Thursday, October 29, 2015

Tom Bombadil

We talked a little about Tom Bombadil today and how he's such an interesting character. While nobody seems to know who exactly he is or how and why he's in Middle-earth, it's fun to speculate about the possibilities. I found this essay, and it brings up a lot of interesting points: https://www.cas.unt.edu/~hargrove/bombadil.html


One interesting point the author of this essay brings up comes from a book by T. A. Shippey. Apparently, Shippey says that if Treebeard is truly the oldest living thing, then Tom Bombadil may not even be technically alive. This seems slightly ridiculous, but it's an interesting thought nonetheless.

What do you think about Tom Bombadil? Do you think he's one of the Valar or Maiar? Do you think Tolkien himself knew who Bombadil is? (I'm assuming he did, but maybe not?) Also, why do you think Peter Jackson and the gang chose not to include him in the movies?

3 comments:

Nienna said...

Tom Bombadil is definitely an interesting character. It is almost as if he exists in a sort of in between realm. For example, he is just beyond the Shire and yet completely apart from it. He lives in his own realm and does not appear to venture out of it although I am not sure if he is able to leave it at all. He also has immense power over his realm. I find it interesting that the ring is unable to effect him, which seems to suggest to me that he exists in a realm apart from reality and is therefore unable to be affected by worldly things. I'm unsure why they chose to eliminate him from the films. Perhaps, it was for times sake or they didn't think it would flow as well with the main premise of the movie. I do wish they had included him as he is such an interesting and different character.

Tulkas said...

I recognize that this is quite a stretch, but this question has been nagging me since it came up. I've looked over the Vala and it seems possible that Tom and Goldberry could be some sort of physical manifestations of Aule and Yavanna. Both are heavily connected with the earth and it would make sense for them to want to have more of presence there. While Aule and Yavanna dwell in the Mansions of Aule, it's possible that there could be some sort of overlap between Tom's house and Aule's mansions. We certainly that Tom exists on some sort of higher plane, given that the ring has no effect on him. I haven't found anything that out rightly contradicts this idea, but I also haven;t gone too in-depth with it. Also as an interesting side note, Goldberry is described as having golden hair and a green gown. Yavanna is known to wear a green gown when taking on a physical form.

Estë said...


Interesting thoughts on this. I have always loved the character of Bombadil (who doesn’t?) and was upset that he wasn’t in the films. I hadn’t read the books until many years after watching the films, though, so it was while before I knew what was missing. I assume that he hasn’t been included by Jackson and Gang because he doesn’t really have any role in the whole affair of the Ring, aside, of course, from rescuing the Hobbits a few times on their journey to Rivendell.

As for what he is, I have no idea. It is certainly interesting to think of he and Goldberry as incarnations of Valar, but then the question of what the heck they’re doing in Middle-earth arises. I almost think of them as the Old Forest in humanoid forms, Golberry as the seasons and Tom as all the forest. It feels more pagan to me than anything that there are lovely and immensely powerful beings that look after the forest and keep to themselves.