Goldberry, like Tom Bombadil, is a kind of nature spirit personified; most Tolkien scholars presume both Bombadil and Goldberry to be Maiar of the Ainur race. Bombadil called her the River-daughter, said she was the "River-woman's daughter," and said he found her long ago by the pool where he gathers 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 Sam 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."
Notes on originEdit
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.
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. Goldberry has recently been adapted into a short film, featured on TheOneRing.net.
- ↑ The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book I, Chapter 7: "In the House of Tom Bombadil"
- ↑ The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book I, Chapter 8: "Fog on the Barrow-downs"
- ↑ The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien
- ↑ 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."
- ↑ In The Lord of the Rings, Tom Bombadil describes the rain as Goldberry's washing day and her autumn cleaning.