The LOTR Movie Site
October 31, 2000

Response to Rex F.'s Bombadil Solution
John R.

Rex F. advances several interesting theories about Tom Bombadil and his true nature.

I have a different theory. In my opinion, Bombadil had a separate literary genesis from that of Middle-Earth. Tolkien wrote also wrote short stories dealing with forest denizens consistent with Tom's little world. These stories don't neatly mesh with the eventual published version of Middle-Earth, but seem closer to the abandoned House of Lost Play stories.

Basically, Tom is an alien presence in Lord of the Rings: he is from an different literary world. The same is true for Goldberry.

The claims that Bombadil is Iluvatar, or that he and Goldberry are Aule and Yvanna, help prove the point that they don't neatly fit into the Middle-Earth hierarchy.

Also remember the inconsistency that both Bombadil and Treebeard were referred to as the oldest (or eldest) in Middle Earth. This also points to Tom as being an imported character, and perhaps to a little goof by Tolkien.

As for the Balrog, he had wings. I think Tolkien's description was that the shadow "seemed to" spread like wings. But remember, this is how Tolkien described most magical things in the book, perhaps taking into account that in his day, people were pragmatic and not much into tales of magic. Thus, for instance, when Gandalf rides to rescue Faramir, a beam of light "seemed" to shoot upward toward the Nazgul, and Pippin "seemed" to hear a great voice. This literary device allowed the reader to consider that it really wasn't magic, just someone's imagination at work. So when Tolkien wrote that the Balrog's shadow seemed to spread like wings, this meant it had wings.

Admittedly, there is no evidence that Balrog wings were functional. But consider, that when the Balrog was falling with Gandalf, he wasn't trying to get away but was more interested in attacking, and so stayed with Gandalf. The wings may have been for show or for gliding, like a flying squirrel.

As for Arwen, I agree Liv Tyler is miscast. I also have doubts now about Kate Blanchett as Galadriel. Recall that Galadriel was the oldest Noldor in Middle-Earth. I cannot imagine her as looking twenty-something with baby fat. I imagine her as a grown, mature woman, looking 35 or 40. Recall that Frodo saw her momentarily as an old woman after she passed the temptation of the ring.