The anarchist roots of Tom Bombadil

— Luca Pappalardo

Paper given 4 September 2021 at the 3rd day of Oxonmoot 2021

Once the mysterious character par excellence”, Tom Bombadil has been so closedly analyzed by scholars and fans alike (as well as expunged from the more mainstream” imaginarium) that a talk about him is at risk of either sounding naïve or falling on deaf ears. Is there still something to be said about old Tom? By adopting a double-faced hermeneutical approach, i.e making use of Tolkien’s epistolary without surrendering to the dogma of authorial exhaustiveness, I will try to place the character in the context of LOTR’s contradictory approach to power: between Aragorn’s journey to the throne of Gondor, and the Ring’s allure, Tom Bombadil arises as an emissary of anarchy as well as a message of political hope amidst the unavoidable compromises that power requires. In an increasingly authoritarian political landscape, Tom Bombadil still offers us a chance to re-think our own relationship with authority, presenting us with the choice (and the cost) of getting out of society itself.

Authoritative information may be found here.

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source URL 🌐Oxonmoot 2021: The anarchist roots of Tom Bombadil
date recorded 📅2022-01-25
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