Old Man Willow
by Artist Alan Lee 1991
inspired by The Lord of the Rings by
J. R. R. Tolkien
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J. R. R. Tolkien
Born John Ronald Reuel Tolkien 3 January 1892 (1892-01-03) Bloemfontein, Orange Free State
Died 2 September 1973 (1973-09-03) (aged 81) Bournemouth, England
Occupation Author, Academic, Philologist
Genres Fantasy, High fantasy, Translation, Criticism
Notable work(s) The Hobbit
The Lord of the Rings
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE (3 January 1892 – 2 September 1973) was an English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. Tolkien was Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford from 1925 to 1945, and Merton Professor of English Language and Literature from 1945 to 1959. He was a close friend of C. S. Lewis – they were both members of the informal literary discussion group known as the Inklings. Tolkien was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II on 28 March 1972. After his death, Tolkien's son, Christopher, published a series of works based on his father's extensive notes and unpublished manuscripts, including The Silmarillion. These, together with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, form a connected body of tales, poems, fictional histories, invented languages, and literary essays about an imagined world called Arda, and Middle-earth within it. Between 1951 and 1955 Tolkien applied the word legendarium to the larger part of these writings. While many other authors had published works of fantasy before Tolkien, the great success of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings when they were published in paperback in the United States led directly to a popular resurgence of the genre. This has caused Tolkien to be popularly identified as the "father" of modern fantasy literature—or more precisely, high fantasy. Tolkien's writings have inspired many other works of fantasy and have had a lasting effect on the entire field. In 2008, The Times ranked him sixth on a list of 'The 50 greatest British writers since 1945'.
Old Man Willow
In J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium, Old Man Willow is a fictional character, appearing in The Lord of the Rings. He was a willow tree in the Old Forest from which much of the Forest's hatred of walking things came. He is portrayed in the story as a tree, albeit a sentient and evil one with various powers including irresistible hypnosis and the ability to move his roots and trunk. Some characters of the story speculate that he may have been related to the Ents, or possibly the Huorns, as the Old Forest was originally part of the same primordial forest as Fangorn. However, unlike Ents or Huorns, Old Man Willow is portrayed more like a tree, with roots in the ground, and without the ability to uproot himself and move from place to place. Tom Bombadil had power over Old Man Willow, and checked the evil as much as he could, or was willing.
The Fellowship of the Ring
Old Man Willow casts a spell on the hobbits (Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin), causing them to feel sleepy. Merry and Pippin leaned against the trunk of the willow and fell asleep, while Frodo sat on a root to dangle his feet in the water, before he also fell asleep. The willow then trapped Merry and Pippin in the cracks of its trunk and tipped Frodo into the stream, but the latter was saved by Sam, who, suspicious of Old Man Willow, managed to remain awake. After Frodo and Sam started a fire out of dry leaves, grass, and bits of bark in an attempt to frighten the tree, Merry yelled from the inside to put the fire out because the tree said it was going to squeeze them to death. They were saved by the timely arrival of Tom Bombadil who 'sang' to the ancient tree to release Merry and Pippin. The tree then ejected the two hobbits.
According to Tom Bombadil, long ago at the dawn of time in Middle-earth, long before even the Awakening of the Elves, trees were the only inhabitants of vast stretches of the world. Because the Elves awoke far in the East, it was still a considerable time before any other beings spread into the vast primeval forests of western Middle-earth. A handful of trees survived from this time until the present day, who are angered at the encroachment of Elves and Men and their dominion over the earth; trees who bitterly remember a time long ago when they were as Lords of vast regions of the world. Bombadil relates that of the corrupted trees of the Old Forest, "none were more dangerous than the Great Willow; his heart was rotten, but his strength was green; and he was cunning, and a master of winds, and his song and thought ran through the woods on both sides of the river. His grey thirsty spirit drew power out of the earth and spread like fine root-threads in the ground, and invisible twig-fingers in the air, till it had under its dominion nearly all the trees of the Forest from the Hedge to the Downs."
This description and its context make it clear that the Great Willow was originally a tree, despite its evident malicious sentience and power.
Old Man Willow is also shown as trapping Bombadil himself briefly, in Tolkien's narrative poem The Adventures of Tom Bombadil.
Portrayal in adaptations
Although this scene did not appear in the 2001 movie adaptation, a very similar episode with hobbits being swallowed by a tree was included in the extended DVD edition of the second film where Merry and Pippin are attacked by a Huorn in Fangorn forest. In this interpretation Tom Bombadil's lines are spoken by Treebeard.
Old Man Willow is a featured boss in the 2002 game The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Here, playing as Frodo, the player must hit Old Man Willow's trunk with rocks from a distance while avoiding his swinging willow switches until Tom Bombadil arrives.
|The Lord of the Rings |
The Lord of the Rings is an epic high fantasy novel written by English philologist and University of Oxford professor J. R. R. Tolkien. The story began as a sequel to Tolkien's 1937 children's fantasy novel The Hobbit, but eventually developed into a much larger work. It was written in stages between 1937 and 1949, much of it during World War II. It is the third best-selling novel ever written, with over 150 million copies sold.
The title of the novel refers to the story's main antagonist, the Dark Lord Sauron, who had in an earlier age created the One Ring to rule the other Rings of Power as the ultimate weapon in his campaign to conquer and rule all of Middle-earth. From quiet beginnings in the Shire, a Hobbit land not unlike the English countryside, the story ranges across north-west Middle-earth, following the course of the War of the Ring through the eyes of its characters, notably the hobbits Frodo Baggins, Samwise "Sam" Gamgee, Meriadoc "Merry" Brandybuck and Peregrin "Pippin" Took, but also the hobbits' chief allies and travelling companions: Aragorn, a Human Ranger; Boromir, a man from Gondor; Gimli, a Dwarf warrior; Legolas, an Elven prince; and Gandalf, a Wizard.
The work was initially intended by Tolkien to be one volume of a two-volume set, with the other being The Silmarillion, but this idea was dismissed by his publisher. It was decided for economic reasons to publish The Lord of the Rings as three volumes over the course of a year from 21 July 1954 to October 1955, thus creating the now familiar Lord of the Rings trilogy. The three volumes were entitled The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. Structurally, the novel is divided internally into six books, two per volume, with several appendices of background material included at the end of the third volume. The Lord of the Rings has since been reprinted numerous times and translated into many languages.
Tolkien's work has been the subject of extensive analysis of its themes and origins. Although a major work in itself, the story was only the last movement of a larger epic Tolkien had worked on since 1917, in a process he described as mythopoeia. Influences on this earlier work, and on the story of The Lord of the Rings, include philology, mythology, religion and the author's distaste for the effects of industrialization, as well as earlier fantasy works and Tolkien's experiences in World War I. The Lord of the Rings in its turn is considered to have had a great effect on modern fantasy; the impact of Tolkien's works is such that the use of the words "Tolkienian" and "Tolkienesque" has been recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary.
The enduring popularity of The Lord of the Rings has led to numerous references in popular culture, the founding of many societies by fans of Tolkien's works, and the publication of many books about Tolkien and his works. The Lord of the Rings has inspired, and continues to inspire, artwork, music, films and television, video games, and subsequent literature. Award-winning adaptations of The Lord of the Rings have been made for radio, theatre, and film.
Frodo Baggins, a well-to-do hobbit from the Shire, who inherits the One Ring from Bilbo. Frodo accepts the task of destroying the Ring in the fire of Mount Doom.
Samwise Gamgee, gardener and friend of the Bagginses, who accompanies Frodo on the quest to destroy the Ring.
Meriadoc Brandybuck, or Merry, Frodo's cousin and companion in the Fellowship.
Peregrin Took, Pip or Pippin, Frodo's cousin and companion in the Fellowship.
Gandalf, a wizard, who guides Frodo in his quest. He is a Maia, an angelic being sent by the godlike Valar to contest Sauron.
Aragorn, descendant of Isildur and rightful heir to the thrones of Arnor and Gondor. He becomes a loyal companion to Frodo.
Legolas Greenleaf, an elf prince, who aids Frodo and the Fellowship. Son of King Thranduil of Mirkwood
Gimli, son of Glóin, A representative of the Dwarves in the Fellowship.
Denethor, ruling Steward of Gondor and Lord of Minas Tirith.
Boromir, the eldest son of Denethor and member of the Fellowship. tempted by the power of the Ring he tries to take it from Frodo by force.
Faramir, younger brother of Boromir and not favoured by Denethor.
Galadriel, royal Elf, co-ruler of Lothlórien, and grandmother of Arwen Undómiel (Arwen Evenstar). Keeper of one of the three elven rings.
Celeborn, husband of Galadriel, co-ruler of Lothlórien, and grandfather of Arwen Undomiel.
Elrond, Lord of Rivendell and father to Arwen Undomiel.
Bilbo Baggins, Frodo's adoptive uncle.
Théoden, King of Rohan.
Éomer, the 3rd Marshal of the Mark, Théoden's nephew. Later King of Rohan after Théoden's death.
Éowyn, sister of Éomer, who disguises herself as a male warrior named Dernhelm to fight beside Théoden.
Treebeard, an Ent, who rescues Merry and Pippin from orcs and who helps to turn the tide of battle.
Sauron, the Dark Lord and titular Lord of the Rings, a fallen Maia who helped the Elves forge the Rings of Power long ago. He forged the One Ring in secret to control all the other Rings of Power.
The Nazgûl or Ringwraiths, nine servants of Sauron. Kings of old, they were enslaved to the One Ring through nine of the Rings of Power.
The Witch-king of Angmar, the Lord of the Nazgûl, and Sauron's most powerful servant, who commands Sauron's army.
Saruman, a corrupted wizard who seeks the One Ring for himself. Brainwashed by Sauron through use of the palantír. Like Gandalf, he is in fact a Maia, lesser (but still mighty) member of godlike kin of Valar.
Gríma Wormtongue, a servant of Saruman and traitor of Rohan, a go-between from Saruman to Théoden who poisons Théoden's perceptions with well placed "advice".
Gollum (named Sméagol in earlier life), who once possessed the Ring, which warped his mind and body and gave him unnaturally long life and poisoned his soul.
Various Orcs, soldiers of Mordor or Isengard. Those who play significant roles in the story include Uglúk, captain of the Uruk-hai of Isengard, Grishnákh, orc of Mordor and Uglúk's antagonist, Shagrat of Cirith Ungol, and Gorbag of Minas Morgul.
Shelob, a giant spider who dwells in the passes above Minas Morgul.
The Balrog, a fire-demon dwelling beneath the Mines of Moria awakened by the digging and mining of Dwarves.
The Haradrim, evil men south of Gondor. Allies with Sauron
Easterlings, men of the East of Middle-earth.
Corsairs of Umbar, enemies of Gondor
|Alan Lee (illustrator) (born 1947), English book illustrator and movie conceptual designer |
Born 20 August 1947 Middlesex, England
Field Illustration, painting, conceptual design
Training Ealing School of Art
Awards Chesley Award1989, 1998
Kate Greenaway Medal 1993
World Fantasy Award 1998
Academy Award 2004
Alan Lee (20 August 1947) is an English book illustrator and movie conceptual designer. He was born in Middlesex, England and studied at the Ealing School of Art.
Lee has illustrated dozens of fantasy books, including some nonfiction, and many more covers. Among the most notable interiors are several works of J.R.R. Tolkien: the centenary edition of The Lord of the Rings (1991), a 1995 edition of The Hobbit, and the first edition of Narn i Chîn Húrin: the tale of the children of Húrin (2007). The latter is his work most widely held in WorldCat participating libraries. Other books he has illustrated include Faeries (with Brian Froud), Lavondyss by Robert Holdstock (as well as the cover of an early print of this book), The Mabinogion (two versions), Castles and Tolkien's Ring (both nonfiction by David Day), The Mirrorstone by Michael Palin, The Moon's Revenge by Joan Aiken, and Merlin Dreams by Peter Dickinson.
He has also illustrated retellings of classics for young people. Two were Rosemary Sutcliff's versions of the Iliad and the Odyssey—namely, Black Ships Before Troy (Oxford, 1993) and The Wanderings of Odysseus (Frances Lincoln, 1995). Another was Adrian Mitchell's version of Ovid's Metamorphoses—namely, Shapeshifters (Frances Lincoln, 2009).
Lee did cover paintings for the 1983 Penguin edition of Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast trilogy. He also did the artwork for Alive!, a CD by the Dutch band Omnia, released on 3 August 2007 during the Castlefest festival.
Watercolour painting and pencil sketches are two of Lee's common media.
Lee and John Howe were the lead concept artists of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings movies, and were contacted by former director Guillermo del Toro to keep continuity of design for the Hobbit films. In a documentary interview on the extended edition of Fellowship of the Ring, Jackson details the story of how he managed to contact Lee, a rather reclusive man, in his home in the south of England. By couriering a package to him containing two of Jackson's previous films, Forgotten Silver and Heavenly Creatures, with a note from himself and Fran Walsh, Alan's interest was piqued enough to become involved. He went on to illustrate and even help construct many of the scenarios for the movies, including objects and weapons for the actors. He also made two cameo appearances, in the opening sequence of The Fellowship as one of the nine kings who became the Nazgul, and in The Two Towers as one Rohan soldier in the armoury (over the shoulder of Mortenson as Aragorn and Legolas talk in Elvish).
Lee has also worked as a conceptual designer on the films Legend, Erik the Viking, King Kong and the television mini-series Merlin. The art book Faeries, produced in collaboration with Brian Froud, was the basis of a 1981 animated feature of the same name.
Two years after completion of the Lord of the Rings film trilogy, Lee released a 192-page collection of his conceptual artwork for the project, entitled The Lord of the Rings Sketchbook (HarperCollins, 2005). Film director Peter Jackson said, "His art captured what I hoped to capture with the films."
For his 1978 book with Brian Froud, Faeries, Lee was runner-up for the science fiction and fantasy Locus Award, year's best art or illustrated book.
For illustrating Merlin Dreams by Peter Dickinson (1988), he won the annual Chesley Award for Best Interior Illustration and he was a highly commended runner-up for the Greenaway Medal. He also won the BSFA Award for Best Artwork, for that year's best single new image.
Five years later he won the Kate Greenaway Medal from the Library Association, recognising the year's best children's book illustration by a British subject. The book was Black Ships Before Troy by Rosemary Sutcliff, a version of the Trojan War story.
For the 60th anniversary edition of The Hobbit, Tolkien's 1937 classic, Lee won his second Chesley Award for Interior Illustration (he is a finalist eight times through 2011). For that year's work he won the annual World Fantasy Award, Best Artist, at the 1998 World Fantasy Convention.
In 2000 he won the competitive, juried Spectrum Award for fantastic art in the grandmaster category.
Lee, Grant Major and Dan Hennah earned the 2004 Academy Award for Best Art Direction for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, third in the film trilogy.