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Old 02-14-2016, 11:02 PM   #32
Haunting Spirit
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 84
Balfrog has just left Hobbiton.
To be fair to Jallanite – I did take a step back and reconsider whether this theory was not up to par with others. I've posted something very similar on the 'Plaza' but in my opinion – it is.

One of the points I want to make is that after pondering the legitimacy of Priya Seth's article – I have come to the conclusion that it is pretty well grounded. In comparing it to two of the most well known theories about Tom Bombadil – I think that it actually has a better foundation than those. The one's that I am thinking of are:

(I) Gene Hargrove's - Who is Tom Bombadil?
(II) Steuard Jensen's - What is Tom Bombadil?

Hargrove's theory revolves around Tom being a Vala – namely Aule. Yet he freely admits all “the evidence is circumstantial”. For there is nothing in Tolkien's writings that explicitly links Tom to be a Vala let alone Aule.

Similarly Jensen admits that Tolkien does not ever define a class of beings as explicitly Nature Spirits.
He quite honestly points out that any evidence pre-Lotr is shaky, including Tolkien's mention of “Sprites” in the Lost Tales and the “spirit of the … Oxford and Berkshire countryside” per Letter #19.

In contrast Priya Seth's theory of Tom being an allegory of the 'Audience/Orchestra' of a mentally conceived play, to me, is more solid because of:

(a) Letter# 153, which was written after FotR and where Tolkien explicitly states that Tom “is an allegory”
(b) Tolkien stressing 'allegory' in Letter # 153 through the use of quotation marks.

W can argue what type of allegory (and whether Tolkien left it vague deliberately) later because I can sympathize with Priya that Tolkien was reluctant to play his full hand. I certainly don't want to argue with the man from his grave. But if he himself said that Tom was an 'allegory' then that should be good enough to be able to construct a theory around.

Moreover Priya's theory is further enhanced because of usage of quotes from the 1964 Mroczkowski letter. We should not forget that there are at least a couple of letters involving Tom that both Hargrove's and Jensen's theories have not been updated for.

Given all of the above, I do not really see how anyone can reasonably argue that Priya Seth's theory is not valid, and doesn't deserve to stand alongside others.
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