"No one has ever caught old Tom
walking in the forest
, wading in the water, leaping on the hill-tops under light and shadow. He has no fear. Tom Bombadil
Words of Goldberry
in The Fellowship of the Ring
I 7, In the House of Tom Bombadil
'Master' is used very commonly as an honorific title by many characters in Tolkien's work, especially the Hobbits (so, for example, 'Master Samwise', 'Master Peregrin' and 'Master Elrond') and also as an occasional abbreviation of the full title 'Master of Buckland'. It's often also used either humorously or mockingly, as in 'Master Sluggard' or 'Master Wormtongue'. The list below doesn't consider general uses like those, but only describes cases where one character is specifically referred to as the 'Master' of another.
||The owner of the Prancing Pony was given this title by those who worked for him, or at least by his servant Nob.
||He was referred to as 'Master' only once, by a suitably deferential Sam Gamgee in Rivendell.
||He was frequently referred to as 'Master' by his faithful servant Sam Gamgee, and also by Gollum during his journey to Mount Doom.
||It was Saruman who was recognised as the head of the Order of Wizards, but when Gandalf arrived in Middle-earth, Círdan immediately recognised his particular power and wisdom. Círdan not only granted Gandalf the title of Master, but went so far as to secretly give him the Red Ring Narya.
||He was frequently referred to during the First Age as the Master of his creatures and servants, and especially Glaurung the Dragon. In this case the title was often mockingly used by Morgoth's enemies.
||He was called 'Master' by Barliman Butterbur, though it's unclear whether this was simple politeness, or whether the innkeeper recognised him as the heir to the Thainship of the Shire.
||He was called 'Master' by Uglúk, one of the Uruks that captured Merry and Pippin, and doubtless the other Orcs under his command showed him the same respect.
||Sauron was referred to as 'Master' by Gandalf, but only as a factual comment that he was master over his minions and slaves, and especially the Nine Ringwraiths.
||Tom was master of his own woodland domain, though it seems his powers could have ranged far wider if he had wished. His spouse Goldberry called him 'the Master of wood, water, and hill' (The Fellowship of the Ring I 7).
For acknowledgements and references, see the Disclaimer & Bibliography page.
Website services kindly sponsored by Axiom Software Ltd.
Original content © copyright Mark Fisher 2003, 2008. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.