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Goldberry, also called The River-daughter, was the wife of Tom Bombadil in the Old Forest at the edge of Buckland.

BiographyEdit

The character Goldberry, like Tom Bombadil, is a kind of nature-spirit personified. Tom Bombadil would refer to her often as the River-daughter, saying she was the "River-woman's daughter," and that he had found her long ago by the pool where he gathered water-lilies from the Withywindle river. She had long, yellow hair and her voice was 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."

Goldberry hosted the Hobbits Frodo Baggins, Meriadoc Brandybuck, Peregrin Took, and Samwise Gamgee when Tom Bombadil brought them to his house after rescuing them from the perils of Old Man Willow in the Old Forest. They found her to be as mysterious as Tom, but were grateful for her kindness to them and were enchanted by her presence. When they first saw her she was wearing a gown "green as young reeds, shot with silver like beads of dew; and her belt was of gold, shaped like a chain of flag-lilies set with the pale-blue eyes of forget-me-nots." She was standing amid wide vessels of green and brown earthenware in which "white water-lilies were floating, so that she seemed to be enthroned in the midst of a pool."[1]

After rescuing the Hobbits from the Barrow-downs, Tom Bombadil selected a brooch with blue stones from the hoard of the Barrow-wights to give Goldberry.[2]

Speculations on character 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.[3]

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, or first-born. 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.[4] 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.[5] Together as husband and wife they are the totality of primal Nature, endlessly proceeding in an eternal circle from season to season forever.

Most Tolkien scholars presume both Goldberry and Bombadil to be Maiar of the Ainur race, but this is not explicitly supported in The Lord of the Rings.

Portrayal in adaptationsEdit

RadioEdit

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. Goldberry has recently been adapted into a short film, featured on TheOneRing.net.

Trading Card Game Edit

In The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game, Goldberry is portrayed by Amanda Niel.

GalleryEdit

Goldberry-by-Hildebrandt
Goldberry in her home
Tolkien Goldberry by WF74
Goldberry in the Old Forest surrounded by a pool of water-lilies, by Wouter
TomGoldberry
Miniatures of Tom Bombadil and Goldberry by Games Workshop.
Goldberry by Nebulosa Dreams
Goldberry, by Nebulosa Dreams

Translations around the WorldEdit

Foreign Language Translated name
Afrikaans Goudbessie
Albanian Kokërr ari
Amharic ወርቅ ቤሪ
Arabic غولدبيري
Armenian Ոսկյա հատապտուղ
Azerbaijani Qızıl giləmeyvə
Belarusian Cyrillic Залатая ягада
Bengali গোল্ড বেরি
Bosnian Zlatozrna
Bulgarian Cyrillic Златоронка
Catalan Baia d'or
Chinese (Hong Kong) 金莓
Croatian Zlatna bobica
Czech Zlatěnka
Danish Gyldenbær
Dutch Goudbezie
Estonian Kuldmari
Finnish Kultamarja
French Baie d'Or
Galician Baga de ouro
Georgian ოქროს კენკრა
German Goldbeere
Greek Χρυσό μούρο
Gujarati ગોલ્ડબેરી
Hebrew ברי זהב
Hindi गोल्डबेरी
Hungarian Aranymag
Icelandic Gullbrá
Italian Baccador
Japanese ゴールドベリー
Kannada ಗೋಲ್ಡ್ ಬೆರ್ರಿ
Kazakh Алтын жидек (Cyrillic) Altın jïdek (Latin)
Korean 금 베리
Latin Aurum baca
Latvian Zelta ogu
Lithuanian Auksauogė
Macedonian Cyrillic Златна Бери
Maltese Frotta tad-deheb
Marathi गोल्डबरी
Mongolian Cyrillic Алт жимс
Nepalese सुनको बेरी
Norwegian Gullbær
Persian توت طلایی
Polish Złota Jagoda
Portuguese (Brazil) Fruta d'Ouro
Punjabi ਗੋਲਡਬੈਰੀ
Romanian Bacă de aur
Russian Златеника
Serbian Златна бобица (Cyrillic) Zlatna bobica (Latin)
Sinhalese රන් බෙරී
Slovak Zlaté bobule
Slovenian Zlato jagodami
Spanish (Spain and Latin America) Baya de Oro
Swedish Guldbär
Tamil தங்கம் பெர்ரி
Telugu గోల్డ్ బెర్రీ
Thai โกลด์เบอร์รี่
Turkish Altınyemiş
Ukrainian Cyrillic Золотинка
Urdu گولڈ بیری
Welsh Aeron aur
Yiddish גאָלדבעררי

ReferencesEdit

  1. The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book One, Chapter VII: "In the House of Tom Bombadil"
  2. The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book One, Chapter VIII: "Fog on the Barrow-downs"
  3. The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien
  4. In The Fellowship of the Ring Sourcebook for the Lord of the Rings Roleplaying 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."
  5. In The Lord of the Rings, Tom Bombadil describes the rain as Goldberry's washing day and her autumn cleaning.