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Just prior to leaving the house at Crickhollow and entering the Old Forest, Frodo has a dream:

Eventually he fell into a vague dream, in which he seemed to be looking out of a high window over a dark sea of tangled trees. Down below among the roots there was the sound of creatures crawling and snuffling. He felt sure they would smell him out sooner or later. Then he heard a noise in the distance. At first he thought it was a great wind coming over the leaves of the forest. Then he knew that it was not leaves, but the sound of the Sea far-off; a sound he had never heard in waking life, though it had often troubled his dreams. Suddenly he found he was out in the open. There were no trees after all. He was on a dark heath, and there was a strange salt smell in the air. Looking up he saw before him a tall white tower, standing alone on a high ridge. A great desire came over him to climb the tower and see the Sea. He started to struggle up the ridge towards the tower: but suddenly a light came in the sky, and there was a noise of thunder.

I have read the book many times and cannot think of anything that this relates to other than "snuffling creatures" being some relation to references of the Nazgul appearing to sniff for the ring when the Hobbits are in the Shire. I have also always interpreted the portion regarding the Sea as some vague foretelling of Frodo ultimately leaving Middle-Earth over the Sea. These are just my interpretations though and so my question is asking if there are any references in other literature as to whether this dream has any significance to other parts of the story??

  • 1
    I always linked the dream to the fight Gandalf has at Weathertop, being the references to the sea has a symbolism for the over-seas origins of the Wizard. In fact I do recall another dream of Frodo that tells the escape of Gandalf from Isengard, altough like this one, is not clear if is more than a dream until afterwards. – Nuno Freitas Nov 5 '12 at 15:44
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The white tower is probably Elostirion, where the palantir of Elendil was kept. I think it hints at the larger scheme that the Ring (and thus its bearers) and the Elves truly do not belong to Middle-Earth and will eventually have to go back to Tol Eressëa/Aman. All the magic in Middle-Earth was in a way imported and it is only a transition state, it will have to sail away or be destroyed eventually.

  • This was my impression as well. White tower by the sea seems to point pretty clearly to Elostirion. – Bubnoff Dec 8 '12 at 1:59
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I always considered this bit of the story as some kind of prescience, perhaps caused by Tom Bombadil presence and his intimate knowing of things.

If we consider the theory that Tom Bombadil is some kind of spirit, he took part or can know about of the Music which describes the whole history of the World: In that case, perhaps he chose to show some aspects of the Music to Frodo, like Galadriel, to reconfort him and show him that all is not dark, and the great events to come?

In practical term, however, this dream does not have any significance to the rest the story, just as the rest of the Tom Bombadil arc and Tom himself, apart from a brief reference later during the Elrond Council.

Edit: Frodo has more of these dreams as the story progress (such as Gandalf at the top of Orthanc). One possible interpretation of these visions is that there exist some kind of Frodo-Gandalf connection, as suggested here.

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    But this dream is prior to Frodo meeting Bombadil. – bazz Nov 4 '12 at 11:42
  • @bazz Thanks: in this case perhaps it should be considered a case of "super-conscience" (thanks to distress, doubt and apprehension) where a mortal, Frodo, perceives some lyrics of the Music. Tom knew/deduced (from the Magotte Father) that Frodo was coming to the Old Forest, but I do not see him acting outside of its borders. – Eureka Nov 4 '12 at 12:24
  • We could even consider this episode Eru-induced for the reasons pointed in my answer... but now, we are in pure speculations. – Eureka Nov 4 '12 at 12:28
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    Tom Bombadil is NOT a maia. – user8252 Nov 4 '12 at 12:56
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    @ALS: I know this is only one of many hypothesis and clarified my answer a bit: In fact, this is not even necessary, if he is some kind of nature spirit, Eru, a Maia, a Vala... it works just as fine. – Eureka Nov 4 '12 at 13:24
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I think it might be the tower tuor is in when Ulmo speaks with him. In the dream there is alot of reference to the sea and thunder. Ulmo's domain. I think it was called Vinyamar in Beleriand

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    Welcome to SF.SE. Could you provide a quote for your answer to back it up with source material? – BMWurm Aug 7 '14 at 5:45

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