Sunday, March 20, 2011
In The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, several characters of great power show up to help in times of great need. In addition to Gandalf as one of these characters, Beorn in The Hobbit and Tom Bombadil in The Fellowship of the Ring are other examples. As powerful as they are, such characters stoutly refuse to help beyond what is needed. What purpose do these characters serve on a greater scale in the plot of Middle-earth? Why does Tolkien limit these seemingly extremely powerful characters to such small roles in his fiction? Are they portraying something more important or do they simply serve as a deus ex machina to rescue bumbling Hobbits from certain doom?