Who the hell is Tom Bombadil?
If your familiarity with Tolkien’s Legendarium comes entirely from the movies, your mystification is easily explained – he wasn’t in the films. But if you have read The Lord of the Rings, you are no doubt still asking the question…
If you think it strange to devote an entire article to someone as small and insignificant in the Legendarium as Samwise Gamgee, then you have bought into Sam’s own view of himself, as nothing but a simple gardener from The Shire.
But many have suggested that Sam, rather than Aragorn or Frodo, is the main hero of The Lord of the Rings; and this view was promulgated by no less an authority than JRR Tolkien himself…
If Tom Bombadil had appeared in Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings,” it may have gone something like this.
I leapt to my feet, summoned a storm of lighting and smothering darkness in the sky overhead; covered the forest floor for miles in all directions with a greenish miasma that sucked the life from all things; howled a terrible howl that chilled the Sun, froze the blood, and was remembered in the whispered mid-winter tales of every mortal tribe living within a thousand miles for centuries to come; and leapt again, ready to rend the limbs from the poncy little poltroon, consume his soul and crap it back out down his throat.
If you have only seen the films, but never read the books, you have no idea who Tom Bombadil is. I love the idea of a collectible of a character who didn’t even make it into the first draft of the screenplay for the movie trilogy.
Both Peter Jackson’s trilogy and Ralph Bakshi’s 1978 “animated” adaptation dispensed with Bombadil entirely. This was particularly important in Jackson’s case, as he spared us an incredibly annoying Robin Williams cameo.
Unfortunately, the War of Wrath is so wrathful that the Beleriandian (is that a word?) sub-continent is almost completely destroyed, and sinks below the sea. The Valar invite all the Elves to Valinor, but lots of them refuse… The Edain follow Elros to Númenor, but lots of Men are left behind in Beleriand. So.. how did all the surviving Elves and Men get to Eriador?