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Old 03-27-2018, 03:13 AM   #1
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
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Boots Tom Bombadil and Luthien Tinuviel

It's hard to imagine two more different characters than Jolly Tom and Luthien the Nightingale. But, on thinking about Tom for Mithadan's thread, I realised something that's either profound or blindingly obvious.

Tom Bombadil uses magic a few times during his appearance in LotR, including:
  • Putting Old Man Willow to sleep.
  • Being summoned from afar by Frodo.
  • Using song to break the Barrow, specifically citing that 'his songs are stronger songs'.
  • Recalling the Hobbits from the grey land, again through song.

Luthien Tinuviel also makes repeated use of magic, including:
  • Using song to weave a cloak with the power to put people to sleep (strong enough to take out Morgoth).
  • Knowing from afar that Beren was in dire trouble.
  • Breaking Tol-in-Gaurhoth by 'declar[ing] her power'.
  • Recalling Beren, when 'his spirit wandered upon the dark borders of death'.

Is it coincidence, that these lists line up so neatly? The only ones I've missed out are Tom's mucking about with the Ring, and Luthien's use of healing arts; but even there, Luthien is famous for wearing a magical item from the Enemy (the bat-fell), and Tom's house, if not healing, is definitely a place of rest.

Thinking about other Good magic users, we have Melian, who possesses the power of prophecy, can see things at a distance (that's one correlation), and throws up a protective spell around Doriath; Galadriel, who can see the past, present (there it is again), and future; and Gandalf, who mostly focuses on pyrotechnics and manipulating people.

It does feel like the correlation between Bombadil and Tinuviel's magic is very strong, but there's no obvious reason. Singing aside, there's not a whole lot to link the two of them! But can it really be a coincidence that Tolkien wrote their magic as so similar to each other?

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