The Tolkien Road – Ep. 28 – The Lord of the Rings – B1C6 – The Old Forest

Concerning “The Old Forest”, Book 1, Chapter 6 of The Lord of the Ringsin which Frodo and company enter the perilous realm beyond the borders of Buckland…
©2013-2015 rfcunha

On this episode, we continue our discussion of The Lord of the Rings with Book 1, Chapter 6 of Fellowship, “The Old Forest, in which Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin set out on their journey through the Old Forest and encounter a far more dangerous road than they expected. Chapter 6 also introduces the mysterious Tom Bombadil, one of Tolkien’s most enigmatic figures. There’s a lot to talk about, including:

  • Who is Old Man Willow?
  • Why does the Old Forest seem alive?
  • The beauty of the word “Withywindle”
  • Our favorite passages from this chapter
  • The location of Tom Bombadil’s house
  • And much more!

By the way, to see the Tolkien haiku(s) that didn’t make it onto the podcast, scroll down. And here’s the Atlas of Middle-earth by Karen Fonstad that we mentioned on air, as well as the wonderful book on Tolkien’s art by Wayne Hammond and Cristina Scull.

I hope you enjoy our conversation. And of course, if you haven’t already, please leave us a rating and feedback on iTunes. We’d love to know what you think of The Tolkien Road. Enjoy the show!



Haiku submitted but not read on air…

Josh Sosa:

Slowly creep the roots
Windless forest sways all ways
lo Old Man Willow!

Mary Grace:

Hobbits leave the Shire
The Old Forest leads to Bree
Unknown awaits them

Frodo has the Ring
But Merry leads them onward
Frodo insists so


What ancient anger
Brings the forest to swallow
Hobbits whole and live?

Does the Forest live?
The Withywindle winds through,
The blood in its heart.


Entering a spell
Only Sam suspects foul play
A hero again

A tree whisperer
Singing, carrying lilies,
Saving hobbits. Weird.

And here’s the wonderful short ballad-form poem submitted by Trevor the Computational Linguist:

They ride into the forest bleak
Beneath forboding leaves.
Behind the tree-trunks dark things peek,
And winding paths they weave.
The Withywindle bubbles quick
Along it’s Southward track
The Willow stands and plays his trick:
A murderous attack.
Old Bombadil did hap’ thereon,
The tree his voice would heed,
And still the road goes ever on,
Now, from the darkness freed.

Keep ’em coming everyone!

5 thoughts on “The Tolkien Road – Ep. 28 – The Lord of the Rings – B1C6 – The Old Forest

  1. Mr. Carswell,
    Thank you so much for reading my haiku!
    Every time I write a haiku, the “Haiku Theme Song” starts playing in my head. 😉
    I had wondered, would you consider continuing your podcast (after the LotR and Silmarillion were finished) with The Hobbit? And perhaps, in the later stages of the podcast, doing The Lost Tales?
    I would like to express a huge THANK YOU!!!!! to you for all the time you have contributed to The Tolkien Road. I greatly appreciate it. 🙂
    ~Mary Grace
    P.S. Thank you for naming me Superfan #2!


    1. We are planning to do The Hobbit and any of the Unfinished Tales/History of M/E works that it makes sense to do…eventually of course. Thanks for asking, and thanks for being a superfan!


  2. Mr. Carswell,
    Thank you for reading one of my haiku on the show! Here are some for episode 29:
    House of Bombadil
    What a merry place it is!
    Tom and Goldberry


    Bombadil is lord
    Of trees, flowers, and creatures
    In the Old Forest

    and lastly:

    Ancient is Tom, yes,
    He was there before the Kings
    He knows the stars well

    The last haiku is the one I’d like to be read on the air. Thank you!
    ~Mary Grace


  3. Mr. Carswell,
    Are Hobbiton and the Shire the same place? I have seen both terms used but was never sure if they were the same place or not. I personally think that Hobbiton is inside the Shire, but I could be wrong.
    ~Mary Grace


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