September 27, 2017 (September 26, 3018)

The Hobbits travel through the Old Forest and meet Tom Bombadil

Shire Reckoning: September 26, 3018 (Halimath 26, 1419)

Pages To Read:
-FR.TheOldForest (start) – FR.InTheHouseOfTomBombadil “if logs are contented” (~p.6)

Music:
All songs are by Tolkien Ensemble today.
Song in the Woods – Frodo’s sad little song
Tom Bombadil’s Song (I) – all of the song pieces from Chapter 6 combined into one song, so you will have to start and stop if you are listening as you read. (Goldberry’s part is really pretty!)
Song To Goldberry – the poetry that Frodo makes up for Goldberry
Tom Bombadil’s Song (II) – the excerpt they hear Tom singing in the distance
Tom Bombadil’s Song (III) – the song Tom sings before bed (probably my favorite of today)

Events:
– Team Frodo gets up early and make their way to the edge of the Old Forest, where they first try to find the Bonfire Glade.
– They then reenter the forest and quickly become discouraged by the hot and stuffy air. Frodo tries to sing, but trails off as Merry scolds him for potentially offending the trees. (Illustration: The Old Forest, by Meisiluosi)
– Afraid of the myths they have heard of the Old Forest, the hobbits are one again cheered by an opening in the trees. On a hilltop, they can see out over the forest, but cannot see the road to the north, which is their goal. All that are visible beyond the trees are the Barrow-downs to the east, a sinister place.
– Back in the forest, the Hobbits veer off course, and find themselves unable to continue north. (Illustration: The Old Forest, by Sieskja)
– They finally come out of a narrow valley they have been following and to the banks of a larger river, the Withywindle.
– Hoping it will lead them out of the forest, they follow a path alongside the river until they are lulled to sleep by the forest.
– A menacing willow tries to capture them, but Sam manages to rescue Frodo and the two, calling for help, draw the attention of a mysterious figure in blue.
– It’s toM BOMBADIL TIME FOLKS!! The kooky old man himself rescues Merry and Pippin from Old Man Willow and leads them out of the forest to his house. (Illustration by the great Ted Nasmith)
– The hobbits finally leave the trees just as night falls and they are welcomed to Tom’s house on the edge of the forest. (Illustration by Joe Gilronan)
– Turns out Tom is the husband of Goldberry, the River-daughter, who has prepared a huge feast for the hobbits. She explains that Tom holds a certain power over the nature in the surrounding area, and that he is not afraid of anything. (Featured Illustration: Goldberry’s Feast, by MoonlightPrincess).
– After dinner, the hobbits get another song out of Tom and are eventually led to their soft, comfortable beds.
– We get another dream sequence, this time one for each of the hobbits. Well, except Sam, who sleeps like a log. (Frodo has a vision of a man atop a tower getting rescued by an eagle, Pippin has flashbacks to Old Man Willow, and Merry has a nightmare about drowning.)

Trivia, Details:
– The concept of Tom goes back to the early days of LOTR, despite him being relatively unconnected with the rest of the Middle Earth legendarium. I think Tolkien wanted it to remain a mystery, to show that there is no way to fully explain a whole world in one book (or even a whole lifetime’s worth of books).
– I’m a big fan of Tolkien’s writing in Chapter 6. The Old Forest is one of my favorite sequences, because you can really picture the forest, the atmosphere, and the tortuous journey through the trees. 10/10 would recommend at least reading Chapter 6 today.

Links to Other Content:
Old Man Willow, by JRR Tolkien. Tolkien original art of the sinister tree.
A Part of the Shire, by Don Hitchcock. Really beautiful digitized version of Tolkien’s original Shire map, with extra details about the journey so far. Highly recommended, especially to review the geography of the first few days.
Sam’s Silly Joke, by DeathlyDollies13. A funny little drawing of the scene with Old Man Willow as if it were to take place in a comedy.

The Tale Of Years:
The Old Forest. Frodo comes to Bombadil.

Notes: Sings like 5 songs in one day. Classic Tom Bombadil! ~Tom

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