“Could [Sauron’s] 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.” - The Fellowship of the Ring
Exaggerated a little in context, think about what a magnificent image this would be!
Imagine the Last Battle, the Dagor Dagorath; armies lie strewn across the plains of Valinor, smoking and blackened and ruined. Melkor hurls the Sun and Moon from the sky, and into cataclysm they fall, and all that is good in Arda withers, and falls into ruin with them. And before all the ravening hordes of Mordor and Angband and Utumno combined stands only Tom Bombadil, Iarwain Ben-Adar, oldest and fatherless, with his yellow boots and blue coat and a twinkle in his eye. And with a “Hey dol! merry dol! ring a dong dillo!”, watch him slay, until surely too his end must come, and Night devours the world.
Sign me up for the apocalypse movie of the century!
(I once shared this idea with alyssabethancourt and decided that hey, why not, the rest of the world should know.)
So, there are a lot of theories about Tom Bombadil. Nature spirit, avatar of the Secret Fire,
personification of music, Aulë
in disguise. And we accepted these
various theories because they seemed to hold just enough water to be plausible.
were all of us deceived.
prophesied Dagor Dagorath, the Last Battle, when Morgoth will break the Door of
Night and return to the world. But he
was wrong. Morgoth is already back in
the world. Morgoth is Tom Bombadil.
Morgoth’s defeat at Angband, he was chained and thrown out the Door of Night,
into the Timeless Void. Since the Void
is Timeless and exists outside of the continuum of Arda, Morgoth’s ultimate punishment
was not to simply exist there – it was to be sent back, to the very beginning
of the world. Manwë and his fellow
Valar, or maybe even Iluvatar himself, broke Morgoth’s already-reeling
mind. It was refashioned, repurposed,
reshaped, into a harmless woodland spirit nevertheless vested with fantastic power.
Bombadil exists throughout the entire history of the world, keeping to his
demesne, never interacting in any significant way with any of the
goings-on. His only contribution, his
only true mark on the world, is when he saves
the Ring-Bearer and by doing so ensures the defeat of his chief lieutenant
Dagorath will come. But it will not be as Mandos prophesied. Morgoth does not need to break the Door of
Night. He needs to break the door within
his mind, the one sealing away everything he is, buried so deeply that he doesn’t
even know it exists.
Dagor Dagorath begins, the forces of the Valar will hear a song, faint at
first, but growing slowly louder as it approaches. And it will go: