View Single Post
Old 11-01-2015, 02:35 AM   #44
Haunting Spirit
Aaron's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: England
Posts: 96
Aaron has just left Hobbiton.
Originally Posted by Morthoron View Post
I do not see how someone with even the wildest imagination (or one driven by the bitterest cynicism, for that matter) could view Bombadil as malignant. Tolkien does not portray Tom in an evil light. Unconventional? Certainly. Mischievous? Perhaps. But far from being evil, he was a delight from his first appearance when I originally read the book as a child....ummm....some time far back in the last century.

There is precedent for Tolkien coloring a noble character with ill-intent when he introduced Aragorn in the Prancing Pony, he who seemed foul but was fair. We meet Aragorn as a sinister and hooded shadow in the corner of the common room, seemingly spying on Frodo and his friends, and even Barliman Butterbur viewed the Ranger with trepidation -- heightening the unease of the reader.

Bombadil? He is animated, dancing, jovial, brightly colored, rhyming, and saving the Hobbits from Old Man Willow when he first arrives. He is the polar opposite of the deadly serious black Wraiths who chase the Hobbits.

I am sorry, but I just don't see how his character can be so misconstrued.
No need to be sorry! This whole thread is about the perception of the individual. Friendly disagreements are par the course

But as to how I came to my own perception of old Tom?
Childish caprice, and too many outward shows of being - as you say - animated, dancing, jovial, brightly colored, rhyming.
Any being with power enough to fight evil, who does not use that power, are themselves morally suspect in my book. I have little cocnept of 'neutrality', and even less so in such a dire situation as the one Frodo and his friends found themselves in.
More, his infantile behaviour leads me to believe that there were a great many travellers he could have saved from Old Man Willow, but didn't. And that, ultimately, the Hobbits were merely the beneficiaries of his passing curiosity, as opposed to any genuine benevolence on Bombadil's part.
And, as master of his own domain, I tend to view a lot of the hostility of the Old Forest as elements of his own personality shining through, a bitterness he hides behind a smiling face.

I just don't see how anyone could take this wandering spirit at face value. A spirit who lives in a forest rife with danger and active malevolence, a spirit who can control these malevolent entities, but refuses to outright destroy them*. And a spirit who seemingly does all he can to wear a disguise which is pleasing and vaguely familiar, who actively attempts to disarm you with rhyme and nonsense.
I stand by my opinion. I genuinely believe that Bombadil is a monstrous, vindictive spirit - and from my first reading I had a real sense that something with him was completely wrong.

*Control in the sense of being able to drive them away with mere words. Tom is master of his land, but I believe the books also state that every tree is also "master of itself", or some such.
Remember, stranger, passing by: As you are now, so once was I. As I am now, so you shall be. Prepare thyself to follow me.

Last edited by Aaron; 11-01-2015 at 07:41 AM.
Aaron is offline   Reply With Quote