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The Mirror of Frodo

noWizardme
Valinor


Apr 18 2017, 6:10pm

Post #1 of 8 (1319 views)
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The Mirror of Frodo Can't Post

I have been thinking for a while about Frodo's dreams, and dreams and dream-like experiences in LOTR (how are they used by Tolkien to add to tell the story; what can the reader infer about dreaming in Middle-earth?). I'm groping for ways into this subject!

One thing that struck me is that how Frodo's more-fully documented dreams seem to resemble the Mirror of Galadriel. I see similarities both in what Frodo's dreams can tell him (and us readers) and in the experiences of dreaming and of looking in the mirror.

Galadriel says that the Mirror:

Quote
will also show things unbidden, and those are often stranger and more profitable than things which we wish to behold. What you will see, if you leave the Mirror free to work, I cannot tell. For it shows things that were, and things that are, and things that yet may be. But which it is that he sees, even the wisest cannot always tell."

Mirror of Galadriel


I think that Frodo's dreams include impressions of:
"things that were" - he sees a vision of Gandalf's escape from Orthanc (his second dream we read in detail, dreamt on the first night at Bombadill's). This dream is 'late in coming' as Gandalf later points out - Gandalf had escaped from Orthanc before Frodo left the Shire

"things that are" - At the Prancing Pony (A Knife In the Dark), Frodo dreams of horns and of galloping hooves. It neatly links the Black Riders' attack on Crickhollow and the subsequent alarm with the attack on the Pony. (Other interpretations are available too, of course: perhaps the galloping hooves are the fleeing horses driven off from the Pony's stables, or represent Frodo's understandable fear of pursuit by Riders).

" things that yet may be" - Frodo's dream on the second night at Bombadill's seems to be a premonition of his voyage to the West.

As regards the experiences, I note that both Frodo's dreams and his visions in the Mirror have disjointed or segueing snatches of imagery, and can also convey emotion (in both cases fear of pursuit and discovery).

What do you think - does Frodo have his own 'Mirror'? And what if anything does that have to do with the Ring he bears?

~~~~~~
Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm


sevilodorf
Grey Havens


Apr 18 2017, 11:30pm

Post #2 of 8 (1277 views)
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I wonder [In reply to] Can't Post

if all the bearers of the Rings of Power... the one, the three...have similar abilities.

On the road home... Galadriel, Elrond and Gandalf sit and talk without speaking.... how much of this is being ring bearers and how much is simple who they are?

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CuriousG
Half-elven


Apr 19 2017, 9:34am

Post #3 of 8 (1252 views)
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To sleep, perchance to dream [In reply to] Can't Post

It's 5 am, and I just woke up from a silly dream where universities could award MBAs and other Master's degrees based on the amount of time you spent dreaming. Waking up, it seemed a pretty cool idea, especially when there's no need to research and write a Master's thesis, just get a lot of sleep over 2 years. (I'm going to call it Trump University, haha.)

But as wacko as dreams are, they do offer unconventional perspectives on the ordinary, and they're constructed on their own version of logic which doesn't stand up to the logic of the light of day. Sometimes they're insightful, sometimes they're dead ends. I think the same is true of Frodo's dreams. The Bombadil dream clearly has a profound and literal commentary on Frodo's destiny, whereas other dreams seem to reflect his everyday aspirations and anxieties but don't lead to anything concrete.

I really, really like your your question "does Frodo have his own 'Mirror'?" I never fully made this connection myself, but I think it's a valid one, and I think it's why his experience at Galadriel's mirror is so much more profound and historical than Sam's. It was as if his dream-Mirror connected with Galadriel's and amplified the result, like connecting 2 computers in modern tech where they can produce much more output than either alone.

I continue to think that Frodo's dreaming ability is either a gift from the Valar or Eru and has nothing to do with the Ring because his dreams don't lead to despair, deception, or loathing. Faramir tells Frodo he believes his vision of Boromir's funeral boat was real and not the deception Frodo suggested because 'For his [Sauron's] works fill the heart with loathing, but my heart was filled with grief and pity.’ Frodo never feels loathing in his dreams, so I think they have nothing to do with Sauron or the Ring and more to do with the good guys. His dreams are a sort of passive tool he can use to forestall the Ring's eventual victory over his mind and soul--he doesn't go down without a fight.




noWizardme
Valinor


Apr 19 2017, 3:14pm

Post #4 of 8 (1223 views)
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Frodo's a Ringlord, in his dreams? [In reply to] Can't Post

Some sort of link between the bearers of the different Rings does seem a fruitful line for speculation.

We get some hints that bearing the Ring is affecting Frodo's sense of the supernatural - this is mentioned in Moria, and in his discussion with Galadriel (who also claims some form of access to Sauron's thoughts 'concerning the elves'). As you mention, a confounding factor is what powers people might be expected to have anyway - for example, 'd assumed that once the One Ring was destroyed, the Three became just fancy jewellery, and so maybe are not the source of Galadriel, Elrond and Gandalf's ability to sit and talk without speaking.

I've seen this argument carries a long way (further than suits me, to be honest):


Quote
"I've thought for a while now that Frodo's dream of Gandalf here is easily explainable: one of the powers of the One Ring is the ability to know what's going on with all those little elvish trinkets out there. Frodo is desperately worried about Gandalf, and wondering where he is... so, unconsciously, he reaches out through the Ring to Narya and taps into Gandalf's situation report. It shows up as a dream..."

An anonymous comment to this article https://kate-nepveu.dreamwidth.org/....html?thread=8256855

A similar idea could explain the galloping hooves and sniffing of whcih Frodo dreams, perhaps - maybe he's unconsciously reaching out to the Nine. I think that idea is ingenious, but I think it goes too far because I think Tolkien probably wouldn't have thought up some very precise mechanism by which any such link would work. Other fantasy writers would doubtless have done just that and there would be a mechanism we could infer, but not here, I think. It also leaves a couple of things unexplained:
Frodo's dream of Gandalf is 'late in coming' as Gandalf says in the Council of Elrond (Gandalf had actually escaped Orthanc before Frodo left the Shire).
Frodo doesn't get a first-person Gandalf point of view - nor does he obviously get the point of view of any other presence in the scene.


Looking again at Frodo's exchange with Gandalf, actually, Gandalf is astonished by Frodo's dream, and Frodo seems a little shifty about it, his comments on what he dreamt at the Council of Elrond don't match the description of the dream we read earlier:


Quote
"‘I saw you!’ cried Frodo. ‘You were walking backwards and forwards. The moon shone in your hair.’ Gandalf paused astonished and looked at him. ‘It was only a dream,’ said Frodo, ‘but it suddenly came back to me. I had quite forgotten it. It came some time ago; after I left the Shire, I think.’"

Council of Elrond


compare the dream as described in the book earlier, which has the figure standing not walking, and then a dramatic escape that now would think would be the memorable image from the dream:


Quote
"In the dead night, Frodo lay in a dream without light. Then he saw the young moon rising; under its thin light there loomed before him a black wall of rock, pierced by a dark arch like a great gate. It seemed to Frodo that he was lifted up, and passing over he saw that the rock-wall was a circle of hills, and that within it was a plain, and in the midst of the plain stood a pinnacle of stone, like a vast tower but not made by hands. On its top stood the figure of a man. The moon as it rose seemed to hang for a moment above his head and glistened in his white hair as the wind stirred it. Up from the dark plain below came the crying of fell voices, and the howling of many wolves. Suddenly a shadow, like the shape of great wings, passed across the moon. The figure lifted his arms and a light flashed from the staff that he wielded. A mighty eagle swept down and bore him away. The voices wailed and the wolves yammered. There was a noise like a strong wind blowing, and on it was borne the sound of hoofs, galloping, galloping, galloping from the East. ‘Black Riders!’ thought Frodo as he wakened, with the sound of the hoofs still echoing in his mind."

In The House Of Tom Bombadil


Hmm - it's always puzzled me why Tolkien not only has Frodo dream that dream, but then brings it to our attention at the Council of Elrond, only to have Gandalf dismiss it. Maybe the point is that Frodo might (but really shouldn't) use the One Ring to snoop, and that Gandalf is first worried by Frodo's comments, but then quickly reassured.

~~~~~~
Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm


noWizardme
Valinor


Apr 19 2017, 3:19pm

Post #5 of 8 (1221 views)
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I like those ideas [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
It was as if his dream-Mirror connected with Galadriel's and amplified the result, like connecting 2 computers in modern tech where they can produce much more output than either alone.


one could use a similar explanation for why Amon Hen gives Frodo an overview of progress in the War of the Ring, but gives Aragorn no such thing. Or maybe there are other explanations for that.


In Reply To
I continue to think that Frodo's dreaming ability is either a gift from the Valar or Eru and has nothing to do with the Ring because his dreams don't lead to despair, deception, or loathing. Faramir tells Frodo he believes his vision of Boromir's funeral boat was real and not the deception Frodo suggested because 'For his [Sauron's] works fill the heart with loathing, but my heart was filled with grief and pity.’ Frodo never feels loathing in his dreams, so I think they have nothing to do with Sauron or the Ring and more to do with the good guys. His dreams are a sort of passive tool he can use to forestall the Ring's eventual victory over his mind and soul--he doesn't go down without a fight.


Good points. I too think that if Frodo was observing the Ring's dreaming (or Sauron's dreaming) the dreams would be of images of power and domination. Nor does it seem to work to suggest that the Ring is trying to influence Frodo's subconscious through his dreams, for the reasons you give.

~~~~~~
Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm


dreamflower
Lorien

Apr 23 2017, 2:50pm

Post #6 of 8 (1144 views)
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I think there are several factors... [In reply to] Can't Post

First of all, Frodo is not the only hobbit to have prescient dreams in the House of Tom Bombadil:


Quote
In the dead night, Frodo lay in a dream without light. Then he saw the young moon rising; under its thin light there loomed before him a black wall of rock, pierced by a dark arch like a great gate. It seemed to Frodo that he was lifted up, and passing over he saw that the rock-wall was a circle of hills, and that within it was a plain, and in the midst of the plain stood a pinnacle of stone, like a vast tower but not made by hands. On its top stood the figure of a man. The moon as it rose seemed to hang for a moment above his head and glistened in his white hair as the wind stirred it. Up from the dark plain below came the crying of fell voices, and the howling of many wolves. Suddenly a shadow, like the shape of great wings, passed across the moon. The figure lifted his arms and a light flashed from the staff that he wielded. A mighty eagle swept down and bore him away. The voices wailed and the wolves yammered. There was a noise like a strong wind blowing, and on it was borne the sound of hoofs, galloping, galloping, galloping from the East. 'Black Riders!' thought Frodo as he wakened, with the sound of the hoofs still echoing in his mind. He wondered if he would ever again have the courage to leave the safety of these stone walls. He lay motionless, still listening; but all was now silent, and at last he turned and fell asleep again or wandered into some other unremembered dream.
At his side Pippin lay dreaming pleasantly; but a change came over his dreams and he turned and groaned. Suddenly he woke, or thought he had waked, and yet still heard in the darkness the sound that had disturbed his dream: _tip-tap, squeak_: the noise was like branches fretting in the wind, twig-fingers scraping wall and window: _creak, creak, creak._ He wondered if there were willow-trees close to the house; and then suddenly he had a dreadful feeling that he was not in an ordinary house at all, but inside the willow and listening to that horrible dry creaking voice laughing at him again. He sat up, and felt the soft pillows yield to his hands, and he lay down again relieved. He seemed to hear the echo of words in his ears: 'Fear nothing! Have peace until the morning! Heed no nightly noises!' Then he went to sleep again.
It was the sound of water that Merry heard falling into his quiet sleep: water streaming down gently, and then spreading, spreading irresistibly all round the house into a dark shoreless pool. It gurgled under the walls, and was rising slowly but surely. 'I shall be drowned!' he thought. It will find its way in, and then I shall drown.' He felt that he was lying in a soft slimy bog, and springing up he set his fool on the corner of a cold hard flagstone. Then he remembered where he was and lay down again. He seemed to hear or remember hearing: 'Nothing passes doors or windows save moonlight and starlight and the wind off the hill-top.' A little breath of sweet air moved the curtain. He breathed deep and fell asleep again.
As far as he could remember, Sam slept through the night in deep content, if logs are contented.


Frodo, Merry and Pippin all have dreams of significance here, but a point is made of the fact that Sam does not. I think that this is Tolkien emphasizing that there is something special about the Took clan, since they all share being descendants of Gerontius. (A point to note: Bilbo, also a descendant of Gerontius, has at least one prescient dream, though it comes so near to the event that it's not much help--he dreams of the Goblin attack just before it happens.)

In a first-time reader's mind, Merry and Pippin's dreams seem to be mostly a reaction to their experience with Old Man Willow, but it subsequent readings, they could equally foreshadow Fangorn, and to my mind, at least, it seems clear that they do.

But Frodo's dreams, as mentioned, seem to happen more often and appear to be more easily interpreted by the reader and after the fact to Frodo himself. He had a prescient dream before they even left Crickhollow:


Quote
When at last he had got to bed, Frodo could not sleep for some time. His legs ached. He. was glad that he was riding in the morning. 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.


Second, I think Frodo's natural "Tookish" insight is somehow amplified by his bearing of the Ring, so that he has more clarity (it still does not seem to help much). This I think is what links it to Galadriel's mirror. Very like the quote about the value of the mirror as a guide, as was quoted above by the original poster on this thread. We also note that foresight is experienced by Gandalf and Elrond, the other bearers of the Three. Whether it is through dreams or other means we do not know where they get their foreknowledge. But it seems to link all four of those Ringbearers.

Third, such foreknowledge is not limited to Ringbearers. I pointed out above that Merry and Pippin both have such dreams, and Pippin is also lent some foreknowledge of events later on in the story, after they are captured by the Uruk-hai, and later in Minas Tirith. Faramir and Boromir have their prophetic dream that sets the latter off to Rivendell and the former has other ones as well (though they may be more clairvoyant than prescient as the dream of Numenor is about the past and the one of Boromir upon the river seems to be about the present). And in the unpublished epilogue, we are told that Rose Cotton was given foresight of Sam's return.

In Middle-earth at least, such dreams and foreknowledge are accepted as valid evidence, although not subjective evidence, and clearly not to be relied upon alone without confirmation. But it is easily taken into account and not dismissed out of hand--as Galadriel said, interpretation is not necessarily accurate even for the wisest.

Fourth, and finally, Frodo seems to have another category of dreams to which we are not privy--especially in the latter parts of the Quest when the suffering hobbit goes to sleep and then wakens feeling inexplicably refreshed. He's usually observed by Sam on such occasions. My personal headcanon about this is that he is being given a special grace of pleasant dreams and untroubled sleep as a respite from his trials. Whether it comes directly through Eru Himself, or through the agency of the Valar (specifically Lorien) I haven't made up my mind.

Some people call it fanfiction. I call it story-internal literary criticism.

(This post was edited by dreamflower on Apr 23 2017, 2:52pm)


noWizardme
Valinor


Apr 23 2017, 6:15pm

Post #7 of 8 (1130 views)
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Oooh... The Dreams of [the heirs of] Gerontious [In reply to] Can't Post

This discussion should have an Elgar sound-track, perhaps?

I like the idea of M&P's dreams being flashes of Fangorn and nearly being caught in the flooding of lsengard. I'd not thought of that.

For what it's worth, my previous idea is that one dreams (understandably enough) of the day before and nearly being murdered by a tree. I'd wondered whether dreams of flooding are about the coming day: Tom's house pretty much IS cut off by water from Goldbery's 'washing day'. I like yours better, though.

Each dreaming hobbit at Bombadill's awakens to the same reassurance. I don't have a theory for that Any suggestions?

~~~~~~
Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm


johnolgir
Registered User

Apr 25 2017, 3:56pm

Post #8 of 8 (1104 views)
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Elgar [In reply to] Can't Post

An elgar soundtrack would be awesome! Very interesting stuff guys! Could sit here 24/7

http://nyacasino24h.se

http://2hjul.nu/cykellopp/

(This post was edited by johnolgir on Apr 25 2017, 3:56pm)

 
 

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