The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum


Visit The *EVEN NEWER* Barrow-Downs Photo Page

Go Back   The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum > Middle-Earth Discussions > The Books
User Name
Password
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 10-16-2012, 09:53 AM   #1
d4rk3lf
Pile O'Bones
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 18
d4rk3lf has just left Hobbiton.
Tom Bombadil

What do you think of him?

The more I read the book, the less I find him suitable as a character in middle earth.
Maybe in Hobbit, because it's kind of a child book, but not for the LOTR.

Many speculates he is Maia, and I agree, but he act as a crazy man, and childish, and not even close as one Maia should act.
Gandalf said he wouldn't come to Elrond council... common man... the whole world is in danger (his woods also), and he doesn't seems interested at all.

He would throw the ring, even if the whole world would begging him to keep it safe. What is he?
Is he retarded?

LOTR are perfect books, but I think Tolkien totally missed with Bombadil. It's the only character that I don't like.

What do you think?
d4rk3lf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2012, 10:24 AM   #2
Inziladun
Gruesome Spectre
 
Inziladun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Heaven's doorstep
Posts: 7,978
Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.
This has been a recurrent topic here over the years, and there are several good threads already. Here's one of the more recent ones.
__________________
Music alone proves the existence of God.
Inziladun is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2012, 10:31 AM   #3
Mithalwen
Pilgrim Soul
 
Mithalwen's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: watching the wonga-wonga birds circle...
Posts: 9,901
Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.
There are arguments that defend Bombadil - you will find some of them here on the downs. But I have to admit I can't bear him. It is the "poetry" - if you can dignify it by the title.

I certainly don't think he is "retarded" (which you should be aware is considered an offensive term in the UK though I understand it isn't so in the US)... just too different. I think Tolkien says in the Letters he is a sort of nature spirit. His lack of interest in the Ring perhaps suggests that he is a different type of being to Sauron and Gandalf. And to elves and mortals come to that. He has no need of it, he has all the power he needs and he may not be able to grasp it's importance. His mind works differently, he has a different perspective and priorities.
__________________
“But Finrod walks with Finarfin his father beneath the trees in Eldamar.”

Christopher Tolkien, Requiescat in pace
Mithalwen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2012, 10:36 AM   #4
d4rk3lf
Pile O'Bones
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 18
d4rk3lf has just left Hobbiton.
Thanks, I am aware of many threads of Tom Bombadil, on this, and on other forums, and I've read most of them.
However, most of the time threads are dealing with "Who is Tom Bombadil", and this thread should be more about Tom's actions in the book (or non-action ), his personality, and should he needs to be in the books (or in the middle earth) at all.
d4rk3lf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2012, 10:45 AM   #5
Inziladun
Gruesome Spectre
 
Inziladun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Heaven's doorstep
Posts: 7,978
Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.
Quote:
Originally Posted by d4rk3lf View Post
Thanks, I am aware of many threads of Tom Bombadil, on this, and on other forums, and I've read most of them.
However, most of the time threads are dealing with "Who is Tom Bombadil", and this thread should be more about Tom's actions in the book (or non-action ), his personality, and should he needs to be in the books (or in the middle earth) at all.
I think the questions of Tom's origins and his behavior are inextricably linked. That's the reason I thought the "rolling stone" thread to which I linked was especially appropriate.
__________________
Music alone proves the existence of God.

Last edited by Inziladun; 10-16-2012 at 10:52 AM.
Inziladun is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2012, 10:52 AM   #6
d4rk3lf
Pile O'Bones
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 18
d4rk3lf has just left Hobbiton.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mithalwen View Post
I certainly don't think he is "retarded" (which you should be aware is considered an offensive term in the UK though I understand it isn't so in the US)... just too different. I think Tolkien says in the Letters he is a sort of nature spirit. His lack of interest in the Ring perhaps suggests that he is a different type of being to Sauron and Gandalf. And to elves and mortals come to that. He has no need of it, he has all the power he needs and he may not be able to grasp it's importance. His mind works differently, he has a different perspective and priorities.
Retarded - in a sense that he has something similar like (human) mental disorder. His non ability to understand the importance of the situation, and no one could count on Tom.
I know it sounds raw, but my intentions are not to offend anyone, sorry for that, and my English is far from perfect, since it's not my native language (I am Serbian).

You've maid some very good points, and I agree that everybody have their own perception and view on the situation. However, no matter what are his priorities, I guess one of his priority is to live, and if Sauron got the ring, no one can live. You got what I am saying? That's the most confusing thing to me.
d4rk3lf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2012, 11:12 AM   #7
radagastly
Shade of Carn Dűm
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Washington, D. C., USA
Posts: 302
radagastly is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Originally posted by Mithalwen:
Quote:
I certainly don't think he is "retarded" (which you should be aware is considered an offensive term in the UK though I understand it isn't so in the US)... just too different.
Actually, it is also generally considered offensive and "politically incorrect" here in the U.S.
__________________
But all the while I sit and think of times there were before,
I listen for returning feet and voices at the door.

Last edited by radagastly; 10-16-2012 at 11:14 AM. Reason: X-ed with d4rk3lf
radagastly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2012, 11:19 AM   #8
Mithalwen
Pilgrim Soul
 
Mithalwen's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: watching the wonga-wonga birds circle...
Posts: 9,901
Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.
I realise you didn't - it was just to make you aware. It can be a bit of a minefield even for native speakers. Unfortunately what were originally simply "technical terms" tend to become insults.

I wonder if Tom really could have kept the ring safe. He has power but it is limited. Gandalf doesn't think he could if the might of Mordor were directed at him - he might be the last to fall, but he would fall.
__________________
“But Finrod walks with Finarfin his father beneath the trees in Eldamar.”

Christopher Tolkien, Requiescat in pace
Mithalwen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2012, 11:22 AM   #9
Mithalwen
Pilgrim Soul
 
Mithalwen's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: watching the wonga-wonga birds circle...
Posts: 9,901
Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.
Quote:
Originally Posted by radagastly View Post
Originally posted by Mithalwen:

Actually, it is also generally considered offensive and "politically incorrect" here in the U.S.
I stand corrected - it was in use when I was there but it is quite a long time ago.
__________________
“But Finrod walks with Finarfin his father beneath the trees in Eldamar.”

Christopher Tolkien, Requiescat in pace
Mithalwen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2012, 01:00 PM   #10
d4rk3lf
Pile O'Bones
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 18
d4rk3lf has just left Hobbiton.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mithalwen View Post
I wonder if Tom really could have kept the ring safe. He has power but it is limited. Gandalf doesn't think he could if the might of Mordor were directed at him - he might be the last to fall, but he would fall.
That's Ok.
It's not the problem he couldn't keep ring safe, the problem is that he would even refuse to go to Elrond council. Even to talk about it. To share some of his wisdom.
He would forgot about the ring. He would throw it away.

Imagine a friend who is behaving that way (you gave him a mobile phone, and he is throw that away, because that thing don't interest him).
What would you think of him?

See what i am saying?
d4rk3lf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2012, 01:18 PM   #11
radagastly
Shade of Carn Dűm
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Washington, D. C., USA
Posts: 302
radagastly is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Originally posted by Mithalwen:
Quote:
I stand corrected - it was in use when I was there but it is quite a long time ago.
It is a fairly recent thing.

I believe that much of Tom Bombadil's wacky personality was already established when Tolkien wrote "The Adventures of Tom Bombadil." I don't have "Letters," so I can't really comment on Tolkien's explanation, but I believe he does say something about the hobbits "needing an adventure" before they reached Bree, or something like that. He chose to insert Bombadil at this point as an enigma, something unexplained. He appears in the story at a point where, I believe, some "strangeness" is needed to underscore the transition from the relatively mundane world of the nice, safe Shire into the wider, more dangerous and unpredictable world of All Middle-Earth.

As for Tom being asked to take the Ring to keep it safe, Gandalf's opinion was probably right. It certainly would have made for a very different story if the Council of Elrond had chosen this as a course of action.
__________________
But all the while I sit and think of times there were before,
I listen for returning feet and voices at the door.
radagastly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2012, 04:04 PM   #12
Nogrod
Flame of the Ainulindalë
 
Nogrod's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Wearing rat's coat, crowskin, crossed staves in a field behaving as the wind behaves
Posts: 9,330
Nogrod is wading through the Dead Marshes.Nogrod is wading through the Dead Marshes.Nogrod is wading through the Dead Marshes.Nogrod is wading through the Dead Marshes.Nogrod is wading through the Dead Marshes.Nogrod is wading through the Dead Marshes.
Send a message via MSN to Nogrod
Quote:
Originally Posted by radagastly View Post
I believe he does say something about the hobbits "needing an adventure" before they reached Bree, or something like that. He chose to insert Bombadil at this point as an enigma, something unexplained. He appears in the story at a point where, I believe, some "strangeness" is needed to underscore the transition from the relatively mundane world of the nice, safe Shire into the wider, more dangerous and unpredictable world of All Middle-Earth.
I find this explanation quite a good one. And also, any good literature leaves somethings unexplained - how boring it would be if you could explain everything?

On a second note - and I'm not sure how seriously I'm giving this one - let's think about the philosophical tradition from Plato and Aristotle. The prof was sure well educated with the classics and as a catholic he sure was knowledgeable of the scholastic battles of the Middle-Ages on the nature of God and the question of his perfection...

Now from the tradition of the Greeks we have the idea that a perfect being would probably only concentrate on her/him/itself as a perfect being, as everything else to him (I'll take the common nominator here only for convenience's sake) would be just boringly imperfect and not worth of his time or energy. The argument goes something like this: if some one being is perfect, the imperfections are not interesting as the perfection it can grasp is so overwhelming.

We of today's world might disagree with the premises, but I think Tolkien was still raised into that old world and there the argument could have made sense to some people (his educators?) - while his toying with it might already show that it was not self-evident to him any more, or that he even wished to rebel against that idea by introducing Tom?

So Tom Bombadill is this kind of "perfect being" who needs not to think of anything else, feels no need to think of anything else but himself (in the tradition of Aristotle), but the concept of which the author kind of criticizes by making the reader think he should take some responsibility of the more inferior beings' futures according to the Christian worldview?
__________________
Upon the hearth the fire is red
Beneath the roof there is a bed;
But not yet weary are our feet...
Nogrod is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2012, 04:56 PM   #13
Mithalwen
Pilgrim Soul
 
Mithalwen's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: watching the wonga-wonga birds circle...
Posts: 9,901
Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.
Quote:
Originally Posted by d4rk3lf View Post
That's Ok.
It's not the problem he couldn't keep ring safe, the problem is that he would even refuse to go to Elrond council. Even to talk about it. To share some of his wisdom.
He would forgot about the ring. He would throw it away.

Imagine a friend who is behaving that way (you gave him a mobile phone, and he is throw that away, because that thing don't interest him).
What would you think of him?

See what i am saying?
Yes I do but I still think that Bombadil is so different it doesn't apply. I think he is very much tied to his location his environment. I don't think he would have been able to help the council even if they could have got them there. Rather like in Australia the Aboriginal trackers have a legendary ability to find their way in the outback and to find those who have got lost in it. They wouldn't have the same ability if they were set to find someone in the city.
__________________
“But Finrod walks with Finarfin his father beneath the trees in Eldamar.”

Christopher Tolkien, Requiescat in pace
Mithalwen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2012, 10:27 PM   #14
jallanite
Shade of Carn Dűm
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Toronto
Posts: 479
jallanite is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Tom Bombadil is represented by Tolkien as eccentric, very eccentric. As Sam says:
He’s a caution and no mistake. I reckon we may go a good deal further and see naught better, nor queerer.
By a caution and queerer Sam means that Tom Bombadil is eccentric.

Should eccentric folk not appear in The Lord of the Rings? That seems to be the main problem that d4rk3lf has with Tom Bombadil, that he simply won’t fit in. But as Gandalf explains it, Tom Bombadil just can’t fit in. Yet Gandalf obviously respects him immensely, even though outside his territory Bombadil is apparently of very little use.

As Tolkien writes in letter 144 of Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien:
The story is cast in terms of a good side, and a bad side, beauty against ruthless ugliness, tyranny against kingship, moderated freedom with consent against compulsion that has long lost any object save mere power, and so on; but both sides in some degree, conservative or destructive, want a measure of control. but if you have, as it were taken ‘a vow of poverty’, renounced control, and take your delight in things for themselves without reference to yourself, watching, observing, and to some extent knowing, then the question of the rights and wrongs of power and control might become utterly meaningless to you, and the means of power quite valueless. It is a natural pacifist view, which always arises in the mind when there is a war. But the view of Rivendell seems to be that it is an excellent thing to have represented, but that there are in fact things with which it cannot cope; and upon which its existence nonetheless depends.
One famous eccentric is talked of at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emperor_Norton . Another is talked of at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grigori_Perelman . Of course neither is Tom Bombadil. But it would also have done Elrond no use to summon either to his Council. Emperor Norton would probably have had nothing to say to the point and Grigori Perelman has a history of refusing such supposed honours.

But presumably part of the point is that Elrond summoned hardly anyone to his Council which he did not know about until most had already arrived, apparently by chance and it became apparent that a Council was desperately needed.
jallanite is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:50 AM.



Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.