Since his first appearance in English literature, in 1954, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Tom Bombadil has intrigued readers to no end. Could he be an angelic vala gone native, an Adam without sin, or merely an enigma?
With the Bodleian’s new exhibit on J.R.R. Tolkien, some vital and compelling evidence has surfaced. Vala gone native, Adam without sin, and enigma, Bombadil is also the founder of the greatest British progressive rock band of all time, Big Big Train.
Look closely at the Hildebrant Brothers’ depiction of Tom. You, too, will be amazed.
The evidence, of course, had always been there, but most refused to see it. Here’s the most telling passage from The Fellowship of the Ring.
He then told them many remarkable stories, sometimes half as if speaking to himself, sometimes looking at them suddenly with a bright blue eye under his deep brows. Often his voice would turn to song, and he would get out of his chair and dance about. He told them tales of bees and flowers, the ways of trees, and the strange creatures of the Forest, about the evil things and good things, things friendly and things unfriendly, cruel things and kind things, and secrets hidden under brambles.
If this isn’t proof, nothing is.