The Wicker Man : Willow's Song and Seducing Howie

Willow's Song and Seducing Howie

Willow sang her song and danced naked in her own room. The first few times I saw this, I wondered what the hell she was doing. This has always bothered me. It's supposed to be obvious that she was coming onto him, but this wasn't handled well in the film.
It is the worst attempt at seduction in the history of movies. Realistically, say you're in a hotel room, and you hear someone signing a lovely ballad in the next roomdoes that mean she wants you? Say you hear some banging on the wallsdoes that translate to "Please come be with me?" No. Why not simply knock on his door? Or shout something through the wall? There are a million ways to come on to a guy, but singing a ballad in your room is not one.
It's almost laughable when she says "I waited for you last night" because in real life, Howie would have asked, If you wanted me, ya gotta do more than bang on a wall

Re: Willow's Song and Seducing Howie

I definately see your point. I always assumed that because of her singing and banging on the wall she wanted Howie to come to her where he would then find her naked and the test of purity would begin but yeah I see what you mean.

Whilst we are on the subject I always thought it was strange she would seduce Howie. I know the villagers wanted to be certain that Howie would have been the perfect sacrifice and this was a good way to test it and know for certain that he was a virgin but it could have had serious consequences for them if he did have sex with Willow. If he did have sex with Willow then he would no longer have been the perfect sacrifice and then the island's plan would be ruined so why give him an opportunity where he could save himself and lose his purity ?.

Did Willow seduce Howie because the villagers wanted her to ? or did she seduce him for her own reasons ?




Remember, there might be some MOMENTARY DISCOMFORT.

Re: Willow's Song and Seducing Howie

The villagers wanted her to. You could argue that, in their mind, the sacrifice would be worthless if he didn't outright reject sex instead of just lacking the opportunity to have it.

And if he had succumbed to her Well, then probably one of the girls (or even Lord Summerisle himself for making such a devastatingly wrong choice) would have gone to the bonfire instead. In any case, sex before marriage would have saved Howie's life, but (in his mind) it would also have endangered his eternal soul.

Re: Willow's Song and Seducing Howie

Well yeah I think you're probably right and I agree with what you wrote especially about what you said that in her mind the sacrifice would be worthless if he didn't fully object to sex.

I know Howie obviously didn't want to have sex before marriage but I always wondered why WWillow seduced him.

I was thinking the other day that maybe she personally seduced Howie without the villagers knowing and if so, why would she do it.

Remember, there might be some MOMENTARY DISCOMFORT.

Re: Willow's Song and Seducing Howie

I grant you that the entire scene is a bit surreal (it almost feels like a musical)

And while the fact that she sings naked in a closed up room, all to seduce a man on the other end of the wall, is VERY strange indeed; it is even STRANGER to think that he seems to be struggling. He places his hand on the wall and beads of sweat seem to be rolling down his forehead. It seems that, for the main character, there is almost a psychic connection that allows him to perceive her seduction.

Re: Willow's Song and Seducing Howie

How would the villagers know whether he was a virgin or not? Most men his age aren't. Plus, even if he fell for Willow's seduction, that wouldn't proven that he wasn't a virgin. And if he refused her seduction, it wouldn't prove that he was a virgin either. I mean, he could have been asleep, so how would that be a test of his virginity?

Also, Christians do not always save their virginity for marriage.


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Re: Willow's Song and Seducing Howie


How would the villagers know whether he was a virgin or not? Most men his age aren't. Plus, even if he fell for Willow's seduction, that wouldn't proven that he wasn't a virgin. And if he refused her seduction, it wouldn't prove that he was a virgin either. I mean, he could have been asleep, so how would that be a test of his virginity?

Also, Christians do not always save their virginity for marriage.


I think they meant it metaphorically. He is a virgin on their island, as he had resisted Willow's seduction. It doesn't mean he's never had sex in his life.

They also play with the idea that he is perfect for the role of king (king for a day), since he represents the law. And he is the perfect fool, as he had accepted the role willingly. None of this can be interpreted literally either.

Re: Willow's Song and Seducing Howie

In the novelization for the film, the story begins on the mainland, and tells of how, unknown to Howie, he is being stalked by someone wearing a unique pair of running shoes just like the shoes later worn by the Lord in the May Day Parade. They stalked him on the mainland for quite some time before sending the false letter to report Rowan's fake disappearance. By that point they were 99% sure they had the right man for the job. Willow's failed seduction made it a lock. Could they ever actually know it for absolute certainty? No, but it was the very safest bet they could possibly have ever made. Lord Summerisle even remarks upon their certainly of Howie's virginity just before they put him into the Wicker Man, saying "as our painstaking research has revealed" He was referring to their stalking of him on the mainland well in advance of his arrival on the island. Although it is never revealed, one can reason that they may well have been alerted to Howie's "qualifications" in the first place by operatives on the mainland, a sort of Pagan underground - perhaps even one or more of his own coworkers on the police force.

Re: Willow's Song and Seducing Howie

The book explains this better - Lord Summerisle had Howie watched carefully going about his business on the mainland to make sure he would trap 'the right kind of adult'. Howie had a fiancee but he was well know for his views on sex before marriage and it was a fair bet that he was 'pure'.

A few scenes of this kind would have strengthened the film's logic without giving too much away.

AndyG

Re: Willow's Song and Seducing Howie

>And while the fact that she sings naked in a closed up room, all to seduce a man on the other end of the wall, is VERY strange indeed; it is even STRANGER to think that he seems to be struggling. He places his hand on the wall and beads of sweat seem to be rolling down his forehead. It seems that, for the main character, there is almost a psychic connection that allows him to perceive her seduction.

Could not agree more. I am a virgin myself, and the scene didn't even make me erect lol, much less sweating like the sergeant. That was clearly a dumbly contrived scene unless it is written so in the book

Re: Willow's Song and Seducing Howie

It amazes me that no one recognized this for what it was. A RITUAL. She was performing a pagan ritual (which often include song and dance) to attempt to seduce him. The final scene where she released the energy into the air completed the ritual.
Maybe I only recognized this because I'm Wiccan. Lol.

Re: Willow's Song and Seducing Howie

This was the best scene in the whole movie.

Re: Willow's Song and Seducing Howie

"




Willow sang her song and danced naked in her own room. The first few times I saw this, I wondered what the hell she was doing. This has always bothered me. It's supposed to be obvious that she was coming onto him, but this wasn't handled well in the film.
It is the worst attempt at seduction in the history of movies. Realistically, say you're in a hotel room, and you hear someone signing a lovely ballad in the next roomdoes that mean she wants you? Say you hear some banging on the wallsdoes that translate to "Please come be with me?""


She actually came onto him in the full script by notifying him that her door would be unlocked if he wanted to visit:

"This extra scene occurs after Howie's forced entry into the chemist shop but before he retires to bed.

(Howie enters the bar, looking tired. The pub is unusually quiet)

Willow: Hello. You look tired. Can I get you a drink?

Howie: I'll have a pint, please.

(As Willow draws the beer, Howie studies the empty space on the wall where last year's harvest festival photograph should have been. He surreptitiously pulls out the copy of the missing photograph he made in the chemist's shop and compares it with the others. He puts the photograph back in his pocket and turns back to the bar)

Howie: Willow, what did you mean by the phrase "the day of death and re-birth"?

Willow: I don't remember saying that.

Howie: You said it last night to Lord Summerisle when he was in the garden.

Willow: Oh, so you overheard that, did you, Sergeant Sleuth?

Howie: I'm right next door, you know.

Willow: I know where you are. I only hope Ash Buchanan didn't keep you awake. He's a lively boy and very anxious to learn.

Howie: I'm only interested in the phrase "the day of death and re-birth".

Willow: It's just a saying. It's something to do with fertility, and May Day, and all that.

Howie: Willow, what happens on May Day? Does anyonewell, I mean, is anyone specially chosen for a

Willow: You must think of it as a day of re-birth, Sergeant. That's the best way.

Howie: Do you know where they are keeping Rowan Morrison?

Willow: Who cares? But why don't you come to my room later tonight? I'm sure I can tell you something to your advantage. The door won't be locked.

(Willow moves away from him, down the bar. Howie swills down his beer)"


She also gives him a massage (!) at one point.

Apparently there may have been an interview with the librarian in the buff:

http://www.steve-p.org/wm/librear.jpg

Re: Willow's Song and Seducing Howie

I think once they sent the letter to him he was already their guy. The whole song and dance could have been just to torment him with the singing and pounding. He wouldn't even had known she was naked. What would you have thought? Only that some a-hole was making a bunch of noise in the other room.

And if Howie came to her room to see what the commotion was about she would try and seduce him. If he decided to shag her it wouldn't have made a difference. She and everyone else on the island don't care if he is a virgin or celibate. She is just trying to see if this silly christian would fall for her charms. The fact that he is a devout christian is an added bonus, as said at the end of the film.


" The rug really tied the room together, did it not? " out.gif

Re: Willow's Song and Seducing Howie

I loved the song, which was hypnotic, and the whole scene was surreal and drugged in effect that seemed perfect with the languid island and its strange ways.

As others have commented it the scene was part of the ritual of selecting the victim. The fact that he didn't go to her room and tells her later that he hasn't had sex with his fiancee implies he's a virgin and they require a virgin for their sacrifice. So the banging on the wall was in time with the musicians in the pub, who were part of the ritual, and it had to be something the sergeant willingly chose so nothing more direct would have been appropriate.

I'm a fountain of blood
In the shape of a girl

Re: Willow's Song and Seducing Howie

This scene has been described as equal parts fanservice and squick. I watched it and can't figure out the squick part. Where's the squick?

Re: Willow's Song and Seducing Howie

What IS squick?

Re: Willow's Song and Seducing Howie

I think the reason for her strange way of seduction is maybe needing Howie to come to her, instead of forcing herself on him. He needs to be the one going to her willingly, rather like them mentioning him being the willing fool. If she went to his room instead and forced herself on him, then that willingness would be in doubt.

Re: Willow's Song and Seducing Howie


I think the reason for her strange way of seduction is maybe needing Howie to come to her, instead of forcing herself on him.


That's a good point. Also, since they are a superstitious people who have some occult-ish beliefs and Howie already suspected this of them, maybe he could guess that she was singing some sort of siren song aimed at him, at least once the banging on the wall started.

As for whether the islanders wanted to test him or Willow was just doing it for her own reasons, I think it's probably supposed to be the former, since they made a point to show the conversation the next day where Howie flatout told her he didn't believe in premarital sex. She does seem to enjoy her role as the town seductress, though, delighting in "The Landlord's Daughter," so maybe it was just something she did for fun.

I also think it was partially just an excuse to get some nudity in. I mean, what about Howie walking in on the librarian in the bathtub? What purpose did that serve to move the plot along?

Re: Willow's Song and Seducing Howie

The whole movie has hints of the supernatural, naturally for one of its themes being Celtic paganism - coincidentally, a pagan religion we still don't know a lot about, which adds to the mystery and the theme of fear of the unknown.

I see this scene as very fitting in the scenario exactly because the seduction isn't appealing at face value, but we clearly see Howie fighting to suppress his sexual feelings when it happens. It hints at Willow having some sort of ritualized, magical-powered way to seduce men. On the scene of the presenting of Ash Buchanan this is made quite clear because she's the town's sexual initiation for the young guys and Lord Summerisle mentions it as "another sacrifice to Aphrodite", "goddess of love in human form", etc.

This all seems pretty clear to me and explaining a scene like that rationally might be confusing.

Re: Willow's Song and Seducing Howie

I'm a Celtic Wiccan (NOT a sacrificial old school pagan like in this movie) so it was fairly obvious to me that she was performing a pagan ritual on him to try to seduce him.

Rituals can involve anything from song to dance and some practice skyclad (the term for nude) as they believe clothing inhibits the flow of energy. Given his sweating, he was clearly under her spell for a moment.

But let me say that as a Wiccan, I was saddened by the portrayal of paganism. We do NOT believe in human or animal sacrifice and we believe in doing no harm to ourselves or others. While these people were not specifically Wiccan, many uneducated people will equate the two.

Re: Willow's Song and Seducing Howie

I certainly believe that you are against harm like that portrayed in the film. But I'd lay money that the sadness you felt was fairly tiny compared to the happiness of watching young lasses jumping over the fire, risking life and a sudden crackling, on your average Friday night out. Or having the choice of young blokes on tap if you are female. No-one's wondering what the up-sides of it all were for them in the film. You're behaving well to others, to say the absolute least!


Free your mind and the rest will follow

Re: Willow's Song and Seducing Howie

she did invite him in the song a couple times "come to me-and say 'how-do?' .."

I think her seduction was part of a ritual-giving the man a final 'meal' better than the canned vegetables he had eaten
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