Exploring Middle-earth Anew: Tom Bombadil's Enchanting Arrival to Amazon's The Rings of Power

In the fictional world of Tolkien’s Middle-earth, there is a character like none other: Tom Bombadil. When Season 2 of Amazon’s The Rings of Power is released, the strange, enigmatic character will appear on our screens for the first time, in the form of Rory Kinnear. Tolkien fans no doubt keenly anticipate his debut, but everyone watching will also wonder: what on earth is going on here? What else will Amazon do to Tolkien’s fictional world? Who is Tom Bombadil, anyway? Bombadil is hard to pin down. He appears in only two of Tolkien’s many books – The Fellowship of the Ring and The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, a collection of homespun poems for which he himself served as the namesake. He also pops up in a few other places in Tolkien’s published and unpublished writings, while his son appears in another Middle-earth tale that Tolkien never wrote down: the game Balin’s Quest, originally conceived for his great friend Lewis as a gift to his children. In the books, Bombadil is a benevolent and solitary shepherd of the forests and fields of the Shire. He is old and wise beyond measure, his deep knowledge masked by his innocent and sometimes silly demeanour.

AMAZON Dives Deep into Tolkien's Legacy

Adaptation of the complex worlds of Tolkien is no easy task. While the Rings of Power is visually splendid, it has been slammed for the pacing and fidelity of the first season. The creators J D Payne and Patrick McKay are at an important juncture and need to work on the storytelling of the further seasons (all of which have been ordered) in the light of feedback. Amazon’s venture into Tolkien is therefore an ambitious endeavour, but ultimately a respectful one.

Why Tom Bombadil Matters

In the finely detailed mythology of Middle-earth, Tom Bombadil is a walking paradox of bubbling eccentricities and incomprehensible power. A figure receiving the One Ring is oblivious to its power, and Bombadil’s special connection with nature is so deep that when the Ring is brought to him, it doesn't even try to manipulate him. Deciding to include this loony character is unusual and likely opens the story up to a whole lot of guesswork. Will Bombadil just spray around a bit of fanciful mischief, or will he become a fixture in the action against Sauron? Amazon is making it clear that it’s willing to go into all the corners of Tolkien’s universe, and that viewers will be given both the familiar and the new.

AMAZON's Balancing Act: Authenticity vs. Inclusivity

At the heart of the challenge that Amazon’s adaptation faces lies perhaps the same dichotomy: to do justice to the depth of Tolkien’s world – the kind of minute attention to detail that hardcore fans of the franchise are hungry for; and also to invite the next generation of fans into Middle-earth, which presumably will require some modern sensibility, or at least the kind of pace, generationally speaking, that today’s viewers have come to expect. Tom Bombadil, should he make an appearance, could well serve by marking a point somewhere in the middle of this familiar call-and-response of genuflection and mischief.

Charting the Future Path

With The Rings of Power a Prime Video blockbuster, Amazon’s trek through Middle-earth is not going to end any time soon. And when Tom Bombadil finally shows up in Season 2, it might just usher in the second wind the series needs to gain renewed interest and credit. It’s everything Amazon envisioned the series would be: a saga that bridges the past and the present, invoking both purist and iconoclastic voices.

Envisioning Middle-earth's Destiny

In the meantime, for those anticipating Middle-earth’s return to the small screen in Season 2, all eyes are on Amazon for clues regarding how it will, in fact, add to the depth of Tolkien’s mythology. The inclusion of Tom Bombadil is but a small part of a bigger story. We’re all waiting to see if this will be a series worth watching – and reading.


Amazon’s daring insertion of the fantastically unearthly into Tolkien’s Middle-earth, embodied by the enigmatic Tom Bombadil, is a turning point for The Rings of Power. We await the next chapter from both creators and consumers with a mixture of anticipation and dread; and we enter it knowing that Amazon will have to engage with Tolkien on new and challenging ground if it is to preserve the mighty and multifaceted universe of Middle-earth.


Amazon’s e-commerce and digital-streaming juggernaut enters Middle-earth in The Rings of Power with the biggest investment in storytelling and invention from an original IP yet. Available exclusively on Amazon Prime Video, The Rings of Power is a multi-season series set thousands of years before the events of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Tolkien’s mythology is already so complete that it requires no embellishment; it stands alone and unaltered. The Rings of Power promises to spring to life the enduring magic of Tolkien.

May 30, 2024
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