This is topic the names of Tolkien's Nazgul and who was Tom Bombadil? in forum Books, Films, Food and Culture at Hatrack River Forum.


To visit this topic, use this URL:
http://www.hatrack.com/ubb/main/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=2;t=023596

Posted by BrianM (Member # 5918) on :
 
I got my youngest son hooked on the LOTR trilogy a few years back and he just recently finished the Hobbit and started reading the Quenta Silmarilion. He had a question for me, he asked me what the names of the various Nazguls were. I couldn't remember off-hand so I looked and I could only find one: Khamul, the Easterling. Apparently he was second in command after the Witch King. I searched on the internet and found some other names like Er-Murazor and Dwar, but I don't think these are real names given by Tolkien, they were invented by some LOTR themed board/card game in the 80s. Does anyone have the legitimate names of the Nazguls?

[ April 21, 2004, 08:49 AM: Message edited by: BrianM ]
 
Posted by vwiggin (Member # 926) on :
 
I checked the Encyclopedia of Arda and you are right. With the exceptoin of Khamûl, all the other names were taken from RPG and trading cards.

[Smile]
 
Posted by Nick (Member # 4311) on :
 
That's a very good question. I have no idea. I checked my LOTR index just a minute ago for you and found nothing. I don't think Tolkien ever specifically mentioned their names, they were just simply the Nazgûl. [Dont Know]
 
Posted by Telperion the Silver (Member # 6074) on :
 
The answer to the question lies in "The Histories of Middle Earth" by Christopher Tolien if anywhere. I have a feeling that beyond Angmar, Khamul, and Gothmog (who might be an orc) I don't think Tolkien came up with final names for the other Nine. However there might be experimental names listed in his notes.
 
Posted by mr_porteiro_head (Member # 4644) on :
 
IIRC, Gothmog was not a Nazgul, but was a half-troll bred by Sauron.
 
Posted by Book (Member # 5500) on :
 
I thought he was a Balrog, one that killed one of the old elf kings, can't remember his name.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
Gothmog was the name of Morgoth's (not Sauron's, the Balrogs were never really subordinate to anyone but Morgoth) highest-ranking Balrog. For those few [Wink] non-Tolkien geeks out there, Balrogs are actually the same ultimate-group type beings as Sauron; but Sauron was substantially more powerful.

Gothmog was one of the Balrogs who struck down Feanor, and I think he also dragged back Hurin Thalion to be tortured for years and years by Morgoth.

I think Gothmog was also the name of at least one Orc, and a Nazgul.

Edit: Angmar was the name of the realm ruled by the 'Witch-King', whose chief enemies were the Dunedain, many years before the events in LotR. The Witch-King was in fact the chief of the Nazgul. I don't think Angmar was his name, but was rather the name of that kingdom.

[ April 20, 2004, 02:32 PM: Message edited by: Rakeesh ]
 
Posted by mr_porteiro_head (Member # 4644) on :
 
Ah, yes, I forgot. What I said before was wrong.
 
Posted by ak (Member # 90) on :
 
Yeah, what Jeff said. [Smile]

I don't know that the Witch King ever even had a name aside from that, did he? I'm sure he must have done, of course, before he took the ring, but maybe the ring ate it up with the rest of him, and maybe it's long forgotten.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
Hmm...no, Porter, I don't think you are. Gothmog rings a bell in reference to those half-men, half-troll creatures.

In any case, 'Gothmog' was certainly not a name ONLY given to that chief Balrog.
 
Posted by ak (Member # 90) on :
 
And the plural of Nazgul is Nazgul. I'm not entirely positive about the singular, but the plural is certainly Nazgul. "The Nine, the Nazgul, they are terrible."
 
Posted by Eruve Nandiriel (Member # 5677) on :
 
According to the card game:
The Witch King
Ulaire Attea
Ulaire Cantea
Ulaire Otsea
Ulaire Nertea
Ulaire Nelya
Ulaire Enquea
Ulaire Toldea
Ulaire Lemenya

But those aren't official.
[Smile]
 
Posted by mr_porteiro_head (Member # 4644) on :
 
If Tolkien were a modern writer, the stories of the Nazgul before they became Nazgul would make a fun spin-off series.
 
Posted by Telperion the Silver (Member # 6074) on :
 
In LOTR the line is, aprox., "And Gothmog, the lieutenant of Morgul, sent in the reserve forces onto the Pelennor..."

The desendents of both Light and Dark used old names, as we do. Grond was both the weapon of Morgoth and the great battering ram. Gothmod was the Lord of the Balrogs and this lieutenant of Morgul. Lorien was the name of the God of Dreams and the name of Galadriel's realm. Denethor was the name of a Sylvan-Elf King and the name for the last Ruling Steward. Etc, etc...

[ April 20, 2004, 02:46 PM: Message edited by: Telperion the Silver ]
 
Posted by ak (Member # 90) on :
 
Oh, and Balrogs were Maia (the name of the class of beings to which Jeff referred), the same as Istari (wizards), Sauron, and Melian. They were beings higher and more powerful than the elves, but below the Valar or gods. Istari were sort of special-case Maia, in that their powers were cloaked so that they could travel among elves and men as equals. They took on mortal bodies, so that they could treat with elves and men upon terms of equality. This allowed them to become confused, and subject to mortal weaknesses as well, so that they might turn away and forget their mission (to oppose Sauron).

It's not clear whether Melian also took on a mortal body, when she chose to marry an elf lord. The Balrog's bodies were partly made of shadow, as we have seen. I think Ungoliant was a Maia as well, and she had the body of an enormous spider (Shelob was just a lesser daughter of Ungoliant). So the question of how Maia acquire bodies, or what determines what form they take, is not clear.
 
Posted by mr_porteiro_head (Member # 4644) on :
 
Rakeesh -- that makes me doubly wrong. Unfortunately, I was taught that two wrongs... [Wink]
 
Posted by mr_porteiro_head (Member # 4644) on :
 
Ungoliant's origins are never explained. There is no evidence to suggest that she was Maia, except that she was powerful. In fact, she could be as powerful as a Valar. She *almost* killed Melkor, and the wound she gave him never healed.

I like to think that she was not Maia, but something else. Something not understood.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
Actually, in one sense those're very official nazgul names. All those names mean are third nazgul, seventh nazgul, that sort of thing.
 
Posted by Telperion the Silver (Member # 6074) on :
 
Do not forget, Maiar are ALL the spirits that came into Ea that are not Valar. Often we only think of the Maiar as those spirits who follow the Valar around all day in Valinor. There are also dryads, sylphs, Eagles, Ents, Tom Bombadill, River-Daughter, Wizards, Ungoliant and her children.
 
Posted by Telperion the Silver (Member # 6074) on :
 
....and many Maiar were almost equal in power to some of the Valar: Sauron, the Balrogs, Ungoliant, Arien...

Tolkien said that Ungoliant was a spirit of darkness... and that she joined Melkor/Morgoth's side in the first great wars, but early on went her own way...

[ April 20, 2004, 03:00 PM: Message edited by: Telperion the Silver ]
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
There's some speculation that Tom Bombadil is actually a partial manifestation of an Ainur.
 
Posted by Telperion the Silver (Member # 6074) on :
 
Ainur means "Holy One", and is the name of the "spirit race". So all Valar and Maiar are Ainur.
 
Posted by mr_porteiro_head (Member # 4644) on :
 
What it really comes down to is that these categories are not clearly laid out by Tolkien. Some things are explicitly stated, like Balrogs being valar, but some are not,like the river daughter being a valar.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
An Ainur who stayed behind and did not enter the world fully.
 
Posted by Telperion the Silver (Member # 6074) on :
 
Ok... class time... [Smile]

Much in Tolkien is misty or vague, but many things in this field at least can be explained with precision. The word Balrog is a Sindarin version of the original Quenya word Valaraukar, which means "demons of power". Comes from the Quenya word for power, vala, which is also the name for the Gods: The Powers. So, long story short, Balrogs are not gods/Valar, they are Maiar. They are spirits of fire that turned traitor and followed Morgoth.

Every Maiar spirit had a function of some kind… and that function determined what Vala they followed, or perhaps it was the other way around. In any event, Goldberry was not a mortal nor an Elf. Thus the only logical choice is a Maiar in the train of Ulmo, god of water.

Again I will say that not all Maiar stayed in Valinor as part of the court of the Valar. Many of the Maiar were out and about in the world, helping the Valar to maintain the forces of Nature. When not a current of water or a breeze in the wind the Maiar in the world became Ents or Eagles. Some Maiar when "native", that is stopped taking direct command from the Valar and just lived on their own, doing their own thing as they wished. Like Tom and Goldberry… and even Radagast.

[ April 20, 2004, 03:29 PM: Message edited by: Telperion the Silver ]
 
Posted by BYuCnslr (Member # 1857) on :
 
From Tolkien's World from A to Z: The Complete Guide to Middle-Earth by Robert Foster page 360
quote:
None of the names of the Nazgul are given, although Gothmog was possibly the name of the second highest Nazgul.

Checking in my copy of The Tolkien Companion by J.E.A. Tyler, nothing is said about their names either.

Satyagraha
 
Posted by :Locke (Member # 2255) on :
 
Just a little geek nitpick, but the plural of Nazgûl is Nazgûl. Black Speech, and all that.
 
Posted by Rhaegar The Fool (Member # 5811) on :
 
Rakeesh, you said Gothmog was one of the Balrogs who struck down Feanor, not so, he was the only one, Feanor was untouched by the others, in fact he slew seven, but Gothmog was the only one to actually get his flamy little hands on Feanor.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
Actually, Ungoliant was at least as powerful as Morgoth at the point when they tangled. It was pretty clear that, had Morgoth's Balrog's not come to his rescue, Morgoth and his plunder would've been devoured by Ungoliant.

Of course, Morgoth had already expended a great deal of his power in his attempts at tyranny, and Ungoliant had already devoured numerous Noldorin jewels, AND the Two Trees. So she was kinda buffed up.

Given the emphasis Tolkien places on Ungoliant being a Devourer, I've always thought of her kind of like Entropy. She has no purpose, she has no goal, other than gluttony on everything that isn't herself.

Tolkien never explicitly stated, "These are all the creatures that populate Arda." He was in the process of making radical changes up until his death, after all. I'm pretty sure Tolkien included Bombadil more as a spirit of England kind of thing, something extra, not necessarily so cleanly woven in with everything else.

I think you're right about Gothmog, Rhaegar. Nevertheless, it took many Balrogs to wear Feanor down. Now Fingolfin, though, there was an Noldo. Took the Prime Evil Himself to do Fingolfin in.
 
Posted by Rhaegar The Fool (Member # 5811) on :
 
Indeed, Fingolfin is my homeboy. And I think your look at Ungoliant is quite accurate, but couldn't she also be compared to Anubis or Loki say?
 
Posted by Telperion the Silver (Member # 6074) on :
 
Very good points Rakeesh.
 
Posted by ak (Member # 90) on :
 
Matters of linguistics do count very much in Arda. [Smile]
 
Posted by ak (Member # 90) on :
 
I've heard again and again that Radagast and the other two wizards who remain unnamed fell by the wayside, forgot their missions, and did not perform their duties as the Valar had requested, but I want to point out that we do not know any such thing. I personally am loth to assume the Valar chose so badly as that, that four out of five of their choices went awry.

Instead, I think how much of the power and light and workings of the world are beyond the ken of men and elves, and of how little importance we count them, due to our extreme ignorance. The powers of darkness affected the entire animal kingdom, and the whole of the world. This would mean the lives of rocks and mountains, the soil, and the myriad small denizons therein, the earth's winds, the birds and the skies, the deep forests, the waters in the deep places underground, all these things would be touched by darkness, and the forces of health and wholeness would need to be rallied to fight the evil that Sauron brought. We see how the very earth was tortured and convulsed in his realm. I believe that Radagast and the other two wizards were more concerned with these things, leaving Gandalf and Saruman to treat with men and elves.

Why then were all five of them cloaked in men's bodies? Perhaps those were the least powerful bodies which would still leave them with sufficient of mentality and spirit with which to pursue their quest. I don't believe they all failed, though. I think of all the five, only Saruman went astray. The others accomplished much good in their own domains, and indeed, had these struggles been lost, even though men and elves managed to destroy Sauron in the end, yet would the earth never have recovered its full vigor and fertility.

So say not that they went astray. Say rather that they accomplished much good in realms we know not of.

[ April 20, 2004, 08:10 PM: Message edited by: ak ]
 
Posted by kwsni (Member # 1831) on :
 
Radagast was involved with birds and animals, wasn't he?

Didn't he call in Gwahir Windlord on Gandalf's behalf at some point?

Ni!
 
Posted by BrianM (Member # 5918) on :
 
I read an essay that made the case that Tom and Goldberry were Aule and Yavanna Kemetari.
 
Posted by Jon Boy (Member # 4284) on :
 
Yes, Radagast was the one who sent Gwahir to check on Gandalf, who just happened to be trapped on top of Orthanc. After that, though, he seems to sort of disappear.
 
Posted by BrianM (Member # 5918) on :
 
here it is

quote:
Because most of the Valar are married, determining the possible identity of Goldberry can be a help in establishing Tom's. There are three possible Valier who might have enjoyed living for a time in the Old Forest: Nessa, Vana, and Yavanna. Nessa, who loves deer and dancing, does not fit too well, since neither of these is Goldberry's specialties. Her husband, Tulkas, the best fighter among the Valar, moreover, is probably too warlike to be Tom. Vana, who cares for flowers and birds, also does not fit very well, since Goldberry is concerned with a larger variety of plants, and birds have no special role. Orome, Vana's husband, furthermore, is a hunter, especially of monsters. If he were Tom, there would have been no wights on the Downs. With Yavanna, however, we have just the right emphasis, for she is responsible for all living things, with a special preference for plants. Since she is Queen of the Earth, it is easy to imagine her watering the forest with special care, as Goldberry does during the Hobbits' visit.

In the Silmarillion (pp. 20-21) Yanvanna's appearance is characterized as follows:

In the form of a woman she is tall, and robed in green; but at times she takes other shapes. Some there are who have seen her standing like a tree under heaven, crowned with the Sun; and from all its branches there spilled a golden dew upon the barren earth, and it grew green with corn; but the roots of the tree were in the waters of Ulmo, and the winds of Manwe spoke in its leaves.
When we first meet Goldberry, she is clad in green: "her gown was green, green as young reeds, shot with silver like beads of dew" (Rings, p. 172). When Tom officially introduces Goldberry, he says, "Here's my Goldberry clothed all in silver-green. . . ." When she says goodbye to the Hobbits, she is once again clad in green and Frodo in calling for her refers specifically to this color when he starts to look for her: "My fair lady, clad all in green!" (p. 187). This characterization of Goldberry's customary dress supports that hypothesis that she is Yavanna.

To be sure, when we first meet her, her feet are also surrounded by water, seemingly supporting the water nymph story. This circumstance, however, is not inconsistent with her tree image, which, as just noted, involved having her feet or roots in "the waters of Ulmo."

As the farewell continues, moreover, a description analogous to the tree description is given:

There on the hill-brow she stood beckoning to them: her hair was flying loose, and as it caught the sun it shone and shimmered. A light like the glint of water on dewy grass flashed under her feet as she danced."

Although still in human form, her flying hair hints at "the winds of Manwe" and the reflection of the sun from her hair suggests that she is "crowned with the Sun." The "glint of water on dewy grass" suggests the spilling of the golden dew on the earth as well as "the waters of Ulmo." When the Hobbits last see Goldberry, she is much more like a plant: "they saw Goldberry now small and slender like s sunlit flower against the sky: she was standing still watching them, and her hands were stretched out towards them." In this case, she is probably more flower than tree because Hobbits in general like flowers and are afraid of trees. The "sunlit" image is strikingly similar to Yavanna's primary nonhuman appearance.


quote:
Just as Goldberry is very similar to Yavanna, Aule the Smith, shares many common characteristics with Tom and this identification helps explain some of the events that occur in Tom's house - especially his control over the ring without any fear or temptation. Aule was the maker of all the substances of the earth: minerals, gems, and metals. During the creation of Middle-earth he was involved in nearly every aspect of its making. He prepared the sea beds to receive the waters of the ocean and prepared the land for plants and animals. As the Maker he developed and taught all arts, crafts, and skills. Of all the Valar, he had the greatest interest in the Children of Iluvatar. So impatient was he to see them that he made the Dwarves. According to the "Valaquenta" in the Silmarillion (p. 27), although Aule and Melkor were most like of all the Valar in thought and power, their attitudes toward the products of their labor and the labor of others were significantly different. While Melkor carefully guarded his works for himself and destroyed the works of others out of jealousy, Aule delighted in making, not possessing, and "he did not envy the works of others, but sought and gave counsel." It was, in fact, Aule's lack of possessiveness and his willingness to submit his work to the will of Iluvatar that saved the Dwarves from destruction and made it possible for them to receive the gift of free will from Iluvatar.

When one carefully considers the special moral characteristics of Aule, the similarities to Tom are most striking and revealing. Like Aule, Tom is not possessive. Although his power to dominate and control is always stressed - he is the master - he does not interfere with other beings except when they directly interfere with him. Although he has the power to possess whatever he may desire, he does not chose to possess or own the forest. As Goldberry explains, the animals, plants, and natural objects of the forest are all allowed to belong to themselves. This distain for ownership or possession is the reason why Tom is able to handle the ring without fear. Ultimately, all other powerful beings encountered in the trilogy, unless they are already fallen, are afraid to touch the ring lest the desire to possess it should turn them to evil. Since Tom does not want to own or possess anything, it has no power over him. We simply see his interest, curiosity, and delight as he studies the craftmanship involved in its making. Indeed, Tom approaches the ring critically, almost with scorn. While all others refer to the ring as precious in a reverent sense, Tom's use of the word, "Show me the precious ring" (Rings, 1:144), suggests irony or doubt about its value. Since the lack of desire to possess or own was extremely rare among the Valar and the beings of Middle-earth, no over Vala is said to exhibit this moral trait, it seems reasonable to assume that Tom and Aule are the same person.

It is also important to note the tremendous power and control that Tom has over the ring. He is, first of all, able to overcome its normal effects. When he puts it on his finger, he does not become invisible. When Frodo puts it on his finger, Tom is still able to see Frodo: he is "not as blind as that yet" (Ibid.). Second, Tom is able with ease to use the ring in ways that were not intended by its maker, for he is able to make the ring itself disappear. (It is possible that Sauron himself might be unable to do this, for the ring embodied a great part of Sauron's own power, drained from him during its making.) Such power over the ring, displayed almost as a parlor trick, I submit, cannot be accounted for by classifying Tom Bombadil as an anomalous nature spirit. The ability to dominate the ring suggests a Vala; the ease with which it is dominated suggests the ultimate maker of all things in Middle-earth, Aule the Smith, of whom both Sauron and Saruman were mere servants in the beginning before time.


and of course I can see the obvious question coming, what the heck would Aule be doing in the shire?!

quote:
As far as Yavanna is concerned, she is probably just visiting with growing things and vacationing with her husband. Aule, on the other hand, is probably there for the purpose of studying Hobbits. We should not forget that of all the Valar Aule was the one most eager to see the Children of Iluvatar. He is also the only one to make sentient, rational beings of his own. Given his interest in such creatures, it is not unreasonable to assume that, like Gandalf, he found Hobbits fascinating. As Hobbit songs about Tom Bombadil suggest, moreover, he had plenty of contact with Hobbits in Buckland and the Marish, no doubt allowing ample opportunity for Hobbit study.


 
Posted by UofUlawguy (Member # 5492) on :
 
Now wait a minute. I know it's been a long time since I read the Silmarillion, but I thought both the ents and the eagles were not Maiar, but rather creations of the Valar. Didn't Aule's wife (Yavanna?) create the ents as a response to Aule's creation of the dwarves? And I thought the eagles were created by Manwe. I could be wrong on that one, but I'm pretty darn sure about the ents.
 
Posted by Dagonee (Member # 5818) on :
 
You're right about both Ents and Eagles being non-Valar, although it should be noted that they were created by Eru, not a Valar.

Dagonee
 
Posted by imogen (Member # 5485) on :
 
You know, just reading through this thread makes me feel better about my overall geekiness... [Razz]
 
Posted by saxon75 (Member # 4589) on :
 
Being something of a Tolkien fan myself, I understand the impulse to want to make everything in the books fit a consistent mythology, but I don't think Tom Bombadil does. The way I understand things, Tolkien originally started writing The Lord of the Rings as a sequel to The Hobbit, which was a lighter, more childlike work. There are a number of inconsistencies between The Hobbit and the later parts of LotR, such as trolls that speak with Cockney accents. The character of Bombadil aligns much more closely with the tone of The Hobbit. After writing the beginning of Fellowship, Tolkien then took a long break, and when he came back he wrote the rest of the story as a sequel to the notes that became The Silmarillion.

It makes even more sense when you know that Tom Bombadil was named after a doll that belonged to a young relative of Tolkien's (possibly his son?) that had a bright blue coat and yellow boots.
 
Posted by ak (Member # 90) on :
 
Yeah, Tom manifested himself in that way, too. [Smile]

Roverandum started life as a beloved toy dog that tragically got lost on the beach.
 
Posted by Jon Boy (Member # 4284) on :
 
"And even in a mythical Age there must be some enigmas, as there always are. Tom Bombadil is one (intentionally)."

—The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, No 144, dated 1954

This site goes into the whole issue in pretty good detail. The conclusion: the evidence is inconclusive. Nobody knows who Tom Bombadil is.
 
Posted by Telperion the Silver (Member # 6074) on :
 
Another point, the Eagles are the chief servants of Manwe, king of the gods. So whenever we see an Eagle it means divine intervention. [Smile]
 
Posted by Vána (Member # 3262) on :
 
BrianM, I love that essay - it really made me think. In fact, I came in here specifically to link to it - but I'm glad to see that someone else has read it, too, and was in fact faster than me! [Smile]
 
Posted by Jon Boy (Member # 4284) on :
 
Wow. So when the eagles come at the end, it's literally deus ex machina. [Wink]
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
Little known fact: Tolkien began work on what would be the Middle-Earth world in trenches in WWI, if not earlier. (Well, little known elsewhere [Wink] )

Tolkien started writing LotR (those works specifically) because the Hobbit had been a success, and there was a clamor for sequels. After some difficulty deciding what else Hobbits might do, he decided to weave the Hobbit even further into his pre-existing mythology.
 
Posted by BrianM (Member # 5918) on :
 
Jon Boy: Though noone knows for sure who/what Tom is, it can be largely deduced that Tolkien wanted people to try and guess his indentity as an element of sensationalism in the stories. The only opposing point to Tom being Aule is when the Council of Elrond meets they discuss giving the Ring to him, but Glorfindel says "the strength to defy the enemy is not within him," this does not necessarily mean he is not Aule, just that on Arda Sauron may be able to best him in combat, just as Tulkas was able to do to Melkor/Melko/Morgoth who was supposed to be the strongest Ainur, yet it didn't translate into combative strength down on Arda. Even Huan, the Hound of Valinor, was able to defeat Morgoth's strongest Wolves, Draugluin and Carcharoth, and even Sauron himself in werewolf form! Besides, Aule is non-combative: he was the first Valar to stop singing when Melkor came in and started bellowing instead of trying to compete with him. Aule is very pacifistic.
 
Posted by Strong Bad (Member # 6471) on :
 
quote:
It isn't inconceivable, then, that Tom is one of the fourteen known Valar, dwelling incognito in Middle-earth. Though we can't be certain, it seems likely that a Vala would be capable of resisting the power of the Ring, and so that difficulty can be set aside. The 'Vala Hypothesis', though, is not without difficulties of its own, with perhaps the most significant being:

"'Eldest, that's what I am... Tom remembers the first raindrop and the first acorn... He knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless - before the Dark Lord came from Outside.'"
The Fellowship of the Ring I 7, In the House of Tom Bombadil

All of the beings who became Valar existed before Arda was made, so any of them could with justification claim the title 'Eldest'. But Tom says he 'knew the dark under the stars' (that is, he was in the World, not outside it) 'before the Dark Lord came from Outside'. The term 'Dark Lord' is uncertain here - it might apply to either Melkor or Sauron, and both originally came from 'Outside' the World. If he means Melkor, then this is very significant: consider this description of the entry of the Valar into the World, from the original conception of the Silmarillion:

"Now swiftly as they fared, Melko was there before them..."
The Book of Lost Tales, Part I, III The Coming of the Valar and the Building of Valinor

'They' here refers to Manwë and Varda, who were explicitly the first Valar to enter Arda apart from Melko (Melkor). In Tolkien's original conception, then (and there is nothing in the published Silmarillion to contradict this) Melkor was the first being from 'Outside' to enter the World, and yet Tom suggests that he was already here when Melkor arrived!

Admittedly Tom may be referring to Sauron, who must have come to Arda after these great ones, but the phrase 'before the Dark Lord came from Outside' seems to make more sense if he means Melkor (that is, he is referring to an event of cosmic significance, and a specific point in the World's history, which isn't the case with Sauron).

This is only one of the objections to the Vala theory. Another, for example, is that characters who we would expect to recognize a Vala living in their midst (especially Gandalf) don't apparently do so.


 
Posted by BrianM (Member # 5918) on :
 
I can't find it but in a letter Tolkien said he was specifically referring to Sauron's death and spiritual exile from and then return to Arda after the destruction of Numenor.

The reason Maia wouldn't recognize him is one, none of Aule's own personal Maia ever deal with Tom, and the difference in power between even the greatest Maiar and the weakest Valar is enormous. A Valar would be able to disguise himself easily.
 
Posted by aka (Member # 139) on :
 
It's certainly convincing to me. He must be far more powerful than Gandalf, for instance.

But one of the features of Tolkien's universe is that there are many known unknowns. He deliberately intended for this element of mystery and awe and wonder to remain. There are parts of the map that are blank. So it's possible Tom is an elemental of some sort, or a personification of the world itself, or something else entirely, that even the Valar know not of. Maybe he's an avatar of Eru Illuvatar.
 
Posted by BrianM (Member # 5918) on :
 
Perhaps of all the theories about Tom the two most easily dismissed are the theories that he is some form of Illuvatar or a "nature spirit."

Illuvatar
quote:
Was Tom Ilúvatar Himself?
Tom's powers are apparently limitless, at least within his own domain, and this has led a lot of people of suggest that he might be none other than Eru Ilúvatar himself. There are certainly several hints in the text of The Lord of the Rings that this might be the case; he is called 'Master', and 'Eldest', and Goldberry says of him simply;

"'He is.'"
The Lord of the Rings I 7, In the House of Tom Bombadil

All of these points might suggest that Tom and Ilúvatar were in some sense the same being. In fact, though, this is one of the very few theories about Tom that we can bring to a definite conclusion. This point is touched on several times in Tolkien's letters, and each time he makes it clear that Tom and Eru should not be confused. Perhaps his most definite statement is this:

"There is no embodiment of the One, of God, who indeed remains remote, outside the World, and only directly accessible to the Valar or Rulers."
The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien No 181, dated 1956

If there is no embodiment of the One (that is, Eru), then Tom cannot of course be such an embodiment.


Nature spirit

quote:
As nearly as I am able to determine, the textual basis for the idea that Tom is a nature spirit is the discussion of him at the Council of Elrond, specifically, the following remarks: "Power to defy our Enemy is not in him, unless such power is in the earth itself" and ". . . now he is withdrawn into a little land, within bounds that he has set, though none can see them, waiting for a change of days, and he will not step beyond them" Rings, 1:279). I suspect that many people have concluded from the second passage that Tom, as a nature spirit, has gradually become hemmed in with the diminishment of the Old Forest. The passage, however, says no such thing. His limits are not set for him by the boundaries of the forest; rather he set them himself. Furthermore, the passage does not state that he cannot cross the boundaries, only that he will not. The claim that he cannot is not even factually correct: Tom frequently visited Farmer Maggot in the Shire and presumably had previously made similar visits to others "down from days hardly remembered" ("Bombadil Goes Boating" and Rings, 1:143). With regard to the first passage, it does not say that Tom is or has the power of the earth. It is ambiguous. The statement, "Tim does not have the ability to drive that far, unless that ability is in his car," does not mean that Tim is a car.

...It is also important to note the tremendous power and control that Tom has over the ring. He is, first of all, able to overcome its normal effects. When he puts it on his finger, he does not become invisible. When Frodo puts it on his finger, Tom is still able to see Frodo: he is "not as blind as that yet" (Ibid.). Second, Tom is able with ease to use the ring in ways that were not intended by its maker, for he is able to make the ring itself disappear. (It is possible that Sauron himself might be unable to do this, for the ring embodied a great part of Sauron's own power, drained from him during its making.) Such power over the ring, displayed almost as a parlor trick, I submit, cannot be accounted for by classifying Tom Bombadil as an anomalous nature spirit. The ability to dominate the ring suggests a Vala; the ease with which it is dominated suggests the ultimate maker of all things in Middle-earth, Aule the Smith, of whom both Sauron and Saruman were mere servants in the beginning before time.



[ April 21, 2004, 11:11 PM: Message edited by: BrianM ]
 
Posted by Jon Boy (Member # 4284) on :
 
But why would Aule the Smith be living in Middle-Earth as a short guy with yellow boots who takes care of the land? I mean, he's a smith, not a gardener.
 
Posted by BrianM (Member # 5918) on :
 
Jon Boy:

quote:
First of all, what are he and Yavanna doing in the Old Forest to begin with? As far as Yavanna is concerned, she is probably just visiting with growing things and vacationing with her husband. Aule, on the other hand, is probably there for the purpose of studying Hobbits. We should not forget that of all the Valar Aule was the one most eager to see the Children of Iluvatar. He is also the only one to make sentient, rational beings of his own. Given his interest in such creatures, it is not unreasonable to assume that, like Gandalf, he found Hobbits fascinating. As Hobbit songs about Tom Bombadil suggest, moreover, he had plenty of contact with Hobbits in Buckland and the Marish, no doubt allowing ample opportunity for Hobbit study.


 
Posted by Kwea (Member # 2199) on :
 
I LOVE this thread.

It is a rare day when I speak to someone about Tolkien, and THEY make ME (not the other way around) look something up....

Normally I'M the uber-geek, but here I am only 3rd in line for Uber-geekdom...

Kwea
 
Posted by ak (Member # 90) on :
 
Kwea, check out the one ring.net

They have a q & a part.

It is the pinnacle of Tolkien geekdom.

linkage

I absolutely love it! I have spent hours and hours there.

[ April 22, 2004, 12:35 AM: Message edited by: ak ]
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
Putting aside issues of who, exactly, Tom Bombabil is...

He doesn't seem 'all powerful' to me. The only extraordinary (for Tolkien's world) examples of power we see are concerning the Ring. He easily (it even looks effortless) resists the Ring's temptation. He can make the Ring disappear, and he can wear the Ring without disappearing. Oh, and he can easily spot those rendered invisible by the Ring.

Supposing he is a Maiar of some sort, is it really so extraordinary that such a being could, if he lived in the same spot for so long, investing his power in it, and it in himself, have such control over the Ring? I don't think so. Sauron is a Maiar, after all. And struggles between two Maiar-even of vastly disparate power-are not as easily won by one side or another as mortal-vs.-Maiar.
 
Posted by JohnKeats (Member # 1261) on :
 
I think it is, Rakeesh.

Gandalf never so much as touched the Ring because he knew that, though he was powerful and would attempt to do good, the Ring would do evil through him.

Tom appears to have been uncorruptable; and since two out of the four Maiar that are commonly known did prove to be corruptable, I would doubt that Tom is a Maiar. Plus, he just doesn't seem to have the character of a Maiar, being younger in appearance and more... boisterous? in personality.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
Good points, JK.

I guess, to me, it's not so extraordinary because of what I think of Maiar. Not only do they have (one would assume) x level of power (wow, that sounded Dragon-Ball ish), but also their mindset determines not only how they will respond to certain things, but how powerfully they will do so.

Tom Bombadil (if he was a Maiar, and I don't think he was) would've been a Maiar with totally different goals and thoughts than Sauron. Sauron wanted things like power, domination, godhood, control, unnatural order, destruction of enemies, more 'magic', etc. Bombadil wanted none of those things at all.

However, Gandalf (and it can be assumed the other Istari) as well as basically everyone else did want at least one of those things. So when a heapin' helpin' of Sauron-essence and power (which is what, really, the Ring is) was put on their finger, those desires are strengthened and also have an outlet. But when Bombadil puts it on?

Nothing. Because (I like to think) Sauron has, offers, or wants to have nothing Bombadil wants, and because since Tom is obviously supernatural, he's got reserves of power able to resist the Ring's demands to the point where it's his choice. Think of Frodo at the Falls, when Sauron and Gandalf are struggling (mentally) with him. One says put the Ring on, the other says take it off, you fool! Specifically mentioned is the feeling Frodo has of those two voices being balanced and thus negated, and Frodo's next move is entirely his own choice. That could be why the Ring has no power over Tom, and why in some ways Tom has power over the Ring. Note that Tom cannot destroy the Ring, or unmake its power, or alter it (we think) beyond making it disappear.

Edit: And you're right, he definitely lacks the character of a Maiar, any that Tolkien ever mentioned that is. I don't think he is a Maiar, not only because Tolkien mentioned it, but because he seems so very mortal at times. No other creature in Tolkien's world that we ever see, aside from Hobbits and Men, exhibits some of the qualities Tom does.

[ April 22, 2004, 09:50 AM: Message edited by: Rakeesh ]
 
Posted by ak (Member # 90) on :
 
quote:
Tom appears to have been uncorruptable; and since two out of the four Maiar that are commonly known did prove to be corruptable, I would doubt that Tom is a Maiar
Of whom are you thinking, these two and these four? We know of the Balrogs and Sauron, and later Saruman in the corruptible camp, though the Istari are a special case, I think, being Maia who chose to follow the Valar, yet who took on mortal flesh specifically to oppose Sauron, and thence became susceptible to the befuddling nature of such flesh, and to its temptations.

In the uncorrupted camp there are Gandalf, Radagast, and the other two wizards, Melian, and I'm sure many others of whom I can't think at the moment, being susceptible to the befuddling nature of human flesh myself. [Smile]
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
I think it depends on how you define 'corrupt' in this instance, Anne Kate. It's pretty clearly mentioned (isn't it? I definitely remember reading this...) that of the five Istari, only one remained uncorrupted and true to their mission.

But what was their mission? To be Five Enemies of Sauron, basically. To oppose and overthrow Sauron by way of inspiring Men, Elves, and Dwarves (but mostly Men) to resist Sauron themselves. Basically to bring out the best parts of those people, and to counteract the similar negative ability Sauron has (i.e. bringing out the worst in people almost without even trying).

We don't know what happened to two of them. They went East and were never heard from again, except possibly to inspire magic in the people living in the East. Saruman was undoubtedly corrupted. Gandalf stayed true to his original mission, but Radagast did differently than Manwe intended. Radagast did more what Yavanna would have wanted.

In that sense, the sense that he didn't stick to his original mission, Radagast was corrupted. Doesn't mean he did bad, though. And it doesn't mean it was even unintentional. Heck, Yavanna and Aule were two of the more uppity Valar, after all.
 
Posted by JohnKeats (Member # 1261) on :
 
I said "2 of the 4 commonly known" because not everybody is able to list out every known Maiar.

[Smile]

I kinda see Tom as the opposite of Puck. Neither magnanimous nor mischevous. Enjoys long walks in the woods. Can do whatever he wants to, but has a hands-off policy on the affairs of mortals.

I think ALL of the Maiar are ABLE to be corrupted. I don't get the sense that Bombadil is under the same rules.

In fact, his utter LACK of an agenda, to me, suggests that there is virtually no authority over him other than himself. If he could conquer the Ring, whether through will-power or I'm-under-a-different-set-of-rules, I'd imagine that he could easily dispose of Sauron as well. And of course he's AWARE of the shadow falling over middle-earth and he knows what hangs in the balance of the Ring's destiny, but he only treats it with rather neutral fascination.

Another fun possibility that no one has mentioned is that Tom Bombadil could be Tolkein himself.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
Hmmm...that's a good one, possibility-wise, JK. I mean, Tolkien certainly likes many of the things Bombadil likes or appears to like.
 
Posted by ak (Member # 90) on :
 
See my earlier post in this thread on this common fallacy about the Istari. It is very much not true that Radagast and the two blue wizards turned aside from their mission. Just they didn't involve elves and men, as Gandalf's and Saruman's did. There is so much more in the world than elves and men, so much that is of vital importance, yet we forget this constantly.

P.S. It's near the middle of the first page, if you're interested.

[ April 22, 2004, 10:44 AM: Message edited by: ak ]
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
Anne Kate,

That may well be. I'm basing my idea on the memory of reading that all of the Istari were [/i]specifically[/i] assigned a mission to inspire Men, Elves, and Dwarves into opposition of Sauron. Now I don't remember where exactly I read that, or if it's an accurate memory. I could well be wrong.

If I'm right about that, though, then > 2/5 Istari did fail in their original mission. We don't know what happened to the other two Wizards.
 
Posted by ak (Member # 90) on :
 
Not true, not true! We are never told what are their missions, nor that they failed. Radagast was not a disappointment to Gandalf, who praises him with worthy epithets... "the honest Radagast", etc. Of the other two we know far less.

I promise you they had very important missions among the other creatures and beings and essences of the world, and that they accomplished a great deal. The Valar were not such ill choosers as that!

[ April 22, 2004, 11:00 AM: Message edited by: ak ]
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
Anne Kate,

OK, I'll have to look it up then. I know I've read that somewhere, but I can't remember who said it. Might've not been as narrative, but rather Gandalf speaking, or something.

And again, even if it turns out that Radagast was corrupted in the sense that he failed in his original mission (assuming that was to do those things I said), he would still be honest, a good guy, etc.

And actually, the Valar made some pretty crappy choices. They chose Saruman, for one thing. Also permitted Sauron to remain in hiding. Really screwed up with the Noldor, as well. Tolkien even admits this himself, he says that's why the Valar came up with the idea of Istari. They'd tried direct intervention, they'd tried bringing Elves to Valar, they'd tried exile, they'd tried doing nothing, and they'd tried direct confrontation with Morgoth. None of `em worked, and frequently Morgoth won.

But this resonates with Tolkien's beliefs, since the Valar were not God, but rather angelic-type creatures.
 
Posted by ak (Member # 90) on :
 
They weren't God, but they were gods. And they were pretty wise. But I guess they believed in free agency and stuff, and didn't expect for 100% of everything to turn out according to plan.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
Well, they didn't always believe in Free Agency. They made numerous mistakes in their dealings with the Elves. Heck, that was Tolkien's (and their) opinion, not just mine.
 
Posted by Telperion the Silver (Member # 6074) on :
 
Rakeesh, I am most in line with your thoughts regarding Tom and his "domination" over the ring, or shall we say the lack of it.

I am still of the mind that Tom was a Maiar from Yavanna and Goldberry a Maiar from Ulmo. [Smile] But I do very much like the theory about "nature spirit". Cheers on that.

Regarding the Maiar and corruption... I would say that we also have to look at all the millions of Maiar back in heaven who are totally loyal and pure and whatnot. I think also that taking on the flesh of humanoids (or elfoids) adds to the, I guess you can call it weakness, of the Wizards to the corruption of a Maiar (Sauron) who is not hindered by restrictions from Valinor on the use of power or of form.

Tom does not care for power and thus gives him "power" over the ring. The fact that he is not corrupted or tempted, I would say, does not mean that he is not a Maiar... [Smile]
 
Posted by Altáriël of Dorthonion (Member # 6473) on :
 
For all I know, Tom Bombadil had Gandalf's ring, you know how the elves received three rings of power right?
Well, turns out Gandalf has some elvish ancestry and he is the rightful heir to one of them.
 
Posted by Jon Boy (Member # 4284) on :
 
¿Que?
 
Posted by JohnKeats (Member # 1261) on :
 
quote:
The fact that he is not corrupted or tempted, I would say, does not mean that he is not a Maiar...
But of course it does.

The Ring has a will of its own. Neither Bilbo, Frodo or Sam ever desired power, either, and it held considerable sway with them. Though it's worth noting that Samwise also had no desire for the Ring and that probably made it easier for him.

But you know the alarm bells would be going off in the Dark Tower if Gandalf or Saruman had put the Ring ON THEIR FINGERS. Gandalf sees the Eye just by reaching for the Ring. Why would a Tom Maiar be able to bend the Ring to his will while the others would be tainted by it? Simply because Tom is a more 'pure' Maiar than Gandalf?

Kinda think not.

I'm actually enjoying the idea that Tom could be Tolkien himself. That would meet the criteria for being in the world before the Dark Lord arrived (whichever one you choose) and it would also explain his ability to do whatever he wished with the Ring... and given Tolkien's war experience it could also explain why Tom chose not to be involved in the Ring's destiny, though he clearly held the future--or lack of one--for Middle-Earth in his hands.

[ April 22, 2004, 01:14 PM: Message edited by: JohnKeats ]
 
Posted by Altáriël of Dorthonion (Member # 6473) on :
 
Very sophisticated hypothesis.
 
Posted by BrianM (Member # 5918) on :
 
A few fact corrections:

Gandalf has no "elven ancestry," he was given his elf ring by one of the Elf Lords who thought he was wisest of the Istari and should have it, I'm pretty sure it was Cirdan who gave it to him.

The nature spirit theory is actually one of the most problematic theories, see my first post on this page.

The Valar don't make crappy choices, you can argue they made the choices they did knowling full well that good would triumph in the end and they used the various evil guys they did to bring about change in the world. A complacent world devoid of evil would be a weak one and not very interesting. Besides, they beat Melkor at his own game: manipulation of the other side. Also, they can't necessarily account for people on their side like Maiar getting corrupted.

The Blue Wizards never had a mission, per say, almost nothing is known about them except that they came down to Arda and dissappeared into the east (Khand)

Tom cannot be anything less than a Valar. This is because Sauron is the most powerful Maiar, the Ring is Sauron's power condensed. Therefore noone less powerful than Sauron can do the things Tom did to the Ring. If it was just resisting the Ring's desire then maybe, but Tom exerted such mastery over the Ring that he must be a Valar and the one that most fits is Aule.

[ April 22, 2004, 01:27 PM: Message edited by: BrianM ]
 
Posted by mr_porteiro_head (Member # 4644) on :
 
Unless there is something more powerful than Maia and less powerful than Valar.

What would that thing be called? Tom Bombadil. [Big Grin]

[ April 22, 2004, 01:34 PM: Message edited by: mr_porteiro_head ]
 
Posted by Jon Boy (Member # 4284) on :
 
"Power to defy our Enemy is not in him."

I'm pretty sure that one of the Valar would have the power to defy Sauron. And the problem with the argument against his being an anomalous nature spirit is that it tries to define what an anomalous nature spirit could and could not do. I think the only reasonable conclusion is that he's just a random character that Tolkien threw in for fun, and he doesn't fit any types or molds or even any logic. He's not a Maia or a Vala or a man or an elf or anything else. He's just Tom Bombadil.
 
Posted by BrianM (Member # 5918) on :
 
Jon Boy, I specifically anwered that point in great detail, and will now copy and paste my post for you.

quote:
Jon Boy: Though noone knows for sure who/what Tom is, it can be largely deduced that Tolkien wanted people to try and guess his indentity as an element of sensationalism in the stories. The only opposing point to Tom being Aule is when the Council of Elrond meets they discuss giving the Ring to him, but Glorfindel says "the strength to defy the enemy is not within him," this does not necessarily mean he is not Aule, just that on Arda Sauron may be able to best him in combat, just as Tulkas was able to do to Melkor/Melko/Morgoth who was supposed to be the strongest Ainur, yet it didn't translate into combative strength down on Arda. Even Huan, the Hound of Valinor, was able to defeat Morgoth's strongest Wolves, Draugluin and Carcharoth, and even Sauron himself in werewolf form! Besides, Aule is non-combative: he was the first Valar to stop singing when Melkor came in and started bellowing instead of trying to compete with him. Aule is very pacifistic.
Basically he wouldn't WANT to oppose Sauron combatively or see the need to.

[ April 22, 2004, 01:47 PM: Message edited by: BrianM ]
 
Posted by Altáriël of Dorthonion (Member # 6473) on :
 
Oh well, that's what my mom said, i foun Tolkien's writing style kind of boring and rather abstract. I love what he talks about, but its just too complicated for me to understand, hence i do this: [Wall Bash] .
My mother read the spanish version of the books, so maybe they changed that small detail reguarding Gandalf.
 
Posted by Vána (Member # 3262) on :
 
*hugs Hatrack*
 
Posted by Telperion the Silver (Member # 6074) on :
 
I would say that the only tempting power of the ring was the fact that it had the spirit of an evil demi-god inside it, and whoever put it on would recieve that power.

But as long as a creature has the same power as Sauron there should be no temptation. So all Tom needs to be is a Maiar of equal spiritual power as Sauron.

Also, again, I argue that since Tom nature was anti-power, the power temptation of the ring would have no effect on him. He does not need to be Aule to resist the ring... only a Maiar whoes nature and power is opposite of Sauron and his ideals.
 
Posted by Telperion the Silver (Member # 6074) on :
 
*hugs Vana*
Water me with your healing tears! [Smile]
*shines brightly*
 
Posted by BrianM (Member # 5918) on :
 
There is *no* Maiar in equal power or even close to Sauron. Tolkien is very clear about that in the Silmarilion.

As to the "anti-power" argument, that only deals with the desire aspect, not with the fact that Tom can make the thing dissappear and do pretty much what he likes with it. The reason Tom IS very power oriented is that he exerts his will over anything he chooses in his domain, ie: the trees that were going to kill the hobbits! Also, you can't be "anti-power" and then exert your will over the most powerful object in Middle Earth. He is referred to as "Master" and everything obeys him. Tom is one of the most "power" oriented characters in all of LOTR.

It's all well and good to say Tom was an anomaly or just a fanciful quirk of Tolkien's writings but it is clear from his placement and from his letters on the subject that Tolkien gave us serious clues and wanted us to try and guess Tom's identity. As to him being something between an Ainur and a Maiar Tolkien is very clear in a letter when he says the "difference in power between the lowest of the Ainur and the highest Maiar (Sauron) is incalculable, and nothing falls in between." Basically, there is nothing between Ainur and Maiar.

[ April 22, 2004, 02:06 PM: Message edited by: BrianM ]
 
Posted by Dagonee (Member # 5818) on :
 
quote:
There is *no* Maiar in equal power or even close to Sauron. Tolkien is very clear about that in the Silmarilion.
Please provide a page cite for this. It was clear Sauron was the most powerful of Morgoth's Maia, but not that he was the most powerful of all.

Dagonee
 
Posted by saxon75 (Member # 4589) on :
 
Just to be a nitpick for a moment, I was under the impression that "Valar" and "Maiar" were plural nouns and that the singular forms were "Vala" and "Maia."
 
Posted by BrianM (Member # 5918) on :
 
http://blog.qiken.org/archives/000196.html

There's one for now, I'm looking for something more official, unfortunately the site that used to have the whole Silmarilion online is down, so I will look through my personal copy and copy the text when I find it. Tolkien says that Sauron is one of the most powerful Maia several times, so that leads to confusion over this issue, however, when Morgoth first encounters the Girdle of Melian, Tolkien wrote something about how he was going to ask Sauron to break it since he was the most powerful Maiar.
 
Posted by Vána (Member # 3262) on :
 
*waters Telperion*

saxon, you are correct.

[ April 22, 2004, 02:18 PM: Message edited by: Vána ]
 
Posted by Dagonee (Member # 5818) on :
 
VALAQUENTA

quote:
Among those of his servants that have names the greatest was that spirit whom the Eldar called Sauron, or Gorthaur the Cruel. In his beginning he was of the Maiar of Aulë, and he remained mighty in the lore of that people. In all the deeds of Melkor the Morgoth upon Arda, in his vast works and in the deceits of his cunning, Sauron had a part, and was only less evil than his master in that for long he served another and not himself. But in after years he rose like a shadow of Morgoth and a ghost of his malice, and walked behind him on the same ruinous path down into the Void.

 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
For all I enjoy talking about this, Tolkien actually had a tendancy to resent miniscule nitpicking and guessing what he 'really' meant by parts of his story.

But this was usually more towards guessing what it was "really" about, etc.
 
Posted by JohnKeats (Member # 1261) on :
 
If Tom was Aule and Sauron was Aule's creation, then I guess it would make sense that, while he wouldn't take an interest in middle-earth affairs, he might be interested to see the Ring. Having been created by his creation and all.
 
Posted by Telperion the Silver (Member # 6074) on :
 
Except that the Maiar are the brothers of the Valar, not their children.
 
Posted by JohnKeats (Member # 1261) on :
 
<stands corrected>

It would still explain his meager interest in the quaint little artifact.
 
Posted by jehovoid (Member # 2014) on :
 
I found this article about the istari. It's not very scholarly in my opinion, and he doesn't cite where he gets alot of his information from, but there certainly is alot of it.

The theory that Tolkein wrote himself into Middle Earth in the figure of Tom Bombadil is a very attractive one. However, after reading Carpenter's biography on him, I got the impression that he was more of a hobbit-type who enjoyed gardens and smoking his pipe and all that. But this characterization doesn't imply that he actually has to be a hobbit, just one who enjoys their customs. This would align Tolkein with Bombadil, but also with Gandalf. I'm sure that neither of these theories applies 100%. Tolkein was probably very careful (at least in the post-Hobbit writing) to keep Middle Earth unidentified with real Earth. That's why it's so fascinating that it actually does resemble real Earth in so many ways. (Does it imply some fundamental connection between myth and reality?)
 
Posted by Telperion the Silver (Member # 6074) on :
 
The connection between real and imaginary is vital to Tolkien. He called it the Primary and Secondary Worlds... and the Secondary World is more believeable when it is similar and resonates with our Primary World. And Middle-Earth IS our Earth in his mythology. [Smile] That's one of the things that makes his writting so powerful for me... because it's like a lost history of our world.
 
Posted by Jon Boy (Member # 4284) on :
 
From Tolkien's own letters:
quote:
Do you think Tom Bombadil, the spirit of the (vanishing) Oxford and Berkshire countryside, could be made into the hero of a story? (J.R.R. Tolkien, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, letter 19)
Tom is very clearly a nature spirit.
quote:
Tom Bombadil is not an important person – to the narrative. I suppose he has some importance as a 'comment'. I mean, I do not really write like that: he is just an invention (who first appeared in the Oxford Magazine about 1933), and he represents something that I feel important, though I would not be prepared to analyze the feeling precisely (Tolkien, Letters, letter 144).
quote:
At any rate it [a new Bombadil poem] performs the service of further 'integrating' Tom with the world of the L.R. into which he was inserted (Tolkien, Letters, letter 237).
Tom Bombadil is an entity created outside the framework of The Lord of the Rings, and he was inserted into the story. Thus, it does not make sense for him to be a Vala or Maia.
quote:
Frodo has asked not 'what is Tom Bombadil' but 'Who is he'. We and he no doubt often laxly confuse the questions. Goldberry gives what I think is the correct answer. We need not go into the sublimities of 'I am that am' – which is quite different from he is. She adds as a concession a statement of part of the 'what'. He is master in a peculiar way: he has no fear, and no desire of possession or domination at all. He merely knows and understands about such things as concern him in his natural little realm. He hardly even judges. . . .

I don't think Tom needs philosophizing about, and is not improved by it. But many have found him an odd or indeed discordant ingredient. In historical fact I put him in because I had already 'invented' him independently (he first appeared in the Oxford Magazine) and wanted an 'adventure' on the way (J.R.R. Tolkien, Letters, letter 153).

I would guess that Aule would know a lot more than what concerned him in a small corner of the world. And I think it's fairly obvious from this letter that Tom Bombadil isn't a puzzle to be solved—he's just Tom.

From The Lord of the Rings:
quote:
Tom was here before the river and the trees; Tom remembers the first raindrop and the first acorn. He made paths before the Big People, and saw the little People arriving. He was here before the Kings and the graves and the Barrow-wights. When the Elves passed westward, Tom was here already, before the seas were bent. He knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless—before the Dark Lord came from Outside.
So why would one of the Valar have been in Middle-Earth this whole time instead of in Valinor?
quote:
‘Could we not still send messages to him and obtain his help?’ asked Erestor. ‘It seems that he has a power even over the Ring.’

‘No, I should not put it so,’ said Gandalf. ‘Say rather that the Ring has no power over him. He is his own master. But he cannot alter the Ring itself, nor break its power over others. And now he is withdrawn into a little land, within bounds that he has set, though none can see them, waiting perhaps for a change of days, and he will not step beyond them.’

‘But within those bounds nothing seems to dismay him,’ said Erestor. ‘Would he not take the Ring and keep it there, for ever harmless?’

‘No,’ said Gandalf, ‘not willingly. He might do so, if all the free folk of the world begged him, but he would not understand the need. And if he were given the Ring, he would soon forget it, or most likely throw it away. Such things have no hold on his mind. He would be a most unsafe guardian; and that alone is answer enough.’

‘But in any case,’ said Glorfindel, ‘to send the Ring to him would only postpone the day of evil. He is far away. We could not now take it back to him, unguessed, unmarked by any spy. And even if we could, soon or late the Lord of the Rings would learn of its hiding place and would bend all his power towards it. Could that power be defied by Bombadil alone? I think not. I think that in the end, if all else is conquered, Bombadil will fall, Last as he was First; and then Night will come.’

‘I know little of Iarwain save the name,’ said Galdor; ‘but Glorfindel, I think, is right. Power to defy our Enemy is not in him, unless such power is in the earth itself. And yet we see that Sauron can torture and destroy the very hills.’

It seems that the ring has no power over Tom not because he is a mighty spirit that can control the ring, but because he is simply his own entity that is separate from its influence. And if he is powerful enough to control the ring—which is an extension of Sauron—why does he not have power to defy him? And if he is one of the Valar, why would he be unable to understand the need to destroy the ring? Why would an object like a ring of power—the kind of thing Aule the Smith would be interested in—have no hold on his mind? Why would the smith god of Middle-Earth be unable to change or unmake something made by one of his lessers? And why would a smith be more interested in tending a small area of wilderness instead of making things? The evidence in support of his being Aule is tenuous at best, especially considering Tolkien's own statements and Tom's apparent inconsistency with the character and nature of the Valar. The only logical conclusion seems to be that Tom is precisely what Tolkien said he is: an independent, enigmatic countryside spirit.

[ April 22, 2004, 09:04 PM: Message edited by: Jon Boy ]
 
Posted by BrianM (Member # 5918) on :
 
I have no doubt that the personality of Tom as pre-developed by Tolkien is very much into a "nature spirit" mode, but your forgetting a key premise that basically makes both possible: that Tom in all his quirkiness and peculiarities is a manifestation of the Vala, Aule.
quote:
From Tolkien's own letters:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Do you think Tom Bombadil, the spirit of the (vanishing) Oxford and Berkshire countryside, could be made into the hero of a story? (J.R.R. Tolkien, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, letter 19)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tom is very clearly a nature spirit.

Perhaps the manifestation of Tom is designed to look and feel like a "nature spirit," but it clearly is a Vala doing so. Among other reasons why this must be so is that a true nature spirit would not have the ability to set its own borders and limits anywhere and anyhow it pleases.

quote:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tom Bombadil is not an important person – to the narrative. I suppose he has some importance as a 'comment'. I mean, I do not really write like that: he is just an invention (who first appeared in the Oxford Magazine about 1933), and he represents something that I feel important, though I would not be prepared to analyze the feeling precisely (Tolkien, Letters, letter 144).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
At any rate it [a new Bombadil poem] performs the service of further 'integrating' Tom with the world of the L.R. into which he was inserted (Tolkien, Letters, letter 237).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tom Bombadil is an entity created outside the framework of The Lord of the Rings, and he was inserted into the story. Thus, it does not make sense for him to be a Vala or Maia.

I have no doubt that the idea of Tom was created outside the story, but when he is inserted into the story he obviously must link up in some form with the plot, otherwise Tolkien would not have included him in the story at all.

quote:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Frodo has asked not 'what is Tom Bombadil' but 'Who is he'. We and he no doubt often laxly confuse the questions. Goldberry gives what I think is the correct answer. We need not go into the sublimities of 'I am that am' – which is quite different from he is. She adds as a concession a statement of part of the 'what'. He is master in a peculiar way: he has no fear, and no desire of possession or domination at all. He merely knows and understands about such things as concern him in his natural little realm. He hardly even judges. . . .

I don't think Tom needs philosophizing about, and is not improved by it. But many have found him an odd or indeed discordant ingredient. In historical fact I put him in because I had already 'invented' him independently (he first appeared in the Oxford Magazine) and wanted an 'adventure' on the way (J.R.R. Tolkien, Letters, letter 153).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I would guess that Aule would know a lot more than what concerned him in a small corner of the world. And I think it's fairly obvious from this letter that Tom Bombadil isn't a puzzle to be solved—he's just Tom.

1. Aule/Tom probably knows very well what is going on, but even in your own quotes you can see he doesn't see the need to care or interfere, this is very telling of the attitude of the Valar, especially Aule and especially post-destruction of Numenor.
2. As I said above I don't think Tolkien initially intended for Tom to be such a huge role when he thought him up outside the LOTR universe, but when he inserted him he did so for a reason. It's not like Tolkien couldn't have written a seperate novel for Tom, or made a trivial character in a different story, there is a reason behind Tom's presence and incredible power.

quote:
From The Lord of the Rings:

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tom was here before the river and the trees; Tom remembers the first raindrop and the first acorn. He made paths before the Big People, and saw the little People arriving. He was here before the Kings and the graves and the Barrow-wights. When the Elves passed westward, Tom was here already, before the seas were bent. He knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless—before the Dark Lord came from Outside.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So why would one of the Valar have been in Middle-Earth this whole time instead of in Valinor?

Valar can be anywhere they wish, in any form they wish, and in multiple places with no differences in amount of divided attention of power of presence.

quote:
As spirits, the Valar have no fixed physical form, although they often took the shapes of the Children of Ilúvatar. They could, though, assume any form they chose, or cast aside their shape altogether and travel formless and invisible through Arda.

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
‘Could we not still send messages to him and obtain his help?’ asked Erestor. ‘It seems that he has a power even over the Ring.’

‘No, I should not put it so,’ said Gandalf. ‘Say rather that the Ring has no power over him. He is his own master. But he cannot alter the Ring itself, nor break its power over others. And now he is withdrawn into a little land, within bounds that he has set, though none can see them, waiting perhaps for a change of days, and he will not step beyond them.’

‘But within those bounds nothing seems to dismay him,’ said Erestor. ‘Would he not take the Ring and keep it there, for ever harmless?’

‘No,’ said Gandalf, ‘not willingly. He might do so, if all the free folk of the world begged him, but he would not understand the need. And if he were given the Ring, he would soon forget it, or most likely throw it away. Such things have no hold on his mind. He would be a most unsafe guardian; and that alone is answer enough.’

‘But in any case,’ said Glorfindel, ‘to send the Ring to him would only postpone the day of evil. He is far away. We could not now take it back to him, unguessed, unmarked by any spy. And even if we could, soon or late the Lord of the Rings would learn of its hiding place and would bend all his power towards it. Could that power be defied by Bombadil alone? I think not. I think that in the end, if all else is conquered, Bombadil will fall, Last as he was First; and then Night will come.’

‘I know little of Iarwain save the name,’ said Galdor; ‘but Glorfindel, I think, is right. Power to defy our Enemy is not in him, unless such power is in the earth itself. And yet we see that Sauron can torture and destroy the very hills.’
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It seems that the ring has no power over Tom not because he is a mighty spirit that can control the ring, but because he is simply his own entity that is separate from its influence. And if he is powerful enough to control the ring—which is an extension of Sauron—why does he not have power to defy him? And if he is one of the Valar, why would he be unable to understand the need to destroy the ring? Why would an object like a ring of power—the kind of thing Aule the Smith would be interested in—have no hold on his mind? Why would the smith god of Middle-Earth be unable to change or unmake something made by one of his lessers? And why would a smith be more interested in tending a small area of wilderness instead of making things? The evidence in support of his being Aule is tenuous at best, especially considering Tolkien's own statements and Tom's apparent inconsistency with the character and nature of the Valar. The only logical conclusion seems to be that Tom is precisely what Tolkien said he is: an independent, enigmatic countryside spirit.

The passage never says he doesn't have the power to defy Sauron, just that it isn't within him. This makes much more sense when taken in context of the passages that relate the true reason for this: he doesn't see the need/doesn't care/is pacifistic.

Another big reason that comes up many times in LOTR is that maybe he can't battle Sauron in combat effectively despite being a Vala, this phenominon is best demonstrated by Tulkas beating Melkor, and by Huan beating Sauron!

The Ring has no hold on his mind because:
1. It's evil, he is good.
2. Aule the Smith does not wish to own anything. Among all the Valar he is noted with the special quality of wishing to create and give to others. This matches Tom exceedingly well.
3. He is unable to understand the need to destroy the ring because:
a. The Valar can see the future, so he knows it will all be taken care of.
b. The Valar never like to directly interfere with ME and the goings-on after there numerous conflicts and final removal of Melkor.

He is not unable to change or alter the Ring, He made it dissappear. Not even Sauron could do that!

Why would a Smith be more interested in an area of earth and not making things? Because he is a Cosmic Smith. Your taking the definition of smith too literally, he created most of Arda and even his own race (dwarves). He among the Valar was most interested in all the various species of Middle Earth and especially the dwarves, men and hobbits.

quote:
The only logical conclusion seems to be that Tom is precisely what Tolkien said he is: an independent, enigmatic countryside spirit.

Perhaps that is the manifestation, but that is merely the form Aule is taking, the evidence that it is really him is overwhemling and is cemented by the following:

quote:
Like the Elves, those Valar who chose to enter the World at its beginning are bound to it until it reaches its destined end; they may not return to the Timeless Halls of Ilúvatar.
Because Aule chose to come down to Middle Earth after its initial creation to continue his work, deal with the dwarves, live as Tom, etc., he is stuck on middle earth until the "end."
The overwhelming similarities and signs about Tom pointing to Aule coupled with the fact that Aule HAD to be in Arda make for very solid probability that Tom is Aule.

[ April 22, 2004, 10:34 PM: Message edited by: BrianM ]
 
Posted by Jon Boy (Member # 4284) on :
 
quote:
Perhaps the manifestation of Tom is designed to look and feel like a "nature spirit," but it clearly is a Vala doing so.
Clearly? Since when?
quote:
Among other reasons why this must be so is that a true nature spirit would not have the ability to set its own borders and limits anywhere and anyhow it pleases.
Why not? Who are you to define what Tolkien's nature spirits can and can't do?
quote:
I have no doubt that the idea of Tom was created outside the story, but when he is inserted into the story he obviously must link up in some form with the plot, otherwise Tolkien would not have included him in the story at all.
Tolkien included him because he was a comment about something that Tolkien felt was important. That doesn't require Tom Bombadil to fully integrate into a rigid hierarchy of Valar and Maiar and Children of Iluvatar.
quote:
Aule/Tom probably knows very well what is going on, but even in your own quotes you can see he doesn't see the need to care or interfere.
No, he doesn't understand the need. That's a big difference.
quote:
It's not like Tolkien couldn't have written a seperate novel for Tom, or made a trivial character in a different story, there is a reason behind Tom's presence and incredible power.
So what is that reason?
quote:
Valar can be anywhere they wish, in any form they wish, and in multiple places with no differences in amount of divided attention of power of presence.
That doesn't answer why Aule would choose to do that. And if he could be in any place and in any form without losing his power, then why is his power limited to such a small area? Why doesn't he have the power to challenge Sauron?
quote:
The passage never says he doesn't have the power to defy Sauron, just that it isn't within him.
How can he have a power that isn't in him? Where is it, then? In his other pants?
quote:
Another big reason that comes up many times in LOTR is that maybe he can't battle Sauron in combat effectively despite being a Vala, this phenominon is best demonstrated by Tulkas beating Melkor, and by Huan beating Sauron!
The appendix to The Silmarillion says of Tulkas: "A Vala, the 'greatest in strength and deeds of prowess.'" And really, those examples only demonstrate that Tolkien's world is not a rigorously logical world, just like the mythologies that inspired it.
quote:
The Ring has no hold on his mind because:
1. It's evil, he is good.

Gandalf was good, too.
quote:

2. Aule the Smith does not wish to own anything. Among all the Valar he is noted with the special quality of wishing to create and give to others. This matches Tom exceedingly well.[quote]So that's one similarity. What about the smith / caretaker of the earth problem?[quote]
3. He is unable to understand the need to destroy the ring because:
a. The Valar can see the future, so he knows it will all be taken care of.[quote]But that's not what the text indicates. There's a pretty big difference between not understanding something and not worrying about something.[quote]He is not unable to change or alter the Ring, He made it dissappear. Not even Sauron could do that!

Just because he didn't doesn't mean he couldn't.
quote:
Why would a Smith be more interested in an area of earth and not making things? Because he is a Cosmic Smith. Your taking the definition of smith too literally, he created most of Arda and even his own race (dwarves). He among the Valar was most interested in all the various species of Middle Earth and especially the dwarves, men and hobbits.
But there's a big difference between making and caretaking. He doesn't seem particularly interested in anything except his little corner of the world, and he certainly doesn't seem interesting in making anything; whatever he is, he's a far cry from the master craftsmen of the Valar. It seems to me that it's contradictory for a a spirit of the disappearing countryside, when Saruman and Sauron—both spirits of Aule—were intent on making things at the expense of the natural world.
quote:
Perhaps that is the manifestation, but that is merely the form Aule is taking, the evidence that it is really him is overwhemling and is cemented by the following:
You can can evidence overwhelming, and you can say that it cements your argument, but that doesn't make it so.
quote:
Because Aule chose to come down to Middle Earth after its initial creation to continue his work, deal with the dwarves, live as Tom, etc., he is stuck on middle earth until the "end."
But Aule clearly wasn't stuck on Middle-Earth—there are numerous references to his dwelling in Valinor throughout The Silmarillion. It's pretty clear that Aule was in the Blessed Realm, teaching stuff to the Elves. He couldn't exactly be in Valinor if he was stuck in Middle-Earth.

So why would Tolkien take an independent character like Tom and decide to force him to become another character that he'd already created? And why did he decide to make it a mystery? He quite often denounced claims that The Lord of the Rings was full of hidden meanings and allegories. And since The Silmarillion was published some time after The Lord of the Rings, why would he have gone to the trouble? He never expected The Silmarillion to be published, so it seems ridiculous to say that he intended everyone to pick up on the clues to Tom's identity and figure out who he was.
 
Posted by BrianM (Member # 5918) on :
 
It does not seem so ridiculous to want people to guess Tom's real identity, and what better way to foster that curiosity than by trying to downplay it in interviews and correspondance on the subject?

Jon Boy: I would like to premise all my responses by saying you have a major hypocrisy in your responses to my claims. On one hand you say that Tolkien's universe doesn't need to apply to any kind of coherency, consistency or logic, yet on the other hand you argue some points based on logic and rules you are applying to try and prove your point. You can't be selective, it's either one way or the other. I'm not saying it must be absolutely rigid, but you weave back and forth between the two more than once and I certainly don't think Tolkien did it that much.

quote:
Perhaps the manifestation of Tom is designed to look and feel like a "nature spirit," but it clearly is a Vala doing so.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Clearly? Since when?

Since all of the other criteria point to only a Vala being able to do those things.

quote:
Among other reasons why this must be so is that a true nature spirit would not have the ability to set its own borders and limits anywhere and anyhow it pleases.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Why not? Who are you to define what Tolkien's nature spirits can and can't do?

As I said above you seem to have no problems outlining what you think Smiths should and should not be interested in, what different aspects and interests should or should not be present, etc. Think of it this way, if Tom was a nature spirit his limits and boundaries would come naturally from nature, he wouldn't set them himself.

quote:
I have no doubt that the idea of Tom was created outside the story, but when he is inserted into the story he obviously must link up in some form with the plot, otherwise Tolkien would not have included him in the story at all.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tolkien included him because he was a comment about something that Tolkien felt was important. That doesn't require Tom Bombadil to fully integrate into a rigid hierarchy of Valar and Maiar and Children of Iluvatar.

No it doesn't REQUIRE it, but when all the clues and hints stack up it is more possible than any other possibility that for all the various conditions and circumstances that Tom is the Vala Aule. Remember, Tolkien's initial creation of Tom is not the same as Tolkien plugging the character of Tom into LOTR.

quote:
Aule/Tom probably knows very well what is going on, but even in your own quotes you can see he doesn't see the need to care or interfere.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

No, he doesn't understand the need. That's a big difference

Maybe he doesn;t understand the need because he knows
1. It will eventually be solved anyway.
2. He has contempt for the Ring because he knows its true nature and who made it.
3. He doesn't want to own or desire anything, and since the Ring is ultimate power and desire for power, he simply does not careabout/understand it.

quote:
It's not like Tolkien couldn't have written a seperate novel for Tom, or made a trivial character in a different story, there is a reason behind Tom's presence and incredible power.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So what is that reason?

That's what were trying to figure out! I'm not trying to turn this into one of those "the reader interprets the story the way they want to and it becomes theirs in a sense" arguments, but Tolkien's plugging Tom into LOTR the way he did was for a purpose otherwise what are the chances all these coincidences between he and Aule and Yavanna and Goldberry would line up?

quote:
Valar can be anywhere they wish, in any form they wish, and in multiple places with no differences in amount of divided attention of power of presence.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

That doesn't answer why Aule would choose to do that. And if he could be in any place and in any form without losing his power, then why is his power limited to such a small area? Why doesn't he have the power to challenge Sauron?

The simplest answer is that the Valar laid down their government of Arda for and after the destruction of Numenor. Either they were self-ethically or forcefull tied to restraining from excessive direct interference. But even if they weren't Aule was the most non-confrontational of all the Ainur. He has the power to challenge Sauron, it simply isn't within him because he can't underdstand the need because he wouldn't ever want to. The power isn't within Tom as one manifestation of Aule. Aule encompasses all of Tom, but Tom does not encompass all of Aule.

quote:
The passage never says he doesn't have the power to defy Sauron, just that it isn't within him.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

How can he have a power that isn't in him? Where is it, then? In his other pants?

See the above response.

quote:
Another big reason that comes up many times in LOTR is that maybe he can't battle Sauron in combat effectively despite being a Vala, this phenominon is best demonstrated by Tulkas beating Melkor, and by Huan beating Sauron!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The appendix to The Silmarillion says of Tulkas: "A Vala, the 'greatest in strength and deeds of prowess.'" And really, those examples only demonstrate that Tolkien's world is not a rigorously logical world, just like the mythologies that inspired it.

Actually Tolkien's world is very logical as he sets it forth. Spiritual power needn't translate into war-making prowess and ability on the surface of Arda itself. Just as Ungoliant almost killed Melkor's physical form (and no it wasn't just because she was hopped up and he was power drained), and Tulkas defeated Melkor, and Sauron was defeated by Huan the Hound, Aule is non-combative. When Tolkien talks about the Ainur he says that of them all 14 were given seperate gifts and Melkor was given composite gifts of all of them. Aule simply is not suited for earthly combat.

quote:
The Ring has no hold on his mind because:
1. It's evil, he is good.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Gandalf was good, too.

Aule was a Valar level of good though: GODLY. Maiar are corruptable by each other, and certainly by Sauron the most powerful among them. Since Aule is beyond Sauron's sway of infuence (persuasive/temptation power) he is not affected.

quote:
2. Aule the Smith does not wish to own anything. Among all the Valar he is noted with the special quality of wishing to create and give to others. This matches Tom exceedingly well.[quote]So that's one similarity. What about the smith / caretaker of the earth problem?[quote]
3. He is unable to understand the need to destroy the ring because:
a. The Valar can see the future, so he knows it will all be taken care of.[quote]But that's not what the text indicates. There's a pretty big difference between not understanding something and not worrying about something.[quote]He is not unable to change or alter the Ring, He made it dissappear. Not even Sauron could do that!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Just because he didn't doesn't mean he couldn't.

Sauron can not make himself cease to exist, that power is specifically not given to any Ainur. Because so much of himself is bound up in the Ring, making the Ring dissappear is basically the ability to make Sauron dissappear! No lowly spirit or anomally could do that! Personally, I don't know why Tom/Aule made the Ring re-appear but a good guess is that Valar don't like to mess with fate. (see: laying down of their government of Arda)

There is not so much as a contradiction in the smith/caretaker idea as you are creating. A smith can't go on making things forever, they did it through the creation song and there was a definate period of when they started and when they stopped, that's very clear in the text. Of all the Ainur don't you think the one most vested in designing and making everything would have the greatest interest in how it is doing? Especially sentient races which Aule was so intersted in? Remember, Aule had extensive dealings with all the races of Middle Earth besides Orcs.

quote:
Why would a Smith be more interested in an area of earth and not making things? Because he is a Cosmic Smith. Your taking the definition of smith too literally, he created most of Arda and even his own race (dwarves). He among the Valar was most interested in all the various species of Middle Earth and especially the dwarves, men and hobbits.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

But there's a big difference between making and caretaking. He doesn't seem particularly interested in anything except his little corner of the world, and he certainly doesn't seem interesting in making anything; whatever he is, he's a far cry from the master craftsmen of the Valar. It seems to me that it's contradictory for a a spirit of the disappearing countryside, when Saruman and Sauron—both spirits of Aule—were intent on making things at the expense of the natural world.

See the above response for what happens after you stop making something. Also, comparing him to Saruman and Sauron is bad since those two only became like that AFTER they were corrupted.

quote:
Perhaps that is the manifestation, but that is merely the form Aule is taking, the evidence that it is really him is overwhemling and is cemented by the following:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

You can can evidence overwhelming, and you can say that it cements your argument, but that doesn't make it so.

This was merely taken out of context, you left out what came after the "following:"

"Like the Elves, those Valar who chose to enter the World at its beginning are bound to it until it reaches its destined end; they may not return to the Timeless Halls of Ilúvatar."

quote:
But Aule clearly wasn't stuck on Middle-Earth—there are numerous references to his dwelling in Valinor throughout The Silmarillion. It's pretty clear that Aule was in the Blessed Realm, teaching stuff to the Elves. He couldn't exactly be in Valinor if he was stuck in Middle-Earth.

Valinor was part of ME for a long time, and though it was later pulled a long and magical ways from normal accessibility to keep the Numenorians and others from getting there, it was still part of Arda, just extremely hard to get to.

Also, most of your arguments about Tom not being Aule turn when you understand the point that Valar can be anywhere in Arda they want in as many manifestations at any one time as they want. Tom might only be taking up one facet of Aule's unlimited attention/focus.

quote:
So why would Tolkien take an independent character like Tom and decide to force him to become another character that he'd already created? And why did he decide to make it a mystery?
See my above responses regarding plugging a character into a story in which it did not originate. Tom Bombadil in Tolkien's other stories and poems doesn't necessarily have to be the same one in LOTR. It's not like I am trying to say Tom is Aule and its a conspiracy or anything, I'm just saying that it makes most sense more than anything else and with a volume of writing this big and extensive in the LOTR universe don't you think it's natural for people to try to organize it all in a coherent form?

quote:
He never expected The Silmarillion to be published, so it seems ridiculous to say that he intended everyone to pick up on the clues to Tom's identity and figure out who he was.
It is not ridiculous because you have about just as much authority to claim he didn't mean that as I say he does since an author's motives aren mixed, and since I have seen all these numerous attributes that I can't merely ascribe to coincidence.

[ April 23, 2004, 01:34 AM: Message edited by: BrianM ]
 
Posted by saxon75 (Member # 4589) on :
 
quote:
I would like to premise all my responses by saying you have a major hypocrisy in your responses to my claims. On one hand you say that Tolkien's universe doesn't need to apply to any kind of coherency, consistency or logic, yet on the other hand you argue some points based on logic and rules you are applying to try and prove your point.
Actually, no. You are trying to make a wholly created mythology follow a logical path. Jon Boy is trying to make an author from the real world follow a logical path. Different.
 
Posted by BrianM (Member # 5918) on :
 
No saxon, if you look at his post that's not what Jon Boy said, Jon Boy said:

quote:
The appendix to The Silmarillion says of Tulkas: "A Vala, the 'greatest in strength and deeds of prowess.'" And really, those examples only demonstrate that Tolkien's world is not a rigorously logical world, just like the mythologies that inspired it.
So it seems that to Jon Boy that Tolkien's world is selectively logical and illogical whenever it suits Jon Boy's arguments to say its one or the other, because both are present in Jon Boy's post. He wasn't couching it in terms of what Tolkien thought or what he thought Tolkien meant, he was directly putting it in context of personal persuasive argument about what he, Jon Boy, thought about what should and should not be the case. Doing that he wove in and out of the "well it's illogical so don't try to make sense of it" and specific claims he inferred through implied logic.

[ April 23, 2004, 01:47 AM: Message edited by: BrianM ]
 
Posted by Dagonee (Member # 5818) on :
 
BrianM,

The more you expound on this theory the less likely it becomes.

First, you insist in maintaining that Sauron was the most powerful of the Maia, with no textual evidence at all. The only textual evidence to date says he was the mightiest of Morgoth's followers, not of all the Maia.

Second, the only evidence you have that speaks directly to whether or not Tom is a Valar is the power comparison, which, again, you've provided know evidence for. In fact, there's no reason for Tom to be Aule as opposed to any other of the male Vala except for specific statements that exclude some (such as Manwe). His actions are as inconsistent with the descriptions we have of Aule's nature as they are of Tulkas.

Third, there's no indication that Tom making the ring disappear was anything more than a parlor trick. The act does not have to contain ANY metaphorical significance about relative power.

Fourth, a nature spirit does not have to set have bounds set by nature - there's no reason a wandering spirit couldn't decide to settle down.

Fifth, the Vala held council and selected the Istari, and Aule specifically selected Saruman. This happened while Tom was in Middle Earth. (This essay is in The Book of Lost Tales and is the basis for most of the linked essay above. This is also where the idea that only Gandalf remained faithful comes from.)

Sixth, there's NOTHING to indicate that Tom is Aule, or that Tolkein intended Tom to be Aule. Everything you've said is selective comparison, which can be applied to almost anyone. I could make just as convincing a case that he's Manwe, or Orome, or another Maia, or even Tulkas resting after his many battles, unwilling to do battle again, or just a nature spirit. These "coincidences" ignore Aule's nature as a smith and amount to little more than "he's married to someone who likes nature."

Finally, you're whole argument that he "must" be a Valar stems from this quote:

quote:
Tom cannot be anything less than a Valar. This is because Sauron is the most powerful Maiar, the Ring is Sauron's power condensed. Therefore noone less powerful than Sauron can do the things Tom did to the Ring. If it was just resisting the Ring's desire then maybe, but Tom exerted such mastery over the Ring that he must be a Valar and the one that most fits is Aule.
There is no evidence whatsoever that this requires great power - in fact, it is the more powerful people that have the most to fear from the ring. Gollum, Bilbo, Frodo, and Sam all resist for a long time - even though Gollum is evil from the beginning, the ring never manages to force it to its will. Meanwhile, Gandalf, Elrond, and Galadriel are scared to touch the ring, not because they fear being dominated by Sauron but because they fear taking his place.

Dagonee
 
Posted by BrianM (Member # 5918) on :
 
For all those who claim Tolkien meant Tom is not meant to be a metaphor and that he shouldn't be read into, shame on you! I finally found the excerpt from the letter I read which completely turns that
quote:
. . . [Tom] is then an 'allegory', or an exemplar, a particular emboding of pure (real) natural science: the spirit that desires knowledge of other things, their history and nature, because they are 'other' and wholly entirely unconcerned with 'doing' annulling with the knowledge: Zoology and Botany, not Cattle-breeding or Agriculture. (Letters, p. 192; see also, p. 174) As the exemplification of pure science, Tom could hardly be nonrational. Tom's purity, moreover, stems from his desire to delight in things as they are, without dominating and controlling them. The former is the aim of pure science, the latter the essential aims of applied science. Tom's knowledge of nature allows him to control nature when necessary, but because such control is not his aim, he is more akin to science and engineering.
http://www.cas.unt.edu/~hargrove/bombadil.html

This is again singling out the most devout creator and inquisitive minds of the Valar: Aule.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dagonee: you are taking much of what I said out of context and assigning quite a bit of my statements new meanings which I did not give them.

quote:
First, you insist in maintaining that Sauron was the most powerful of the Maia, with no textual evidence at all. The only textual evidence to date says he was the mightiest of Morgoth's followers, not of all the Maia.

First off I did provide a link to a site on this issue, but if you don't think it's official enough - which i know it may very well not be - then I can simply answer that i do not need to prove that Sauron was the most powerful Maiar to hold up my argument. The fact that you claim I do need to demonstrates your misunderstanding. For you see, even if I couldn't prove that Sauron was absolutely the most powerful Maiar, he still was one of the most powerful as has been acknwoledged by everyone here. The complimentary point to this is that there is nothing to suggest that Tom is an Maia that does not lend even more credence to him being a Vala (ie: control-singing as opposed to the Istari's usual chanting, references to his age and power in lieu of various possible Dark Lord, etc.) . No, if Tom is one of the Ainur the facts steer very clearly away from the possibility of a Maia and directly toward Aule, and by the end of this post you will see exactly why.

quote:
Second, the only evidence you have that speaks directly to whether or not Tom is a Valar is the power comparison, which, again, you've provided know evidence for. In fact, there's no reason for Tom to be Aule as opposed to any other of the male Vala except for specific statements that exclude some (such as Manwe). His actions are as inconsistent with the descriptions we have of Aule's nature as they are of Tulkas.
First off the evidence is the text that seems to be almost common knowledge here at hatrack and that we've all been quoting on this thread. However, if you really demand a fully transcribed online text I suggest you handle that morally and legally ambivalent task on your own. The reasons that Tom a Vala as opposed to a Maia:
-1"If we take Tom's remark quite literally that he "was here before the river and the trees. . .the first raindrop and the first acorn" (Rings, 1:142), he is saying either that he was in Middle-earth when the Valar arrived or that he arrived as one of the Valar. His remark that "he knew the dark under ths stars when it was fearless - before the Dark Lord came from the Outside" refers to the time before Morgoth, the original Dark Lord, had officially turned renegade - the time when the "old" or original stars were made. Since the world was incomplete at that time and nothing lived on the earth except the Valar, it is hard to believe that Tom is anything but a Vala."

2-"Finally, there is Tom's singing. Tom's inability to separate song from his other activities, speaking, walking, working, suggests that it is very fundamental to his being in a profound way that distinguishes him from all other beings encountered in the trilogy. The wizards, for example, who are Maiar, chant (in the modern sense of the word) rather than sing, and never unconsciously. This continuous singing may be an indication of Tom's high status. The world was, after all, brought into existence by a group of singers, the Holy Ones, some of whom became Valar. Second, Tom's basic song is structurally related to Legolas' "Song of the Sea" (Rings, 3:234-35), suggesting the possibility that Tom's is a corruption of an original piece of music from the Uttermost West common to both. Third, Tom's songs, although seemingly comic and nonsensical, have power in them to control individual elements and things in the forest. When told that Old Man Willow is the cause of the Hobbits' problems, Tom replies, "that can soon be mended. I know the tune for him" (Ibid., 1:131), which I suggest means something like, 'don't worry. I have the plans for that thing and can fix it right away." This is the kind of knowledge that a Vala, who sang the Music, would likely have, and singing would be the natural way to apply it."

3-One interesting hint that Tom is a Vala may be tucked away in the confusing claim that Tom is "the oldest" even though Treebeard is at the same time supposed to be "the oldest living thing that still walks beneath the Sun." In The Road to Middle-earth, published in 1982, T. A. Shipley, who considers Tom "a one-member category," struggles with this "inconsistency" and concludes that the claim that Treebeard is the oldest living thing, if true, implies that Tom is not alive, just as the Nazgul are not dead (p. 82). Although the analogy is most likely not correct, it is suggestive. The word living probably means minimally that Fangorn is biotic, that is, an element belonging to the living system of the earth, the biosphere. There were in fact two classes of beings "living" in Middle-earth, who, as beings from outside of Ea, were not part of this system: the Valar and their servants, the Maiar. Their bodies were "veils" or "raiment," appearances, in which they were self-incarnated (Road Goes Ever On, p. 66). As noted in the essay, "Istari," in Unfinished Tales (p. 389), the Maiar who became the wizards of Middle-earth - and who had the same nature as the Valar - were converted to living beings temporarily by the special consent of Iluvatar: "For with the consent of Eru they ... [were] clad in the bodies of Men, real and not feigned, but subject to the fears and pains and weariness of earth, able to hunger and thirst and be slain. . . ." The need for this conversion suggests that the Valar and Maiar were indeed nonliving, but in a manner very different from the Nazgul. Whereas the Ringwraiths were former living beings who were kept in existence unnaturally through the power of their rings in association with the One Ring, the Valar and Maiar were beings from another plane of existence (the Void) who, as a result, did not completely fit into the world of Middle-earth. Instead, of placing Tom in an anomalous category of one, or associating him with the undead, Shipley's "inconsistency" may simply be a hint that Tom has extraterrestrial status as a Vala

4- "The problem [with Tom being a Maia] is that there is no Maia in the Silmarillion who matches Tom's general character. It is only when one turns to the Valar themselves that potential candidates emerge."

And as to all the arguments about the way a Vala should act and whatnot:
"Someone might, of course, want to object that Tom Bombadil really doesn't look or act like a Vala or a Maia, appearing and behaving instead more like an overgrown Hobbit. I submit, however, to the contrary, that there is no particular way that the Valar and Maiar were supposed to look. Rather they appeared in whatever way they chose, wearing their "veils" or "raiment" in a manner similar to the way we wear clothing. In "The Voice of Saruman," for example, Gimli tells Gandalf that he wants to see Saruman so he can compare the two wizards. In mused response, Gandalf informs Gimli that there is no way for him to make such a comparison meaningfully, since Saruman can alter his appearance at will as it suits his purpose (Rings, 2:181-82). Rather than decreasing the possibility that Tom is a Vala, his hobbitish appearance actually increases it, for it suggests that Tom has the ability to "fit" his surroundings. If a Vala wanted to visit with Hobbits, he would, of course, appear to them in a manner that was somewhat humorous and familiar, thereby, putting them at ease. In this way, it can be argued that Tom's Hobbit-like appearance counts in favor of him being a Vala or a Maia, not against it."

Warrants for Tom being Aule:
1- "Because most of the Valar are married, determining the possible identity of Goldberry can be a help in establishing Tom's. There are three possible Valier who might have enjoyed living for a time in the Old Forest: Nessa, Vana, and Yavanna. Nessa, who loves deer and dancing, does not fit too well, since neither of these is Goldberry's specialties. Her husband, Tulkas, the best fighter among the Valar, moreover, is probably too warlike to be Tom. Vana, who cares for flowers and birds, also does not fit very well, since Goldberry is concerned with a larger variety of plants, and birds have no special role. Orome, Vana's husband, furthermore, is a hunter, especially of monsters. If he were Tom, there would have been no wights on the Downs. With Yavanna, however, we have just the right emphasis, for she is responsible for all living things, with a special preference for plants. Since she is Queen of the Earth, it is easy to imagine her watering the forest with special care, as Goldberry does during the Hobbits' visit.

In the Silmarillion (pp. 20-21) Yanvanna's appearance is characterized as follows:

In the form of a woman she is tall, and robed in green; but at times she takes other shapes. Some there are who have seen her standing like a tree under heaven, crowned with the Sun; and from all its branches there spilled a golden dew upon the barren earth, and it grew green with corn; but the roots of the tree were in the waters of Ulmo, and the winds of Manwe spoke in its leaves.
When we first meet Goldberry, she is clad in green: "her gown was green, green as young reeds, shot with silver like beads of dew" (Rings, p. 172). When Tom officially introduces Goldberry, he says, "Here's my Goldberry clothed all in silver-green. . . ." When she says goodbye to the Hobbits, she is once again clad in green and Frodo in calling for her refers specifically to this color when he starts to look for her: "My fair lady, clad all in green!" (p. 187). This characterization of Goldberry's customary dress supports that hypothesis that she is Yavanna.

To be sure, when we first meet her, her feet are also surrounded by water, seemingly supporting the water nymph story. This circumstance, however, is not inconsistent with her tree image, which, as just noted, involved having her feet or roots in "the waters of Ulmo."

As the farewell continues, moreover, a description analogous to the tree description is given:

There on the hill-brow she stood beckoning to them: her hair was flying loose, and as it caught the sun it shone and shimmered. A light like the glint of water on dewy grass flashed under her feet as she danced."

Although still in human form, her flying hair hints at "the winds of Manwe" and the reflection of the sun from her hair suggests that she is "crowned with the Sun." The "glint of water on dewy grass" suggests the spilling of the golden dew on the earth as well as "the waters of Ulmo." When the Hobbits last see Goldberry, she is much more like a plant: "they saw Goldberry now small and slender like s sunlit flower against the sky: she was standing still watching them, and her hands were stretched out towards them." In this case, she is probably more flower than tree because Hobbits in general like flowers and are afraid of trees. The "sunlit" image is strikingly similar to Yavanna's primary nonhuman appearance.

Of course, an important problem with this hypothesis is the claim that Goldberry is the Riverwoman's daughter. If the story is true, then Goldberry cannot be Yavanna. However, there are many things said in Rings that are not true literally and many matters are left unrevealed or unexplained. For instance, it was believed by many people that Rohan was selling horses to Mordor. Gandalf never reveals that he is a Maia. The eagles are never revealed as Maiar (though they are "Spirits in the shape of hawks and eagles" who "could see to the depths of the seas, and pierce the hidden caverns beneath the world" (Silmarillion, p. 35). As is clear from "The Hunt for the Ring," in Unfinished Tales, many details are presented in a confused and unconnected way in Rings, because that is how they appeared to the people who wrote the book. There are, finally, two accounts given by Tolkien of the origins of the Orcs, both of which cannot be true. Thus, the fact that some people believe that Goldberry is Riverwoman's Daughter does not absolutely, literally have to be true."

2- "Just as Goldberry is very similar to Yavanna, Aule the Smith, shares many common characteristics with Tom and this identification helps explain some of the events that occur in Tom's house - especially his control over the ring without any fear or temptation. Aule was the maker of all the substances of the earth: minerals, gems, and metals. During the creation of Middle-earth he was involved in nearly every aspect of its making. He prepared the sea beds to receive the waters of the ocean and prepared the land for plants and animals. As the Maker he developed and taught all arts, crafts, and skills. Of all the Valar, he had the greatest interest in the Children of Iluvatar. So impatient was he to see them that he made the Dwarves. According to the "Valaquenta" in the Silmarillion (p. 27), although Aule and Melkor were most like of all the Valar in thought and power, their attitudes toward the products of their labor and the labor of others were significantly different. While Melkor carefully guarded his works for himself and destroyed the works of others out of jealousy, Aule delighted in making, not possessing, and "he did not envy the works of others, but sought and gave counsel." It was, in fact, Aule's lack of possessiveness and his willingness to submit his work to the will of Iluvatar that saved the Dwarves from destruction and made it possible for them to receive the gift of free will from Iluvatar.

When one carefully considers the special moral characteristics of Aule, the similarities to Tom are most striking and revealing. Like Aule, Tom is not possessive. Although his power to dominate and control is always stressed - he is the master - he does not interfere with other beings except when they directly interfere with him. Although he has the power to possess whatever he may desire, he does not chose to possess or own the forest. As Goldberry explains, the animals, plants, and natural objects of the forest are all allowed to belong to themselves. This distain for ownership or possession is the reason why Tom is able to handle the ring without fear. Ultimately, all other powerful beings encountered in the trilogy, unless they are already fallen, are afraid to touch the ring lest the desire to possess it should turn them to evil. Since Tom does not want to own or possess anything, it has no power over him. We simply see his interest, curiosity, and delight as he studies the craftmanship involved in its making. Indeed, Tom approaches the ring critically, almost with scorn. While all others refer to the ring as precious in a reverent sense, Tom's use of the word, "Show me the precious ring" (Rings, 1:144), suggests irony or doubt about its value. Since the lack of desire to possess or own was extremely rare among the Valar and the beings of Middle-earth, no over Vala is said to exhibit this moral trait, it seems reasonable to assume that Tom and Aule are the same person.

It is also important to note the tremendous power and control that Tom has over the ring. He is, first of all, able to overcome its normal effects. When he puts it on his finger, he does not become invisible. When Frodo puts it on his finger, Tom is still able to see Frodo: he is "not as blind as that yet" (Ibid.). Second, Tom is able with ease to use the ring in ways that were not intended by its maker, for he is able to make the ring itself disappear. (It is possible that Sauron himself might be unable to do this, for the ring embodied a great part of Sauron's own power, drained from him during its making.) Such power over the ring, displayed almost as a parlor trick, I submit, cannot be accounted for by classifying Tom Bombadil as an anomalous nature spirit. The ability to dominate the ring suggests a Vala; the ease with which it is dominated suggests the ultimate maker of all things in Middle-earth, Aule the Smith, of whom both Sauron and Saruman were mere servants in the beginning before time."

And here are some answers to your questions about what would Aule, or even one of his manifestations, being doing in this area and why doesn't Aule help out with the Ring problem?
"If Tom is Aule, however, two other questions need to be answered. First of all, what are he and Yavanna doing in the Old Forest to begin with? As far as Yavanna is concerned, she is probably just visiting with growing things and vacationing with her husband. Aule, on the other hand, is probably there for the purpose of studying Hobbits. We should not forget that of all the Valar Aule was the one most eager to see the Children of Iluvatar. He is also the only one to make sentient, rational beings of his own. Given his interest in such creatures, it is not unreasonable to assume that, like Gandalf, he found Hobbits fascinating. As Hobbit songs about Tom Bombadil suggest, moreover, he had plenty of contact with Hobbits in Buckland and the Marish, no doubt allowing ample opportunity for Hobbit study.

Second, if he is Aule, and he is such a fine and wonderful god, why doesn't he choose to be more helpful? Put another way, why isn't there power in him to fight the enemy? The answer to this question is simpler than one might at first imagine. When Ulmo rises from the sea in "Of Tuor and His Coming to Gondolin" to give instructions to Tuor, who is supposed to deliver a message to the Elves of Gondolin, he hurries with his directions fearing that his own servant Osse will hurl a wave upon the shore and drown his emissary. As he puts it in Unfinished Tales (p. 30): "Go now. . . lest the Sea devour thee! For Osse obeys the will of Mandos, and he is wroth, being a servant of the Doom." Although Ulmo's actions are contrary to the will of the rest of the Valar that even his own servant will not help him (and is actually prepared to act against him), Ulmo, nevertheless, insists that he is not really opposing the other Valar, but rather is merely doing his "part":

... though in the days of this darkness I seem to oppose the will of my brethren, the Lords of the West, that is my part among them, to which I was appointed ere the making of the World. (p. 29)

The key phrase is "to which I was appointed ere the making of the World." First, it makes it clear that Ulmo is not acting defiantly at all, merely following orders, just as his servant would be following orders if he hurled up a wave and killed Tuor. Second, it refers to the time of the song which created the world. It is this song, I believe, that contains the conflicting instructions both Ulmo and Osse are following, different parts, elements, or themes of the whole. If I am correct, then Ulmo's power to help the Elves is both limited by and partially determined by the Music of the Ainur, insofar as it established the existence of the earth and determined its major events. While Ulmo may have had free will as he sang his part of the song in those distant times, he is now bound by what he sang and cannot go beyond or change his part. If Tom is Aule, then he too is bound by his part in the song and although sympathetic and concerned, he can only help the Hobbits and the Free Peoples of the West in little ways.
This account of Tom as Aule is not really inconsistent with Tolkien's claim that Tom has renounced power in a kind of "vow of poverty" and that he exemplifies "a natural pacifist view." At the time of the singing of the Great Music, it is true that Aule, along with most of the other Holy Ones, eventually stopped singing, leaving Melkor to sing on alone. However, they did not stop because Melkor's thunderous and discordant singing defeated them, but rather because they did not wish to compete with him and considered the song spoiled by his behavior. It was not defeat, since obviously by singing together the others could have overcome him. Rather it was a rejection of the conflict itself - hence, a pacifist position. It was indeed the Third Theme sung by Iluvatar, representing the part of the Children of Iluvatar, that was to overcome Melkor's disruption. Concerning the "vow of poverty," Aule has indeed taken such a vow - as exemplified by his attitude toward his work and the work of others - his lack of excessive pride, jealousy, and possessiveness.

In contrast, if Tom is a nature spirit, then no vow of poverty has been taken, and there is no natural pacifist view. According to the nature spirit thesis, as Veryln Flieger puts it in Splintered Light, published in 1983: "Tom Bombadil, on whom the Ring has no effect, is a natural force, a kind of earth spirit, and so the power over the will which the Ring exerts simply has no meaning for him" (p. 128, note). As a natural force, Tom has the same status as a falling rock or the wind or the rain - he is blind activity with no direction or purpose. As such he is not a moral agent, and cannot therefore make moral decisions. The moral dimension is thus completely absent. Tom is immune to the influence of the ring not because of his high moral character, but because he is not capable of having a moral character at all.

If Tom is Aule, however, there is a moral dimension, indeed, a heightened one, for Tom's appearance in the story, although only a "comment," serves as a sharp and clear contrast to the two evil Maiar, Sauron and Saruman, both of whom were once his servants before turning to evil and darkness. Unlike their former master, these two followed the ways of Melkor, envy, jealousy, excessive pride, and the desire to possess and control. As Tolkien explained to his proofreader, Tom's role was to show that there were things beyond and unconcerned with domination and control. On the surface, this view of Tom seems to make him unrelated to all other things and events in Middle-earth - indeed, anomalous. As Aule, however, Tom is not beyond and unconcerned anomalously, but rather is located at the core of morality as it existed in Middle-earth, as the ultimate exemplification of the proper moral stance toward power, pride, and possession. In fact, in terms of the moral traits that most fascinated Tolkien both as an author and as a scholar, Tom Bombadil is Tolkien's moral ideal."

About the Ring thing being a parlour trick, perhaps that would be possible if it were a normal ring, but making the Ring of Power dissappear is no parlour trick. And even if I grant you that it is a "parlour trick," being able to see Frodo with it on is certainly no parlour trick and certainly not a "trick" within the realm of a Maia like Gandalf let alone a supposed nature spirit.

I have presented sepcific arguments of my own and from the essay I linked to. Specific text references have been made and the comparissons are very specific toward Aule. I have actually been doing this for this entire thread, so another generic reply of "I'm simply making general claims and not providing evidence" is going to be rather tedious, ok?

[ April 23, 2004, 10:15 AM: Message edited by: BrianM ]
 
Posted by JohnKeats (Member # 1261) on :
 
I give you props, Brian.
 
Posted by BrianM (Member # 5918) on :
 
I just remembered the most absolute of all my reasons! I think it's so great that it requires its own post.

When someone puts the Ring on they basically go invisible in the *normal* dimension and while they can still somewhat see and act and move around coherently in it, they become primarily visible in the Void. The LOTR peter Jackson movie did a good job of demonstrating this effect of Frodo wearing the Ring around the Ring-Wraiths. Only Ainur or Ainur-indoctrinated spirits can see into and certainly only they can be in this realm. (in Frodo's case Sauron took him there through Sauron's presonal presence IN the Ring itself.) For Tom to be able to see Frodo when he put on the Ring is probably as near absolute proof by itself as your going to get on this subject of Tom being an Ainur. Once we establish that he is an Ainur you can see the above long post for specifics on narrowing that down further. But hey, even if you don't buy this there are plenty of reasons above why Tom is a Vala and not a Maia, and I have not heard one single competitive argument on this thread for why he should be assumed a Maia and NOT a Vala.

At the risk of my son calling me a LOTR nerd, I am going to stop and get some breakfast, and get in what little snowmachining is left this week up here. [Smile]

[ April 23, 2004, 10:21 AM: Message edited by: BrianM ]
 
Posted by Dagonee (Member # 5818) on :
 
quote:
Dagonee: you are taking much of what I said out of context and assigning quite a bit of my statements new meanings which I did not give them.

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
First, you insist in maintaining that Sauron was the most powerful of the Maia, with no textual evidence at all. The only textual evidence to date says he was the mightiest of Morgoth's followers, not of all the Maia.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

First off I did provide a link to a site on this issue, but if you don't think it's official enough - which i know it may very well not be - then I can simply answer that i do not need to prove that Sauron was the most powerful Maiar to hold up my argument. The fact that you claim I do need to demonstrates your misunderstanding. For you see, even if I couldn't prove that Sauron was absolutely the most powerful Maiar, he still was one of the most powerful as has been acknwoledged by everyone here. The complimentary point to this is that there is nothing to suggest that Tom is an Maia that does not lend even more credence to him being a Vala (ie: control-singing as opposed to the Istari's usual chanting, references to his age and power in lieu of various possible Dark Lord, etc.) . No, if Tom is one of the Ainur the facts steer very clearly away from the possibility of a Maia and directly toward Aule, and by the end of this post you will see exactly why.

I don’t believe he was a Maia, either, so this isn’t really relevant.

quote:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Second, the only evidence you have that speaks directly to whether or not Tom is a Valar is the power comparison, which, again, you've provided know evidence for. In fact, there's no reason for Tom to be Aule as opposed to any other of the male Vala except for specific statements that exclude some (such as Manwe). His actions are as inconsistent with the descriptions we have of Aule's nature as they are of Tulkas.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

First off the evidence is the text that seems to be almost common knowledge here at hatrack and that we've all been quoting on this thread. However, if you really demand a fully transcribed online text I suggest you handle that morally and legally ambivalent task on your own. The reasons that Tom a Vala as opposed to a Maia:
-1"If we take Tom's remark quite literally that he "was here before the river and the trees. . .the first raindrop and the first acorn" (Rings, 1:142), he is saying either that he was in Middle-earth when the Valar arrived or that he arrived as one of the Valar. His remark that "he knew the dark under ths stars when it was fearless - before the Dark Lord came from the Outside" refers to the time before Morgoth, the original Dark Lord, had officially turned renegade - the time when the "old" or original stars were made. Since the world was incomplete at that time and nothing lived on the earth except the Valar, it is hard to believe that Tom is anything but a Vala."

Well, first of all this would indicate he is Vala or Maia, not just Vala. It’s this exact kind of carelessness that undermines the careful web of coincidence you’re trying to weave.

Second, the dark was filled with fear during the time of Morgoth’s first dominion in Middle Earth, when Angband was merely a northern fortress and Utunmo (sp?) was his principle dwelling. This leaves lots of time between when the Valar removed themselves to Aman and the coming of the elves (or Ents, for that matter). Granted, taking “before the first raindrop and the first acorn literally causes problematic interpretations, but certainly Aule has no claim to be first over the rest of the Ainur. So this statement isn’t true even if he is Aule. Either he’s referring to being the first living (i.e., biotic) being or he’s lying. And if “here” refers to Middle Earth then it can’t literally be true, anyway.

quote:
2-"Finally, there is Tom's singing. Tom's inability to separate song from his other activities, speaking, walking, working, suggests that it is very fundamental to his being in a profound way that distinguishes him from all other beings encountered in the trilogy. The wizards, for example, who are Maiar, chant (in the modern sense of the word) rather than sing, and never unconsciously. This continuous singing may be an indication of Tom's high status. The world was, after all, brought into existence by a group of singers, the Holy Ones, some of whom became Valar. Second, Tom's basic song is structurally related to Legolas' "Song of the Sea" (Rings, 3:234-35), suggesting the possibility that Tom's is a corruption of an original piece of music from the Uttermost West common to both. Third, Tom's songs, although seemingly comic and nonsensical, have power in them to control individual elements and things in the forest. When told that Old Man Willow is the cause of the Hobbits' problems, Tom replies, "that can soon be mended. I know the tune for him" (Ibid., 1:131), which I suggest means something like, 'don't worry. I have the plans for that thing and can fix it right away." This is the kind of knowledge that a Vala, who sang the Music, would likely have, and singing would be the natural way to apply it."[/quote[

Finrod sang to battle Sauron when he and Beren where captured, as did Sauron in that battle. Tom has been around since before the Elves arrived, some of them journeyed to Valinor, came back, and mostly left again. Of course he’s likely to have picked up such music. And here’s where the little facts really start to undermine your contention: Legolas never went to the Uttermost West.

[quote]3-One interesting hint that Tom is a Vala may be tucked away in the confusing claim that Tom is "the oldest" even though Treebeard is at the same time supposed to be "the oldest living thing that still walks beneath the Sun." In The Road to Middle-earth, published in 1982, T. A. Shipley, who considers Tom "a one-member category," struggles with this "inconsistency" and concludes that the claim that Treebeard is the oldest living thing, if true, implies that Tom is not alive, just as the Nazgul are not dead (p. 82). Although the analogy is most likely not correct, it is suggestive. The word living probably means minimally that Fangorn is biotic, that is, an element belonging to the living system of the earth, the biosphere. There were in fact two classes of beings "living" in Middle-earth, who, as beings from outside of Ea, were not part of this system: the Valar and their servants, the Maiar. Their bodies were "veils" or "raiment," appearances, in which they were self-incarnated (Road Goes Ever On, p. 66). As noted in the essay, "Istari," in Unfinished Tales (p. 389), the Maiar who became the wizards of Middle-earth - and who had the same nature as the Valar - were converted to living beings temporarily by the special consent of Iluvatar: "For with the consent of Eru they ... [were] clad in the bodies of Men, real and not feigned, but subject to the fears and pains and weariness of earth, able to hunger and thirst and be slain. . . ." The need for this conversion suggests that the Valar and Maiar were indeed nonliving, but in a manner very different from the Nazgul. Whereas the Ringwraiths were former living beings who were kept in existence unnaturally through the power of their rings in association with the One Ring, the Valar and Maiar were beings from another plane of existence (the Void) who, as a result, did not completely fit into the world of Middle-earth. Instead, of placing Tom in an anomalous category of one, or associating him with the undead, Shipley's "inconsistency" may simply be a hint that Tom has extraterrestrial status as a Vala

Again, if Aule is Tom, and the two competing claims of being eldest are settled on classification, then Aule is lying, because the Ainur came in at the beginning of time (Tulkas excepted). Also, cladding ainur in flesh required the consent of Eru – it was a momentous event and seemingly unprecedented.

quote:
4- "The problem [with Tom being a Maia] is that there is no Maia in the Silmarillion who matches Tom's general character. It is only when one turns to the Valar themselves that potential candidates emerge."

And as to all the arguments about the way a Vala should act and whatnot:
"Someone might, of course, want to object that Tom Bombadil really doesn't look or act like a Vala or a Maia, appearing and behaving instead more like an overgrown Hobbit. I submit, however, to the contrary, that there is no particular way that the Valar and Maiar were supposed to look. Rather they appeared in whatever way they chose, wearing their "veils" or "raiment" in a manner similar to the way we wear clothing. In "The Voice of Saruman," for example, Gimli tells Gandalf that he wants to see Saruman so he can compare the two wizards. In mused response, Gandalf informs Gimli that there is no way for him to make such a comparison meaningfully, since Saruman can alter his appearance at will as it suits his purpose (Rings, 2:181-82). Rather than decreasing the possibility that Tom is a Vala, his hobbitish appearance actually increases it, for it suggests that Tom has the ability to "fit" his surroundings. If a Vala wanted to visit with Hobbits, he would, of course, appear to them in a manner that was somewhat humorous and familiar, thereby, putting them at ease. In this way, it can be argued that Tom's Hobbit-like appearance counts in favor of him being a Vala or a Maia, not against it."

OK, so we don’t know what a Vala acts like. Therefore, these conjectures can at best overcome objections, not provide concrete evidence in favor of the theory.

The claim that no known Maia fit the bill is equally irrelevant, since we’re told that only a few “come into the tales.” There are also many more Maia than Vala, and there seems to be a much greater variety. Therefore, there seems to be NO evidence favoring Vala over Maia.

quote:
Warrants for Tom being Aule:
1- "Because most of the Valar are married, determining the possible identity of Goldberry can be a help in establishing Tom's. There are three possible Valier who might have enjoyed living for a time in the Old Forest: Nessa, Vana, and Yavanna. Nessa, who loves deer and dancing, does not fit too well, since neither of these is Goldberry's specialties. Her husband, Tulkas, the best fighter among the Valar, moreover, is probably too warlike to be Tom. Vana, who cares for flowers and birds, also does not fit very well, since Goldberry is concerned with a larger variety of plants, and birds have no special role. Orome, Vana's husband, furthermore, is a hunter, especially of monsters. If he were Tom, there would have been no wights on the Downs. With Yavanna, however, we have just the right emphasis, for she is responsible for all living things, with a special preference for plants. Since she is Queen of the Earth, it is easy to imagine her watering the forest with special care, as Goldberry does during the Hobbits' visit.

In the Silmarillion (pp. 20-21) Yanvanna's appearance is characterized as follows:

In the form of a woman she is tall, and robed in green; but at times she takes other shapes. Some there are who have seen her standing like a tree under heaven, crowned with the Sun; and from all its branches there spilled a golden dew upon the barren earth, and it grew green with corn; but the roots of the tree were in the waters of Ulmo, and the winds of Manwe spoke in its leaves.
When we first meet Goldberry, she is clad in green: "her gown was green, green as young reeds, shot with silver like beads of dew" (Rings, p. 172). When Tom officially introduces Goldberry, he says, "Here's my Goldberry clothed all in silver-green. . . ." When she says goodbye to the Hobbits, she is once again clad in green and Frodo in calling for her refers specifically to this color when he starts to look for her: "My fair lady, clad all in green!" (p. 187). This characterization of Goldberry's customary dress supports that hypothesis that she is Yavanna.

To be sure, when we first meet her, her feet are also surrounded by water, seemingly supporting the water nymph story. This circumstance, however, is not inconsistent with her tree image, which, as just noted, involved having her feet or roots in "the waters of Ulmo."

As the farewell continues, moreover, a description analogous to the tree description is given:

There on the hill-brow she stood beckoning to them: her hair was flying loose, and as it caught the sun it shone and shimmered. A light like the glint of water on dewy grass flashed under her feet as she danced."

Although still in human form, her flying hair hints at "the winds of Manwe" and the reflection of the sun from her hair suggests that she is "crowned with the Sun." The "glint of water on dewy grass" suggests the spilling of the golden dew on the earth as well as "the waters of Ulmo." When the Hobbits last see Goldberry, she is much more like a plant: "they saw Goldberry now small and slender like s sunlit flower against the sky: she was standing still watching them, and her hands were stretched out towards them." In this case, she is probably more flower than tree because Hobbits in general like flowers and are afraid of trees. The "sunlit" image is strikingly similar to Yavanna's primary nonhuman appearance.

Of course, an important problem with this hypothesis is the claim that Goldberry is the Riverwoman's daughter. If the story is true, then Goldberry cannot be Yavanna. However, there are many things said in Rings that are not true literally and many matters are left unrevealed or unexplained. For instance, it was believed by many people that Rohan was selling horses to Mordor. Gandalf never reveals that he is a Maia. The eagles are never revealed as Maiar (though they are "Spirits in the shape of hawks and eagles" who "could see to the depths of the seas, and pierce the hidden caverns beneath the world" (Silmarillion, p. 35). As is clear from "The Hunt for the Ring," in Unfinished Tales, many details are presented in a confused and unconnected way in Rings, because that is how they appeared to the people who wrote the book. There are, finally, two accounts given by Tolkien of the origins of the Orcs, both of which cannot be true. Thus, the fact that some people believe that Goldberry is Riverwoman's Daughter does not absolutely, literally have to be true."

OK, she wears green and loves nature. Again, she could easily be a Maia (see above). Further, she could really be the Riverwoman’s daughter.

quote:
2- "Just as Goldberry is very similar to Yavanna, Aule the Smith, shares many common characteristics with Tom and this identification helps explain some of the events that occur in Tom's house - especially his control over the ring without any fear or temptation. Aule was the maker of all the substances of the earth: minerals, gems, and metals. During the creation of Middle-earth he was involved in nearly every aspect of its making. He prepared the sea beds to receive the waters of the ocean and prepared the land for plants and animals. As the Maker he developed and taught all arts, crafts, and skills. Of all the Valar, he had the greatest interest in the Children of Iluvatar. So impatient was he to see them that he made the Dwarves. According to the "Valaquenta" in the Silmarillion (p. 27), although Aule and Melkor were most like of all the Valar in thought and power, their attitudes toward the products of their labor and the labor of others were significantly different. While Melkor carefully guarded his works for himself and destroyed the works of others out of jealousy, Aule delighted in making, not possessing, and "he did not envy the works of others, but sought and gave counsel." It was, in fact, Aule's lack of possessiveness and his willingness to submit his work to the will of Iluvatar that saved the Dwarves from destruction and made it possible for them to receive the gift of free will from Iluvatar.

When one carefully considers the special moral characteristics of Aule, the similarities to Tom are most striking and revealing. Like Aule, Tom is not possessive. Although his power to dominate and control is always stressed - he is the master - he does not interfere with other beings except when they directly interfere with him. Although he has the power to possess whatever he may desire, he does not chose to possess or own the forest. As Goldberry explains, the animals, plants, and natural objects of the forest are all allowed to belong to themselves. This distain for ownership or possession is the reason why Tom is able to handle the ring without fear. Ultimately, all other powerful beings encountered in the trilogy, unless they are already fallen, are afraid to touch the ring lest the desire to possess it should turn them to evil. Since Tom does not want to own or possess anything, it has no power over him. We simply see his interest, curiosity, and delight as he studies the craftmanship involved in its making. Indeed, Tom approaches the ring critically, almost with scorn. While all others refer to the ring as precious in a reverent sense, Tom's use of the word, "Show me the precious ring" (Rings, 1:144), suggests irony or doubt about its value. Since the lack of desire to possess or own was extremely rare among the Valar and the beings of Middle-earth, no over Vala is said to exhibit this moral trait, it seems reasonable to assume that Tom and Aule are the same person.

Manwe desires to possess and control? Ulmo? Tulkas? Orome? This analysis is only relevant if there’s evidence Tom must be a Vala, which again comes down to his power over the ring.

quote:
It is also important to note the tremendous power and control that Tom has over the ring. He is, first of all, able to overcome its normal effects. When he puts it on his finger, he does not become invisible. When Frodo puts it on his finger, Tom is still able to see Frodo: he is "not as blind as that yet" (Ibid.). Second, Tom is able with ease to use the ring in ways that were not intended by its maker, for he is able to make the ring itself disappear. (It is possible that Sauron himself might be unable to do this, for the ring embodied a great part of Sauron's own power, drained from him during its making.) Such power over the ring, displayed almost as a parlor trick, I submit, cannot be accounted for by classifying Tom Bombadil as an anomalous nature spirit. The ability to dominate the ring suggests a Vala; the ease with which it is dominated suggests the ultimate maker of all things in Middle-earth, Aule the Smith, of whom both Sauron and Saruman were mere servants in the beginning before time."
I always interpreted that scene as slight of hand or, at most, power to obscure. There’s zero evidence in the scene that the ring physically disappeared. It was hidden somehow, whether through some power over the material of the ring, power over the air between Frodo’s eyes and the ring, power over Frodo’s vision, or mere sleight of hand it doesn’t say. As Gandalf says, it’s not that he has power over the ring but that the ring has no power over him.

quote:
And here are some answers to your questions about what would Aule, or even one of his manifestations, being doing in this area and why doesn't Aule help out with the Ring problem?
"If Tom is Aule, however, two other questions need to be answered. First of all, what are he and Yavanna doing in the Old Forest to begin with? As far as Yavanna is concerned, she is probably just visiting with growing things and vacationing with her husband. Aule, on the other hand, is probably there for the purpose of studying Hobbits. We should not forget that of all the Valar Aule was the one most eager to see the Children of Iluvatar. He is also the only one to make sentient, rational beings of his own. Given his interest in such creatures, it is not unreasonable to assume that, like Gandalf, he found Hobbits fascinating. As Hobbit songs about Tom Bombadil suggest, moreover, he had plenty of contact with Hobbits in Buckland and the Marish, no doubt allowing ample opportunity for Hobbit study.

Second, if he is Aule, and he is such a fine and wonderful god, why doesn't he choose to be more helpful? Put another way, why isn't there power in him to fight the enemy? The answer to this question is simpler than one might at first imagine. When Ulmo rises from the sea in "Of Tuor and His Coming to Gondolin" to give instructions to Tuor, who is supposed to deliver a message to the Elves of Gondolin, he hurries with his directions fearing that his own servant Osse will hurl a wave upon the shore and drown his emissary. As he puts it in Unfinished Tales (p. 30): "Go now. . . lest the Sea devour thee! For Osse obeys the will of Mandos, and he is wroth, being a servant of the Doom." Although Ulmo's actions are contrary to the will of the rest of the Valar that even his own servant will not help him (and is actually prepared to act against him), Ulmo, nevertheless, insists that he is not really opposing the other Valar, but rather is merely doing his "part":

... though in the days of this darkness I seem to oppose the will of my brethren, the Lords of the West, that is my part among them, to which I was appointed ere the making of the World. (p. 29)

The key phrase is "to which I was appointed ere the making of the World." First, it makes it clear that Ulmo is not acting defiantly at all, merely following orders, just as his servant would be following orders if he hurled up a wave and killed Tuor. Second, it refers to the time of the song which created the world. It is this song, I believe, that contains the conflicting instructions both Ulmo and Osse are following, different parts, elements, or themes of the whole. If I am correct, then Ulmo's power to help the Elves is both limited by and partially determined by the Music of the Ainur, insofar as it established the existence of the earth and determined its major events. While Ulmo may have had free will as he sang his part of the song in those distant times, he is now bound by what he sang and cannot go beyond or change his part. If Tom is Aule, then he too is bound by his part in the song and although sympathetic and concerned, he can only help the Hobbits and the Free Peoples of the West in little ways.

Again, not evidence in favor but rather evidence against a potential objection. Not relvant until some threshold of proof has been crossed that this hypothesis is not close to yet.

quote:
This account of Tom as Aule is not really inconsistent with Tolkien's claim that Tom has renounced power in a kind of "vow of poverty" and that he exemplifies "a natural pacifist view." At the time of the singing of the Great Music, it is true that Aule, along with most of the other Holy Ones, eventually stopped singing, leaving Melkor to sing on alone. However, they did not stop because Melkor's thunderous and discordant singing defeated them, but rather because they did not wish to compete with him and considered the song spoiled by his behavior. It was not defeat, since obviously by singing together the others could have overcome him. Rather it was a rejection of the conflict itself - hence, a pacifist position. It was indeed the Third Theme sung by Iluvatar, representing the part of the Children of Iluvatar, that was to overcome Melkor's disruption. Concerning the "vow of poverty," Aule has indeed taken such a vow - as exemplified by his attitude toward his work and the work of others - his lack of excessive pride, jealousy, and possessiveness.
More of the same.

quote:
In contrast, if Tom is a nature spirit, then no vow of poverty has been taken, and there is no natural pacifist view. According to the nature spirit thesis, as Veryln Flieger puts it in Splintered Light, published in 1983: "Tom Bombadil, on whom the Ring has no effect, is a natural force, a kind of earth spirit, and so the power over the will which the Ring exerts simply has no meaning for him" (p. 128, note). As a natural force, Tom has the same status as a falling rock or the wind or the rain - he is blind activity with no direction or purpose. As such he is not a moral agent, and cannot therefore make moral decisions. The moral dimension is thus completely absent. Tom is immune to the influence of the ring not because of his high moral character, but because he is not capable of having a moral character at all.

If Tom is Aule, however, there is a moral dimension, indeed, a heightened one, for Tom's appearance in the story, although only a "comment," serves as a sharp and clear contrast to the two evil Maiar, Sauron and Saruman, both of whom were once his servants before turning to evil and darkness. Unlike their former master, these two followed the ways of Melkor, envy, jealousy, excessive pride, and the desire to possess and control. As Tolkien explained to his proofreader, Tom's role was to show that there were things beyond and unconcerned with domination and control. On the surface, this view of Tom seems to make him unrelated to all other things and events in Middle-earth - indeed, anomalous. As Aule, however, Tom is not beyond and unconcerned anomalously, but rather is located at the core of morality as it existed in Middle-earth, as the ultimate exemplification of the proper moral stance toward power, pride, and possession. In fact, in terms of the moral traits that most fascinated Tolkien both as an author and as a scholar, Tom Bombadil is Tolkien's moral ideal."

As Aule he is anomalous to known acts and statements about the Valar. I mean, you try to hold up the lack of a description of a Maia that could be Tom as evidence he’s not one, but don’t mind this little bit of information that he’s incarnated himself since the beginning of time being left out of the book.

quote:
About the Ring thing being a parlour trick, perhaps that would be possible if it were a normal ring, but making the Ring of Power dissappear is no parlour trick. And even if Ii grant you that it is, being able to see Frodo with it on is certainly no parlour trick and certainly not within the realm of a Maia like Gandalf let alone a supposed nature spirit.
The ring is physical. It can be lost and found. Making it disappear can be done as easily as putting it in a pocket. As to him seeing Frodo, the wraiths can see Frodo in a fashion (even when not wearing their rings), as can Sauron. Gandalf’s powers are no longer those of a Maia. If the ring works by exerting influence on the viewer, it fits with the no power over him hypothesis of Gandalf.

quote:
I have presented sepcific arguments of my own and from the essay I linked to. Specific text references have been made and the comparissons are very specific toward Aule. I have actually been doing this for this entire thread, so another generic reply of "I'm simply making general claims and not providing evidence" is going to be rather tedious and insulting, ok?
Again, most of your evidence is based on the assumption that Tom needs great power to do what he did. The second assumption is that only Aule fits, so it must be him, ignoring that thousands of Maia and other characters are not described in the text.

The rest is based on overcoming objections, not providing affirmative proof.

Dagonee
 
Posted by BrianM (Member # 5918) on :
 
You have oversimplified most of my points and have muddle them I'm afraid, let me try to respond and clear things up a bit before I head out, ok?

quote:
Dagonee: you are taking much of what I said out of context and assigning quite a bit of my statements new meanings which I did not give them.

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
First, you insist in maintaining that Sauron was the most powerful of the Maia, with no textual evidence at all. The only textual evidence to date says he was the mightiest of Morgoth's followers, not of all the Maia.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

First off I did provide a link to a site on this issue, but if you don't think it's official enough - which i know it may very well not be - then I can simply answer that i do not need to prove that Sauron was the most powerful Maiar to hold up my argument. The fact that you claim I do need to demonstrates your misunderstanding. For you see, even if I couldn't prove that Sauron was absolutely the most powerful Maiar, he still was one of the most powerful as has been acknwoledged by everyone here. The complimentary point to this is that there is nothing to suggest that Tom is an Maia that does not lend even more credence to him being a Vala (ie: control-singing as opposed to the Istari's usual chanting, references to his age and power in lieu of various possible Dark Lord, etc.) . No, if Tom is one of the Ainur the facts steer very clearly away from the possibility of a Maia and directly toward Aule, and by the end of this post you will see exactly why.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I don’t believe he was a Maia, either, so this isn’t really relevant.

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Second, the only evidence you have that speaks directly to whether or not Tom is a Valar is the power comparison, which, again, you've provided know evidence for. In fact, there's no reason for Tom to be Aule as opposed to any other of the male Vala except for specific statements that exclude some (such as Manwe). His actions are as inconsistent with the descriptions we have of Aule's nature as they are of Tulkas.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

First off the evidence is the text that seems to be almost common knowledge here at hatrack and that we've all been quoting on this thread. However, if you really demand a fully transcribed online text I suggest you handle that morally and legally ambivalent task on your own. The reasons that Tom a Vala as opposed to a Maia:
-1"If we take Tom's remark quite literally that he "was here before the river and the trees. . .the first raindrop and the first acorn" (Rings, 1:142), he is saying either that he was in Middle-earth when the Valar arrived or that he arrived as one of the Valar. His remark that "he knew the dark under ths stars when it was fearless - before the Dark Lord came from the Outside" refers to the time before Morgoth, the original Dark Lord, had officially turned renegade - the time when the "old" or original stars were made. Since the world was incomplete at that time and nothing lived on the earth except the Valar, it is hard to believe that Tom is anything but a Vala."
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Well, first of all this would indicate he is Vala or Maia, not just Vala. It’s this exact kind of carelessness that undermines the careful web of coincidence you’re trying to weave.

You mistake logical procession of elimination for carelessness.
I started out trying to rope in Tom within the broad Ainur category, THEN I tried getting more specific as to what kind of Ainur, THEN I tried getting more specific as to which Vala. I used the appropriate levels of specificity of evidence for the broader categorical proofs, and narrowed as the categories became more specific. Honestly, you are truly mistaking conflation and generalization for separation of logical proofs dealing with categories and logical procession through that.

quote:
Second, the dark was filled with fear during the time of Morgoth’s first dominion in Middle Earth, when Angband was merely a northern fortress and Utunmo (sp?) was his principle dwelling. This leaves lots of time between when the Valar removed themselves to Aman and the coming of the elves (or Ents, for that matter). Granted, taking “before the first raindrop and the first acorn literally causes problematic interpretations, but certainly Aule has no claim to be first over the rest of the Ainur. So this statement isn’t true even if he is Aule. Either he’s referring to being the first living (i.e., biotic) being or he’s lying. And if “here” refers to Middle Earth then it can’t literally be true, anyway.

Again, this does refer to living beings and while could be conflated to include Manwe, Melko and Varda (remember, at one point Melkor decsended into Arda under the auspices of the 15th Valar and not as the Dark Lord), however, combined with all the traits that you seem to try and project onto all the rest of the Valar without success, its very clear which Vala it refers to.

quote:
Finrod sang to battle Sauron when he and Beren where captured, as did Sauron in that battle. Tom has been around since before the Elves arrived, some of them journeyed to Valinor, came back, and mostly left again. Of course he’s likely to have picked up such music. And here’s where the little facts really start to undermine your contention: Legolas never went to the Uttermost West.
This is not unique or a good enough responses since Tom almost entirely speaks in song. And the bit about Legolas doesn't matter:
1. becuase he probably picked it up from former-fellow Sirdan(sp?) elves before they went NW and he merged with the Silvans.
2. He could have picked it up from other elf lords as well who dealt with the Vala and returned(ie: offshoots of the returned Noldor)

quote:
Again, if Aule is Tom, and the two competing claims of being eldest are settled on classification, then Aule is lying, because the Ainur came in at the beginning of time (Tulkas excepted). Also, cladding ainur in flesh required the consent of Eru – it was a momentous event and seemingly unprecedented.

He is referring to biotics, there is no conflict in claims since Tom under this theory is not clad in flesh. Remember, the Valar have the ability to feign even physical flesh and its abilities, they needn't take on the costs of real physical flesh the way the Maiar must as the Valar never descend into real flesh form.

quote:
OK, so we don’t know what a Vala acts like. Therefore, these conjectures can at best overcome objections, not provide concrete evidence in favor of the theory.

The claim that no known Maia fit the bill is equally irrelevant, since we’re told that only a few “come into the tales.” There are also many more Maia than Vala, and there seems to be a much greater variety. Therefore, there seems to be NO evidence favoring Vala over Maia.

I'm glad we agree, this bit DOES overcome objections, that's why I included it!

As to the Maia issue, that IS relevant since the text is all we have to go off of! The Aule theory makes much better sense than a theory that Tom is really someone never even mentioned specifically in LOTR at all!

quote:
OK, she wears green and loves nature. Again, she could easily be a Maia (see above). Further, she could really be the Riverwoman’s daughter.
LOL what an oversimplification of the remarkable detail I provided you with! Here let me post it again for you, this time try reading ALL of it.

""Because most of the Valar are married, determining the possible identity of Goldberry can be a help in establishing Tom's. There are three possible Valier who might have enjoyed living for a time in the Old Forest: Nessa, Vana, and Yavanna. Nessa, who loves deer and dancing, does not fit too well, since neither of these is Goldberry's specialties. Her husband, Tulkas, the best fighter among the Valar, moreover, is probably too warlike to be Tom. Vana, who cares for flowers and birds, also does not fit very well, since Goldberry is concerned with a larger variety of plants, and birds have no special role. Orome, Vana's husband, furthermore, is a hunter, especially of monsters. If he were Tom, there would have been no wights on the Downs. With Yavanna, however, we have just the right emphasis, for she is responsible for all living things, with a special preference for plants. Since she is Queen of the Earth, it is easy to imagine her watering the forest with special care, as Goldberry does during the Hobbits' visit.

In the Silmarillion (pp. 20-21) Yanvanna's appearance is characterized as follows:

In the form of a woman she is tall, and robed in green; but at times she takes other shapes. Some there are who have seen her standing like a tree under heaven, crowned with the Sun; and from all its branches there spilled a golden dew upon the barren earth, and it grew green with corn; but the roots of the tree were in the waters of Ulmo, and the winds of Manwe spoke in its leaves.
When we first meet Goldberry, she is clad in green: "her gown was green, green as young reeds, shot with silver like beads of dew" (Rings, p. 172). When Tom officially introduces Goldberry, he says, "Here's my Goldberry clothed all in silver-green. . . ." When she says goodbye to the Hobbits, she is once again clad in green and Frodo in calling for her refers specifically to this color when he starts to look for her: "My fair lady, clad all in green!" (p. 187). This characterization of Goldberry's customary dress supports that hypothesis that she is Yavanna.

To be sure, when we first meet her, her feet are also surrounded by water, seemingly supporting the water nymph story. This circumstance, however, is not inconsistent with her tree image, which, as just noted, involved having her feet or roots in "the waters of Ulmo."

As the farewell continues, moreover, a description analogous to the tree description is given:

There on the hill-brow she stood beckoning to them: her hair was flying loose, and as it caught the sun it shone and shimmered. A light like the glint of water on dewy grass flashed under her feet as she danced."

Although still in human form, her flying hair hints at "the winds of Manwe" and the reflection of the sun from her hair suggests that she is "crowned with the Sun." The "glint of water on dewy grass" suggests the spilling of the golden dew on the earth as well as "the waters of Ulmo." When the Hobbits last see Goldberry, she is much more like a plant: "they saw Goldberry now small and slender like s sunlit flower against the sky: she was standing still watching them, and her hands were stretched out towards them." In this case, she is probably more flower than tree because Hobbits in general like flowers and are afraid of trees. The "sunlit" image is strikingly similar to Yavanna's primary nonhuman appearance."

quote:
Manwe desires to possess and control? Ulmo? Tulkas? Orome? This analysis is only relevant if there’s evidence Tom must be a Vala, which again comes down to his power over the ring.
No, by this time we have established that Tom, if an Ainur, would be a Vala more likely than a Maia, go back and read the proofs I started off with. Please try to remember the categorical logical procession.

quote:
I always interpreted that scene as slight of hand or, at most, power to obscure. There’s zero evidence in the scene that the ring physically disappeared. It was hidden somehow, whether through some power over the material of the ring, power over the air between Frodo’s eyes and the ring, power over Frodo’s vision, or mere sleight of hand it doesn’t say. As Gandalf says, it’s not that he has power over the ring but that the ring has no power over him.

Actually it says that the ring dissappeared There seems to be no textual support for your mitigation of calling it a mere parlour trick. You still ignore the point that Tom could see Frodo with it on, only a Ainur could do that.

quote:
Again, not evidence in favor but rather evidence against a potential objection. Not relvant until some threshold of proof has been crossed that this hypothesis is not close to yet.

Yes, these are answers to possible objections, because if you had paid attention to the procession of narrowing proofs, you'd realize we had passed the threshhold of proof regarding this by now.

quote:
As Aule he is anomalous to known acts and statements about the Valar. I mean, you try to hold up the lack of a description of a Maia that could be Tom as evidence he’s not one, but don’t mind this little bit of information that he’s incarnated himself since the beginning of time being left out of the book.
You misunderstood the point of this, it was dealing with the morality aspect or Tom's possible motivations, his presence is clearly noted in the text.

quote:
The ring is physical. It can be lost and found. Making it disappear can be done as easily as putting it in a pocket. As to him seeing Frodo, the wraiths can see Frodo in a fashion (even when not wearing their rings), as can Sauron. Gandalf’s powers are no longer those of a Maia. If the ring works by exerting influence on the viewer, it fits with the no power over him hypothesis of Gandalf.
The Ring is physical but is embued with the essence of Sauron. To make that dissappear, or even if I grant you the mere appearance of making it dissappear would be near impossible for a being of lesser power and essence. Remember, the Ring wants to be found because it is in part, Sauron himself
The reason the Ring Wraiths can see him is one:
Every time they encounter him they *do* have their Rings on. In fact Tolkien makes it very clear in the story that they do not ever take them off, they are what prop up their ruined existances!
2. Even if they didn't have their rings on they had their rings for so long they basically became permanent subjuncts of Sauron's evil.

quote:
Again, most of your evidence is based on the assumption that Tom needs great power to do what he did. The second assumption is that only Aule fits, so it must be him, ignoring that thousands of Maia and other characters are not described in the text.

I feel there was quite a bit of specifics that you are leaving out, but even if there weren't, would it not make sense to deal with what we have IN th text as being more likely rather than trying to guess what has been left out of the text completely?

quote:
The rest is based on overcoming objections, not providing affirmative proof.
I provided several posts in this thread with direct links and extremely pervasive similarities pro-actively linking Aule to Tom once other possiblities have been methodically eliminated. If this is your response to the giant amount of detail I put into this, then this converation with you is not only repeating, but I am loosing my enjoyment of it.

[ April 23, 2004, 11:13 AM: Message edited by: BrianM ]
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
First, you insist in maintaining that Sauron was the most powerful of the Maia, with no textual evidence at all. The only textual evidence to date says he was the mightiest of Morgoth's followers, not of all the Maia.
I think Melian would definitely be the most powerful of the Maiar, or at least more powerful than Sauron. She had the ability to resist Morgoth's power, to keep out his mental influence and that of Sauron, plus physically all of his followers. Sauron has never been mentioned as having anywhere near that depth of power, or breadth for that matter.
 
Posted by Dagonee (Member # 5818) on :
 
quote:
I started out trying to rope in Tom within the broad Ainur category, THEN I tried getting more specific as to what kind of Ainur, THEN I tried getting more specific as to which Vala. I used the appropriate levels of specificity of evidence for the broader categorical proofs, and narrowed as the categories became more specific. Honestly, you are truly mistaking conflation and generalization for separation of logical proofs dealing with categories and logical procession through that.
Cateogrical logical procession cumulates uncertainties, it does not eliminate them.

There are uncertainties in step 1, 2, and 3. Each succeeding uncertainty is given more power by the ones that came before, not less. But the evidence you cite specifically says "is hard to believe that Tom is anything but a Vala" at this stage of the analysis. I was responding to your evidence which continually overreaches on its categorization.

quote:
Again, this does refer to living beings and while could be conflated to include Manwe, Melko and Varda (remember, at one point Melkor decsended into Arda under the auspices of the 15th Valar and not as the Dark Lord), however, combined with all the traits that you seem to try and project onto all the rest of the Valar without success, its very clear which Vala it refers to.
You can’t claim to be using logical progression and then refer to later categorizations in proof of earlier ones. The objection here is simple: No Ainur has the ability to claim being first or oldest. Therefore an Ainur who says that is lying. It seems unlikely Aule would lie.

quote:
This is not unique or a good enough responses since Tom almost entirely speaks in song. And the bit about Legolas doesn't matter:
1. becuase he probably picked it up from former-fellow Sirdan(sp?) elves before they went NW and he merged with the Silvans.
2. He could have picked it up from other elf lords as well who dealt with the Vala and returned(ie: offshoots of the returned Noldor)

The point is that singing is not unique enough to use to assign an entity who sings to one classification or another. You’re the one trying to categorize. The criteria for assigning a being to one category has to discriminate in some way between different categories. All we know is that Tom is one of several different tiers of beings that use songs for power.

quote:
Remember, the Valar have the ability to feign even physical flesh and its abilities, they needn't take on the costs of real physical flesh the way the Maiar must as the Valar never descend into real flesh form.
True, even Maia can become flesh enough to give birth, as Melian did. But we’re told when Melian did it, we’re given no concrete hints in the Silmarillion that Aule ever did.

quote:
As to the Maia issue, that IS relevant since the text is all we have to go off of! The Aule theory makes much better sense than a theory that Tom is really someone never even mentioned specifically in LOTR at all!
Ah, ironies of ironies. You want to rely on the text, which mentions Aule living in a house in the Old Forest exactly nowhere. Apparently, you find it more likely that an author would flesh out a character to a great extent and leave out an important detail about him rather than have the unexplained detail be assigned to an unmentioned character. Why do you consider this more likely?

quote:
Same stuff about Yvanna not quoted to save space.
Look, you can repost stuff all you want. The fact is, similarity between two different people does not establish they are in fact the same. It doesn’t matter how great that similarity is – it just doesn’t matter.

Is Arwen the same as Luthien because she looks like her?

quote:
No, by this time we have established that Tom, if an Ainur, would be a Vala more likely than a Maia, go back and read the proofs I started off with. Please try to remember the categorical logical procession.
No, we haven’t, go back and read the refutations I posted. You have two major points “showing” he’s a Valar not a Maiar: 1.) It takes lots of power to do that Tom did with the Ring. 2.) Tolkein didn’t describe the other Maia so Tom couldn’t be one of them. 2 is utterly unsupported. 1 is dealt with below.

quote:
Actually it says that the ring dissappeared There seems to be no textual support for your mitigation of calling it a mere parlour trick.
That scene is told from Frodo’s PoV. So saying it “disappeared” means nothing more than that Frodo could not see it. Again, this could be done by exerting power over the ring, power over the natural area, or power over Frodo’s vision. You have not addressed this at all.

quote:
You still ignore the point that Tom could see Frodo with it on, only a Ainur could do that.
No – if the ring hides people wearing it by exerting power over the viewer, then Tom seeing Frodo would be because the ring has no power over him. And again, NO EVIDENCE that only an Ainur can do that. We simply don’t have enough incidents to judge the veracity of this claim.

quote:
Yes, these are answers to possible objections, because if you had paid attention to the procession of narrowing proofs, you'd realize we had passed the threshhold of proof regarding this by now.
No we haven’t – because the uncertainties from above are still present and being magnified by uncertainties in this step.

quote:
You misunderstood the point of this, it was dealing with the morality aspect or Tom's possible motivations, his presence is clearly noted in the text.
But the principle objection is still unmet by you: Aule is fairly fully described. This isn’t mentioned. Other maia are mentioned, not by name, and not fully described. Which one is more likely to have an important detail looked out?

quote:
The Ring is physical but is embued with the essence of Sauron. To make that dissappear, or even if I grant you the mere appearance of making it dissappear would be near impossible for a being of lesser power and essence.
Frodo makes it “disappear” every time he puts it into his pocket. Again, you ignore that this is from Frodo’s POV.

quote:
The reason the Ring Wraiths can see him is one:
Every time they encounter him they *do* have their Rings on. In fact Tolkien makes it very clear in the story that they do not ever take them off, they are what prop up their ruined existances!

Actually, Tolkein states that the reason Sauron can trust them to bring him the Ring, and almost no one else, is that he holds the nine rings. I’m not at home, I’ll find the quote later.

quote:
2. Even if they didn't have their rings on they had their rings for so long they basically became permanent subjuncts of Sauron's evil.
And the way they see Frodo is different than the way Tom does. Again, there’s zero evidence that “only an Ainur can see Frodo while he wears the ring.”

quote:
I feel there was quite a bit of specifics that you are leaving out, but even if there weren't, would it not make sense to deal with what we have IN th text as being more likely rather than trying to guess what has been left out of the text completely?
Why? Again, we know a lot about person A. Nothing about person B. Who is more likely to have a large portion of their story left out of the text?

quote:
I provided several posts in this thread with direct links and extremely pervasive similarities pro-actively linking Aule to Tom once other possiblities have been methodically eliminated. If this is your response to the giant amount of detail I put into this, then this converation with you is not only repeating, but I am loosing my enjoyment of it.
Other possibilities have NOT been eliminated. Basic objections remain unanswered. The detail is not compelling, because the earlier links are tenuous at best.

Dagonee
Edit: wanted to add that adding lots of detail on the "easy" portions of a logical progression is a common rhetorical tactict. Such details do nothing to strengthen the portions of the argument most lacking details, namely that Tom must be Ainur and that, if Ainur, Valar.

[ April 23, 2004, 11:56 AM: Message edited by: Dagonee ]
 
Posted by BrianM (Member # 5918) on :
 
Rakeesh very quickly as I walk out the door, with regards to Melian, if you are using her famous Girdle as your basis for that statement, Carcharoth was able to pierce it in a frenzy.

quote:
At the gates of Angband, the mighty wolf Carcharoth had bitten Beren's hand from his wrist, and with it the Silmaril it held. The Silmaril was a hallowed jewel, and burned the innards of the evil monster. In searing pain, the wolf blindly chased through Beleriand and, breaking the Girdle of Melian, roamed madly through the lands of Doriath.

King Thingol set out to hunt the wolf with the greatest of his warriors. With him went Mablung and Beleg, and Beren Erchamion, and Huan the Hound of Valinor. They found Carcharoth under the eaves of Neldoreth, drinking beneath a waterfall of the River Esgalduin. Eventually, after a mighty battle, Huan slew Carcharoth, but both he and Beren were mortally wounded.

http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/default.htm

Dagonee, I'm leaving to go have some fun while the snow stays, but I'll say this, you have drained the enjoyment completely out of this by seemingly ingnoring my points, oversimplifying them and taking half of them out of context, then you have the gall to accuse me of doing that to YOU. Your next post will probably do something like try turn this on me saying I am doing these things to you! I have responded to the same points of yours more than twice in some instances and I'm not going to waste my time with the same responses or try to put back together what I initially said that you took apart. Calling my effort to use meticulous detail to warrant my links to Aule as mere rhetorical tricks has made me realize this conversation, which should be at best light-hearted and fun and at very least civil, has gotten nasty and you have turned sophistic in it.

[ April 23, 2004, 12:31 PM: Message edited by: BrianM ]
 
Posted by Dagonee (Member # 5818) on :
 
Funny, that's about how I feel with your UTTER refusal to discuss the points I've brought up. You're the one who decided to accuse me of not understanding logical progression and you're the one who waved your details around as if their mere presence gives your statement any credibility.

Dagonee
Edit: The start of any nastiness was yours: 'I have actually been doing this for this entire thread, so another generic reply of "I'm simply making general claims and not providing evidence" is going to be rather tedious, ok?'

[ April 23, 2004, 12:30 PM: Message edited by: Dagonee ]
 
Posted by saxon75 (Member # 4589) on :
 
What a silly thread this has become.
 
Posted by mr_porteiro_head (Member # 4644) on :
 
And this started out as such an enjoyable thread. *sigh*
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
Yes, it has. *sigh* Never thought it'd be possible for me to lose enjoyment in a Tolkien thread.

---

Re: Angband dog, he had a Silmaril burning a hole in his insides. That radically ups his ability I would think. It is also not mentioned whether or not he was LET in. I would let him in, were I Melian. Get to deal with him outside Morgoth's influence, Morgoth can't recover a Silm., etc.
 
Posted by Dagonee (Member # 5818) on :
 
For that matter, Beren pierced the Girdle as well, before he got near a Simiril.

Dagonee
 
Posted by Jon Boy (Member # 4284) on :
 
Hey, I was just arguing for the sheer fun of it and because I felt like I had a good case. I think I've had enough of it now.
 
Posted by ak (Member # 90) on :
 
When matters of the utmost importance like this are argued, people of necessity get their feelings and selves thoroughly invested in their own positions. It's only natural to feel personally threatened or insulted by people who refuse to see the plain truth.

Personally, it upsets me to no end that the faithful Radagast, and the other two wizards, about whom so little is known, have had their reputations completely destroyed by idle speculation. Humans and elves are a small part of all creation, however important they feel themselves to be. To say that these valiant spirits turned aside and failed is just base slander. In fact, they succeeded so well that we are able to continue totally overlooking their entire missions, unaware even in which domains of heaven or earth they carried out their vital work.

I am greatly saddened and grieved by this. I hope a few may read my words and have their hearts and eyes opened to the truth.

[ April 23, 2004, 05:27 PM: Message edited by: ak ]
 
Posted by Dagonee (Member # 5818) on :
 
ak, I'm desperately looking for my copy of "Unfinished Tales," which explicitly states that only Olorin (Gandalf) remained faithful to the mission. It's not idle, it's Tolkien. Although there are two versions, one which makes Radagast look better than the other.

Dagonee
Edit: Although it is unfinished, so maybe he meant to change it...

[ April 23, 2004, 06:28 PM: Message edited by: Dagonee ]
 
Posted by ak (Member # 90) on :
 
I'm so sure of this that I would overrule even Tolkien, and say if he thought that then he was mistaken. Of the five, only Saruman completely failed. The others had great success, though things turned out differently for them than they had forseen.
 
Posted by Dobbie (Member # 3881) on :
 
quote:
Gothmog was one of the Balrogs who struck down Feanor, and I think he also dragged back Hurin Thalion to be tortured for years and years by Morgoth.

I think Gothmog was also the name of at least one Orc, and a Nazgul.

Angmar was the name of the realm ruled by the 'Witch-King', whose chief enemies were the Dunedain, many years before the events in LotR. The Witch-King was in fact the chief of the Nazgul. I don't think Angmar was his name, but was rather the name of that kingdom.

Quick. Who was the vice-president of the United States under Theodore Roosevelt?
 
Posted by ak (Member # 90) on :
 
The dude who dropped the atomic bomb after Roosevelt died. Because his mythos is not nearly so interesting nor important as that of Gothmog, I can't recall his name. Herbert Hoover, was it?

And what was your point supposed to be? [Smile]
 
Posted by Dagonee (Member # 5818) on :
 
Trick question - Teddy Roosevelt WAS the vice-president!
 
Posted by Jon Boy (Member # 4284) on :
 
I think you've got your Roosevelts mixed up, Anne Kate.
 
Posted by ak (Member # 90) on :
 
Oh, Theodore! Yeah, I was thinking Franklin. [Smile]
 
Posted by ak (Member # 90) on :
 
He was his own vice president? How can that be?
 
Posted by Kwea (Member # 2199) on :
 
lol
 


Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2