A hint by the author that comes later in the story
Foreshadowing is an advance sign or warning of what is to come in the future. The author of a mystery novel might use foreshadowing in the early chapter of his book to give readers an inkling of an impending murder.
- Frodo: 'What a pity that Bilbo did not stab that vile creature [Gollum – an uncivilized being], when he had a chance!'
- Gandalf: 'Pity? It was pity that stayed his hand. [...] Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. [...] My heart tells me that he has some part to play yet, for good or ill, before the end; and when that comes, the pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many - yours not least.'