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Elf/Maia Unions
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Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Jul 29 2014, 10:38pm

Post #26 of 38 (158 views)
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aule / yavanna and bombadil / goldberry [In reply to] Can't Post

 
i think this theory rewards a certain kind of fanciful sense of order, but on closer examination is rather insulting to aule.

he of the complex thought, the crafter, the step-father of the dwarves, the teacher of maiar and eldar.... the same being who sings tra-la-lally-type songs, and who is so absentminded (said by gandalf) that it would be a terrible idea to leave the ring (a pinnacle example of craft) with him?

aule's vision and concern is vast... all of arda. tom's concern is a small patch of land in eriador.


cheers ---

/


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel telpemairo


Wilros
The Shire


Jul 30 2014, 6:33pm

Post #27 of 38 (167 views)
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Another extraordinary essay on the topic [In reply to] Can't Post

A great essay on the topic of Tom / Goldberry can be found here:
http://whoistombombadil.blogspot.ca/...s-regarding-tom.html

This author puts forth the theory that Tom is an embodiment of the Music of the Ainur, in the same vein that Ungoliant is thought to be the embodiment of darkness.

I highly recommend taking the time to read through.


HeWhoArisesinMight
Rivendell


Jul 30 2014, 8:20pm

Post #28 of 38 (148 views)
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Tom as the Music of the Ainur [In reply to] Can't Post

The essay makes a persuasive case and keeps Tom as an anomaly/enigma without creating new "categories" that don't exist in the canon. Of all the theories I've read about Bombadil, this is the best...


Cillendor
Lorien


Aug 2 2014, 4:01am

Post #29 of 38 (118 views)
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You beat me to it! [In reply to] Can't Post

I was about to post it when I saw your comment. This essay blew my mind when I read it. While it isn't verified by Tolkien himself, it seems to tie up all the loose ends very nicely.


squire
Valinor


Aug 2 2014, 5:11pm

Post #30 of 38 (126 views)
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Ambitious and thorough, but not as convincing as the author thinks it is [In reply to] Can't Post

What I liked best was his emphasis on Tom's musical nature, which I think many Bombadil analyses slight over out of, probably, embarrassment.

However, in very many places the logic and arguments are slippery and inconsistent, and the terms and references used are vague or manipulated in favor of the author's position. For example, all too often he uses Maiar as if it were a synonym for the wizards and sorcerors like Gandalf and Sauron; the fact that at one point he correctly identifies the term as meaning all of the Ainur, of whatever degree, who are not Valar simply makes the misuse more annoying.

Likewise, the simplistic distinction between the discord of Melkor and the music of the Ainur as explaining why Tom's power is ineffective in the east of Middle-earth both evades a more realistic appraisal of how Melkor's influence is woven into Arda's fabric (not all is evil because of him; rather all has the potential for evil) and also evades the question of why Tom's boundaries apply to all four directions. That is, he refuses to help Frodo in his quest to the East, but clearly Bombadil's talk about his land suggests that he does not go to the West, North or South either. Whether he could or not, whether his 'power' applies in any or all of those four directions, is not made clear; but the essay evades this analysis as it doesn't serve the thesis.

In his comparison between Tom and Ungoliant, the writer continuously elides the difference between the contest of Light and Darkness (The Silmarils and Ungoliant) and the contest between musical harmony and discord as seen in the Myth of the Music of the Ainur. Sure, both are fundamental binaries in Tolkien's thematic conception of Middle-earth and are even connected in their joint symbolism of Good and Evil, but they aren't so similar that Tom's musicality suddenly makes him the clear opponent of Ungoliant in the grand scheme of Creation.

Now, since the author admits there's but a fine distinction between his rejected 'spirit of nature' (which I agree is too vague) and his preferred 'spirit of the Music' (which I think is too big), I tend to think my own preference for a Bombadil explanation works pretty well even in the context of this essay. Take Tolkien as close to his own words as possible, suitably modified to accommodate Tom's transplantation from an inconsequential poem to an epic world; I'd say that leads us to Bombadil as 'spirit of the vanishing countryside between Buckland and Bree' (since as the essay objects, Oxfordshire as in the original formulation is not part of Middle-earth). And the musicality? It's there all right. But I can't quite wrap my head around the Ainur, under Eru's conductor's baton, singing in massed chorus,
"Hey dol! merry dol! ring a dong dillo!
Ring a dong! hop along! Fal lal the willow!"
Not all magical music is of the same degree or significance in Middle-earth, even though music is clearly a most important part of that world.

Still, the writer is trying very hard to be both fair and reasonable. I think, for all his protestations that in the end Tom is an enigma, he has gotten as stuck as all of his predecessors on the idea that Tom can be defined. Tolkien's final words on the subject, if I remember, were that Tom could not be defined and to try to do so lessened his worth in the story.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd & 4th TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion and NOW the 1st BotR Discussion too! and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


IdrilLalaith
Rivendell


Aug 2 2014, 10:50pm

Post #31 of 38 (114 views)
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I haven't ready the essay yet but [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Likewise, the simplistic distinction between the discord of Melkor and the music of the Ainur as explaining why Tom's power is ineffective in the east of Middle-earth both evades a more realistic appraisal of how Melkor's influence is woven into Arda's fabric (not all is evil because of him; rather all has the potential for evil) and also evades the question of why Tom's boundaries apply to all four directions. That is, he refuses to help Frodo in his quest to the East, but clearly Bombadil's talk about his land suggests that he does not go to the West, North or South either. Whether he could or not, whether his 'power' applies in any or all of those four directions, is not made clear; but the essay evades this analysis as it doesn't serve the thesis.


It doesn't really make sense to identify the discord of Melkor with the eastern regions of Middle-earth. Aren't Bombadil's lands east of Melkor's original lands?

TolkienBlog.com


Wilros
The Shire


Aug 3 2014, 1:34pm

Post #32 of 38 (101 views)
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An enigma [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
I think, for all his protestations that in the end Tom is an enigma, he has gotten as stuck as all of his predecessors on the idea that Tom can be defined. Tolkien's final words on the subject, if I remember, were that Tom could not be defined and to try to do so lessened his worth in the story.


Agreed. Although it is an interesting exercise to try and find a 'label' for Tom, in the end he is a mysterious character, and as you allude, Tom's original existance as a doll, then a figure in children's stories, then in poems, and finally in the LOTR is a bit suprising and I think somewhat above 'figuring out'.

Just thought I would share the link since it is the best one I've read on the subject. Food for thought!



Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Aug 3 2014, 3:06pm

Post #33 of 38 (100 views)
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The Ainur [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
However, in very many places the logic and arguments are slippery and inconsistent, and the terms and references used are vague or manipulated in favor of the author's position. For example, all too often he uses Maiar as if it were a synonym for the wizards and sorcerors like Gandalf and Sauron; the fact that at one point he correctly identifies the term as meaning all of the Ainur, of whatever degree, who are not Valar simply makes the misuse more annoying.



I don't think that this understanding of the Ainur is accurate. Robert Foster seems to have it right in The Complete Guide to Middle-earth:

Quote

Most of the Aimur dwell with Illuvatar, but some, the Valar and Maiar (qq.v.), have come to Ea to fulfill the Ainulindale.



There could be many Ainur that are neither Valar nor Maiar; both the Valar and Maiar combined might even fall into the minority.

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


squire
Valinor


Aug 3 2014, 4:31pm

Post #34 of 38 (93 views)
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Yes, that's more correct. [In reply to] Can't Post

For shorthand purposes I was only discussing those Ainur who entered Arda. It is implied that there are many more beings who are outside of the World for whatever reason.
Then those of the Ainur who desired it arose and entered into the World at the beginning of Time ... The Great among these spirits the Elves name the Valar ... With the Valar came other spirits whose being also began before the World, of the same order as the Valar but of less degree. These are the Maiar, the people of the Valar, and their servants and helpers. Their number is not known to the Elves, and few have names in any of the tongues of the Children of Ilúvatar...in Middle-earth the Maiar have seldom appeared in form visible to Elves and Men. 'Valaquenta', The Silmarillion.
As the writer of the piece we are discussing notes in the latter part of his essay, Tolkien reveals the existence of yet other spiritual forms in the paragraph that precedes the one just quoted:
[The Eight high Valar] are peers, surpassing beyond compare all others, whether of the Valar and the Maiar, or of any other order that Ilúvatar has sent into Eä. - ibid.
"Any other order" indeed! Between the idea that most of the Maiar are unknown to the Elves, and that Eru may have 'sent' additional kinds of spiritual beings to the World, we are left with a real infinity of possibilities as to what the other creatures of Middle-earth might be. Which, I guess, is just how Tolkien wanted it.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd & 4th TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion and NOW the 1st BotR Discussion too! and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


IdrilLalaith
Rivendell


Aug 3 2014, 6:00pm

Post #35 of 38 (99 views)
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Elves and Maiar [In reply to] Can't Post

It's interesting that Elves seem less familiar with Maiar than they are with the Valar. Why is it that so few of the Maiar have names among Elves?

Going back to the original topic of this thread, it would seem that the Maiar deliberately kept themselves apart from Elves. It reminds me of the passage in "Of the Coming of Men into the West"


Quote
But after a time the Elf-kinds, seeing that is was not good for Elves and Men to dwell mingled together without order, and that Men needed lords of their own kind, set regions apart where Men could live their own lives, and appointed chieftains to hold these lands freely.


TolkienBlog.com


rangerfromthenorth
Rivendell

Aug 7 2014, 3:14pm

Post #36 of 38 (76 views)
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Thank You Wilros, your words are too kind! [In reply to] Can't Post

I wrote that over a year ago and I hang out here at TORn but I somehow missed this discussion, July was really busy for me. I'm glad you enjoyed the essay and if you have any questions just let me know as I am more than willing to have the discussion. I do not believe I have arrived as it were with Bombadil, as I have continued to edit and reshape that essay the more I learn and discuss with others, that is why at points it can seem disjointed as Squire pointed out with my use of Maiar. He also had some good idea of other areas I could have talked about and didn't, it not in an attempt to slide the argument in favor but rather the essay is already over 18,000 words and I cannot cover everything in Middle Earth connected to the topic, the world is entirely too large for that.

Not all those who wander are lost


rangerfromthenorth
Rivendell

Aug 7 2014, 3:42pm

Post #37 of 38 (77 views)
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thanks for your thoughts Squire, as usual they are spot on... [In reply to] Can't Post

Though I do think you misunderstood some of my arguments, or perhaps I was a bit sloppy in sections, its hard to remember everything I wrote back then. I did not mean to ever imply wizard, Sauron, etc equals the totality of what is to be a Maia. Rather, If i remember correctly, I argue that they are what we know of maia in middle earth and we should use them as the starting point for trying to see if Tom fits as a Maia in Middle Earth. I probably could have done a better job explaining that.

The distinction between the music and discord is rather simplistic but appears simplistic in the text (at least to me), and no I did not flesh out all the implications of that on Arda and how that would work for good and evil in the world, for that is a bit off topic and as I stated in my reply to wilros, the essay is already way longer than I originally intended it to be. I cannot cover everything, for every topic I expand it too then touches another topic which would need to be fleshed out. At some point, i had to stop.

You wrote, "also evades the question of why Tom's boundaries apply to all four directions. That is, he refuses to help Frodo in his quest to the East, but clearly Bombadil's talk about his land suggests that he does not go to the West, North or South either. Whether he could or not, whether his 'power' applies in any or all of those four directions, is not made clear; but the essay evades this analysis as it doesn't serve the thesis."

i do not believe I avoided this question, and I think you may have misunderstood my argument here. I talk about Tom self-limiting himself to the Old Forest (as most theories do) because of his love and obsession for Goldberry, this is where I explain why Tom's relationship to her is the way it is the context of my theory. But Tom does make a specific mention that his "knowledge fails out east" and this I took be something different. Perhaps that assumption is not correct but in the text it appears to be something new and that only applies out east. Now east is not significant in my opinion because of the direction (nor is related to where Melkor had his kingdom as one may have thought I was suggesting) but it is where the discord is at its strongest currently because that is where Sauron is building his kingdom and summoning evil (discord) to himself. So his knowledge fails where the discord is strongest, which makes sense within my theory. That is all I meant in the passage. So I do not believe I was avoiding anything.

As far as your thought on Tom and Ungoliant, I do not believe that the two are as you said, "
they aren't so similar that Tom's musicality suddenly makes him the clear opponent of Ungoliant in the grand scheme of Creation." I do not view them as direct or clear opponents to one another, rather they are manifestations of good and evil in the sense that are both unique and similar creatures in their origin (that is how they came to be what they function as in the world), one of good and one of evil. But as far as I can tell, they are never directly connected to each other as opponents. The closest that happens is when Sam and Frodo are encountering Shelob (ungoliants heir as it were) and out of the blue Tolkien feels the need to mention Bombadil, and then the light of simaril as it is found in Frodo's vial from Galadriel. Why does Tolkien do such a thing? I believe my theory gives a reason why, in tolkien's mind they are all connected on this creation level.

As far as the silliness of Tom's songs goes, this is the first time I have heard that critique. And I think it is a rather good one. My initial response without thinking over that topic would be this. The Elves are constantly singing ridiculous songs in Middle Earth, I remember when I first read the LoTR I was shocked at this as the elves in the movies were portrayed as so majestic and wise. What's the point? I do not think there is such a dichotomy in tolkiens world between light-heartedness and majesty or wisdom. Indeed, if we existed in a state that was not stained by evil (discord) then it perhaps would not seem so silly. I also can remember after the Barrow incident that Frodo believed what Tom was singing was pure nonsense but then it occurred to him that he was singing in a ancient language beyond his understanding. So perhaps that would explain it as well.

And I have gone on for far too long again. I do not think I am necessarily correct in my theory, but I do believe that my theory explains Bombadil as he has been revealed better than the other major theories but I am always open to change that opinion.


Not all those who wander are lost

(This post was edited by rangerfromthenorth on Aug 7 2014, 3:51pm)


rangerfromthenorth
Rivendell

Aug 7 2014, 3:46pm

Post #38 of 38 (122 views)
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enigma does not mean he cannot be defined... [In reply to] Can't Post

it means that he is one of a kind. I mention that in my article, i believe in the "A Way forward" section. The problem with the other theories is that Tom is not an enigma at all, he is all too common if he is a maia, vala, or nature spirit. Tolkien certainly knew what Tom was and that impacted how he revealed him to us. So labeling him according to how Tom is revealed (and to how the vala, maia, and other spirits are revealed) is not a fool's errand in my opinion. But perhaps it is.

Not all those who wander are lost

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