Suite101: If I only had a Bombadil… – What incentive does Peter Jackson have to do a Bombadil sequence for a DvD version of the films?

by Nov 10, 2000Lord of the Rings (Movies)

“To Tolkien… Bombadil represents a symbolic part of the whole, necessary and vital to the completeness of the World. Without Bombadil Middle-earth is not what Tolkien intends it to be.”

In this week’s Suite101 article, Michael Martinez makes a case for Tom Bombadil being in a DvD version of Fellowship of the Ring if he is not to be included in the theatrical version.

Here is a brief excerpt:

I promised the people on Xenite.Org’s Middle-earth mailing list that I’d write something about Bombadil this week. So, let me start out by saying that the recent revelation that a second
X-Men DvD may be produced with extra scenes for the first movie has gotten me to thinking. Maybe Peter Jackson can do a Bombadil segment after all.

Not that I want to start getting up everyone’s hopes. Nor do I want to inspire any more petitions. Principal photography is about to wrap up in a couple more weeks and, yes, they will do some extra filming afterwards, but Jackson seemed to make it clear long ago he didn’t think Bombadil is important to the story. So what incentive does he have to do a Bombadil sequence for an anticipated Fellowship of the Ring DvD?

Well, let’s dispense with all this “faithful to Tolkien” themism and consider that a Bombadil sequence would afford Jackson an opportunity to extend his vision of Middle-earth to include the Old Forest and the Barrow-downs. Regardless of who howls and gnashes their teeth over the absence of Tolkien’s beloved spirit of the vanishing Oxford countryside, the Old Forest and the Barrow-downs themselves are vital parts of the literary story. The Old Forest, like Sam’s revelation of a walking tree in the Northfarthing, prepares the reader for the Ents and Huorns later on in the literary story. I suppose one could ask if there is any need to prepare the viewing audience for walking trees. I dunno. We already have some vague idea of how the story ends. Why bother preparing us for that with films 1 and 2?

The Barrow-downs is a more complicated episode. In the literary story Gandalf noted that this was the most dangerous escapade Frodo experienced on his journey to Rivendell. People often wonder how this could be (well, in my email they do — just like they wonder if that walking tree was an Ent, and no, sorry, I don’t know). Why is the Barrow-wight a worse evil than the Nazgul at Weathertop? I would say that’s because the Wight actually had Frodo and the Ring in its power. The Nazgul went in with a half-baked plan to stab Frodo and turn him into a wraith. Of course, they had to make it up as they went along. Strider (Aragorn) had thrown them for a loop, and it was only a guess that he would head there. Undoubtedly when they found Gandalf there days before (and I’m talking about the literary story right now) they were reassured that their guess was correct. That’s why five of the boys sat around watching the road.

My guess is that the Nazgul always intended to stab Frodo. If Khamul had found him in Hobbiton he probably would have come back after dark and nabbed our dear Hobbit. How else should they have been able to take him back to Mordor anyway? Regardless of what Peter Jackson’s story reveals, or how closely it follows the book in this respect, the Nazgul are going to have to come across like terrifying and dangerous creatures. The audience has to feel somehow that if Jackson’s Nazgul were to get Jackson’s Frodo, they’d haul him back to Mordor. So, one must ask the question, would including the Barrow-wight diminish the effect of the Nazgul?

Follow the link below to read the rest of the article.


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