Tom Bombadil has always been the most enigmatic of characters in the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth. When he didn’t make the cut in the movies, despite not being central to the plot, many fans objected and wondered why. The answer is revealed below at last from the Brotherhood Workshop!
Tolkien wrote a few times about his character, especially in letters to those who asked. In one such letter to Peter Hastings he says in part,
“I don’t think Tom needs philosophizing about, and is not improved by it. But many have found him an odd or indeed discordant ingredient. In historical fact I put him in because I had already ‘invented’ him independently (he first appeared in the Oxford Magazine) and wanted an ‘adventure’ on the way. But I kept him in, and as he was, because he represents certain things otherwise left out. I do not mean him to be an allegory – or I should not have given him so particular, individual, and ridiculous a name – but ‘allegory’ is the only mode of exhibiting certain functions: he is then an ‘allegory’, or an exemplar, a particular embodying of pure (real) natural science: the spirit that desires knowledge of other things, their history and nature, because they are ‘other’ and wholly independent of the enquiring mind, a spirit coeval with the rational mind, and entirely unconcerned with ‘doing’ anything with the knowledge: Zoology and Botany not Cattle-breeding or Agriculture . Even the Elves hardly show this : they are primarily artists. Also T.B. exhibits another point in his attitude to the Ring, and its failure to affect him. You must concentrate on some pan, probably relatively small, of the World (Universe), whether to tell a tale, however long, or to learn anything however fundamental – and therefore much will from that ‘point of view’ be left out, distorted on the circumference, or seem a discordant oddity. The power of the Ring over all concerned, even the Wizards or Emissaries, is not a delusion – but it is not the whole picture, even of the then state and content of that pan of the Universe.”
To those wishing to read further, we recommend the “Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien”. Also, check out some great LOTR LEGO sets. A couple of our favorites are The Mines of Moria and The Battle For Helm’s Deep.