The Old Forest ~ An Ancient Wood That Bordered The Shire

“I thought all the trees were whispering to each other, passing news and plots along in an unintelligible language;
and the branches swayed and groped without any wind.”


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TolkienCanon3The Old Forest was a last remnant of the vast and ancient wood that once covered most of Middle-earth. Now an island in a sea of open farmland and lesser woodlands, the Old Forest kept it’s secrets under its dark canopy and leafy shade. Throughout the Shire, it was a place of dark rumor and little understood by those who walk upon two feet.

Some say that many of the trees within the boarders of the forest were awake. With awareness and thoughts that were strange and dark to those who walk free under the sun. Paths through the wood would often change in strange ways or disappear all together under the great boughs and tangled branches of the forest. The trees were ancient and filled will pride, a rooted wisdom and a dark malice for all those who dared enter under its shadow.

OldForest1Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin entered the dark forest to escape the pursing riders from Mordor. Of the four hobbits, only Meriadoc Brandybuck had ever entered the forest.

“The forest is queer. Everything in it is very much more alive, more aware of what is going on, so to speak, than things are in the Shire. And the tree do not like strangers. The watch you. They are usually content merely to watch you,as long as daylight lasts, and don’t do much. Occasionally the most unfriendly ones may drop a branch, or stick a root out, or grasp at you with a long trailer. But at night things can be most alarming, or so I am told. I have only once or twice been in here after dark, and then only near the hedge. I thought all the trees were whispering to each other, passing news and plots along in an unintelligible language; and the branches swayed and groped without any wind. They do say the tree actually do move, and can surround strangers and hem them in. 
In fact long ago they attacked the Hedge: The came and planted themselves right by it, and leaned over it. But the hobbits came and cut down hundreds of trees, and made a great bonfire in the forest,and burned all the ground in a long strip east of the Hedge. After that the trees gave up the attack, but they became very unfriendly. There is still a wide bare space not far inside where the bonfire was made.”

From The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in the chapter ‘The Old Forest’


The Hobbit moved through the forest near it’s eastern end as night descended…

“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 along through an ominous dream that led to no awakening.”

From The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in the chapter ‘The Old Forest’


As the heavy rains fell outside, Tom Bombadil told the hobbits tales about the strange ways of the forest…

“As they sat and listened, they began to understand the lives of the forest, apart from themselves, indeed to fell themselves the strangers, where all other things were at home. Tome’s words laid bare the the hearts of trees and their thoughts, which were often dark and strange, and filled with a hatred of all things that go on free upon the earth, gnawing, biting, breaking, hacking, burning: destroyers and usurpers.
It was not called the Old Forest without reason, for it was indeed ancient, a survivors of vast forgotten woods; an in it yet lived, aging no quicker then the hills, the fathers of trees, remembering times when they were lords. The countless years had filled them with pride, and rooted wisdom and with malice.”

From The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in the chapter ‘The Old Forest’


“There was no sound, except the occasional drip of moisture falling through the still leaves.”


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 Posted by at 6:33 am