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(This is another of my speculative pieces and nothing to do with Star Wars. This one is for an older trilogy.)

Old Tom Bombadil. Possibly the least liked character in The Lord of the Rings. A childish figure so disliked by fans of the book that few object to his absence from all adaptations of the story. And yet, there is another way of looking at Bombadil, based only on what appears in the book itself, that paints a very different picture of this figure of fun.

What do we know about Tom Bombadil? He is fat and jolly and smiles all the time. He is friendly and gregarious and always ready to help travellers in distress.

Except that none of that can possibly be true.

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( 245 comments — Leave a comment )
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Mar. 5th, 2013 03:25 pm (UTC)
Bombadil Not Evil
Tom Bombadil nor the forest he protects, or the creatures that dwell there are Evil. They are dangerous, but not evil. They do not prey on good beings only but any that dare trespass including evil creatures. I would argue that Tom Bombadil and his forest are no more evil than a lion or a great white shark in our world. Dangerous indeed…Evil, no.
Mar. 25th, 2013 05:09 pm (UTC)
I always thought Bombadil was an odd character that seems quite out of place in the story, and given his physical description, his relationship with Goldberry always sqicked me a bit.

And wasn't there a part where Frodo woke up at night and heard strange noises close to the house? I always wondered about those.

Anyway... I love your speculations!
Apr. 19th, 2013 04:54 pm (UTC)
Different, simple theory
I always just figured Tom Bombadil was Tolkien within Middle Earth. That said, I really enjoyed reading your take on the matter.
May. 12th, 2013 06:17 am (UTC)
Bombadil was a favorite of mine for a single reason. As you put it, he was able thrive in that area "caring" for all of the horrors - and thrived. Like his ability to see Frodo while he wore his ring and even handle it without it possessing him: Tom fully possessed Himself.

His benevolence was demonstrated by living in the "heart of evil": untouched. Loving Goldberry illustrated his ability to love beyond her tarnished past and love her for what she truly is: pure spirit. For me, Tom is the only truly Enlightened Being in the entire story.

Just my 2 cents.
May. 15th, 2013 01:32 am (UTC)
i think that you are right about his for ithink but no his intensions but he may be the creator of all things
May. 30th, 2013 03:33 am (UTC)
tom bombadil - wise as serpents, innocent as a dove
I missed Tom in LOTR.
I wonder if he's a version of an unfallen Adam...not protecting the evil that surrounds his small estate, but immune to it; and Goldberry makes a beautiful version of Eve, without the tragedy.

Just a thought.

Music, mystery, pure merriment, wisdom, power to do good. Kindness and majesty mixed together, childlike and ageless at the same time.

Tom was very isolated from so much of Middle Earth's concerns...he lived with a "big picture" in mind that is never explained. He had a different purpose and did not seem to need to be involved in the redemption of Middle Earth.
Jun. 25th, 2013 12:34 am (UTC)
Just wanted to point out that there's no way the Barrow Wights could work for Tom. They were created and placed there by the Witch-King during his war with Arnor, and awakened by him when the Nazgul were headed for the Shire. (Unfinished Tales)

Great theory, though.
Jul. 19th, 2013 04:16 pm (UTC)
Ent wives
Could goldberry be an entwife, that would explain her appearance and also would allow Tom bombadil to be good because the entwives might dislike travelers just like the nets do.
Gabriel O'Reilly
Jul. 24th, 2013 03:52 pm (UTC)
Love Bombadil not a fan of this interpretation
First off let me address "Oldest and Fatherless." I believe this merely means nobody is older than him and nobody knows who his parents were. Let's not take things too literally.

Secondly if the valar put a binding spell around Bombadil I'm going to trust it to hold. I mean they're gods. If their magic can't hold everyone is in trouble. Also why do the elves leaving weaken the binding on Bombadil's prison of trees? And lastly on this topic why wouldn't the valar just imprison Bombadil like they did to Morgoth? Seems like a better way to get rid of somebody so powerful and evil.

The writer also doesn't seem to remember who all is powerful in middle earth. We've all read the Silmarillion and know how powerful the men of Numenor were. Sauron couldn't singlehandedly beat them so he became the kings advisor in order to overthrow them from the inside. The fall of Sauron in synonymous with the rise of Numenor (Aragorn becoming king). So in the span of time it would take Bombadil to break free we can assume that Numenor has regained a large portion of it's former power under the watchful eye of Aragorn, his elvish queen Arwen, and their halfblooded sons who are probably pretty darn powerful.

Along with some of the other comments I think it's fairly clear that this is not the correct interpretation of Tom.
Interesting take but Tolkien rarely wrote obscurely when it came to good and evil.
Over and out!
Aug. 24th, 2013 02:46 am (UTC)
This is the most brilliant thing I've read in ages.
Aug. 24th, 2013 07:29 pm (UTC)
The Reason for Bombadil...
I will reiterate some of the points already made...Bombadil is clearly an Adamic figure in the mythology, representing man before the fall, successfully united with nature and his Eve (Goldenberry). Being pre-lapserian, he has nothing to do with the grand mythos surrounding the ring and finds it irrelevant. If he were so concerned with power and domination he would use the ring - however, the fact that he can make it disappear illustrates that it has no power over him, and that he has no interest in it.

Bombadil essentially has an important fictive function in the story. That is to reassure younger readers transitioning from the Hobbit into the world of LoTR that all will be well with Frodo and his company. We are aware of Bombadil's promise to rescue Frodo, which allows the extremely dark passage where Frodo is captured by the wights to happen early in the book, but readers to feel comfortable that all is not lost. This deus ex machina function helps readers acclimatise to the more tragic and dark tone of the trilogy, accompanied by Tolkein's classic strategy of "later, when he reflected on events, Frodo often wondered why..." - which tells the reader that, yes, Frodo does survive this...
Sep. 8th, 2013 07:52 pm (UTC)
Most LOTR hate Bombadil? He has always been my favorite character.
Sarah Cherry Jumel
Sep. 9th, 2013 02:29 am (UTC)
Oh Crap! No no no no
Oh great, thanks, now a part of a beloved book that I orbit as planet does its sun has a freakin' insane Nyarlothotep clone replacing the Santa Claus like guy I loved. You Turdbiscuit! May cat hairs infest your Nutella
Sep. 16th, 2013 06:10 am (UTC)
Agree with analysis - but, not with conclusion...
I agree with his analysis - but, not his conclusions... If one reads the Silmarillion - one would realize that Wizards are similar to lessor Angels... There was God, his first level of Angels who created Elves, Men, and Dwarves, and there were lessor Angels as well... One of the mid-lower level powerful beings were later called Wizards. They formed a council consisting of each other ranked by power....

I think Tom Bombadil was a being of similar power - however, each Wizard had certain responsibilities. Gandolf meddled in the realm of men/elves/dwarves/etc. Radagast - nature. Saruman - things of power.

I think Tom Bombadil herded naturally malevolent entities... His jovial nature was a form of counter to the creatures that were in his care - possibly, including his wife. His area was confined so that others would not interfere. He herded people away for their own protection. He was happy tending a "garden" because by doing so he protected others - just as he protected the Hobbits.

He was suggested at the council as a ring bearer because of this inherent power/personality - but, Gandolf knew that the ring would eventually corrupt even Bombadil given time. Safest was to destroy it.

Tom Bombadil would leave Middle Earth along with the other Wizards....
Sep. 16th, 2013 03:05 pm (UTC)
Thought provoking...
Very interesting take. Never really considered it in this light at all. And, for the record, I was extremely upset when Tom and the Barrows were left out of the movies. I have heard people say that it wasn't a big deal, but I always thought there was more to that story than we would ever know...
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( 245 comments — Leave a comment )