Tom Bombadil

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Tom Bombadil

Postby WarlKicken » Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:37 am

Good Morning my fellow Ankh-Morporkians, Discworlders and Rif-Raf and Happy Friday to boot!

I've recently ventured into Middle Earth and my quest to read the Lord of the Rings has begun. I mentioned this in another thread and got told all sorts of nonsense and ill speak of Tom Bombadil! I've just encoutered him and he seems like a decent enough chap to be honest!

My question; What is with the "bad", "boring", "pointless" reputation this quite intriguing character in the book actually has?

I found him to be utterly bizarre and wondered what on this Earth, let alone Middle Earth, Tolkien was thinking about when he created such a strange addition! He is brilliant and can only think he was left out of the films due to time constraints. Lovely chap is Ol Tom!

I ask those all who told me to skip the chapters, ignore them and pay no attention, why?
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Postby pip » Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:46 am

I liked him and i liked the couple of verses about him in 'The adventures of Tom Bombadil'
He was left out of the film judged as a waste of time but he seems to be an important part of what nature is in Middle Earth .
And hes a bit mentle but fun . :D I'm with you. Don't skip the chapters :D
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Postby ChristianBecker » Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:47 am

Prolly because taste differs from person to person.
I myself like Tom Bombadil as well and found it a pity he wasn't in the book.

What inspired Tolkien to create such a bizarre and mysterious (older than Middle Earth) character I cannot fathom. Perhaps he ate a funny mushroom or there was something in his tobacco.

I think that in Tom Tolkien has a cameo in the book.
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Postby WarlKicken » Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:56 am

I think that in Tom Tolkien has a cameo in the book.


I really like this theory. Tolkien as a bumbling, all singing, all dancing, eccentric hero in his own work.

Smashing idea and one I hadn't even thought of. I know little of Tolkien to be honest.
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Postby Penfold » Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:59 am

I think it's probably because he doesn't really add to the story (neither does he particularly detract from it either, imo). Mind you, he does 'lighten' the atmosphere in a book that doesn't contain much in the way of humour. :P

Oh, and hellooo and welcome by the way. :D
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Postby pip » Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:59 am

Read an interesting book called the Inklings about the Inklings group in Oxford which gives a good background to the man. :D
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Postby Conforumist » Fri Jun 17, 2011 10:13 am

My biggest disappointment was, that he was not in the movies. I know that ultimately, he made no difference, but he is just sooo cool!
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Postby Tonyblack » Fri Jun 17, 2011 11:36 am

That's just it - his appearance makes no difference to the story whatsoever. His part in the story was an obvious section to cut out of the movies. I found him annoying and pointless. The section with him in kind of destroyed the suspense that had built up to that point and it wasn't until they left him that the pace picked up again.

I know some people like him, I just can't see it myself. :wink:
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Postby Dotsie » Fri Jun 17, 2011 11:49 am

Yeah, I didn't get him. But bits that slow the suspense will always be left out of films - leaving the shire for example took flipping ages in the book, in the film it was a midnight dash for safety.
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Fri Jun 17, 2011 12:19 pm

*Lore nazi warning - it's gonna be a big one guys!* :shock:

Why did Tony and I say you might like to skip past Mr B? It's mainly to do with the interlude in the Old Forest being the first major piece of heavy-handed repetition in the storyline and also, because of the OTT potty poetry and 'whimsicality' in general it stands out like a sore thumb in amongst the spooky and violent bits that start to come in after the 4 hobbits leave the Shire borders. If you've only seen the films then Tom Bombadil is a major shock to the system as you can probably guess because it's so at odds with the rest of the book that follows. It's like thinking you're about to see a movie about the Earp v Clanton showdown at the OK Corral and then finding it's actually a Rocky-Horror meets The Village People spoof starring Graham Norton and The Rock... :lol:

Pip's right more or less, but to come back to what I was saying about repetition, for a new reader, especially a young one (I was 10 when I first read it and fell in love, but foundered badly in the Old Forest and nearly didn't go on) it's truly annoying to find that Frodo and Co, having already got frightened a bit, befriended by an unexpected rescue party and then lost in the Woody End and in the Marish, not once but twice (by Gildor and the Elves and then by Farmer Maggot and Merry) are once again going through the same old rigaramole yet again. :roll: LotR was my first adult book and I was completely enthralled from the outset, but when they got to the Old Forest all ready for adventure and excitingly dastardly Black Riders right on their heels, they get into this big old wood and get hot and bothered and keep stopping for food and I'm like - why are they doing this again? As you've met Tom I can say that the tree eating bit was great but the big rescue bit - singing them out of the bloody thing? WTF?! :lol: The callousness of youth - such gems of literature are wasted on us and it took me a very long time to appreciate Tom's better qualities, but the argument still stands by and large - the story doesn't need him in there particularly (aside from being an early warning system for what lies ahead in Fangorn) and cinematically he's a Big Bird of a Turkey so far as the genre side of it goes. So much for Pop Culture :P

However from a lore perspective *goes into goosestep mode* he's actually really important to the storyline in relation to the nature of The One Ring. Nothing to do with Old Man Willow, although that's an indication of his own powers, but Frodo's experience with him does involve a bit of a spoiler for the action from Bree onwards and if you haven't already got to it I won't say very much but I did recommend you went back in for the Fog on the Barrow Downs chapter as that's where the action really starts to hammer home and is the point where most people are finally well and truly hooked as the tension starts to wind up really thoroughly (and why there's all the faffing about and not taking things too seriously in these early misadventures so it highlights the really scary stuff to come). You just have to hang in there and trust in Tolkien's storytelling skills if you're not the sort of person who enjoys kitchen sink dramas alongside the epic stuff.

If you get into the Middle Earth milieu thoroughly and go on to conquer The Silmarillion :roll: (now there's a barmy Genesis and Exodus for you! :twisted: ) then Tom gets progressively more and more interesting because he defies definition in the supernatural side of things but Goldberry we do know for sure is one of the Ainur (daughter of Uinen, the River Queen and Osse the sailors guardian angel for anyone who's interested still :wink: ). Mushrooms I think did indeed come into it when Tolkien was writing Tom and, in the late 60s when the book was released for the 1st time in one huge paperback, it proved very popular with the psychodelia brigade because of that dreamy trippy atmos that it gave the tale. From that PoV it proves the timeless appeal of the book, as underlined in this century by the success of Jackson's Trilogy, because in some respects LotR is hopelessly old-fashioned, from a different era almost sometimes, but it such a classic book it doesn't matter because of Tolkien's versatility as a storyteller which ranges around almost seamlessly in this book. He really was a remarkable writer who was, like Terry, able to use humour, pathos, drama, introspection and satire too to weave the magic, even though when you come down to it there's precious little of that so far as the mechanics go in the story itself.

That's it. :D Lecture over. If you ever want to talk Tolkien seriously click my sig and we can jaw at (even more) length 8) :lol:
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Postby pip » Fri Jun 17, 2011 1:39 pm

All i got from that was that i was right. :lol:

But good lecture Jan :D
I was 17 when i first read LOTR so maybe the extra maturity made me appreciate Tom more. :D
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Postby Tonyblack » Fri Jun 17, 2011 2:03 pm

pip wrote:All i got from that was that i was right. :lol:

But good lecture Jan :D
I was 17 when i first read LOTR so maybe the extra maturity made me appreciate Tom more. :D
I was 51, it didn't help me a bit. :lol:
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Postby pip » Fri Jun 17, 2011 2:06 pm

some of us mature quicker :lol:
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Fri Jun 17, 2011 2:53 pm

:P
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Postby Doughnut Jimmy » Fri Jun 17, 2011 8:33 pm

ChristianBecker wrote:Prolly because taste differs from person to person.
I myself like Tom Bombadil as well and found it a pity he wasn't in the book.

What inspired Tolkien to create such a bizarre and mysterious (older than Middle Earth) character I cannot fathom. Perhaps he ate a funny mushroom or there was something in his tobacco.

I think that in Tom Tolkien has a cameo in the book.


I see Tom Bombadil as having a lot of Puck about him, a powerful and ancient spirit who isn't affected by the usual rules, and therefore he fits neatly onto the edge of the Shire.

Although the episode may be incidental to the main plot development its an interesting exploration of another bit of middle earth. One of the great things about LOTR is the realisation and depth of the world.
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