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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
Tom Bombadil
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TheBladeGlowsBlue
Rivendell


Oct 27 2012, 7:08am

Post #1 of 88 (1124 views)
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Tom Bombadil Can't Post

Would it have really slowed down the flow of film one?

It seems a shame one of the iconic characters of the books was completely overlooked... also the Barrow wights.

He/they didn't even make it into the EE!!!

Apologies if this has been discussed before, but I am new and can't find a thread on this subject! Smile

Maegnas aen estar nin dagnir in yngyl im


DanielLB
Immortal


Oct 27 2012, 7:24am

Post #2 of 88 (726 views)
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I should've been made into an easter egg [In reply to] Can't Post

A separate scene that could be watched, but not part of the actual film. That would've been the best option.

I like to think the Hobbits still visited Bombadil, and that he wasn't completely erased from Middle-earth.

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TheBladeGlowsBlue
Rivendell


Oct 27 2012, 7:29am

Post #3 of 88 (707 views)
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I think... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
A separate scene that could be watched, but not part of the actual film. That would've been the best option.

I like to think the Hobbits still visited Bombadil, and that he wasn't completely erased from Middle-earth.


...that this is what troubles me most about the omission.
It is if Tom never existed!

A small nod to the incident in the Old Forest (in film 2 from memory) hardly rectifies this onerous error!

Maegnas aen estar nin dagnir in yngyl im


Elutherian
Rohan


Oct 27 2012, 7:34am

Post #4 of 88 (723 views)
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I never liked Tom Bombadil in the books.... [In reply to] Can't Post

....Glad they left him out.

The Grey Pilgrim, they once called me. Three hundred lives of men I walked this earth, and now I have no time...


DanielLB
Immortal


Oct 27 2012, 7:35am

Post #5 of 88 (719 views)
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It's not just Bombadil though [In reply to] Can't Post

A separate scene with Ghan, Elrond's sons, Denethor and the palantir and so many more, *should* have been included.

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DanielLB
Immortal


Oct 27 2012, 7:36am

Post #6 of 88 (735 views)
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I agree it's an almost boring chapter [In reply to] Can't Post

But the character fascinates me. Anything that fascinates me is worth being shown. Smile

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Elenorflower
Gondor


Oct 27 2012, 1:42pm

Post #7 of 88 (692 views)
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Tom [In reply to] Can't Post

would not have slowed the story down, if done right. They didnt need to show the long stay in Tom's house, or the stories he told, but they should have shown the travel through the Old Forest and the capture by Old man Willow and the rescue by Tom. Its an iconic moment. They could have shown him giving the hobbits some good advice and telling them the song to sing if they get in trouble, which they promptly do, in the Barrows, and Tom rescues them again and gives them the swords, a very important moment. That would not slow anything down. and keeps the mystery of who Tom is. They could show the Hobbits musing about who or what he is on the Road before they reach Bree.. also I would have liked to see the gradual darkening of the colour tones, from the bright golden Shire to the darker greyer Old Forest, with the sudden welcome bright flash of Tom with his bright gay colours, like some small memory of the Shire wandering the murky forest. Then on to Bree the clouds forming over their heads like the breath of the Black Riders on their necks.


(This post was edited by Elenorflower on Oct 27 2012, 1:50pm)


Kristin Thompson
Rohan


Oct 27 2012, 2:17pm

Post #8 of 88 (690 views)
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Yes, I think it would have slowed down the film [In reply to] Can't Post

And for no important reason. In the book, the inclusion of the Old Forest and Bombadil accomplishes two things in terms of the plot. It means that Gandalf, who gets to Hobbiton too late to go with the Hobbits to Rivendell, ends up passing them and getting there ahead of them. (That's quite important, though it could have been accomplished in some other way.) Second, the Hobbits get their weapons, which are from the ancient realm of Arnor and have special properties that allow Merry to help kill the Witch King.

In the film, of course, Gandalf goes straight from Orthanc to Rivendell (thereby setting up the Great Eagle Paradox), and Aragorn gives the Hobbits ordinary swords.

I'm not saying there would have been no point in putting in Bombadil, for those who would enjoy a little interlude with no plot progression. I personally am in the camp that thinks Bombadil is out of place in the book, having originated as a children's comic character. But others obviously like him.

I suspect people who had never read the book would find him a bit boring if he had been included, given the lack of plot development.

Inclusion of a scene of him in an easter egg would probably be too big an expense for the studio, especially compared with the relatively small number of people who would be attracted by such a thing.


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 27 2012, 3:18pm

Post #9 of 88 (698 views)
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Not to mention the Dunedain [In reply to] Can't Post

I was always a little miffed about the complete exclusion of all other northern rangers...


DanielLB
Immortal


Oct 27 2012, 3:52pm

Post #10 of 88 (683 views)
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Yes, and the bridge film might have included them. [In reply to] Can't Post

I wonder if there will be any mention of them in the new films. Smile

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GoodGuyA
Lorien

Oct 27 2012, 10:43pm

Post #11 of 88 (695 views)
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Tom Bombadil is a useless character [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't care what grand importance others read into him. As a narrative entity he completely detracts all semblance of drive, passion, and reason from the plot. Not only that, but he's annoying to read. That's a difficult feat, I must say. In a well structured book which creates such a tense air of mystery, Tom Bombadil absolutely slaughters all that made the book actually fantastical rather than simply another fairy tale. The only reason I think anyone actually finds him important is because he's in some of the last lines of the book, due to the dream Frodo had (which is another huge narrative cliche). Yes, he would have slowed down the film because there's nothing important in his presence, nor joy to be found in it. He's an anomaly that Tolkien was too proud to get rid of and should have.


Escapist
Gondor


Oct 27 2012, 11:00pm

Post #12 of 88 (652 views)
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different media [In reply to] Can't Post

Part of Tom's usefulness in the book is to show that there is a greater mystery to middle earth and not everything is so easily explained down to the midichlorions - and that there does exist power to resist the temptation of the one ring.

Movies are a different thing. Here everything must be streamlined and simplified. Tom Bombadil is highly resistant to this so he doesn't fit in a film that doesn't entertain that sense of mystery and complexity. He would fit in a quirky mystery film but not an action-adventure film.


Elenorflower
Gondor


Oct 28 2012, 12:33am

Post #13 of 88 (642 views)
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I couldnt disagree [In reply to] Can't Post

with you more. Tom is there in the book because Tolkien found him important, its as simple as that. Tom has a place in the mystery and strangeness of Middle Earth. He is not easy company that I will allow. Some people would sit in his house and no doubt want to shake some sense into him, some would sit there enthralled, some would drum their fingers with tedium and want to leave, he is a kind of mirror into our inner selves I think, he is above earthly likes and dislikes. He simply 'is'.


There&ThereAgain
Rohan


Oct 28 2012, 12:34am

Post #14 of 88 (640 views)
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Tommy Tom [In reply to] Can't Post

did you ever feel creeped out by Tom and Goldberry?

In the back of my head part of me thought he was Sauron himself in a different form when I read the book as a pre-teen.

"The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair; and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater."-J.R.R. Tolkien

"Thanks for the money!" -George Lucas


There&ThereAgain
Rohan


Oct 28 2012, 12:38am

Post #15 of 88 (660 views)
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I enjoy Tom for this reason [In reply to] Can't Post

and I think that's why Tolkien was fond of him. You really articulated why I think I adore him. Smile

For filmmakers, when we rack our brains for reasons for scenes, moments, characters, angles to exist, like Tom, like you said, resists any easy cataegorization.

so chuck him! Sly

"The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair; and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater."-J.R.R. Tolkien

"Thanks for the money!" -George Lucas


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 28 2012, 2:51am

Post #16 of 88 (647 views)
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That's because [In reply to] Can't Post

You see literature primarily as form. You use words like "drive," "passion," "reason." You want Bombadil to fit into your writing 101 conceptions, and he doesn't.

That's partly because Tolkien wasn't writing in the idiom of the modern novel.

And I thank heaven he wasn't.

IMO, there is a reason why LOTR remains one of the best-selling books of all time. And it has to do with Tolkien violating a lot of the rules you think are essential.

Tolkien preferred the varied applicability of history to the purposeful domination of the author present in most modern fiction. Bombadil is partly about Tolkien letting his own hand off the tiller.

I have little use for people who insist the stories have to be tight, and controlled, with every bit fitting neatly and rationally into a well-planned narrative. Some of the old myths certainly weren't like that, and I think Tolkien captured something of the genuinely mythic, as opposed to the derivative.


(This post was edited by Shelob'sAppetite on Oct 28 2012, 2:56am)


GoodGuyA
Lorien

Oct 28 2012, 4:24am

Post #17 of 88 (638 views)
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I obviously don't think in just form, else I could never let little things slide [In reply to] Can't Post

I still do enjoy the books, but I can still have grievances with the writing after looking at it analytically after. The most telling thing for me is that I didn't remember Tom Bombadil after I read it the first time, those many years ago. I remembered quite a bit, but that character was so pointlessly derailing that I erased him from the memory of the book. When I came back and read it again over the years, I went from "Okay, this is a weird bit" to "Skip skip skip skip". The whole thing reeks of shoehorning, to me, because Tolkien had this character that he had created his own little mythos for and wanted to put it out there without actually sharing this mythos.

I find it so blind that we should just accept his importance because "Tolkien put it there". I know it's there for a reason, but it's a reason which I think adds nothing to the narrative at hand. What is Lord of the Rings about? Middle-Earth. What does having the hobbits run naked through the grass add to Middle-Earth? Why would you, going into five further books of intensely dark fantasy, start off with an attacking tree and a magical man which is even more "child-like" than the things in The Hobbit? I can see the Barrow-downs sequence being something, and I like that chapter, except when it's completely undermined by Tom Bombadil's assistance being blatantly foreshadowed. He makes the world less expansive, in my eyes, and does far more harm to the hobbits' sense of self than Peter Jackson ever did.

My biggest problem with it in terms of actual narrative flow is that, if you remove it, nothing is lost. The movies proved that and me just self-editing proves that. Could you say that for the Black Rider encounter they have on the road? What about meeting Aragorn? You could argue about the Conspiracy Unmasked, of course, but I think you see the point here. Nothing is given to the reader. It's a meta-narrative based not on themes but on extraneous circumstances that no one can be expected to know. I feel nothing when I look at the words which comprise Tom Bombadil. I'm not enchanted, I'm not engaged, and I'm not feeling the story anymore. It's fine that others think differently, but in all my time with Tolkien, Bombadil has been just a black mark in both analysis and fair reading.


grammaboodawg
Immortal


Oct 28 2012, 4:47am

Post #18 of 88 (655 views)
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As Phililppa Boyens says in the eedvd commentary [In reply to] Can't Post

(I'm paraphrasing here) People don't know whether or not we filmed Tom and the Old Forest. ;)

I like the hobbits' time with Tom for several reasons.

1. I think Tom was the hobbits' transition from their guarded life in the Shire to the World. That they learned whatever they needed to survive their Journey.

2. I think Tom could appear as anyone he wanted to. When he came upon the hobbits, he was exactly what they needed him to be.

3. The hobbits rested at Tom and Goldberry's home as the rain kept them from leaving until they learned lessons of the world and survival from the stories Tom told them.

4. Frodo had visionary dreams.

5. Frodo realized the Ring wasn't all powerful and in control when Tom put it on and did not disappear, and he could see Frodo when he wore the Ring. I really love this part because it doesn't explain why or how. Frodo's reaction is very different from every other situations he's in throughout the story.

6. I wonder what Tom talks about when Gandalf and Farmer Maggot visit... and how does he appear to each of them?



sample

I really need these new films to take me back to, and not re-introduce me to, that magical world.



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DanielLB
Immortal


Oct 28 2012, 7:36am

Post #19 of 88 (654 views)
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No, I don't see them as creeps. [In reply to] Can't Post

They're unique, interesting, and fascinating characters to read about.

They add more depth to Tolkien's mythology. Middle-earth would be a lot plainer if characters like this were removed.

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Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 28 2012, 8:06am

Post #20 of 88 (670 views)
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Your insistence that people are "blind" for appreciating Bombadil [In reply to] Can't Post

Is, frankly, annoying. I could write page after page about his value to the story. Also, your description of the rest of LOTR as "intensely dark fantasy" is odd, IMO. People don't appreciate LOTR because it is "dark fantasy," whatever that means. They appreciate it because it seems to tap into some long-forgotten well of myth and human consciousness, which resonates deeply with so many readers, despite all its alleged "archaisms" and "silliness."

I have to say, I trust Tolkien's instincts on this far more than yours. After all, he created a wildly successful story, which has stood the test of time.

It is fine for you to dislike Bombadil, of course. Even I, depending on my mood, occasionally skim over the Old Forest chapter.

But it is not okay to insult others for appreciating him.

Quote

My biggest problem with it in terms of actual narrative flow is that, if you remove it, nothing is lost.


Here you prove that "form" is very important to you. You say the narrative flow is just fine without Bombadil, and I agree. But in my view, his inclusion offers readers something a lot richer, and more interesting, than "narrative flow." After all, people have been discussing his identity, and purpose, for over forty years now. He has probably elicited more discussion than the more trivial "balrog wings" debate.

IMO, LOTR would be a less rich and unique story without him. I'm glad Tolkien wrote LOTR, and not someone who was wedded to modern story-telling 101.


imin
Valinor


Oct 28 2012, 11:32am

Post #21 of 88 (629 views)
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This is how i see them [In reply to] Can't Post

The first time i read the chapter i was intrigued and wanted to know more, but before long they were on their way again.

I do feel it would have slowed down the movie and it was the right decision to cut them out. In the book though i like them and the book has much more layers to it than the movie and Tom and Goldberry are examples of the extra depth to the text. People still now dont know what he was/is.

I did go through a period where i found the chapter a little dull and wanted to read of the hobbits in the barrow but as i have got a little older or perhaps because i have read it a few more times - i seem to be liking it more and more. Similar to the council of elrond chapter - when i first read it, it took me months, now its one of my favourite chapters.


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Oct 28 2012, 12:56pm

Post #22 of 88 (618 views)
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Despite what Boyens said... [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
(I'm paraphrasing here) People don't know whether or not we filmed Tom and the Old Forest. ;)


If Jackson & Co. had filmed Tom and the Old Forest, I image that they would have filmed the encounter in the Barrow-downs as well. However, there is no indication of any such missing scene. In fact, Strider has to provide the weapons to the Hobbits that they otherwise recovered from the barrow.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


FlyingSerkis
Rivendell

Oct 28 2012, 1:11pm

Post #23 of 88 (591 views)
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He's always been my favourite character of the books [In reply to] Can't Post

He was the stand-out character when I first read LOTR, when I must have been about 10. And the last time I read the books, his chapter was still a highlight for me. I can completely understand why they left him out of the films, and thinking about it logically I would have to agree, but it still saddens me not to see him.


burgahobbit
Rohan


Oct 28 2012, 1:33pm

Post #24 of 88 (602 views)
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Maybe a separate scene for most of that stuff [In reply to] Can't Post

But I think Denethor and the Palantir could have easily been included in the film. Most of those things would have eaten up screentime, the palantir would have simply made Denethor's madness make more sense.


burgahobbit
Rohan


Oct 28 2012, 1:38pm

Post #25 of 88 (598 views)
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Tom Bombadilo [In reply to] Can't Post

They adapt him in the FOTR video game (not a tie-in with the movies) which is quite fun (even if it is cheap video game animation compared to an actual person playing the role).

I really think he would have slowed the film down, unless they made a film like this: The Lord of the Rings: The Ring Sets Out ending with Amon Sul as the the climax.

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