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MonkeyNotes-The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
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In the House of Tom Bombadil

Summary

When the Hobbits enter Tomís house, they are greeted by Goldberry, daughter of the river, whose sweet voice they had heard. Goldberry is an elf-like woman with golden hair. Her gown is green, but infused with silver like drops of dew. She enchants the Hobbits and even Frodo bursts into song when he sees her.

Goldberry busies herself at the table. Frodo asks her who Tom Bombadil really is and she tells him that Tom is the master of wood, water and till (farming,food). Further, he has no desire to own anything and he has no fear. After Tom comes in and the Hobbits have had their supper, Goldberry retires for the night.

Frodo asks Tom if he heard their cry for help or if he just happened to come. Tom says that he was expecting them. When Frodo asks him about Old Man Willow, he says that after dark is not the time to ask such questions.

All the Hobbits except Sam have nightmares that night. Frodo dreams of the Black Riders and a stranger. Pippin dreams that he is back inside the willow. Merry dreams of being drowned. Soon they realize they are in the home of Tom Bombadil and all are assured.

In the morning, the Hobbits have breakfast and it begins raining. Since they canít go anywhere at this point in the rain. Tom begins to tell them stories. He tells them about the old forest and the trees that live there. He tells them about Old Man Willow, whose heart is rotten but his strength is green. Old Man Willow is full of hate. Tom tells them about the great barrows and the barrow wights, evil spirits that roam the hills. The Hobbits lose track of time and they canít decide whether it has been hours or days since Tom started talking to them. Frodo once again tries to find out who Tom Bombadil is by asking him directly. Tom Bombadil is vague and Frodo learns little.

When Goldberry comes in they have supper and Tom begins to question the Hobbits. He asks Frodo to show him the Ring. When he wears it he is completely unaffected. Tom tells them that they must leave early the next morning and avoid the barrows. He teaches them a rhyme by which they may summon him for help, and then he retires for the night.


Notes

Tom Bombadil is a good and charitable character, yet he has a mysterious aura surrounding him. Again, Tolkien uses a newly introduced character to provide background and exposition for the traveling Hobbits. Like Gandalf, Tom Bombadil tells the Hobbits important information they will need for their adventure.

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