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Old 12-11-2017, 06:11 AM   #13
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
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Okay - Michaelmas. I was all ready to point out that literally every day is a Catholic saint day, but the Quarter Days argument is convincing. The four Quarter Days are:

-Christmas Day, December 25th - the Fellowship leave Rivendell.
-Lady Day/Annunciation, March 25th - the downfall of Sauron. (Also traditionally New Year's Day.)
-Midsummer Day, June 24th - Mid-Year's day is when Gandalf wrote his letter at Bree in 3018; in 3019, it was the day of Aragorn and Arwen's wedding.
-Michaelmas, September 29th - in 3018, the hobbits escape the Barrow-Downs (but why would they want to leave?! ) and meet Aragorn in Bree. In 3021, the White Ship sails.

As well as being Christian festivals, the Quarter Days are the days for hiring new servants and settling accounts. It's worth noting that the events of all four days can be interpreted as this:

-Departure of the Fellowship, meeting with Aragorn: 'hiring servants', ie, new people join the quest.
-Fall of Sauron, Aragorn's wedding, the White Ship: 'settling accounts', ie, people receive their rewards.

Bombadil rescuing the hobbits from the Barrow kind of spans both, in that he shows up 'unexpectedly' (having already said farewell), and then promptly pays the hobbits for their time (). It doesn't have quite the same metaphorical level of detail as the other examples, though.

Michaelmas is certainly the most crowded of those days, with a lot going on. And you know what, I can kind of see the Archangel Bombadil argument. Specifically, Michaelmas 3018 is a transfer of protector-ness. It opens with Bombadil as a magical figure, casting down the enemy and giving out rewards - a very 'Hobbit-tale' method of protection. By the end of the day, though, we've not only passed out of the Shire-lands - we've passed into a new type of protection. Aragorn isn't a bombastic, singing mage who can crush everything that stands in their way; he's a far more realistic character, who will nevertheless give his life for Frodo if needs be.

(Incidentally, the fact that Frodo is buried in a tomb only to rise again the next morning right at the cusp of his entry into Middle-earth proper just might have some religious antecedents... )

So you know what? Yes, it seems plausible that Tolkien deliberately drew on religious concepts to build his world, just like he did linguistic and archaeological ones (it's a barrow, folks...!). But that doesn't mean that 'Tom Bombadil === Archangel Michael' holds true across the entirety of the character, any more than 'the Sindar must live in Wales because Sindarin was inspired by Welsh' does. (And if you don't think I could rattle off a whole list of Welsh-connections with the Sindar... ^_^)

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