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Vir - The quote in no way implies that when TOm says 'Here' he is confining it to his own land.

Nor does it imply he means the entirety of Arda. But it can be implied. That's called interpretation, which can differ from reader to reader.
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which is not the view I previously had

This is why it is so much fun to be in this forum, you can be so sure of a thing and suddenly you discover something new which makes you rethink everything. It can also be frustrating, as there rarely is one clear answer but several could-be solutions. Wink Smilie

When TB mentions the Dark Lord he is talking to the Hobbits, who had come there with Dark Lord Sauron's Ring and were chased by Dark Lord Sauron's nazguls. I'm sure to them Dark Lord = Sauron, but only TB anf JRR knows which Dark Lord he ment.
Vir - 'Here' most likely means 'exist in the world' not here as in here in his domain. Although I won't deny thats not a small possibility but the former is far more likely.
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I'm sure to them Dark Lord = Sauron, but only TB anf JRR knows which Dark Lord he ment.

Maybe the Dark Lord is Darth Vader... which means TB is Obi-Wan Kenobi : it could be that Obi-Wan first fled to Arda instead of Tatooine after the destruction of the Jedi order, and took on the identity of some weird old man with yellow boots - while C3P0 dressed up as a fair, blond maiden named 'Goldberry' (not sure what he'd do in the river though, for that would mess up his circuits).

The reason why the Ring wouldn't affect him, is of course that the light side of the Force is stronger than the dark side.. and since the whole Star Wargs takes place 'a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away', it's quite obvious that Obi-Wan is older than even the Ainur.

QED
Well, as to the meaning of "Eldest" obviously it's not literal unless Bombadil IS Eru (score one for Grondy, I s'pose.)

As for Vir, I believe the Dark and Light Sides of the Force are equal and balanced; they almost half to me or one would consume the other. It's like saidin and saidar, and the yin yang on which they're obviously based. You newb. Elf Sticking Tounge Out Smilie Which means, of course, that now we REALLY know whom Tom Bombadil is, and why the One Ring had no power over him; it's just like how it's next to impossible to use Compulsion on someone embracing the Source. Sigh, I'm so happy; we've killed two rocs with one boulder: we know who Tom Bombadil REALLY is, and we finally know WHERE DEMANDRED IS! He was in Andor, then it sank and now he's living next door to the Shire in the guise of a harmless old eccentric Gleeman (compare with the guise of Graendal.) (Hey, I haven't done a WoT themed post in a while. ;-p)
No Morambar - Eldest = Oldest in Arda. Oldest in the world.
Actually we could reach even beyond that... since we have two creatures claiming to be oldest we must either say one is lying or find a way to explain the mistery. We all seem to agree that Tom B is in fact the true oldest being and we all agree that within the realms of arda we cannot explain him. So maybe he might be older, an ainur?? But then we know he is older then the Dark Lord (discussion may arise who this is... but to me this is NOT Saruman being quit young). Logically we can conclude that Tom B is older than Melkor. So that only leaves us with Eru, Illuvatar... but this would be rather strange. Tom B cannot be Illuvatar just for the simple fact that J.R.R. Tolkien would never make a character of Eru, that is God. He would not make a description of God under any circumstance. We can read this in numerous letters! But if Tom B is not Eru, who is he then?
The answer is plain simple. Tom B is no-one less then Tolkien himself. The first, the creator, the one who is the oldest, ... also if we go and read back in the different biographies we can find clues! Tolkien had a terrible time to pass on with the story and he ended writing at the old man willow and paused for a very long time to proceed. I believe at this point he put himself in the story. One reason was to get the story going again, secondly because he needed to learn the story and the characters again to be able to continue. So we hear the hobbits tell there story to Tom B and we see how Tom B even plays with the ring... to me it is funny to think my idea might be right.
Finally we all know that Tolkien wrote another story where we all agree Niggle is no-one less then Tolkien himself. So why not also in this case? It would explain many things.
I disagree that he is Tolkien as well. There is only one thing that Tom Bombadil can truly be defined as and that is what Tolkien himself says:

"And even in a mythical Age there must be some enigmas, as there always are. Tom Bombadil is one (intentionally)."

He is most definately not Eru, highly unlikely he is Tolkien, cannot be an Ainur or animal/child of Eru. So he is an Enigma.

The only other possibility is he is a Mother (father) nature figure - a concentrated part of the Flame Imperishable which burns at the heart of Ea, turned into a being, thus would explain him being 'Master' over the land.
But why didn't Tolkien say he was then?
Beren posted:
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Tolkien had a terrible time to pass on with the story and he ended writing at the old man willow and paused for a very long time to proceed. I believe at this point he put himself in the story. One reason was to get the story going again, secondly because he needed to learn the story and the characters again to be able to continue. So we hear the hobbits tell there story to Tom B and we see how Tom B even plays with the ring... to me it is funny to think my idea might be right.
Finally we all know that Tolkien wrote another story where we all agree Niggle is no-one less then Tolkien himself. So why not also in this case? It would explain many things.

This is an interesting point. Maybe originally Tolkien wrote himself inside the story because of the reasons you mention, and once he got the story going on, he decided to keep the part with Tom Bombadil, because he liked that little adventure along the way or because he knew that ppl would wonder about this mysterious entity that seems to be out of place with the rest of the tale.
"I'm sure to them Dark Lord = Sauron, but only TB anf JRR knows which Dark Lord he ment."

You seem to refer here as if the Hobbits don't know who Melkor is?Incorrect I am afraid. Two quotes:

"No, they eat and drink, Sam. The Shadow that bred them can only mock, it cannot make: not real new things of its own. I donít think it gave life to the orcs, it only ruined them and twisted them; and if they are to live at all, they have to live like other living creatures"(Lord of the Rings)

"No, sir, of course not. Beren now, he never thought he was going to get that Silmaril from the Iron Crown in Thangorodrim, and yet he did, and that was a worse place and a blacker danger than ours. But that's a long tale, of course, and goes on past the happiness and into grief and beyond it Ė and the Silmaril went on and came to Ešrendil. And why, sir, I never thought of that before! We've got Ė you've got some of the light of it in that star-glass that the Lady gave you! Why, to think of it, we're in the same tale still! It's going on. Don't the great tales never end?"
(Lord of the Rings)

You see, Frodo and Sam have heard of the ancient Tales of the 'Great Enemy' Morgoth, so there is no need to assume that they thought Tom was talking about Sauron.
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You seem to refer here as if the Hobbits don't know who Melkor is?

I'm not saying that. Considering the circumstances the hobbits where in at the time of the conversation, I find Sauron to be the most likely Dark Lord to pop into the Hobbits' minds. Morgoth is a distant enemy from looooooong ago, only known to them from stories and legends, while Sauron is very much a present danger.
Well I suppose Sauron would possibly be tere first thought, but they probably soon realise he meant Morgoth.
Remember though the Hobbits did not know Sauron was a danger until not long before they reach Tom's house on the edge of the Shire.
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Considering the circumstances the hobbits where in at the time of the conversation, I find Sauron to be the most likely Dark Lord to pop into the Hobbits' minds.

I think the only thing that would ever pop into a Hobbit's mind, is "Me hungry!". I bet they didn't even hear a word of Bombadil's soliloquy, so busy were they with anticipating one of Goldberry's elaborate breakfasts.
A possible but unlikely notion.
Come and undunk all of your heads from LoTR, the Sil, HOME, Lost Tales, and whatever else Tolkien wrote about ME.

We know what Tom Bombadil is: A previous story (or poem) of Tolkien's -- based on a toy in his household, who was given enough sentience by Tolkien to be interested in Tolkien's other stories. Of course, to Tom, who didn't have a world as big or as interesting as ME at first, it's quite likely that he found his 'true home' in ME. He grew up, so to speak, by learning to know everything there is to know about ME. He's eldest.... being older than the world itself.

Many if not most fantasy authors teach us about multiple worlds, multiple universes, etc. If we've read more than one fantasy story, we have carried multiple universes in our heads. Some are related, of course, and many of these universes have characters leaping between them. I postulate that Tom was called and enabled by Illuvitar -- or Tolkien -- or by both at the same time -- to come into another world than the one he originally was created in. Like Tolkien states, he left Tom in ME because Tom serves certain purposes. You might say the original Tom born of child's toy and poetry grew up and found himself, his purpose, and his power in knowing and loving the nature of Middle Earth. There he found Goldberry to be a lover of, and has got hobbits for neighbors, and he's got a forest, river, and barrows to be master and "knower" of, and he is happy. He picks up the spirit of nature in ME, embodies it, loves it, takes it to heart. In this way, Tom is no Ainur, no Valar, no Maia, no Istari, no extremely early rising Elf, no hologram or echo or shadow or mirror or vision or manifestation of Eru, nor of Tolkien himself. He is himself -- he found his place in ME, even though he was not born out of ME in the mind of Tolkien -- Eldest: His name is Tom Bombadil, and he is a merry fellow, he's got no other name, and his boots are yellow. Wink Smilie
Interesting theory, but there is no multiple worlds in Tolkien's works... Arda is our world, set in an earlier and forgotten history.
Yes he only had one Universe with one World in it 'Ea' the World that is.

Tolkiens myth is meant to have taken place in an 'Imaginary world in a real time' whatever that means.
I dunno, I find that idea kind of intriguing; there's no law that Eru only made Ea and nothing else. There's only one universe, by definition, but just as Ea has multiple continents, it can be one among many worlds in that universe. I still hold with "anonymous Aina, possibly even Vala, since the Silm only states the names of the greatest among them." I can't accept "Eldest" at face value because it makes him Eru; assuming he meant "Eldest in Ea" is just that: an assumption, unsupported by the text. Eru's the Eldest, but he's eternal, so he's really off the table; the first distinct beings we see after him are the Ainur he created, all of the same age and equally entitled to the claim of "Eldest."
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I dunno, I find that idea kind of intriguing; there's no law that Eru only made Ea and nothing else. There's only one universe, by definition, but just as Ea has multiple continents, it can be one among many worlds in that universe.

You should stop reading Hawking... ;-P

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I can't accept "Eldest" at face value because it makes him Eru; assuming he meant "Eldest in Ea" is just that: an assumption, unsupported by the text.

Yeh, for the same he was just trying to impress the little Hobbitses.
Whatever you take it as I can assure you that 'Eldest' means oldest in Arda.
Many, including Virumor, have consulted the Letters, UT, and other places, and have still not satisfied all concerned regarding Bombadil. May I suggest that we write to Christopher Tolkien and ask for his insight into this and other matters of debate? Perhaps if we composed a "group letter" from PT as a whole, we might get a better or faster response? Does anyone think this a good notion?
There really is no need as he could say no more than what his father said.

Tom bombadil is an enigma intentially.
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There really is no need as he could say no more than what his father said.

Tom bombadil is an enigma intentially.

I agree with Lord of All on this one. Happy Elf Smilie
What about our other resident experts? Any opinions?
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Interesting theory, but there is no multiple worlds in Tolkien's works... Arda is our world, set in an earlier and forgotten history.


Now, take note that I never postulated the bit about multiple worlds from what Tolkien wrote. This is a "statement of fact" based on our real world. I want you to come out of Tolkien's world for a moment and look at Tom from the world we live in where we know that Tolkien created middle earth's mythology and history in his books. Literally speaking, Tom Bombadil IS originally from a separate creation of Tolkien's, not having to do with Middle Earth's story at all. Therefore he HAS to have been placed or enabled or 'called' by tolkien to inhabit Middle Earth; Knowing what 'literally' happened in this world, the question (in my mind) now becomes "if I were Tom, how would my life appear to me? I know my name and I know I've been here in Middle Earth for all of it's history. I know I'm more elder than any other living thing.... and I know I'm not like these others -- I'm not part of the race of men of Middle Earth, I'm not an elf, a Valar, an Ent, a Maia/Istari...." Tom's description of himself to the hobbits then becomes much more full of sense to me. From inside the worldview of Middle Earth, Arda, and all of its history, Tom certainly IS an enigma. His origins are from the same author as his fellow-creatures, but not from the same storyline.

Perhaps he likes living next to hobbits because they are, after all, somewhat of an enigma (as far as their origins are concerned) to the rest of Middle Earth as well. Most elves, wizards, dwarves, ents, orcs, and men (even those who have heard tales of holbytla and halflings) look on them with wonder, and haven't a clue as to how to take them into their calculations.
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This is a "statement of fact" based on our real world.

As far as I know, 'multiple world' isn't yet a fact, only a theory in quantum physics.
you persist in misunderstanding me, eh?

try to read past my words and understand what I'm getting at. I'm talking about literary worlds. Multiple literary worlds. It is a fact that there are multiple worlds -- of the LITERARY sort -- which have been created by various different storytellers down through the ages. Some of them are more detailed than others. Some of them intersect, especially those which are created by the same author. I'm merely trying to point out that we know Tom was created separately in Tolkien's mind from Middle Earth, and that he was later placed in Middle Earth by Tolkien, and kept there despite the questions of his editors and readers, because Tolkien wanted him to be there. We, as readers, don't have to approach every question from the confines of the single world an author creates. We're free to know and understand his literature from within and from without at the same time. For me, it doesn't detract from the story if I understand Tom from outside as well as from inside the worldview of Middle Earth's history.
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try to read past my words and understand what I'm getting at. I'm talking about literary worlds. Multiple literary worlds.

OK. I wish you had brought that up immediately.
ah, well, I've not quite got the knack of communicating very well with you, apparently. Wink Smilie
Or wax in his eyes. Elf With a Big Grin Smilie
Oi, it seems like a long time since I posted to this thread. I've just been reading a book -- a compilation -- called "C. S. Lewis on Stories and other Essays on Literature" -- in which is published an essay on LoTR. Excellent reading for everyone here. Buried in it's middle, there is a mention of Bombadil.... After touching on LoTR's originality, romanticism, mythic & mythopoeic sense, the "English"ness and the homeliness of hobbits, the feast of the languages (chiefly seen in names of people and places), and the fact that we who read or hear the story "share" the burden and angst of the story's characters, and this very experience "fortifies" us in our real lives, Lewis goes on to say

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But there is more in the book still. Every now and then, risen from sources we can only conjecture and almost alien (one would think) to the author's habitual imagination, figures meet us so brimming with life (not human life) that they make our sort of anguish and our sort of exaltation seem unimportant. Such is Tom Bombadil, such the unforgettable Ents. This is surely the utmost reach of invention, when an author produces what seems to be not even his own, much less anyone else's. Is Mythopoeia, after all, not the most, but the least, subjective of activities?
Well, clearly C.S. Lewis wasn't aware that Tom Bombadil was based on a children's doll. Hardly anything mythopoeic about that. No matter all the quarrels about Bombadil's origins and meaning, he was only a plot device to create an adventure along the way, nothing more.
We could objectively view all characters as ploys or "plot devices" in some light. After all, weren't they just in existence, as is Tom Bombadil, to tell a story?
I'm only nagging because I saw an opportunity to do so, you must know Winking Smilie

Could it be said that Tom represents what Eru's children could be if the evil begotten of Morgoth hadn't entered Arda? He is wise, merry and doesn't care about possessions, which in turn allows him not to be possessed by possessions. A middle-earth era hippie, no? Then again, I wasn't around for hippies so I'm only a guessing in the dark...
Happy Elf Smilie
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A middle-earth era hippie, no?

Now you mention it, that could explain his silly clothes, silly songs and silly dances. It could all be due to the influence of marihuana, which apparently grew abundantly on the banks of the Withywindle.
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No matter all the quarrels about Bombadil's origins and meaning, he was only a plot device to create an adventure along the way, nothing more.


True, but like many characters created by a good writer Tom takes on a life of his own, one not documented by the author, and becomes more than just a plot device. This is the same for the other characters such as Faramir and Aragorn et al. We don't need to be told what they do when not following Tolkien's script. We *know* that Faramir did the weekly shop at Sainsburys and that Aragorn was a prize gladioli grower. Tom is whatever we want him to be (within the bounds of Tolkien's outline). We know he is honest because he tells us so, as does Gandalf. Therefore, if Tom says he is the eldest then he is and from that we can draw the story in around him.

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True, but like many characters created by a good writer Tom takes on a life of his own, one not documented by the author, and becomes more than just a plot device.

Have you by any chance read/seen Umney's last case ?
In a word, no.
That's four words.
OK, in four words, er... 5 words.... ooops.... dang!

No.

Should I?

Do you think? Really?

Nah.

Maybe.

Go on then, explain the relevance please.
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Well, clearly C.S. Lewis wasn't aware that Tom Bombadil was based on a children's doll.


Clearly.

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Hardly anything mythopoeic about that.


I disagree. Why shouldn't a children's doll be a candidate for mythopoeia -- especially when an author like Tolkien makes him more than a mere doll by writing him into a place like ME? Tom has got quite a bit of mythopoeic story hung round about him and tied up with him; I see no reason why we should discriminate against characters whose origins were dolls when labeling things mythic, poetic, or both together.
Where the Professor got his idea for Tom Bombadil has no bearing on whether or not he belongs in the story or is mythopoeic. Forget about his having originally been a children's doll, it is his place in Tolkien's story that has entered him into the annals of mythopoeia. That he was originally a children's doll is only useful when playing trivia; the doll isn't mythopoeic, the story is.
I do remember distinctly reading somewhere (sorry i can't quote) that while Tom Bombadil played some important roles in the story saving frodo and giving them their swords, he ultimately is not an important character, more representing an unchanging and great idea than being a character. Now heres the quote i was talking about where tolkien stated himself that Tom really isn't that important to the storyline. SO IF what i have just stated is true, (which is should be) then PJ really didn't screw up, everyones like OMG THEY DIDN"T PUT TOM IN!!!!! and its like well, even tolkien didn't think he was that important... anyways i'll try to produce some evidence here soon...
JRRT's quotes about Tom Bombadil are all on the very first post in this thread, posted by Rednell.

As for PJ, he has nothing to do with this discussion, as this is a book thread and not a movie thread.
I once became so exhausted trying to figure Tom out that I felt like I was going to flip out.
Then once I realized that little Priscilla named her favorite doll that name(man I wonder what sort of little girl even comes up with something like that, obviously papa had quite the effect on her at a young age) well then I sort of let go and just enjoyed him
I don't think that Tom is anyone from 'those taking part in the Music' ; I think Tolkien made a cameo appearance really in the person of Tom. When I read the letters that Ronald wrote Edith while in the war I got the sense of his despair and pain of heart every now and then at the great great harm that 'machines' and the war itself had done to the world. Not that the world was innocent before that, t hat is ludicrous. But before that war the fighting out there seemed more sane. You have this army versus that one and you fight. And the guys with the most power and people to fight usually came out victorious.A person could understand and anticipate and do something at least about catapults and the like.
But just like that horrifying dread moment in the Two Towers when King Theoden says is this it, is this the best you can do' or something like that and then a huge chunk is blown up; that moment of horror knowing that from henceforth simply creating stone by stone a secure building with nice thick walls and a mote and all that would never again guarantee any sort of safety because of gunpowder and the astounding carnage and destruction it created-well the despair then becomes obvious.
And so to me Tom represents Tolkien or Tolkien as he wished he could be in the turbulent world he then occupied. Tom could deal with all sorts of deep dark evil with words. Tolkien was in love with words and the power of them. Tom could say this or that and evil would have to flee screaming away. Tom loved the earth and all greenery and the water,just like a Hobbit which Tolkien was. Tom was always the hero in any situation which is what Tolkien said of Samwise. Just an ordinary Hobbit who won the war and went on to live a happy life full of simple everyday pleasures.And was not JRR Tolkien an ordinary Hobbit, if a somewhat large one who with words created a world and dominated it?
Tom loved to the depths of him his Goldberry, he adored her. Just like JRR loved his Edith, his Luthien Tinuviel.
Well, in the end I have not a flippin clue who he really was and I hated the color of his clothes and boots , why, who knows. And those poems made me want to bash my head into the nearest wall.
At the same time he fascinated me, the fact the ring of power was nothing to him, nothing whatsoever. Like Tolkien who only wanted to get his work out there to show his hard work in philology and cared nothing about being a big hero, a celeb.
Well if only Priscilla would have written something, or Christopher, I would not be wasting large chunks of my time going back and reading reading and thinking about this guy.
I'd basically have to agree with Vir on his posts. He must be talking about Morgoth, and not Sauron, when he claims he was on Arda before the darks lord, because he also claims to be have seen the 1st rain drop and such. Since Morgoth was the 1st Vala to enter arda it just makes more sense.

I don't believe he is a Maiar because from what i've read in The Sil, Unfinished Tales, LOTR, The Hobbits, all Maiar align themselves with either the light side or dark side, it seems to me Tom does not. Also once again he claims to be the 1st one to enter Arda, and since we all know Melkor was the 1st of the Vala, it seems like Tom is an embodiement of Eru himself, or like Vir said some other Vala that has no influence on the destiny of Arda, and resides to being a spectator.

Ainu = Vala, correct?
In Wikipedia, which can sometimes be terribly inaccuate it mentions this about Tom Bombadil:

A clue to the conception of Bombadil may be found in C. S. Lewis's book The Discarded Image, in which he observes that, while in most respects the medieval conception of the universe is rigidly stratified, with angels, planets, humans and animals all occupying their proper ranks, the fairy beings of folklore appeared to flit through irresponsibly and not have any allotted place, and there was no agreed theory on their origin. In the same way, Bombadil does not fit anywhere into the scheme of the universe set out in the Silmarillion.

It should also be noted that, throughout his appearances in the Lord of the Rings, Bombadil speaks in a fairy-tale idiom and in the Saturnian metre, suggesting the woodland spirits of ancient Italian folklore before the arrival of the major gods and heroes. (And Frodo speaks in the same style during his visit.)

His name, though not his character, appears to be taken from Captain Bobadil in Ben Jonson's Every Man in his Humour (that name being in turn no doubt an adaptation of Boabdil of Granada).

I wonder if the trouble isn't because Tolkien's creation of Tom in honor of Patricia's Dutch dolly was before all the other things and so really didn't have a place as it were. Such a frustrating mystery. The only one we know he wasn't was the One, for Tolkien said so.
Oh Mr Bombadil! I thought Tom was funny. He hops along and sings a song. He saves the hobbits. Twice. And all you have to do is call him. Sing a song a Tom comes along. Did you see how distraught Frodo was when Tom made the ring disappear? Lol. It seemed like a big joke to Tom. That the hobbits had this burden. Or not a joke. But maybe it was Tom just enjoyed the finer things in life like picking flowers for his wife. But he certainly was a mysterious character to me... Sort of like a God if that's the right word. Call his name and he is there. And the troubles of the whole world did not seem to bother Tom. He was there before the First Children were created. Even before the trees I think it said. So maybe he was secretly a Maia. I would like to meet Tom. He did sound all knowing. So maybe he could help me with some questions. He does not seem the type to lend money. Maybe dinner. Yes that would be fine.

I think all of you are correct regarding Tom B, as an Enigma there should be no correct or incorrect description of him.  I used to think of Tom as a manifestation of Illuvatar, a rendering of what Eru thought would fit into the world he had created.  JRRT shot this theory down in one of his letters....  I then began to think of Tom as a Forest Spirit, Faun as the Hobbits called him.  I then re read the chapter in the Sil regarding Aule and Yavanna.  Yavanna was seriously worried that Eru's Children would treat her green world with contempt and destroy all her great works and goes to Manwe asking for Eru's help.  Its a beautiful chapter and it shows great tenderness between the Valar in quiet moments.  Anyhow it popped into my head that perhaps Yavanna had a hand in bringing Tom to Middle Earth  as a protector or at least a guardian of her forests.  Perhaps this happened before the Ents came to be, indeed making him Eldest and Fatherless.

Just a thought.

I then began to think of Tom as a Forest Spirit, Faun as the Hobbits called him. 

 

 

Are you thinking of Forn as the Dwarves called him? which has an 'ancient' meaning in any event.

Could Tom not be the embodiment of the flame imperishable?  As I can't see him being Maiar as all Maiar were affected by the ring.  I can't see him as one of the Valar as he was there before the Dark Lord (assuming this is a reference to Melkor) came from outside, and as Melkor was first that  would suggest he was before the Valar.  Also Goldberry's statement 'He is'  suggests that there is no reason, thus no maker.  Always present, never ending, so Imperishable.  

But as wrote this I jogged my memory.  In Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter 1: The Beginning of Days, it is stated that '...afar by Melkor, for he was grown dark as the night of the Void'  Thus Dark Lord then 'And he passed therefore over the Walls of the Night ... and came to Middle-earth' so from outside Middle Earth.  This could mean that Tom is something created before the Beginning of Days and would still fit with all the information available.  It might be that he was just an extra created by chance in the creation.  Or one of the things mentioned which 'have no foretelling and do not proceed from the past.'

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