Every once in a while, one of these pages is going to come along that convinces me of the pure beauty with which Tolkien was able to imbue this text so seamlessly.
This is one of those pages.
The hobbits creep into the doorway of Tom Bombadil’s house. In a chair facing the door sits Goldberry, and the four are struck by her beauty. She resembles flora in many ways, and around her feet are waterlilies floating in jars. She greets them, and they continue walking in very slowly. She rises and bounds to close the door behind them, telling them not to fear anything. Frodo addresses her, but is too enchanted to say very much.
No lie, the description of Goldberry is stunningly gorgeous. She’s undoubtedly supposed to be the prettiest thing that these hobbits have ever seen, and the language fits the bill. Phrases like: “she seemed to be enthroned in the midst of a pool,” and “her gown rustled softly like the wind in the flowering borders of a river,” paint a glowing portrait of her beauty. For all the bad rap that Tolkien can sometimes get for being long-winded or sounding too much like a textbook, (He was writing a history for his languages, mind you.) this is his narration at its best, at least so far as we’ve gotten. He sure knew how to write.
We don’t get any answers about Tom and Goldberry on this page, and I’m not inclined to go asking them. That can wait while we bask in this glorious start to the chapter.
Hopefully, the hobbits relax from their fears. I know I would if I were given this kind of a greeting. For sure, this eases any worry that Tom Bombadil is secretly evil. (Not that that was ever a major concern…) If you’re evil, a beautiful woman doesn’t greet your guests this way. Unless she’s a siren, but this isn’t Greek mythology. No need to tie Frodo to the mast.
Words My Computer Didn’t Like:
The fact that “BOMBADIL” renders a spellcheck simply because it’s all caps is maddening. You’d think a computer could understand the similarity.
“‘Now the joy that was hidden in the songs we heard is made plain to me.'”