Old Man Willow's plan

Discussion in 'Questions for Narnion' started by SteveR, Aug 11, 2017.

  1. SteveR

    SteveR New Member

    Certainly there are lots of options for what OMW's plan might be, but I think everything Corey postulated in class was rather human in outlook: that OMW might be trying to eat the hobbits, or imprison them for trespassing, or otherwise do away with them. All these seem to me centered on a human/hobbit point of view, and the preconception that OMW is a villain. Given the evidence of the surrounding glade being distinctly non-villainous, I'd like to try to look at this question from a more treeish point of view.

    As discussed in a previous class, Treebeard seems to say that there is a continuum or gradient with "tree" at one end and "ent" at the other, and I think we can safely presume that OMW is in the middle, tending toward the tree side. We also know that Treebeard and the other ents (to say nothing of huorns and trees) do not experience time in the same way that hobbits, humans, dwarves, or even elves do - to Treebeard, anything less than a few hours to say hello is "hasty". And while OMW obviously can move very quickly (snapping shut the cracks Merry and Pippin are sitting in, or throwing Frodo in the river and holding him down), it's not his physical movement that I think is the question here, but the movement of his thoughts. Even if the other trees have told him the hobbits are coming, perhaps he's just holding on to them while he figures out what to do with them. But because he experiences time differently, that period of consideration could be a matter of days, months, or years. Clearly that would not end well for the hobbits, but from OMW's perspective only a few minutes may have passed while he held them there and thought about what to do next.

    Or perhaps, since he doesn't comprehend drinking with anything but one's feet, he sees them not as some other kind of creature but as some sort of immature trees that need to be taught to sit still for a while - like putting children in time-out. I also had an ill-fated willow in my yard that had to come down some years ago, and I can certainly imagine that willow looking at the young silver maples now growing near where it stood and saying, "You young trees need to slow down! I am going to hold you here until you learn to be less hasty!"

    From this standpoint, the state of the glade starts to make a bit more sense too, since OMW is not really a villain if he's just putting the hobbits in time-out for being too hasty.

    Steve Renard / RinRuse

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