In J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Tom Bombadil initially appears to be merely an eccentric, episodic character. Yet, upon close reading his enchanting spirit embodies moral significance throughout the trilogy when members in the war against Sauron recall his spirit in moments of hope and despair. Though he only appears to the Hobbits within the Old Forest, Bombadil represents ideals present throughout the entire story. As Tolkien wrote, “[Bombadil] represents something that I feel important, though I would not be prepared to analyze the feeling precisely. I would not, however, have left him in, if he did not have some kind of function” (Letters 178). While Bombadil’s “function” may appear unclear, his presence remains essential to The Lord of the Rings. Because Bombadil aids but also distances himself from Rivendell, literary critics struggle to understand how Bombadil informs The Lord of the Rings through his role in the war against Sauron.
"Romantic Theology as Revelation through Tom Bombadil and Goldberry in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings,"
Augsburg Honors Review: Vol. 11
, Article 6.
Available at: https://idun.augsburg.edu/honors_review/vol11/iss1/6