- --- In mythsoc@y..., SusanPal@a... wrote:
> It seems to me that Bombadil's the one who may not be a "livingthing,"
> properly speaking -- he seems instead to be a kind of embodiedspirit of
> Middle Earth itself, maybe, although then how he precedes thecreation of ME
> is very tricky to work out.Bombadil doesn't precede the creation of Middle-earth. He says he
was there before the Dark Lord came from Outside, and before there
was the first raindrop, etc. I don't think Tolkien intended him to
be an embodied spirit of Middle-earth at all, although he certainly
could be that and still have awakened only after the Valar had begun
If I had to assign Tom a niche in Tolkien's cosmology, I would simply
say he was a guardian spirit, not part of the Valar, not embodying
anything, but simply there as a result of Iluvatar's will. The
Silmarillion leaves plenty of room for Iluvatar to introduce things
the Valar did not foreshadow with their Music, and which Iluvuatar
did not reveal in his Vision.
Can't speculate on whether the Ents -- as they emerged -- are a
different evolutionary line of thought for Bombadilian principles. I
don't think anyone has proposed that before. Certainly, Treebeard
went through some radical changes. He was originally supposed to be
an evil giant who captured Gandalf (and a Hobbit).
It seems to me that the most likely placement for Bombadil is outside
the well-documented ranks of creatures and spirits. If Tolkien had
had to say, "This is what Bombadil really is within the sub-
creational reality of Middle-earth", I think he would simply have
declared Bombadil, Goldberry, and the River-woman to be of some
The Ents and Eagles of Manwe were, after all, created by Iluvatar,
who sent spirits to inhabit the bodies of trees and birds in answer
to Yavanna's thought.
Bombadil's self-appointed task was to watch over an unspecified
region of territory which included at least part of the Marish, the
Old Forest, perhaps Buckland, and the Barrow-downs. His country
(which he referred to as "Tom's country") may have included other
areas. Gandalf pointed out at the Council of Elrond that only
Bombadil could see the borders he had set for himself.
But whereas even the Ents and the Eagles staked out territories which
were deemed inviolate by evil creatures, Bombadil coexisted with evil
creatures. I think he only set his boundaries after the fall of
Arnor, or perhaps after the fall of Cardolan. And I think his
intention was to keep Men and Hobbits (and pehraps Elves and Dwarves)
from straying too close to the pockets of evil which lingered from
past wars. He not only knew the history of Arnor intimately, he and
Aragorn seem to have known each other. And Gildor specifically asked
Bombadil to help Frodo on his way.