The Importance of Tom Bombadil
Why the scene where little happens, is of crucial importance.
Why did Peter Jackson not include Tom Bombadil into the movie? Many may have wondered. I so hoped they would shoot and include this scene in the original trilogy, or would film it as an extra during the shooting of the Hobbit. They didn’t and world may be a poorer place because of it. Let me explain.
“Tom’s purity, moreover, stems from his desire to delight in things as they are, without dominating and controlling them.” Gene Hargrove
It seems so logical. In the series, there’s so much to choose from, from exciting fights, to painful politics. Surely a scene of Frodo and his hobbit friends, meeting an mysterious, very happy, wood being, possibly as old as time itself, could be cut without worries. Yet, I think, it was an lost opportunity, and could have been an essential moment in the series. The One Ring that Frodo carries has no power at all over Tom Bombadil. He seems way above such worries. Let’s first consider why Peter Jackson might have decided he could do without this scene.
Why is Tom Bombadil not in the movie?
Firstly exactly because nothing much seems to happen in the scene anyway. The beginning was already slow and then soon after the journey starts another moment of safeness and happiness? By then moviegoers will have started to long for some action. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, it might have been that Peter thought a figure over whom the One Ring has no power at all, breaks kind of the tension of the plot. Such a figure in the movie would make the whole story less serious. We may not have Tom’s lightheartedness towards the ring, during the movies. The ring must have power, even over of us who are watching.
Yet precisely the moment with Tom could have been a bane of hope for Frodo during his journey. The memory of someone who was free of it’s power. That it is possible to let go, even when something like a ring seems to have a huge hold on us. It could have been help for the self liberation Frodo needed so much at the end of his journey. And for us, moviegoers, this could can be essential as well. We, like Tom, can let go of the One Ring, or in our cases, of the One Thing.
Why Tom Bombadil Matters for Us All.
Tom’s lightheartedness and music is how we personally can liberate ourselves from worldly (read politics at home, work and life) entanglements, like fear or greed. Tom showed Frodo, that he could just let free of the ring’s tugging at every moment, by not being interested in power, or get caught by so much seriousness. Frodo could have liberated himself, at times, more trough song, to keep hope and spirits up… Just as we all can. That is the hope of Tom at the heart of the story, and the world needs that hope to shine!
In this time we see rising tensions, where people say we need to fear other people, because they might have bad plans. In this time, where almost all management books seem to shout, ‘if you do this One Thing, you’ll have success.’ We must ask ourselves, can we be a bit more Tom Bombadil about this? Can’t we just let go and enjoy our life and care for the forest around us? And battle our ghosts more with songs, rather than arms? Because most threats can’t touch you at all, when you don’t give them any power over you. That is the secret lesson of Tom Bombadil for all of us..
Quotes taken from Gene Hargroves article on Tom Bombadil.
Comment of the Sage: “Well, jolly, fun, but of course not realitistic when the shit really hits the fan.”
Comment of the Fool: “Man, are you trying to sell me the One Thing? Well you can keep it. I have a song about that.”