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The Deleted Scene In Peter Jackson's The Two Towers That Hints At Tom Bombadil

Many fans of J.R.R. Tolkien's works have, understandably, had a love-hate relationship with Peter Jackson's Middle-earth films. On the one hand, the director's contributions — especially in the form of "The Lord of the Rings" film trilogy — have come to define cinematic Middle-earth. From the sweeping New Zealand landscapes to Howard Shore's epic soundtrack, Jackson has set the gold standard for what Middle-earth should look and sound like on the screen. 

On the other hand, the director has also received a predictable amount of backlash for the countless adjustments and changes that were made while adapting Tolkien's four books. The overwhelming majority of this criticism is usually directed toward "The Hobbit" trilogy, which extended a 300-page book into three full-length films that were overrun with CGI, unnecessary characters, and side-plots.

Even with Jackson's original trilogy, though, there are plenty of things to complain about. One of the most enduring of these grievances is the decision to leave out the enigmatic Tom Bombadil. Jackson explained the reasoning for this before "The Fellowship of the Ring" even came out, blaming obvious things like pacing and the fact that Bombadil isn't central to the plot as reasons for the omission. And the truth is, it would be very difficult to create an onscreen version of the utterly-absurd-yet-infinitely-powerful character that would actually do Bombadil justice.

All the same, fans who were disappointed to not see Bombadil on the big screen did eventually get a consolation prize in the form of an indirect nod to the Old Forest-dwelling conundrum. This wasn't visible in the original theatrical releases. But when Jackson did Tolkien fandom a solid by creating incredibly long extended editions, he managed to sneak in a scene that at least acted as a palliative for anyone still desperate for a little Tom Bombadil fun.

Treebeard saves Merry and Pippin

When Jackson released the extended edition of the Two Towers, it included quite a bit more footage of the Ents in Fangorn Forest. One rather lengthy scene, in particular, was added shortly after the hour mark, in which Merry and Pippin wake up after their first night in Fangorn. They're in a small clearing in the forest — likely a cinematic representation of Treebeard's forest home of Wellinghall — but their Entish companion is nowhere in sight. The friends discover that the water flowing through the dell has magical powers that make them grow — in the book, this is referred to as "Ent-draughts" — and they compete to consume as much of the powerful elixir as possible.

As they do this, one of the trees suddenly grabs them with its roots and pulls them into its clutches. It seems like the pair of Hobbits are goners ...that is, until Treebeard suddenly reappears. He reprimands the tree, saying, "Away with you. You should not be waking. Eat earth. Dig deep. Drink water. Go to sleep. Away with you." The tree lets its captives go, and the Ent quickly scoops them up and hustles off, informing the Halflings that the forest is waking up and becoming very dangerous. The scene is a fun display of Treebeard's tree-herding prowess, but it also serves a very important, albeit subtle, second purpose: it gives us a little nod to the one and only Tom Bombadil.

Bombadil: Master of wood, water, and hill

In the Bombadil portion of "The Fellowship of the Ring" book that had to be axed from Jackson's script, Frodo and his companions flee the Shire by heading through the Old Forest. This dangerous wood is located right next door to their homeland, and the Hobbits choose this path as a way to elude the Black Riders who are watching the road. While they do avoid the Nazgûl, though, they end up running into multiple alternative threats.

One of these is Old Man Willow. The tree is a powerful, sentient creature that captures the Hobbits. It tries to drown Frodo, and fails, but does manage to trap Merry and Pippin in its roots and trunk. Frodo and Sam panic, unsure what to do. Just at that moment, presto! Who should arrive, but Tom Bombadil, nonsensically leaping and singing as he tends to his own business?

When Bombadil sees the troubled Hobbits, he springs into action. He reprimands the tree, saying: "You let them out again, Old Man Willow! ...What be you a-thinking of? You should not be waking. Eat earth! Dig deep! Drink water! Go to sleep! Bombadil is talking!" Again, sound familiar? Jackson literally lifted the "You should not be waking. Eat earth! Dig deep! Drink water! Go to sleep!" bit straight out of Bombadil's own mouth.

Afterward, the Hobbits visit Bombadil's home, where his wife Goldberry tells them her husband "is the Master of wood, water, and hill... No one has ever caught old Tom walking in the forest, wading in the water, leaping on the hill-tops under light and shadow. He has no fear. Tom Bombadil is master." 

This mastery over the woods makes Treebeard an obvious choice when it comes to who should channel Bombadil in Jackson's films.

Will Tom Bombadil be in the "Rings of Power" show?

The absence of Tom Bombadil in Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings" was a sad necessity for a story that was already overflowing with characters and storylines. The ability to still add a scene that honors the character was a nice tip of the hat, but it still left many fans wanting more. This raises the obvious question: Will Tom Bombadil show up in Amazon's "The Rings of Power" show?

As of this writing, there has been no comment on whether or not Bombadil will play a role, and it's easy to make an argument both to include and exclude him. As far as writing him into the script goes, that wouldn't be an issue when it comes to plausibility. Bombadil is one of the oldest creatures in all of Middle-earth, and he's definitely puttering around in a forest somewhere during the time that the show is set in.

With that said, we don't actually know much about his activities during that time. He tells the Hobbits stories about past events that he's witnessed, but we don't see him participate. In fact, Tolkien generally uses him as an objective observer that won't get too involved in the bigger geopolitical events going on around him. And that doesn't even consider the fact that Bombadil is a ridiculous (albeit extremely powerful) character that dresses in flamboyant clothing and sings and dances everywhere he goes. Fitting him into a serious story while still doing him justice feels impossible in theory. Whether the "Rings of Power" team decides to try to adapt Bombadil in spite of these challenges remains to be seen.