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  1. #1

    Is Tom Bombadil really Eru?

    I have always been fascinated by the character Tom Bombadil, and the mystery surrounding him.

    Just who exactly is Tom Bombadil?

    He is referred to by nearly everyone in Middle Earth, (everyone except Treebeard, AFAIK),
    As the oldest being in Middle Earth. Bombadil even says a few things like how he remembers the first raindrop and the first
    Acorn, and he also says that he was there before the dark lord came to be.
    In fact, his Sindarin name, Iarwain Ben-adar, means something like, "oldest and fatherless".
    He has unnatural skills and incredible power just by using his voice. He is very unconcerned with most things going on around
    The world. And perhaps what I find most perplexing, The One Ring has zero influence over him. None whatsoever!
    I remember reading a part in the book where Frodo has the ring on and Bombadil is able to see him just fine. Bombadil even
    wears the Ring and is not effected by it in anyway. He then flips it in the air and hands it back to Frodo as if it were no big deal...
    Gandalf even mentions that The One Ring has no power over Tom Bombadil and he won't understand why it's so important...
    And lastly when Frodo asks Goldberry (Bombadil's wife), who exactly is Tom Bombadil?, Goldberry simply says... "He Is"

    So who is he? Is he really Eru just having a bit of fun?
    What else can the "oldest and fatherless" being actually be?

  2. #2

    Disregard this thread...

    Awkward moment but just found a nearly identical thread in these forums and I dont know how to close this one.
    Disregard this thread plz.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by GSO86 View Post
    Awkward moment but just found a nearly identical thread in these forums and I dont know how to close this one.
    Disregard this thread plz.
    No need to feel awkward, the nature of Tom Bombadil is one of the most hotly debated and (to me) fascinating topics of discussion going around. Your original question is easy enough to answer though, no matter who or what Tom is, he is certainly not Eru.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfhelm View Post
    the nature of Tom Bombadil is one of the most hotly debated and (to me) fascinating topics of discussion going around.
    Hotly debated? Much as with the topic of whether Balrogs are supposed to have wings, it's just an endlessly circling void of of pointlessness that can never get anywhere. Tolkien said that TB was purposely left as an enigma and so no meaningful statement can be made about what he is, only what he isn't (e.g. he can't be Eru because Eru didn't manifest himself within Arda, and so on). That doesn't stop people trying to shoehorn him into one category or another, presumably because they're uncomfortable with ambiguity and like everything to fit in neatly somewhere. But really, TB is just an uncategorisable personification of nature, a spirit of the countryside (so we're told, anyway). Who's Tom Bombadil? 'He is'. 'Nuff said then, now and forever, right there.

  5. #5
    I couldn't agree more Rad, Tolkien made his point very clearly in a letter where he stated that Tom was not only an enigma, but was very much intentionally so. Therefore I very rarely get directly involved in debates about who or what he was, which does not in any way detract from my fascination at the sometimes ridiculous arguments people put forward to try to make him something that he's not

  6. #6
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    Yep. Reckon we should just let Mr B be. And don't go messin with his lilies.
    Today is a good day for Pie.

    Do not meddle in the affairs of Burglars, for they are subtle and quick to shank you.

  7. #7
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    Definitely not Eru. Eru wouldn't interfere beyond adding his Children. I suspect he might be a direct creation of Eru, though.

  8. #8
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    Well its an intenional Enigma, but Tolkien did specify he was the "spirit of nature been destroyed" so yes its that powerful, not Eru but Creation itself, if you really want to know Tom you would have to look at the whole sub-creation and then go from there, he is and he is the Master of his own realm, Middle earth can't exist without Tom Bombadil, which Im grateful for.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    Well its an intenional Enigma, but Tolkien did specify he was the "spirit of nature been destroyed" so yes its that powerful, not Eru but Creation itself, if you really want to know Tom you would have to look at the whole sub-creation and then go from there, he is and he is the Master of his own realm, Middle earth can't exist without Tom Bombadil, which Im grateful for.
    What Tolkien actually wrote, in a letter, was that TB represented 'the spirit of the (vanishing) Oxford and Berkshire countryside'. I don't recall it being suggested that Middle-earth couldn't exist without him, or that he was the spirit of Creation itself - the Wise plainly didn't believe him to be all-powerful, based on the brief discussion at the Council of whether Bombadil should be asked to look after the Ring. Apart from his whimsical nature (there'd have been a good chance that he'd have just casually left the damn thing lying around somewhere), the reason that was suggested for why they should not do so was that it would be ultimately futile - it wouldn't do anything to prevent Sauron from overrunning the rest of Middle-earth and Bombadil would simply be the last to fall.

    'I think that in the end, if all else is conquered, Bombadil will fall, Last as he was First; and then Night will come.'

    - FOTR, 'The Council of Elrond'

    There's nothing I recall that would suggest Bombadil was 'that powerful', as you put it. Mighty strong within the boundaries of his own realm to be sure, but no more and by implication, not so strong as to be proof against Sauron's best efforts, either.

  10. #10
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    Actually Tom Bombadil is that powerful, the ring had no effect on him meaning his power was beyond the influence of Sauron, hinting he was more powerful maybe not physically but spiritual probably.

    Next, Tom would only fall if Sauron had conquered all the lands, but that phrase also indicates the theory of Tom Bombadil been Eru, because God is the alpha and the Omega, so if you take elrond's word literally as you do Radhruin, Tom Bombadil is Eru.
    Last edited by Al.; Dec 01 2013 at 10:19 PM.

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    Another interesting theory that was going around was that TB is in fact the living incarnation of Eru's song that created Arda.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    Actually Tom Bombadil is that powerful, the ring had no effect on him meaning his power was beyond the influence of Sauron, hinting he was more powerful maybe not physically but spiritual probably.
    There's a much simpler explanation: it has no power over him because of his nature - it has no way to get its hooks into him because he already has everything he wants. He was not considered to be beyond Sauron's influence, as per that quote I posted, which sets obvious limits on how powerful he might be.

    Next, Tom would only fall if Sauron had conquered all the lands, but that phrase also indicates the theory of Tom Bombadil been Eru, because God is the alpha and the Omega, so if you take elrond's word literally as you do Radhruin, Tom Bombadil is Eru.
    As I said earlier, he cannot be Eru for the very simple reason that Eru didn't manifest himself within his own creation - he'd delegated that to the Valar. Bombadil's capricious nature is hardly reminiscent of what we know of Eru from the Sil, either. Enough crackpot 'theories', already. The idea that Bombadil could fall (even if he would be the last to) implies something very simple, that he's not all-powerful, nor is he even as powerful as a Vala.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    There's a much simpler explanation: it has no power over him because of his nature - it has no way to get its hooks into him because he already has everything he wants. He was not considered to be beyond Sauron's influence, as per that quote I posted, which sets obvious limits on how powerful he might be.
    Wrong, Tom Bombadil's powers are beyond any Maiar, as any maiar would become more powerful with the ring of power.

    As I said earlier, he cannot be Eru for the very simple reason that Eru didn't manifest himself within his own creation - he'd delegated that to the Valar. Bombadil's capricious nature is hardly reminiscent of what we know of Eru from the Sil, either. Enough crackpot 'theories', already. The idea that Bombadil could fall (even if he would be the last to) implies something very simple, that he's not all-powerful, nor is he even as powerful as a Vala.
    If you can't disproove it correctly then don't try "your crack pot logic on me", Vala is the most similar thing to Tom Bombadil please do your research.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    Wrong, Tom Bombadil's powers are beyond any Maiar, as any maiar would become more powerful with the ring of power.
    The Maia who were tempted by it all wanted something: power, although in Gandalf's case it was the power to do good. Bombadil is simply not interested in worldly power, so to him the Ring's just that, a ring, so he can treat it casually as a bright golden plaything; it has no power over him. So that doesn't make him super-powerful, just an exception by virtue of his singular nature.

    And again, since it's suggested that TB could eventually be taken down by Sauron, he is plainly not some mighty indomitable power and you are just making stuff up, as is your wont.

    If you can't disproove it correctly then don't try "your crack pot logic on me", Vala is the most similar thing to Tom Bombadil please do your research.
    Bombadil appears to be akin to the Ainur but that's it. Unlike you, I don't feel the need to try to pigeonhole him into an existing category 'just because'. It's perfectly fine for him to be an uncategorisable mystery, a singular entity sufficient unto himself. And if TB had the power of a Vala, then he wouldn't have to worry about Sauron at all.

    P.S. 'Research' isn't just quoting other people's wild notions uncritucally, it involves some applied thinking of your own. You should try it sometime.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    The Maia who were tempted by it all wanted something: power, although in Gandalf's case it was the power to do good. Bombadil is simply not interested in worldly power, so to him the Ring's just that, a ring, so he can treat it casually as a bright golden plaything; it has no power over him. So that doesn't make him super-powerful, just an exception by virtue of his singular nature.
    You are oblivious, TB put his finger on the ring and nothing happened, that means Sauron influence, power has no effect on him.

    And again, since it's suggested that TB could eventually be taken down by Sauron, he is plainly not some mighty indomitable power and you are just making stuff up, as is your wont.
    Talking about pigeoning, you always make it out to be as if Evil was stronger than Good, this is not the case in Tolkien lore.

    Bombadil appears to be akin to the Ainur but that's it. Unlike you, I don't feel the need to try to pigeonhole him into an existing category 'just because'. It's perfectly fine for him to be an uncategorisable mystery, a singular entity sufficient unto himself. And if TB had the power of a Vala, then he wouldn't have to worry about Sauron at all.
    TB is the incarnation of the Song of Arda, period, I have prooved my point you haven't disprove it with arguments, you are a sad case of oblivious evil-wannabe.
    P.S. 'Research' isn't just quoting other people's wild notions uncritucally, it involves some applied thinking of your own. You should try it sometime.
    Apply thinking, you are telling me that? When Im the one making deductions, man get out now and never return.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    You are oblivious, TB put his finger on the ring and nothing happened, that means Sauron influence, power has no effect on him.
    No, I'm just not jumping to conclusions the way you do. It only means he's a higher order of being. Supernatural beings weren't made invisible by wearing a Ring of Power, so it's unsurprising that Bombadil doesn't disappear when he puts on the Ring, just startling to the hobbits who'd got used to the idea of that being its power.

    Talking about pigeoning, you always make it out to be as if Evil was stronger than Good, this is not the case in Tolkien lore.
    Not so. There was nobody in Middle-earth who could withstand Sauron's undivided attention and you're gainsaying the author's own words by even suggesting it. Evil may be strong, but it's also ultimately self-defeating, e.g. Sauron's ultimate weapon also being his Achilles' heel, so that in the end he's laid low by his own scheming and hubris.

    TB is the incarnation of the Song of Arda, period, I have prooved my point you haven't disprove it with arguments, you are a sad case of oblivious evil-wannabe.
    That's just another leap to a conclusion not supported in the text or any of the supporting material, 'period' and you've provided zero proof. As usual. It isn't logical: the incarnation of the Great Music was the world itself in its entirety, and so at most Bombadil could only be some aspect of that

    Apply thinking, you are telling me that? When Im the one making deductions, man get out now and never return.
    Making 'deductions' does not mean just making stuff up. You never think things through, you always latch onto the first thing you like the sound of and then start yelling whenever someone tries to differ

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    No, I'm just not jumping to conclusions the way you do. It only means he's a higher order of being. Supernatural beings weren't made invisible by wearing a Ring of Power, so it's unsurprising that Bombadil doesn't disappear when he puts on the Ring, just startling to the hobbits who'd got used to the idea of that being its power.
    Way to make things up, Tom used the ring and nothing happened, just stop already you are rambling.

    Not so. There was nobody in Middle-earth who could withstand Sauron's undivided attention and you're gainsaying the author's own words by even suggesting it. Evil may be strong, but it's also ultimately self-defeating, e.g. Sauron's ultimate weapon also being his Achilles' heel, so that in the end he's laid low by his own scheming and hubris.
    No, sorry many could to name a few Aragorn, The Steward of Gondor, etc, you are basing on the movies now?

    That's just another leap to a conclusion not supported in the text or any of the supporting material, 'period' and you've provided zero proof. As usual. It isn't logical: the incarnation of the Great Music was the world itself in its entirety, and so at most Bombadil could only be some aspect of that
    Read my first post, there is my argument followed by the second. you lack "Combine mode", Song of Arda and Earth are linked, Music make events unfold, Tom is in there as incarnation of earth.

    Making 'deductions' does not mean just making stuff up. You never think things through, you always latch onto the first thing you like the sound of and then start yelling whenever someone tries to differ
    Please insult me will render nothing, I use my consciense to bring conclusions based on logic, you just regurgiate and talk with poor logic, evil-wannabe.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    Way to make things up, Tom used the ring and nothing happened, just stop already you are rambling.
    Who's making things up? Sauron wore the Ring all the time when he had it and it didn't turn him invisible. Just like the Three Rings of the Elves didn't make their bearers invisible, either. So why should the One Ring make Bombadil invisible? No rambling here, just the usual questioning of your baseless assumptions. It doesn't a matter of power, just the kind of being he is.

    No, sorry many could to name a few Aragorn, The Steward of Gondor, etc, you are basing on the movies now?
    Not by themselves. Bombadil doesn't have an army, it's just him. Aragorn would have no chance against Sauron by himself, just as he was told that the Balrog of Moria was a foe that was beyond him. It took a concerted effortt to bring down Sauron in battle, no one person did it by themselves.

    Read my first post, there is my argument followed by the second. you lack "Combine mode", Song of Arda and Earth are linked, Music make events unfold, Tom is in there as incarnation of earth.
    That's just leaping to a conclusion. Tom is a kind of spirit of the countryside, we're told. Nothing more general than that. Do stop trying to second-guess the author. He doesn't say or even imply any such thing, and if it were so obvious then Bombadil would hardly be the intentional enigma he was firmly stated to be. Anyone who insists Bombadil must be this or must be that is kidding themselves; as I said earlier, the best that can be done is to say what he evidently isn't.

    Please insult me will render nothing, I use my consciense to bring conclusions based on logic, you just regurgiate and talk with poor logic, evil-wannabe.
    We get this every time, with you thinking that leaping to conclusions and making things up is somehow logical. Sorry, no - that stuff might sound okay in your head but it doesn't out here.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    Who's making things up? Sauron wore the Ring all the time when he had it and it didn't turn him invisible. Just like the Three Rings of the Elves didn't make their bearers invisible, either. So why should the One Ring make Bombadil invisible? No rambling here, just the usual questioning of your baseless assumptions. It doesn't a matter of power, just the kind of being he is.
    You are like said oblivious, Tom Bombadil not just wore the ring, he made it disappear and appear back again, invisibility is just one effect, power is other Tom didn't get any of the two, he is beyond the ring.

    Not by themselves. Bombadil doesn't have an army, it's just him. Aragorn would have no chance against Sauron by himself, just as he was told that the Balrog of Moria was a foe that was beyond him. It took a concerted effortt to bring down Sauron in battle, no one person did it by themselves.
    Again thats just evil-wannabe non-sense, you said noone could stand Sauron's mighty gaze you were wrong, obviously.

    That's just leaping to a conclusion. Tom is a kind of spirit of the countryside, we're told. Nothing more general than that. Do stop trying to second-guess the author. He doesn't say or even imply any such thing, and if it were so obvious then Bombadil would hardly be the intentional enigma he was firmly stated to be. Anyone who insists Bombadil must be this or must be that is kidding themselves; as I said earlier, the best that can be done is to say what he evidently isn't.


    We get this every time, with you thinking that leaping to conclusions and making things up is somehow logical. Sorry, no - that stuff might sound okay in your head but it doesn't out here.
    Look, enigmas are meant to be analysed by the readers, Tom Bombadil is one, Tolkien said he was not God, but he made it clear Tom Bombadil was the Master of hill, water and wood, a connection of earth inherent properties which usually don't care much for war-mongering and are peaceful, Im not leaping to conclusions Im deducing things which you seem incapable of doing,
    Last edited by Al.; Dec 02 2013 at 07:31 PM.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    You are like said oblivious, Tom Bombadil not just wore the ring, he made it disappear and appear back again, invisibility is just one effect, power is other Tom didn't get any of the two, he is beyond the ring.
    Which is interesting, yes, but plainly has no absolute implications as to his power because elsewhere it's implied that Sauron could defeat him, eventually. It's just the Ring that has no power over him by some virtue of who or what he is, and that indeed he's so blithely unconcerned about it that he can even play tricks with the thing. But let's face it, it wouldn't take much to play tricks on hobbits.

    Again thats just evil-wannabe non-sense, you said noone could stand Sauron's mighty gaze you were wrong, obviously.
    I didn't say a damn thing about Sauron's gaze. The point was that if Sauron turned up in person, there was no individual in Middle-earth capable of defeating him.

    Look, enigmas are meant to be analysed by the readers, Tom Bombadil is one, Tolkien said he was not God, but he made it clear Tom Bombadil was the Master of hill, water and wood, a connection of earth inherent properties which usually don't care much for war-mongering and are peaceful, Im not leaping to conclusions Im deducing things which you seem incapable of doing,
    Missing the point wholesale. You tried to say emphatically that Bombadil is one particular thing (some sort of embodiment of the Great Song), which you absolutely cannot truthfully do because that character's written to be enigmatic and so there is no such 'right' answer. (And in that particular case there's nothing presented to actually suggest that particular answer in the first place, so anyone who tries to insist on it is most definitely leaping to a conclusion).

  21. #21
    I´m definitely going with Radhruin here.

    Also remember: The ring does NOT make the bearer invisible. It as most makes the bearer visible in the other world, the one where the ring-wraiths walk forever, where Sauron and others walk simultaneously as in the "ordinary" world. that's why Sauron doesn't become invisible in the seeing world.
    And I go with the thought that Tom Bombadil is not interested in power, so he is limited to the boundaries he chooses. Which means the ring can't tempt him

    And has Al ever heard of illusionists?

    Al you have a few valid points, but much goes as incorrect


    personally I think Tom is a sort of a combination of Väinämöinen and maybe C.M.Bellman...

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfhelm View Post
    ........ which does not in any way detract from my fascination at the sometimes ridiculous arguments people put forward to try to make him something that he's not

    Just remember I predicted this

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfhelm View Post
    Just remember I predicted this
    u mean me?

    I was not completely serious ´bout the last sentence. However I definitely think that Tolkien was inspired by Väinämöinen from the ancient/old Finnish beliefs/mythology/religion

    (paganism is kind of a weird word imo.)

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by EddieMuerto View Post
    u mean me?
    I don't think Wolfhelm is referring to you.

    As for the flame war going on above, I think that although Al makes the occasional valid point, I have to agree with Rad that Bombadil wearing the ring says nothing of his power being greater than Sauron's. As Rad says, that simply means TB is a different sort of character, with no greed or lust for power in him that the ring can corrupt. However, even if I accepted the argument that TB putting on the ring, laughing it off, and giving it back says something about his power (which I don't), the conclusion of that line of thinking would be that TB is more powerful than the ring, not necessarily more powerful than Sauron. After all, it was said that Sauron had to pour some of his power into the ring - not all, but some. How much we don't know: 10%, 25%, 50%?? So even if TB putting on the ring shows he was more powerful than the ring, that potentially only shows that he is more powerful than a portion of Sauron's power; TB could still come up short against what Sauron himself retained power-wise after the forging of the ring.

    But again, this is all a silly exercise to begin with. I completely agree with Rad saying that when it comes to TB, the best we can do is to rule out what he is not.
    "I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend," Faramir in TTT by JRRT.

  25. #25
    One of the problems in this recent debate is the definition of 'power'. If you define power as being the ability to resist the ring, then yes, Tom Bombadil is extremely powerful. But then again so are Hobbits. Defining 'power' in this manner leads to the conclusion that Hobbits such as Bilbo, Frodo, Sam and Sméagol are far more powerful than that those denizens of Middle-earth who we actually do consider powerful in other ways. The reality is that Tom's power stems from pacifism, something Tolkien explicitly stated, which means Tom's power (and that of the hobbits) stems from a lack of power or an abrogation thereof.

 

 

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