Thursday, September 23, 2021

"The Adventures of Tom Bombadil" by J. R. R. Tolkien

I did not realize this is a collection of poetry!  I thought it was going to be short stories like Smith of Wootton Major and Farmer Giles of Ham, but about Tom Bombadil instead.  But it's not, it's poetry.  

The edition I read, which is the one pictured here, contains the poems that Tolkien published under this title in the '60s, plus a whole lot of commentary on the poems, earlier variations of them, explanations of their history, discussions of how they fit into his Middle-earth world, and so on.  There's more of that than of the poetry itself, really.

The poems themselves are not long, and quite varied.  Tolkien states, in his preface, that they come from the Red Book of Westmarch, in the Shire, but they were collected from different places.  Some of them are attributed to Bilbo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee.

My favorites were "The Hoard" and "Shadow-Bride."  

"The Hoard" is about a sort of cursed treasure that various people acquire and then waste their lives guarding, only to lose it to someone else when they die.  It doesn't do anyone any good, least of all those who 'own' it, and is rather a dark and cautionary tale.

"Shadow-Bride" is mysterious and ethereal and a little spooky.  An immovable man-statue suddenly comes to life when a shadowy woman comes near him, they embrace, and become a double-statue that only comes back to life at certain times.  Or something.  Like I said, it's fairly mysterious -- but that's what I liked about it.

If you love Tolkien, especially his poetry, this is a lot of fun.

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: PG for a bit of violence here and there, and some imagery that might scare small kids, but there's nothing harmful here.

This has been my 27th book read and reviewed for my third Classics Club list and my 39th from my TBR shelves for #TheUnreadShelfProject2021.  This has also been another contribution to my 2021 Tolkien Blog Party :-)


  1. It would have been nice to get a story about Tom, just so that we might know a little bit more about who/what he is. But Tolkien's poetry is amazing, so not a great loss. ;)

    1. Eva, yeah, I thought so too. But there are two poems about him, at least!

  2. The Hoard is very good. My other favorites are The Mewlips, Cat, & The Last Ship.

    1. George, "The Mewlips" was really creepy! It made me think of the barrow-wights :-b


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