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what exactly is goldberry?
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Author:  shona155 [ December 29th, 2014, 12:44 am ]
Post subject:  what exactly is goldberry?

i have never really known what exaclty goldberry is, i mean was she just a human who got lost in the woods and got found by tom? or is she something, human like. i always fancied she was a bit magical. but anyone got any suggestions?

Author:  Lembas [ December 29th, 2014, 4:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: what exactly is goldberry?

Asking who or what Goldberry is, is a bit like asking who or what Tom Bombadil is, they're both enigmas and there's no certain answer to either question. So really, we don't know :)

She's not human, but she is magical in her own way. Readers have speculated that she's a lost elf, a Maia (a powerful Demi-God like being, like Sauron or Gandalf), or one of the Valar who are the Gods of Middle Earth. But none of those theories are strong enough to have become widely accepted.

She's described as being the daughter of the River Woman in the Adventures of Tom Bombadil, so she could also be a sort of water spirit. Tolkien said she represents seasonal changes in the Riverlands, so it's also possible that she's a different sort of magical being to those we see in LotR.

Tolkien ultimately said in one of his letters not to over-think Tom Bombadil, and by extension Goldberry. They are both a part of Middle Earth, but an unexplainable one :)

There's a longer discussion on what sort of creature she is here

Author:  Jax Nova [ October 19th, 2015, 9:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: what exactly is goldberry?

I have always found goldberry and Tom fascinating and always loved their characters.

They are timeless and rought with mystery. I tend to agree with the idea they are just some sort of spirits. Not valar or maiar but as was said, Goldberry was a water spirit of sorts.

Author:  Captain Boromir [ October 20th, 2015, 3:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: what exactly is goldberry?

After reading the LOTR for the first time this year I have to say I really enjoyed those two characters. They are really mysterious.

Author:  Jax Nova [ October 20th, 2015, 3:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: what exactly is goldberry?

Agreed. They are mysterious and introguing. They have always been two of my favorite minor characters. I would love to see a book on just them.

Author:  Captain Boromir [ October 20th, 2015, 3:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: what exactly is goldberry?

It would have been interesting if they were in the Extended edition. I heard that Peter Jackson thought about adding them to it but didn't have the time to do it since he was in the midst of getting the other two movies done.

Author:  Jax Nova [ October 20th, 2015, 4:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: what exactly is goldberry?

Yeah. I had heard something about that. To add them in would have to be a lot of content, I would think. You couldn't hardly just add a few scenes and make it cohearent with the rest of the story very easy. Doesn't seem like to me.

So I am assuming it would have been a big undertaking.

Author:  Héalic [ October 20th, 2015, 5:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: what exactly is goldberry?

It would have been like doing two Lothloriens in the same movie. The hobbits stayed there for quite a while as well. it would add probably another hour to do all of the House of Bombadil. I would have loved to see them in the movie, but I respect the decision they made. Same with the giant cut in the Council. It was a just-the-facts-Mam scene.

I did love Tom and Goldberry though. I think Goldberry was like a water nymph, and Tom was a creature that has always existed. I think he was on the same level as the Maiar, but less involved with the affairs of Middle-Earth. He's just there doing his thing, looking after his realm. That's what I like about him: he's so simple. Like Hobbits, but more powerful. I think if I was to be someone in ME, I'd want to be him. I would probably end up being Rosie though. :)

Author:  Jax Nova [ October 20th, 2015, 6:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: what exactly is goldberry?

Yeah, I figured it would add something like that. Which would have been wonderful! An extra hour! Lol.

But as you say there was no realisticknway and I understand the decession.

Yes, Tom always existed and Goldberry was a water nymph. That was my understanding. I like the simplicoty too. The mystery, and his happy go lucky attitude.

Author:  Héalic [ January 28th, 2017, 4:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: what exactly is goldberry?

I kind of like to think of Tom as Yavanna's happy-go-lucky kid brother. He loves plants and has a command over nature, but he really, actually doesn't care about what the rest of the world is doing. He just does his own thing. Maybe help innocent travellers who stumble into his domain, but honestly, if Sauron had taken over, I don't think he would have been able to touch Tom. It just doesn't seem likely to me. Maybe he's Eru....

Author:  Jax Nova [ January 28th, 2017, 9:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: what exactly is goldberry?

(Nice to see you back on Helic. I had wondered where you had been :D )


Huh, that's a cool thought. If ya can't tell by my banner I have always loved Yavanna too! lol Sounds like a family tree of fascination!


That's quite an interesting thought line as well. I would tend to agree that Sauron would not be able to touch him... but what would it effect in Tom's life? Anything at all? With the world in darkness (theoretically) I wonder if Tom still would have kept to himself or stepped up as a sort of "Unwilling Hero" Him and Goldberry would certainly be a duo to not be trifled with if they so desired.

Author:  Gandolorin [ April 2nd, 2017, 11:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: what exactly is goldberry?

While I have almost always considered Tom Bombadil to be the most enigmatic figure in LoTR (and do not take issue with the fact that, never mind PJ, even Ralph Bakshi left him out of his 1978 semi-cartoon), Goldberry seems to reach back to much older myths / legends / fairy tales about river spirits (the River-woman's daughter - we are told nothing that I can recall about her mother). Tom and Goldberry being associated with Yavanna sounds quite plausible. Goldberry as the personified seasons? That would go very, very far back in European, even Mesopotamian and Egyptian myths!

Author:  Jax Nova [ April 12th, 2017, 2:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: what exactly is goldberry?

It certainly is fascinating to contemplate. I wish Tolkien had offered a little more info on their origions. (Tom and Goldberry both)

Author:  Gandolorin [ April 12th, 2017, 3:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: what exactly is goldberry?

Tom and Goldberry go together since the poem "The Adventures of Tom Bombadil", to be found in the collection of 16 poems in the book by the same title. Has a (very) faint touch of Beowulf and Grendel's mother in the pool where Grendel and his mother lived. So Tom and Goldberry had to be in FoTR together.

As to "I wish Tolkien had offered a little more info on ...", yes and no. That some (many) things are not explained is one reason for what many people have called the depth of the LoTR, the faintly glimpsed far-off vistas, passing allusions etc. With the added fascination that there was actually a ton of stuff in the background, the slowly-gestating "Silmarillion". One thing that made the published Silmarillion a bit of a disappointment for many people (besides the obvious absence of Hobbits) was that suddenly you were up close to those formerly faintly glimpsed far-off vistas, back all the way to creation with the Ainulindalë.

And as I once posted elsewhere, only faintly tongue in cheek, with JRRT's out-sized talent for procrastination and niggling ("Leaf by Niggle", the secret autobiography), he would not be able to finalize the Silmarillion if given the life-span of Elros Tar-Minyatur!

Author:  Jax Nova [ April 13th, 2017, 8:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: what exactly is goldberry?

Well, true as this is, I would have loved to read more about them. I honestly enjoyed the Silmarilion more than any other book. (Not just Tolkien) and though, again, you are right that he could hardly ever have come to a completion of this history I would have enjoyed immensely to see more of it.

Author:  Havens [ June 4th, 2019, 5:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: what exactly is goldberry?

During the fellowship's journey one encounters all manner of beings that they hope to protect from Sauron. Goldberry's mysterious character seems to enrich not only the scope of who would be affected by Sauron but also suggests the various heritages that could come to nothing if Sauron prevails.

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