Goldberry, the River-daughter

“Frodo’s first sight of Goldberry in the house of Tom Bombadil tells the reader a great deal about the woman and, by association, her mate. . . . The dwelling has low roofs, indicating simple humility; it is filled with light, suggesting spiritual good; the furnishings and the candles are of natural materials, connoting rural closeness to nature. Goldberry’s chair, far opposite the door, suggests a throne in a reception hall. Her yellow hair emphasizing her unassuming nature. Her gown associates her with lush young vegetation. Her belt is the gold of purity and sovereignty, but it celebrates in its floral design the eternal, cyclical triumph of nature; she is encircled with water and flowers, symbols of purity and fertility. As a whole, the image asserts Goldberry as a queen or a local deity, whose power derives from nature.”

– Deirdre Greene, “Higher Argument: Tolkien and the Tradition of Vision, Epic and Prophecy”, Proceedings of the J.R.R. Tolkien Centenary Conference 1992 (1995)

2 thoughts on “Goldberry, the River-daughter”

  1. Deirdre Greene Lono

    Matthew: However did you come across this? I think there is good work still to be done on Goldberry as an emblem of femininity. Thank you for pointing to this 🙂

    Deirdre Greene Lono

  2. Deirdre, I should have posted this. I was teaching through the Fellowship of the Rings and was using The Lord of the Rings: A Reader’s Companion by Hammond and Scull. This presentation was cited in that volume. And I agree with you; I’d love to see some further development of this. Thank you!

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