Tom Bombadil

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Tom Bombadil

Post by chris63 on Sun Jan 08, 2012 3:47 am

Tom Bombadil, the most disliked character in Lord of the Rings Question Question

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Re: Tom Bombadil

Post by Eldorion on Sun Jan 08, 2012 4:51 am

It would be more accurate to say that Tom Bombadil is the book character most disliked by people who have never read the book. Laughing

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Re: Tom Bombadil

Post by David H on Sun Jan 08, 2012 4:56 am

...or have tried to make the movie.

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Re: Tom Bombadil

Post by halfwise on Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:43 pm

Fun link with a Stephen King ending.

I never really liked him anyway, he just doesn't fit in.

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Re: Tom Bombadil

Post by Orwell on Mon Feb 06, 2012 8:33 pm

So everyone hates one of my favorite characters now, do they? Rolling Eyes

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Re: Tom Bombadil

Post by Mrs Figg on Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:34 pm

I dont he is one of my favourites, along with Gimli. cheers

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Re: Tom Bombadil

Post by Orwell on Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:19 pm

I know he is, Mrs Figg, as you do have a bit of 'learning' and 'class' (not a lot of class, of course, but what you've got is clearly discernible! Very Happy ) You know, first there was David's 'silver' shoe silliness - and now he tells me he didn't like Bombadil... Has the world gone mad?

(Btw I hope you refer to book Gimli, not the other one).

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Re: Tom Bombadil

Post by halfwise on Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:23 pm

His whimsical qualities fit better into the Hobbit than LoTR. He's in there because Priscilla Tolkien wanted him, he was a character in the stories Tollers told to his kids. Tolkien DID take direct suggestions concerning his writing, just not from adults.

It's not that I don't like TB, I just feel he was misplaced.

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Re: Tom Bombadil

Post by Orwell on Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:34 pm

I looooooved Tom and Goldberry. I thought they fit in perfectly. I care less for how Tolkien 'Silmarillionized" the latter parts of the book (not that I actually disliked that, mind, it had it's place). The 'freshness' of Tolkien for me lies a lot in his creative courage, juxtaposing the jolly Bombadil with the malignant Barrow-wights - and beating them with a rather jolly song. These things set Tolkien apart from all the over-earnest fantasy writers who came after him. Tolkien's imagination sparkled when he took on a lighter vein. He did not lose depth though by doing so. Even his lightest moments hint at greater depths, always. The fact he understood humanity and could laugh still - and in good humour without Orwellian 'meaningfulness' -was a particular strength of his.

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Re: Tom Bombadil

Post by David H on Mon Feb 06, 2012 11:39 pm

Orwell wrote: You know, first there was David's 'silver' shoe silliness - and now he tells me he didn't like Bombadil... Has the world gone mad?

I think you must have misunderstood me, Orwell. Eldo said, "Tom Bombadil is the book character most disliked by people who have never read the book." and I added "....or tried to make the movie", referring to Bakshi and Jackson who both skipped the whole section.

As a matter of fact I consider Tom a personal friend, and I can assure you that Goldberry wouldn't be caught dead in ruby slippers. Rolling Eyes

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Re: Tom Bombadil

Post by Mrs Figg on Mon Feb 06, 2012 11:49 pm

Orwell you hit the nail on the head, the juxtaposition of Tom and the horror of the Barrows is perfection. I love you Tom is like the soul of the book writ large. Gentle songs with ancient magics, nature spirits, and forgotten kingdoms, the power of the rain the wind and growing things. Laughter and tears, fear and wandering safely Home at the end of the day.

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Re: Tom Bombadil

Post by Orwell on Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:25 am

Mrs Figg wrote:Orwell you hit the nail on the head, the juxtaposition of Tom and the horror of the Barrows is perfection. I love you Tom is like the soul of the book writ large. Gentle songs with ancient magics, nature spirits, and forgotten kingdoms, the power of the rain the wind and growing things. Laughter and tears, fear and wandering safely Home at the end of the day.

Oh Mrs Figg - it's like you understand Tolkien perfectly - and not like certain others (some of whom seem overly concerned with shoes, to be perfectly frank).

As to Tom being particularly disliked - is that coming from a post-movie readership? People who never would have read the book to begin with, but have now read the book in an attempt to get some cred with Purists? Mmm...? You know PJ-people not Tolkien-people? Souless people I mean, though in meaning that, I mean it kindly. Very Happy

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Re: Tom Bombadil

Post by halfwise on Wed Feb 08, 2012 1:09 am

You folks have begun to sway me. I have to admit I've read those few chapters many times, but often in isolation because the mood is so different. It does stick with you, doesn't it?

It reminds me of the movie "Fargo" (which I'm not sure non-Americans can fully 'get'), which has a scene in a restaurant between the sheriff and one of her former high school classmates who had a crush on her. All the critics agreed it has nothing to do with the rest of the movie, yet it was such a perfectly conceived piece that it would have been diminished without it.

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Re: Tom Bombadil

Post by Orwell on Wed Feb 08, 2012 3:45 am

The difference between 'average' fiction and great fiction is an author's willingness to write what seems good to him and see what happens, crossing his/her fingers, seeing if it works. I'm not one who has much truck with literary criticism. If something works it works. Life is not a perfect set of causes and effects (except on a Multiversal Scale which none of us can comprehend except the Prime Mover if he/she exists). So why should a book be a 'perfect' construct. Sounds like a suspiciously Utopian idea to me! Made to measure imagination in a mass produced format. LotR works as a great work for me because I can read it for what is and be enthralled by it because of what is. If one needs to analyse it and try to apply some all round set of Perfected Writing Rules to it, by all means do so, whatever floats your Boffiny-boat I say, but it's Tolkien's non-conformities and his brilliant feel for imaginative story telling, that floats my lightweight canoe.

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Re: Tom Bombadil

Post by chris63 on Thu Jul 26, 2012 8:02 am

http://jimdenney.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/the-enigma-of-tom-bombadil-in-the-lord-of-the-rings-part-1/

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Re: Tom Bombadil

Post by Semiramis on Thu Jul 26, 2012 9:07 am

I like Tom Bombadil very much! Very Happy For me Tom and Goldberry are simply one more wonder the hobbits encounter on their journey east.
And he always seemed to fit perfectly into the lines of "around the corner there may wait a new road or a secret gate" Wink

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Re: Tom Bombadil

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Jul 26, 2012 9:16 am

I hadnt thought of that Semiramis, but yes you are quite right, he does rather exemplify that sentiment. (And good to see you back again)

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Re: Tom Bombadil

Post by Orwell on Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:07 am

Googd ol' Tom, and good ol' Semiramis! Very Happy

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Re: Tom Bombadil

Post by Eldorion on Thu Jul 26, 2012 7:01 pm

That's an interesting article Chris, and I did enjoy reading it, but I can't really agree with the author's conclusions. In part 2 he seems to waffle a bit by saying that Tolkien didn't necessarily intend to make Bombadil a parallel of the Holy Spirit, but I don't see much significance in pointing out similarities if it's not actually intended by the author. Besides, many of the parallels can also be drawn to other characters, including Galadriel (who has much the same role of counselling and arming the heroes) and others are overstated.

The leap in logic that most jumps out at me -- and the one that I think betrays the author's own biases and (at the risk of sounding like an asshole) ignorance of Tolkien -- is his argument about "He is".

Jim Denney wrote:The God-likeness of Tom Bombadil is reinforced by Goldberry. When Frodo asks her, “Tell me, if my asking does not seem foolish, who is Tom Bombadil?,” she replies simply, “He is.” That is clearly a parallel to God’s own statement about himself, “I Am that I Am” (see Exodus 3:14).

Goldberry's statements of "He is" has sparked a lot of consideration, even in Tolkien's own lifetime, and as it happens someone asked him about it. Peter Hastings, the manager of a Catholic bookshop, wrote a letter to Tolkien in 1954 raising a number of theological complaints about Tolkien's work, including what he considered the implication that Bombadil was God. Tolkien responded thusly:

J. R. R. Tolkien, Letter 153 wrote:As for Tom Bombadil, I really do think you are being too serious, besides missing the point. (Again the words used are by Goldberry and Tom not me as a commentator). You rather remind me of a Protestant relation who to me objected to the (modern) Catholic habit of calling priests Father, because the name father belonged only to the First Person.... Lots of characters are called Master; and if 'in time' Tom was primeval he was Eldest in Time. But Goldberry and Tom are referring to the mystery of names.... You may be able to conceive of your unique relation to the Creator without a name -- can you: for in such a relation pronouns become proper nouns? But as soon as you are in a world of other finites with a similar, if each unique and different, relation to Prime Being, who are you? 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. We need not go into the sublimities of 'I am that am' -- which is quite different from he is*.

...

*Only the first person (of worlds or anything) can be unique. If you say he is there must be more than one, and created (sub) existence is implied. I can say 'he is' of Winston Churchill as well as of Tom Bombadil, surely?

I think the whole letter rather sets to rest the notion that Bombadil is or is somehow representative of God -- or any aspect of God. Tolkien's only specific statement about Bombadil's identity is that he represented the spirit of the vanishing English countryside, which was being overtaken by industrialism when Tolkien was a child (and by other things throughout his life). In Letter 144 Tolkien stated that Bombadil was intentionally left as an enigma, as every mythos must have some, and in the above-quoted Letter 153 Tolkien said that he did not think Tom was improved by "philosophizing about".

People have speculated about what Tom is or what he represents for decades, but I don't think there is an answer. Maybe Tolkien knew one, maybe he did not, but claiming to know seems rather presumptuous, besides missing the point. Wink Semiramis (good to see you again, by the way!) probably comes closest of anyone in this thread by observing how Tom embodies the notion of new encounters and mysteries. That's a very astute observation. Smile

I'm actually more interested by the examples of supposed Christ-figures in LOTR, but this post is rather long already so I'll leave that for part 2. Razz

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Re: Tom Bombadil

Post by Orwell on Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:35 pm

Tolkien was at pains to say his work was not an allegory. Not any kind, including Christian! He took ideas from everywhere, especially his love of all things Mythic. I wish sometimes people would cease with the Christian thing. Middle Earth is far more Pagan than Christian. Only a fool could not see that. Some people have eyes that can't see, and ears that won't listen, and brains that don't function, except incorrectly! Sheesh! Rolling Eyes

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Re: Tom Bombadil

Post by Orwell on Sun Jul 29, 2012 1:02 am

I've been thinking about Tom and why I like him so much. To some he has an absurd quality to him but I don't know. He has a sense of humour - more an elemental delight than humour per se - and he is awesomely powerful - though he rarely shows a hint of it. He is God-like in a sense - but not Jealous or in any way insecure like Jehovah. He is definitely not afraid to let his delight out into the world. He IS, and he IS without embarrassment, unlike Allah and Jehovah who crave to have their Reputations Protected at all times - and sometimes violently. Some readers find Tom ridiculous, but the more I think about him, the more Deep he seems. I guess he is of the Earth - with soil between his fingers - not some ephemeral God-creature of Pure Imagination. Tom is of the Earth, and understands that nothing is set in stone in perpetuity, all things modify and change over time, and so there is no point taking anything too seriously. Even Gods change - they're not things of Immortal Stone. Indeed, they are will-o-the-wisps, changing with every generation - probably by the minute in the Modern World.

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Re: Tom Bombadil

Post by chris63 on Thu Oct 04, 2012 6:27 am


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Re: Tom Bombadil

Post by chris63 on Thu Nov 08, 2012 2:17 am

http://www.theonering.net/torwp/2012/11/07/64759-why-tom-bombadil-is-not-aule/

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Re: Tom Bombadil

Post by azriel on Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:13 am

I like Tom Bombadil because of his essence. He seems a free spirit,not weighed down with the woes we take so seriously in life. His attitude is "Theres always something nice,you will see it soon,dont worry." Maybe we take our problems to much to heart ? Tom sees what our "mountain" is,is really a "mole hill" ? Yet,I do get a sense of his quiet power. From the book I get "dont worry,I'l be here" from him when things get tough. Then hes off again,not wanting to be tied down or pidgeon holed.

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Re: Tom Bombadil

Post by CC12 35 on Fri Nov 09, 2012 2:39 am

I always skipped his chapter lol

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