Cage Match 2017: Sci-Fi vs Fantasy

Round 2

Tom Bombadil vs The Luggage


Tom Bombadil

The Fellowship of the Ring

The Luggage

The Color of Magic

Tom Bombadil

The Fellowship of the Ring
  • Age: Oldest and fatherless
  • Species: Great question, actually
  • Weapons: Immense, mysterious magic power, deeply unsettling songs
  • Special Attack: The element of surprise


  • Is unaffected by the One Ring
  • Is ageless, possibly immortal
  • Exercises great power with little effort
  • His voice defeats enchantments


  • Seems to be bound to the Old Forest
  • Is a bit unreliable
  • Oblivious to concerns of mortals
Cover art for the book The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Fellowship of the Ring

By J.R.R. Tolkien

The Luggage

The Color of Magic
  • Age: Unknown
  • Species: Sapient Pearwood
  • Weapons: Swallowing people whole, inflicting widespread destruction, unfailing loyalty
  • Special Attack: Containing (and swallowing) multitudes


  • Overcomes obstacles mostly by smashing through them
  • Is made of Sapient Pearwood, which is intelligent and impervious to magic
  • Is wildly destructive, has been known to swallow those who threaten its owner


  • Is loyal possibly to a fault
  • Higher thought and strategy are not its strong points
  • Wants to belong to someone
Cover art for the book The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett

The Color of Magic

By Terry Pratchett
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Match Prediction

By Liana Brooks

The Luggage wasn’t given to introspection. Travel accessories aren’t, as rule. But, if it were, and if the Luggage had a means of communicating its feelings other than jumping up and down on its enemies or swallowing them whole, it would have expressed confusion.

It had been roused from its rather nice bed atop the wardrobe, sleeping off the last chill of winter, only to be thrown into some other dimension that was very clearly not Home.

Wood is sensitive to these things.

All the normal methods of resolving the issue – i.e. killing everyone it met until someone threw the Luggage into a convenient black hole – had proven fruitless, and now it was wandering around a wooded dell in search of its owner.

The Luggage was fond of Rincewind, if such a thing were possible. Following Rincewind provided the Luggage many opportunities to engage in its favorite activities, such as stomping on people, eating people, jumping on people, and scaring the living daylights out of people.

The Luggage loved traveling with Rincewind nearly as much as Rincewind loved boredom and mashed potatoes.

In short, the Luggage wanted to go home.

For now though, there were thorny brambles to explore, deep slopes that it could roll down, and a primeval darkness that would have frightened most creatures. The Luggage frolicked through it all with the freedom that comes from having roamed the entirety of the Discworld and survived.

After a time, the Luggage found a very promising willow to bump heads with. Old and hoary was the willow, with sprawling branches and a gaping fissure where someone could easily get trapped. The Luggage rammed the willow twice with no reaction. Whatever arboreal bond might exist between them, the willow was sadly lacking in legs.

Then, on the edge of an autumn wind, a sound came. A deep voice, melodic and magical, singing cheerfully in the depths of the forest.

The willow creaked as if in anger.

It is impossible to say that the Luggage decided anything, because that would imply a brain of some form, but the Luggage did turn on its hundreds of tiny feet. Its lid opened slightly, as if tasting the wind.

Above the Luggage, the branches of the old willow quivered.

There was a sense of botanical brotherhood – a moment where willow and homicidal sapient pearwood reached an understanding.

The Luggage rushed off into the underbrush in search of the singer in the woods.


Old Tom Bombadil is a merry fellow,
Bright blue his jacket is, and his boots are yellow.
None has ever caught him yet, for Tom, he is the master:
His songs are the stronger songs, and his feet are faster.

He was a merry man, old Tom was, skipping in his yellow boots beside the Withywindle. Tom’s delight in the old wood was a child’s delight in summer and butterflies. His heart and song both filled with joy.

The river’s merry blitheful burble. The birds’ sweet serenade.

Around the bend, near where Old Man Willow sulked, the bushes rustled and a very queer creature came running at Tom.

Brown as a squirrel, and carved like wood, the creature ran on the pattering of many feet, a fume of fury hanging over it like a cloud.

“Ho, there, my fine fellow!” said Tom, in his boots of yellow. “Where are you a-rushing to through the river’s shallow?”

The creature stopped and a cold calm fell across the old wood. Its lid creaked, the sound of wood bending under winter ice. Sunlight fell on pale gold that filled the trunk.

“Hoo, Tom Bombadil. Look what the forest brought you. A creature from a stranger land, who takes you for a poor foo’. Gold as pale as barrow wight, it is not for me. Old Tom loves many things, but all things he sets free.”

Autumn winds rushed down the Withywindle. The lid of the trunk shook like an leaf and fell. When it opened again, three brown jugs lay waiting, each marked with the sign of the Old Grey Inn.

Tom nodded his head, setting the feather in his cap to bobbing. “Silver, and opals, and pearls had the man in the moon. But for a beer brewed in the Shire, the man in the moon came down.” He breathed in deep the rich scent of a brew he knew well. “A wickedness is this, to tempt Old Tom, to make him forget his manners. But listen well, my little fellow, not even this can make me lose my standards. We have a rule in this old wood, where Tom he is the master. If to Tom’s will you will not bend, you best be moving faster. For here is a place of joy and laughter.”

The trunk snapped shut its lid. Then, much to Tom’s surprise, hundreds of tiny feet appeared. The trunk turned to him, and there was in the set of the hinges and the knots in the wood an expression Tom could understand.

He nodded. “Now I see, my lad, what you are a-wanting. For though Old Tom is master of all the wood, he is also master of nothing. You are searching for an owner all the worlds over, and Tom is not to keep you for he’s something of a loner.”

Tom stood in his jacket bright blue and his boots of yellow. “Now I know what to do with you, my fine pine fellow! No magic works on you my lad, and no magic works on me. We two immortals stand as matched as two stout fellows be. So, to end our merry dancing, I’ll set you on the path. Tween worlds per’aps you’ll find better food to feed your wrath. Now come along, you fine and fancy fellow, along the Withywindle. To the downs and past the wights this ol’ road shall lead you.”

With a jaunty step, Tom began to lead the little luggage along. As he did, he hummed a calming song. It was a quieting tune that of the used with Old Man Willow. The wind, it stilled, and the birds sang softer, and in the quiet of the woods he heard a little patter. A hundred tiny feet, just starting on their run.

They rushed at Old Tom Bombadil, and crushed him on their way. The Luggage found the steps to home and good man Tom found need of a sick day.

Predicted Winner: The Luggage

Tally of Votes Cast:

Tom Bombadil:


The Luggage:

A photo of Liana Brooks

Liana Brooks

Liana Brooks is a full time mom and a part-time author who would rather slay dragons than budget the checkbook any day. Alas, Adventuring Hero is not a recognized course of study in American universities. She graduated college with a bachelor’s degree in marine biology, a husband, and no job prospects in her field. To fill the free time, she started writing. Now her books are read all over the world (she says she’s big in Canada), and she’s free to explore the universe one page at a time.

Cover art for the book Decoherence by Liana Brooks


By Liana Brooks