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Old 04-16-2008, 02:43 AM   #33
Legate of Amon Lanc
A Voice That Gainsayeth
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bęthberry View Post
There's one aspect of the Tom and Goldberry as nature spirits theory that I don't think has been addressed. When the Valar departed Middle-earth, they left it in Melkor's control. Sometimes Yavanna and others attempted to mend the effects of this evil presence, but their efforts were sporadic and did not extend over all of Arda. So, if Arda is marred, if Middle-earth is tainted by the evil and chaos of Melkor, does that not mean that all of the natural world is fallen? Nature cannot therefore be either neutral or positive, but must be something to be fought against, for fear of succumbing to Melkor's taint. And even with the defeat of Melkor, was this pollution repaired? I don't think so but perhaps there is some archane comment in one of the secondary sources that addresses this point.

So, if Goldberry (and Tom) are spirits of the natural world, are they part of this marring? The violence in ATB suggests as much, while the domestic peace of LotR would suggest something else.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bęthberry View Post
There's a couple of things which interest me here. First, it is quite remarkable in that Goldberry is clearly equated with those creatures who are hostile to Tom. She is "like" Old Man Willow, the badget-folk, the Barrow Wight. After all, she pulled Tom's hair and pulled him in under the water. I cannot see how Goldberry could be related to Maiar or Valar given these circumstances. She belongs to the animated natural world which is some threat to Tom.
These are interesting points, however I think they both present the extreme point of view. To me at least, they seem unnecessarily taking things to the extreme. Concerning the first one, indeed, as it was mentioned, I see it more like something being very close to the picture of the Fall of Man in Christianity (and I am quite inclined to think that it was intended). I am not familiar with the concept of Morgoth's Ring in depth, but from personal view I would see that the nature is good in origin, HOWEVER marred. But that does not make it evil by itself - one can drink water and that does not hurt him; or does it? The ultimate result is only that the marred Arda must be, at last, repaired, rebuilt in some way. And exactly as it was said, the concept of Morgoth's Ring would, I believe, help us if we look at Bombadil through it - as in that case, he would be obviously (somehow) part of Arda before its Marring. It may sound daring, but look at what we know about him, or what Goldberry says about him (or he himself), it would have to be like that.

Now to the second one, which I find very interesting. Tom is all right - but what about Goldberry? If she were a Maia, then it's again all right, as the would not be "marred" in any way (or would she?). If she were a daughter of Ossë and Uinen, still okay. If she were a daughter of Ossë&Uinen's child and something else (a spirit of the river, something like an Ent? An Elf? ), it would still be okay (as these spirits come from "elsewhere" - or Elves are Children of Ilúvatar, of course). The only moment when she would be "marred" could be if she is "river"-daughter, simply as we take it, then if she "sprung out" of created things. It may be that she were "begotten" by the already marred nature. However let us not forget that beings of own free will don't come out of nowhere in M-E, and ultimately, if Goldberry has free will or her own fëa (well, maybe she has not?), then in any case, she would have to be given the life by Eru - like the Dwarves, at maximum. Then, speaking very vulgarly, her body would be marred, but her spirit would be good and capable of remaining even across the destruction of Morgoth's Ring.

However, one more thing about the nature of water. Even assuming that Goldberry is in some way coming out of water, her profile would still be quite fine! Why? Because water, out of all materials of Arda, was closest to the Music, and it is overall presented as something positive (Melkor wished to destroy it; Black Riders could not cross the water !!! etc.).

And as to her "sinisterness" and the relationship of Tom and her, as presented in the Adventures of TB, like I said, Bęthberry, I think you are unnecessarily sharpening the point. Let us not forget that it is a poem, and a hobbit poem, a playful poem (definitely), and actually I had always the impression that it's the other way around: not like that by putting in the same line with other creatures threatening Tom, Goldberry would be made something sinister, but oppositely, the Barrow-Wight and Old Man Willow put in line with such creatures like Goldberry or some badger ( ) are made less sinister-looking. That's the overall playful nature of the poem: the BW is not presented as the horrifying monster as we know it from the Fog on the Barrow-Downs, but like a funny spook who comes and haunts children (indeed, with whom hobbit parents scare their children when they are naughty).

Last, as a related thing to Goldberry-Tom relationship in the poem, I would link here to Mr.Hookbill's thoughts posted here, which I find very good, very interesting and inspiring.
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