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Old 10-03-2015, 12:50 PM   #17
Shade of Carn Dm
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Toronto
Posts: 479
jallanite is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Originally Posted by Arvegil145 View Post
And the fact that the Ring did not make him invisible is, to me at least, not that great a wonder. You have to remember that the Ring puts its wearer into the wraith world. And you also have to remember that the Elves, for example, live in both worlds - the visible and the invisible (wraith-like, for lack of a better word). So it is my opinion that if, say, an Elf put on the Ring he would not become invisible.
Originally Posted by Inziladun View Post
To split hairs, it's important to note that the Elves who existed in both worlds simultaneously were only those who had been in the Blessed Realm: Glorfindel qualified, but the majority of the Silvan Elves of Mirkwood and Lrien likely wouldn't.
This discussion reminds me of discussions that occurred before 1981 as to Galadriel not being rendered invisible by wearing Nenya. In my memory the obvious solution was that Elves would be understood by Tolkien to have power over the invisibility that the Rings imposed and could be visible or invisible at will. Then in 1981 Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien was published and Tolkien’s solution, published in Letter 131 to Milton Waldman, first appeared (italics mine):
The Elves of Eregion made Three supremely beautiful and powerful rings, almost solely of their own imagination, and directed towards the preservation of beauty: they did not confer invisibility.
Suddenly a solution had been given that none, in my memory, had ever thought of before.

What would happen if an Elf or Maia or Vala put on one of the 17 Great Rings of Power? Would that Elf or Maia or Vala become invisible or gain the power to become invisible at will? Maybe. Or maybe not. Since Tolkien has written nothing, so far as I am aware, on this matter, others cannot know. Tolkien has not written even whether when Sauron put on the One Ring he automatically became invisible or whether he didn’t.

Dwarves, it is known, did not become invisible or eventually fade when they put on a Ring of Power which granted invisibility to Men and Hobbits. This might suggest to some that the same might be true of Elves. And what of beasts? What immediate effect would the Ring have on its possessor if the raven Rac son of Carc had learned of Bilbo’s Ring and seized it? Or if Treebeard had seized it. Or if the Ring had been placed around the branch of a tree. The only answer, I think, is: Who knows?

Originally Posted by Leaf View Post
Usually those inherently powerful, immortal and supreme beings (especially in a mythological context, e.g. Homer's Odyssey) of course have nothing better to do than meddling with the matters of the mortals, shaking up their lives in the process. To conceive that there could be a supremely powerful being that doesn't want to expand it's authority and boss you around is, in a way, a narcissistic injury.
Very, very true. Yet Tom has often been compared to mythological beings like Nereus, the Norse satyr Miming in Saxo Grammaticus, the rural god Pan, and so forth. Such beings are pictured generally as living on their own or with their family and not interacting with mortals except when mortals force themselves upon them. They are not shown to want to boss any outsiders around.

Compare the cave of the nymphs in the thirteenth book of the Odyssey. These nymphs play no part in the tale of the Odyssey and are seemingly uninterested in what mortals or others are doing around then, save, I presume, when what others are doing affects themselves.

Then they might do something like afflict the countryside with a sea monster.

But what would happen if Farmer Maggot found his farm seized by trickery by someone like the Sackville-Baggins and asked Tom Bombadil for help? Would Tom do anything? Presumably Maggot’s farm is within the area of land beyond which Tom will not go, as he visits the farm in the poem The Adventures of Tom Bombadil. Would Tom have helped the Hobbits during the Scouring of the Shire if asked by Maggot, especially since part of the Shire and probably Buckland are within Tom’s territory? If Tom did help, nothing is said of it in The Lord of the Rings.

Some of the Bucklanders know of Tom in the poem The Adventures of Tom Bombadil. Yet Meriadoc Brandybuck seems to know nothing of him. Or perhaps Merry had heard tales of Tom before actually meeting him, but until then they were among the tales he had heard about the Old Forest which he did not believe.

Last edited by jallanite; 10-03-2015 at 12:55 PM.
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