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Old 10-10-2002, 11:28 AM   #1
ainur
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In UT "The Hunt for the Ring" it says
Quote:
the Black Captain established a camp at Andrath, where the Greenway passed in a defile between the Barrow-downs and the South Downs . . .While he himself visited the Barrow-downs. In notes on the movements of the Black Riders at that time it is said that the Black Captain stayed there for some days, and Barrow-wights were roused, and all things of evil spirit, hostile to Elves and Men, were on the watch with malice in the Old Forest and on the Barrow-downs.
This is in a section of summary by CT, not a direct quote from JRRT's writings or notes.
This camp was established after the Black Riders had taken Sarn Ford on the night of September the 22nd, and four riders (according to tRotK-appendix B) had entered the Shire to seek "Baggins" and the ring (Khamul was the Black Rider that had words with The Gaffer on the evening of the 23rd in Hobbiton, just as Frodo, Sam and Pippin were leaving.) The hobbits reached Bombadil's house on the 26th in the evening and stayed through the 27th, leaving on the 28th in the morning.
I have several questions about this delay of a day. How much did Tom and Goldberry know about the Witch King's invasion of the Downs? Tom says he was not looking for the hobbits, but later it is revealed that he had messages from Gildor, and possibly information from Farmer Maggot as well. Was the one-day delay on Tom's part done to protect the hobbits without revealing to them the real danger they were in? It rained all day on the 27th because it was "Goldberry's washing day." What was she washing? The residue of evil left by the Witch King? The tracks of the hobbits through the Old Forest? and, was the Witch King still on the Downs when the hobbits were safe in the House of Tom Bombadil? Was the rain a spell to protect and hide them? Why would Tom let them go to the Downs by themselves if he knew danger was so near? The Downs were clearly part if "his little land" that he would not pass out of, or he would not have ended up riding with them to the East Road. Just what did Tom know, and when did he know it?
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Old 10-10-2002, 11:55 AM   #2
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It seems to me that Bombadil would definitely have known if such evil was on his land. I guess he was trying to protect the hobbits! Good idea!
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Old 10-10-2002, 02:22 PM   #3
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I'm not sure that Tom knew about the riders. Perhaps he could feel that there was an evil near. As for the washing day, I think that it was just sort of a coincidence. I kindof pictured Goldberry washing clothes or something. Tom knew about the danger of the wights, and he warned the hobbits about them. Tom had many things to do, he did not really want to go with the hobbits, but he also liked the hobbits and did not want them to come to any harm. While they were within his boarders he would help them but not beyond that. Tom knew a lot of things, but he did not really care about other peoples probeblems very much. It is not that he was mean but he simply forgot or had other things to do that seemed more importent. Anyway, that is my opinion.
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Old 10-10-2002, 02:44 PM   #4
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Great topic!

I don't doubt that Bombadil knew of the dangers on the Downs and maybe he let them stay another day for their protection, yet I do not think that the rain was an excuse for him. I guess that if he wanted them to stay another day, he would have asked or commanded them anyhow.
Goldberry's waching day was, I think, coincidence, though it may be that she was cleaning other things as well as clothes. I do not know and I don't think we ever will.

And as for letting them ride alone over the Downs without him or any protection, I think you are wrong. He did teach them his song and he told them not to leave the grass. He thought it his duty, I suppose, to get the Hobbits out of his lands safely and when they could not do that alone he brought them alone. Bombadil did not go further to Bree, because, as he told the Hobbits, there ended his country and Goldberry was waiting. I do not coubt that this was true, but I guess also that he knew that they were watched there (by Aragorn), and maybe he even set them of the borders of his country there because he knew Aragorn was there at the time.

I never thought of it before, it just popped in my mind.

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Old 10-11-2002, 03:12 AM   #5
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I feel that Tom didn't want to appear to help the hobbits too much. He wanted to keep them safe, hence the litle song, but he didn't want them to become dependant on him, so he didn't accompany them.

The hobbits needed to grow. So far, they had relied on others when they got into trouble: Gildor, Farmer Maggot and Tom. On the Barrow Downs, Frodo found the strength to act for himself in tacking the Barrow-wight. Tom, by letting make their own way to Bree, was giving them the opportunity to become more confident and self-reliant.
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Old 10-11-2002, 09:36 AM   #6
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hmm... but was it just chance that brought Aragorn their at that very moment and time? I find it just hard to believe.

greetings again,
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Old 10-11-2002, 10:56 AM   #7
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It says in UT that one reason the rangers could not hold out against the Black Riders at Sarn Ford was because their captain (Aragorn) was away north, watching the East Road. It doesn't say whether he knew to expect the hobbits to come through there or not, or whether it was coincidence. His behavior in Bree seems to indicate that he knew they would be travelling at that time of year. If Bombadil had messages from Gildor, is it possible that the Rangers did as well?
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Old 10-11-2002, 01:01 PM   #8
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from a post a couple of pages back re: Gioldor I posted

"Gildor knew that the Dunedain kept watch {aragorn was almost certainly one of those warned by Gildor's highly effective communications network.
All told we know it reached Aragorn, Bombadil and Rivendell, ...


Bombadil was [ as I said earlier of Goldor] "practicing what the taoists call Wu-Wei. Acting w/out self-interest. I believe although puzzled and alarmed by the situation he weighed his possible responses in his heart and saw that it was not his or his companies part to escort them further."

had they sailed thru the downs stright to Bree, they would have been w/out swords, specifically the Sword that later helped kill the Witch-King.

While I doubt Bombadil forsaw exactly that, i do not doubt he was 'in tune w/ the moment and the need for the Hobbits to try it alone, the teaching of the rhyme supports this.

As for the Goldberry washing, I love it! washing away the defilement of the witch-King, perfect job for the River-woman's daughter.

Excellent post Ainur!
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Old 02-09-2003, 06:13 AM   #9
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I think that if Tom had been more aware of the terrible dangers facing Frodo, he would have accompanied the hobbits the whole way. After the barrow, he rode with them all the way to the road, which marked the bounds of his little realm. To this day, I still can't figure out how Aragorn was in exactly the right spot! Of course, he does have keen eyesight and may have been able to spot them from far away. I'm sure that Tom Bombadil on Fatty Lumpkin would be quite a sight.

Unless you subscribe to the theory that he is Ilúvatar, it is difficult to imagine that he set the hobbits up for their barrow experience. Although they experienced a lot, got some very important trinkets for later, and had a bit of a naked romp, it was a very dangerous predicament to be in (Gandalf himself thought it was the most dangerous point up until Rivendell).

I think that Tom referring to Goldberry's 'Washing Day' was just his quite little name for when it rained. I think the only things being washed were the plants, and that Goldberry's being mentioned in connection with the rain just shows more fully her background as a water spirit. Of course, she was probably outside in the rain all day. Remember that when she sat down she always had her feet in water. The rainy day just seemed to fit in nicely, allowing the hobbits (and the readers) time to sit back and chill, and listen to some stories. I think Tolkien is actively condoning the practice. I love those rainy Tom Bombadil days.
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Old 02-07-2009, 09:02 PM   #10
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First, let me say that I am "ainur." I lost my password in a server (or provider) change, and recreated myself as "radagastly."

I am still convinced that Goldberry's "washing day" was more than just a coincidental rain. I also believe that the reason that Tom Bombadil kept the Hobbits in his house for an extra day was because he knew that they would be in more danger if he let them go while the Witch-King of Angmar was still prowling the Old Forest and the Barrow Downs. Goldberry's "rain" washed away the Hobbits footprints, and any sign of their passing, but re-quelled the Old Forest, calmed them, off-setting the Lord of the Nazgul's taint. Rinsed it away, as it were. They would never have made it to the Barrow Downs without the Old Forest letting them go. That was Tom's choice, and Goldberry's. Not the "Forest's."

Quote:
I think that if Tom had been more aware of the terrible dangers facing Frodo, he would have accompanied the hobbits the whole way. After the barrow, he rode with them all the way to the road, which marked the bounds of his little realm. To this day, I still can't figure out how Aragorn was in exactly the right spot! Of course, he does have keen eyesight and may have been able to spot them from far away. I'm sure that Tom Bombadil on Fatty Lumpkin would be quite a sight.
I suspect that Tom Bombadil has very keen eyesight as well. He very probably brought the Hobbits to just the right place on his border so that Aragorn could hear their conversation. I never saw coincidence in that, only design.
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Old 02-07-2009, 10:03 PM   #11
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For now just two comments:
1) an interesting thread, I'm glad
Ainur/Radagastly restarted it, will
probably post on the subject later.
2) A similar name problem happened to me
and I had to go with a variant name. Oh, well.
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Old 02-08-2009, 05:59 PM   #12
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Quote:
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I love those rainy Tom Bombadil days.
Aye. Have you ever read George MacDonald's description of a washing rain? Glorious. And rather Bombadil-ish, in my mind.

Love the sig.
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Old 02-09-2009, 06:45 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by ainur View Post
The hobbits reached Bombadil's house on the 26th in the evening and stayed through the 27th, leaving on the 28th in the morning.
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Originally Posted by radagastly View Post
I am still convinced that Goldberry's "washing day" was more than just a coincidental rain. I also believe that the reason that Tom Bombadil kept the Hobbits in his house for an extra day was because he knew that they would be in more danger if he let them go while the Witch-King of Angmar was still prowling the Old Forest and the Barrow Downs.
I completely agree with you. Tom must have known that the Witch-King was visiting the Wights in the Barrows and kept the hobbits in his house for an extra day to let the WK finish his business and depart. To prove it we now have new quotes from the Hunt For the Ring published in the Reader's Companion:
Quote:
" four of the Riders pursue Rangers along Greenway, and having slain them or driven them off Eastwards, make a camp at Andrath [...] [The Witch-king] now visits the Barrowdowns and stops there some days (probably until late on 27). This proves a main error, though in fact it was nearly successful, since the Barrowwights are roused, and all things of evil spirit hostile to Elves and Men are on the watch with malice in the Old Forest and on the Barrowdowns. RC, p. 145
Moreover, on September 27 there was an additional danger lurking around : two nazgul were unsuccessfuly searching for the WK somewhere on the Downs:
Quote:
[Khamûl sends] sends [two nazgul] along the East Road, with orders to report to [the Witch-king] the eastward movement of the Ring [...][The two sent east] pass along the East Road, and visit Bree and 'The Prancing Pony'. They then go in search of [the Witch-king] but cannot at once find him [until 27th September]. - RC, p.164
So on September 27 (Goldberry's washing day) the Witch King was visiting the Wights in their Barrows, two wet and miserable nazgul were wandering on the Downs, and Tom kept the hobbits cozy and dry in his house. On the night of Sept. 27-28, the 3 nazgul, after a happy reunion, left together for Andrath, and the following morning (Sept 28) Tom bid the Hobbits farewell.

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Old 02-10-2009, 12:19 AM   #14
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Great thread and posts.

I think your explanations are reasonable, and in fact supported by several lines of evidence. It may in fact be noteworthy that the Hobbits heard no "nightly noises" on their second night (the night of the 27th, by which time the Witch King and the two Nazgul must have left the Barrow Downs). I had previously taken these "nightly noises" as just the over-active imaginations of the Hobbits, but it seems to make sense that this in fact was the evil things in the Old Forest roused by the visit of the Witch King.

And as has been mentioned, Bombadil clearly had a good deal more knowledge of who was in the neighborhood than he let on initially, so I don't doubt that he was aware of the visit of the WK just to the east. The presence of Aragorn to the north may be less important for the story, but there is perhaps a hint here also that Bombadil knew he was there, since in commenting on the jewels and swords they find in the Barrow, he mentions that the swords were
.
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..forged many long years ago by Men of Westernesse: they were foes of the Dark Lord, but they were overcome by the evil king of Carn Dum in the Land of Angmar.
'Few now remember them,' Tom murmured, 'yet still some go wandering, sons of forgotten kings walking in loneliness, guarding from evil things folk that are heedless.'
If this were not a direct enough reference to the Dunadan, the hobbits are then visited with a vision of the Dunadan and Aragorn:
Quote:
...a vision as it were of a great expanse of years behind them, like a vast shadowy plain over which there strode shapes of Men, tall and grim with bright swords, and last came one with a star on his brow.
Of course, it is one of the themes of the Bombadil chapter that the Hobbits are visited by visions, whether while waking or asleep, and that these visions are somehow connected with the power of Bombadil.
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Old 02-24-2009, 06:50 PM   #15
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Hello folks, this is my first post here. Nice to find a forum where so many folks are seriously discussing Tolkien's work.

I've thought about Bombadil a bit. Now he may be an anomaly, but in my view he is quintessential to the books, because he shows Tolkiens world is essentially one of powers.
This is evident when Gandalf tells Frodo about his imprisonment in Orthanc.

('Yes, I, Gandalf the Grey,' said the wizard solemnly. 'There are many
powers in the world, for good or for evil. Some are greater than I am. Against
some I have not yet been measured. But my time is coming)

This is defined in a spheric, or topical world way. Each 'power' (this is of course the Valar and Maiar, but also the Istari and the ringwielders) has its field of influence, or care/stewardship. This is evident in Rivendell and Lorien being places where the decay of the world is halted for some time, and the memory of the ancient days of Middle-Earth can still be felt. Elrond and Galadriel both have, through their rings, a stewardship of sorts, but of a physical place.

Gandalf is also a steward, but in a more general sense: he is a carer for the children of Iluvatar. He says exactly this to Theoden on his suicide rampage ('I too, am a steward')

From the Silmarillion:
Wisest of the Maiar was Olórin. He too dwelt in Lórien, but his ways took him often to the house of Nienna, and of her he learned pity and patience (...) though he loved the Elves, he walked among them unseen, or in form as one of them, and they did not know whence came the fair visions or the promptings of wisdom that he put into their hearts. In later days he was the friend of all the Children of Ilúvatar, and took pity on their sorrows; and those who listened to him awoke from despair and put away the imaginations of darkness. (Silmarillion)

He is after all, ‘a servant of the secret fire’ and ‘wielder of the flame of Anor’ (which is the ring Narya, the ring of fire):

It is described as having the power to inspire others to resist tyranny, domination, and despair (in other words, evoking hope from others around the wielder), as well as giving resistance to the weariness of time: "Take now this Ring," he said; "for thy labours and thy cares will be heavy, but in all it will support thee and defend thee from weariness. For this is the Ring of Fire, and herewith, maybe, thou shalt rekindle hearts to the valour of old in a world that grows chill" (Círdan the Shipwright to Gandalf)..

Being a power (a good power at least) essentially involves being a steward. Look also at Melian and her girdle. Aragorn who spends many years protecting the Shire and other parts of the world.
Saruman who becomes steward (and eventually a locked-in gatekeeper) of his own fortress. This is true for Sauron as well, who wields his power in the form of influence (eg. pulling snow from Caradhras). His servants perform the physical acts. All the more due to his no longer having a physical body. And take Denethor, he is no more than a steward. As opposed to Theoden who is a steward to his people ('what will you say of the children of Rohan, who lay dead at helm's deep' as he says to Saruman.. imagine Denethor saying that).

To me, Bombadil is so important because he symbolizes exactly that. By showing us the gentle but all-encompassing power Bombadil wields when he is within his own domain (evident because he is unaffected by the rings power, and has power to hold Old man willow and the Barrow Wights), Tolkien in a way shows us how and why these powers exist in the world. As has been remarked here, Bombadils interest and influence go no further than the borders of his land, the boundaries of his sphere. Therein he is all-knowing and omnipotent (again, in a gentle way).

As such he is to me Tolkiens way of illustrating the way powers manifest themselves and interact in his world. Bombadil also makes us see the difference in the way the good and evil powers manifest themselves. Was not the fall of Melkor a result of the fact he was not satisfied with where the limits of his influence or care lay, though they were the broadest of all the ainur. His very aim was to reshape the world as he saw fit (changing the songs of the other ainur
, destroying the lamps ). But when the Valar retire to valinor after the destruction of the lamps, he literally dilutes his essence, his power all over Arda, marring everything. Hence, he is not strong enough to withstand the Valar at the time of his first imprisonment (in the Halls of Mandos).

"The Morgoth" was a term given to the person of Melkor/Morgoth in his complete power over the matter of Arda: therefore Dragons, Trolls, Orcs, and even Angband were in a way part of "The Morgoth", but not part of Melkor/Morgoth. While Melkor/Morgoth was eventually executed by the Valar, the only way to destroy "The Morgoth" would be to completely destroy all of Arda and render it anew: a task the Valar could not do without also destroying the Children of Ilúvatar and therefore unthinkable.
source: http://www.indopedia.org/Morgoth.html#Names_and_Titles

That's why the valar can only banish his fëa and cast it into the void, instead of destroying him. (see also: http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/F%C3%ABa). So in this way Melkor as a power has gone the furthest, dispersing himself so his influence is felt everywhere, but at a high price.

But I digress. I think the notion of stewardship is I think essential here. Being a steward not for one's own good or to counter one's own fears (Saruman, Denethor), but for the good of the world. This is of course a very Christian thing and biblical (man is a steward to world) which is not surprising given Tolkiens background.

To me Bombadil illustrates this so well because of the small sphere of his stewardship. And his comical reaction to the ring. He is the only incorruptible power (remember, Gandalf wouldn't touch the ring), save Illuvatar perhaps. Of course this supports the theory he is (in the logic of the tale) the embodiment of Illuvatar. But.. I think it's better to interpret him as an enigma illustrating some essential points of Tolkiens world and philosophy, then to try and force him into the laws of logic inherent to this world. Tolkien said something similar in one of his letters (can't be bothered to look it up, sorry ).

Too bad every adaptation of Tolkiens work (all movies, radio plays etc.) has failed to see Bombadils significance (as far as I know).

So, hope you like my ideas about old Bombadillo.
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Old 09-03-2012, 08:00 PM   #16
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Just remembered this old chestnut of a thread and thought I'd bring it back up for a few more thoughts.

Originally posted by CSteefel:
Quote:
And as has been mentioned, Bombadil clearly had a good deal more knowledge of who was in the neighborhood than he let on initially, so I don't doubt that he was aware of the visit of the WK just to the east.
Tom's choice of weapons for the Hobbits was clearly appropriate to the enemy they were facing, whether he had any foresight about some future battle before the gates of Minas Tirith many leagues south of his little land or not. They gave the hobbits the best chance he could provide them to fight their pursuers that were stalking them through his homeland.

I've also been wondering about Fog on the Barrow Downs. A long lasting rain can often be followed by thick fog, depending on temperature changes after the end of the rainstorm. Might the fog be an extention of the rain in this case? Could it be intended to hide the hobbits passage through the Downs, despite the fact it ends up confusing them?

I have more research to do on this, but I thought I'd bring this thread up now to see if anyone had any thoughts on these possibilities. I'll certainly post more later.
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Old 09-05-2012, 02:44 PM   #17
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Let's try to keep in mind, though, before we start getting all Talmudic about every word of text, is that everything we and even Tolkien have to say about this section is essentially ret-conning.

The Bombadil chapters were written very early, before Tolkien even knew what the Black Riders were (he thought at the time they might be horsed Barrow-Wights), and envisioned Bombadil halting pursuing Riders with a word and a gesture; this all goes back to the earliest "phase" of writing and barely underwent any revision, save the addition of Sam Gamgee, and switching "Bingo's" (->Frodo's) dreams around the better to fit the timeline elsewhere. "Trotter" (->Aragorn) didn't even exist yet, and Gandalf's whereabouts were a complete mystery.
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Old 09-05-2012, 04:51 PM   #18
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Let's try to keep in mind, though, before we start getting all Talmudic about every word of text, is that everything we and even Tolkien have to say about this section is essentially ret-conning.
Spoilsport.
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Old 09-05-2012, 05:39 PM   #19
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It says in UT that one reason the rangers could not hold out against the Black Riders at Sarn Ford was because their captain (Aragorn) was away north, watching the East Road. It doesn't say whether he knew to expect the hobbits to come through there or not, or whether it was coincidence. His behavior in Bree seems to indicate that he knew they would be travelling at that time of year. If Bombadil had messages from Gildor, is it possible that the Rangers did as well?
Aragorn was told by Gandalf that a certain hobbit - or hobbits - would come by the East Road to Bree, headed to Rivendell. Aragorn knew when and how Frodo is travelling, from Gandalf. So I think Gildor has little to do with it.

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Originally Posted by doug*platypus View Post
I think that Tom referring to Goldberry's 'Washing Day' was just his quite little name for when it rained. I think the only things being washed were the plants, and that Goldberry's being mentioned in connection with the rain just shows more fully her background as a water spirit. Of course, she was probably outside in the rain all day. Remember that when she sat down she always had her feet in water. The rainy day just seemed to fit in nicely, allowing the hobbits (and the readers) time to sit back and chill, and listen to some stories. I think Tolkien is actively condoning the practice. I love those rainy Tom Bombadil days.
I always thought that Washing Day was a kind of Big Autumn Clean-up Day, and just that. Tom, as was mentioned before, is like a stewart for his smallish chink of land (small compared to Denethor's and Gandalf's). Therefore Goldberry is to that land like a queen to her husband's kingdom. Tom does the rougher handiwork around their place, and Goldberry does the cleaning.

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Originally Posted by radagastly View Post
I suspect that Tom Bombadil has very keen eyesight as well. He very probably brought the Hobbits to just the right place on his border so that Aragorn could hear their conversation. I never saw coincidence in that, only design.
I won't put it beyond Bombadil to bring them right to a place that is watched by a Ranger, but I doubt that he meant Aragorn to overhear the conversation. I think he just wanted to deliver the hobbits to safe hands so that nothing would happen to them again.


Personally, I believe Bombadil knew about the presence and nature of the Nazgul in his lands. He just seems too all-knowing. On the other hand, he was completely surprised to find the hobbits near Old Man Willow. However, he definitely knows who is after the hobbits:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fog on the Barrow Downs
"But perhaps the delay will prove useful - it may have put them off our trail." [said Frodo]

...

"Do you think," asked Pippin hesitantly, "do you think we may be pursued, tonight?"

"No, I hope not tonight," answered Tom Bombadil; "nor perhaps the next day. But do not trust my guess; for I cannot tell for certain. Out east my knowledge fails. Tom is not master of Riders from the Black Land far beyond his country."
So he knows that the Nazgul are at the hobbits' heels. We also know from this quote that, if "out east [his] knowledge fails", he must know (or be able to foretell) most of what goes on in his land, if not all. And since he has the knowledge of the Nazgul, it is only fitting that he should give the hobbits the special knives.

And even things that Tom does not from knowledge (f.ex. saving the hobbits from Old Man Willow) cannot be called coincidental. Bombadil says about their meeting something along the lines of "chance brought me then, if chance you call it"; this indicates that he himself does not believe it was an accident.



This is what makes him such a fascinating character.
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Old 09-08-2012, 07:33 AM   #20
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From the earliest couple of drafts it seems clear enough that the hoofbeats and horse-noises Frodo heard outside the house were real, and not a dream, a change T consciously made.
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Old 09-08-2012, 07:49 AM   #21
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From the earliest couple of drafts it seems clear enough that the hoofbeats and horse-noises Frodo heard outside the house were real, and not a dream, a change T consciously made.
I think it was Fatty Lumpkin and Merry's ponies having a midnight lark.
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Old 09-08-2012, 08:06 AM   #22
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Re: radagastly's speculation about whether the fog might have been caused by Tom to protect the hobbits– I should say definitely not. Nothing in the way it's presented suggests there's anything at all benign about it. If it's magical at all (which isn't clear), it seems to me much more likely to be the work of the Barrow-wight.
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Old 09-08-2012, 08:15 AM   #23
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Re: radagastly's speculation about whether the fog might have been caused by Tom to protect the hobbits– I should say definitely not. Nothing in the way it's presented suggests there's anything at all benign about it. If it's magical at all (which isn't clear), it seems to me much more likely to be the work of the Barrow-wight.
Since rain had obviously been in the area the preceding days, I don't think a natural explanation for the fog is unlikely.

In agreement with Nerwen, I think Tom would have realized that the fog would have been more of an impediment for the hobbits, and likely to make them lose their way. How were they supposed to "keep to the west side" of a barrow with fog all about them?
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Old 09-08-2012, 11:13 AM   #24
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Originally posted by Nerwen:
Quote:
Re: radagastly's speculation about whether the fog might have been caused by Tom to protect the hobbits– I should say definitely not. Nothing in the way it's presented suggests there's anything at all benign about it. If it's magical at all (which isn't clear), it seems to me much more likely to be the work of the Barrow-wight.
Yes, it was speculation without research. I have since found this:

From "Fog on the Barrow Downs," The Fellowship of the Ring:
Quote:
When they caught a glimpse of the country westward the distant Forest seemed to be smoking, as if the fallen rain was steaming up again from leaf and root and mould. A shadow now lay round the edge of sight, a dark haze above which the upper sky was like a blue cap, hot and heavy.
So either a natural phenomenon because of a day of heavy rain, or possibly the angry Old Forest spitting it's last bit of venom at them, the last trick in its bag.
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Old 09-10-2012, 03:55 PM   #25
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The fog might not be natural. The main forms of fog are: radiation fog; advection fog; and sea fog. Obviously Sea Fog could be discounted in this case - it's something I'm very used to from holidays in Whitby, where a fret can roll in off the sea within minutes, but they never spread to more than a mile or two inland.

Radiation fog is also very unlikely as this tends to form overnight when humid air meets a cool ground surface. These thick fogs might last throughout the day if the weather is still and cool enough (very common in the Yorkshire autumn) or they may also burn off to reveal a lovely sunny day (very common in Lancashire in the summer). The mist/fog which descends as they ride with Farmer Maggot may be a radiation fog as it forms lightly at dusk and the morning mist is described as lifting when they are in the Old Forest and find a gap in the trees

Advection fog is mostly unlikely as for this to form there would need to be either a large body of water (lake or sea) or a snow field. Of the sub types, frontal fog might be ruled out as the weather front has already passed over the day previously with Goldberry's Washing Day (and it sounds like it was a considerable front - was Middle-earth affected by the Jetstream?).

However, it could possibly be an Upslope fog, which forms when very humid and warm air is forced up a rising land mass by a steady and quite strong wind. However, there is no fog or mist described as hanging over the Old Forest earlier in the day when they set off across the Downs, the weather is very fine and bright.

What's described as falling on them that afternoon on the Downs is more like Scotch Mist, i.e. drizzle and low cloud. Not as evocative as fog, I'll give you, but if it's to have a meteorological answer, that'd be it, I reckon. I do prefer the idea of some supernatural fog
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