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A Final Bombadil Reply

May 22nd, 2005 | 1 min read

By Matthew Lee Anderson

After the last Bombadil post, Burglar made this comment:

I hadn't thought of this before. Perhaps this is an avenue for further reflection. Denethor and other characters (foolishly) favor appeasement and counsel against war, but perhaps Bombadil represents a truly genuine pacifist position. Is Bombadil Switzerland?

This seems right on a political level, but I am also still intrigued by interpreting Bombadil on a "natural" level--I think in another letter, Tolkien refers to Bombadil as the "dying spirit of the Oxfordshire countryside," or something to that effect. This comment seems more in line with Thorgerson's and my debate.

I would like to publicly announce, though, that I am increasingly persuaded by this claim by Thorgerson: "Bombadil has not chosen to remain where he is, doing what he does because he is consumed by a lower love. Rather, it must be a higher love that drives him otherwise (in Tolkien's world) there would be visible signs of his being consumed."

In light of the discussion, I am officially putting my interpretation to rest. I gave it a couple days to think more about it, and I now think that my attempt to see Bombadil as questionable is itself questionable. I am willing to endorse Thorgerson's position.

Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is the Founder and Lead Writer of Mere Orthodoxy. He is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith and The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith. Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.