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Question about Tom Bombadil

The Shire

Mar 25, 5:42pm

Post #1 of 6 (3392 views)
Question about Tom Bombadil Can't Post

So Its been bothering me recently what the origin is of the brooch that Tom picks up from the Barrow Downs, like who was the women who wore it before? Do you guys think Tom knew her personally or what? I know we will never know for sure who it was, but I was wondering if you folks had any ideas about it

"Forever and ever my brother,
hail and farewell" - Will Herondale

The Shire

Mar 27, 2:07am

Post #2 of 6 (3229 views)
long ago [In reply to] Can't Post

That history has been on my mind too. She must have been a woman of great reknown.
First, Let us assume that barrow was for a family of royalty. There were the four daggersand much gold. The woman was one with authority and freedom to wonder about such thattales would reach Tom and maybe Goldberry. Did not Tom visit that hobbit that Frodo likedsome much of his mushrooms? May be Goldberry ventured forth too in diguise some distance?
And this mortal woman attracted Goldberry by her own grace and wholesomeness as kindred spirits?Maybe the woman visited Goldberry, for they had a home with beds.

Second, that barrow-wight must have been powerful to starve off other denizens from the four hobbitsallowing it to capture the hobbits. The powerful spirits would be housed in the graves of the mostpowerful of the dead.

What I like about the few lines about the brooch is how Tom treated it, that in a bit.
My thoughts is that the woman was that of a great model of courage, wit, purity, and love.Tom and Goldberry must have known her personally and that brooch were remindTom and Goldberry what she embodies. Tom could not cast away such memoriesas he needed to do if he would had left the brooch. Yes, maybe her children were buriedthere too, since clothes were found that fit the hobbits; Okay, may Tom used a spellto reknit the clothes to fit the hobbits' sizes, but that is no fun to imagine. Then this womangreatly grieved over this lost of family so that Goldberry and Tom became aware, but the woman
did not become bitter.

**edited aware, sorry for the missing spaces, I seem to move down a row without line breaking.
In my opinion, the manner of Tom's words of the brooch stay true to his own ideaof not being possessed by anything. For once your own something, then it owns you.I feel Tom's words of the memory was a sort of "spell" protecting him of such ownership.Imagine that you stumbled across a moneyclip on the road. You wish to not keep any,so you immediately say upon picking-up the moneyclip, " I will find the rightful ownerelse I will give it to charity" guarding you against greed. Yes, I remember know Tomsay a counterspell over the hoard in a way that included the lines about the birds.

Just thoughts.

(This post was edited by newrow on Mar 27, 2:10am)


Mar 27, 12:41pm

Post #3 of 6 (3191 views)
It's in 'Unstarted Tales' ;) [In reply to] Can't Post

As far as I know, Tolkien never went any further with the implied story about this brooch-owner. For all I know, he set it up as a deliberate mystery and then never gave it another thought. For me, that's satisfactory because it's one of the many occasions on which Tolkien hints that Middle-earth is full of unexplored stories, places and people. Personally, I like that.

To tell this tale, someone other than Tolkien would have to invent the new ideas, characters and plots, fitting them into the various constraints Tolkien created. So it's a matter for imagination (fan fiction or similar) rather one for analysis.

Just about any character - new creation or one's favourite from Tolkien's work - could be postulated, I suppose. The person who Tom identifies with the brooch might not be someone associated with the barrow at all. In Middle-earth valuable objects such as this brooch travel from owner to owner through long and complicated tales of inheritance, gift-giving, losing and finding, looting and so on. A good example is the horn that Merry is given, and which (some say) came from the hoard of Scatha the Worm. Or the dwarf mail that Bilbo and then Frodo own at one point. Feasibly, Tom might look at those objects and be reminded of much earlier owners, about whom we readers know nothin.

"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.

(This post was edited by noWizardme on Mar 27, 12:50pm)


Mar 27, 4:27pm

Post #4 of 6 (3164 views)
I like your thoughts [In reply to] Can't Post

Especially the bit about Tom protecting himself and others from ownership. Perhaps that explains why he is confined to his own country – in his own words, he “has a house to mind” so perhaps that ownership is tying him to one place.

Nowiz, “Unstarted Tales” would be a the longest short book Tolkien ever notpublished :)

The lady in the barrow could have been from any time in the North Kingdom. Sometimes I wonder though, if the brooch could have been even older, just as Aragorn still wears the Ring of Barahir from the First Age. Perhaps the lady in the barrow inherited her brooch from a First Age ancestor too - in that case, it could have belonged to any one or many of all sorts of women of renown, even Elves.


Mar 30, 2:49am

Post #5 of 6 (2985 views)
Based on scant references.... [In reply to] Can't Post

Some say that the mound in which the Ring-bearer was imprisoned had been the grave of the last prince of Cardolan, who fell in the war of 1409.
Appendix A; LotR

Seeing that the “last prince of Cardolan, who fell in the war of 1409 (that being 3rd Age, 1409),” is the one laid to rest in the mound (as some say, of course), then the lady in question would be a close kinswoman of said prince. Wife, mother, daughter.

Yet we can only guess. It is the sort of tantalizing aside that gives Middle-earth such wondrous and palpable depth, and why Tolkien the storyteller is so revered.

Please visit my blog...The Dark Elf File...a slighty skewed journal of music and literary comment, fan-fiction and interminable essays.

Grey Havens

Apr 2, 7:42am

Post #6 of 6 (2696 views)
Much better guess than an Utterly Unsupported Theory // [In reply to] Can't Post


"I shall not wholly fail if anything can still grow fair in days to come."


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