly be watched. . .”. So the Old Forest it is! It seems not only logical but a necessary detour, and serves more than the “manifestation of the joy of storytelling, to me.

2. "The Old Forest" presents the reader with a rather self-contained story (reminiscent of the more episodic nature of The Hobbit). How (well) does it fit in with the rest of the narrative, the "big picture"?

Yes, it could be skipped (as PJ did) and we go directly to Bree. It is an interlude in their travels. What voyage or travel doesn’t have these brief ‘pauses ’. Agreed, it can or could be skipped without interruption of the “big picture”.
But I want my Bombadil and Goldberry!

Thanks BlackFox




noWizardme
Half-elven


Jan 18 2015, 3:40pm

Post #4 of 119 (2728 views)
Shortcut
The Old Forest as one of Tolkien's Wild Woods [In reply to] Can't Post

I found that the Old Forest was reminding me very much of Mirkwood in The Hobbit. That made me think that the Old Forest, site of our current chapter, is one of several wild woods described in the Middle-earth stories. They seem to have some themes in common. I sense, but do not think I fully understand, some forest themes. So I thought I would post up some thoughts as part of this chapter discussion and see what people think.

When I say that the hobbits’ venture into the Old Forest reminds me most of Bilbo’s passage of Mirkwood in The Hobbit. The similarities I’m picking up are:

Both forests start abruptly - Frodo and companions down a tunnel and a gate is shut behind them (“ominous”). Bilbo and companions go into Mirkwood through an arch of trees. Looking back they see the fading sunlight from the entrance coming down to them as if from a tunnel.

Neither forest is a pleasant place to be, and while travelling in the wild woods causes some purely practical issues, such as avoiding getting lost, much of the problem is the atmosphere - what the travellers feel about their surroundings and because of their surroundings. They are gloomy (as in low light levels, but also emotionally). Travellers are cut off from the open sky and sunshine - which saps energy and self confidence, as well as causing a practical problem for anyone relying upon the sky both to be their compass and their clock. In my reading, I pick up a strong sense of disorientation, and anxiety about becoming disoriented. I think that’s a practical problem - getting lost in a large forest would be no joke - but I don’t think it’s just the practical concerns of not getting lost. The forest is oppressive beyond all practical sense.

There is a sense of being an intruder, who is being observed in an unfriendly way, and who might or might not be tolerated. In The Hobbit, Bilbo & Co. are warned not to stray from the path - at one level that is practical sense (so as not to get lost), and the path seems to be a safe zone of sorts: they can see webs all around, but these never go across the path for reasons that the travellers do not know. Similarly they must avoid contact with the magic stream: into which Bombur of course falls because these fairy-tale strictures exist largely to be broken. The wood elves of The Hobbit are initially very much part of this mysterious forest scene - Bilbo’s party, now desperate for food, rush towards the fires where the elves are partying, only for those fires to vanish and appear further away. The elves do not want anything to do with these outsiders (at least initially until the dwarves have interrupted their feasting several times and they do apprehend them). It’s probably worth an aside here to say that I think the elves underwent something of a change between this passage in The Hobbit and LOTR: I don’t think their behaviour is consistent. The Hobbit elves are perhaps more like the ones in other fairy tales - though that’s an overall impression I have - I’d be pushed to find specific examples.

Both forest journeys have brief respites - Frodo & Co. climb up a hill, Bilbo climbs a tree. Getting out into the air provides some relief (for character and reader). In our current chapter, it shows that, while the travellers might have the strong feeling that the forest will go on forever, that isn’t really so. Tolkien also uses it to forewarn us that the Withywindle Valley is freaky, and that the Barrow Downs beyond might be as bad. In Mirkwood, Bilbo is not so lucky: he climbs a tree and personally enjoys the sun and the butterflies, but because he climbs a tree that is in a dip, he does not see beyond the edge of the forest. This reflect different plot needs in the two stories, apart from anything else, I think. Bilbo’s party need to be driven to be desperate enough to leave the path. By contrast, Frodo & Co. are being herded off the path they would like to take. That idea is introduced gradually, and the view from the hill is part of the introduction: so it's useful to show us the Withywindle and the Downs beyond.


The Wild Woods (or Lost Woods) are a staple of many another tale, of course:

Quote
The Lost Woods are no ordinary forest. They are a vast old-growth forest where the trees reach into the heavens. Their canopies cover the sky, leaving only shafts of sunlight streaming between the branches. Even the normally tiny mushrooms are huge and imposing. (Whatever size they are, it's probably not a good idea to eat them. Probably.) Nature has run wild, and man is not welcome here. If you are forced to enter, it's best to lower your axe or else risk the attention of the Ents.
Besides your usual forest creatures, all manner of strange things lurk in the shadows. In any setting, it may be home to aTree Top Town. In ye olden days, the Lost Woods were home to The Fair Folk, the Wicked Witch, the Savage Wolf, The Marvelous Deer (which might lead you astray), Plant Person and the occasional tree out to kill you. In the modern day, it's home to the axe-wielding Serial Killer, and campers — particularly those of the teenage variety- had better stay out of them. In The Future, it's home to cloaked snipers who want to make a hunt out of you. And Ewoks.

http://tvtropes.org/...hp/Main/TheLostWoods

(this article from tvtropes is good as a non-scholarly account, I think, and has long lists of stories where such things appear, from Norse Mythology to Zelda video games.)


One more thing I’ve noticed is that the woods in LOTR often have some kind of guardian, owner, controller, Genius Loci, spirit or at least top dog. Befriend that and you’re OK. That character is Tom Bombadill in this chapter, Galadriel, and Treebeard in later forest settings. The forest might or might not be under their control (like Galadriel’s kingdom is, or Melian’s in the Sil.) but they can at least protect you from its perils. So, the "queer gnarled and knobbly faces that gloomed dark against the twilight, and leered down at them from the high bank and the edges of the wood." that come at the end of the chapter read to me as weird and dream-like, but no longer really alarming, now that the Hobbits are with Tom.

Perhaps in the Old Forest Tom Bombadill and Old Man Willow are different aspect of the Old Forest, or competing Genius Loci (or "Genii Locorum?" ..."Genii Loci?".... Bah. who knows "How many Romans...?" ). I’m not sure on the point of whether to read the Old Forest as having multiple....whatevers...though. And furthermore, I’m not sure whether MIrkwood in The Hobbit has something similar to a Genius Loci - or whether we should expect it to, since there was much that Tolkien was yet to discover/make up between writing The Hobbit and writing LOTR.

The end of this chapter is interesting, if you want to think of dream- or mythic parallels. The hobbits physically climb out of the Forest up a hill (just as they had to go down into a tunnel on the Shire side. They literally move towards the light - first from the windows of Tom's house, and then the light streaming out of the door opened to greet them. But as the golden light floods out, they still see the Barrow Downs, grey silhouettes behind


In all, I think there is something mythic or psychological about these various woods, as well as it being possible to see them as the locale for a straightforward adventure... I feel like I’m missing a lot of it though, What does everyone else think?

~~~~~~

"nowimë I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"

This year LOTR turns 60. The following image is my LOTR 60th anniversary party footer! You can get yours here: http://newboards.theonering.net/...i?post=762154#762154


noWizardme
Half-elven


Jan 18 2015, 4:39pm

Post #5 of 119 (2715 views)
Shortcut
A Short Cut to Barrow Blades (via much fine writing) [In reply to] Can't Post

I suppose this is a little like the discussion we had in Chapter 1 about who found the start problematically slow, and who enjoyed it. I think people pointed out then that if plot was what you principally cared about, you could pretty much start at Bree, or even at Rivendell, if you had someone who could fill you in on a few key facts.

That view has Book 1 of LOTR pretty much being "Hobbit II" before it evolves into "LOTR proper" "Proper" being a value judgement, of course, but I'm describing the values of a reader who wants to get on with the Ring-to-Mordor and Restore-the-Line-of-Kings plots as soon as possible. As you point out, Bracegirdle, the movie did a reasonable job of presenting the plot jumping from something like "Three is Company" to "At the Sign of the Prancing Pony". I have sometimes read the book that way myself. (I'm intending to slow down & fully enjoy the "detour" things this time!)

And yet...

When Frodo wakes up in Rivendell, Gandalf says to him


Quote
'I was delayed,' said Gandalf, 'and that nearly proved our ruin. And yet I am not sure: it may have been better so.'


Gnomic as usual, but that seems to show that Gandalf thinks the "detour" adventures were important in some way...

...and of course there are the pleasures of those chapters themselves.

Were you thinking of Frodo's "Short cut" via the Old Forest as a bit like his "Short Cut to Mushrooms"? The similarity I'm seeing is that both short cuts end up causing a lot of new difficulties - but one could argue that doing the unexpected throws the Riders off the scent on each of these occasions.

And that Barrow-blade: maybe it will turn out to be important in some way.... Wink

~~~~~~

"nowimë I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"

This year LOTR turns 60. The following image is my LOTR 60th anniversary party footer! You can get yours here: http://newboards.theonering.net/...i?post=762154#762154


noWizardme
Half-elven


Jan 18 2015, 5:02pm

Post #6 of 119 (2702 views)
Shortcut
Isn't "find a desk and make yourself write a tome" what they used to say to welcome a new monk into the scriptorium? // [In reply to] Can't Post

Mind you, it's the Tome Raiders I'm worried about:

"Spot of bother with Old Man Willow, boys? Let me help!"

~~~~~~

"nowimë I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"

This year LOTR turns 60. The following image is my LOTR 60th anniversary party footer! You can get yours here: http://newboards.theonering.net/...i?post=762154#762154


(This post was edited by noWizardme on Jan 18 2015, 5:05pm)


Terazed
Bree

Jan 18 2015, 6:14pm

Post #7 of 119 (2700 views)
Shortcut
Old myths, German fairy tales, and Hansel and Gretel [In reply to] Can't Post

Old forests in German myth and fairy tales fill a similar role to the sea in English stories. In the case of the next few chapters I am reminded of Hansel and Gretel. They leave home and go into the forest and are initially they are confident but the forest becomes increasingly menacing. Eventually they are terrified that the forest is attacking them and scream out for help and a little man shows up. He turns out to be the sandman who puts them to sleep with dreams of angels protecting them in the forest. The next morning the dew fairy wakes them up. Later the second day the witch tries to turn them into gingerbread.

The sandman, night prayer, dream part 1: http://youtu.be/...0HK8rK_qlHONnDfMBJOB
dream part 2: http://youtu.be/...0HK8rK_qlHONnDfMBJOB
The dew fairy: http://youtu.be/...0HK8rK_qlHONnDfMBJOB


BlackFox
Half-elven


Jan 18 2015, 7:15pm

Post #8 of 119 (2699 views)
Shortcut
I hope it didn't come off like I thought otherwise [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
The ‘detour’ through the Old Forest seems a quite logical progression. As Frodo said in the last chapter “. . .the Bridge and the East Road near the borders will certainly be watched. . .”. So the Old Forest it is! It seems not only logical but a necessary detour, and serves more than the “manifestation of the joy of storytelling, to me.


I agree. And yes, the in-story explanation is clear and valid. But what do we, the readers "get" from these chapters? They don't advance to plot (much), so what is it that they provide us with, other than entertainment etc.? Some sort of information, seems like a logical answer. But what kind of information?

I personally think that the "detour" most notably serves to demonstrate the hobbits' lack of experience in and lack of skills for dealing with dire situations. They have yet to receive their "training" ('I am with you at present,' said Gandalf, 'but soon I shall not be. I am not coming to the Shire. You must settle its affairs yourselves; that is what you have been trained for. [---] you will need no help. You are grown up now. Grown indeed very high; among the great you are, and I have no longer any fear at all for any of you.' - "Homeward Bound", ROTK). Just think of the contrast between their actions in these chapters and in "The Scouring of the Shire", for example!



arithmancer
Grey Havens


Jan 18 2015, 8:00pm

Post #9 of 119 (2684 views)
Shortcut
Although... [In reply to] Can't Post

...one could argue that future events in Bree will make the same point, with greater brevity.

As far as I can recall, the Old Forest/Barrow Downs sequence of three chapters is the one set of perils the Hobbits encounter that is not related far more directly to the main conflict. Before (and after) they will be opposed by servants of Sauron/Saruman. Even in Moria - it's where Gollum picks up their trail.

Do I nonetheless like it? Yes, this chapter most of all, the ancient, oppressive forest, and the creepy Barrow Downs as well. Tom is the one part I must admit to skipping pages of, in some of my (40-odd) read throughs of these books.



BlackFox
Half-elven


Jan 18 2015, 8:18pm

Post #10 of 119 (2683 views)
Shortcut
Perhaps I should have expressed myself more clearly [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
...one could argue that future events in Bree will make the same point, with greater brevity.

In Bree they're not directly faced with a foe as in "The Old Forest" (the Old Man Willow) or "Fog on the Barrow-downs" (the Barrow-wights).



squire
Half-elven


Jan 18 2015, 8:28pm

Post #11 of 119 (2700 views)
Shortcut
The Old Forest and its place in the story [In reply to] Can't Post

I only have time for the first half of your questions. I hope to get to Tom later on!

1A. First of all, why the "detour" (which encompasses not only the chapter currently in question, but also Chapters Seven and Eight, "In the House of Tom Bombadil" and "Fog on the Barrow-downs")?
The reason given is to avoid the Black Riders, who are presumably able to patrol the Road more easily than to track the hobbits through wild land. More thematically, it seems to me that Tolkien is following the model he set for himself in The Hobbit, wherein adventures happen off the Road, not on it. Bilbo’s first adventure takes place when the Dwarves first leave the road and encounter the Trolls. Until that point they had been staying at Inns and encountering other peaceful travelers. Frodo’s story is already somewhat different from Bilbo’s, but I think Tolkien is following his gut as to what works for adventures. “Into the Woods”, and all that!
Into the woods,
Without delay,
But careful not
To lose the way.
Into the woods,
Who knows what may
Be lurking on the journey?

Into the woods!
Into the woods!
Into the woods,
Then out of the woods,
And home before it's dark! (lyrics Stephen Sondheim, 1986)


1B. Is it merely a relic from the time LOTR was only to become a sequel to The Hobbit?
It has its roots in that, sure. But as with most of FotR Book I, Tolkien edited but left it in long after he’d discovered what LotR was really meant to be.

1C. How vital is it to the story?
It’s as vital as we want it to be. Which story are you referring to?

1D. What "purpose" does it serve (other than functioning as a manifestation of the joy of storytelling)?
Good point about the joy of storytelling, which is where I was going! But in fact the opening adventures of Book I also serve to harden the hobbits to their quest, and to introduce the reader to Middle-earth as it has developed from the vaguely-defined “Lands Over West” and easterly “Wilderland” of The Hobbit.

One of the themes of the whole story is that the hobbits “grow” into greatness from an initially petty stature. Here is where we see the process begin, in which they make foolish mistakes repeatedly but somehow survive them both physically and psychologically thanks to outside assistance and to their own “slow-kindled” but indomitable natures.

One of the other themes of the story is that Sauron has awoken, and Middle-earth is a different place than it was when Bilbo ventured abroad. If we suppose that only the lands far to the East are dangerous, as these hobbits’ assumptions and The Hobbit story have led us to believe, we learn starting almost immediately in these chapters that even the Shire has its dangers, and that the further East one goes even within or near to the Shire (the Marish, Buckland, the Old Forest, and the Barrows) the more harrowing the landscapes and spiritual uncertainties become. There are threats and other powers everywhere!

"The Old Forest" presents the reader with a rather self-contained story (reminiscent of the more episodic nature of The Hobbit).
2. How (well) does it fit in with the rest of the narrative, the "big picture"?
Although the overall plot becomes more complex in the later Books, in fact a great deal of the entire Lord of the Rings is made up of “self-contained stories”. Several are even retold as flashbacks, because the author could not fit them all into one straight narrative.

3A. What are the key features of the setting, notably the Old Forest?
The sense of an alive and threatening landscape. The idea that trees are not all “good”. The rhythmic tension that comes from going up and down hills, in and out of clearings, open paths and blocked paths. The weather and time of day, which follow the common sequence of a day in late fall but which are put to use in adding to the atmosphere of claustrophobia alternated with freedom.

3B. How does it compare to other forests of Middle-earth (Mirkwood, Fangorn, Lothlórien etc.)?
NoWizardMe made some excellent comparisons on this subject in his earlier post in this discussion.

3C. Does it bear a resemblance to any other fictional or non-fictional forest?
Not in detail. Tolkien’s command of atmospherics is unparalleled. In general, of course, drawing on previous experience (Mirkwood in The Hobbit was about the forth Faerie Forest he’d invented – the Sil is simply crawling with them – so this is not hard for him) he is dusting off the Into The Woods woods, and taking us into them.
Dorothy: I don't like this forest! It's - it's dark and creepy!
Scarecrow: Of course, I don't know, but I think it'll get darker before it gets lighter.
Dorothy: Do - do you suppose we'll meet any wild animals?
Tin Man: Mmmm - we might.
Dorothy: Oh -
Scarecrow: Animals that - that eat straw?
Tin Man: A - some - but mostly lions and tigers and bears.
Dorothy: Lions!
Scarecrow: And tigers!
Tin Man: And bears!
Dorothy: Oh! Lions, and tigers and bears! Oh, - my –

No mention of elves in Oz, but I do think the Old Forest is as close as we get to what it must have felt like for a mortal to encounter Melian’s “girdle” that she set as protection around the forest of Doriath in The Silmarillion. The shifting paths, the underbrush that only gives in one direction, the trees that block progress, all seem to me to be what Tolkien would have written if he’d ever given that part of the Sil the full LotR-style treatment (as he later did with parts of Tuor’s and Turin’s stories).

Beyond Tolkien’s own work, I believe the idea of the Woods is such a strong part of our folklore because it is the opposite of cleared farmland or townland with all its connotations of human society and civilization. Woods are wild, compared to fields and villages, and are right next door compared to mountains or the sea or the distant lands of foreigners. The Woods appeal to every binary imaginable that plays on the conflict between our heads and our hearts or reason vs. emotion.
They did come across a large rabbit with a cheap pocket watch who was pursued by some nut of a girl, another kid being viciously mugged by three furious grizzlies ("We'd better not get involved," said Frito wisely), and a deserted and flyspecked gingerbread bungalow with a "To Let" sign on the marzipan door. But no clue to a way out.


4A. How would you describe the atmosphere/mood of the chapter (namely, that of the titular forest)?
As above, the emphasis is on the hostility not just of a tree, but of a forest as a whole, to the idea of animal beings.

4B. How has it been created?
He straight out tells us what it feels like, using the 3rd-person narrative voice. “…they all got an uncomfortable feeling that they were being watched with disapproval, deepening to dislike and even enmity.” He almost never tells us what the hobbits as individuals feel, simply how they react. “Pippin suddenly felt that he could not bear it any longer, and without warning let out a shout.” There is minimal dialogue. But it is not unremitting horror, like Poe or Lovecraft. The creepy parts are interspersed amid a much more conventional narrative that emphasizes pure natural history: vivid descriptions of hills and valleys and weather, with extensive use of metaphors (a shaved crown, an island in the sea, etc.). As with Tolkien’s use of magic and other exotica, this sparing use of mystical spiritualism increases the effect of Middle-earth’s reality. There is almost no description at all of the hobbits’ gear, mode of riding, eating, caring for their ponies, etc.

4C. Do any patterns emerge?
I’m not sure what you mean. I did notice that Tolkien uses many of the images in this chapter later on in the book, to the point where they seem to constitute themes in themselves. For instance, the ‘ruts’ in the woods that drive them east rather than north remind me of the ridges and valleys of the Emyn Muil that frustrate both Aragorn and Frodo in Books III and IV, and of the Morgai in Book VI. The depression that turns into a wetland and finally a stream bed leading to the Withywindle occurs again in Book IV when Frodo leaves the Emyn Muil and ends up in the Dead Marshes. The view from the hilltop, describing the surrounding countryside, recurs in the Barrow Downs, Weathertop, the Troll Fells, Hollin, East Gate of Moria, Amon Hen, the edges of the Emyn Muil again for both Aragorn and Frodo, and in Minas Tirith and Cerin Amroth. The lock closing with a ominous click begins and ends the chapter, and more metaphorically, is heard again at the Barrow Stone (“…fog rolled up to the walls and rose above them, and as it mounted it bent over their heads until it became a roof”), in Isengard (“the gate closed silently behind me,”) and the Crossroads (“The Sun dipped and vanished, and as if at the shuttering of a lamp, black night fell”).

The personification of the hatred of trees for men (“they could see only tree-trunks of innumerable sizes and shapes: straight or bent, twisted, leaning, squat or slender, smooth or gnarled and branched; and all the stems were green or grey with moss and slimy, shaggy growths. … There was no sound, except an occasional drip of moisture falling through the still leaves. For the moment there was no whispering or movement among the branches; but they all got an uncomfortable feeling that they were being watched with disapproval, deepening to dislike and even enmity.”) comes back to us redoubled with the huorns at Helms Deep (“The ends of their long sweeping boughs hung down like searching fingers, their roots stood up from the ground like the limbs of strange monsters, and dark caverns opened beneath them … on either side the great aisles of the wood were already wrapped in dusk, stretching away into impenetrable shadows; and there they heard the creaking and groaning of boughs, and far cries, and a rumour of wordless voices, murmuring angrily.”) In connection with this and the general discussion of Old Man Willow as a proto-huorn, it is interesting to me that when Merry and Pippin first enter Fangorn, they compare it to what they have heard about Mirkwood from Bilbo, rather than to what they remember from their personal experience of the Old Forest.

My favorite thematic pattern came to me in one of our earlier discussions of this chapter: the introduction of the spirit of the Old Forest as a variation on the Black Breath. The hobbits’ terrifying dreamlike progress out of the dusk to Tom’s house (“they caught sight of queer gnarled and knobbly faces that gloomed dark against the twilight, and leered down at them from the high bank and the edges of the wood. They began to feel that all this country was unreal, and that they were stumbling through an ominous dream that led to no awakening”) is repeated in Frodo’s fading after Weathertop (“He lay tossing and turning and listening fearfully to the stealthy night-noises… He felt that black shapes were advancing to smother him; … they heard the tree-tops lower down moaning and sighing. Frodo lay half in a dream, imagining that endless dark wings were sweeping by above him”), and then so much later that we tend to miss the connection, in Merry’s near-death encounter with the Witchking (“To Merry the ascent seemed agelong, a meaningless journey in a hateful dream, going on and on to some dim ending that memory cannot seize. Slowly the lights of the torches in front of him flickered and went out, and he was walking in a darkness; and he thought: ‘This is a tunnel leading to a tomb; there we shall stay forever.’”).

Another interesting pattern, for what it’s worth, that makes this forest more like Fangorn or Lorien than Mirkwood, is the absence of animal life. Oddly enough, although the hobbits speculate about who makes the paths they find, I learned some time ago that not just humans but also animals like deer, panthers, and pigs actually make pathways through continual passage in useful directions. But there isn't so much as a squirrel or a bird in this forest, typically of Tolkien although untypically of any real landscape. Merry does mention “various queer things living deep in the Forest”, which we interpret later as meaning the Willow-man and Bombadil, but really the phrase is too plural to mean just the creatures we actually meet. It leaves the idea that there are further mysteries in the Old Forest than we will ever know, which is one of Tolkien’s favorite themes.

After an hour or two [the hobbits] had lost all clear sense of direction, though they knew well enough that they had long ceased to go northward at all. They were being headed off, and were simply following a course chosen for them - eastwards and southwards, into the heart of the Forest and not out of it.
5A. When did you realize that something was "off"?
When Tolkien told me so. He’s not subtle about such things.

Later, Tom Bombadil tells the hobbits that "all paths lead [to Withywindle]" and that "it's hard for the little folk to escape [the Old Man Willow's] cunning mazes" –
5B. …were the hobbits doomed to end in the Willow's trap from the moment they stepped into the woods or is it possible to track down a moment when they take a "wrong turn" (as in "Fog on the Barrow-downs")?
In retrospect, of course, they were led to the hilltop by the broad path east from the Bonfire Glade, and from the hilltop, although they they tried to go north and back to the road, they were led to the Willow by his “paths and mazes”. Had they passed through the hedge, and skirted the edge of the Old Forest north to the Road, I wonder if they mightn’t have done all right.

6. Does this chapter shine any new light on the characters of the four hobbits or on hobbit folk in general?
Others have already noted Merry’s leadership qualities, and Pippin’s general juvenility. I noticed that Sam is barely mentioned for most of the chapter, and I later found that’s because he (or his character, with a different name) was not part of the company in the earlier drafts. He gets reintroduced only on the banks of the Withywindle. Another thing to notice is that twice Frodo loses his nerve and considers retreating to the Shire – a thing we see again at Rivendell, and on Caradhras. Frodo’s maturity as one able to continue the Quest to the end is only really established at Galadriel’s mirror, I think.

Suddenly Frodo himself felt sleep overwhelming him. His head swam. There now seemed hardly a sound in the air. The flies had stopped buzzing. Only a gentle noise on the edge of hearing, a soft fluttering as of a song half whispered, seemed to stir in the boughs above. He lifted his heavy eyes and saw leaning over him a huge willow-tree, old and hoary. Enormous it looked, its sprawling branches going up like reaching arms with many long-fingered hands, its knotted and twisted trunk gaping in wide fissures that creaked faintly as the boughs moved.
7A. Who or what is the Old Man Willow?
He’s a tree-creature with a soul, a kind of telepathic voice, and what Treebeard will later call “limb-lithe” abilities. But I don’t think he’s a huorn, in the sense that we meet them in Fangorn. He’s too original and too central to the narrative to fit the huorn model, who seem individually less capable than the Willow, but collectively more so. That’s why Treebeard says “‘Aye, aye. Something like, but much worse’” when the hobbits ask him if the Old Forest is an example of the darkness still found in parts of Fangorn. The Willow runs the Old Forest, according to Tom (as explained further in the next chapter). He’s like a Huorn version of Treebeard, rather than just one example of a race of thousands of inarticulate black-hearted tree-creatures.

7B. How typical/atypical villain does it make?
He’s pretty good in his individuality.

7C. Can you think of any examples of similar beings in other literary texts?
Sentient trees are a common device in fairy tales, I tend to think. But I’m not up on my lore enough to name any! I do remember the tree that protects, rather than harms, the Man in Tolkien’s Smith of Wootton Major:
He put his arms around the stem of a young birch and clung to it, and the Wind wrestled fiercely with them, trying to tear him away; but the birch was bent down to the ground by the blast and enclosed him in its branches. When at last the Wind passed on he rose and saw that the birch was naked. It was stripped of every leaf, and it wept, and tears fell from its branches like rain. He set his hand upon its white bark, saying: “Blessed be the birch! What can I do to make amends or give thanks?’. He felt the answer of the tree pass up from his hand: ‘Nothing’, it said. ‘Go away! The Wind is hunting you. You do not belong here. Go away and never return!’




squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd & 4th TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion and NOW the 1st BotR Discussion too! and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


arithmancer
Grey Havens


Jan 18 2015, 8:33pm

Post #12 of 119 (2674 views)
Shortcut
Oh, I see the distinction you are making. [In reply to] Can't Post

And yes, in the end they will be dealing directly (and handily) with same.



Bracegirdle
Valinor


Jan 18 2015, 10:14pm

Post #13 of 119 (2664 views)
Shortcut
No, no misunderstanding [In reply to] Can't Post

I know you didn't think otherwise. Just inserting some off-the-cuff thoughts.


In Reply To
I personally think that the "detour" most notably serves to demonstrate the hobbits' lack of experience in and lack of skills for dealing with dire situations. They have yet to receive their "training" ('I am with you at present,' said Gandalf, 'but soon I shall not be. I am not coming to the Shire. You must settle its affairs yourselves; that is what you have been trained for. [---] you will need no help. You are grown up now. Grown indeed very high; among the great you are, and I have no longer any fear at all for any of you.' - "Homeward Bound", ROTK). Just think of the contrast between their actions in these chapters and in "The Scouring of the Shire", for example!

I see the “detour” (through the Old Forest) as a “no choice” for Frodo, just as has been mentioned that he had “no choice” but to leave the Shire. They couldn’t go north then east on the East Road as they knew (or strongly suspected) the Riders would be on the Road. To go south some 15 or so miles to the Haysend area and around the southern end of the Old Forest is to go the wrong way. Straight through the Old Forest seems the only option open. So I don’t see any lack of experience or skill on the Hobbits part with this decision. It is just a logical moving forward of the tale.

This is the way Tolkien set it up; this is the way the quest is taking us; this is the way the plot is advancing -- although to most it doesn’t advance the plot much. But it does advance Tolkien’s joy of bringing in Old Man Willow, Bombadil, Goldberry, wights, etc .




BlackFox
Half-elven


Jan 18 2015, 10:21pm

Post #14 of 119 (2662 views)
Shortcut
I was referring to... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
So I don’t see any lack of experience or skill on the Hobbits part with this decision.

... the hobbits' encounters with the Old Man Willow and the Barrow-wights (direct, face-to-face encounters with a villainous force).



(This post was edited by BlackFox on Jan 18 2015, 10:22pm)


a.s.
Valinor


Jan 18 2015, 10:40pm

Post #15 of 119 (2666 views)
Shortcut
The hobbits first encountered enemy is a tree [In reply to] Can't Post

They are frightened by the Black Riders, but have no direct encounter with one. The first creature in Middle Earth who directly attacks a hobbit is a tree. How very Tolkien, that.


What would happen to the hobbits if the tree killed them? They would become tree food, over the long course of years, as their flesh and bones disintegrated into the earth and fed the tree roots. I can see how scary an evil tree would be.


What is it like to be sung to by a tree and overcome with the song? Must be like slowing down to "tree-time", which is much slower than human (or hobbit) time. When the hobbits are lulled into dreams by the evil Willow, they enter a different time stream (just like they will in the House of Tom B., only that will be benign). They will never escape, if someone doesn't wake them up.


I love this chapter, I think it has an important function in the greater story: we are out into the Wild now. We are not in the Shire. We are going to see how much there is to be afraid of, out there in the Wild World. Right on the border of the Shire is an ancient forest with at least a few very angry and very dangerous trees. The hobbits have left their borders for good.


I'm always reminded by this chapter that Tolkien said, "In all my works I take the part of trees as against all their enemies." I suspect Tolkien was sympathetic to Old Man Willow's hatred of things on two legs, even if he has to have the hobbits rescued. Smile


I used to be irritated by Tom B but now remain irritated only by the poetry (which I completely skip) as I love the character and look forward to the next chapter!


a.s.

"an seileachan"


"A safe fairyland is untrue to all worlds." JRR Tolkien, Letters.



BlackFox
Half-elven


Jan 18 2015, 10:49pm

Post #16 of 119 (2661 views)
Shortcut
Tolkien even briefly touches upon it in one of his letters [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I'm always reminded by this chapter that Tolkien said, "In all my works I take the part of trees as against all their enemies." I suspect Tolkien was sympathetic to Old Man Willow's hatred of things on two legs, even if he has to have the hobbits rescued. Smile


The Old Forest was hostile to two legged creatures because of the memory of many injuries. - Letter 339

Old Man Willow is a villain, but, at least to some degree, a sympathetic one.



a.s.
Valinor


Jan 18 2015, 11:01pm

Post #17 of 119 (2659 views)
Shortcut
PS I sort of selfishly like this chapter for "fire weed" [In reply to] Can't Post

Which is a form of willowherb, sometimes called rosebay willowherb. Or, in Scottish Gaelic: an seileachan.







Shocked


The text mentions "fire-weed seeding into fluffy ashes".


a.s. (I don't speak Gaelic, I just like Old Books and Google, but that's where I took the nickname from!)

"an seileachan"


"A safe fairyland is untrue to all worlds." JRR Tolkien, Letters.



(This post was edited by a.s. on Jan 18 2015, 11:07pm)


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jan 18 2015, 11:15pm

Post #18 of 119 (2648 views)
Shortcut
If only they'd had a bulldozer to clear a path [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for hosting this chapter, BFox!! Such great questions, and I can't answer them all at once, but you certainly got me thinking about things.

Chapter importance: I think this chapter plays an important role in the world-building of Middle-earth. There was nothing sentient about the natural world in the Shire, nor magical. But step outside the borders of that domesticated land, and things go wild instantly. Trees live and think and move around (somehow), and they have an Evil Overlord who likes to attract two-legged mortals to death like a spider in its web. The evil master tree sings his victims into a stupor so he can kill them, so song here is an instrument of evil magic, whereas we previously saw Elven song as good magic scaring off a Black Rider. Music, trees, and magic: how can Tolkien resist writing about them?

Natural harmony (or not): Something fascinating about this chapter is that the hobbits in the Shire live close to nature and aren't lovers of industry or wanton destroyers of natural resources, yet the Old Forest has nothing but malice for them. This is unusual in scifi/fantasy; usually if you live in harmony with nature, it likes you back. (As just one example, I'm thinking of how the movie Avatar depicts that relationship, but so many other books and movies do the same.) It seems like the Old Forest should be on Frodo's side and be snaring the real representatives of Industrial Devastation, i.e., the Nazgul of Mordor, but they're not making a twig of distinction between the good and bad sides of the larger conflict. I have to ask: what would happen to Gildor and other nature-loving Elves crossing through the Old Forest? Would the trees waylay them too, or welcome them, or be indifferent? Would Elves have a power to laugh off the entrapments of Old Man Willow? What happens if Rangers enter the Old Forest?

9. If you remember the first time you read the book, do you recall who you thought Bombadil was when he first appeared in "The Old Forest"? How has your perception of him changed over time?
Honestly, on 1st read, I thought it was too easy that a rescuer showed up at exactly the right moment, and he seemed so silly too. I thought back then that he must be another wizard. But I like how he's both silly and deep, gentle and powerful. And he seems like a real person, whereas I have no fix on Goldberry, other than that she's pretty; very one-dimensional to me.

13. The Ring is curiously absent from this chapter, i.e. it's not mentioned once. How noticeable is it? Do you think it's a deliberate decision by the author or a mere chance?
Great catch! I've never thought about this before. Given how treacherous the Ring is, and how it's had a close call with the servants of its master, would it want to be lost in the Old Forest? Maybe if Frodo had been drowned (like his parents), it would have rolled down the rivers and tried to get someone else to pick it up, but if it wound up in the heart of Old Man Willow, I'd think it would be stuck there forever.

Last observation: I think of willows as such friendly, gentle trees, if they are to be personified at all. It's striking that Tolkien made one a mean enemy of hobbits.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jan 18 2015, 11:20pm

Post #19 of 119 (2656 views)
Shortcut
That will be in the LOTR movie remake. [In reply to] Can't Post

Movies now require a female samurai to save the day. She'd fit right in in this chapter after the boys have gotten lost in the jungle and are near death.


squire
Half-elven


Jan 18 2015, 11:23pm

Post #20 of 119 (2657 views)
Shortcut
I think Tolkien was smoking something when he wrote that [In reply to] Can't Post

Clearly Tolkien was an advocate for trees in the general tenor of his writing, both literary and personal. He may have been more proud of his creation of the Two Trees of Light in the Sil, Treebeard and the huorns getting their revenge on the orcs, and his sympathetic rendering of the mallorns of Lothlorien, than he was cognizant of the impact on readers of the Willow scene much earlier in this book. No one reading this chapter could possibly think he is taking Old Man Willow's part against his enemies, the hobbits who he seduced and nearly killed, and who pitifully tried to burn him in an attempt to save their helpless friends. Even in the next chapter, when Tom gives us a little of the Willow's story, including the tree's perspective on the "hacking and burning" of "those that go free on the earth", the ultimate keywords that we and the hobbits take away are: hatred, malice, dangerous.

I'd say the Willow in the book is not at all a sympathetic villain, no matter what Tolkien told himself in retrospect.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd & 4th TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion and NOW the 1st BotR Discussion too! and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


BlackFox
Half-elven


Jan 18 2015, 11:23pm

Post #21 of 119 (2648 views)
Shortcut
Coincidentally... [In reply to] Can't Post

One of its names in Estonian is rebashanna, which translates as 'fox's tail'. Laugh



BlackFox
Half-elven


Jan 18 2015, 11:35pm

Post #22 of 119 (2642 views)
Shortcut
The Forest, not the Willow! [In reply to] Can't Post

My bad. I had the Old Forest as a whole in mind when I wrote that; it's also the Forest that Tolkien refers to in the letter. Because I agree, there's very little, if anything, sympathetic about the Willow as it's presented in the text.



a.s.
Valinor


Jan 18 2015, 11:49pm

Post #23 of 119 (2633 views)
Shortcut
sympathetic to Willowman's grievance, not his evil intent [In reply to] Can't Post

Although probably Willow started out an ordinary magic tree...nothing was evil in the beginning etc. Still Tolkien has clearly made him evil by the time this chapter occurs.

I just meant Tolkien was sympathetic to Willow's grievances.

I didn't mean to imply otherwise.

a.s.

"an seileachan"


"A safe fairyland is untrue to all worlds." JRR Tolkien, Letters.



Bracegirdle
Valinor


Jan 18 2015, 11:56pm

Post #24 of 119 (2633 views)
Shortcut
Oh...sorry BF [In reply to] Can't Post

I guess I assumed you were thinking of the "Detour" in of of itself. Or "THE Detour" not its upcoming encounters.

*BG innocently begs for absolution* Angelic




CuriousG
Half-elven


Jan 19 2015, 2:16am

Post #25 of 119 (2623 views)
Shortcut
Old Forest feels like Mirkwood to me also. [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the detailed comparisons!

I think both places felt oppressive, and intruders definitely didn't belong. The big difference was in the sentience of the trees. In Mirkwood, the menace came from the animals that came to stare at Thorin & Co at night, and the danger of getting lost off the path and starving to death, but overall it was much less scary. Those staring animals only stared, after all, and I thought Mirkwood's menace was lessened by the hunt that went on near the Dwarves. I think (foggy memory) that it was implied that is the Elves hunting for the stag, but still, the thought that people could casually live in Mirkwood and go hunting made it seem less dangerous and more like the Dwarves were out of their element.

The magic stream in Mirkwood, putting people to sleep but with happy dreams, isn't too far from the Withywindle, where Old Man sends out his thoughts and snares hobbits in dreams, but again, there's less harm involved.

Frodo has the advantage that Bombadil is well-disposed to them. What if he had a grudge against hobbits as the Elven-king did against the Dwarves? The Elves and Bombadil are both on the Good side, but Bilbo and Frodo had very different experiences with the good people in their respective forests.

I like your comparison about them climbing up and out of both forests. I would say that the Barrow-wight imprisonment happens after the Old Forest escapade, whereas Bilbo is imprisoned while still inside his forest. So maybe Frodo needed a "Barrels out of Bond" to escape the Barrow and make it to Bree. Wink We just need Legolas to show up and jump around the barrels to complete the tableau.

First page Previous page 1 2 3 4 5 Next page Last page  View All
 
 

Search for (options) Powered by Gossamer Forum v.1.2.3

home | advertising | contact us | back to top | search news | join list | Content Rating

This site is maintained and updated by fans of The Lord of the Rings, and is in no way affiliated with Tolkien Enterprises or the Tolkien Estate. We in no way claim the artwork displayed to be our own. Copyrights and trademarks for the books, films, articles, and other promotional materials are held by their respective owners and their use is allowed under the fair use clause of the Copyright Law. Design and original photography however are copyright © 1999-2012 TheOneRing.net. Binary hosting provided by Nexcess.net

Do not follow this link, or your host will be blocked from this site. This is a spider trap.