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Old 20th October 2007, 10:47 AM   #46 (permalink)
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Re: Tom Bombadil

Imho Bombadil is a vehicle used by Tolkein to show the One Ring for what it is - a weapon which takes the base desires of anyone it touches and turns them against the wearer; both sides , whether good or evil , desire domination over , or destruction of , the other - even Frodo has evil thoughts , for instance initially wishing the death of Gollum

As Bombadil has no base desires , the Ring has no influence
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Old 21st October 2007, 06:07 PM   #47 (permalink)
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Re: Tom Bombadil

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Tom is fun, but he doesn't really fit. However, how would you fit in the old forest and the barrow downs without him? I think he can handle the ring because he is unconcerned with things outside of his little area of interest. Besides, he only has it for a few moments. If he pocessed it instead of barrowing it and his little realm was threatened, the ring quite possibly could affect him.
I'd say that doesn't quite agree with the views expressed in the Council of Elrond, where it is asked whether the Ring ought to be sent to him; the view of the more experienced (including Gandalf) there is that, though he would take it if asked, he simply wouldn't see the importance of it, and would be a most careless guardian -- unaffected by the Ring to the degree that he would simply treat it as a trinket and forget about it or perhaps lose it....

Marvin, what you say above rather ties in with some of what Tolkien was saying, I think; because Bombadil is so self-contained, so centered, as it were, such things as the rings of power simply have no attraction (or any other effect) upon him....

As Tolkien was a very religious man, and as a lot of that permeates his writing, I suppose you could say that Tom is symbolic of the Unfallen Man -- a glimpse, perhaps, of one possible variation of such, at any rate....

It might help for those who haven't to take a look at the set of verses involving him in The Adventures of Tom Bombadil -- the first two poems give quite a bit of information (if jovially written) on Tom, including the original uses of Old Man Willow and the Barrow-Wights, as the verse was written long before those chapters in LotR were even conceived....
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Old 22nd October 2007, 01:10 AM   #48 (permalink)
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Re: Tom Bombadil

I have always found that the most puzzling aspect of The One Ring is it's propensity to make the wearer invisible , whether they wish it or not. Certainly this is the case with both Smeagol , Bilbo and Frodo - and of course in the case of Isildur , whom it betrays by making him visible by slipping from his finger.

Does this mean that Sauron became invisible whilst wearing The Ring? ; and why would The Ring choose to make it's bearer invisible in the first place?
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Old 22nd October 2007, 01:24 AM   #49 (permalink)
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Re: Tom Bombadil

I always thought of the invisibility thing as being a side-effect of the Ring's power....and it's a bit puzzling that it makes all your clothes, armour, accoutrements, etc, vanish as well.......

Don't forget, though, that the Ring in The Hobbit is simply that - a magic ring that confers invisibility, and nothing more.
When JRRT used it as the link between The Hobbit and LotR, he boosted its power and importance a thousandfold....but he could hardly get rid of the power that gave it to Bilbo in the first place.
Bilbo uses it many times - escaping the Wood-Elves, against Smaug, getting the Arkenstone to Dain, leaving the Party, etc - in contrast, Frodo uses it hardly at all for invisibility. I think this shows the different emphasis put on the relative powers of the Ring in the two books.

Oh, and it doesn't make Tom vanish......
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Old 22nd October 2007, 01:50 AM   #50 (permalink)
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Re: Tom Bombadil

One could say that it obeys the bearer's wishes , as the only times Frodo/Bilbo/Smegaol wore it , was when they desired to be hidden from the sight of others.

Does this then mean that if Frodo had desired other things when wearing The Ring , it would have 'granted' them? The answer to this is probably 'no' , as he surely desired the destruction of the Ringwraiths on Weathertop - and of course all The Ring did was betray him by making him even more visible to them

Does this then mean that it is The Ring itself which chooses to make the wearer invisible? - yet if this were the case , it could choose to make them visible again when it so desired - but of course this can only occur if it is removed from the finger of the one wearing it
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Old 22nd October 2007, 01:58 AM   #51 (permalink)
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Re: Tom Bombadil

I think the invisibility power works anyway - but if the Ring wants to betray you, it'll find a way, like slipping off at the most inopportune moment.....
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Old 22nd October 2007, 01:59 AM   #52 (permalink)
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Re: Tom Bombadil

Going back to Bombadil , though - it would be interesting to see what reaction he would have had to the invasion of his forest by a host from Mordor , and the desecration which would ensue. Would Tom attempt to protect his home or his trees - how about if his beloved Goldberry was attacked ?
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Old 22nd October 2007, 01:34 PM   #53 (permalink)
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Re: Tom Bombadil

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Going back to Bombadil , though - it would be interesting to see what reaction he would have had to the invasion of his forest by a host from Mordor , and the desecration which would ensue. Would Tom attempt to protect his home or his trees - how about if his beloved Goldberry was attacked ?
I imagine it would be ugly, with the entire forest coming alive to retaliate.

But then again, he might just sing and dance to a new tune. Who knows?
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Old 31st October 2007, 11:42 PM   #54 (permalink)
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Re: Tom Bombadil

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I imagine it would be ugly, with the entire forest coming alive to retaliate.

But then again, he might just sing and dance to a new tune. Who knows?

He's certainly a character Sauron would hate - but then again , he has been around since (before?) the beginning of time , and survived more evil and powerful rulers than Sauron. I get the feeling that Bomadil and his forest would be left well alone , or at least until the rest of Middle Earth had been conquered
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Old 1st November 2007, 05:21 AM   #55 (permalink)
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Re: Tom Bombadil

According to Tolkien:

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[Elrond:]'But I had forgotten Bombadil, if indeed this is the same that walked the woods and hills long ago, and even then was older than the old. That was not then his name. Iarwain Ben-adar we called him, oldest and fatherless.... [M]aybe I should have summoned him to our council.'

'He would not have come,' said Gandalf.

'Could we not still send messages to him, and obtain his help?' asked Erestor. 'It seems that he has a power even over the Ring.'

'No, I should not put it so,' said Gandalf. 'Say rather than the Ring has no power over him. He is his own master. But he cannot alter the Ring itself, nor break its power over others. And now he is withdrawn into a little land, with bounds that he has set, though none can see them, waiting perhaps for a change of days, and he will not step beyond them.'

'But within those bounds nothing seems to dismay him,' said Erestor. 'Would he not take the Ring, and keep it there, for ever harmless?'

'No,' said Gandalf, 'not willingly. He might do so, if all the free folk of the world begged him, but he would not understand the need. And if he were given the Ring, he would soon forget it, or most likely throw it away. Such things have no hold on his mind. He would be a most unsafe guardian; and that alone is answer enough.'

'But in any case,' said Glorfindel, 'to send the Ring to him would only postpone the day of evil.... [S]oon or late the Lord of the Rings would learn of its hiding place and would bend all his power towards it. Could that power be defied by Bombadil alone? I think not. I think that in the end, if all else is conquered, Bombadil will fall, Last as he was First; and then Night will come.'

'I know little of Iarwain save the name,' said Galdor, 'but Glorfindel, I think, is right. Power to defy our Enemy is not in him, unless such power is in the earth itself. And yet we see that Sauron can torture and destroy the very hills....'
(The Fellowship of the Ring, Book II, Chapter 2, "The Council of Elrond"; rev. Am. pb. ed., pp. 347-48)

Recall that, according to Tolkien (and this seems very much in character given what we see of Bombadil in the book), he represents that which desires knowledge of the other because it is other and for no other purpose. Because of this "purity" if you will, nothing has power over Bombadil -- not Old Man Willow, not the Barrow-Wights, not the Ring -- save something of the order of the Maiar or Valar. He could, perhaps, be killed by an act of violence, but no evil can mar him; it can only kill him. He would remain the same until the end. But he himself lacks power over anything other than his own realm, desiring power over nothing, beyond what power understanding and knowledge can give him within his relatively small bounds. As I mentioned earlier, he seems a sort of symbol of unfallen Man, not subject to the usual ills of the world, but nonetheless not invulnerable.

I'll admit that, the first time I read LotR, I didn't particularly care for the character (though I quite enjoyed the adventure with Old Man Willow and the Old Forest, and with the Barrow-Wight), but Tom has grown on me over the years as I've come to see he's actually a rather complex (and understated) symbol -- as is Goldberry, in her own way -- and some of the writing in those chapters is quite lyrical and poignant and wistful; eventually making it one of my very favorite parts of the book. I find some passages can stir some rather strong emotions (if of a gentler nature) in the way they capture (or recapture, to use Tolkien's phrase) the beauties of the natural world around, allowing a reader to see them anew.

For those interested in some of what Tom stands for, I suggest giving a careful reading to Tolkien's essay, "On Fairy-Stories", as well as The Adventures of Tom Bombadil. Both really do richly reward such a reading.....
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Old 1st November 2007, 11:16 AM   #56 (permalink)
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Re: Tom Bombadil

I need to read the trilogy again.

That particular passage is interesting. How many horrible fantasy books have each of us read that try so hard, and fail so miserably, to recreate the feeling we got from passages like that? There is so much history and culture represented in those lines of dialogue. Slews of authors try and fail to do that.

Man, I love those books.

Also on a sidenote here, I always felt strange about semicolons in dialogue. I guess Tolkien felt comfortable with them. Hmm.
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Old 9th November 2007, 06:59 AM   #57 (permalink)
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Re: Tom Bombadil

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Originally Posted by j. d. worthington View Post
Not really cannon, though I believe Christopher Tolkien refers to it now and again (my memory may be playing me tricks on this one, though). Fascinating book, but not entirely accurate, I'd say.

Sorry... computer was locking up on me, and I had to go ahead and post without finishing.

Okay... There's quite a bit about Tom in both The History of Middle Earth (especially Vol. VI: The Return of the Shadow), but also in the Letters, particularly pp. 178-79 and 191-92:



Which last sentence certainly indicates he was not one of the Maia.

As for the latter passage:



The words of Tom mentioned above are: "'Don't you know my name yet? That's the only answer. Tell me, who are you, alone, yourself and nameless?'"
NEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRRRRDDDDDDDDDDD
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Old 9th November 2007, 10:29 PM   #58 (permalink)
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Re: Tom Bombadil

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NEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRRRRDDDDDDDDDDD

which is an accusation which can be made against any of us , at some time or other

I guess we all have subjects or hobbies which attract some of us to delve into more deeply than others

Could be surfing , video-gaming - even gardening or fishing

What several people discussing a subject in depth , particularly one they have some knowledge , or at least one which wish to share or gain a better understanding of from like-minded people , may find ineteresting and stimulating , may well seem 'nerdish' to those wishing to merely skim the subject , or have no interest in

One webite I frequently visit which discusses video gaming sometimes has certain members who prefer to discuss the more technical aspects of the games rather than how good the games are. Some of these discussions get very technical , and can only truly be understood by those members - now I would call this 'nerdish' (but never to their face!)

However there are plenty of times when I am talking about video games with the couple of mates I have who have a similar interest - but I am seen as a 'geek' or 'nerd' by my mates who think videogames are for kids! For some reason they think that anything that goes wrong with their home PC can be fixed by me , simply because I play games on a PC rather than PS3 or 360 (although usually I CAN fix them , which unfortunately makes their misguided assumptions appear valid!)

Last edited by paranoid marvin; 9th November 2007 at 10:47 PM.
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Old 10th November 2007, 04:54 AM   #59 (permalink)
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Re: Tom Bombadil

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NEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRRRRDDDDDDDDDDD
LOL... Guilty as charged!

And if you think that was bad, you should see me when I get rolling on HPL or the Gothic novels of the late 18th and early 19th centuries....
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Old 10th November 2007, 10:25 AM   #60 (permalink)
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Re: Tom Bombadil

I wish I had been responding to this thread earlier... now there's too much to react on and too little time...
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