November 01, 2003

the Tom Bombadil controversy

Of all the mysteries in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, I'm most fascinated with the question of Tom Bombadil.

People who are only casual readers of Tolkien usually treat him with scorn and derision. Out of context, it's not hard to see why:

"Hey dol! merry dol! ring a dong dillo!
Ring a dong! hop along! fal lal the willow!
Tom Bom, jolly Tom, Tom Bombadillo!"

I mean, come on; this is goofy.

So what are we to make of this conversation during the undeniably weighty council of Elrond:

"'Could we not still send messages to him and obtain his help?' asked Erestor. 'It seems that he has a power even over the Ring.'
'No, I should not put it so,' said Gandalf. 'Say rather that the Ring has no power over him. He is his own master.'"

Or this, from Tolkien's letters:

"...he represents something that I feel important, though I would not be prepared to analyze the feeling precisely."

Some people even claim that Bombadil is Iluvatar himself!

A wonderful mystery. Check these out:

Enclyclopedia of Arda

What is Tom Bombadil?

Who is Tom Bombadil?

Posted by Carey at November 1, 2003 09:15 PM

How about his one:

Tom Bombadil and the Witch-king of Angmar are the same person.

From Tolkien Crackpot Theories

Posted by: rlrr at November 2, 2003 10:03 PM