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Old 03-27-2008, 07:20 AM   #51
Hookbill the Goomba
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Hookbill the Goomba is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Hookbill the Goomba is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Hookbill the Goomba is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Hookbill the Goomba is lost in the dark paths of Moria.
Thumbs up Bombadil the bold?

A thought struck me.

While writing an essay on the Bombadil poem for university, I had to try and make some sort of interpretation of the character based on his actions. I was quite worried about this, seeing as any interpretation of Bombadil is bound to come up against opposition from a hundred other Tolkien fans.
But this thing struck me as a useful way of looking at him. Here is what I said...

Quote:
The voice in the Bombadil poem is almost childish; it is very playful and rarely threatening. Even though some of the images are quite horrific; a tree that eats people and the ghostly Barrow Wight could well be terror inducing if allowed their share of description and development (which, by-the-by they get in The Lord of the Rings).
However, Tom seems to be able to deal with these horrors quite easily. His songs appear to have a certain power over them and even the badgers submit to his will when he sings. The picture we are left with is one of a very unusual character who, no matter what terrors await him, is able to deal with them calmly and efficiently. The lessons in this poem (I do not think they are the point of the poem at large, however) point towards a life where the horrors do not own people. The ending of the poem emphasises Tom’s attitude to life;

Old Tom Bombadil heeded not the voices,
Taps, knocks, dancing feet, all the nightly noises;
Slept till the sun arose, then sang like a starling:
‘Hey! Come derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling!’
Sitting on the door-step chopping sticks of willow,
While fair Goldberry combed her tresses yellow.


The impression we get of Bombadil’s home life is one of complete freedom, not enthralled by the terrors of the forest and even taking a previously threatening water spirit for his wife. The playful words of his nonsensical song empress upon us how startlingly strange he is. When we live in a world where the horrors (in Tolkien’s day, it may have been the threat of Hitler’s Germany) are broadcast to us daily, Tom’s attitude seems singularly unnerving. What some have dubbed the ‘childish innocence’ of the poem plays on this, exposing the fears as unimportant in the grand scheme of things. Not that Tom does not deal with the problems, but rather, does not let them dominate his life.
Now, with regards to this chapter in the book I think this still applies. Bombadil has this 'detached' attitude, the dangers of the wood don't scare him, nor do the Barrow Wights (we'll have to work harder, folks ). Whatever Tom is, his attitude is rather startling, isn't it? The only thing that worries him is damaging the water lilies, seemingly.

Any thoughts?
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Last edited by Hookbill the Goomba; 03-27-2008 at 07:42 AM.
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