The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1) The Fellowship of the Ring discussion


713 views
Tom Bombadill???

Comments Showing 1-50 of 62 (62 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1

Bridgette If you could would you change Tom Bombadill to someone else in the book? (Like Gandalf?) Or do you think that this peaceful character had a secret role to play or message?


message 2: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Pierce I don't know what you mean by "secret role" but I like him just the way he is and I wouldn't change a thing. Actually I would never change anything Tolkien wrote.


James I wouldn't change Tom Bombardill at all and I like him as a character. I really wouldn't want Tom to have a secret roll. It doesn't make sense at all to the story or the plot if he did that.


message 4: by Rob (new) - rated it 3 stars

Rob I think Tom represnted the heart of middle earth and was used as a stark contrast to the dark changes across the land. Plus i like his singing! :)


Garrett Robinson If you've read Tolkien's "The Adventures of Tom Bombadill," you'd know more about him and what his role was in the overall mythology. Very interesting reading.


message 6: by Mat (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mat Tom's is one of the most intriguing and powerful character's in Middle Earth - at one point Elrond suggests to Gandalf that Bombardill should take the ring as he has the power to ensure it gets destroyed but Gandalf shoots him down saying that Tom can't be trusted as he doesn't play by the rules of reality (or something to that effect. Tom is the essence of nature and so unruly playful and full of mischief but also full of wisdom and power


Calico Tom is the Green Man.


Sakthidharan Tom is very old, I am not sure on this, but I think Tom is older than the ring. I had a dream (or I really read it?), where Tom is actually allowed to wear the ring and when he does, nothing happens. Its nothing but an ordinary ring to him. And after realizing that it is nothing special, he removes it and returns the ring without any fuzz.
Perhaps it would have gone so had Gandalf agreed to Elrond's suggestion.


Sakthidharan Mathew wrote: "Sakthidharan wrote: "Tom is very old, I am not sure on this, but I think Tom is older than the ring. I had a dream (or I really read it?), where Tom is actually allowed to wear the ring and when he..."

Thanks Mathew for confirming. It was a much needed relaxing chapter where all other chapters necessarily dealt with the world breaking down.
It is very easy to think that Tom could have been of great help had he contributed to the fellowship actively.


Faith Brooker I wonder why they didn't put Bombadill in the movie! Really interesting reading!


infael I'm with Matthew - Bombadil felt like a part of the world to me.

I've read that Jackson regrets not putting Bombadil in the movie. I've also read Bombadil will be in a Hobbit movie. I was extremely disappointed that Jackson didn't put Bombadil in LOTR. Bombadil is not important to the books; however, he's very popular.


Robert Evert Calico wrote: "Tom is the Green Man."

Very insightful. I never thought of this before. Nice.


message 13: by J.D. (new) - rated it 5 stars

J.D. Field I love Tom Bombadil because he shows that there's other stuff in Tolkiens world, beyond even the bits he includes in the stories.


message 14: by John (new) - rated it 5 stars

John Banner Sakthidharan wrote: "Mathew wrote: "Sakthidharan wrote: "Tom is very old, I am not sure on this, but I think Tom is older than the ring. I had a dream (or I really read it?), where Tom is actually allowed to wear the r..."

When does Tom put on the ring? Also, I think it's BS that Mr. Bombadilll didn't make the movie cut. Hey Tom Bombadill, Tom Bombadill-O!!


Sakthidharan John wrote: "Sakthidharan wrote: "Mathew wrote: "Sakthidharan wrote: "Tom is very old, I am not sure on this, but I think Tom is older than the ring. I had a dream (or I really read it?), where Tom is actually ..."

I just can't recall exactly how Tom manages to put on the ring John. Perhaps I need to read it again.


John Mikel Zudlow I didn't know that there's extended mythos about Tom! That's good to know because I felt that his good character was way underdeveloped. The fact that he is older than the Ring (which he probably is) would be a good reason that it doesn't affect him. I like that idea. Not sure if it's true, but I like it.


message 17: by Zoltán (last edited Dec 08, 2013 03:51PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Zoltán John wrote: When does Tom put on the ring?

Around the end of the seventh chapter in the The Fellowship of the Ring (The House of Tom Bombadil).
Frodo (much to his own surprise) just hands him over the ring, Tom puts it on (without disappearing) then gives it back. Next Frodo puts it on, but Tom still sees him.

This tiny piece which most have probably overlooked is very important in showing that the ring (thus implicitly evil) is not above all on Middle Earth. But may also be an allusion, that there are powers that are simply above our daily struggles or beyond our definitions of good vs. evil.
Tom doesn't care about the ring but that's also why he won't be the one to interfere to destroy it, even if he could do so.


Damir Antunovic The Ring was always, among other things, the symbol of lust for power over others, nature etc.
I always read Tom as somebody who sincerely didn't want that power - had no use for it.
And thus the ring had no effect on him because there was no darkness in him for it to feed upon.


John Mikel Zudlow Damir wrote: "…there was no darkness in him for it to feed upon."

Yes, I was talking with my brother about this in the car today (we're both LOTR fans) and this was my point exactly. The Ring doesn't necessarily create evil in one, it magnifies it. If there is a speck of darkness it will make it a massive blotch.

Gandalf refused to take the ring because, even as an angel, he is in "mortal" form, subject to lusts and even pride etc. Tom Bombadil, I believe, is a more unspotted creature, of possibly a higher or at least purer order than Mithrandir. Like an elf—remember, even Galadriel was able to "pass" the test?

Is Tom Bombadil some sort of "exiled" elf?


message 20: by Bill (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bill Johnson I've stayed at the Tolkein room at the Sylvia Beach hotel and I looked through The Silmarillion and some other books. As I recall, Bombadil has an ancient lineage and is above the wizards like Gandalf.

Bill


Jeroen Van den biggelaar I have mixed feelings about Tom, i'm not a Tolkien purist or anything like that. I just really enjoyed the series. But i felt that Tom's impact on the story is a bit weak and useless. If he wasn't mentioned at all in the book I wouldn't have missed him. But thats just my opinion about him. He is in fact an interesting character with a more interesting background.


message 22: by Tina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tina I love Tom. I'm not sad that he wasn't in the movie. At first I was because He is one of my favorites, but I don't think he would've been portrayed well.

He's strong. He's old. He is Middle Earth, at least in the Old Forest, which once was all connected.

The visit with Tom and Goldberry are my favorite parts in the book, so much so I read slower so I don't have to leave them too quickly.

Yeah, I have issues. I know. LOL


Calico Like his contemporaries, Tolkien intended to shore up the Caucasian national identity by compiling Europe's various mythologies. He produced a children's fiction.

This drive was a response to the rapid influx of foreign ideology that colonialism brought Europe.

In these books, Mithrandir is analogous to the wise warrior, Väinämöinen, of the finish Kalevala, who fights, rides eagles and has magic in his words. The Bear is revered like in Finnish myth (Beorn).

Much of the remaining work is based on Wagner's Ring, which is from the Norse Eddas, but Tom Bombadil represents the Green Man or the Green Knight (Christianized and romanticized) who is of Welsh Celtic origin. He is included for sake of mythological completion.

In Celtic religion the Green Man character represented the vegetal essence of reincarnation, providing a symbol for eternal rebirth, but Tolkien (being of a post-pagan mindset) uses Tom Bombadil as a general symbol for nature itself. The pagan element is absent.

In Sir Gawain the connection with transmigration is more evident, as the Green Knight lifts his decapitated head and the challenge involves a one year cycle. The agricultural cycle applied to a human life.

Tolkien's novels read like mythology, because they are mythology, which is why it is hard to sympathize with the characters.


message 24: by Val (new) - rated it 5 stars

Val Why? I like Tom Bombadil. He is an excellent representation of Middle Earth / Nature. Calico's post is really interesting, too.


Olivia LA tom bombadil kind-of scares me in a crazy old man sort of way he didn't add too much to the book but if they took him out there would be a gap. He"s a funny character and i think that he is a more important part in Tolkien's other literature.


Robin Smith I would not change what Tolkien wrote about Tom and, in a way, I think it's good that he's so mysterious, even to Gandalf. Tom is old, older than elves and men. Most who study Tolkien seem to think he's one of the Maiar.


message 27: by Ruth (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ruth Robin wrote: "I would not change what Tolkien wrote about Tom and, in a way, I think it's good that he's so mysterious, even to Gandalf. Tom is old, older than elves and men. Most who study Tolkien seem to think..."

If you read The Silmarillion, then you could conclude that Tom was one of the Maiar. He was there before anything else on Middle Earth. Loved that character and was disappointed when I first saw the movie that he wasn't included, though I understood the reasons why.


message 28: by C.D. (new) - rated it 4 stars

C.D. Sweitzer Calico wrote: "Like his contemporaries, Tolkien intended to shore up the Caucasian national identity by compiling Europe's various mythologies. He produced a children's fiction.

This drive was a response to the..."


Astute reading by Calico. Fans often forget how deeply Tolkien studied the roots of English language and European mythology (could the concept of "Rings of Power" be any more obviously drawn from Beowulf?"). LOTR often reads like Robert Graves taking a stab at fiction. As a result, the world is enchanting but the characters are difficult to identify with.


Tallburt Calico wrote: "Tom is the Green Man."

Bingo!


message 30: by Claire (last edited Mar 17, 2014 09:36PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Claire I personally thought that Tom Bombadil was an awesome character, but I think that Tolkien did him a great disservice by only having him as a mere "footnote", and then never mentioning him in the story ever again.

Perhaps if Bombadil had given Frodo & Co. some sort of special amulet or incantation that would come to be of great help on their journey or play a major part in the events to come, I wouldn't mind so much.

But three and a half chapters. Three and a half chapters!! And then we never hear from him ever again.


Benja Never had a problem with Tom Bombadil. I'm OK with him not showing up in the movies though. He wouldn't have fit as seamlessly there.


CeeCee James I am seriously so sad to get to the end of this thread. ACK I want more! Tom Bombadil was my favorite character, although confusing at times. I'd never heard he was based off of another legend. Interesting.


Raychell Pettijohn I always thought of Tom Bombadil as Father Time. Goldberry as Mother Nature.

The ring has no effect on Tom and Gandalf, when asked why the didn't leave the ring with Tom, responds that Tom would forget about it.

Somewhere in The Silmarillion, the Maiar are mentioned - People often state that Tom is one of these.

Personally, I still like to think of Tom and Goldberry as Father Time and Mother Nature myself. It fits much better imho into the story told, there actions with each other and with others, etc.


message 34: by Felix (last edited Mar 18, 2014 12:02PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Felix infael wrote: "I'm with Matthew - Bombadil felt like a part of the world to me.

I've read that Jackson regrets not putting Bombadil in the movie. I've also read Bombadil will be in a Hobbit movie. I was extremel..."

It was rumored Peter Jackson cast Robin Williams in that part, but they couldn't get their schedules to work-so peter axed the idea.


Corné i`m glad they didn`t. Jackson already made some major plot changes with tauriel and fili (or was it kili?) And who would want robbie williams to play tom?


message 36: by Mark (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mark Corné wrote: "i`m glad they didn`t. Jackson already made some major plot changes with tauriel and fili (or was it kili?) And who would want robbie williams to play tom?"

He one of those actors that is odd and alien enough to get away with the part, and make yellow boots look good.


Nazgul2 Tolkien himself confirmed in a letter that Bombadil was "an adventure in the journey".
He took inspiration from a toy of his daughter to create the character and leave a lot of open questions to make this kind of threads ... XD


CeeCee James Nazgul2 wrote: "Tolkien himself confirmed in a letter that Bombadil was "an adventure in the journey".
He took inspiration from a toy of his daughter to create the character and leave a lot of open questions to ma..."

Where did you learn that? I'd love to read more about it.


message 39: by Nazgul2 (last edited Mar 19, 2014 10:14AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nazgul2 Ceecee wrote: "Nazgul2 wrote: "Tolkien himself confirmed in a letter that Bombadil was "an adventure in the journey".
He took inspiration from a toy of his daughter to create the character and leave a lot of open..."


His son Christopher published a selection of his letters in a book titled "The letters of JRR Tolkien"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lett...

There's a lot of information in there.
For example you can read more in the wikipedia also:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Bomb...
Tolkien's initial inspiration came from an incident with his children playing with toys. Tolkien invented Tom Bombadil in memory of a Dutch doll which had been flushed down a lavatory ( http://dialnet.unirioja.es/servlet/fi... )


CeeCee James Thanks!!


Ellen Robin wrote:"Most who study Tolkien seem to think that he's one of the Maiar...."
I like that. I'd never thought about it, but it makes sense.
It even explains the singing. :)


Nazgul2 sorry but he isnt a Maiar, its confirmed by Tolkien


Ellen Nazgul2 wrote: "sorry but he isnt a Maiar, its confirmed by Tolkien"
I didn't know. I was just replying because I thought it made sense. In what book does he say so?


Calico We are all lucky.

Peter Jackson might have cast Johnny Depp. Imagine. Tom Bombadil running from CGI Orcs, on the same dumb CGI mountain, while doing Pirates of the Caribbean style antics.

I'm glad he avoided Jackson's inverted Midas Touch.


message 45: by F.F. (new) - rated it 5 stars

F.F. McCulligan Everything he touches turns to sh**?

Tom Bombadil is the OG. (original gangsta)

My car is named Fatty Lumpkin, sharing the name with Bombadil's horse. I like the perspective on Tolkien's need to complete the mythology by including a representation of the Green Man. That makes sense.

I think Tolkien did so much work to make his story congruent with actual mythology because he believed that aligning the two, both in etymology and in story elements, would resonate with the cultural heartstrings of anyone that grew up as descendants of the people who told the original tales.

I disagree with the idea that Tom doesn't do anything in the story. Just reading about him in his own small land makes an impact on us. He doesn't give them any gifts or powers, but I find him to be perfect as is. The sackville baginses don't "do" anything in the story either.


message 46: by Mark (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mark Calico wrote: "We are all lucky.

Peter Jackson might have cast Johnny Depp. Imagine. Tom Bombadil running from CGI Orcs, on the same dumb CGI mountain, while doing Pirates of the Caribbean style antics.

I'm g..."


This dislike of Jacksons LOTR does not appear to be logic. He said that he loved the character but that there was simply NO place in the movie to do the character the credit he deserved. And to be honest Jackson did have point with that assesment.
While I love the part in the book it does seem to serve no purpose to the larger tale. Even if it is charming and sheer magic.


Calico Community and nation are human constructs, as are comfort and distress. The bulk of Tolkien's book involves myth applied to these human conditions. The interlude with Tom represents that which transcends humanity, the underlying nature of our existence, which (like Tom) is briefly recognized by men but lends no benefit to man's affairs.

Tolkien was a mythologist, and what is myth? In the Primitive Mythology, Joseph Campbell suggests four functions of myth. The first three are practical: to offer pleasure, power and order. The final function is realization of the unfiltered expanse, mythological transcendence, which empowers the remaining three pragmatic aspects of myth.

When the hobbits get lost in the forest, they have an encounter with Tom, who is the embodiment of mythological transcendence. Tom is indifferent to social causes and does not influence the course of man. In this regard Tom is raw myth, without the embodiment of social concern. Though Tom Bombadil, Tolkien is rendering the shamanistic aspect of the primitive European tribes.

The author and the artist, those are the modern shaman, who in transcendence of the social body render the path of man.


message 48: by Calico (last edited Apr 02, 2014 02:06PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Calico Jackson is not a modern shaman. The Muses cannot abide Peter Jackson's certitude.

Where is Jackson’s original work? His contribution to Tolkien’s mythology is an insipid emulation and a shrine. The shrine opposes creation; the author and the director are at opposite ends of the human spectrum. Their relationship reminds me of another movie: Single White Female. Jackson’s eagerness to emulate an idol shows up in his extrapolations, Azog the Defiler and Radagast the Brown. Defiler is the hater; brown, is the lover of nature. Both literal and dead as stone.

Yes. Jackson is a killer. He drains the vitality of myth like a parasite, for bodily substance and self-glorification. Three Hobbit movies and no Orphic redeemer? Jackson’s rendering is the opposite of formative mythology, it is a mythology dying of literalism, and is immiscible with the imagination of Tolkien’s work.

Jackson is the popular death of concept, which heralds the coming redeemer.

This Orphic prince is the Green Man, Tom Bombadill-O, the empty vessel that succors man with the ambrosia of myth. He descends into the barrows and returns with the nectar of song. Husband to the Muse, Tom sings her substance into the rivers and trees and into the mind of enlightened men.

Yet, in popular hands the ambrosia spoils, the chords of inspiration cement into an orthodox hymn, as in this fable of Peter Jackson.


message 49: by David (new) - added it

David Mat wrote: "Tom's is one of the most intriguing and powerful character's in Middle Earth - at one point Elrond suggests to Gandalf that Bombardill should take the ring as he has the power to ensure it gets des..."

Elrond (so I think it was him) said that Tom had power over the ring. To that Gandalf replied that the Ring, actually, has no power over him!

Gandalf disproved Elrond's suggestion by the assertion that Tom only had power within his lands, Sauron and the Ringwraiths would eventually get in his land too.

Also, he added that Tom wouldn't understand the utmost importance of the Ring's safekeeping, and he would misplace it, if not lose it, sooner or later.


Calico But Peter Jackson is not alone in his hollywoodery.

Billy Bob Thorton directed a far weaker interpretation of All The Pretty Horses, which (while missing the theme entirely) was simultaneously stagnant.

In contrast, Peter Jackson oscillated between Donkey Kong styled chases and humorous dwarves, to produce the illusion of plot motion, and had the economic sensibility to rehash all of the old CGI.

I'll give him kudos for pragmatism but, much like Billy Bob, I suspect Jackson lacks the depth required of his subject matter, which is nothing short of conveying the human condition.

Tom was the deepest of that depth, and he was replaced by shallow antics. The limitations of our interpreter could be no less evident.


« previous 1
back to top