“Tom was here before the river and the trees…He made paths before the Big People, and saw the Little People arriving…When the Elves passed westward, Tom was already here, before the seas were bent…before the Dark Lord came from Outside.”*
TOM BOMBADIL! Sound familiar? Or if not, how about The Lord of the Rings? Tom was in the books, but didn’t make it into the movies. “What does this have to do with The Book of Squidly Light?” you ask. A lot.
Tom Bombadil lives in the Old Forest with his wife Goldberry, entwined with nature, full of joy, always singing. Inconceivably ancient, he goes about his business unaffected by humans, elves, dwarves or hobbits, though he sometimes helps if needed. The One Ring, symbol of ultimate power which fills everyone else with fear or desire, means nothing to him.
Tom is a friend of nature and the earth, perhaps a personification of them, and he’s a friend of the Ents, the great, wise, slow-moving and utterly convincing tree people. (Those who think ‘tree hugging’ is funny haven’t done it right. Each tree is different; you can feel this if you try.)
“C’mon!” you say impatiently (unless you love Tom Bombadil), “There are no Squid in this!”
Alright, alright, I’m getting to it. Tom has a string of ponies. The lead pony — the wisest, cleverest, most magical of them all — is called Fatty Lumpkin. And the anonymous orange cat from The Life and Times of Halycon Sage, stepping up as a major character in this new book, is his namesake: Fatty Lumpkin, as clever a cat as ever walked the Earth Plane.
If this isn’t a close enough connection for you, Tom would be down with our characters’ core mission of saving the lovely Planet Earth. We’re all on the same side here. Except for a couple of villains.
Hasta luego. Catch you on the flip side.