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Topic: Hmm...wait a sec...???

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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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Date: Jun 15, 2006
Hmm...wait a sec...???

Ok, I have just found another strange contradiction in LOTR.

Here is what Gandalf says to Legolas:
"Treebeard is Fangorn, the guardian of the forest; he is the oldest of the Ents, the oldest living thing that still walks beneath the Sun upon this Middle-earth. "

Ok, so Gandalf, which is the wisest of all Maiar says Treebeard is the oldest thing in Middle-earth.

So what is up with Tom Bombadil?
He is a living thing.
He walks under the Sun in Middle-earth.
So what is wrong?

"Could that power be defied by Bombadil alone? I think not. I think that in the end, if all else is conquered, Bombadil will fall, Last as he was First; and then Night will come."
These are the words of Glorfindel, saying that Tom Bombadil was first there.

So again, if Tom Bombadil was first, how could Treebeard be the oldest living thing?

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Tom was a spirit, yet in human form and without a doubt older than Treebeard, which also could be counted as spirit. 'Spirits that inhabitet trees* I'll provide two quotes that will prove my opinion here:


'Aye, aye, something like, but much worse. I do not doubt there is some shadow of the Great Darkness lying there still away north; and bad memories are handed down. But there are hollow dales in this land where the Darkness has never been lifted, and the trees are older than I am. Still, we do what we can. We keep off strangers and the foolhardy; and we train and we teach, we walk and we weed.' LotR, Treebeard.


'Tom was here before the river and the trees; Tom remembers the first raindrop and the first acorn. He made paths before the Big People, and saw the little People arriving. He was here before the Kings and the graves and the Barrow-wights. When the Elves passed westward, Tom was here already, before the seas were bent. He knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless - before the Dark Lord came from Outside.'LotR, In the House of Tom Bombadil.


So in short, if Tome was here before any tree and Treebeard himself says that some of trees are older than he is, what we'll think of that?


 



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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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well, firstly the other trees don't count
cause Gandalf says the oldest living thing WALKING under the Sun in this Middle-earth
the other trees probably didn't walk, as they were simply trees

I think the term in this Middle-earth might habe something to do with it.
As we know Tom Bombadil wasn't really of Middle-earth, Tolkien placed him in the story, but actually he didn't really belong there.

Maybe that is why Tom Bombadil isn't counted there.

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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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I suggest you re-read the Lords postTm:


'Aye, aye, something like, but much worse. I do not doubt there is some shadow of the Great Darkness lying there still away north; and bad memories are handed down. But there are hollow dales in this land where the Darkness has never been lifted, and the trees are older than I am. Still, we do what we can. We keep off strangers and the foolhardy; and we train and we teach, we walk and we weed.' LotR, Treebeard.

'Tom was here before the river and the trees; Tom remembers the first raindrop and the first acorn. He made paths before the Big People, and saw the little People arriving. He was here before the Kings and the graves and the Barrow-wights. When the Elves passed westward, Tom was here already, before the seas were bent. He knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless - before the Dark Lord came from Outside.'LotR, In the House of Tom Bombadil.
Lotr, fellowship


"The trees are older than I am" - it doesn't matter which trees were older than Treebeard Tom Bombadil says - "'Tom was here before the river and the trees.." - therefore Tom is older than any tree - he was in Arda before Yavanna made the trees (Treebeard was not becuase Ents were made after trees to guard them).


And if that is insatisfactory we have this:


"He knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless - before the Dark Lord came from Outside."


Tom was in Arda before the Dark lord Melkor descended and as we know Melkor was the first of all the Ainur to descend.



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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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I suggest you re-read my post before quickly posting something.

"Ok, I have just found another strange contradiction in LOTR."

I never said that Treebeard was older, I said it was a contradiction if you can understand what I mean.

I know Tom Bombadil was the oldest. So why would Tolkien ever say that Treebeard was the "the oldest living thing that still walks beneath the Sun upon this Middle-earth."?
ay answers for that mos?

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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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That is tricky. It does say "the oldest living thing" - perhaps if you take it literally 'Thing' could mean 'creature'. If he said 'Oldest living being' then he would be utterly contradicting himself. I cannot see any other flaws at present.

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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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so what
Tom Bombadil was a creature. So was Treebeard.
Tom Bombadil walked under the Sun in Middle-earth. So did Treebeard.
Tom Bombadil was older.
So why did Tolkien say the opposite?

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Good point there mos. Tolkien says 'Thing' that may mean he is only counting creatures. I doubt Tolkien would class Tom as a creature. So maybe he meant Treebeard was the oldest creature in Middle-earth - not Being which would be all things.

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Tolkien was a man of some contradictions.
For example he said that, 'The Lord of the Rings' is 'a fundamentally religeous and Catholic work'. But he also wrote, 'There is no allegory--moral, political or contemporary--in the work at all. It is a fairy-story written for adults'. 
I'm sure could find more examples where The Master contradicts himself.


So maybe there is no logical explanation for this contradiction at all.



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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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could be...still, I think it had to do with the fact that Tom Bombadil was initially not of Arda, but was evntually introduced in the story.

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That may be so The Might.
I do not nessissarily believe what I wrote to be true, I was merely giving a suggestion. I have no opinion on the matter because it is something that nobody can proove. It is something that only one man can truly explain but unfortunately he is no longer with us so we the best we can do is speculate.

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I believe that Tolkien of course was a man of some contradictions, just look at the story of Galadriel and Celeborn. He didn't work out who Celeborn really was in the end. Was he a Teleri or a relative of Thingol?


What I try to say is that creating such a huge world isn't easy and there are many parts in his books that we maybe won't understand. He often wrote something and in annother place he said the opposite.



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and unfortunately never had the time to take care of all these small things...

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OK, how about this....


Tom Bombadill doesn't really age, he's so old yet he's still galavanting all over the place as if he were a young thing! So Tom Bombadill may have been around before Treebeard, but Treebeard could still be older, because if you don't age you have no age, and how can something be old without and age?



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kinikinella, just because Tom Bombadil does not age physically or even mentally, does not change the fact that as time goes on, his age in years grows also. I think that a thing or persons age refers to how long it had been in Arda. Therefore just because he did not age does not mean he had no age, because at some point he came into Arda and thus his age began from then.

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Bauglir - about your last point, Tom bombadil I doubt 'came into' Arda. I think he was created with Arda from the discord of the Music. If he did 'come into' Arda then that would mean that he was originally 'out of Arda', hence he must have been an Ainur like Ungoliant, as that is all that lives in the Void.

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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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well, actually Tolkien chose to introduce him in a leater moment in the story...
still, at the time the book was written Tom was already a part of Arda in Tolkien's mind so I don't see why that happened...
still it could still be a simple mistake Tolkien made...

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I found a very interresting thing in the Silmarillion. In the chapter ''Of Aule and Yavanna'' in the part where Yavanna is sad that no one protects the trees, page 41 in my book, it says: And Manwe said: '' O Kementari, Eru hath spoken, saying: ''Do then any of the Valar suppose that i did not near all the Song, even the least sound of the last voice? Behold! When the Children awake, then the thought of Yavanna will awake also, and it will summon spirits from afar, and they will go among the kelvar and olvar, and some will dwell therein, and be held in reverence, and their just anger shall be feared. For a time: while the Firstborn are in their power, and while the Secondborn are young.'' But dost thou not now remember, Kementari, that thy thought sang not always alone? Did not thy thought and mine meet also, so that we took wing together like great birds that soar above the clouds? That also shall come to be by the heed of Iluvatar, and before the children awake there shall go forth with wings like the wind of Eagles of the Lords of the West.''


Then Yavanna was glad, and she stood up, reaching her arms towards the heavens, and she said: '' High shall climb the trees of Kementari, that the eagles of the King may house therein!''


But Manwe rose also, and it seemed that he stood to such a height that his voice came down to Yavanna as from the paths of the winds.


''Nay,'' he said, ''only the trees of Aule will be tall enough. In the mountains the Eagles shall house, and hear the voices of those who call upon us. But in the forests shall walk the Shepherds of the Trees.


 


Now, if im correct, then Tom had to be there before the Firstborn, and  if he was there before before them (which he was otherwise he would'nt be the ''oldest''), then since the Ents awoke with the Firstborn, Tom should have been there first.


 


Yet, as the Ents awoke with the Firstborn, and i cannot remember if the Firstborn awoke in Middle-Earth, or in the Undying lands, then if the ents awoke in Middle-Earth before the Firstborn arrived there yet, then i dont know if Tom was before or after the Ents, but for sure he was before the Firstborn.



-- Edited by Olorin of Nienna at 04:24, 2006-08-17

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Well Tolkien's characters in his story are liable to be wrong at times.  Eventhough, if Gandalf is usually a good source, and accurate source, of information, he still is liable to be wrong:


Treebeard is a character in my story not me; though he has a great memory and some earthly wisdom, he is not one of the wise and there is quite a lot he does not know or understand.~Letter 153


This is specifically referring to Treebeard, but I think is applicable to any character in the story, even Gandalf.  It's highly possible since Tom seems to be an enigma by everybody.  Gandalf may know more about him than anyone else, but as far as who Tom was, I think it's quite possible that the characters in the story, new no more than we do on Tom Bombadil.  He's an enigma to us, and he seems to be an enigma in the story.


Treebeard is referred to as the 'Eldest' but it's not in the sense of being the oldest, this Letter dated in 1968 appears in Hammond and Skulls Lord of the Ring's Companion.


Eldest was the courtesy title of Treebeard as the oldest surviving Ent. The Ents claimed to be the oldest 'speaking people' after the Elves {illegible} until taught the art of speech by the Elves...They were therefore placed after the dwarves in the Old List...since Dwarves had the power of speech from their awaking.


And also Tom Bombadil's name Iarwain-ben-Adar translates to 'ageless and fatherless' So, it seems as if Bombadil is truly the 'Eldest,' where Treebeard being referred to as 'Eldest' is a courtesy title.  And as far as Gandalf saying Treebeard was the oldest..he would just be...well wrong.



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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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as an answer to Olorin, the Elves awoke at Cuivienen, in the far east of Middle Earth, and then journeyed west.
anyway, I think the idea of Lord Lorien isn't bad, even though I would have expected him to know that. Tom Bombadil told the Hobbits that he was there before the first raindrop, and the first acorn, and etc., so why shouldn't Gandalf know that?
after all, the visit Gandalf made to Tom before the Scouring of the Shire was not the first one he had done, so I expect he had found out something...still, it is in the same time likely that he didn't.

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The quote about Treebeard being the eldest of living things has been a thorn in my side for a long time. I've thought about it for quite some time and I think that after reading all of your posts that it may be true.

I don't think that Tom Bombadil is counted by Gandalf among living things in the world because he is not one of the living things in Arda. Gandalf didnt count himself or any of the Valar among the living things and since I would speculate that Tom Bombadil is closer in nature to the Ainur than anything else in the world, he is purposely left out.

That leaves only Cirdan and Celeborn to vie with Treebeard for the title of Eldest, and after reading the posts regarding their age, Celeborn's age is just as suspect as that of Cirdan. If we assume that Cirdan awoke at the great lake then that would make him close to Treebeard in age, though I really think that Treebeard was older.

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well, I am sure that Treebeard was eldest, my only question was about TB...

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I tend to agree with you about Treebeard being the eldest living thing, which is why I don't think that Tom Bombadil was counted.

I don't believe he is counted just as the Ainur are not counted.

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I totally agree with Celethil. Obviosly, there are the ones that did not live in middle-earth (Eru for example) that are older than Treebeard.

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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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I wouldn't say Eru is older because Eru has no age.
For someone like Eru the notion of time has no real meaning.

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No TM Eru is the oldest and Eru himself knows it.


"In the Beginning there was Eru, The One, who in Arda is called Iluvatar..."



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Thats what I ment by the oldest. I knew that Eru was the oldest, thats why I put him as my example.

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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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even the term beginning dhould not be taken literally here, because something that is forever has no beginning and has no end, just liek Eru.
the use of in the beginning is to help the reader imagine a beginning for the story.

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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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Well its the same as the bible, or pretty similar. The bible goes something like:


"In the Beginning there was The Word, and that is with God..."


This seems to indicate that Eru is simply the beginning of existance before aught else.



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Ok Eru us the eldest in creation, but that is not being disputed. We are talking about the eldest living creature, which would probably be Treebeard since it is obvious that Gandalf is not including the Ainur or anything like them.



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Therefore I say that we will go on, and this doom I add: the deeds that we shall do shall be the matter of song until the last days of Arda
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I'm not really having any difficulty with this. As people have said, Treebeard can be the eldest living creature on Middle-Earth without that having any bearing on Tom Bombadil, unless you don't believe that he is a Maiar or a Valar. I think that most of us here believe he is one of the Ainur. I consider Bombadil to be outside and unrelated to any of the races of beings that call Arda their home and aren't just visiting from Valinor.

To me, there is only one real possibility.

Tom Bombadil is one of the Valar, probably Aulë himself.

Why? Consistently through Arda's history, Tolkien portrays the Maiar to be more apt to act like Arda's races than the Valar. They marry lessers, are easily corrupted (Curinir, Sauron), and are lesser in might and influence than the Valar. Of course, some can be very good (Olórin), or faithful servants (Ossë).

As to the argument that Melkor was the first Valar to descend... that may be true, but he hadn't declared (or been named) the Dark Lord at that time, thus the world didn't know the true threat of him. It's all wordplay with Tolkien, and if you sift quotes carefully sometimes you can come up with leads. There also exists the possibility that Bombadil was referring to Sauron in this quote - in which case, his claim becomes less impressive.

I'm against him being Eru because it would be completely in contradiction to nearly everything that is ever said about him. He's the oldest in every sense, yes, but he has never been directly involved in the affairs of Arda at all.

I'm against him being anything but one of the Valar, because time and time again, it's been shown that Maiar can be corrupted by the Ring. Gandalf will not even handle it in fear of being ruined by it.

Of course, there exists the possibility that he is not anything that we know of, because Tolkien created him to be a microcosm in himself, unrelated to Arda except for his carefully placed insertion....but I'm against that too, because I think if that was the case, no one would bother to mention him later at the Council of Elrond and make a point of him being unsuited to take the Ring. I feel sure there was a message in that for us, if only we knew what it meant.

The only other possibility I'm even willing to entertain based on what I've read is that he might be some sort of spirit - unaffected by the wants and cares of Arda, and there to serve one particular purpose: protect the Old Forest. And the only reason for this is because Tolkien mentioned lesser spirits, but never really described them in great detail, leaving a large knowledge gap that we may be missing. I still don't like this idea though, because it doesn't take into account his implied power and status.

As was said...no theory can be proven, but I think we can narrow it down a bit.


-- Edited by The Secret Fire at 15:02, 2006-10-03

-- Edited by The Secret Fire at 15:07, 2006-10-03

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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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so that would make Goldberry Yavanna?
personally, I doubt it...Tom Bombadil is very much unlike Aule, he is much more a nature spirit, as I tried to show in the Halls of the Wise post on Tom Bombadil.

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I personaly think that Tom is an ainur. I don't know who but I can't really think of anything else that he could be.



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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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I think we're going off-topic here.

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