The LOTR Movie Site
September 17, 2000

Who is Bombadil?
Rusty F.

I have always thought that one of the most intriguing characters in Middle Earth was old Tom Bombadil. He is certainly not Sauron, but who (or what) is he? The most common suggestion is that he is a Maia, like Gandalf or Sauron, but I am not sure that is the best answer.

I believe that Tom Bombadil might be a symbolic Adam. Now, before Tolkien purist go beserk, I don't mean Bombadil IS Adam, but a type. I think the text might support this. Bombadil is oldest and fatherless, has been around since the beginning, suddenly discovered Goldberry, and has a special harmony with nature. All of these are characteristics found in the Genesis story of Adam. The key difference between the two is that when Adam ate of the fruit, he "fell" from this state into a worse condition.

However, Bombadil might be a type of Adam who never fell. The "things of this world" have no tempting power over him, which is why the ring doesn't make him invisible. He has no power over it, but it has no power over him. He is also still very much in harmony with nature, being able to talk to the animals and the trees. This seems to be the intention in the Garden of Eden before the fall.

This is just speculation, but I think it makes a very powerful argument.