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Your recently viewed items and featured recommendations. View or edit your browsing history. Get to Know Us. Not Enabled Word Wise: Enabled Average Customer Review: The answers to both questions have already been touched upon in Tom Bombadil: As I deduced in Tom Bombadil: One of these was functioning as an alternate world — effectively another plane of existence.
Another purpose is that it illustrated in simple terms how different worlds could overlap and how portals can potentially connect them to each other. The manner of description has a teasing hint of the supernatural to it: In discussing fairies, seemingly this encounter was echoed in On Fairy-stories: Perhaps Tolkien had Tom in mind; especially because he was simultaneously drafting him into The Lords of the Rings as well as preparing his Andrew Lang thesis: The problem faced by the inquisitive scholar, trying all too hard to extract the truth from The Lord of the Rings , and summarized so neatly by Tolkien is that: All on offer, as a meager clue, that a crossing had been made was: To those not in the know, potent magic must have been invoked by Tom to keep rainfall off all but his boots.
Making the ring vanish having rendered it ineffectual must have astounded the hobbits. It must have seemed like the most powerful sorcery of all. Surely Frodo and company had crossed over the border? If not — they must have been really, really close! The Island of Apples — is too soft an undertone to use as proof. Frodo sensed this unusual harmony fairly early on: Then there is attire, size and location attestation corroborated by eyewitnesses in English folklore that Tolkien probably knew about 3: Their habits used to be of red, blue , or green, according to the old way of country garb, with high crowned hats.
Tom too is a being smaller than a man who danced along in his blue jacket and tall crowned hat while heading back to his home nestled below a hill not far from the village of Combe! An ability to travel fast may have been fairy tale linked to those standout big yellow boots. These adjust to the wearer, allowing him, when needed, to traverse seven leagues for every stride taken. Was myth and fairy tale behind why: Tom Thumb stealing a pair of seven-league boots, courtesy of Wiktionary.
So taking the above into account, perhaps in combination with other factors such as fairy tale linkage, the evidence is becoming too strong to ignore. Yet there is more. Quite remarkably there are at least two more examples buried and never uncovered before in The Fellowship of the Ring. It is theorized that this last aspect was alluded to by the following: Just as likely is the inclusion of snippets from a Grimm fairy tale: Once again the tale involves the proverbial little old man, and just like the Bombadil episode — disappearing gold.
Two innocent travelers comically have their heads shaved after accidentally stumbling upon a fairy gathering upon a hill. For us an important point is that they allow the old man presumably a fairy to proceed without complaint. Afterwards they are told to fill their pockets with coal which later turns to gold. However one of the men wants to return for more — but due to his greed loses everything and is disfigured as punishment.
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The tale not only highly moralizes the folly of avarice. In order to seal the agreement: Such an act is also present in The Fellowship of the Ring where Tom, as an old man, taught the hobbits a summoning verse. Then via a specific motion: Presents of the Little Folks, Anne Anderson, Hmm … three fractured fairy tales involving little old men possessing fairy-like powers all bundled closely together within the text appears too much to be pure coincidence.
Leaving us to wonder whether this cluster was echoed by: Hmm … so Tom appears and reappears via fairy tale perhaps? In whatever world he had his being it was an Other-world. The most notable English one is: Jack the Giant Killer. Within that tale the agreement to exchange winnings at the end of the day was sealed via the action of a drink. By no means am I done discussing hidden fairy tale within The Lord of the Rings.
Nor unveiling its innermost secrets. Yes the book still holds many intimate secrets. Secrets so subtly placed and adeptly interwoven that they appear to give the story an air of three-dimensional depth — yet in reality their true function was to provide a layer of deeper meaning. As an active teaching Professor, Tolkien knew all about the inquisitiveness of students. As an accomplished philologist his mind was naturally attuned into inquiring on sources and rooting out connections through the use of logic.
With the tables turned, here was an opportunity for students to try their skills out in a slippery exercise of his devising: And we know such a thought train was present from the outset, because in he passed the following remark about academic inquiries pertinent to The Hobbit: To save them trouble is to rob them of any excuse for existing.
How then could he justifiably complain? So the only sensible proviso, I believe, was for the researcher to employ judicious logic and attain sensible answers within the confines of mythology, folklore, fairy tale and the early history of his beloved land. Only then could sense be made of many baffling details within the story. After Beowulf , perhaps the literature of ancient England Tolkien was most impressed with were Arthurian legends. As we shall see, the combination of such legends with the motif of color was put to good use.
For stunningly it is incidentals well after The Lord of the Rings that we must particularly heed. Then in tandem we must focus on more poetry. In particular, poetry about Tom. The stated purpose for the new poem, and no doubt minor changes made to the original, was: Make no mistake — Tolkien thought very carefully about the suitability of all the selected poetry — going to considerable lengths in ascribing Middle-earth authorship throughout the booklet. When it came to Bombadil, though stated that he was known to Buckland-folk, there was relayed a tempered warning that: In the same message was repeated but the tone suggested something decidedly recondite: One of these, inexplicably, has not caught the eye of Bombadil scholars acquainted with Arthurian lore.
Two extra lines were formulated for the very first verse. Not so remarkably Tolkien chose a white plume which, as explained in the preface, was a result of rivalry between the Swan and Kingfisher. So no big deal — the hue was good and suitable. Of much more significance was the first new line to the updated poem. In itself this is not so odd as the garment was not designated any coloring. It is what held them up which is far more important.
The first four words to the first new line Tolkien inserted are utterly astounding. Tom was now the proud owner of a belt. Not any old belt — but one described as a girdle. Not any old girdle — but a green girdle: It is incomprehensible that his update was accidental. And thus it is to the legendary green girdle of the Sir Gawain and the Green Knight tale that I will soon turn.
Sir Gawain and the Green Knigh t is a medieval poem of unknown authorship dating from around 1, A. Gawain takes up the challenge and beheads the Green Knight only to find that he is not a man but a fay creature who picks up the head and rides away. Gawain constrained by his oath to seek out the Green Knight, nearly a year later partakes in a quest to find his home — the Green Chapel. After facing much adversity during his journeying, Gawain finally comes upon a castle whose lord and lady welcome him warmly, and inform him the Green Chapel is close-by.
However he is enticed by the lady while her husband is away hunting. He accepts the girdle and on this one occasion breaks a promise to the lord of exchanging winnings at the end of each day. The axe blows dealt by the Green Knight were mere feints and Gawain leaves basically unharmed but the final swing nicks his neck. This is explained as the price of not keeping his promise in failing to disclose the gift of the girdle.
Gawain perceives a moral failure on his part — though the Green Knight declares the fault is small. The famous green girdle is thereafter wrapped as a baldric around his shoulder as a mark of failure and shame. The text was studied in great detail and for students, a book comprising a pseudo-annotated version of the work was published in This was done while at at Leeds University and in conjunction with his associate: Therein the tale was described as: Some twenty eight years later Tolkien delivered a scholarly lecture in Glasgow titled Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and voiced similar sentiment.
As well as producing scholarly publishings on the subject, he taught it as part of his lecturing classes at Oxford University.
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Nor can we doubt his awareness of the motif and importance of the green girdle to the tale and its crucial role in the final outcome. But where did it come from one might ask? How did the lady of the castle come to possess it? Was it a gift from Morgan le Fay? If so, was the magic imbued by her or was its lineage far older?
These are not altogether unnatural questions that the Professor ought to have asked himself. Morgan Le Fay by John R. The trouble is the answers could not be extracted from the manuscript itself. Nor from any other source. Tolkien knew that in Arthurian romance — the givers of great gifts were English water-nymphs.
The Lady of the Lake bestowed Arthur his legendary sword Excalibur and its enchanted scabbard. And then we have Morgan le Fay 1 , 2 who has her embryonic roots in Breton folklore as a water-fay. For example, she sent out the gift of a magical drinking horn which reveals infidelity. Also she is cast as the provider of a richly jeweled mantle used in an attempt to trick Arthur — for wearing it causes death. Though she did not succeed on that occasion — she is said to snatch Excalibur upon his actual demise.
The gifting of magical objects and clothing by water-nymphs or those that had transitioned to land beings — ala Goldberry in anglicized versions of the Arthurian myth is then by no means uncommon or unusual. Thus with reasonable logic we can answer how came Tom to possess a girdle of invincibility. By logically creating a simple path — left in the poetry was the slickest of clues that those knowledgeable in Arthurian tales could easily digest. Yes he mistakenly left it late. But better late than never.
Once again the researcher could logically fathom out a path that completed the circle of mythos, legend and historia. To make my point about the inclusion of elements from the Sir Gawain and Green Knight tale, a couple of alike insertions first used in The Hobbit and all but repeated in the sequel are: And believe it or not — Tolkien prolifically added in such elements when it came to Bombadil too.
One highly probable inclusion in The Lord of the Rings is based on the manner ladies were introduced in medieval times. The brand new poem of , and the second in the booklet to feature Tom, had hidden undercurrents only knowledgeable scholars would have been able to detect. In Letter Tolkien disclosed three specific insertions: Tolkien, based on a fragment from the Battle of Maldon. For the purpose of rooting Tom into our world as well as more firmly into the mythology, Tolkien used hobbit folklore as a pretext.
Yet a chance to create a little mischief could not be missed. When it came to the Bombadil goes Boating poetry the admitted historical connections were a supposed: But make no mistake — they were all deliberate. And their revelation was intended for the eyes of the Illustrator and Publishing House owner only. We must not lose sight of that. How could the invention of a wholly new line possibly have been an absent-minded slip? Due to its length, this essay is split into two distinct sections.
The subject discussion is groundbreaking as are the revelations and conclusions. Once again many new matters are exposed for the first time. As imparted at the beginning of this set of essays, approaching matters from an unfamiliar angle sometimes yields unexpected benefits. Much as I would like to continue the discussion on color symbolism — for the moment a short break is appropriate.
The time is now ripe to further look into Jack and the Beanstalk and comprehend its deeper enmeshment within The Lord of the Rings as well as expose elements of its presence in other Tolkien works. Hmm … that would be speculative; and a pronouncement of a definitive prognosis would be quite wrong. Echoed by our modern day Hey Diddle Diddle — even nursery rhymes could have links to long lost English lore! Now the first known recording of Jack and the Beanstalk dates from However the Professor knew that historically, elements of the Beanstalk narrative went back much further than the early 18th century.
In remarking upon it in his famous Beowulf lecture, clearly he implied the tale preceded John Milton who died in The Monsters and the Critics, Have with you to Saffron-walden, Thomas Nashe, And so it is the one, for comparative purposes, that has been dwelt on most. So firstly I will turn to The History of Middle-earth series. We need to be particularly mindful of these formative years, especially as Tolkien himself said: As young boys, both Ronald and his brother Hilary were fascinated by the mill at Sarehole and the nearby pond which they on and off frequented. The Mill and Pond at Sarehole, Birmingham.
What was the origin of the last two lines of the classic English rhyme? Tolkien probably knew that in medieval times, bone-meal was used as a nutritional supplement and was sometimes mixed in with bread. Was there a simple explanation? Yes milling was a dangerous job; if by mishap an unlucky person got caught in machinery or trapped by a millstone — there was no escape. Even those alive would be ground to pieces. Goemagot also known as Gogmagog and Goemagog is a giant in the legend of the founding of Britain by Geoffrey of Monmouth see Historia Regum Britannia e.
Did Tolkien envision a long line of farmed beanstalks intertwining into each other giving rise from afar to one that looked singular and gigantic? A Field of Runner Beans. In an area of the Shire where the micro-climate was particularly rainy — on an overcast day, when the clouds were low — would Jack whoever he was on a trek towards the Maggot residence have felt from a perspective standpoint that he was climbing alongside an endless beanstalk reaching into the sky? One maddened by the theft of his treasure — his precious crops. Until of course Tolkien abandoned the idea of making: This was after all an attempt: Some of the elements of the widespread stories about Jack had to be embedded within his mythology to obtain specific English fairy tale linkage.
The path I have proposed, once again, is undeniably a guess — based of course on logically connecting disparate information. Had Jack been subtly buried in there too? Funnily enough right at the beginning of the book the careful reader is alerted to a possible reference to the eponymous English hero through the unexplained background of: As perhaps the insertion of: Thus ever so subtly, an undertone of Jack creeps in.
Which leads one automatically to think back about Bilbo himself. And so with that as a starting point, once we probe deeper — some further remarkable likenesses emerge. Both have adventures, return home and then live happily ever after. More pointedly, endowed with extraordinary luck — both become highly successful burglars. The purpose behind both tales was not to portray the heroes as common thieves or robbers — rather as something more acceptable, almost to the point of the dubious profession having a chivalrous side. Troll Purse, Gold Cup and the Arkenstone.
Therein the purse acts like the harp from Jack and the Beanstalk in its vocal alert. Yes a talking harp and a talking purse. Both knew they were being stolen from their current owner! Also noteworthy is that in both Jack and the Beanstalk and The Hobbit — the main monstrous denizens are at home and asleep when first burgled and that both become aware of the presence of foes through the act of sniffing. And if Tolkien had taken up his initial story-line — Bilbo, like Jack — would have been the one to directly slay the enemy.
Whether Tolkien shaped his plot intentionally to subtly give the young reader a sense of comforting familiarity is unknown. It is quite possible that this was all accidental or even subconsciously present. However the possibility also exists that the theme of The Hobbit has purposely woven in features reminiscent of classic English fairy tale. Many readers have wondered about the discordant trolls. Not the trolls themselves — rather their names and vulgar tone of speech. Given how carefully Tolkien selected the wizard and majority of dwarf names from the Norse Elder Edda , and how others would have been equally unfamiliar to the child reader — Beorn, Elrond and Bilbo being prime examples — the ones for the trolls seem distinctly out of place.
When it came to Smaug, Tolkien confessed: In fact I can find neither this angle being examined by scholars, or any credible proposals on why Tolkien opted for those particular names. However the answer I believe is actually quite simple. Indeed Tolkien chose them in fun — for they make up a Renaissance parody. It was one which ridiculed three English giants of the Elizabethan era — those being giants in the fields of English drama, poetry and classical acting. The fracas involving Shakespeare and Greene is a well-known part of Elizabethan history.
Within he purportedly attacked a young and increasingly successful Shakespeare through the following lines: Robert Greene, from the title page of the pamphlet Greene in Conceipt , Nevertheless it is fairly well established that these three were part of a handful of great Elizabethan playwrights who at times collaborated with one another but were also intense rivals. Indeed the literary jealousy is quite famous among historians. The history lesson will not be repeated here for there are several interpretations of what actually took place and how the evidence can be read. Tolkien no doubt thought such shenanigans were hilarious.
Indeed he showed no particular deference to the Bard. Actually quite the opposite. For some of his documented thoughts actively voice criticism. So if we look carefully at The Hobbit , it is quite obvious that the main antagonism is between Bill and Bert. Having already started the needling: And if we look even more carefully — Tom seems to be much more aligned with Bert than William, mirroring the actual relationship between the playwrights: Thomas Nashe, Wood-cut Source: Bert and Tom went off to the barrel.
Bill clearly thought that there was plenty of tasty fare for them all — and this might echo a sentiment that the Elizabethan Renaissance era was more than rich enough to accommodate a small bunch of decent playwrights. The rivalry was laughable and fully deserving of caricaturist mockery. Indeed the whole situation was positively farcical as the question of who plagiarized who was made part of the parody: Bert that had spoken. Issued between and the articles provide detailed examples of the cunning methods used by vagabonds, thieves and petty criminals termed Conny-catchers and Cross-biters in preying on the innocent public of Elizabethan London.
Our novice burglar Bilbo, in Elizabethan terms, would have been identified as a pick-pocket and similarly caricatured pictorially in the manner Greene devised. For Bilbo in this parody had been caught by his own sort: Although it appears Mr. Because indeed this would then match well with Bert calling Bilbo a: In other words the trolls mistook Mr. Baggins for some kind of burrowing rabbit.
And though Tolkien artfully punned: A scene that was symbolically mirrored from an illustration in one of his pamphlets. Tolkien was well aware of the influence of Welsh in Elizabethan literature: London was for a while very Welsh-conscious at the time as seen in Shakespeare , and bits of Welsh crop up in plays and tales. And we can see this arising in a parody of some famous lyrics originally written by Ben Jonson another renowned Elizabethan dramatist: And so both definitions were encapsulated in Mr.
Last of all is the powerful imagery that Tolkien left behind. And also symbolically — it was the troll Bill that literally held the key. Expanding his name to William was the clue that would allow the reader to solve the puzzle. The jest was now complete. But at that time, Tolkien had no idea that a sequel would happen. No wonder he admitted that he: Because it was Robert Greene that titled Shakespeare: Now the other connection of these playwrights at least two out of the three to the world of The Hobbit as well as Jack and the Beanstalk was that inbred English verse.
One cannot help but make a connection to the troll Bill who accused Tom of being a sore loser: As a very young child pre In it was once again English ogres and that spine-shivering phrase: If he could do this once — then why not again? Could Tolkien have taken his jest further? But that is material for another time. Possibly Tolkien could not put out a decent cockney accent. Cony, Conie and Coney. Neither can the troll on the right be reasonably attributed as William — for most young readers would ascribe his posture as kneeling. These may have been the reasons for Tolkien removing it from consideration in the set of illustrations he put forward to the publishers.
Notably there is no case of cross-matching. Compare with The Hobbit where the drink is stated to be beer: Compare with The Hobbit , where the trolls were toasting mutton on long spits: That or any evolution to the legendarium mythology allowed them to neatly slot in anyway. Whether from mixing or not, green was doubly suitable. Because as well as signifying a deeper and secret function, it also nicely meshed in with the predominant hue found in nature. Tricksy Tolkien had in a way created a clever distraction that fooled the reader into a false sense of comfort.
How can I be sure? Yet the evidence at the end of this color analysis leads me to believe my hunch is totally correct. Tom came newly and aptly garbed: Goldberry, on the other hand, left the reader a little puzzle. At our first encounter, her dress is mainly green shot with beads of silver just like her wedding outfit from the poem. But her belt is described to be of: We must take a step back here and question whether the belt truly was formed of metallic gold, or whether the hobbits were initially mistaken, or whether Tolkien took adjectival liberties.
There is certainly some confusion on this point. Be that as it may, after a few steps into the room she is then said to be: Given some conflicting and ambiguous text, the reader is left to wonder whether the belt, as initially described, was truly forged from precious gold. Seemingly something so ostentatious is not entirely at odds with a very stylishly portrayed female. In that case they were most definitely flowers: The likely answer is that Tolkien had those very same flowers now modeled into a girdle for Goldberry.
Though the flag-lilies were near-enough to gold, they were really yellow: Yellow Flag Iris, by Francis Russell, The lady of the house came clad all in silver with a new white girdle. Her shoes were described to be like fish scales; presumably then of silvery coloring. Visually the outfit must have looked spectacular. To use a modern-day phrase: No other clothing or accessories were ever mentioned again in connection to Goldberry except the gifted brooch from the barrow. Blue, Yellow and Green Goldberry: So what may we inquire, was their significance?
It was the particular variety of fairy-folk mythologized within the British Isles that he was most interested in. The earlier the recorded material the better, and so it is thought that white and silver featuring prominently in Celtic legends and English medieval texts was concluded as also apt for fay-beings. Some pertinent examples are: Deliberately then, white and silver were colors assigned to Goldberry too. Perhaps we should not be surprised because just as Tolkien had doubly provided a coded and nature related color to Tom, so had he for Goldberry.
Goldberry represents the actual seasonal changes in such lands. The whole Withywindle valley underwent seasonal changes in coloration as waters dwindled and surged and as the climate changed through the year. One can easily imagine how river-land flora naturally sprouted, expired and renewed through the seasons. Without restressing the flora making up her belt, other examples are: There is no doubt that Tolkien wanted Goldberry firmly intertwined with the river, its margins and its flora. Commensurately the Professor specially brought-out the fay associated seasonal colors of the region.
Lastly when it came to attire — the hosts of the house had a special luxury item for welcoming guests. Even though hardy-soled hobbits might not have needed them, all four were provided with pairs of soft slippers. It is now an opportune moment to switch from clothing and adornments to examining other symbolism involving color. More pertinently, what perception did Tolkien want to leave at first sight? If I am right — indeed first looks were intended to count.
Apart from the worn blue and yellow, Tom was also described as having a: Which is, as Spangenberg and many other scholars have noted, in line with otherworld residents having: Yes, the two most beloved colors of fairies — were reflected in Tom. Dealt so deftly was a masterstroke by Tolkien.
There in front of our very eyes were open clues telling us Tom was of the fairy race. Once again after stating: Which is an equation that, when solved, inevitably leads us back to the two foremost fairy colors: Jack and the Beanstalk, Victorian Cautionary Tales c. How did that come into play? The answers are decisively no. Because now we understand that there is a strong liklihood of concealed color symbolism — we must endeavor to root out the rest.
Jack and the Beanstalk, Warwick Goble c. Yes here was a plant that had the quality of Faerie intrinsic to its very essence. Understandably though, one still might question and comment: Seems a bit of a weak ploy. Why of all the possible vegetables in an English vegetable garden did Tolkien include only one? And that of a kind whose stalks shoot up vertically: Was there more than just color symbolism involved?
To provide an overarching reason for seemingly the most innocuous of insertions — again we must hark back to mythology; in particular — English folk tales. Speechified as downright English — Tom was deliberately connected to that most English of fairy tales: Jack and the Beanstalk 2.
Who was that odd-looking old man whom Jack had traded with? Might he have been Tom? Steel, Illustration by Arthur Rackham. Hmm … for our tale clearly Tom has access to a providing farm animal. After all, the extent of dairy produce on the dinner table was substantial: Given the length of the stay of four ravenous hobbits — not to mention the isolation of Tom from neighbors 5 — one can readily deduce that there was plenty of fresh milk available on site.
Along with them must have been stored a copious quantity of hay. Then it is surmised Tom must have had ample room and feed for a cow 6. And why a bovine and not a herd of goats? Goats produce only cream which is white in color, whereas cows produce like butter the yellow sort. To the hobbits who exactly were these black men, so much larger than them and thus in comparison — of ogreish size , who had invaded a thoroughly English Shire with such animosity for its inhabitants?
Many of the rustic little people had never encountered the Big Folk; from their viewpoint they must have looked gigantic: Hmm … the smelling of blood combined with raw hatred! Now where have I seen that theme before? Yes we must hark back once again to Jack and the Beanstalk and that most famous of English rhymes: And what do you think he saw? Most cleverly, Tolkien had interwoven well-known English folklore into his story with a combination of affinity and diffused variance.
For to the Professor, to repeat what has already been emphasized: And in that process of oral hand-down some inevitable corruption had occurred. Hmm … the aural resonances leave much to ponder! But objectively there are simply too many coincidences for the prognosis not to be true. The evidence is incriminating. Also yet to be exposed are new revelations of Tom being entwined in at least two more traditional fairy tales. The stuff is hidden. But in the end — when all is extracted — much that is new will come to light. He mentions the tale in his Beowulf lecture. Besides Tom appears to have no viable means of transport between the two residences, let alone anything to trade.
By the time Tolkien initiated the gargantuan effort of writing The Lord of the Rings — the idea of fairies being of diminutive size had been virtually abandoned. For many years, there were no signs that little flower-fairies in the Qenya Lexicon of circa would be part of the developing mythology: If there was any reconsideration — it happened after The Lord of the Rings had been published, and it is by no means certain that Tolkien was firm on the matte r 1.