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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » the names of Tolkien's Nazgul and who was Tom Bombadil? (Page 2)

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Author Topic: the names of Tolkien's Nazgul and who was Tom Bombadil?
aka
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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.

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BrianM
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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 ]

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Jon Boy
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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.
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BrianM
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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.


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Kwea
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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

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ak
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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 ]

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Rakeesh
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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.

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JohnKeats
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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.

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Rakeesh
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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 ]

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ak
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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]

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Rakeesh
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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.

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JohnKeats
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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.

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Rakeesh
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Hmmm...that's a good one, possibility-wise, JK. I mean, Tolkien certainly likes many of the things Bombadil likes or appears to like.
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ak
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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 ]

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Rakeesh
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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.

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ak
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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 ]

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Rakeesh
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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.

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ak
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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.
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Rakeesh
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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.
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Telperion the Silver
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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]

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Altáriël of Dorthonion
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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.

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Jon Boy
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¿Que?
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JohnKeats
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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 ]

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Altáriël of Dorthonion
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Very sophisticated hypothesis.
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BrianM
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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 ]

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mr_porteiro_head
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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 ]

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Jon Boy
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"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.

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BrianM
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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 ]

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Altáriël of Dorthonion
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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.

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Vána
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*hugs Hatrack*
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Telperion the Silver
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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.

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Telperion the Silver
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*hugs Vana*
Water me with your healing tears! [Smile]
*shines brightly*

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BrianM
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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 ]

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Dagonee
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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

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saxon75
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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."
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BrianM
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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.

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Vána
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*waters Telperion*

saxon, you are correct.

[ April 22, 2004, 02:18 PM: Message edited by: Vána ]

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Dagonee
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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.

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Rakeesh
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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.

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JohnKeats
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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.
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Telperion the Silver
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Except that the Maiar are the brothers of the Valar, not their children.
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JohnKeats
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<stands corrected>

It would still explain his meager interest in the quaint little artifact.

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jehovoid
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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?)

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Telperion the Silver
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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.
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Jon Boy
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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 ]

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BrianM
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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 ]

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Jon Boy
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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.

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BrianM
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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!
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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.
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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!
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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.
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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:
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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 ]

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saxon75
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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.
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BrianM
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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 ]

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