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Thread: Tom Bombadil

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I'd just like to know other peoples opinions of this character...

is he a god..? / father nature..? / a wise old old man....? / someone who belongs in an asylum..??

anything goes.. Tigger Smilie
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way too intelligent, i just wanted peoples views on the fella.. Rolling Eyes Smilie
Plenty of those in the thread i referred you to.
But of course...anyone who would like to share more opinions is more than welcome to, Sarawyn. Tolkien incorporated two ways for nature to deal with its destruction in LOTR -- the hostile reaction and the non-hostile. Tom Bombadil is way for him to show the gentler side of nature. Tom seems to be a spirit of nature, who is non-hostile, unlike the Ents who can get rather hostile. Tolkien never said if he was a Maiar or something along those lines though. We are not sure, we are only sure that the ring has no power over him, and this is probably because he doesn't desire that sort of power over the world. He is not aggressive. But, I like your thoughts that he may belong in an asylum Smile Smilie.
Like Lady Goldberry said, Tom Bombadil is.

That's all there's to it. Hobbits, like all other Men, just have a habit of searching for an answer, even when one is not needed or available - which is logical, considering they don't have millennia to ponder the enigmas of Middle-Earth.

But yes, Tom Bombadil seems to be the epitome of one of JRRT's ideas about nature.

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But, I like your thoughts that he may belong in an asylum

That's exactly what Tom Bombadil's land was. It was an asylum, where the Hobbits found shelter against the storm for a short while, before again weathering it. It would be the last part of Middle-Earth to fall, if Sauron would've been victorious.

Regardless of its usually pejorative connotation, an asylum is a place of protection, a sanctuary. That's the original meaning, coming from Latin.
Well then, let me preface "asylum" with "insane." Very Mad Smilie
People really look too much into it... I think he is just a spirit of nature. He is a thing like no other. He is just another mysterious symbol in Tolkien's works.

1. I don't think he is a Maia because all other Maia's in ME were affected by the ring and he was not. Ex. Gandalf knew the effect it would have on him (new dark lord and so on), Saruman is driven mad, and obviously, it affected Sauron (gave him power, and all kinds of other things he keeps in his goody bag).

2. Tom isn't an elf because in The Fellowship he says he was already here when the elves past westward... so he isn't an elf, but he is very old!

3. As for the Vala theory, it is possible, but it all depends... Tom says he was in ME before the dark lord came from the outside. It also mentions that he was under the stars or something so he was inside ME. The only thing is if dark lord refers to Melkor then this is very significant, but if it it refers to Sauron (both came from the outside) then it isn't quite so. People discredit this since we already know all the Valar but in the silmarillion and such they say the valar have amny different names (mannish tounges, quenya, sindarin, adunaic languages) so he could be an incarnation of a Vala possibly, but I don't believe this as the Valar tend to leave Middle-earth alone to fare for itself and just send small helpers.

4. Tom isn't Illuvatar since Tolkiens says in some notes that Eru (another name for Illuvatar) has no other embodiement.

5. The last option I can think of is closer to what I believe. That TOm is a spirit (most likely some sort of nature one) I don't ahve a whole lot of info other than what you read in some of TOlkien's notes and the lost tales.
I agree: Tom is a mystery. He is a spirit, and I don't think he's anything less than Maia. He is a spirit of nature, but let's not forget the Valar (and some of the Maiar) represent the forces of natures themselves: I've always seen Osse as the raging storm on the see.

He couldn't be Iluvatar and I think Tolkien introduced Tom in his world exactly for this purpose: to puzzle. I mean, Men always want a clear answer and explanations to every little thing. I guess Tom Bombadil is just Tolkien's way of telling us: some things are beyond our understanding, so we should just let them be. Smile Smilie
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I agree: Tom is a mystery. He is a spirit, and I don't think he's anything less than Maia. He is a spirit of nature, but let's not forget the Valar (and some of the Maiar) represent the forces of natures themselves: I've always seen Osse as the raging storm on the see.

He couldn't be Iluvatar and I think Tolkien introduced Tom in his world exactly for this purpose: to puzzle. I mean, Men always want a clear answer and explanations to every little thing. I guess Tom Bombadil is just Tolkien's way of telling us: some things are beyond our understanding, so we should just let them be.


Wow.I totally agree with you and how he could be just a piece of the puzzle that taunts us by the way it can fit in so many ways yet does not completely.
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... someone who belongs in an asylum.

But who's to say who's the sane one? I refer you to 'Wonko the Sane', a Douglas Adams creation found in So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, where he built his house inside-out as an asylum for society: Any society who has to put instructions on a pack of toothpicks must have some mental problems. Elf With a Big Grin Smilie

Tom is merely a safety valve to insure the hobbits have a wayside to rest up after another crisis, and to rescue them and provide them with some of the tools they will need to complete their quests.
and to remind us that not everyone falls prey to the temptation and power of posessing the ring. He knows how it works and considers it a trinket, a mere thing to be forgotten about....
My guess is that Tom Bombadil is an Ainu(on a lesser scale than the Valar though), who, enamoured by the vision of what it would become, entered Arda right after Eru revealed it to the Ainur. He must have, if he was there before Melkor. The dark lord he refers to could be Sauron, but Morgoth was the master. And Old Tom was there under the stars in the twilight, before the Elves went to the West, Morgoth was the Dark Lord then, and Sauron but a vassal, therefore, having known both, it is only fitting that he should name the master and greater Dark Lord first. It is clear however, that Tom Bombadil was not there to fight anyone or govern anything that did not suit him, and that neither the Valar nor Melkor had anything to do with him.
I wonder if they even knew of him. Does anyone know of any writings, notes, or such that could enlighten me on that point?
By the way, I'm new.