Both Tom Bombadil and the Nazgul are powerful magical beings within the context of the Lord of the Rings Universe. What would happen in a face to face fight between the two? Who would win?

closed as primarily opinion-based by TGnat, Anthony Grist, DVK-on-Ahch-To, Beofett, System Down Dec 6 '13 at 18:09

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  • It might depend on whether he was out and about in Middle Earth (though he's unlikely to do that), or at home in his forest. – Mike Dec 6 '13 at 15:35
  • I don't think this is a candidate for closing - in principle it's not wildly different from How does Saruman the White compare in power to other beings? - which asks "Could Saruman kill a Balrog?" – user8719 Dec 6 '13 at 17:33
  • Voting to re-open based on Tom's statement given in my answer below. – user8719 Dec 8 '13 at 14:35
  • It's very difficult to tell what's being asked here. "What happens?" "Would he think that was funny?" are incredibly vague questions. I'd say we should close it. The OP can always edit his question to make it more specific. – Andres F. Dec 8 '13 at 16:46
  • I have edited the question on the original posters behalf to make it work better for our Q+A format, which essentially required completely rephrasing it. If the changes are too radical, do feel free to revert, but I think it preserves the genuine question that was somewhat hidden within the noise of the original post. – Christi Dec 8 '13 at 17:25
up vote 9 down vote accepted

As Gandalf put it in The Council of Elrond:

No, I should not put it so. 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.

A Nazgul, as a servant of the Ring, would therefore have no power over Bombadil, but Bombadil on the other hand would also be ineffective against a Nazgul. What would happen? Nothing.

Edit to add:

On double-checking the text, I've come across the following from Fog on the Barrow Downs:

Out east my knowledge fails. Tom is not master of Riders from the Black Land far beyond his country.

This seems conclusive; Tom couldn't defeat a Nazgul, but whether a Nazgul could defeat him depends on interpretation of Gandalf's statement above (with strong circumstantial evidence against).

  • 7
    Mmm...just because he can't break the hold of the Ring, doesn't mean he would be ineffective. Many times the Nazgul have been at least temporarily defeated/discorporeated by people of (presumably) lesser power than Tom. – JohnP Dec 6 '13 at 15:53
  • 1
    @JohnP - this is invalidated by the quote from Tom I've added: "Tom is not master of Riders from the Black Land far beyond his country". – user8719 Dec 8 '13 at 16:06
  • 1
    Again - He may not be master of them, but that doesn't mean that he has no resources against them. I am definitely not master of my martial arts teacher, yet I've beat him in tournaments at different times. – JohnP Dec 8 '13 at 16:24
  • @JohnP - You're using the wrong definition of "master" here; I'll refer you back to it's use in the previous chapter when describing Tom. – user8719 Dec 8 '13 at 23:49

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