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Thread: Tom Bombadill = Blue Istari?

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Tom Bombadill seemed like some magey wizardy Gandalfs Brother kind of person, and in the book it mentions he is in contact with Elves and Gandalf, And we also don't know much about the 2 Blue Istari, and from the Description in the book it mentions he wears a blue robe or something like that.

Is this just a random guess? And what else do we know about the blue mages of Valinor?
No, the Blue Wizards are something else entirely. Tom's been in ME since before the first age, before the elves even.
Wizards came only in the third age
Oh Ok.
(Is this stuff in the Silmarillion? because I don't under stand a word of the Silmarillion)
I believe it is mentioned in the last "book" in the Silmarillion which talks of the third age.

And I have never heard of Blue wizards. What are they?
The Istari has 5 Members

Gandalf
Saruman Orc Grinning Smilie
Radagast
2 Blue Wizards

and we hardly know anything about the blue wizards.
There's a chapter in Unfinished Tales on the Istari.
The Blue Wizards were Alatar and Pallando who went to the east of ME.
Is there? Kool. Might get it sometime.

So we know who the 2 Blue Istari are then?

Who the heck is TB then?

Is he some form of Maiar?
I knew that there were two wizards that went into the east but I did not know that they were called blue wizards. As for unfinished Tales I do not possess the book. I only have LOTR, The Silmarillion, The Hobbit and The Children of Hurin.

Tolkien seems to think the Blue Wizards had no names in the West of Middle-earth but were called 'The Blue Wizards' (at least at one point). However JRRT does seem ready to give them Quenya names, as he did for the more well known wizards too (Curumo, Olórin, Aiwendil). The possibilities are: Morinehtar, Rómestámo, Rómestar, Alatar, Pallando.

 

Tolkien had various things to say about them: '... others of the Istari who went into the east of Middle-earth, and do not come into these tales' Of the Rings of Power 1954 Istari essay (Unfinished Tales): number of order unknown -- two wizards came clad in Sea-blue, little known of them -- no names in the West save Ithryn Luin 'the Blue Wizards' -- passed into East with Saurman but never returned -- whether remained in the East pursuing their purpose, or perished, or as some hold were ensnared by Sauron and became his servants, is not known. A hard to date, brief and hasty sketch: Quenya names appear, Alatar and Pallando -- this dates from sometime after the completion of The Lord of the Rings.

 

An alliterative verse mentions: of the five that that came from a far country, only one retuned. 1958 (letter 211): Tolkien -- doesn't know colours (doubts they had distinctive colours) -- doesn't know anything clearly about the 'other two' -- thinks they went to distant land, fears they failed, and suspects they were founders or beginners or secret cults and magic traditions outlasting Sauron's fall. The Lord of the Rings and late notes:

 

In The Lord of the Rings the Istari were said to have appeared in Middle-earth when maybe a thousand years of the Third Age had passed. The Istari need not have arrived all together, on the same exact ship of course; but a late text on the success of the 'other two' reads... 'The 'other two' came much earlier, at the same time probably as Glorfindel, when matters became very dangerous in the Second Age' (and it was said that the reincarnated Glorfindel probably came to Middle-earth in SA 1600). And... [they] '... must have had very great influence on the history of the Second Age and Third Age in weakening and disarraying the forces of East ... who would both in the Second Age and Third Age otherwise have ... outnumbered the West.'

 

According to this late note their names are Morinehtar and Romestamo (or Rome(n)star). According to another late note: 'no names are recorded for the two wizards' But compare with yet another passage, similarly dated very late (probably 1972)... 'Saruman is said (e.g. by Gandalf himself) to have been the chief of the Istari -- that is, higher in Valinórean stature than the others. Gandalf was evidently the next in order. Radagast is presented as a person of much less power and wisdom. Of the other two nothing is said in published work save the reference to the five wizards in the altercation between Gandalf and Saruman. Now these Maiar were sent by the Valar at a crucial moment in the history of Middle-earth to enhance the resistance of the Elves of the West, waning in power, and of the uncorrupted Men of the West, greatly outnumbered by those of the East and South.' Unfinished Tales It is difficult to know if this note came before, or after, the two late notes above, but this one seems to state that all the Istari in question came at generally the same time (at a crucial moment), rather than two wizards coming in SA 1600 -- well before Gandalf! Again, keeping in mind, in any case, what was published by Tolkien himself in The Lord of the Rings. That may not be everything... but it's a start Wink Smilie

Thank you Galin. This was a very interesting post to read. I will try to see if I can dig up more information on them.
Tom Bombadil is prob Eru :O
And by the way the blue wizards names ,they are called Alatar and Pallando.Pallando i think wasn't sent by Manwe Alatar I THINK WAS PROB JST ALOUD TO BRING A BUDDY but he still is Istari
Eru as he says he was here for the first raindrop and stuff and when the hobbitass ask who he is to his wife she says he is :O so i think hes prob eru or iluvatar-dont think thts spelt right but still Big Smile Smilie
I am sure that Tom was not an Istari,for they came in the Third Age.Also,Tolkien wrote that Blue Wizards were Allatar and Palando in Unfinished Tales.
They were many speculations that Tom was Eru Iluvatar,and one of Tolkiens friends wrote a letter for him with such assumption.
His friend noticed Goldberrys answer to the hobbits when asked who he was.She answered:"He is",so his friend assumed he was Eru.
Tolkien replyied and wrote that he is overreacting in his speculations and that we should not know Toms nature.He was a character who will stay mysterious for us. Smoke Smilie
As it should be for any self-respecting enigma. Wink Smilie

OK, there's an idea that just came to me... What if a Dwarf and an Elf got children??? Wouldn't they be just like TB???

It seems almost surreal that we fans dig and search and ponder and dwell on the mythical history of these creatures and many of us don't know all that much about our own ancestors!

I do not think he is one of the two Blue Wizards. Eru? Maybe.... I think he is absolutely the "missing link" between Elf, Man, Dwarf, and Hobbit, thus making Eru a maybe.

Tom Bombadil was Eru, in my opinion.

I cannot think that Tom was anyone of the groups mentioned. He must have had a purpose else Illuvatar would not have put him on Middle-Earth, but to my mind he was something somehow differentish. And he seems to have had a very specific and limited quest, almost as if he was made just to be there for Frodo and company in the quest, for he seemed to live life quite independant of all the troubles and the wars against the enemy, was completely unafraid of the ring or the enemies and was not worn down from fighting or the stresses like Gandalf, did not seem to enter into the fight even like Beorn.

As for the Ithryn Luin or the blue wizards Alatar and Pallando, Mair, they seem to have travelled to far east of the Anduin, Rhun to be exact with Saruman on the orders to convert the easterners away from the deadly influence Sauron had on them by that time. There seems to be whispers at least that at the beginning the two indeed had success for Sauron's forces from there were not as strong as expected to be. However, Saruman returned and they did not and only talk of those two being the founders of secret cults and magic traditions lingered well into the fourth age and perhaps beyond, so it may have been the same for them as Saruman. Great start, then being bequiled into evil things instead of fulfilling their charge as did Gandalf. They never returned to the undying lands so I have no idea what might have become of the two.

Tom Bombadil is prob Eru :O

I once suspected this as well and it would have been a great way for Eru to keep an eye on things...  However in response to this query from an avid reader the Professor dispelled it in one of his famed letters.

In my mind Tom is a powerful Maia perhaps akin to Yavanna her self.  Maybe he was concerned about the survival of the forests, as Yavanna was in the Elder days, and travelled to Middle Earth to protect the trees and plants in some way.

 of his famed letter.of

For a long time I did not give much thought to Tom Bombadil because of Priscilla's having had the wooden doll she named or John her brother named, don't remember. So lately I began wanting to know what the mind of our professor was regarding Tom and in The Letters it explains things quite nicely.

On page 26 Tolkien asks Mr. Unwin(publisher) if he thinks Tom Bombadil could be made into the hero of a story and describes Tom as the 'spirit' of the vanising Oxford and Berkshire countryside. That made sense to me. On page 74 our professor, talking to a woman named Naomi or something says that there should, even in mythical writing be some things tht are enigmas, because there always are. Tom, he tells her is one and one by his intention. Thus the frustrating questions that arise when reading about him.

On page 178 Tolkien comes right out and says that Tom is not even an important character to the story. he only put him in apparently because he represented something that was important to his feelings and such. And but for that embodiment of feeling he was prepared to leave him out.  And then the professor goes on to explain the the 'story' as we can plainly see has a good side and a bad side as it were, but that Tom has in some way taken what the professor says is sort of 'a vow of poverty' where he simply does not take a side, he merely takes delight and joy in nature and things only for their own sake, not wishing nor desiring any sort of power or authority. Period. So, really he is the classic pacifist and his continuing on at all depends upon ultimate victory by the free peoples against Sauron. Otherwise he and Goldberry, who Tolkien said somewhere, I will find it , represents at least in some way the changing of the seasons, would have no way to survive, to exist at all.

On page 192 Tolkien says that he never meant Tom to be an allegory, only he represents that which embodies natural science, a spirit if you wlll that deeply desires knowledge of other things , the nature of them and the history of them for no other reason than that they are 'other' . But his Tom has absolutely no concern with doing a single thing with the knowledge.That may explain why the One Ring had absolutely no effect upon Tom. Tolkien explains that he , Tom rarely even judges and thus does nothing with that evil Willow.

At any rate there is more in The Letters but you can look up the information for yourselves.

I was re-reading the Tom Bombadil part from LOTR recently, and suddenly I realised that when he says about himself he refers to time constantly (I was there before/ I am Eldest/ I saw the first etc...). It makes me wonder if he's representation of time on Arda, like the Goldberry is the representation of Mother Nature in my opinion. The flow of time on Arda had to be created like every other limitation of Arda in my opinion and you can't have "first raindrop", "first acorn" or first anything before you create the flow of time which will measure what was first if you know what I mean.

Good point Indis.  The Silmarillion tells us a lot about time.  Time meant nothing in the Eldest Days and earlier and time keeping did not really exist.  Arda went from always in Twilight, to constant light (The Lamps) like a changeless day, to darkness again, then to the Ebb and Flow of Blessed light via the two trees and then ultimately the Sun and The Moon. In my mind the Valar invented time through these creations.  I guess that time keeping is totally unimportant to those who are immortal, as is book keeping on the whole.  I expect that the count of Ages, Years, Seasons etc really only mattered to the short lived Men, and therefore to us.

 

Oh yeah, the Trees were made for nights and days, but that could be an endless cycle for all the immortal creatures and it would not affect their lifes, for example - they wouldn't be aging without the time. He and his Goldberry definitely are related in some way to season changes and how time affects the material world. He says that he can't control the weather but something's telling me that if somebody would know how to control it it would be him. Or at least he would know who controls it.

Do we know if Tom's mortal by the way? He's probably not, right? Wink Smilie

No not Mortal Indis.  Either was Goldberry.  I think its safe to say that they were both (at least) Maia and therefor immortal in spirit.  I mentioned in another thread that I suspect that Goldberry is somehow related to Ulmo.  She is after all "The River Daughter and Ulmo has all rivers and streams as well as the Seas under his protection.  She also tends to act a little like Yavannah...... Of course this is simply my reading and others will say Im way off.

If you havnt done so read the Silmarillion, its a treasure trove of info.

Yes, they are Maia probably. Responsible for maintaining some kind of order in the Old Forest at least.

Yes, I read The Silmarillion, and yes, Goldberry reminds me of Yavanna too. I never linked her to Ulmo, but this looks interesting now. Tom also reminds me of Treebeard, because he acts like a shepherd of the Old Forest, isn't he? He's definitely not an Ent though.

I think that Tom is neither Vala nor Wizard, nor any other race that Tolkien has introduced us to. He is a strange one to be sure, but ultimately had no hidden/significant purpose in the grand scheme of things. In my eyes, he was a jolly man (if man he must be called), with a bright blue jacket and yellow boots, who helped Frodo and his friends when he needed it.

Was there more to Tom Bombadil than met the Hobbits' eyes? I almost guarantee it. Will we ever know his origins? Probably not. But I think this is why I like him so much: the childlike simplicity of his character, while being simultaneously steeped in total mystery. But such is the realm of Tolkien, where all the world is wonderful and nothing is as it appears.

Just a thought. Perhaps Tom and Goldberry weren't humanoid at all. Perhaps they appeared to mortals in a physical shape conjured in the minds of those mortals they chose to meet. Their house and physical bodies, for the Hobbits, were welcoming and warm, just what the Hobbits needed. Perhaps their physical manifestation depends on the mind and the fortunate of those who happen upon them. I wonder how Mithrandir and Fangorn would view them.

The mistery of Tom Bombadill and Goldberry...  yes, it's something I really kept on my mind when I was reading the book. Who are they? finally, I draw the conclusion that Goldberry was a kind of Mother Nature fairy (as Indis says) and Tom ¿? That was harder to find a right explanation. Even so, after reading this thread, thought there ain't a clear definition, I would choose the one that Leelee indicates in her post: he is a spirit of the forest (the English countryside Mr. Tolkien could admire), he made no judgement against good or evil. He simply existed and cared for the ones who needed him; as Frodo and the others did.

Very complex characters really! Anyway, I do love that part of the book, when Tom Bombadill and Goldberry appear, don't you feel good by reading about his humble cheerful life? and what about the devotion Tom feels towards Goldberry? Such pure feelings might be shown more often in our daily lives!

Yes Elbereth, the whole tone changes s soon as set site on the cottage in the woods.  Every detail regarding it is picture book.  I love the reference to the rain running down the path like a little stream.

Because Tolkien said in his Letters that the whole Tom Bombadil thing had to do with a lifestyle and such that had or was , can't remember, passing away, and because he also mentioned to his publishers at one point that he wondered if he should include him as his persona was already pretty well established, I think it is just one of those things. Also he liked the idea of having mysteries here and there that could not be explained. But, as Tolkien enjoyed his riddles and because he said to Frodo Baggins when he asked, sitting in Bombadil's house who he was in fact. Tom was a little astonished and questioned Frodo, asking him had he not figured things out yet. And it is mentioned that Tom had no father etc.

Therefore for me personally i just think his house is a safe place for us to watch all the gathering horror and evil , remember nothing can get through to that house even if you hear terrible things and are maybe a little worried. So, this is our home or wherever we are sitting about reading this, and also Tom Bombadil the Dutch Doll of Michael obviously didn't have a father. And when you are reading a book all that concerns the others, the characters i mean, really doesn't concern in the real, at least story books i am thinking of once you put the book down. i am trying to say that the Ring hardly would have a hold on us, now would it? Or the Nazgul, not for real, though the memories of them might give one a turn. No, we could sit near someone and just watch, like Tom and Goldberry, the world go crazy and every dreadful thing occur, only it would not touch us, we would be safe. It is what i have thought for a long time because of the fact Tom was really just a doll. So, in my opinion the two are just us, you and me, not maia or this or that. Who knows, except perhaps Christopher. I think it was a desire of Tolkien not to let Tom the doll's character and the stories he made up about him for the children go to waste and then he decided to have fun with him and Goldberry and make them mysterious.

I mean really, do responsible adults only serve white bread and honey and slatherings of butter for meals, or do children do that because it tastes yummy and they could care less about nutrition. Beorn did as much, but then, he WAS after a bearish sort of chap. Smile Smilie

Too true Lee Lee.  I don't usually eat bread, however a thick slice of freshly baked, thickly sliced white bread slathered in fresh butter and honey from Beorn's organic bee hives has go me thinking.....

lol

Wow! Leelee, your post had let me thinking... yeah, I didn't see the idea of the house been a safe place from the cruel world around... It is a good conclusion you have drawn. I think I will re-read the chapter where Tom and Goldberry appear and try to take a deeper meaning.

Thank you!

"After a thousand years had passed in the Third Age of Sun, an Elven ship came out of the Western Sea and sailed to the Grey Havens. Upon the ship were five aged men with long white beards and great cloaks. Each cloak was a different color (...)

These men were the Istari, whom men called wizards. (...)

They were an order and a brotherhood sent to Middle-earth from the Undying Lands for it was percieved by the great powers of arda that a great evil was growing in the mortal lands.

Though the Istari came secretly and in humble form, they were maiar, spirits older than the world itself. (...)

First named and most praised was Gandalf, who by elves was called Mithandir. (...)

Second named of the Istari is Radagast the Brown, who lived in Rhosgobel in the Vales of Anduin. Radagast played a part in the White Council. (...)

Last named of the Istari is Saruman the White, whom elves called Curunir. (...)"

 

The quote is getting too long, I know. Im Sorry. Stated is the fact that Radagast is maiar.

Source: "A Tolkien Bestiary" - By David Day

From where did you quote this, Belegror?

He says it's from the "tolkien bestiary", but I think Tolkien himself literally wrote that Radagast is Maia? Somewhere?

Yes all five wizards are Maiar. It's stated in Unfinished Tales for example.

In general however -- friendly warning -- some of David Day's stuff might be outdated by now, or arguably a little questionable compared to primary sources.

So who were the other two Wizards? I mean besides Saruman Gandalf and Radagast?

"In general however -- friendly warning -- some of David Day's stuff might be outdated by now, or arguably a little questionable compared to primary sources."

Might be, wouldnt know. And if you ask me, 1 source is better than none Smile Smilie

No one in this thread has written a source to their information so far, making it a little "I think, I believe I heard, someone told me at a funeral etc" in my ears. At least, that's what I think Smile Smilie

Durin, their names were

Morinehtar and Rómestámo, according to a letter Tolkien wrote- they are also refered to as Alatar and Pallando, though it is unknown which names were people given vs. actual names.

Well, as I say, friendly warning. For example:

Upon the ship were five aged men with long white beards and great cloaks. Each cloak was a different color (...)

David Day

Day here jumps to the conclusion that all five wizards arrived upon the very same ship. This is perhaps a reasonable enough assumption based on The Lord of the Rings alone, but in Tolkien's posthumous papers we see that this was not necessarily the case.

Also I don't recall Tolkien ever describing all five Wizards as having long white beards. This is Day's personal interpretation I guess. 

My guess is that Saruman maybe had a dark beard when he first arrived. His hair is noted as raven in The Istari (an essay published in Unfinished Tales), and when we meet him very many years later (The voice of Saruman): 'His hair and beard were white, but strands of black still showed about his lips and ears.'

And from The Istari again, Tolkien notes that two wizards were clad in sea blue. A different sea blue for each? Maybe.

Smile Smilie 

Although even later than this essay (in letter 211 if I remember correctly) Tolkien notes that he doubts that the 'other two' had distinctive colours in any case.

I have no problem with anyone posting from David Day. I'm interested to see what he writes, and it might be a little unfair to try to correct him with something if he is purposely not employing certain sources from the posthumously published writings.

Thank you Asea, I am grateful for this information.

Morinehtar and Rómestámo, according to a letter Tolkien wrote- they are also refered to as Alatar and Pallando, though it is unknown which names were people given vs. actual names.

Morinehtar, Rómestámo, Rómestar, Alatar, Pallando are all Quenya, so I would suggest only two of these were meant to be published -- in other words, Tolkien was working out the Valinorean names for his two other wizards, as they had no known names in Middle-Earth...

... but which two? The first three are later than the last two, and Christopher Tolkien hints that Tolkien had perhaps lost [at least for a time] the older notes in which Alatar, Pallando appear.

In other, other words, it's quite possible JRRT lost the first note, forgot what names he had already devised, then much later devised three more, with Rómestámo, Rómestar very likely being variants for the same character of course, awaiting Tolkien to choose one, or even invent something else perhaps.

Tolkien never published any of these names, but again I would say only two names were going to be chosen, to echo the names Olorin, Aiwendil, Curumo (also all Quenya), the names for the three Wizards who do get more than Valinorean names.

I always assumed Tom is kind of like Ungoliant. Not necessarily a maia or a Vala, but simply somehow formed from the energies of the world. Ungoliant seemingly just rose out of darkness and thus thrived off of darkness. Would make sense that Tom did the same, perhaps rising from the life energies of the earth and thriving off of nature itself, which might explain why time and battle never "wore him down," since nature is of course infinite.

In any case, I'm almost positive whatever brought one into the world must've brought in the other, probably at the exact same time, but perhaps with different.....ingredients.

What if tom was Ungoliant? If I recall correctly Ungoliant had the ability to change her form.

Hoping that is a joke... Ungoliant ate herself. Do you really think that Tom is Ungoliant?

I always assumed Tom is kind of like Ungoliant. Not necessarily a maia or a Vala, but simply somehow formed from the energies of the world. Ungoliant seemingly just rose out of darkness and thus thrived off of darkness. Would make sense that Tom did the same, perhaps rising from the life energies of the earth and thriving off of nature itself, which might explain why time and battle never "wore him down," since nature is of course infinite.

And how about Beorn? How about Thuringwethil? They are all unique, but I think there are similarities between all those characters.

Thuringwethil i believe was a  lesser maiar thathad the power to take any shape of a animal she liked.A bat.Tom and Ungoliant same creatures...........what?                                            Tom i think was a Maiar who in the making of the world went native,kind of like Radagast.

If we assume that Tom can be Maiar, Ungoliant could be Maiar too. Power-wise she has some similarities with Maiar spirits, so it would make sense. We don't know that for sure though. Balrogs were Maiar too by the way.

I think the term 'Maia' is very versatile - a lot of different creatures is acknowledged as Maiar and they are all different.

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