SciFi and Fantasy Book Club discussion

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Group Reads Discussions 2010 > "The Fellowship..." Tom Bombadil *bring the spoilers on*

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Brad (judekyle) | 1640 comments C'mon. There's got to be a Tom Bombadil fan out there. Declare yourself.


message 2: by Mary JL (last edited Jan 03, 2010 04:28PM) (new)

Mary JL (MaryJL) | 174 comments Okay> I am not a super huge fan of Bombadil; but a lot of people seem to have a huge dislike for him.

I don't see where that comes from. Imho, he "fits" just as well as Treebeard or any of the other unusual residents of Middle-Earth.

Perhaps a non-fan of Bobbadil can explain to me why he is so disliked?


Brad (judekyle) | 1640 comments I'm sort of indifferent to Bombadil myself. Of that section, I mostly recall the tree trying to feast on the hobbits, but most people seem to be in the extreme camps of Bombadil. I've experienced mostly Bombadil lovers, but I know some haters too.


Cameron England I love Bombadil! I was extremeley sad when he wasn't in the movies, though he might be hard to do right. I beleive he is the only one in middle earth who can have the ring and not be corrupted by it.


Brad (judekyle) | 1640 comments I always thought that too. Wasn't there a discussion about that between Elrond and Gandalf? Or am I imagining that?


Erick Burnham | 74 comments I like Tom, it is refreshing to have someone who is incorruptible in what is generally a dark story. There is another story of Tom Bombadil. I think it is in the book Unfinished Tales but it might be in the Silmarilion. Has anyone else seen the story I am talking about?


Margaret | 178 comments There are two narrative poems about Bombadil in the poetry collection The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, which was also published as part of The Tolkien Reader. That may be what you're remembering.


colleen the contrarian  ± (... never stop fighting) ± (blackrose13) | 1198 comments I liked Tom Bombadil a lot, and was also disappointed that he wasn't in the movie. I understand why he wasn't, though, since he doesn't really serve any plot element, except getting the Hobbits their gear.


Brad (judekyle) | 1640 comments You've given me an idea for a new topic, blackrose. Thanks.


Derek | 20 comments I do remember Bombadil being mentioned during the Elrond/Gandalf talk...something along the lines of he was the oldest being left in Middle Earth..


Silvana (silvaubrey) | 56 comments He was legendary I guess. Even more than Beor, perhaps.


Usako (bbmeltdown) | 87 comments I am trying to think of a sci-fi/fantasy movie (exclude musicals) that had featured a heavy element of poetry/song/dance...and I cannot think of one. Do you think this had an impact as to why Bombadil was chosen to be eliminate? Other than cramping for time.


colleen the contrarian  ± (... never stop fighting) ± (blackrose13) | 1198 comments Personally, I don't think so. Sure he talks in rhyme, but people do it all the time. I think it would've been more a personality quirk, and something which they could have made easily work. *groans at self*

(As a side note, I am so SO glad they cut out all the elf poetry, though.)

Mostly I think it was time and relevance to the plot.


Deanne | 263 comments I think Bombadil was cut from the films in order to streamline the film. If Bombadil was in they would have had to include the willow trees and the barrow wights. Was sad they weren't included, but being a romantic I was more upset that Eowyn and Faramir's romance was cut out from the return of the king.


Mary JL (MaryJL) | 174 comments Sadly, a lot of things had to be cut or de-emphasized simply due to time or money constraints.


Brad (judekyle) | 1640 comments It wouldn't have bothered me at all, cuts are necessary when adapting a work of literature, if so much time hadn't been wasted with apocryphal stuff. Helm's Deep is my biggest peeve. So much time wasted on that battle that could have been spent elsewhere.


Paul | 131 comments It's noticeable that both the filmed versions (the Russian animation and Peter Jackson's) cut out the old Forest, Tom Bombadil and the wights.

I think the reason is that they are largely irrelevant to the first part of the book. The central theme is to get the ring to Rivendell. Anything else is just a side trip. Entertaining maybe, but they don't advance the major plot structure in any way.

If you regard the Fellowship as a buddy-buddy (well, OK, buddy-buddy-buddy-buddy-buddy and then buddy X 9) film crossed with a road movie, then the midpoint is the flight to the ford - which also serves to introduce Arwen as one of the heroines and has a major piece of action.


Erick Burnham | 74 comments Correct me if I am wrong - I don't have the book on hand - wasn't it Glorfindel who rode with Frodo to the ford in the book?


Chris  (haughtc) | 766 comments Erick wrote: "Correct me if I am wrong - I don't have the book on hand - wasn't it Glorfindel who rode with Frodo to the ford in the book?"

You are correct....


Jillian | 6 comments Hi everyone, I'm jumping in on this one. I've recently been reading the trilogy for the first time. I've never seen the movies because I've always wanted to wait and read them first. When I got to the Tom Bombadil part, I literally almost stopped reading. I spoke with a couple of friends about this part. One loathes Bombadil. I wouldn't go as far as *loathe* myself....I think I found him more of an annoyance to the plot (though I do think Frodo could have just turned over the ring to him and that would be that). Another friend respects him because he represents all that Middle Earth could be and used to be. Anyway, that's my two cents.


colleen the contrarian  ± (... never stop fighting) ± (blackrose13) | 1198 comments I didn't think anyone rode with Frodo to the ford. He rode alone and he was defiant to the Black Riders:

"In the book, Frodo, Strider, and the Hobbits were trying to make their way to the Ford of Bruinen. Glorfindel, on Asfaloth, met them. They made Frodo get up on Asfaloth. Frodo rode solo on the horse while the others walked at his side. However, when the Black Riders were sighted, Glorfindel commanded Asfaloth to take Frodo to Rivendell. From that point on, Frodo rode Asfaloth alone while the others ran behind trying to keep up. He showed great courage, and was heroic in his confrontation with the Black Riders. In the movie, Frodo was always in front of Arwen while both rode Asfaloth, and Arwen was the hero of that scene."

That's why this particular change irritated me so much because, in the book, Frodo was brave and courageous and in the movie he was essentially a useless lump and Arwen was the heroic one.


Brad (judekyle) | 1640 comments That sounds right to me, blackrose.


Bob (BobMc98) | 1 comments @Jillian: While Bombadil is not essential to the plot I don't understand why his appearance raises so much annoyance.

"....I think I found him more of an annoyance to the plot (though I do think Frodo could have just turned over the ring to him and that would be that)."

Frodo suggested to Gandalf sometime later, in Rivendell I believe, that the Ring be safeguarded by Bombadil since it appeared to hold no power over him. Gandalf pointed out that Bombadil would misplace it, or forget it, and eventually he would be overpowered by Sauron, "last as he was first", or something along that line.

And perhaps that's Bombadil's purpose in this tale, to illustrate that hiding the ring is fruitless, that it must be utterly destroyed in Mount Doom.

Just my take on it.



Kernos | 348 comments Paul wrote: "It's noticeable that both the filmed versions (the Russian animation and Peter Jackson's) cut out the old Forest, Tom Bombadil and the wights.

I think the reason is that they are largely irrelevant to the first part of the book. The central theme is to get the ring to Rivendell. Anything else is just a side trip. Entertaining maybe, but they don't advance the major plot structure in any way."


I disagree. We have young naive Hobbits with little experience outside their safe, secure, perfect life who are suddenly at odds with the real world. Tom Bombadil was their mentor as much as Strider & Gandalf. Tom allowed them to survive the Old Forest, Old Man Willow and the Barrow Wights and gain much needed experience to survive their much more dangerous encounters with the Black Riders, Sauron and all of the dark-side elements of Middle Earth. Without Tom Bombidil, I do not think they would have ever made it to Bree.

I think of Tom Bombadil and Goldberry as Middle Earth incarnate.


message 25: by Kernos (last edited Jan 07, 2010 12:23PM) (new)

Kernos | 348 comments blackrose wrote: "...That's why this particular change irritated me so much because, in the book, Frodo was brave and courageous and in the movie he was essentially a useless lump and Arwen was the heroic one. "

I absolutely agree with you. I was very disappointed with this scene. I think they did it that way to make Arwen a more important figure than in the books and be able to emphasize her romance with Aragorn rather than her becoming mortal by not returning to the Uttermost West. This, IMO, was her real importance to the story, not the romantic elements.

Besides, I really wanted to see Glorfindal "in all his glory" when Frodo put on the ring while riding Asfaloth.


Erick Burnham | 74 comments Kernos wrote: "blackrose wrote: "...That's why this particular change irritated me so much because, in the book, Frodo was brave and courageous and in the movie he was essentially a useless lump and Arwen was the..."

I also thought the romantic storyline diminished Aragon's stature as a tough fighter.


Usako (bbmeltdown) | 87 comments Oh gawd yes! The romance of Aragorn and Arwen distracted me from him being a fighter. I gradually thought him a bit of a whimp. Or maybe that's more because I was irked by the playing up of Arwen's role in the movie.

Concur with blackrose on Tom.


Jillian | 6 comments Bob wrote: "@Jillian: While Bombadil is not essential to the plot I don't understand why his appearance raises so much annoyance.

"....I think I found him more of an annoyance to the plot (though I do think..."


Bob, I think you make a fair point. If Bombadil can't be a responsible, permanent guardian of the ring, than honestly, who can? Looking at it that way gives more purpose to Bombadil's presence. Maybe that's it. That's why he annoys me. He seems to have no real purpose to Frodo or his quest. I was eager for Frodo to move on, and couldn't figure out why we needed to spend time with him.

His singing also kills me...




Stacie (StacieH) I think the reason I don't like Tom is that I don't find him an admirable character... Tom doesn't quite measure up. In a story about duty, loyalty and going out of your way to do the right thing, he doesn't. The help he gives the hobbits is almost 'off the cuff'... it doesn't cost him anything. Even Farmer Maggot and Butterbur risk more because they are less powerful characters.

That said, I do think that Tom serves a purpose to the story. First, he's a bridge between the 'lighter' character types found in The Hobbit and the more 'serious' ones that are encountered in The Lord of the Rings. Second, he's a good contrast to Frodo (and the other Companions to an extent)... What makes the quest so extraordinary is that it undertaken by the ordinary, 'common man' and not the mighty.


John Karr (Karr) | 32 comments I thought Ol' Tom Bombadil an interesting character, but to the points previously made, never understood him in relation to the plot. He was an interesting aside; perhaps Tolkien meant a greater role for him but it didn't pan?


Roger (RogerBixby) | 87 comments After reading this discussion, I can still honestly say that Bombadil still annoys me, but some of the points brought up as to why he's in the story at all temper my annoyance.


Andy | 2 comments I loved Bombadil in Fellowship of the Ring! I actually saw the movie before I read the book, but when I read the book, it felt a bit strange to not have Bombadil and that whole forest section not in the movie. He would have added a lighthearted part to the entire film. :)


Brad (judekyle) | 1640 comments I wonder who could have played Tom in the movie?


DavidO (DrgnAngl) | 220 comments I think they made Arwen stronger because there are barely any women in the Lord of the Rings. Both of the "major" female characters they made more important to the plot than they were in the book.


Dr. (NerdofDoom) | 2 comments Tom Bombadil is the best! He stands out to me because he is a character of unquestionable power who has no intention of wielding it against anyone. A man who would carelesly cast the most powerful item in the world in order to run through the trees and hang out with his girlfriend. Awesome.

On a side note: I thought his absence from the film was glaring.


Marisella (stregamari) Yeah, the movie was pretty, but sadly lacking in many ways. I think Arwen had a major part in the movie because the lackluster actress who played her had a very good agent.


Marisella (stregamari) Brad wrote: "I wonder who could have played Tom in the movie?"

Ron Pearlman? He's so big, such a larger than life kind of person, he could pull off the character


Marisella (stregamari) John wrote: "I thought Ol' Tom Bombadil an interesting character, but to the points previously made, never understood him in relation to the plot. He was an interesting aside; perhaps Tolkien meant a greater ro..."

like life, there are important people who show up that we may never see again


Marisella (stregamari) Kernos wrote: "Paul wrote: "It's noticeable that both the filmed versions (the Russian animation and Peter Jackson's) cut out the old Forest, Tom Bombadil and the wights.

I think the reason is that they are larg..."


Plus, their weapons came from the wights


Brad (judekyle) | 1640 comments I like the idea of Ron Perlman. I can see that. Damn, I love Hellboy.


Erick Burnham | 74 comments Ron Perlman is too dark, too evil looking. How about John Goodman?


Chris  (haughtc) | 766 comments How about Robin Williams?


Erick Burnham | 74 comments Yeah, I could see Robin Williams losing the Ring of Power.


Margaret | 178 comments I could see Robin Williams doing just about anything!


Marisella (stregamari) I don't know, seeing Goodman in "o brother where art thou" made me think he does evil a little too well!


Jason Reeser | 18 comments I'm a fan of Bombadill. I agree with Dr., in that he is possibly the most powerful being around, but is not at all interested in getting involved. This makes him like Mycroft to Sherlock. The legendary smarter brother. Bombadill gives the reader a small ray of hope, that all of this is not as dire as it looks. I've always imagined that Bombadill knew things would turn out okay, or else he would have intervened. But he allowed Frodo and the others to play their parts as they needed to. For Tolkien, it was a way of showing that there were deeper layers of history, without Bombadill solving all problems and erasing the conflict in the story.
And the Barrow Wight scene was always a favorite of mine, and I hated that it was left out of the movies.
I also admit that they should not have changed the Arwen role, but I also admit that it turned out pretty cool, and I was impressed with Arwen's scene at the ford. Yes it was apochryful, but it worked well.


Dawn (Dawn9655) | 69 comments As much as I like the scenes in the book with Bombadil and Goldberry, I understand why they had to be left out of the movie. It was a lovely interlude, but the chapter did nothing to advance the story.


Richard Magahiz (milkfish) | 10 comments Brad wrote: "I wonder who could have played Tom in the movie?"

I think Johnny Depp could have done it, unbalancing as that casting choice would have been.


message 49: by Mach (last edited Feb 12, 2011 02:34PM) (new)

Mach | 102 comments What annoyed me about the movie was that they changed how Saruman died. I also was irritated by them cutting out the ending with Saruman taking over the Shire and hobbits fighting against him, which i thought was a brilliant ending to the story.

Jeff Bridges would fit as Bombadil.


Small Shop Blogger (SmallShopBlogger) | 4 comments I had the chance to see the Toronto production of the LOTR musical. In it, they at least mention Tom, but not until the very end when the fellowship breaks up. They also included the scouring, saving Saruman's death until that time.

If I were going to cast Tom for the movie, I'd go with someone like David Tennant or a slightly younger Jim Broadbent -- an actor with a balance between the dramatic & comedic.


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