The Bee Reads LOTR Episode 7:Tom Bombadil Is Awesome

Kyle and Dan, from The Babylon Bee, along with Jonathan Watson, from TheOneRing.Com where you can join a growing fellowship of Tolkien fans, get to one of their favorite chapters of The Lord of the Rings: In The House Of Tom Bombadil! Who the heck is this weird guy dancing and singing in the old forest? What did Tolkien say about who Tom is and what does he have to teach us? How is this detour in the old forest to Tom’s house essential to the story? Tom Bombadil is awesome and by the end of this episode, we think you’ll agree.

Chapter 7 summary: The hobbits enter the house and seem to be enchanted by Goldberry. Frodo even bursts into song when he sees her. Frodo asks her who Tom Bombadil really is and she tells him that Tom is simply Tom: the master of wood, water and hill. He has no desire to own anything and he has no fear. Frodo asks Tom if he had heard their cry for help or if he had just happened to come by at the right time. Tom said that he had been expecting them. They eat and go to bed. The Hobbits all have nightmares, except Sam. Frodo dreams of man on a tower taken away by a large eagle and then black riders, Pippin is back in the willow tree, and Merry thinks he is about to be drowned.The next day it rains, so Tom begins to tell them stories. He tells them about the old forest and the trees like Old Man Willow. He warns them about the barrow downs and the spirits. The Hobbits lose track of time. Frodo once again tries to find out who Tom Bombadil is by asking him directly. Tom asks Frodo to show him the Ring. He is completely unconcerned about the ring or Sauron. He teaches them a rhyme to call him for help and tells them they must leave the next day.

Topics Discussed

Who the heck is Tom?

"Tom was a paradoxical creature, one moment defeating ancient forces with hardly an effort, the next capering and singing nonsensical songs." 

"Eldest, that's what I am... Tom remembers the first raindrop and the first acorn... He knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless - before the Dark Lord came from Outside."

“He is Master of wood, water, and hill.” But he doesn’t own it! “That would be a burden,” says Goldberry. He also “just is as you have seen him” and is “not afraid.”

Tom always seems preoccupied about his own business and seems to forget the needs of his guests. ‘Tom, Tom! your guests are tired, and you had near forgotten!

Who the heck is Goldberry? She is full of joy and laughter and is described as “enthroned.”

The paradox of Bombadil in that he is good but is not concerned with the shadow vs the Hobbits "you cannnot shut the world out forever"

Kyle’s tweet thread about his favorite passage in Lord of the Rings: (though he reserves his right to say that a lot over the course of this show)

Dan thinks it is odd that Tom just happens to have a feast set, four mattresses, four pairs of hobbit slippers, vessels of cold and hot water just waiting for the hobbits in the guest room. Tom says he was waiting for them. 

“Farmer Maggot, whom he seemed to regard as a person of more importance than they had imagined. ‘There’s earth under his old feet, and clay on his fingers; wisdom in his bones, and both his eyes are open,’ said Tom. It was also clear that Tom had dealings with the Elves, and it seemed that in some fashion, news had reached him from Gildor concerning the flight of Frodo.”

Our zeitgeist and its need for big, epic heroes, and its intolerance of quirkiness and things that are uncool.

Whether the morning and evening of one day or of many days had passed Frodo could not tell. He did not feel either hungry or tired, only filled with wonder.

‘Who are you, Master?’ he asked. ‘Eh, what?’ said Tom sitting up, and his eyes glinting in the gloom. ‘Don’t you know my name yet? That’s the only answer. Tell me, who are you, alone, yourself and nameless? But you are young and I am old. Eldest, that’s what I am. Mark my words, my friends: Tom was here before the river and the trees; Tom remembers the first raindrop and the first acorn. He made paths before the Big People, and saw the little People arriving. He was here before the Kings and the graves and the Barrow-wights. When the Elves passed westward, Tom was here already, before the seas were bent. He knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless – before the Dark Lord came from Outside.’

Tom holds up the superweapon of Sauron and laughs at it like it’s child’s play. And can even make it disappear??? Tom can see invisible Frodo?

Some stuff from Silmarillion is mentioned like Valar and Maiar and hopefully the slides on the video help. Tom doesn’t fit any established category in Middle-Earth.

Is Tom Bombadil right to be unconcerned with fighting evil?

Subscriber Portion

We “solve” who Tom really is (become a subscriber)
Tolkien’s own words about Tom Bombadil

Subscriber Questions, fan theories, and tattoo suggestions for Kyle

The Hobbits’ dreams in the house of Tom Bombadil