Our Sponsor Sideshow Collectibles Send us News
Lord of the Rings Tolkien
Search Tolkien
Lord of The RingsTheOneRing.net - Forged By And For Fans Of JRR Tolkien
Lord of The Rings Serving Middle-Earth Since The First Age

Lord of the Rings Movie News - J.R.R. Tolkien
Do you enjoy the 100% volunteer, not for profit services of TheOneRing.net?
Consider a donation!

  Main Index   Search Posts   Who's Online   Log in
The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Main:
Tom Bombadil New twist on an Old Theory


Jan 10 2013, 1:45am

Post #1 of 11 (442 views)
Tom Bombadil New twist on an Old Theory Can't Post

I would appreciate any thoughts or input on my new theory: http://whoistombombadil.blogspot.com/

Fredeghar Wayfarer

Jan 10 2013, 6:53am

Post #2 of 11 (227 views)
Very good theory [In reply to] Can't Post

This is one of the more convincing theories I've read. You definitely gave this a lot of thought and addressed many of the arguments for and against. I'm especially intrigued by Tom's constant singing, the reference to the gong tombo, the meaning of the root word tom being related to a gong or trumpet, and your explanation of why Tom's knowledge would fail "out East." Connecting him to the Music of the Ainur sounds very plausible.

One possible flaw in this theory is the question of why Tom's power does not seem to extend beyond the Old Forest and immediately surrounding lands like the Barrow-downs. Surely, the Spirit of the Music would have power throughout most of Arda. If he embodies the force that created the universe, why would he limit himself to such a tiny portion of that universe? Or is your argument that we don't know for sure that his power is limited to that area? Does he just choose to stay there due to his love of Goldberry?

I'm not 100% convinced but you've given me a lot to think about and another theory to add to the list.


Jan 10 2013, 1:45pm

Post #3 of 11 (222 views)
Ah yes His his limitation [In reply to] Can't Post

Most theories have to deal with that, but in the Council of Elrond we are told that Tom's area of life and power used to be much larger but now he has withdrawn of his own accord. So his power is not tied locationally but just his physical presence. And yes, since this is a volitional choice of his I believe it is tied to his love/obsession to Goldberry, the entire time he is with the Hobbits he is continually referring to his need to return to Goldberry. I will have to add a blurb about that, I had thought of that but forgot to include (it was already so long).

Thanks for the comment, It is always good to theorize with fellow Tolkienites. My friends and I decided to write papers in honor of the Hobbit being released and I chose Tom as my topic, my friend will be presenting on Dragons next week. Nothing like nerding out for a little bit!


Jan 10 2013, 4:01pm

Post #4 of 11 (189 views)
TB&G's response [In reply to] Can't Post

1. Yes. to all of the above.
2. No. to all of the above.
3. None of your business.

Have you read the Tolkien Reader?
The preface of the Adventures of
Tom Bombadil may answer many questions.

"... And the ship went into the High Sea and passed on into the West until it last on the night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing it came over the water and then it seem to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil the grey rain -curtain turned all to silver glass iand was rolled back and he be held the white shores andbeyond on them a far Green Country under a swift sunrise. "

The Grey Havens
page 1007


Jan 10 2013, 9:53pm

Post #5 of 11 (176 views)
I would generally agree. [In reply to] Can't Post

However, I have also had discussion around the fact that Tom is actually Tolkien inserting himself into the story. He's the author of the story, so he's unaffected by the Ring or any parts of it.


Jan 10 2013, 11:16pm

Post #6 of 11 (168 views)
Ditto! [In reply to] Can't Post


Grey Havens

Jan 11 2013, 2:39am

Post #7 of 11 (159 views)
Heinlein [In reply to] Can't Post

That sounds a lot like something Robert A. Heinlein could have done. I like the idea, but I don't think Tolkien was quite so, shall we say, ebullient as Bombadil.


Jan 11 2013, 2:52am

Post #8 of 11 (178 views)
The Ainulindalė is complete as a Creation Myth. [In reply to] Can't Post

Even were Bombadil Tolkien himself, still there would be at least one fascinating account on how that could happen according to the designs of Eru. Perhaps rangerfromthenorth analysis could be such account. What's more, I doubt any other theory on Bombadil will honor him as much as this theory does. I have myself a theory on Bombadil, but in it he is not as near as fabulous as the "Incarnated Spirit of the Music of the Ainur." As someone who dearly likes what Bombadil represents I feel very grateful for rangerfromthenorth's careful study and sublime inspiration.

I particularly liked his views on Ungoliant.

Obs: Where there's Brandywine shouldn't it be Withywindle?
Obs: Shouldn't this post be placed in the Reading Room?


Jan 11 2013, 5:37pm

Post #9 of 11 (150 views)
Thank you much [In reply to] Can't Post

I am very grateful for your kind words. And you are correct, what Tom may signify or be inspired by outside of the World I do not address, I was searching for an answer to his origins from within the world and after reading all the other major theories I was dissatisfied and decided the nature spirit was closest but after reading much more I formulated this theory, Tom as the Music and many things just seem to fall into place.


Jan 11 2013, 10:37pm

Post #10 of 11 (187 views)
A very fascinating theory! [In reply to] Can't Post

I see no flaws in it but that Tolkien hardly would have expressed it that way. For myself I've never thought farther than Tom being some kind of Ainu - Valar and Maiar just being special fellowships of Ainur, there surely are lots of other kinds of spirits being the innumerable thoughts of Eru. Then again, if Tom is the Music, and the Music composed by Eru, Tom is from the mind of Eru and an Ainu - same thing!Angelic

"Don't take life seriously, it ain't nohow permanent!" Pogo


Jan 16 2013, 10:23pm

Post #11 of 11 (111 views)
for more input, you might want to post a link to this post in the Reading Room... [In reply to] Can't Post

There are some nice comfy arm chairs in the Reading Room, and it is great place for longer and indepth discussion on Tolkien's writings, as you have put together here!

I tend to think of Tom more in connection with nature than music, but you are right about how strong the singing references are with him. To me, looking at LOTR from the perspective of how Tolkien wrote them, I always thought Tom was the place where the story crosses over into Faerie for the first time -- the whole bit with the threshold the hobbits have to cross to enter, and the way Goldberry is described, etc. I rather liked that he was left "undefined" as that opens up the reader to that world more, if I can put it that way. And for Tolkien, I could see him tapping into a figure/image like Tom to help him figure out creatively where to go with the story, if I can put it that way. For me he's more of a device than anything really defined, I guess.

That said, you make a good case that Tom B is in the same continuum as other parts of the Tale that tie into music as an active force and power, and I applaud all of the careful thought, time and energy you put into this! Thanks for posting it and for how well you arranged your thoughts and theory!



Search for (options) Powered by Gossamer Forum v.1.2.3

home | advertising | contact us | back to top | search news | join list | Content Rating

This site is maintained and updated by fans of The Lord of the Rings, and is in no way affiliated with Tolkien Enterprises or the Tolkien Estate. We in no way claim the artwork displayed to be our own. Copyrights and trademarks for the books, films, articles, and other promotional materials are held by their respective owners and their use is allowed under the fair use clause of the Copyright Law. Design and original photography however are copyright © 1999-2012 TheOneRing.net. Binary hosting provided by Nexcess.net

Do not follow this link, or your host will be blocked from this site. This is a spider trap.