Discussion in 'Novels & Stories' started by Xanados, Mar 15, 2012.
Didn't I warn you? HA! It looks like you're starting to believe me.
Well, I'm now on the Bridge of Kazhad-Dum. It's a lot better, but I think I might post my thoughts on the first book after I'm finished. Although I doubt it'll be a fresh take: everyone here has read the books!
Tom Bombadil has his place in the book, but no place in the movies. Happily, some of his lines are given to Treebeard in the extended cut of The Two Towers, at least.
Please remember that Tom is the ONLY character in the entire trilogy that is completely unaffected by the One Ring. It has no power over him at all, and this is a keynote of hope in the trilogy when the ultimate goal seems so far away and impossible. To me, Tom proves that the earth itself will always recover from any of the devastation that could be wreaked by Elves, Men, or Orcs. And Goldberry is practically the only female character in the book. (Yes, there are others, but Arwen is a footnote, and Eowyn's energy is very masculine as she is a fighter with a hardened heart which only softens near Aragorn. Galadriel is motherly, but in a very detached, goddessy way) So Goldberry is Tom's natural consort, and a very potent figure who dramatically throws herself up against the closed door to shut out the night. She's sexy and her charms are as heady as Tom's songs.
As for the wights and the barrows, it adds so much depth to the story. You become aware of the history of these places, which the hobbits themselves are rather ignorant of. The fact that Tom saves them is like a father saving lost children - because that's what the hobbits are at this point.
Merry's proclamation was about visions from another's life, and this also adds a sense of mystery and history to the world. After reading that, I wanted to know more about the things he spoke of. I assumed his companions didn't question his words because they understood where they came from and what they meant.
Getting caught by the wights is Frodo's first test, and he passes it. It's the first time he's tempted to put on the Ring. He nearly abandons his friends and runs out on them. But he doesn't. This is a very important part of the story. Both reader and Frodo himself discovers that he is stronger than that. And this sets things up later for when he really can't resist putting on the Ring (when the Ringwraith commands him to on Weathertop). As such, we learn what Frodo is capable of, and what he is not.
Such moments enrich the story and I was happy when I finally saw Jackson's original extended cuts, which put back into the films scenes that give it so much more depth: Aragorn providing for the hobbits by hunting a deer; Aragorn singing the Lay of Luthien and speaking of her to Frodo; Aragorn confessing to Eowyn that he's 87 years old. There are others.
I remember I had trouble the first time I read The Two Towers as it seemed to me that Merry and Pippin should be more traumatized by their capture and abuse at the hands of the Uruk-hai. But Tolkien does write at that point that Hobbits are different, and can shrug off such things easily and treat them very lightly - which maybe is something that should have been mentioned and reinforced earlier in the trilogy.
Okay, I think the topic has been discussed enough...
No one is forcing you to read the thread. You could employ a technique we have here in the States known as not clicking on it.
Agreed, some of us are still interested in the topic
Yes, I've found the viewpoints quite interesting, and also learned some things I didn't know about the work.
I think it is an important point that Tom is immune to the power of the Ring. He is very down-to-earth, indeed he is practically of the earth himself; he only troubles about his own affairs, which are primarily concerned with eating and drinking and singing. In the same way, hobbits are down-to-earth, only concerned with their own affairs, primarily eating, drinking...
So you see, the chapter about Tom sets up the idea that the Ring can be resisted, in particular by those whose greatest ambitions are of avoiding Sackville-Bagginses. This is a theme touched on throughout the book- the wise and powerful who are tasked with guarding against Sauron are tempted to evil by the mere thought of the Ring, but the hobbits have laughable ambitions and are best able to resist it. Without this point it doesn't even make sense for the hobbits to take on such a daunting task.