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Old 01-24-2005, 08:13 AM   #66
The Saucepan Man
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The Saucepan Man has been trapped in the Barrow!

Originally Posted by lmp
The precedents lie outside Tolkien's legendarium. By this I mean that whereas there were benighted Men in Middle Earth who no doubt believed such things (and those in this Earth who do or did), those who had been exposed the Light of the West would know the truth as delivered to them, whether by the Elf-friends who received it from the Eldar, who received it from the Valar, who received it from Eru.
I am not sure that anyone in Middle-earth actually knew who or what Tom was. Indeed, I am not sure that Tolkien himself had any set idea as to how exactly Tom fitted in to the Legendarium. As you suggest, his origination as the embodiment of rural Oxfordshire doesn't really tell us much in this regard.

Originally Posted by lmp
If people want to export Tom Bombadil to their own mythmaking, they need take no regard for the laws of ňa. In the meantime, Tolkien's subcreation is clear on this point.
Well, to the extent that Tolkien did have views on Tom's place within the Legendarium, this gets us back onto the old authorial intention v reader interpretation debate (Canonicity anyone ).

Originally Posted by Mister Underhill
In the modern world (and in some modern literature) the average face of the guy next door may hide the soul of a brutal killer. In the mythic realm, it's more difficult to hide who you really are because your soul is literally visible.
It seems to me that Mr U has hit upon a good point here. Very few of Tolkien's villains can be described as fair. Certainly not the "foot-soldiers" of evil: Orcs, Trolls, Nazgul and the like. Both Melkor and Sauron were, I would imagine, fair in their beginnings but became unable to take on fair form as they became more consumed by their evil deeds (although Sauron was able to appear in fair form, as Annatar for example, for a lengthy period after his corruption). Clearly, the likes of Ungoliant and her spawn cannot be described as fair. Indeed, the only truly evil character (that I can think of) who does not carry the physical hallmarks of his evil nature is Saruman. Although not, perhaps, an Adonis in looks, his voice was fair (and deceptive). And he was able to hide his true nature for a long while, although once it became fully manifest he was unable to resist attempting to persuade Gandalf over to his cause, thus "blowing his cover".
Do you mind? I'm busy doing the fishstick. It's a very delicate state of mind!
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