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Elrond says Tom was old when the Elves awoke in 'The Council of Elrond', while in The Silmarillion, Chapter 2, it implies that the Ents didn't start walking Middle-earth until the Dwarves awoke, which happened after the Elves.
When the company was taking their leave from Treebeard in Isengard on their ways back to their homes in 'Many Parting', Chapter 6, Book VI, RotK, I found the following sentence:
And Celeborn said: 'I do not know, Eldest.'
He was speaking to Treebeard here; however, I think he may have just meant oldest of the Ents, but of course I could be wrong. And we know nothing about the age, if such a quantity can be attributed to the spirits from which the Ents and Tom Bombadil were originally formed.
In one of my discussion groups, one of my friends said that the translation of Arda (i'm not sure if Q or S) means "it is" and conjectured that since Goldberry said to Frodo that "He is" when he asked who Tom Bombadil was, that Tom is the spirit of Arda. Ideas anyone?
So maybe Arda is E??? In the swedish books it describes that Eru said E and there it was!
Quite right Aul. E means, roughly, 'that which is'. It includes Arda, the Heavens and the Void, Arda being Earth.
From Lord of the Rings section.

On 9/4/03 LadyRanger posted.

I am currently reading the FOTR. I am just wondering what is Tom Bombadil and where does he come from? Also where does Goldberry come from? She seems like a human but also an elf...if that makes any sense, lol.

Thank you!
On 9/4/03 Perwing replied.
If you look in the "characters" section you should find a thread called "Tom Bombadil", this question was discussed there and you might find the answer to your question there.
But I would just like to say this, Tolkien never says clearly what Tom is, or where he comes from...
Hey I cant tell you how much I like to read all your opinions, very interesting. Personaly I like the vision that Tom = Arda Spirit best. But I cant realy talk over this, I am to bad in the thema of Tom and so........

But I have something new for you, I think ;-)

In another forum a fwe people discust the same thema [Tom what are you ;-)] and mostly they have the same things in her minde as you....But one user postet this:

and I dont want that you miss this.

Dont blame me OKAY I only show it to you ;-) Bey
That was a very interesting article Nessa, thank you for sharing. Tom is one of my favorite characters. I am not sure that i understand why some people don't like him, but luckily, at least here at PT most people seem to agree with me.
Thanks for that link Nessa. A pretty strong argument in favour of Tom being Aule, although I still prefer to think of him as a Maiar myself.
Great link Nessa! I also liked the thing for the Chronicles of Arda, i might want to get that to supplement everything else i've got.
I hope to wake up this thread a little, the last post was in April.

First of all, I always pictured Tom as a lumberjack type of guy. Red plaid flannel, boots and beard...and ALL! Pixie Smilie

Second, I really regret that they didn't cover Tom in the movies. I wondered how the screen would suit him.

Third, I don't know and I am not really consumed by what Tom is or is not. Not saying it's unworthy of discussion or a silly topic? But nothing I care about personally one way or the other (and that is SO rare.)

Now having said all that, I'm not crazy about Tom. I keep wondering why Tom with all those masterly traits about him, and he does remind most of us some of having a divinity about him, WHY it is so unthinkable that he should have taken the Ring and thrown it into the Crack of Doom at Mordor. It is powerless with him, or so we can assume by him dealing with it so flippantly, unless we can say that he kept out of it because he had the potential to be powerful and evil...to have his mastery turned against him. If we look at the Ring's ability to magnify, pervert, and twist people's intentions, what would it have done to Tom? My guess is much less than anyone else. And I think it was rather crummy of Tom to just bow out and say "Nope! ring a ding a dillo, not my problem-o!" He cared enough to show compassion for getting the hobbits out of the tree (? been a while, is that right?) , and the barrow wights so it's not completely unreasonable to think that Tom knew the peril of these guys just by how hung up they were on the first leg of their trip, hundreds of miles from Mordor! He should have known to be a little more concerned and even more helpful. He was a person who was not the least bit interest in controlling or owning anything, he was IMO a steward of nature. SOOO. It seems like the Ring would not have the ability to instill the desire for power or control in Tom. What would the Ring have done to Tom that could have possibly been more disastrous than if Gandalf had it, or involving more suffering than the hobbits having it? It seems like he would have been the very least affected by this Ring and he was the very most non-chalant about the whole thing...and it's not like a lot of people were not involved who had no interest in the fate of ME, even the Elves who were wrapping it up there, were involved more. So why is it so apparent to everyone else that Tom did NOT qualify to do it, or so unthinkable that Tom be the one to deliver the Ring?

By the way, someone mentioned that Tom is a ringbearer. Please explain? Is this by virtue of the fact that he touched it/held it in his hand? or was there another ring...or another time when he had it that I haven't read about. (TH and LOTR only here folks)

I wish I had a better opinion of Tom, but that's kind of why I don't and I'm certainly open to being set straight about the guy.
Tom was above The Ring, it held no power over him. He looked through it and they saw a vision of a bright blue eye within a gleaming circle of goldother than the color, doesn't that remind you of something to come, like in the movie when Gandalf touched it for an instant?anyway when Tom placed it over his little finger he didn't disappear and when Frodo accepted The Ring back from Tom, he tried it on to prove it was the same ring and it was, because Pippin couldn't see him; however, Tom could. I say again, Tom was above The Ring, it held no power over him. He was in both the spirt world and the mundane.

Tom did his share of fulfilling Eru's plan in that he saved the hobbits from Old Man Willow and delivered them from the Barrow-wight and in doing so delivered the daggers of Westernesse into the Hobbits hands for their use as short swords ensuring that Merry had a blade that would get the attention of the Witch-king of Angmar when the time came.

Yes, I believe Tom could have carried The Ring to Orodurin, but this was not Eru's plan, as he via Manw had sent Gandalf to stir the hearts of Men toward the final destruction of Sauron. To men was given this great task; and only the hobbit folk, these diminutive Men, were able to accomplish this end, even though they failed to achieve it in the manner they had wished. Frodo, with the unstinting help of Sam, got it to the brink, but could not bear to part with it; Smagol, causing bodily harm, stole The Ring, but in his exhilaration at re-obtaining it, lost both it and his life to the fires in the Crack of Doom.

When I read the poems in The Adventures of Tom Bombadil now found in The Tolkien Reader, I thought to my self, that Tom sounded like he was Eru personified, come down on vacation to enjoy his creation. But that was just my take on it. Elf With a Big Grin Smilie
Finally someone who thinks somewhat in the way that I do about Tom!

Arwen Evenstar said:
I like to think of Tom as the personification of Arda, i.e. he is THE Earth Spirit.
Now you may ask yourself: "If Tom is Arda personified, wouldn't he be more powerful than Sauron and wouldn't he be able to withstand or defeat him in the end?"
Oh contrare - these days Man seems to be doing a pretty good job of destroying the earth all by themselves.

I also think that Tom Bombadil is the spirit of the Earth. I think HE is E, in a personified form. Therefore he WAS Eldest. I think E was able to show itself in Tom.
But even if this isn't true, I don't think he was a Maia.
Here is some information that was cut from LotR: It was in an earlier version; as found in the Treason of Isengard.

"What about Tom Bombadil, though," asked Pippin. "He lives on the Downs close by. He seems to understand trees."
"What about whom?" said Treebeard. "Tom Bombadil? Tom Bombadil? So that is what you call him. Oh, he has got a very long name. He understands trees, right enough; but he is not an Ent. He is no herdsman. He laughs and does not interfere. He never made anything go wrong, but he never cured anything, either. Why, why, it is all the difference between walking in the fields and trying to keep a garden; between, between passing in the time of day to a sheep on the hillside, or even maybe sitting down and studying sheep till you know what they feel about grass, and being a shepherd. Sheep get like shepherd, and shepherd like sheep, it is said, very slowly. But it is quicker and closer with Ents and trees. ... But it was not so, in the beginning. We [Ents] were like your Tom Bombadil when we were young. The first woods were more like the woods of Lrien..."

This was later cut from the Treebeard chapter.
I have more on Bombadil.
I think his name comes from the three roots:
{BAL} {OM} {N(D)IL}. Those mean, respectively, Power Voice Friend. Bal becomes B-, the m in OM becomes a consonantal dipthong (mb), the common vowel A is added, and the common suffix -dil is added. These become B-mba-(n)dil, or Bombadil. Loosely, that means the Friend with the Power of Voice, or the Powerful Voice. There are many things that allude to him having the power of voice, as well.

These are from LotR:
'Whoa! Whoa! steady there!' cried the old man, holding up one hand, and they stopped short, as if they had been struck stiff.

'Go to sleep! Bombadil is talking' This shows that he could command the Old Willow.

'He has no fear. Tom Bombadil is Master.'

Also, Pippin had a bad dream, but then he remembered Tom's words, and he promptly fell asleep again. The same happened with Merry.
"Fear nothing! Have peace until the next morning! Heed no nightly noises!...Nothing passes doors or windows save moonlight and starlight and the wind off the hill-top."

The hobbits sat still before him, enchanted; and it seemed as if under the spell of his words, the wind had gone, and the clouds had dried up, and the day had been withdrawn, and darkness had come from East and West, and all the sky was filled with the light of white stars.

The hobbits under the spell of Tom's words may have missed one meal or many...

Indeed so much did Tom know, and so cunning was his questioning, that Frodo found himself telling him more about Bilbo and his own hopes and fears that he had told before even to Gandalf.

'Show me the precious Ring!' he said suddenly in the midst of the story: and Frodo, to his own astonishment, drew out the chain from his pocket, and unfastening the Ring handed it at once to Tom.

Tom's words alone also dispelled the Barrow-wight and caved in the barrow. " At those words there was a cry and part of the inner chamber fell in with a crash."

Also, Tom's word awakened Merry, Pippin, and Sam.

At the Ford of Bruinen, the book says, "The Riders halted, but Frodo had not the power of Bombadil."

Here is my most suggestive piece of evidence:

'Hey there!' cried Tom, glancing towards him [Frodo] with a most seeing look in his shining eyes. 'Hey! Come Frodo, there! Where be you a-going? Old Tom Bombadil's not as blind as that yet. Take off your golden Ring! Your hand's more fair without it. Come back!'

The other quote that goes with this is here:
Galadriel tell us, "Did not Gandalf tell you that the rings give power according to the measure of each possessor? Before you could use that power you would need to become far stronger, and to train your will to the domination of others. Yet even so, as Ringbearer and as one that has borne it on finger and seen that which is hidden, your sight is grown keener. You have perceived my thought more clearly than many that are accounted wise."

These two quotes tell us that the Ring does not make one invisible, it just tricks others around you into not seeing you; it was a Deceiver, like Sauron. This matters since Tom was able to see through those lies and illusions.
Galadriel tells us that the Ring "gives power according to the measure of each possessor." This tells us that one needs power in order to see throught illusions, i.e. Galadriel hiding her ring. Therefore, the little power the Ring had already given Frodo enabled him to see through Galadriel's illusion. But Old Tom was able to pierce the Ring's deception, which was shown to be more powerful than the others, with naught but his own will and power. Following that logic, he must be very powerful. Or at least in his own land. "Tom's country ends here; he will not pass the borders."

I also have more evidence that points to him being a spirit, or personification, of E. I read in Master of Middle-Earth that Tom was there "before there was vegetation; before the rain fell." He also says he was there before "the seas were bent." This last allusion points to the Downfall of Numenor, when Beleriand was reshaped. Bombadil also (btw) does not believe in luck; only fate. "...if chance you call it." If only I had the Return of the Shadow; I could see the formation of the Bombadil chapters... Sad Smilie

[Edited on 8/18/2003 by Arcormacolindva]
That's very interesting Arcormacolindva, thanks. Orc With Thumbs Up Smilie
I, uh, have more evidence that seems to disprove some of what I said earlier. First of all, there is the wraith-world to consider. I couldnt remember when I was posting whether this was solely from the movies or in the book. (See what seeing the movie too many times can do to you?) Also, Goldberry was the one who said "Heed no... and "Nothing passes..." Sad Smilie I think now that he is a Maia. "He knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless - before the Dark Lord came from Outside." Clearly this is Melkor. So, Bombadil was there on Arda before Melkor.

If he was a Maia serving a Vala, I'd guess it was either Yavanna, Vna, Nessa, Orom, or Est. But I am only quickly listing these names. I have not been able to look into them; I just remember their basic natures as I write this. I'll definitely scratch some of those names from the list in a day or two.

But I think he didn't serve Yavanna. Gandalf said "But if you would know, I am turning aside soon. I am going to have a long talk with Bombadil, such a talk I have not had in all my time. He is a moss-gatherer, and I have been a stone doomed to rolling. But my rolling days are ending, and now we shall have much to say to another."
I think Gandalf went to talk to Bombadil about things that were and are; and to learn from him. If he wanted to learn things from Yavanna; he couldve asked Radagast. But I have to go know; this is what I can type 4 now.
"He knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless - before the Dark Lord came from Outside." Clearly this is Melkor. So, Bombadil was there on Arda before Melkor.
It could mean the first term of bondage with the valar. As outside could mean outside of Endor, as the dark under the stars was only in Endor. Also he was kept in teh halls of Mandos, surely that is a different plane.
about the wraith-world thing I wrote; maybe Bombadil was in both the world of th living and the world of the wraiths; thats how he could see Frodo?
i found two quotes about the wraith world; one at the Flight of the Ford "He heard Frodo's voice, but it seemed to come from a great distance, or from under the earth, crying out strange words." Compare this to this quote about Bombadil: "After a long slow moment he heard plain, but far away, as if it was coming down through the ground or through thick walls, an answering voice singing..." I think Bombail was in both worlds.
That could be a reason the ring doesn't affect him. Although I don't belive he is in the wraith plane. I think he's nature personified. But I could be wrong.
wow I never knew that about tom bombadil. Maby thats because I havent read the adventures of tom bombadil yet
Naw, The Adventures of Tom Bombadil contain only about 18 pages of poetry concerning Tom. You will get more information by reading Chapters 6, 7 and 8 of FotR Book I. Of course that poetry is fun too, but it has little bearing on the overall story.
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