The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Dates
Known to be extant in III 3018, but clearly older than this1
Location
Associated with the river Withywindle running through the Old Forest
Origins
The daughter of the River-woman, apparently an essence or spirit of the Withywindle
Race
Uncertain2
Settlements
Dwelt in the house of Tom Bombadil
Source
The Withywindle rose in the high ground eastward of the Old Forest
Outflow
The Withywindle flowed into Baranduin at the southern end of Buckland
Meaning
A reference to the fact that Goldberry was the daughter of the River-woman
Title of

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About this entry:

  • Updated 4 August 2017
  • Updates planned: 1

River-daughter

A title of Goldberry

A title given to Tom Bombadil's companion Goldberry, described by Tom as the 'River-woman's daughter' of the Withywindle.


Notes

1

It's far from clear what kind of being the River-daughter was, and so it's very hard to estimate her dates, other than to say that she was definitely extant in III 3018, when she met Frodo and his companions. She seems to have been some kind of spiritual being, which might very well imply that she was immortal, but on the other hand the fact that she was a 'daughter' suggests that (unlike the Ainur, for example) she came into being after the World was created. There are even hints that she may even have been relatively young at the end of the Third Age (for example, we know from the poem The Adventures of Tom Bombadil that she wedded Tom relatively late in that Age).

2

Our only real hint about the River-daughter's place in Tolkien's universe comes from a comment to a correspondent in which he referred to her symbolically, as representing seasonal changes (The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, No 210, dated 1958). It's far from clear how we might interpret her existence in a more literal way - if indeed we're intended to do so at all. For more on this topic, see the entry for Goldberry.

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About this entry:

  • Updated 4 August 2017
  • Updates planned: 1

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