Tom. Tom. Tom. Tom. TOM. TOM. TOM. TOM. TOM! TOM! TOOOOOOOOM!!
It’s him. He’s here. It’s Tom. The Bomb. Tom the Bomb.
Frodo hears a distant answer to his cries for help. It’s someone singing. Strangely enough, it sounds like they’re singing nonsense. Of course they are. Because it’s Tom Bombadil. Be prepared. Nothing is going to make any sense here for a bit. The song is a mixture of made-up syllables, addresses to trees, and praise for Tom’s wife, Goldberry. Apparently he’s bringing her waterlilies. That’s nice of him. Frodo and Sam, flabbergasted, watch him come down the path. Instead of me trying to describe him, look! A picture!
Frodo and Sam run at him to beg for his aid.
-Tom Bombadil: The enigma himself. Not-man, not-hobbit who lives in the Old Forest. Subject of many a debate. What is he? Where is he from? What does he stand for? No one knows for sure.
-Goldberry: Tom’s wife. Similarly mysterious, but less important.
All sorts of questions can be asked about Tom. We’ll get to those eventually. Let’s just start off on the easy side. What is he? Frodo notes him as “too large and heavy for a hobbit” and “not quite tall enough for one of the Big People”. So, somewhere in the middle. This is really the start of Tom’s mystery. He isn’t a defined race according to those that we know of in Middle-earth. I guess you could argue that he’s a dwarf: in between men and hobbits in height, but does that make any sense? Why would a dwarf be living in the Old Forest, above ground? Yes, he has a beard. This is unimportant. In all likelihood, Tom Bombadil is not a dwarf.
What Tom Bombadil is, though, is crazy.
Tolkien Songs In Real Life:
As he makes his way (prances) down the path, Tom Bombadil is singing. I’m going to refrain from judgement for just a second, and give you the lyrics:
“Hey dol! merry dol! ring a dong dillo!
Ring a dong! hop along! fal lal the willow!
Tom Bom, jolly Tom, Tom Bombadillo!”
There’s a short break while Frodo and Sam stand, amazed and afraid.
“Hey! Come merry dol! derry dol! My darling!
Light goes the weather-wind and the feathered starling.
Down along under Hill, shining in the sunlight,
Waiting on the doorstep for the cold starlight,
There my pretty lady is, River-woman’s daughter,
Slender as the willow-wand, clearer than the water.
Old Tom Bombadil water-lilies bringing
Comes hopping home again. Can you hear him singing?
Hey! Come merry dol! derry dol! and merry-o,
Goldberry, Goldberry, merry yellow berry-o!
Poor old Willow-man, you tuck your roots away!
Tom’s in a hurry now. Evening will follow day.
Tom’s going home again water-lilies bringing.
Hey! Come derry dol! Can you hear me singing?”
I’m still reserving judgement, and I present:
Forest State of Mind pt.1
(Empire State of Mind – Jay-Z ft. Alicia Keys)
Something I realized a few days ago that I started toying with was that Tom Bombadil’s musical style had to be drastically different from what we’ve heard so far. I eventually settled on this: Tom Bombadil raps. As strange as it is, it seems fitting, especially because it doesn’t make any sense. Imagine you were a hobbit and you heard this coming your way. Yep, it would be a little weird.
Words My Computer Didn’t Like:
Whenever Tom Bombadil starts talking nonsense, we’re going to get these words. Amazingly, “Bombadil” does not warrant a spelling alert.
“‘Help!’ cried Frodo and Sam running towards him with their hands stretched out.”