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Rings Of Power: LOTR's Most Powerful Character May Ruin Season 2 (No, Not Sauron)

There have been a lot of rumors surrounding Season 2 of Amazon Prime's flagship Middle-earth series, "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power," including one that Amazon Studios is deliberately leaking false information. And yet there is another that has bubbled to the surface more than once: Tom Bombadil, a quirky, overpowered fan-favorite character that appears in "The Fellowship of the Ring," will show up in the next season.

The rumor has been percolating for months, with fansite TheOneRing.net (TORn) first sharing that "The Rings of Power" is rumored to have cast Tom Bombadil for Season 2 way back in January 2023 and X, formerly known as Twitter, fan account Rings Of Power Updates reasserting it in February 2024, claiming, "Tom Bombadil is indeed in The Rings Of Power Season 2."

If showrunners Patrick McKay and John D. Payne really have chosen to include him in their Second Age story, they'll be in uncharted waters — Bombadil has been excluded from most adaptations. After all, the merry fellow has a personality so powerful it could upend the entire story. No matter how he is incorporated into the series, there's no doubt that it will have a dramatic impact on its feel and tone. But will that be a net positive? Or could it throw off Season 1's initial momentum and potentially ruin Season 2's narrative flow?

What does Tom Bombadil bring to the Middle-earth mix?

Tolkien's world has a little bit of everything: mystics and magic, horror and tragedy, hope and romance, and of course, a healthy dose of peace, quiet, and good-tilled earth. So what does an eccentric character like Tom Bombadil add to that mix? Why is he such a fan favorite in a world that seemingly already has it all?

Bombadil brings a special perspective to the story in that Tolkien created him decades before "The Lord of the Rings" was published and added him into his fantasy world after the fact, giving him an "outside looking in" feel. He is more of an observer than an active participant in Middle-earth history, with the author describing him in a letter written to a fan in 1954 as a character designed to "delight in things for themselves without reference to yourself, watching, observing, and to some extent knowing."

This is why Bombadil is able to casually put the Ring on without disappearing or falling victim to its alluring power. At the same time, Gandalf suggests to the Council of Elrond that Bombadil could probably be convinced to guard the Ring if he were begged to do so but that it wouldn't be safe with him, explaining in the "Fellowship of the Ring" book, "He would not understand the need. And if he were given the Ring, he would soon forget it, or most likely throw it away. Such things have no hold on his mind. He would be a most unsafe guardian."

Is Bombadil too much for a balanced Middle-earth adaptation?

Even in Tolkien's words as expressed in the aforementioned letter, "Tom Bombadil is not an important person – to the narrative." So that leaves us with the question, should he be included in an adaptation set thousands of years before "The Lord of the Rings"? Incorporating the character into the story could be fun. But it's a dicey proposition — his immense power would be hard to manage. It's similar to Tolkien's careful and limited use of the Eagles in his stories: Use them too much, and they become a cop-out. On the flip side, if he's introduced and isn't powerful enough, it could disappoint sky-high fan expectations.

Bombadil's disinterested and enigmatic reputation is also an issue. If he doesn't care about taking sides and is merely a casual observer, how do you weave that into the fabric of a story as polarized and emotionally charged as "The Rings of Power"? If he shows up merely as a nod to knowledgeable viewers, the fan service could backfire by eroding the mystery around his character. After a mediocre Season 1 reception, Amazon Studios' story is already resting on a knife-edge; if it strays but a little, it will fall. A Bombadil cameo would therefore have to be handled well lest it fail spectacularly and ruin everything.