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Tom Bombadil?
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2003 3:09 pm    Post subject: Tom Bombadil? Reply with quote

What is he?
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2003 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

According to what I remember he is a Maia. One of the not-quite-gods who used to live all over in the first age but most of whom went west to live in Aman after the first age.

Other notable creatures in Middle-Earth that once were Maia are: Sauron, Saruman and Gandalf.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2003 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know that... But I don't think he is. I'd say he's more than that... A Valar prehaps. Oh wait he can't be. But he's more powerful than a mere Maia...
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2003 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Other notable creatures in Middle-Earth that once were Maia are: Sauron, Saruman and Gandalf.


The Astari(sp?) were once Maia? Where did this come from?
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2003 6:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Tom Bombadil? Reply with quote

Darth Revan wrote:
What is he?

A very merry Fellow.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2003 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think he's a Maia. Gandalf said that if they took the Ring to Bombadill for protection, he'd just lose it again, even if he could be persuaded to take it in the first place.....and that he wouldn't understand the need. Also Bombadill was able to see Frodo while he was wearing the Ring, and to hold it in his hand without desire, and even to wear it without disappearing....

I think of Bombadill as a kind of Elemental. Like the spirit of the region he inhabits incarnate.....He would probably understand the Ents a lot better than he could ever understand any of the free peoples of Arda....even the Elves...

But the Ents wouldn't be all that close for him either, I think. Because, he is more than a tree spirit, he is also the spirit of the earth, the flowers, the river, everything that lives and grows in his little neck of the woods, he embodies physically.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2003 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like his yellow boots. silly dancing fellow. he was the first, he remembers the first acorn falling.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2003 10:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, we can only dip the surface. I suppose Tom Bombadil and "do Balrogs have wings" are the two most hotly debated facets of Tolkien's Middle-Earth. But, fact is . . . no one knows for sure WHAT Tom Bombadil is. But what I do know is that Tolkien left him to be an enigma on purpose. Tolkien's world is full of detail, but it's also full of mystery, and that's a good thing for us Middle-Earth explorers.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2004 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

At one time, I believe, JRRT said he thought that Bombadil was 'a Maia of a sort', but he was never more specific or certain than that. Robert Foster, in his Complete Guide to Middle-earth, says he may have been 'a Maia who "went native"'. Since he is a 'speaking creature' and older than the Elves, and the Valar are all accounted for, a Maia is just about the only thing he can be; but there are very peculiar sorts of Maiar in Middle-earth. After all, the Balrog of Moria was a Maia, too -- of a sort!

In terms of myth and legend, we can definitely say what Bombadil was: a genius loci, the spirit of a particular place. The myths I'm familiar with generally depict such genii as female, like the nymphs and dryads of Greek mythology, or the Rhine Maidens of the sagas; but I know of nothing in the rules that says they must be female.

So while we can't say what Bombadil was in terms of Middle-earth, we can say what he was in terms of fantasy archetypes. He was the spirit of the land, of the Old Forest and the Barrow-downs before evil entered them; and as such (for us SRD fans) he was also the godfather of Caerroil Wildwood. How's that for a family tree?
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2004 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Murrin wrote:
The Astari(sp?) were once Maia? Where did this come from?


That's right. They not only were once Maia, they were still Maia. (Except for Saruman after Wormtongue stabbed him; he then became a cloud of smoke, and after the wind blew him away he became Nothing.)

You can read all about the origins of the Wizards in JRRT's essay 'The Istari', in Unfinished Tales. I found it to be one of the most fascinating parts of that book.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2004 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mine too. I love the stuff about the istari. It makes things more complete. According to Tolkien Murrin, Saruman, Gandalf and Radagast were all Maiar.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was reminded of this gem from the "Tolkien Crackpot Theories" section of the venerable Tolkien Sarcasm Page (this is longish):

Quote:
The Truth about Tom Bombadil
From a rec.arts.books.tolkien posting dated 3 May 1996.
At last, the mystery of Tom Bombadil's identity has been solved.

Ready?

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

1. We never hear of Tom at all during the whole of the First Age. The Nine Rings aren't forged until the Second Age. QED.

2. You never see the two of them together.

3. In the first part of Fellowship of the Ring, the Nazgul are sent to the Shire to look for the wandering Baggins. Interestingly, Tom says to Frodo at the dinner-table: "...I was waiting for you. We heard news of you, and learned that you were wandering... But Tom had an errand there, that he dared not hinder" (Fellowship p.137 hardback, emphasis mine: note the fear Tom has of his master, Sauron!).

4. In Tom's questioning of the Hobbits, JRRT notes that "there was a glint in his eyes when he heard of the Riders." (Fellowship p. 144) I think he was concerned that his double-life might have been noticed. Interestingly, Tom immediately changes the subject of conversation!
Furthermore, the One Ring had no effect on Tom - which seems consistent with Tolkien's observations about how the Nazgul would have handled the same priceless object (Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, #246): "They were... in no way deceived as to the real lordship of the Ring."

5. It's also interesting to note that Tom could see Frodo clearly while Frodo was wearing the Ring (Fellowship p. 144 hardback) - just as the Witch-king could see Frodo clearly while he was wearing the Ring at Weathertop! (Fellowship p. 208 hardback)

6. Perhaps most damning, however, is the incident with the Barrow-wights (Fellowship pp. 151-155), where Tom - with nothing more than a few simple words (p. 154) - commands the Barrow-wight to leave. And it does, without argument. Why would the Wight be so completely under Tom's control? Because in his alternate guise as the Witch-king of Angmar, Tom ordered the Wight to inhabit the barrow in the first place! Turning to Return of the King, Appendix A, p. 321, "evil spirits out of Angmar... entered into the deserted mounds and dwelt there." Obviously the Witch-king was reponsible for sending the wights there; just as obviously, the Witch-king (disguised as Tom) would be capable of ordering them to leave!
(This is related to another passage, which has since been brought to my attention. On Fellowship page 158 hardback, Tom is guiding the Hobbits back towards the Road when he gazes towards the borders of Cardolan. "Tom said that it had once been the boundary of a kingdom, but a very long time ago. He seemed to remember something sad about it, and would not say much." Since Tom, as the Witch-king, was the one who destroyed the kingdom of Cardolan, it's little wonder that he wouldn't say much about his involvement. Perhaps his remembering "something sad" reveals some remorse at being the instrument of Cardolan's destruction...?)

...Yep: I think we have an airtight case here. Smile

...It's worth noting that, after the Witch-king was dead, Gandalf said he was "going to have a long talk with Bombadil" (Return of the King, p. 275). Curiously, he never tells anyone about the meeting later... and he's right there at the Grey Havens at the end of the book, undelayed it seems by long conversation. I think we can therefore theorize that Gandalf made it to the Old Forest, but that Tom (once the so-called "Witch-king" had died) was nowhere to be found!

...Of course, all this brings up the curiosity of motive. What would make the Witch-King of Angmar sport such a double identity? I suppose that the Witch-king, once of proud Numenorean ancestry, felt trapped by the guise of evil which Sauron had tricked him into, and in the fullness of time forged this alternate identity for himself so that he could occasionally feel happy, helpful, noble, and more at one with himself and his lineage. The situation is perhaps analagous to a crossdresser who, feeling trapped in a man's body, would occasionally assume the identity of a woman. It therefore makes sense that the Witch-king's other identity would be so peculiarly enigmatic, and perhaps sheds light on JRRT's observation in Letters #144: "And even in a mythical Age there must be some enigmas, as there always are. Tom Bombadil is one (intentionally)."

...Who else would be aware of Tom's double-life, I wonder? Since Tom repeatedly claims to have been around "before the river and the trees", and indeed even claims to be older than the Ents (Fellowship p. 142), surely the eldest of the Elves would know he was lying. Elrond plays along with Tom in public, being kind enough not to reveal his secret, but also seems to know that Tom and the Witch-king are one and the same; hence his refusal to give the Ring to Tom for safekeeping (Fellowship p. 278-9): "Power to defy the Enemy is not in him."


Laughing

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 30, 2004 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hahaha...I looked at the LOTR Board Game - the Plot Development cards are amusing...

Last edited by CovenantJr on Wed Jun 30, 2004 9:05 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 30, 2004 9:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CovenantJr wrote:
Hahaha...I looked at the LOTR Borad Game - the Plot Development cards are amusing...


Why? Razz
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 30, 2004 9:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Darth Revan wrote:
CovenantJr wrote:
Hahaha...I looked at the LOTR Borad Game - the Plot Development cards are amusing...


Why? Razz
Because one of them was "Darth Revan spams your topic - miss 125 turns" Razz
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 30, 2004 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CovenantJr wrote:
Darth Revan wrote:
CovenantJr wrote:
Hahaha...I looked at the LOTR Borad Game - the Plot Development cards are amusing...


Why? Razz
Because one of them was "Darth Revan spams your topic - miss 125 turns" Razz


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2004 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That crackpot theory most certainly was a crackpot theory.

Bombadil was "eldest", and remembered "the first raindrop and the first acorn...When the Elves passed westward, Tom was here already, before the seas were bent."

The Elves "considered him a benevolent spirit of the forest, a veritable incarnation of the ancient life-force present there, under no laws but his own, acknowledging no master."

Witch King indeed. How ludicrous.

I always thought of Bombadil exactly as the Elves thought of him, although I went one step further: that he was an incarnation of the life force of Arda in its entirety, and perhaps even (to a lesser extent) Valinor. He did come from somewhere, and the only place to come from, in Tolkien's rather detailed cosmology, is Valinor.

That Gandalf felt he had to speak with him was significant. Why would Gandalf need to speak to a forest sprite?
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2004 4:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Someone missed the sarcasm.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2004 3:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, I got the sarcasm, I just found the humor rather infantile. No offense meant to any who found it funny.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2005 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It never ceases to amaze the popularity of trying to determine who or what Tom is:) Although Tolkien never outrightly said he is not a Maia, their is evidence to suggest he is not, however, instead of going into that evidence, it is better just to note this:

" "Many readers have , for instance, rather stuck at The Council of Elrond. And even in a mythical Age there must be some enigmas, as there always are. Tom Bombadil is one (intentionally)." The Letters of JRR Tolkien #144 - JRR Tolkien


He is simply an intentional enigma.
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