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Old 10-06-2017, 09:17 PM   #1
Balfrog
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The Archangel Michael in Middle-earth

I think this is deserving of a thread of its very own.

So a couple of important dates (arising in different years) whose significance doesn't really get talked about relate to Gandalf's departure from Middle-earth and Tom Bombadil's rescue of the hobbits in the Barrow. These are both:

September 29th

Namely the Christian festival day of 'St. Michael and All Angels'. This selection according to Ms. Seth has immense symbolism. Her latest essay brings out into the open a whole new layer of meaning to the Barrow episode that she believes scholars have overlooked.

https://priyasethtolkienfan.wordpres...d-fairy-story/

Ms. Seth draws a parallel of Tom casting out the Wight from his home and the Archangel Michael driving out the Devil from heaven. In English folklore this is supposed to have happened on the 29th September. The deduction is that there exists an underlying sub-structure to this part of the story. She claims many aspects of English folklore and tradition relating to Michaelmas are subtly incorporated into the episode, which she happily points out. Apparently even a 'blackberry tart' served at the Prancing Pony - had a deeper meaning!
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Old 10-06-2017, 11:05 PM   #2
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Somehow I can't make the mental analogy between Tom Bombadil and Michael the Archangel. But it is an interesting connection.
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Old 10-08-2017, 11:43 AM   #3
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An interesting idea, but I think it's a faulty comparison.

Considering Tolkien's own deep Christian value system, were Tom meant to be analogous to Michael, there would not be so much about his portrayal which was so open to interpretation. I have spoken before about the duplicitous nature of Tom Bombadil, and about how I believe he was Tolkien's commentary on the duality of nature being both a source of great beauty and also mystery and danger.

Were Tolkien attempting to use Tom as a surrogate for a figure in Catholicism, I simply don't feel the depiction would be so hazy and open to interpretation.
It's true, of course, that he has many characters who are morally complex - but the religious authorities of his world are not so. They are good and do good, and those who err are definitively punished.
Bombadil doesn't really fit that category.
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Old 11-10-2017, 12:22 AM   #4
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Aaron

Considering Tolkien's own deep Christian value system, were Tom meant to be analogous to Michael, there would not be so much about his portrayal which was so open to interpretation.

How much do you think the date of September 29th is open to interpretation? Do you think it's of zero significance when it comes to Tom?

I view that possibility as remote. Especially as there are two separate occurrences of this date which can be linked to 'angels'. Tolkien, in my mind must have had a reason.

If September 29th is a fluke, it also means all the other points Ms. Seth brings up that are associated to Archangel Michael's special day - are also coincidences. This is then getting to be a real stretch. Moreover we might then assume that all the books' 'special' happenings on: March 25th, Christmas Day and Mid-years Day also possess Christian symbolism by complete 'accident'. That is getting to the point of being simply unbelievable.

Now according to Ms. Seth's latest essay, the reason why Bombadil is linked to St. Michael has a lot to do with our world's local folklore. Ms. Seth starts to reveal this connection with respect to the Celtic god Lugh in her latest essay. Note that Bombadil has not been stated to be the Archangel himself as per Christian doctrine just the source of legends about him in England somehow carried through from Tolkien's mythical era to our world.

This new essay is located per the thread: Celtic Roots and Infrastucture in Book I
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Old 11-10-2017, 06:33 AM   #5
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This ley-line connection theory by Seth is nothing but coincidence-driven conjecture. One might as well make an association between the "St. Michael ley line", Lugh, and anyone driving the M3-A303 stretch, which also goes through "Bombadil country."

I appreciate the fact that Ms. Seth writes about Tolkien, but I've seen better deductive reasoning from Kardashian viewers and disaffected college protestors.
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Old 11-11-2017, 04:43 PM   #6
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Old 11-11-2017, 05:16 PM   #7
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Ha ha. Nice!

His next line was "Don't you crush my lilies!"
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Old 11-12-2017, 07:49 AM   #8
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It seems to me that Manw, Tulkas and onw all possess a degree of comparability with the archangel Michael, or at least fulfil comparable roles at certain times.
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Old 11-12-2017, 08:04 AM   #9
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It seems to me that Manw, Tulkas and onw all possess a degree of comparability with the archangel Michael, or at least fulfil comparable roles at certain times.
Perhaps. And maybe Varda?

Bombadil, though: I don't see it.

I know Balfrog introduced the caveat about having 'evidence' apart from the Sept. 30 date of Tom saving the hobbits, but I think it's worth noting that the date fluctuated in early drafts of the story, according to HOME. If Tolkien really intended for that day to be significant, I wouldn't think that would have occurred.
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Old 11-12-2017, 09:42 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Inziladun View Post
Perhaps. And maybe Varda?
The more I think about it, the more I question my own connection (Manw, Tulkas, onw). I was thinking of this in comparison to Michael casting out Lucifer, but nothing quite like that happens in the tale of E:
1. Melkor left the Timeless Halls (comparable to Heaven, perhaps) to enter E of his own volition.
2. Tulkas drove Melkor into the Void (either Space or Nothingness); hardly the same as being cast out of the bliss of Heaven and falling to Earth.
3. Melkor fled Aman (another place comparable to Heaven) of his own volition.
4. Someone (Tulkas? onw? Mandos?) cast Morgoth into the Void after his trial and execution following the War of Wrath. Again, not a Heaven-to-Earth transition.

Thus even those examples don't really fit. The other roles of Michael in Catholic tradition, accompanying souls to judgement, weighing souls and guarding the church, don't seem to fit terribly well with anyone either, although I suppose the roles related to souls have perhaps a limited correlation with Mandos. Yet why should they? I've always had the impression that Professor Tolkien did not wish for the Christian elements of his work to be too overt and literal, but rather thematic.
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the religious element is absorbed into the story and the symbolism. However that is very clumsily put, and sounds more self-important than I feel. For as a matter of fact, I have consciously planned very little (Letter 142)
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Old 11-12-2017, 01:09 PM   #11
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The more I think about it, the more I question my own connection (Manw, Tulkas, onw). I was thinking of this in comparison to Michael casting out Lucifer, but nothing quite like that happens in the tale of E.
Even though the events in Tolkien's legendarium don't match those in Judeo-Christian mythology 1:1, I think Manw qualifies as, shall we say, Ilvatar's champion against Melkor, the one to challenge Melkor's dreams of domination with the words "Who is like God/Eru?", and Varda with him.
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