who or what is Tom Bombadil?

Discussion in 'Books' started by Turambar, Feb 26, 2004.

  1. kleko

    kleko Scum of the earth

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    They are watching me. I know it. They are everywhe
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    Tom is the world of middle earth hes just there as he always has been he says it himself that he wast the first.
     
  2. Mystarian

    Mystarian Magistrate of the Earth

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    Tom Bombadil is one of the Maia, a helper to Yavanna the Fruitful. He is the absolute master of the Old Forest, which is how he has such control. But why the Ring dosen't affect him, you may ask. Its because that it dosen't concern him. The only think that matters to him is his forest, and he cares little for the affairs of the rest of the world. His spouse is another of the Maia, for Goldberry is the River-Daughter. The Ring dosen't affect him because it has no power over him. The Ring is able to corrupt others, but Tom is so close to the Earth and such a master of himself and unconcerned with other things that the Ring has no possible way to grip him. The Ring mainly affects people because they, somewhere inside of them, there is a need for power and control. But not Bombadil, because he seems to be unconcerened with gaining power. However, this dosen't make him all powerful, for Sauron could certaintly oberwhelm him. He wasn't the first being, and nor will he be the last.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2007
  3. ~Elladan~

    ~Elladan~ A Elbereth Gilthoniel

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    Perhaps it easier to say what Tom is not ~ he's not one of the main races of creatures of Middle-Earth as he came before them and was already present when the elves came westward. It is possible that he was a Maia although as the ring had no impact on him at all but other Maia ~ notably Gandalf, Saruman & Sauron were, this seems unlikely. The ring's invisibility power also didn't affect Tom but did it Sauron? ~ certainly it didn't on film and Isildur must presumably have been able to see Sauron's ring-hand to cut the ring-finger off? :).

    It is perhaps more likely that he was of the Valar living under a different name but even this is in doubt as he quotes that he was in Middle-Earth before the Dark Lord (presumed to be Melkor/Morgoth who was the first of the Ainur to arrive, given context of quote) ~ this would also appear to cast further doubt on being Maia as well, as both the Valar & Maia are of the Ainur. Which leaves either a being or spirit of Middle-Earth pre-dating the Ainur, one of the Valar (if Dark Lord quote referred to Sauron & as Tom's powers seem limitless) or is an embodiment of Iluvatar himself. The latter has however been discounted by Tolkien himself ...
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2007
  4. kartaron

    kartaron Hunter / Gatherer

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    Tolkien said in a letter that Bombodil is not a representation of God in Middle Earth. Encyclopedia of Arda
     
  5. Turambar

    Turambar Harebrained Staff Member

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    I think only mortals turn invisible whilst wearing the Ring. Or Rings, for that matter. "There are many magical rings, Bilbo Baggins. And none of them should be used lightly!" Otherwise, Gandalf would have known immediately that this was the One Ring. Besides, Elrond, Galadriel and Gandalf himself were also wearing Rings. They weren't invisible...

    I think it's one of Saurons tricks. Like, where do you want to hide, when the Big Bad Dark Lord is looking for you? You want to be invisible. Whilst wearing the Ring, of course, gives you away immediately.

    And, we can be certain to say that old Tom was immortal :)
     
  6. Midoriko

    Midoriko New Member

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    I always thought of him as just the personified magic of Middle Earth; the spirit of the land and all its inhabitants. Or perhaps just the innocence of the land, the original new, playful spirit of the power that made the world. He can't be affected by the ring because he himself is so free of darkness, and he has such a connection to the world because he and the world are one and the same. Or near enough.

    Am I making sense? Probably not...

    I've spent ages speculating this; I'll be back when my thoughts are more collected, but that's my mind at present :)
     
  7. Ser Land

    Ser Land New Member

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    I agree with Midoriko. It makes sense. He isn't affected by the ring, because he is without thirst of power. He is nature, and therefore all he wants is for Ëa to live.
     
  8. dragoon

    dragoon Let the Apocalypse begin

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    No you guys have it all wrong he is my uncle that's who he is lol
     
  9. Naya

    Naya the fallen

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    This is the one character that gave me chills. I just kept thinking he was going to run off with the ring. " A true God has no father." To me he was some sort of higher being. Goldberry couldn't even describe him. He would be there even if the world did come to darkness. Like he knows, but won't tell. Ok he just freaks me out.:eek:
     
  10. Thy Fearful Symmetry

    Thy Fearful Symmetry New Member

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    I always considered Bombadil to be a personification of Arda. He is described as the oldest inhabitant of Middle-earth, even though Treebeard the Ent is later described as 'the oldest living thing that still walks beneath the Sun.' This, rather intriguingly, implies that Bombadil is not actually alive in the conventional sense. It's a tenuous assumption based on scant evidence, but such details have given me cause to believe that Bombadil represents a kind of sentient lifeforce of Arda (this would also explain why the Ring could not corrupt him, for he was not subject to the desires and ambitions which afflicted the mortal and immortal denizens of the realm.)
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2009
  11. darkfox

    darkfox New Member

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    I've always thought of Tom as Tolkien's way of putting himself in Middle Earth. when middle earth was created, Tom was there. like many of us when we create worlds in our imaginations. we're just there. no explaination as to how or why we're there, we just are. there's a little of Tom in everyone in Middle Earth and a little of everyone in Tom.

    just my opinion mind you.
     
  12. wanderingmagus

    wanderingmagus King Anakin's Royal Advisor, Constantly Around :D

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    Arda incarnate.
     
  13. Dark Lion

    Dark Lion New Member

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    Tom just is. He is eldest, perhaps he is Arda. I'm not sure, but if pressed I'd say he was unique, an immortal race all of his own. He represents the pacifist, he's not corrupted by the ring nor does he care for the trials of the races. He's just Tom, connected to the earth yet apart from it also
     
  14. Accaris

    Accaris New Member

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    Tom Bombadil is the Green Man, or more specifically, a pastiche of mythological attributes which together comprise a Green Man concept.
     
  15. Timothy Guilt

    Timothy Guilt New Member

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    Maybe I've not given him much thought but the only picture that I have of Tom Bombadil is him lounging in the grass watching the hobbits 'frolicking about naked in the sun'.
     
  16. wanderingmagus

    wanderingmagus King Anakin's Royal Advisor, Constantly Around :D

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    but then if he was the green man wouldn't he be able to beat sauron to a pulp, not just sit there until all the free people of middle earth fall, and fall as the last, like he was the First?
     
  17. Druid of Lûhn

    Druid of Lûhn The Little Lamb.

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    Tom is eternal, not immortal, but eternal; there at the beginning, and there at the end. He is himself, like no other. There is no race that can qualify him; he is Gaia, Father Nature.
     
  18. wanderingmagus

    wanderingmagus King Anakin's Royal Advisor, Constantly Around :D

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    but though sauron torture even the hills themselves, would not Arda remain? though all the world be covered in shadow, the earth remain adamant, in defiance to the evil which thinks itself all-powerful? the consuming fires at its heart are to the fires of balrog as a wildfire to a candle; a shake, a tremor, and even the windowless fortress of barad-dur would fall. If Bombadil was indeed Arda's incarnation, he would not be Last to fall, nay- he would be Last, period, outlasting even Sauron, though the Ring be put in his hand. For what be the petty wars of elf, man, orc and Maia, to the lasting endurance of the land under their feet? A gardener once said, "even darkness must pass", and were Tom the earth itself, such would indeed be his power.
     
  19. MeltingRoses

    MeltingRoses MeltingRoses

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    The whole Tom Bombadil being Middle Earth's one true god wouldn't work though because he only had power within his forest for that was where he knew the proper songs. It was the reason he didn't help Frodo take the Ring farther on. He wouldn't have had any power there. The whole him being kind of like the ultimate Saruman makes sense though because Tolkien talks about how Saruman used to walk through the forests as a friend which is exactly what Bombadil does.
     
  20. freedomtaken

    freedomtaken Predominately Inept

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    This.

    Although a pretty personification he does not have power beyond his land. Maybe he is a diety of the forest or something? Perhaps a human once who had too much ent brew? Perhaps a wizard who got lost in the forest? He was there long before many a thing.