Who the heck is Tom Bombadil in The Lord of the Rings?

Originally published at: Who the heck is Tom Bombadil in The Lord of the Rings? | Boing Boing


And why wasn’t he in the movie?


He’s an effectively extraneous character to the main action and plot (in the book as well as the films). At best he’s a deus ex machina who rescues the hobbits. In subsequent readings after my first I just skipped the Bombadil parts as I did with the long rambling songs. Bombadil is obviously important to Tolkien and serves some purpose in the lore of Middle Earth (and the allegory about the state of nature vs. modernity), but for a lot of readers he’s just an annoyance who slows things down.



Given the quality of his poetry, my best guess is he was probably a Vogon spy.


Tolkien was very wise, and resistant to the notion that everything could be measured and known, that the world’s mysteries could be totally reduced to matter and history, that causality was linear. The ineffable, the quantum, yes the magic that lies at the heart of creation can never be fully understood or controlled or owned. No good picture or story is ever totally complete, there is always the bit just outside the frame. There is a crack in everything, thats how the light gets in, according to Leonard Cohen, and he was right.

I love Tom Bombadil


Well put. He’s the O.G. side-quest and I enjoy it a lot. It’s a bummer, but I understand why they didn’t include him in the films. Giving some of his lines to Treebeard was a weird decision though.


i read an article recently over at Polygon that covers this, likely he is a cameo character that’s just there to amuse himself and his kids


Pretty sure he is one of the Valar, maybe Eru himself…

theres that part where Tommy Bombs repels the Nazgul with… uhhh… its not really explained beyond his singing…
and lets not forget he gives the hobbits bill the pony as a loaner, Bill the pony gets tossed at the gates of moria and he just WALKS BACK.


As I noted last time this subject came up his character didn’t really fit into the tone or the storyline of the Peter Jackson movies:

FWIW Jackson said that fans shouldn’t take Tom’s omission to mean that the Hobbits’ encounter with him didn’t happen in his version, just that it was an “untold” part of the story that happened between the scenes. That this is even plausible kind of underscores how inessential he was to the story.


they probably filmed scenes with him, i mean… bill was in the movie, they absolutely filmed the sacking of the shire… cinematic release runtime on fellowship… 2:58 minutes.

yeah, i can totally see them cutting him for time to make room for Liv effing Tyler bsing around as Arwen (mostly because Steven Tyler did the music)

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Howard Shore did the LOTR scoring. The directors decided that adding more action and depth for a character that very much was important in the overall story made sense, and also made sure that the films weren’t entirely just a bunch of dudes.


I think maybe someone confused LOTR with Armageddon again?

Happens all the time ¯_(ツ)_/¯


Yeah of all the criticisms people have leveled at the LOTR movies I never thought “giving female characters too much screen time” was a very compelling one.


How one could do that is beyond me… other than just wanting to get a dig in at Liv Tyler, for some bizarre reason… She’s fine as an actor and gets plenty of good work without an assist from her dad…

SJW screwing things up with their unreasonable demands yet again! /s


Agreed on all points. I enjoyed the majority of the cinematic treatment of Arwen, minus the last minute “Arwen’s fate is now tied to the ring” bit.


I think this article rather answers that question - he’s a character who comes out of nowhere, you don’t know who he is, he has no connection to anything else, he does some stuff that didn’t need to be done by him and then disappears, with the audience none the wiser. When writing movie scripts, it’s exactly the sort of character you don’t include, except for comedic purposes - and it wasn’t a comedy.


Oh, oh…
…I know this one!

He’s a hippie.

Or perhaps, THE hippie.


oh, i apologize for the confusion. Gender and actor ability had nothing to do with what i meant.
and the lack of female characters in the films can be directly attributed to the source material.

i was just kvetching about cutting lore for action sequences that werent in the books.

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