The Purpose of Old Man Willow's Singing


After Tom Bombadil sings in order to free Merry, he says to Old Man Willow: "You should not be waking. Eat earth! Dig deep! Drink water! Go to sleep!"

It's interesting to think about this comment in the context of Old Man Willow's singing. We're told earlier that Merry and Pippin "could almost hear words, cool words, saying something about water and sleep". Also, Frodo, "felt a compelling desire for cool water", saying to Sam: "must bathe feet a minute."

Is it possible that Old Willow Man was singing a song to himself that the hobbits got wrapped up in? This is what Professor Olsen suggested previously.

I have another theory that is based partly on what we see with Ents later, and SteveR's comments. Does Old Man Willow attempt to bring other creatures under this power by tempting them to behave in a tree-like way? It's almost like he's trying to incorporate them into his way of living. Tom Bombadil tells him to go back to doing that on his own.
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