According to Tom Bombadil, he found her long ago by the pool where he gathers water-lilies from the Withywindle river. The races of Tom Bombadil and Goldberry are not known though Goldberry is said to be the daughter of the River-woman. Her voice is beautiful, "as young and as ancient as spring, like the song of a glad water flowing down into the night from a bright morning in the hills." She has long blonde hair, and when Frodo Baggins, Meriadoc Brandybuck, Peregrin Took and Sam Gamgee first see her, she is wearing a green dress shot with silver and a gold belt. Wide vessels of green and brown earthenware hold floating water-lilies so she seems to be enthroned in the middle of a pool.
After being rescued by Tom Bombadil from the perils of Old Man Willow in the Old Forest, the hobbits are brought to her and her husband's home. Goldberry hosts the travelling hobbits overnight. They all find her to be as mysterious as Tom but are grateful for her kindness to them and are indeed enchanted by her presence.
Notes on originEdit
In The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, Tolkien describes Goldberry as the seasonal changes in nature, and Tom Bombadil as the nature spirit of the English countryside.
Tolkien based his mythic personages on Eurasian myth and cosmology. The Great Goddess who is mother of all things was, before Time existed, the element of water, undifferentiated. Time begins when her first offspring is born, and, according to Tom Bombadil, he is the Eldest, the firstborn. The River is the local manifestation of the primal Great Goddess, and Goldberry is her daughter, the spirit of all local waters existing in Time, alive and embodied.
Both Tom and Goldberry are primal spirits of nature, he of the land and its produce and she of the water. In early Eurasian myth, the element of water is feminine and the land or earth is masculine; therefore, Goldberry represents the female principle of life while Tom represents the male. Together as husband and wife they are the totality of primal Nature, endlessly proceeding in an eternal circle from season to season forever.
In The Fellowship of the Ring Sourcebook, for the Lord of the Rings role-playing game, Goldberry is listed as a nature-spirit and is closely connected to the weather of the Old Forest. "She is the rain and snows that arise from the waters and replenish them again." In The Fellowship of the Ring (novel), Tom Bombadil describes the rain as Goldberry's washing day and her autumn cleaning.
It is also possible that Goldberry is the Ainu Varda in a sort of disguise. Several things hint to this; however, if so, Bombadil must be Manwë, Varda's husband. While Goldberry and Tom Bombadil may be other Ainur this is unlikely because none of the Ainur, save the Istari (Wizards), were bidden to dwell in Middle-Earth. If they are in fact Ainur then the best guess as to who they are would be Varda and Manwë because of what is stated before and also the fact that Varda and Manwë were the only ones among the Valar to live and dwell in Middle-Earth though they lived atop the highest mountain not the Old Forest. None of this can be proven though and the origin of Goldberry and her husband, Tom Bombadil, may remain a mystery that will never be solved.
Portrayal in adaptationsEdit
Goldberry is heard in The Lord of the Rings (1956 radio series) and is possibly voiced by Nicolette Bernard. In the Tales from the Perilous Realm (1992 radio series) she is voiced by Sorcha Cusack. She also appears in the The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (video game) and is voiced by Kath Soucie.
- The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring , "In the House of Tom Bombadil"
- The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, "Fog on the Barrow-downs"
- The Complete Guide to Middle-earth
- The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien