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The Fellowship of the Ring

cover of the fellowship of the ringNot to be confused with the movie, the book version of The Fellowship of the Ring includes several scenes with the mysterious, and quite possibly brain damaged, Tom Bombadil.

On the positive side, Tom saves the hapless hobbits twice: first from Old Man Willow, an ancient and malevolent tree that lives on a toxic mix of Highballs and lost Halflings; and then, from a number of barrow-wights, evil soul-sucking undead creatures, not to be confused with Barry Wights, who are excellent, soulful (and unfortunately regular dead) singers of sexy songs.

Speaking of song, Tom spends much of his time in a whimsical and poetic dreamscape of his own construction, singing as he passes blithely through the Old Wood. Tolkien tells us that he dresses in yellow boots and a blue jacket, leaving one to wonder if the author just forgot to mention if Tom was wearing pants, or if he is simply glossing over the lack of pants. I suspect that latter, because he does tell us that Tom has a long brown beard, bright blue eyes, and an extremely red face.

Red face? Is Tolkien suggesting Tom is an alcoholic? It’s hard to say. He acts kind of inebriated, given his propensity to speak in the bizarre poetry of a metre that is at best unconventional, and at worst, deranged. He also likes to talk about himself in the third person. This does not seem to annoy his wife, Goldberry. (Who may or may not be the spirit of the river Withywindle, but who is definitely some kind of saint for putting up with this narcissistic and enigmatic half-wit.)

Bombadil is totally unaffected by the Ring, and he demonstrates this by doing a little sleight-of-hand, taking the ring from Frodo, and making it disappear in the air. (I suspect he palms it, but again, Tolkien does not tell us directly.) The One Ring doesn’t make him invisible, and he doesn’t seem to be influenced by Sauron through it.

So why don’t they just keep the ring hidden with Tom? It would have saved Frodo a painful stab-wound, massive existential angst, and having to endure Sam’s repeated attempts at innuendo, by suggesting that he could really go for a nice bit of “cony stew.”

Apart from the fact, that, hey, no trilogy, Gandalf suggests that because Tom is unaffected by the ring, he would probably not consider it important enough to protect. That’s a nice way of saying he’s a flighty (possibly pantsless) wanker.
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Alltop is the best pantsless humor aggregator on the web. Originally published November, 2010.


  1. Canadian silver bug Canadian silver bug

    I always thought the parody of Tim Benzedrine from Bored of the Rings wasn’t that much of a stretch from the original portrayal.

    Something is certainly not right with Tom but whether he is a higher power who finds rings insignificant, a total nutter, or too simple and pure to understand evil is a toss up.

  2. The basic question you pose is one of why the ring could not have remained with Bombadil since the chap was not affected by the power.

    Well, the answer is obvious. Bombadil symbolized the ideal of Tolkien’s love of nature, a way that was dying from industrialization and lack of eco concern. So the fellow Bombadil’s quest of lingering around the Withywindle river was a nostalgic trip into the past.

    Frodo et al passed through a time portal into the past to see Bombadil. They were not even aware of the transference. In that time period, the ring would not operate because it had not been created yet. That was why Bombadil was not influenced by the power. 

    Also, Frodo and team could not leave the ring in that time period because the molecular structure of another time period would disrupt the entire fantasy universe and universes and even the verses within the pages, and even the factions fighting verses one another. I am not adverse to mention this.

    To witness what a disaster that would look like, just imagine those scenes from Fringe when we see the quarantined zones. And Frodo doesn’t even have the help of Olivia or Walter.

    Well, there you have it. Let me know what you think.


  3. Tom, I love this explanation. It still doesn’t account for his lack of pants though.

    It sounds like I need to check out Bored of the Rings.

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