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Why's everybody hatin' on Old Tom?

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Viv
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 11:30 am    Post subject: Why's everybody hatin' on Old Tom? Reply with quote

It became clear to me recently, over on the Breaking Type thread, that Tom Bombadil is not well loved in this fandom. Curious, eh, since Tom was obviously one of Tolkien's favorite characters. But that love just didn't come through.

Is it because Tom wasn't in the movie (and played by some hot young actor in yellow boots)?

Is it because Tom sings doofuslike songs?

Is it because we envy him his water nymphette SO?

Is it because, unlike Boromir, Tom had no interest in the Ring and thus doesn't have a lot of angst potential?

Is it because he has bad fashion sense?
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eiranae
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 11:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For me, that whole section in the book just seemed vague. I had a hard time grasping the relevance. He just doesn't seem to fit the rest of the story, IMHO. I mean, why isn't he influenced by the ring? Where does he get all his interesting abilities? What sort of a thing is he--Maiar, Valar, Elf, Man? He just seems like he should be in an entirely different tale. BlahBlah

Okay, I'm done now.

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NancyBrooke
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The hatin' I do not understand ...

There was a lot of backlash, as I remember, over PJ and co. not including TB in the movies - a decision I thought sensible, actually. His story, although interesting, is mostly a digression in the grand scheme of things.

Seriously, I think it's the doofy songs and the weird clothes (O so vividly illustrated by the Bros Hildebrandt).

There's plenty of fic potential for Tom:
Arrow Why isn't he effected by the ring?
Arrow What might the ring be thinking when Tom is tossing it about so disrespectfully?
Arrow What about Tom is so deserving of the love of a nymphette so wise and watery?
Arrow What did Gandalf and he have to talk about when the met off the page in ROTK?
Arrow or did they just smoke a lot?
Arrow Where did he come from?
Arrow Did he stay in Middle Earth?

but so few fics ... I'm not sure why that is except that even knowing there's all this to write about, it doesn't pique my curiosity.

Perhaps, and I hesitate to say this, after the Breaking Type challenge we need a Show Some Respect Challenge. We could garner a list of disprespected characters with Tom Bombadil clearly at the head, and folks would have one randomly assigned and have to write a story or drabble about that character.

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eiranae
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 11:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

NancyBrooke wrote:

Perhaps, and I hesitate to say this, after the Breaking Type challenge we need a Show Some Respect Challenge. We could garner a list of disprespected characters with Tom Bombadil clearly at the head, and folks would have one randomly assigned and have to write a story or drabble about that character.


What other disrespected characters are there, just out of curiosity?

I don't really hate Tom, but the lack of interest in his character would make writing about him a challenge. Guess that's the point, eh? Very Happy

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Alassante
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Turin and Denethor come to mind as disrespected. But Turin totally deserves it.

Maybe the challenge should be not respected enough because that would cover Melian and Celeborn too. Melian was the powerful Maia and yet Thingol got all the good press. Celeborn was kind of a trophy husband.

I dislike Tom because the whole chapter dragged the book down. I almost stopped reading because of it. The songs annoyed me too. I really don't like Treebeard too much either. Some characters just were too slow paced for the stories IMO.

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elea24



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

eiranae wrote:
For me, that whole section in the book just seemed vague. I had a hard time grasping the relevance. He just doesn't seem to fit the rest of the story, IMHO. I mean, why isn't he influenced by the ring? Where does he get all his interesting abilities? What sort of a thing is he--Maiar, Valar, Elf, Man? He just seems like he should be in an entirely different tale. BlahBlah


I agree with this totally. For me, this was the most surreal part of the book, and I just wasn't drawn to the storyline at that point.

Mostly though, it's more that I don't want to write about him because he was Tolkien's favourite character. That makes him huge in my book and I'd be terrified of commiting character assasination.
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RobinKa



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

eiranae wrote:
What other disrespected characters are there, just out of curiosity?

Finarfin, I suppose. He seems to pale in comparison to his brothers.

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ellisk



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What might the ring be thinking when Tom is tossing it about so disrespectfully?

OMG, NB: that is a great question and an evil plot bunny. That needs to be a challenge!

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Viv
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ellisk wrote:
What might the ring be thinking when Tom is tossing it about so disrespectfully?

OMG, NB: that is a great question and an evil plot bunny. That needs to be a challenge!


Added it to the drabble challenge thread; it will be an upcoming drabble challenge. (Though of course, if you want to write a longer story on this theme, please feel free...)

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NeumeIndil



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think, approaching it as an author, I could write *about* Tom from Goldberry's perspective, or anyone else's for that matter, but I could *never* wrap my brain around all that damnedable rhyming well enough to write him first person or in dialogue. Poet I am not, let alone fond of forcing myself to stay in both rhyme and tetrameter, tossing in nonsense words. ... Call me type A but some things should just *make sense* dangit! It's the same reason I HATED the disney Alice in Wonderland movie: it gave me a big case of wtf .

That said, I like that the silliness of Bombadil is there in the first book b/c it tells us so much about Tolkien, and gets us ready for stuff like "Roverandom" and "Smith of Wooten Major". The story needs some lightening up at that point, too. (If nothing else, wouldn't you expect a farmer and his wife living out in the middle of nowhere, that close to a haunted burial ground, to be a little bit... off?)

As to the nature of Tom, I've always rather wondered, since the ring had no effect and Gandalf respected him so much, etc. etc.... what if Tom Bombadil is Eru's earthly form, here keeping an eye on his creation?

Disrespected characters:
Arrow Thranduil always seems to be portrayed as mean, abusive, etc. which I've never gathered from canon to be the case, else how would his son turn out to be so pleasant so much of the time?
Arrow Imrahil of D.A. comes to mind too; rarely written and either a flibbertigibbet or a distant, cold military man who sells his daughter to his best friend in the name of alliance when someone does toss him into their story.
Arrow Erkenbrand of the Westfolde (who was cut from the movies all together when it was his planning and good timing that kept Helm's Deep from going all wrong in the trilogy).
Arrow Erestor the elvin librarian.
Arrow Mahtan, Nerdanel's father/Feanor's father in law, who taught Feanor a lot of what he knew about jewels and smithing.
Arrow Indis, Feanor's biological mother.
Arrow Cirdan the Shipwright.
Arrow Farmer Cotton (he and his sons led the resistance in the Shire, and yet what do you hear about him?)

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Alassante
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NeumeIndil wrote:

Arrow Indis, Feanor's biological mother.


Wrong baby-momma. Thats his step mom, Mķriel was his mum.

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eiranae
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like there are enough for a challenge. Bring it on! Twisted Evil
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Viv
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pretty much all of the Lindi are dissed by Tolkien (except for Nimrodel and Mithrellas, who get some play every now and then). And those Avari even further to the east? Fuhgettaboutit.

Also, ironically, Dis, the only named female dwarf. If I remember correctly, she stood to inherit one of them Rings, but nobody asked her before they ran off with it.
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Alassante
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 11:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So Dis was dissed? Very Happy
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eiranae
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 11:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You know, it might be interesting to write about the elves that were captured by Morgoth at the beginning. Poor guys. You have to wonder what they must have gone through.
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