In The Lord of the Rings, Tom Bombadil is usually viewed as either a silly and unimportant interruption or as a character with only a very minor function, but certainly not as a character of importance like Gandalf. Recently, scholars have shown the importance of laughter and humor in J.R.R. Tolkien's works. This essay continues the discussion by showing how Bombadil is important and necessary to the narrative of The Lord of the Rings as an embodiment of joy, and more broadly demonstrates the essential revivifying importance of joy to the entire tale.
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