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Minas Tirith Forums » Library Council of Minas Tirith » Who or what is Tom Bombadil? (Page 2)
Author Topic: Who or what is Tom Bombadil?
Miturian
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I get some wierd pictures when I think about the god of smiths tossing around singing
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Earendilyon
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Manwe didn't leave his seat at the top of that mountain in Valinor, the name of which I just can't remember right now. Except maybe to have a leak or a bite
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Mithrandir
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telenqueri?
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Galdor of the Tree
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His seat was Taniquetal or something I think.
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Earendilyon
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Taniquetil is the name of Manwe's seat. My point by saying that was (ofcourse) that he therefore can't be Tom Bombadil!
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Tinelwen
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Of course Manwë can't be Bombadil! What kind of a half-baked....?

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"We do not have to visit a madhouse to find disordered minds; our planet is the mental institution of the universe." -Goethe


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Earendilyon
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quote:
is there any possibility it was Manwe himself?

I answered this question of Gandalf the White.

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Earendilyon
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I found some quote out of the Letters in a discussion on another board:
quote:
Well, there are comments from the Prof on Bombadil in Letters.

He is of course not a Maia. What he is is an enigma, and he was made so deliberately by the Prof.

"And even in a mythical age there must be some enigmas, as there always are. Tom Bombadil is one (intentionally)."

On further notes....

Tom Bombadil is not an important person, to the narrative. I suppose he has some importance as a "comment'". He goes on...
"Ultimately only the victory of the West will allow Bombail to continue, or even to survive. Nothing would be left for him in the world of Sauron.

On Bombadil:
"If you have, as it were, taken a vow of poverty, renounced control and take your delight in things for yourself without reference to yourself, watching,observing, and to some extent knowing, then the question of rights and wrongs of power might become utterly meaningless to you, and the means of power valueless.

on the countryside thing:
"Do you think Tom Bombadil, the spirit of the vanishing Oxford and Berkshire countryside, could be made into a hero of the story?"


I have this quoted from "Gil-galad" over at The White Council .

This message has been edited by Earendilyon on 04-06-2001 at


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Roll of Honor Thorondor
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If we're going to make Tom one of the Vala, which I doubt, he seems more like Oromë to me. And Vána could pass for Goldberry. Note this quote from Silm: "he delights in horses and hounds; and all trees he loves, for which reason he is called...Lord of Forests". And Vaná is described as follows: "all flowers spring as she passes, and open if shee glances upon them; and all birds sing at here coming."

There are some even better descriptions in the "Lost Tales" as I remeber, but i don't have it handy. I believe Vana is desribed as "golden haired", and Oromë is pretty boisterous. He also is fond of middle earth and spent a lot of time there in the first age.

All that said, I'm not sure Tom is one of the Valar, or even Maiar. I feel quite sure he isn't Aulë.


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Rose Gamgee - home again
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Now this is no professional opinion, mind you, and probably not correct.But Tom and Goldberry seem KIND OF like Elwë and Melian.

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I cannot live without books.

~Thomas Jefferson


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Roll of Honor Fingolfin of the Noldor
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Tolkien is clear:

Tom is an enigma and not of any race

Goldberry is the daughter of a denizen of the Old Forest ( and so I assume probably of elven lineage)


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OrcristRuneMaster
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I agree with Fingolfin

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Orcrist The Elven Runemaster
"Stand by the gray stone when the thrush knocks..."


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Rose Gamgee - home again
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Yes, I agree. It was just a thought -- they are SORT OF similar.

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I cannot live without books.

~Thomas Jefferson


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Mellon
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Not to be difficult or anything, but Beorn is described much in the same fashion...

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'Speak, friend, and enter'


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Iarwain
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Thorondor: I must say that your idea is much better as to which Vala they might be, I too was finding it difficult to relate Aule with Tom.

As for the prof saying tom was an enigma, perhaps what he was saying is that he is not really important to this story.

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Hey dol merry dol


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Dingalen
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Tom Bombadil is an enigma. His character would rather fit into the hobbit than into LotR. He is a very mysterical figure - and powerful no doubt. But to attribute him with the powers of a Vala on the basis of his resistance to the ring and his influence on the forest? I think that would be overestimated. From Gandalf's observations about him - that also he would be overwhelmed by Sauron in the end and that "he was a rock that was gathering moss" - comparing Tom with himself. I think that strongly indicates, that Tom would be a manifested Maia (like Gandalf himself).

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As silent as greenwood the great.


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Ensa Lucis
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The general concensus here appears to be that Tom Bombadil is either a maia of sorts, perhaps indeed even a vala, or an enigma never to be explained. However, I believe that there is one solution which may indeed be the answer to the question, "Who, or what, is Tom Bombadil?"
I have long pondered over this, and it came to me last night when I should have been doing homework:
Tom Bombadil is J.R.R. Tolkien!

Before you burn your computer and send me hatemail for blasphemy, allow me to backup this apparently stupid piece of stupidity. Here lies my theory, use it wisely:

Tolkien was writing up his notes for the Fellowship of the Ring and was satisfied with his book thus far. However, upon re-reading the first few chapters, he decided that it was quite boring to begin with - no actual action taking place, and since the theme of constant pursuit was to be used throughout the entire story, that a small, controversial event to liven things up a bit, might be in order.
He invented the barrow wights to scare the hobbits and give the chapters before Weathertop a little added spice, but he was at a loss to account for how four hobbits could overcome an undead vengeful spirit. And so he turned to a character he had written years previously the name of Tom Bombadil.
Tolkien couldn't well just insert the very same character into his new work, therefore he gave this character a slightly different personality, but put fragments of his own persona in his new concoction.

There is evidence within Lord of the Rings. In the chapter, In the House of Tom Bombadil:

quote:
Frodo looked at her questioningly. 'He is, as you have seen him,' she said in answer to his look. 'He is the Master of wood, water and hill'
'Then all this strange land belongs to him?'
'No indeed!' she answered and her smile faded. 'That would indeed be a burden,'

Tolkien is the Master of all that he has written, but he does not own it - that he lays upon the shoulders of those in Arda. In addition Goldberry answers as JRRT's wife might answer a child asking whether Tolkien lives in Middle Earth.

From the same chapter:

quote:
'...I have been walking wide, leaping on the hill-tops, since the grey dawn began, nosing wind and weather, wet grass underfoot, wet sky above me...'

This is not to be taken out of context - Tolkien is referring to Bombadil's small country, but the sentence does ring of omnipotence and how Bombadil can go anywhere in his land at will.

During the Council held at Imladris, Elrond hints that Bombadil is very old, but neither maia nor vala;

quote:
'...if indeed this is this is still the same that walked the woods and hills long ago, and even then was older than the old... Iarwain Ben-adar we called him, oldest and fatherless.'

Tolkiens father died in February 1896, and so at the time Tolkien wrote LotR, he was fatherless, and in a sense the oldest figure associated with it.
quote:
'I think that in the end, if all else is conquered, Bombadil will fall, Last as he was First; and then Night will come' ~Glorfindel, The Council of Elrond

Should Sauron have won through and got the ring, Lord of the Rings would have had a very limited plot, and would never have been published. Then Tolkien might have gone into debt and died or something - the last of all things that is associated with LotR.


And thus concludes my argument. It is purposely rubbish, and I don't *really* think that Tolkien is Bombadil. Munch away, and above all be happy, for Tom Bombadil wears yellow boots!

[ 10-23-2001: Message edited by: Ensa Lucis ]



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Ensa Lucis

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Roll of Honor Fingolfin of the Noldor
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And even in a mythical age there must be some enigmas as there always are. Tom bombadil is one (intentionally)...
...tom bombadil is not an important person to the narrative. I suppose he has some immportance as a comment. I mean I do not really write like that, he is just an invention( who first appeared in the Oxford Magazine about 1933 )~letter 144


[u]I do not mean him to be an alegory or I should not have given him so particular, and ridiculous a name ~letter 153[/u]

You may be able to conceive of your unique relation to the Creator without a name--can you: for in such a reltion pronouns become proper nuons...
...Frodo has asked not "what is Tom Bombadil?" but "Who is he?". We and he no doubt often laxly confuse the questions. Goldberry gives what I think is the correct answer...
...She islets as a concesion a statement of pan of the what. He is master in a peculiar way he has no fear and no desire of possesion or domnation at all. He merely knows and understands about such things as concern him in his natural little realm.
~ letter 153

[ 10-23-2001: Message edited by: Fingolfin of the Noldor ]


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Ensa Lucis
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*sighs*

no imagination...

[ 10-23-2001: Message edited by: Ensa Lucis ]



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Ensa Lucis

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Roll of Honor Fingolfin of the Noldor
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Hey, I happen to agree with you. I too believe that Tolkien incorporated much of his own persona into the character of Tom.

[ 10-23-2001: Message edited by: Fingolfin of the Noldor ]


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cian
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The answer to this question has always been ... spelled out right before our eyes ~ only spelled sideways sorta. Adjust the letters of Bombadil and you will feel release!

Mad Bilbo


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Maglor
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LOL!!!

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"The treacherous are always distrustful"
JRR Tolkien

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Robidob75185
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In the lord of the rings they never mention Gnomes. But the decription of tom is very similar to the tradidtional description Of a garden Gnome. Just food for thought.
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Earendilyon
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I just found an interesting theory on this topic over at TORC:
quote:
"Tom is the rythmic musical theme that was introduced by Illuvatar to quell the dismay caused by Melkor. The first note of that extra music is Tom and so will be the last. Because he is part of the music he is also part of Arda and being a wholly original thought of Illuvatar he is a being in Arda like no other."


I don't think Tom is THE theme introduced by Iluvatar. But he may have been a part of it. Interesting theory IMHO.

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Sigmark Heimdall
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As he says: He IS!
Just kidding
his elven name is Iarwain bed (or ben? I'm not sure)Adar
Iarwain - The oldest
bed - without
Adar - Father
It can mean he's Iluvatar, maybe he was limited by the homan appearance he took on himself / like Istari.But finally I think he was Maia of some kind.Golberry, Tom's wife is a river fairy,maybe some sort of lower level Yavanna's
Maia - 'cause she cares about trees and flowers
maybe Ulmo's - she's a RIVER fairy

[ 11-21-2001: Message edited by: Sigmark Heimdall ]


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