61

There is evidence that Tom Bombadil is unaffected by the One Ring's power and he has magical ways about him that can't be explained.

It seems that Tom did not participate actively in the War of the Ring, even though he was clearly more powerful than others.

Is it possible that Tom Bombadil could have used his magic to defeat Sauron?

  • 21
    T.B. could do anything. But wouldn't. – A.D Jul 6 '12 at 9:32
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    No. It would require him to give a darn. – Adele C Jul 6 '12 at 14:27
  • 8
    If, as some suggest, Tom is Eru then he did defeat Sauron by setting Golum, Bilbo, and Frodo on their paths. – Sardathrion Jan 25 '13 at 7:53
62

No, Tom could not have defeated Sauron. As Gandalf mentioned, Tom could not use the Ring's power - rather the Ring did not affect him.

'It seems that he has a power even over the Ring.' 'No, I should not put it so,' said Gandalf. `Say rather that the Ring has no power over him. He is his own master. But he cannot alter the Ring itself, nor break its power over others.

Galdor and Glorfindel then describe Bombadil as not being able to withstand Sauron in the end, once Gandalf suggests he won't lead the use of the Ring:

'But in any case,' said Glorfindel, `to send the Ring to him would only postpone the day of evil. He is far away. We could not now take it back to him, unguessed, unmarked by any spy. And even if we could, soon or late the Lord of the Rings would learn of its hiding place and would bend all his power towards it. 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.'

'I know little of Iarwain save the name,' said Galdor; 'but Glorfindel, I think, is right. Power to defy our Enemy is not in him, unless such power is in the earth itself. And yet we see that Sauron can torture and destroy the very hills. What power still remains lies with us, here in Imladris, or with Cirdan at the Havens, or in Lórien. But have they the strength, have we here the strength to withstand the Enemy, the coming of Sauron at the last, when all else is overthrown?'

Both quotes from the Fellowship of the Ring.

  • 2
    I think the problem is that TBs power and Saurons power are of different types. They are incompatible, but Saurons is, if he were able to focus it, stronger, but not by much. – Schroedingers Cat Jul 6 '12 at 10:57
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    Tom Bombadil, in essence, has no power other than the ability to resist the power of others. – dlanod Jul 6 '12 at 11:07
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    From that same discussion it mentions Bombadil having withdrawn himself into "a little land, within bounds he has set", and that "if he were given the Ring, he would soon forget it or most likely throw it away." He would not have left his "world", so would have been no use in destroying it, and would not have used the Ring to overthrow Sauron because he could not have - it was not in his nature to be able to do so, he would have absentmindedly lost the Ring instead. – dlanod Jul 6 '12 at 12:05
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    I realize that this is the best source we have but this answer assumes that Gandalf and Glorfindel understand the breadth and depth of Tom's power. – KennyPeanuts Aug 27 '13 at 21:04
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    I would have liked to see a chapter where Tom dances up Mount Doom singing "Hey dol! merry dol! ring a dong dillo! Ring a dong! hop along! Fal lal the willow! Tom Bom, jolly Tom, Tom Bombadillo!" That would have been awesome. – WOPR Jan 20 '14 at 12:38
10

If this is a question of who is more powerful it is an unanswerable one. The origins and powers of Tom Bombadil are far too ambiguous to be matched up against Sauron with a declared victor. If this is a question of whether or not Tom ever would the answer is simple: no. Tom is uninterested in the affairs of the ring or the world outside the Old Forest. He would not seek to stand against Sauron whether or not he lurked around the Old Forest's borders or not.

  • 1
    That Tom is uninterested in the affairs out of his land seems to me not quite exact. For someone uninterested, he knows much about what is going on outside and also about the history of Middle Earth. And he goes at great lenghts to help the hobbits in their quest. For me, Tom is more an interested and curious outside observer than an ermit with no cares. I have this guess that Tom is the spirit of JRR Tolkien himself, stronger than even Eru, because Tolkien created Eru... ;-) – Joel Mar 10 '15 at 1:03
1

No, he could not have, because Tom Bombadil is a literary device more than an actual character in the books. He exists in order to relay information which Tolkien must have decided would not reasonably be available otherwise, and in a form, or tome, or style, which is reminiscent of literary work by Tolkien outside of the Lord of the Rings, so it merits strong separation from the properly-in-world characters. Thus it doesn't make sense to really get him involved in world events (by challenging Sauron or any such action).

  • 3
    I think you've got this site confused with Literature SE. Or something. We excel in taking hypothetical in-universe questions to fabulous extremes. – Wildcard Aug 14 '17 at 20:01
  • This answer could be better if you explained what he's used for by the author as a literary device. – Gallifreyan Aug 14 '17 at 20:47
  • It's still an answer, regardless of it's lack of content or sources. – Edlothiad Aug 14 '17 at 20:48
  • @Gallifreyan: How's this? – einpoklum Aug 14 '17 at 20:50
  • I see where you're going, but I think a few specific examples (maybe passages from the books?) would be even cooler ;) – Gallifreyan Aug 14 '17 at 20:58
-1

He probably could, but just doesn't. He tends to stay to himself, and if you notice Gandalf mentions that he would lose the ring since it Tom sees it as useless.

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    Do you have any quotes or sources to back this up, or is it merely speculation? – amflare Aug 14 '17 at 19:47
-6

Sauron is all-powerful. Unless he is destroyed he is unbeatable and unstoppable. The destruction of the ring (and Sauron's native power which is VERY considerable) is the only way to defeat him. Tom Bombadill is not so much powerful as outside the power game that is being played out in the war of the ring. He has his own agenda and purpose (under Eru). However he cannot stand once the very fabric of Middle Earth has fallen to Sauron.

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    "Sauron is all-powerful. Unless he is destroyed he is unbeatable and unstoppable." I have a problem with that statement. I am also unstoppable unless defeated :P – Ashterothi Jan 24 '13 at 18:59
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    Also "Sauron is all-powerful" on its own is untrue: there is no evidence he could withstand the Valar (that they chose to act via agents rather than directly is because of the world changing collateral damage from such intervention). – Richard Apr 16 '14 at 15:39

protected by Null Aug 14 '17 at 20:11

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