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Old 09-28-2015, 07:37 PM   #5
Haunting Spirit
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 87
Leaf is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Originally Posted by Pitchwife View Post
I'd say he's good in the sense of being helpful, benign, tolerant, but not Good if that means being a party in the war of Good vs Evil. In my eyes he's the only true pacifist in the story. I can't imagine him ever wielding a weapon, unlike Gandalf - nor does he need one, "for his songs are stronger songs, and his feet are faster." This aversion to violence distinguishes him from Treebeard and the other Ents, who are otherwise the only characters remotely comparable to him in that they have their own agenda and feel that nobody's quite on their side.

I like that you call him "the anti-Gandalf" - I see them both as polar opposites, extrovert Gandalf and introvert Tom, and as very much akin in the respect and friendliness they show all living things; two sides of a coin, in a way.
I think you are both right about the concept of Tom Bombadil. His character is described in that way. But there's one thing I find curious about his role in the story. Which is that he has a role in in the story.

There's sort of a clash between the idea, or concept, of Tom Bombadil at its core and the very basic necessity for him to take part in the story after all. On the one Hand he is described as this passive, neutral and jolly fellow who refrains from the use of power over beings and things all together. I always figured that this is why the Ring has no power over him, because he himself has truly rejected the notion of power. But on the other Hand he has to (from a literary point of view) interact with the Hobbits and the ongoing storyline. And he does so in rather counterintuitive (in regards to the idea of his character) ways, in my opinion. He uses force and power to help the Hobbits in crucial situations. He may be very cautious and gentle about it, i. e. mostly just singing some funky tunes, but he does dominate the will and mind of other (more or less) conscious beings if necessary. He does take a stand and a clear side. Obviously, he does so for a good and justified reason but I feel like that this does undermine the idea behind his character in some way. And to be clear, I don't fault Tolkien for that. He handled this discrepancy rather elegantly.

I think it's more of a structural problem, if that makes sense. It's kind of a conundrum.

Last edited by Leaf; 09-28-2015 at 07:59 PM.
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