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Science Fiction
January 2002

Santa Claus: Lord of the Rings

In the rec.arts.sf.written newsgroup there was a disturbingly plausible thread connecting Santa Claus and the Lord of the Rings. Learn about fruitcake as mathoms, the sinister Tom Bombadil, Silmarils on the Christmas tree, reindeer as ringwraiths, and other horrors. The gruesome details follow:

Chad Irby
How do you think Santa got all of his workers?

He ended up with all of the Elven rings, and centuries of malnourishment and mistreatment has resulted in a flock of miniscule elf-slaves.

George Williams
“One ring to rule them all, and unto Christmas bind them.”

Sea Wasp
The One wasn’t destroyed… Santa got a hold of it.

Makes sense. All those paranoia-inducing lyrics … “He sees you when you’re sleeping… he knows when you’re awake… he knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness’ sake!”

Kyle Haight
Wonderful. Now I’m going to dream about Santa’s terrible jolly red eye.

I’ve just realised, it’s worse than that, the books lied. Santa didn’t get the ring. The ability to see everything he has an all seeing eye.

Santa is Saur…………………………..

*****NO CARRIER*****

Mark Atwood
“There is, in a tower, far to the north, an Eye, unblinking.”

Niall McAuley
As to who Santa really is, which jolly character in LOTR actually gets to *hold the ring in his hand* at one point?

So, old Tom Bombadil does a little ring-palming and sends Frodo off with a lesser ring, then clears off to the ruins of Angband beneath the North Polar ice cap, there to use the power of the One Ring to draw the surviving Orcs to him, to toil beneath the ice in his grim, satanic toy mills.

Sea Wasp
Now THAT is a stroke of genius. And with Bombadil’s power PLUS the One’s, BombaSauron is able to cause Barad-Dur to topple, etc., at the appropriate time. This implies that Sauron himself WILL come back one day, since his Ring is still intact, though.

Michael S. Schiffer
Of course. “[T]he children know he’ll be back again someday.” Though that song reflects the conflation of multiple Dark Lords. The magic hat is, of course, the Iron Crown (“he began to dance around” is a memory of when Luthien sang for him in Thangorodrim), and the association with cold and snow is similarly obvious. But the “eye[s] made out of coal” are, of course, Sauron’s, which glowed red and fiery like a live coal. And the pipe is, as you’d guess, from Saruman.

Andrew Plotkin
But there were only nine Nazgul — oh, no, wait, Sauron also brought three of the dwarven rings to himself during the Third Age. Total: twelve tiny reindeer. (Three smaller than the others.)

The Christmas Tree is the sign of Bombadil’s power, of course, but… um, why do we traditionally put a Silmaril at the top?

Sea Wasp
Morgoth’s Crown, you fool.

Liz Broadwell
Specifically, it’s a propitiation ritual — we act out returning the one that Beren and Luthien stole, in the hope that nobody will blame *us* for the deed of some idiot hero. What’d they want it for, anyway? Not like they did anything useful with it once they’d got it …

Jouni Karhu
No. Instead, when the Christmas Tree dies and we carry it outside, it symbolizes the felling of the Trees of Valinor.

John David Galt
Does that mean the Christmas feast celebrates the Kinslaying? As a sort of evil Miracle of Transsubstantiation?

Michael S. Schiffer
Swords and swan-ships, carving knives and turkeys (or geese)… the correspondences aren’t exactly subtle. (And we probably shouldn’t even get started on the fruitcake– but think the Haudh-en-Ndengin.)

Charles R Martin
Yes, I think fruitcake is becoming increasingly important in this whole thread.

Brenda W. Clough
Obviously fruitcakes are mathoms, those presents which are passed around from hobbit to hobbit.

Steinn Sigurdsson
Hmm, so that is why we kill it before decorating it, to make the Ents cry some more?

Michael Stemper (re Nazgul and reindeer)
No, nine is exactly right. Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder, and Blitzen make eight. Then, you add in the (non-canonical) Rudolph, with his glowing red nose, and you have nine reindeer for mortal men doomed to die.

George William Herbert
And, given the various Rings’ proclivity for glowing with red elvish runes, and modern body piercing, we have a plausible theory for *why* Rudolph’s nose glows red…

Lance Purple
How does Tolkien’s “Father Christmas Letters” fit into all of this? Is the North Polar Bear one of the Beornings? Are the Goblins the same ones defeated at the Battle of Five Armies? etc.

Chad Irby
But since Tom Bombadil/Santa was already a major power before he got the Ring, Sauron is out in the cold, and would be stuck in some backwoods spot, getting less and less powerful. Which would explain where the Grinch came from.

Sea Wasp
Of COURSE! And the Hobbits are the Whos!

And when Sauron finally repents of his nature — redemption of his Maia spirit — he once more can access that part which was locked away, thus the strength boost he got.

Michael S. Schiffer
It fits– from his interrogation of Gollum, he knew that the One had been a “present”, so he contrived to grab all of their presents in the hopes of getting it back. (One may forgive him for not getting the distinction between Christmas presents and birthday presents, it had been so long since he’d gotten either.)

This page was last updated January 6, 2002.

table of contents
Science Fiction
January 2002