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Excellent post GB. Some fascinating stuff to ponder over.
The link in this post leads to a very interesting article by Gene Hargrove. He purports that B&G are none other than Aule and Yavanna on "vacation". Okay it's a wee bit more involved than that :roll: :ugeek: , but that is his argument in a nutshell. In other words, not Maiar, but Valar. Which, if B&G weren't anomolous (or "enigmatic"Wink Smilie, makes more sense to me than Maiar (for many of the reasons Hargrove lays out). However I think he has to stretch the existing evidence more than a bit to make his case.

Indeed, some of the quotes he uses buttress my notion that Tolkien simply allowed these characters to remain in their original form, unretconned

[quote:2w1u41lk][b:2w1u41lk]Hargrove:[/b:2w1u41lk]
Many readers of the Lord of the Rings consider Tom's presence in the first book to be an unnecessary intrusion into the narrative, which could be omitted without loss. Tolkien was aware of their feelings, and in part their judgment was correct. As Tolkien wrote in a letter in 1954, ". . . many have found him an odd and indeed discordant ingredient. [u:2w1u41lk]In historical fact I put him in because[b:2w1u41lk] I had already invented him[/b:2w1u41lk]. . . and wanted an 'adventure' on the way. But I kept him in, and as he was, because he represents certain things otherwise left out[/u:2w1u41lk]" (Ibid., p. 192). Judging by these remarks, critical readers are correct about the arbitrariness of Tom's introduction into the story; however, as Tolkien continues, he deliberately (nonarbitrary) kept Tom in to fulfill a particular role, to provide an additional dimension.

In a letter written to the original proofreader of the trilogy in 1954, Tolkien reveals a little about what Tom's literary role or function might be. Early in the letter he writes that "[u:2w1u41lk]even in a mythological Age there must be some enigmas, as there always are. Tom Bombadil is one (intentionally)" (Ibid., p. 174). Later he adds that "Tom is not an important person - to the narrative. I suppose he has some importance as a 'comment'[/u:2w1u41lk]." He then goes on to explain that each side in the War of the Ring is struggling for power and control. Tom in contrast, though very powerful, has renounced power in a kind of "vow of poverty," "a natural pacifist view." In this sense, Tolkien says, Tom's presence reveals that there are people and things in the world for whom the war is largely irrelevant or at least unimportant, and who cannot be easily disturbed or interfered with in terms of it (Ibid., pp. 178-79). [u:2w1u41lk]Although Tom would fall if the Dark Lord wins ("Nothing would be left for him in the world of Sauron," Ibid.), he would probably be "the Last as he was the First"[/u:2w1u41lk] [/quote:2w1u41lk]

And at times Hargrove's analytical sentiments even mirror my own.

[quote:2w1u41lk][b:2w1u41lk]ME from last page:[/b:2w1u41lk]
[u:2w1u41lk]Because he was FEIGNING ignorance, in his conceit as being the "translator" of the Red Book.[b:2w1u41lk] He knew exactly where in his subconscious Bombadil and Goldberry came from.[/b:2w1u41lk][/u:2w1u41lk] Just as he knew the Ancient Archetypal Mythic roots for all his characters.
[/quote:2w1u41lk]

[quote:2w1u41lk][b:2w1u41lk]Hargrove:[/b:2w1u41lk]
[u:2w1u41lk]Although Tolkien didn't want to tell his readers directly, [b:2w1u41lk]it seems to me certain that he himself knew very well.[/b:2w1u41lk][/u:2w1u41lk] Tolkien was very protective of what he wrote, including his errors. When he found something miswritten in his manuscript, he was more likely to ponder, in terms of Middle-earth, how his characters came to make such an error, or what special significance this might have, than simply to correct it.[/quote:2w1u41lk]

Hargrove makes a thorough case for the Rogue Valar theory, but his own analysis seems to bely the obvious. Odo is as Wise as his Doppelganger <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> . Indeed Occam's Razor would have us accept the evidence of Tolkien's commentary, his canon, and his conceit (pretense or Meta) at face value. If G&B are part of an original iteration of Nature Spirits echoing early conceptions of the Nature Spirits of Middle Earth left unchanged as the New Cosmology developed around them, then they are still Nature Spirits in a world now ruled by Gods both lesser and greater.

Hargrove makes an unnecessary distinction between "enigma" and "anomoly" in order to make his case (suggesting an "enigma" is only "apparently" "anomolous"Wink Smilie. This seems a dubious hairsplitting to me. One could just as easily suggest that "anomoly" is only apparently "enigmatic" :roll: . It's one of those distinctions without a difference.

[quote:2w1u41lk][b:2w1u41lk]Hargrove:[/b:2w1u41lk]
It is also important to note the tremendous power and control that Tom has over the ring. He is, first of all, able to overcome its normal effects. When he puts it on his finger, he does not become invisible. When Frodo puts it on his finger, Tom is still able to see Frodo: he is "not as blind as that yet" (Ibid.). Second, Tom is able with ease to use the ring in ways that were not intended by its maker, for he is able to make the ring itself disappear. (It is possible that Sauron himself might be unable to do this, for the ring embodied a great part of Sauron's own power, drained from him during its making.) [u:2w1u41lk]Such power over the ring, displayed almost as a parlor trick, I submit, [b:2w1u41lk]cannot be accounted for by classifying Tom Bombadil as an anomalous nature spirit[/b:2w1u41lk]. The ability to dominate the ring suggests a Vala; the ease with which it is dominated suggests the ultimate maker of all things in Middle-earth, Aule the Smith[/u:2w1u41lk], of whom both Sauron and Saruman were mere servants in the beginning before time.

...According to the nature spirit thesis, as Veryln Flieger puts it in Splintered Light, published in 1983: "Tom Bombadil, on whom the Ring has no effect, is a natural force, a kind of earth spirit, and so the power over the will which the Ring exerts simply has no meaning for him" (p. 128, note). [u:2w1u41lk]As a natural force, Tom has the same status as a falling rock or the wind or the rain - [b:2w1u41lk]he is blind activity with no direction or purpose.[/b:2w1u41lk] As such he is not a moral agent, and cannot therefore make moral decisions. The moral dimension is thus completely absent. Tom is immune to the influence of the ring not because of his high moral character, but because he is not capable of having a moral character at all.[/u:2w1u41lk][/quote:2w1u41lk]

Hargrove's definition of Nature Spirit is so erroneous as to essentially (though I think unintentionally) create a Straw Man argument. He completely misses the fact that ancient Humans believed Nature was SENTIENT and thus Nature Spirits were as capable of moral action and dimension as any other being. If not, then why personify Nature at all, and seek rapprochement with it, eventually coming to worship the Spirits themselves as Entities above and beyond Nature (leading to a rather appalling separation of Spirit and Matter in the consciousness of Man for the last several thousand years).

Tolkien's own early writings suggest he was very aware of how the Ancients viewed Nature Spirits. And indeed when he and Barfield helped to convince CS Lewis to abandon Atheism for Christianity, they argued for a "Pagan" view of the Universe as a foundation for understanding Christ as a True Myth:

[quote:2w1u41lk][b:2w1u41lk]Segment of a Chapter of my work in progress--Hidden Lewis:[/b:2w1u41lk]
One night in September 1931 Lewis, Tolkien, and Henry Victor Dyson dined together at Magdelen. Wilson notes that Owen Barfield had already broken down the arbitrary distinction between “myth” and “fact” (much like Joseph Campbell would later popularize). He also pointed out that early users of language didn’t distinguish between the metaphorical and literal meanings of words. When the wind blew it wasn’t “like” someone breathing, it was literally the breath of a divinity.

Tolkien’s approach was similar. As Wilson describes it, Tolkien’s Elves are animist, pagan. It is humankind in Tolkien’s world who are to move beyond this. For the Elves being immortal will never leave the material world and do not know what will happen to men after they die. The Elves therefore are the embodiment of language users for whom the wind/breath/spirit distinction is apparently meaningless.

Apparently when Tolkien dialogued with Lewis that September night, he was arguing for an “Elven” approach to the Gospel story. Lewis had no problem being moved by the stories from other ancient mythologies, but he had trouble seeing the relevance of Christ to his own life. It would seem that Tolkien explained that Lewis had only been looking at the story with an empiricists viewpoint and that he should simply understand the story of Christ as a True Myth (I suppose as opposed to the other myths? :roll: ).

But Tolkien’s argument would be even more nuanced. Tolkien argued that the Doctrines which are extracted from the myth are less true than the actual myth itself. Lewis would argue that was tantamount to “breathing a lie through silver.” This riposte led Tolkien to reply in writing with the verse Mythopoeia.[u:2w1u41lk] In essence Myth was the opposite of a “lie breathed through silver;” man’s capacity to mythologize was a remnant of his ability to see into the life of things (animism). All creation was “myth-woven and Elf-patterned.[/u:2w1u41lk]”

The fascinating upshot then seems that Tolkien used a Pagan argument for Christianity which largely is responsible for Lewis finally accepting Christianity, yet Lewis would then go on to Rationalize Christianity through apologetics whilst giving freer reign to his Pagan unconscious through prose.
[/quote:2w1u41lk]

Anyway, Hargrove's article is fascinating and well researched, even if I do find some of his analysis flawed. It's well worth reading, and I must admit, having originally leaned to the Rogue Valar theory, I might have been even more convinced by his argument before I abandoned that theory.

[url:2w1u41lk]http://www.cas.unt.edu/~hargrove/bombadil.html[/url:2w1u41lk]

[b:2w1u41lk]GB[/b:2w1u41lk]
[quote="Gandalfs Beard":195zljay]Because he was FEIGNING ignorance, in his conceit as being the "translator" of the Red Book. He knew exactly where in his subconscious Bombadil and Goldberry came from. Just as he knew the Ancient Archetypal Mythic roots for all his characters.

My point is that he eventually altered them to create an entirely New Cosmology that one would have to work at to discern the original influences. Yet he left Bombadil and Goldberry in their original archetypal forms as they first came to him. I don't know how it could be any more obvious. I don't think I'm the one stretching the evidence here, to make my point. I'm just taking it at face value. [/quote:195zljay]

You're consistently ignoring the fact that Tolkien didn't just throw in mythological creatures. When he did incorporate them (i.e., Elves, Dwarves, etc.) he made them fit the world and the rules in the world. Regardless of the unconscious inspiration of any of his, that doesn't mean that nature spirits existed in Middle-earth. To reiterate earlier points: the inspiration for various characters and the identity of said characters within the legendarium are different. Gandalf was not actually a mountain-spirit, regardless of the real-world inspiration for him. Also, the only evidence you have brought forward for nature spirits existing in Arda is Bombadil and Goldberry themselves. To then turn around and say that they are nature spirits is circular reasoning.

[quote:195zljay]It seems to me, one has to stretch the existing evidence out of shape to make Bombadil and Goldberry a pair of Maiar.[/quote:195zljay]

No, one only has to not try to change the rules that Tolkien himself set in place.
We at least agree on one thing, GB: that Hargrove is misguided. He stretches and makes leaps in logic quite a bit, even just from the quotes you give.

However, I think it is equally a leap in logic to suggest that Bombadil being an enigma: i.e., no one knowing what he is, leads him to be an 'unaligned' nature spirit. At this point I'm probably repeating myself, but I need to stress the following point. [b:3odkf967]Bombadil's out-of-universe inspiration is meaningless with regards to his in-universe classification.[/b:3odkf967] Hobbits, Gollum, Gandalf, and probably others as well all at easily identifiable out-of-universe inspirations. For that matter, Elves, Dwarves, and Dragons have been mythological creatures for far longer than Tolkien has been around. The Golden Hall of Meduseld is taken from Beowulf, right down to the name. Earendil was inspired by a medieval poem.

But at the end of the day, while Tolkien took inspiration from a myriad of sources, he put his own marks on the concepts, creatures, and characters. Gandalf is not a mountain spirit, the Golden Hall exists only in Rohan, Earendil is not actually an angel ... the list goes on and on. It would take a lot of evidence - [b:3odkf967]not[/b:3odkf967] merely a fallacious appeal to ignorance - to show that Bombadil is a fundamentally different case.
Eldo, I think you must certainly realize by now that I am in agreement with you that the "out of universe" inspiration is NOT the basis for my reasoning :roll: . The basis for my reasoning is that Tolkien made comments like THIS: "In historical fact I put him in because [b:1u0x4huc]I had already invented him[/b:1u0x4huc]. . . and wanted an 'adventure' on the way. [u:1u0x4huc]But I kept him in,[b:1u0x4huc] and as he was[/b:1u0x4huc], because he represents certain things otherwise left out[/u:1u0x4huc]".

These sorts of comments FLY IN THE FACE of any attempts to make B&G fit any classifications in the Legendarium.

I am glad you recognize the fallacies in Hargrove's argument, because I believe you are making similar logical mis-steps. Please don't take offense at this though :oops: . IF Tokien hadn't resisted attempts at classification, both your and Hargrove's arguments would be entirely valid.

Again, I am willing to change my views based on the evidence. I am not being circular. If you can demonstrate that Tolkien at some point changed his mind and finally decided to retrofit B&G into his Legendarium I will revisit my analysis.

[b:1u0x4huc]GB[/b:1u0x4huc]
wow guys, getting v technical which I'm not sure isn't just obscuring rather than making clear. For the sake of us dumber folks can I attempt to summarise your basic argument to see if I'm keeping up.

Eldo- you seem to be saying that despite TB's & G's inspiration Tolkien put them in ME and ME has a distinct divine hierarchy into which they must fit once they are in ME. Therefore they may be Valar or Maia, or whatever but they have to be something.

GB -you seem to be saying that this is true for everything in ME except TB and that this exclusivity is deliberate on Tolkiens part and using his conceit as chronicler he doesn't know either. And further TB was originally conceived out-with ME and as more of a nature spirit and that Tolkien put him ME but did not alter him to fit it. Therefore he is still what he was conceived as- the spirit of the vanishing countryside not some form of deity.

Am I close?
I would just add that the clue perhaps lies in something Tolkien said about Toms power over the Ring- I cant remember exact wording but its on my earlier page where I list everything I could find on subject from Letters- but basically its that whilst the power of the ring is real its only real for a certain view of the universe. I suspect Tolkien viewed the 'Christ myth' in the same fashion- its true, but not necessarily the entire truth or even the exact truth. But for the bit of the universe that contained Tolkien it was true and therefore had power over him. Tom for me represents a different sort of truth in the universe of ME, it doesn't mean Eru, Valar etc aren't true just not true for T. G. and therefore has no power over them- as the Ring clearly doesn't..
Bloody hell. this is heavey stuff. (getting a headake) love reading this stuff by the way. keep it up.
Get the impression if we all went out for dinner i'd have a pint and you guys would be sipping port or sherry.
Apart from Odo. He would have a can of VB. :lol: :lol:
[quote="Gandalfs Beard":1bfqav6v]Eldo, I think you must certainly realize by now that I am in agreement with you that the "out of universe" inspiration is NOT the basis for my reasoning :roll: . The basis for my reasoning is that Tolkien made comments like THIS: "In historical fact I put him in because [b:1bfqav6v]I had already invented him[/b:1bfqav6v]. . . and wanted an 'adventure' on the way. [u:1bfqav6v]But I kept him in,[b:1bfqav6v] and as he was[/b:1bfqav6v], because he represents certain things otherwise left out[/u:1bfqav6v]".

These sorts of comments FLY IN THE FACE of any attempts to make B&G fit any classifications in the Legendarium.[/quote:1bfqav6v]

Under one interpretation, yes. The full quote from Letter 153 reads: "[b:1bfqav6v]But many have found him an odd or indeed discordant ingredient.[/b:1bfqav6v] In historical fact I put him in because I had all already 'invented' him independently (he first appeared in the Oxford Magazine) and wanted an 'adventure' along the way. But I kept him in, as he was, because he represents certain things otherwise left out." To me this suggests that the entire passage is in regards to Tom's immediately obvious nature. It is rather clear how this could seem "odd or indeed discordant" compared to the pretty serious stuff elsewhere in the book, what with Tom's outfit, songs, and general demeanor. I don't know how many people would think that Bombadil's spiritual origin in the world (in-universe) would seem odd or discordant seeing as Tolkien had not written anything about that matter. In fact, very few even knew anything about Valar, Maiar, or the various spirits of Arda since The Silmarillion had never been published.

I can certainly see why you would interpret the quote that way, but I doubt that Tolkien was referring to Tom's nature as Maia, unaffiliated spirit, or something else. I can't say for certain, but the comment is definitely rather vague.

[quote:1bfqav6v]I am glad you recognize the fallacies in Hargrove's argument, because I believe you are making similar logical mis-steps. Please don't take offense at this though :oops: . IF Tokien hadn't resisted attempts at classification, both your and Hargrove's arguments would be entirely valid.[/quote:1bfqav6v]

I have no problem with people pointing out flaws or perceived flaws in my reasoning; I welcome the opportunity to improve. <img src='/images/smileys/smile.gif' border='0' alt='Smile Smilie' /> I'm not entirely clear what missteps you think I've made though, aside from interpreting quotes differently than you.

[quote:1bfqav6v]Again, I am willing to change my views based on the evidence. I am not being circular. If you can demonstrate that Tolkien at some point changed his mind and finally decided to retrofit B&G into his Legendarium I will revisit my analysis.[/quote:1bfqav6v]

Whether or not Tolkien ever assigned Tom a status, it is your responsibility to show that Tolkien made Tom an exception to the general rule of fitting the legendarium together consistently (or at the very least leaving things mysterious). Given that was Tolkien's (near) universal modus operandi, you're the one making a positive statement. I hope you'll forgive me saying, but I don't think you've demonstrated any conclusively.
[quote="pettytyrant101":3kh6899s]Eldo- you seem to be saying that despite TB's & G's inspiration Tolkien put them in ME and ME has a distinct divine hierarchy into which they must fit once they are in ME. Therefore they may be Valar or Maia, or whatever but they have to be something.[/quote:3kh6899s]

Yes, I think Tom conformed to the same model of incorporation into the legendarium as (just about) everything else that was incorporated did.
[quote="chris63":yq5b19z0]Bloody hell. this is heavey stuff. (getting a headake) love reading this stuff by the way. keep it up.[/quote:yq5b19z0]

I love these discussions, even when I disagree with people! :mrgreen: <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> I would be dreadfully disappointed if everyone agreed with me and our discussions were just patting ourselves on the back. Thanks to everyone for making it so much fun here, even when we're not being (as) goofy (as usual).

[quote:yq5b19z0]Get the impression if we all went out for dinner i'd have a pint and you guys would be sipping port or sherry.[/quote:yq5b19z0]

If only I was old enough to. :lol: :P
I had seen the full quote elsewhere but couldn't find it again. But it doesn't change the logical direction of Tolkien's statement at all. Given his statement the onus is upon YOU to back up your view that B&G are Maia (i.e. the ball is in your court <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> :lol: ). I don't have to show anything more to demonstrate the Nutshell Encapsulation that Petty neatly summarized for me :mrgreen: .

Tolkien clearly states that he left Bombadil "AS HE WAS" (i.e. unchanged) from his original conception of him. This Tolkien does[i:3heq3bd7][b:3heq3bd7] while altering the Cosmology of Middle Earth to suit a New Conception.[/b:3heq3bd7][/i:3heq3bd7] This is a Practical Admission that Bombadil is indeed an "exception to the rule".

And then there is this part of T's statement: "But I kept him in, and as he was, [b:3heq3bd7]because he represents certain things otherwise left out[/b:3heq3bd7]". The Silarillion, as you quite rightly point out, had not yet been published. But that only makes my case even stronger. Readers, with no idea of Tolkien's larger Theological conceptions (especially those who grew up in Europe in the Early 20th century with heavy doses of existing Mythologies), would have immediately recognized B&G as the sort of "Fairy Being" that Tolkien otherwise avoided writing about. This may not be so apparent to more recent generations and Americans. And "...represents certain things otherwise left out", demonstrates that Tolkien was decidedly NOT referring to Bombadil's habits of dress, lyrical abilities, or his Demeanor.

It is a clear reference to the fact that he did not otherwise include Leprechauns, Pixies, Flower Fairies, Naiads, Dryads and the like (i.e. Nature Spirits). Everyone who grew up in Early 20th century Europe was immersed to varying degrees in the resurgence of interest in the "Spiritual Dimension" that grew out of late 19th century movements, ranging from the Fairy Fad following heavily publicized photos of Fairies (much later proven to be hoaxes), to Theosophy, "Occultism" (groups like Order of the Golden Dawn), Spiritualism (speaking to the dead), Wicca, Odinism etc. etc. Most Tolkien fans at the time would have known exactly what Tolkien meant.

I have definitively and objectively made my case by following the evidence (and shifting from my original position as I had more material to analyse). Tolkien's statements are concise enough that they leave little room for a divergent interpretation of them.

Chris, Eldorion and i most certainly agree on one thing, the forum would be bloody boring if we all agreed all the time :mrgreen: .

[b:3heq3bd7]GB[/b:3heq3bd7]
[quote="Gandalfs Beard":h78ye2so]But it doesn't change the logical direction of Tolkien's statement at all. Given his statement the onus is upon YOU to back up your view that B&G are Maia (i.e. the ball is in your court <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> :lol: ). I don't have to show anything more to demonstrate the Nutshell Encapsulation that Petty neatly summarized for me :mrgreen: . [/quote:h78ye2so]

Only if one assumes your interpretation of the quote. I think your interpretation is a bit of a stretch given the bolded section in my last post. How many people do you really think were puzzled by Bombadil because of his obscure mythic origin within the legendarium? I think it far more reasonable to suppose that they were confused by Bombadil's incongruous demeanor and behavior.

[quote:h78ye2so]Tolkien clearly states that he left Bombadil "AS HE WAS" (i.e. unchanged) from his original conception of him. This Tolkien does[i:h78ye2so][b:h78ye2so] while altering the Cosmology of Middle Earth to suit a New Conception.[/b:h78ye2so][/i:h78ye2so] This is a Practical Admission that Bombadil is indeed an "exception to the rule".[/quote:h78ye2so]

Again you assume your interpretation of your quote without responding to my objection. Tolkien likely meant only that he had not changed Bombadil's (relatively) goofy demeanor and behavior.

[quote:h78ye2so]And "...represents certain things otherwise left out", demonstrates that Tolkien was decidedly NOT referring to Bombadil's habits of dress, lyrical abilities, or his Demeanor.[/quote:h78ye2so]

How do you know that Tolkien was not referring to Bombadil's lightheartedness (one might say, comic relief)? There aren't many instances of such [i:h78ye2so]Hobbit[/i:h78ye2so]-esque silliness elsewhere in the book.

[quote:h78ye2so]I have definitively and objectively made my case by following the evidence (and shifting from my original position as I had more material to analyse). Tolkien's statements are concise enough that they leave little room for a divergent interpretation of them.[/quote:h78ye2so]

Because you say so? :P I look forward to your response to my contextual objection (the bolded section of the full quote from my previous post).

Cheers!
But you haven't made a contextual objection <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> . And you haven't objectively countered my points with evidence. The bolded section you quoted doesn't change the context of the rest of Tolkien's statement. The statement taken as a whole wraps up thusly:
[b:2qeoyxhm]"But I kept him in, and as he was, because he represents certain things otherwise left out".[/b:2qeoyxhm] This then defines the context of what came before.

You're the one over-interpreting very clear directives to suit your needs in this case :P . Find me a quote where Tolkien says "I changed my mind, Bombadil is a Maiar." and I'll cede the argument. Until then, Tolkien's statement is as clear as a bell.

[b:2qeoyxhm]GB[/b:2qeoyxhm]
I don't need to show a quote like that, because Tolkien changed his mind about unaffiliated nature spirits in general. Also, I have made a contextual objection that I spelled out quite clearly in my last two posts. Sticking your head in the sand, ignoring them, and repeating yourself won't make my arguments go away.

I know that I can't prove that Bombadil is a Maia, but the primary discussion over the last few pages is over whether Bombadil could be an unaffiliated nature spirit. YOU have been making the positive argument in that regard. If Bombadil must be incorporated into the context of the legendarium, only then do I think he is probably a Maia.

I would appreciate you actually responding to my points now. Why should I believe your interpreation instead of mine?
Because Tolkien said he DIDN'T change his mind about Bombadil (in his OWN WORDS). :P

[b:3epn9yx0]GB[/b:3epn9yx0]
If I didn't know better, I'd say you were [i:16p3ew1i]trying[/i:16p3ew1i] to evade answering my objection. Here, I'll repeat it in briefer form. [b:16p3ew1i]How do you know Tolkien was not talking only about Bombadil's demeanor and behavior, particularly in light of my point about the context of the passage?[/b:16p3ew1i] I think you know that no matter how many times you restate your interpretation, you can't magically make it more valid.
I see the point you are making Eldo, but when dealing with letters its best to take the whole letter in context as well as what Tolkien is responding too in the letter. I read the letter originally for this thread and purely because I was going through all the references I could find in the index for TB - and for me it seemed clear Tolkien was referring to more than TB's personality, behaviour or appearance. Not saying I can't have misunderstood it, just that it did not strike me that was the subject matter. Seemed to me more that Tolkien was discussing a fundamental difference between TB and the world of ME than just his actions or appearance (but not without reference to those things).
I don't have time for a lengthy reply right now and will come back to this later tonight. But I DID respond to your question in regards to that passage. In short, my response was much the same as Petty's (thanks Petty). It's all about context, which I did go into. But I'll have another go at it later on when all is quiet on the Home Front :lol: .

[b:3o7t9jia]GB[/b:3o7t9jia]
I obviously don't know what Tolkien was thinking, but at any rate I think the issue is less clear-cut than GB as implied (based on my reading of his posts, at least). I might take another look at the letter myself. While it switched from topic to topic quite a bit, I don't think that the relevant portion was referring to a fundamental difference in Tom's origin.
Okay, let me give this another go Eldorion :roll: . Context isn't merely created by the rest of Tolkien's statement, but by MANY other factors, some of which I have very briefly covered in my post at the top of this page ([b:2havofk9]which was, IN FACT, a direct response to your posting of the completed quote[/b:2havofk9] <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> ), and some proffered in prior posts.

These factors include Tolkien's Cultural background, Education, and Social Milieu, which included Literary Luminaries such as Owen Barfield, Hugo Dyson, Roger Lancelyn Green, Charles Williams, and the inestimable CS Lewis. A group of fellows steeped in the Imagination, Mythology, Philosophy, Mysticism, Scholarship, etc etc, and well versed in such things as Nature Spirits.

And I have already discussed the Historical Cultural contexts which they were operating in.

Then there is the context of the evidence from Tolkien's own writings quoted in Steuard Jensen's exceptionally erudite analysis:

[quote:2havofk9]Tolkien's earliest stories explicitly contain "nature spirits" of a sort. "The Coming of the Valar" is The Book of Lost Tales I tells of "the sylphs of the airs and of the winds", "the spirits of the foam and the surf of the ocean", and

[b:2havofk9]"the sprites of trees and woods, of dale and forest and mountain-side, or those that sing amid the grass at morning and chant among the standing corn at eve. These are... brownies, fays, pixies, leprawns, and what else are they not called, for their number is very great... they were born before the world and are older than its oldest, and are not of it,[/b:2havofk9] but laugh at it much, for had they not somewhat to do with its making, so that it is for the most part a play for them..."

In the language of the later stories, these spirits were the Maiar. However, while the "Valaquenta" says that "in Middle-earth the Maiar have seldom appeared in form visible to Elves and Men", these spirits seem to have been known throughout the world.

Later revisions hint that Tolkien changed his mind on the origin of some of these spirits. The last outline for "Gilfanon's Tale" says of the "Shadow Folk" that

"These were fays (C); no one knows whence they came: they are not of the Valar nor of Melko, but it is thought that they came from the outer void and primeval dark when the world was first fashioned."

("(C)" refers to an intermediate outline; I am not sure what it means here.) In the Lost Tales, all of the Ainur who entered the world were called Valar, so at least some "fays" now had very different origins. While none of this reflects Tolkien's later vision, it shows that he did once imagine nature spirits in Middle-earth.[/quote:2havofk9]

The context of the canon references, well known to most of us present ("...Oldest and Fatherless...", "He is his own master"...", "Master of wood, water and hill"Wink Smilie.

The contextual evidence provided by Hargrove, who--in a stunning display of intellectual sleight of hand--seems to halfheartedly acknowledge that the following Tolkien quotes undermines his own argument, while attempting to finagle a dubious hypothesis which he then uses to retroactively alter the context of the quotes:

This one:
[quote:2havofk9] "even in a mythological Age there must be some [color=#4000FF:2havofk9][b:2havofk9]enigmas[/b:2havofk9][/color:2havofk9], as there always are. Tom Bombadil is one [b:2havofk9](intentionally)[/b:2havofk9]...Tom is not an important person - to the narrative. [b:2havofk9]I suppose he has some importance as a[/b:2havofk9] [b:2havofk9]'comment'[/b:2havofk9].[/quote:2havofk9]

And also a segment of the following quote, whilst leaving out the highlighted sentence which you seem to hang your hat on Eldo <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> :

[quote:2havofk9]"[color=#FF8000:2havofk9]But many have found him an odd or indeed discordant ingredient.[/color:2havofk9] In historical fact I put him in because I had already 'invented' him [b:2havofk9]independently[/b:2havofk9] [color=#FF8000:2havofk9](he first appeared in the Oxford Magazine)[/color:2havofk9] and wanted an 'adventure' along the way. But I kept him in, as he was, because he represents certain things otherwise left out"
[/quote:2havofk9]

The sentence in question is simply stating the obvious, something we all knew when we began this discussion. So it doesn't affect the overall thrust of my analysis; and indeed, Tolkien's concluding sentence is a [b:2havofk9][i:2havofk9]direct acknowledgement[/i:2havofk9][/b:2havofk9] that Bombadil represents something "otherwise left out"--which is another way of saying that Bombadil is incongruous (i.e. "odd or discordant"Wink Smilie.

So I submit to you, that the sentence in question is not only contextualized by the rest of the paragraph , but all the aforementioned evidence. Most of it quite clearly and incontrovertibly based on Tolkien's own writings.

[b:2havofk9]GB[/b:2havofk9] :mrgreen:
Seems to me from what you say GB that Tolkiens problem was one of fitting everything in. He wanted ME to be our world but older, and following his own beliefs it therefore had to be a 1 God with a heavenly host sort of world. But as a lover of ancient stories and myths he was perfectly aware that universal themes abounded about nature spirits. To make ME work as our history he could not just leave them out.
He seems to have tried solving this by growing them up into Maiar- which Eldo suggests happened to TB- however this doesn't seem to have solved the problem for Tolkien. Changing them into divine spirits seems to have lost in them something fundamental that was represented by their nature spirit status, something Tolkien thought was important in the myths of nature spirits, even if he did not religiously agree.
TB and G therefore seem to be the last survivors- left to represent all the nature spirits in myth and legend that have come down to us over the years because they represent something Tolkien thought was important but which his own religion did not directly address. For this reason ME religion (its structure at least) also does not address TB and G yet they exist.
Exactamundo Petty :mrgreen: :ugeek: . Hast hit the Nail on the Head 8-) .

[b:212suo3a]GB[/b:212suo3a]
GB, you have, with great eloquence I must admit, simply restated your opinion. I already know how you interpret the "enigma" and "discordant ingredient" quotes, so this is nothing new. I interpret them differently, as I have mentioned in prior posts. No matter how many times I see new variations of your interpretation, repetition alone will not change my mind.

I think that Bombadil being an enigma means only, as I have already stated, that no one knows what his origin is, not that he has no origin within the fictional world (or that his origin is separate from the creation of the omnipotent deity).

Seeing the second quote you posted, which we have both already posted, does not change my interpretation of it. I think the something "otherwise left out" is Bombadil's lighthearted attitude, and I see nothing in the quote to show that my interpretation is wrong. It might be, but barring zombie-Tolkien registering here I don't see how either one of us could show our interpretation to be more accurate.

[quote:20w2an55]So I submit to you, that the sentence in question is not only contextualized by the rest of the paragraph , but all the aforementioned evidence. Most of it quite clearly and incontrovertibly based on Tolkien's own writings.[/quote:20w2an55]

Your contextualization is (semi-)definitive only in the pre-established mindset that Tolkien is talking about Bombadil's fictional origins relative to the fictional origins of the rest of Tolkien's mythology. Without having that in mind from the beginning, there are other ways of looking at the quotes. Unless you have something new after this, I feel that this discussion will have reached a standstill with you unwilling to defend your interpretation with anything but repetition.
The point is Eldorion, that ALL the quotes contextualize each other ALL TOGETHER. Sure, you can make the quotes take on other meanings when they are taken as entirely independent abstractions. But a case is built by a sum of of it's parts. Each piece of evidence is part of a puzzle that when taken as a whole, creates a pattern, a bigger picture, an Empirical Historical Record That's why a restatement with all the pieces in place was necessary to demonstrate how all the parts work together.

With all due respect, I don't think your case has that at all. Hargrove couldn't make it work because the evidence countered his own claims. I feel that your case suffers from a similar attempt to take the evidence in a direction that is contradictory to Tolkien's Words.

[b:begjzuqt]GB[/b:begjzuqt]
I think this one could go on till the End of Days. In fairness to Eldorion I went back and read the quotes again in light of his standpoint. And all though I come down on same side as GB I cannot deny that the same quotes can be used on either side. I suppose this is what Tolkien meant by enigma. TB has no true answer and Tolkiens own words can be used to support both arguments with equal vigour, by Eru he's a clever one Mr Tolkien.

"Fair lady!" said Frodo again after a while. "Tell me, if my asking does not seem foolish, who is Tom Bombadil?"
"He is", said Goldberry, staying her swift movements and smiling.
Frodo looked at her questioningly. "He is, as you have seen him," she said in answer to his look. "He is the Master of wood, water and hill.
"Then all this strange lands belongs to him?"
"No indeed!" she answered, and her smile faded. "That would indeed be a burden," she added in a low voice, as if to herself. "The trees and the grasses and all things growing or living in the land belong each to themselves. Tom Bombadil is the Master. No one has ever caught old Tom walking in the forest, wading in the water, leaping on the hilltops under light and shadow. He has no fear. Tom Bombadil is master."

Probably enough said <img src='/images/smileys/bigsmile.gif' border='0' alt='Big Smile Smilie' />
Well I DID start out in the same (or similar) camp as Eldorion <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> , but having gleaned all the "new" information from material I hadn't seen in decades, or texts reconsidered in the light of that information, I couldn't help but be moved to change my mind. If more new information appears that takes us another direction, I'll follow it wherever it leads.

But barring that, this discussion has indeed, reached an intractable point.

[b:2gx9teav]GB[/b:2gx9teav] :mrgreen:
[quote="Gandalfs Beard":1it3grkd]The point is Eldorion, that ALL the quotes contextualize each other ALL TOGETHER.[/quote:1it3grkd]

And ALL the quotes that you give have interpretations other than the one you are using? Do you recognize that your interpretation is not the only valid one?

[quote:1it3grkd]Sure, you can make the quotes take on other meanings when they are taken as entirely independent abstractions.[/quote:1it3grkd]

Would you care to point out where I have twisted the meanings of quotes?
[quote="pettytyrant101":blz39xou]In fairness to Eldorion I went back and read the quotes again in light of his standpoint. And all though I come down on same side as GB I cannot deny that the same quotes can be used on either side.[/quote:blz39xou]

Thank you! <img src='/images/smileys/smile.gif' border='0' alt='Smile Smilie' /> This is what I've been trying to say: I know I can't prove my interpretation of the quotes, but we are at least in a situation where there are two (or possibly more) valid hypotheses about Bombadil. GB's hypothesis doesn't have a monopoly on that.

[quote:blz39xou]I suppose this is what Tolkien meant by enigma. TB has no true answer and Tolkiens own words can be used to support both arguments with equal vigour, by Eru he's a clever one Mr Tolkien.

...

Probably enough said <img src='/images/smileys/bigsmile.gif' border='0' alt='Big Smile Smilie' />[/quote:blz39xou]

Well put. :mrgreen:
Well Eldo, everyone is entitled to their own opinion :mrgreen: .

I'm afraid I can't see that all opinions are necessarily equally valid though. Sorry 'bout that :oops: .

[b:2qibf8sa]GB[/b:2qibf8sa]
Certainly not [b:3eg4ijey]all[/b:3eg4ijey] opinions, all the time; but in this case I don't see why your interpretation is better than mine (or vice versa - as I've said I recognize that I can't prove anything). All you've done to back up your interpretation is to just restate it in various different wordings. :roll:
I respectfully disagree :mrgreen: .

[b:21wx7mfo]GB[/b:21wx7mfo]
I just looked back over the last few pages of the thread, and while I've seen mainly you insisting on your interpretation of quotes such as "represents things otherwise left out" and the like instead of countering my interpretations. Nothing in your posts has convinced me that you have, as you put it:

[quote:2num3ek6]definitively and objectively made my case by following the evidence (and shifting from my original position as I had more material to analyse). Tolkien's statements are concise enough that they leave little room for a divergent interpretation of them.[/quote:2num3ek6]

It does not seem as though this discussion is going anywhere though, so for now I'm probably going to let this thread be. It's been a fun discussion and if anything [i:2num3ek6]new[/i:2num3ek6] is posted I'll likely drop back in, but otherwise look for me in other threads! <img src='/images/smileys/bigsmile.gif' border='0' alt='Big Smile Smilie' />
Funny, I thought those quotes DID counter your interpretations :P .

But, I can agree with you completely on one thing: It's time to move on unless someone has something new :lol: .

[b:1dphn62s]GB[/b:1dphn62s]
I have nothing new...

... I thought I might tell you that...
Not [i:cm8n4ugy]this[/i:cm8n4ugy] thread again. :roll: :P
Somehow this thread doesn't seem to belong on this forum - it has an [i:1uit5wfo]other[/i:1uit5wfo] quality somehow - like a round peg in a square hole that doesn't exist - a place where no holes exist, and yet people go searching for them anyway - and nonetheless this thread does exist and if it didn't I'd feel kind of incomplete somehow.... Ah! Tom! No explanation needed! You just [i:1uit5wfo]are[/i:1uit5wfo]! And Goldberry - hubba hubba hubba! <img src='/images/smileys/bigsmile.gif' border='0' alt='Big Smile Smilie' /> I know [i:1uit5wfo]you[/i:1uit5wfo] exist somewhere - you [i:1uit5wfo]must[/i:1uit5wfo].... just [i:1uit5wfo]must[/i:1uit5wfo]... where was I....?
This thread, and a few others, have a noticeable sense of learning and [i:1i4x2ky1]lore[/i:1i4x2ky1] to them that goes beyond fans talking about the book (not to diminish less thought-provoking threads; they're different but variety is good). I quite like lore. :mrgreen:
I especially like [i:33ssxsbq]folk[/i:33ssxsbq]-lore... :lol:
Lore about folk, such as Tom and lovely Goldberry, is indeed quite nice. :P
Yes, very folklorish folk...
[quote="Odo Banks":2jn42xe4]Yes... I like the gal in blue. Oo iz she?[/quote:2jn42xe4]

Goldberry i suppose :?:

Another artists impression
Goldberry


Goldberry Also Known as The River- daughter Is the wife of Tom Bombadil in the Old Forest at the edge of Buckland. The races of Tom Bombadil and Goldberry Are not Known though Goldberry is said to be the daughter of the River- woman. Her voice is beautiful , "as young and as ancient as spring , " like the song of a glad water flowing down into the night from a bright morning in the hills . " She has long blonde hair , and Pls Frodo Baggins, Meriadoc Brandybuck, Peregrin Took, and Sam Gamgee first see her , She is wearing a green dress shot with silver and a gold belt . Wide vessels of green and brown earthenware water- lilies floating hold so She Seems to be enthroned in the middle of a pool .
According to Tom Bombadil , he found her long ago by the pool he Nowhere Gathers from the water- lilies Withywindle river .

After rescuing the hobbits from the Barrow -downsTom Bombadil Selects a Brooch with blue stones to give Goldberry .

In The Fellowship of the Ring Sourcebook , for the Lord of the Rings role- playing game , Goldberry is listed as a nature - spirit and is closely connected to the weather of the Old Forest. " She is the rain and snows That Arise from the waters and replenish Them again . " In The Fellowship of the Ring (novel ), Tom Bombadil describes the rain as Goldberry' s day washing and cleaning her autumn .

Also it is possible Goldberry That is the Ainu Varda in a sort of Disguise . Several Things hint to this , and the fact That Tom Bombadill is suspected to be possibly pine Illuvatar makes it even more probable

[img:3dnhc5wz]http://i38.tinypic.com/300a0j6.jpg[/img:3dnhc5wz]

[img:3dnhc5wz]http://i36.tinypic.com/2mhikis.jpg[/img:3dnhc5wz]
Yes... I like the gal in blue. Oo iz she?
Glad to see you took my advice Chris. :mrgreen: Soon you'll be as much a Lore-master as Eldo, or the sadly missed Beren. :ugeek:

[b:1m659rx2]GB[/b:1m659rx2]
Is the Goldberry in blue a [i:2qohgrin]real[/i:2qohgrin] lady dressed in blue or an animated girl dressed in blue? :? (If real, who is she and does anyone have her phone number?)
For a while now I have thought of TB as being strongly influenced on Melchizedek from the Tenakh and Also the Rosh HaShanah. (OT and NT)

After reading in detail from the discussions above I now believe this to be true more than ever, as there are just too many similarities for me to ignore.

Melchizedek is mentioned in three places within the manuscripts mentioned above.
In Hebrews he is seen as timeless and fatherless.
Hebrews 7
The King of Righteousness
1 For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2 to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated “king of righteousness,” and then also king of Salem, meaning “king of peace,” 3 without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually.
He is now seen in the continuing verses as not fitting into the opattern of all priests belonging to the tribe of Levi as sons of Aaron, brother of Moses but as something separate.
11 Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron? 12 For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law.
Melchizedek is first seen in Genesis 14 when Abram visits him in Salem. Salem is here a place of refuge much like the home of B and G
18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. 19 And he blessed him and said:

“ Blessed be Abram of God Most High,
Possessor of heaven and earth;
20 And blessed be God Most High,
Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.”
And he gave him a tithe of all.
21 Now the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the persons, and take the goods for yourself.”
22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have raised my hand to the LORD, God Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth, 23 that I will take nothing, from a thread to a sandal strap, and that I will not take anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich’— 24 except only what the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men who went with me: Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.”
Melchizedek is also mentioned in Psalm 110
4 The LORD has sworn
And will not relent,
“You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek.”
He is also mentioned in Dead sea Scroll 11Q13 but with nothing I can see that is of any consequence.

It is in the Nag Hamadi Library that Melchizedek is seen as a prototype Jesus Christ.

Some Christians believe that Melchizedek is a form of a Pre-Incarnate Christ. There are a whole list of these occurrences in the Tenach: for example some see the angel of the Lord wrestling with Jacob as a Preincarnate Christ and also the Burning Bush that Moses spoke to.

Where does this conjecture leave us. I see TB as being influenced by Melchizedek for these reasons. M, is seen as being an out of place enigma within these texts, people feel that he is out of place and cannot classify him. He is of a separate order to the Levitical priesthood and seems to be of a higher priority. He does not seem to influence the scriptures in any great way; he lives in a place of refuge and isolation.
What implications do I read into this?
He is only an external influence of Tolkien and not an internal manifestation within ME. I have no idea what to do with Goldberry within this thought process. As some Christians believe that Melchizedek is a preincarnate Christ and therefore a part of the Trinity, therefore TB may also be of an order apart from the Vala or Maia; this could point to a plurality of godhead. My conjecture then could be that as some Christians have seen the Holy Spirit of being feminine, could this be where Goldberry comes in?

These are just conjectures and fanciful guesses, nothing more. I just hope it gives some foor for thought for others.

Noom

Ps I am trying to get an English Translation of the Sumerian Genesis for further study at a different point in time.
Fantastic post, Noom - but you'll need to explain what a [i:1qgp761j]'foor'[/i:1qgp761j] is - you lost me there.

[quote="Noom Chevaline":1qgp761j]These are just conjectures and fanciful guesses, nothing more. I just hope it gives some foor for thought for others.[/quote:1qgp761j]
Typo :oops:
I can see how Hebrews 7:3 and Genesis 14 fit in with Tom but not so clearly the rest. Tom did not seem inclined towards the title of King (incidentally what is the root of the word 'king' in Hebrew Noom?) He called himself Master, a very different sort of title (and if you have the time would be curious to know the root of that word in Hebrew too).

I think Tom having a female consort is also central to his representation and there does not seem to be one in Melchizedek's story.
[quote="pettytyrant101":1mthp49n]I can see how Hebrews 7:3 and Genesis 14 fit in with Tom but not so clearly the rest. [/quote:1mthp49n]

The Psalm 110 was just showing that it was a separate line of priesthood and thus does not fit into the known matrix. I felt this was similar to GBs argument against Eldorion.


[quote="pettytyrant101":1mthp49n]Tom did not seem inclined towards the title of King (incidentally what is the root of the word 'king' in Hebrew Noom?) [/quote:1mthp49n]

King in Hebrew is Melek which is made up of the three central letters of the Hebrew Aleph Bet.

[b:1mthp49n]Mem[/b:1mthp49n] is the first letter and stands for peoples/ nations but also relates to Meshiach (Messiah in a concealed sort of way) Concealed meaning, not yet tn the present, I think.

[b:1mthp49n]Lamed[/b:1mthp49n] is the next letter in Melek, it denotes; the supreme ruler with wisdom, purpose and learning.

[b:1mthp49n]Kaph[/b:1mthp49n] is the final and root letter, meaning; to crown/ accomplishment. This letter can also be very complex with dual meanings, too much to go into here.

You can see that they put together,encapsulate the meaning of King.

[quote="pettytyrant101":1mthp49n]He called himself Master, a very different sort of title (and if you have the time would be curious to know the root of that word in Hebrew too).[/quote:1mthp49n]

Master would be the word Rosh, also meaning head or chieftain; hense, new year is Rosh Ha Shana (Head of the year)

Rosh is made of three diferent root words, Resh, Aleph and Shin.
Have fun deciphering its root meaning here
http://shekinah.elysiumgates.com/hebrew.html
This link is a bit simplistic but will do for the basics.

[quote="pettytyrant101":1mthp49n]I think Tom having a female consort is also central to his representation and there does not seem to be one in Melchizedek's story. [/quote:1mthp49n]

You are right , i haven't fully sussed this out.
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