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Awesome Music / The Lord of the Rings

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The Hobbit (Rankin/Bass)

The Ralph Bakshi Film

The Return of the King (Rankin/Bass)

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

  • The chilling theme of the Nazgul. The choirs used within the piece makes it feel more terrifying yet badass. Even more awesome and terrifying when hearing the lyrics and reading their translation:
    Nebabitham Maganane Netabdam daurad Nepam ned abarat-aglar ido Nidir nenakham Bari 'n Katharad
    (We deny our maker. We cling to the darkness. We grasp for ourselves power and glory. Now we come, the Nine, Lords of Eternal Life)
    Ristais dúath Nerchennin o chuil Coll am na waewath goeyl Tellin i Neder Gurth renia Meditha han phan Meditha ardhon
    (Shreds of shadow Torn from life Borne aloft By fell winds. The Nine have come Death has taken wing. He will eat it all Eat all the world)
  • "Concerning Hobbits". That little melody is heartwarming in and of itself.
  • "The Breaking of the Fellowship" is both heartwarming and a Tear Jerker.
  • "Aniron" aka "Aragorn and Arwen", by Enya. If you weren't sucked into Middle-Earth before this came on, you are now. One of the most ethereal songs ever written? Possibly.
  • Short as it is, The Ring Goes South is an awesome piece that plays as the Fellowship leaves Rivendell and culminates in literal fanfare accompanying a shot of the Fellowship as they come up over a hill one-by-one. Never before has a group of people walking past a rock been so epic!
  • The fanfare that plays as Gandalf reveals the halls of Khazad-dûm. Simultaneously triumphant and desperately sad, what with the glory of the place being long gone.
  • "The Bridge of Khazad Dum" is an amazing track. It starts with a grand fanfare of the fellowship, and then there's the ominous, pants-wetting build-up to the Balrog's first appearance. Apparently a bunch of Maori rugby players chanting in Khuzdul (Dwarvish) sounds just like the Choirs of Hell. The chants combined with the exciting music create an epic song. It then ends with a sad choir when Gandalf falls to the Balrog.
  • Another one by Enya, "May It Be" — which was nominated for an Oscar. Makes for a memorable conclusion to Fellowship of the Ring, and will keep many audiences in their seats while the end credits roll.
  • Shore managed to put one of his most tear-inducing, spine-tinglingly beautiful moments about 23 minutes into the Fellowship of the Ring end credits.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

  • "Foundations of Stone" plays at the very beginning of The Two Towers. It starts out with a regal tone with a hint of "Gollum's Song" added in. It then transitions into an epic variant to the Khazad Dum theme during Gandalf the Grey's last stand with the Balrog.
  • "The White Rider" starts in a dramatic fashion as Gandalf makes his return, it then transitions into the lovely theme of Shadowfax. The theme also makes a grand reappearance when Gandalf along with the forces of Eomer come to aid in the Battle of Helms Deep.
  • Very little can beat listening to "Isengard Unleashed" while driving through a forest on a foggy day.
  • The music when the Elves march to the rescue at Helm's Deep. That ethereal, contemplative theme, reworked into one of the most badass marches ever? Awesome. (Starts at 3:02)
  • The music that plays at the climax of the Battle of Helm's Deep - with the cavalry charging down the slope towards the black mass of Orcs. "The sun is rising towards the heaven. A beautiful silver waterfall of men and horses will soon sweep away the darkness. We won't ever see its like again. Not like that."
  • The lovely motif of Rohan, the violins used within are amazing. Some of its best uses would be when Theoden is free from Saruman's hold and when the people arrive at Helm's Deep. Peter Jackson was dissatisfied with Shore's first couple attempts and asked him to make something more "hummable," and sure enough his wife caught him humming the final version shortly after it was delivered.
  • The Last March of the Ents would have to count. The version that plays at the Rohirrim's charge in the next movie along with that version of Rohan's theme probably actually tops it, and can be heard in "The Battle of the Pelennor Fields" from the extended ROTK soundtrack.
  • Even his evil themes are awesome. The pounding "Isengard/Uruk-hai" music simply screams badass, and the raucous theme for Mordor is just plain warped, which makes it perfect.
  • The beautiful music that plays when Sam gives his inspirational speech to Frodo.
  • The song played during the closing credits of The Two Towers: "Gollum's Song" is an incredibly touching and moving piece about none other than Gollum, originally written for Björk and sung by Emilliana Torini. If you didn't feel for Gollum's tragic story before, you almost certainly will after hearing this song.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

  • "The Steward of Gondor" starts out with a heartbreaking melody as Faramir leaves to face the enemy, knowing he will not survive. Then we get to hear Pippin sing a beautiful song to Denethor. The song soon begins to grow more ominous as we watch Faramir about to get killed by the orcs.
  • Every iteration of the Rohan theme is great, but the one that can get to you the most is the last 30 seconds of "The ride of the Rohirrim". An entire nation of horse-riding badass warriors, saddling up for the rescue? HELL. YEAH. That glorious music with the old recording of The Professor Himself reading that sequence? A mashup just waiting to happen.
  • "The Battle for Pelennor Fields" channels more awesome into the film as the Rohirrim charge into battle at Minas Tirith. You already got the tense drum-beat of oncoming battle paired to an awesome Rousing Speech from Theoden, a musical build-up paired with the Rohirrim giving an epic Battle Cry, which leads to an awesome charge into battle to that awesome Rohan theme which results in a Tear Jerking Moment of Awesome.
  • The variation of Éowyn's theme when she speaks with Aragorn right before he departs to take the Paths of the Dead. It was played on a unique double fiddle constructed specifically for the film. It differs from the Hardanger fiddle used elsewhere for the Rohirrim in that while the Hardanger has four played strings and either four or five sympathetic stringsnote , the double fiddle has 8 strings arranged in pairs, with each pair being bowed together. The result is hauntingly, uniquely beautiful.
  • The heroic and marvelous theme of Minas Tirith perfectly captures the glory of Gondor.
  • The "Lighting of the Beacons" is an amazing track all the way throughout. When Pippin lights the first beacon, the song transitions into an chaotic and exciting melody like a wildfire spreading. The music then bursts into the confident, glorious, and goosebumps-inducing theme of Gondor. It serves as a fitting theme song for Gondor Calls for Aid.
  • The track "Return of the King" is a long yet heartwarming song that plays when Frodo is reunited with the Fellowship, Aragorn is crowned King, and the Hobbits return to the shire. During Aragorn's Awesome Moment of Crowning, we hear a lovely song, sung in Quenya by Aragorn, followed by a powerful rendition of the Hobbit's theme when everyone bows down to Frodo and company.
  • The music which plays after the army of the West is surrounded in The Return of the King: The Black Gate has opened. Aragorn, the fellowship (minus Sam and Frodo, of course), and the entire military might of men are surrounded. Everyone's looking freaked out. Then, Aragorn simply says, "For Frodo," and the most epic choral rendition of the Fellowship theme kicks in as our heroes charge into battle.
  • Five words: "The End of All Things". Brilliantly repurposed in this Japanese news report about an unfortunate kiwi bird. In the extended soundtrack, "The Crack Of Doom". Played during the climax leading to the destruction of The One Ring, the track embodies the Darkest Hour as Frodo succumbs to the temptation of the Ring and the quest is very close to failure. The finale of the song is more quiet and heartbreaking, as everyone begins to suspect Frodo and Sam did not survive.
  • The Cut Song "Arwen's Song", by... Liv Tyler(!), repurposed as "Houses of Healing", a song about Éowyn, and she definitely has her father's chops... It was replaced by the song "Twilight and Shadow" by Renee Flemming during Arwen's vision in the forest of her future son, which Figwit so rudely interrupts.
  • "The Black Gate Opens". Dark and ominous and foreboding and all that, then the short quick wistful Concerning Hobbits when Sam is asking Frodo if he remembers strawberries and it's all so sad, but then! Then the music crescendos and Sam hoists Frodo on his back and it's so very awesome.
  • The tear jerking "Gray Havens" and "Into the West" playing during the finale of Return of the King. In addition to the Tear Jerker feeling of "Into the West", it's been cited that Fran Walsh, one of the writers for the song, was inspired to write it by Cameron Duncan, a teenaged amateur filmmaker who was dying of osteosarcoma (bone cancer) at the time of filming. The song went on to win the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2004.

The Hobbit Trilogy

In General

  • Smaug's ominous motif sometimes uses unique instruments like flutes and bells to a menacing effect. In contrast, the theme of Erebor is majestic yet somber, depicting the long lost glory of the Dwarves.

An Unexpected Journey

  • "Misty Mountains Cold". An orchestral version serves as the Dwarves' 'Do Something Awesome' musical cue, and it does not fail to live up to this role.
    • The ending theme to the first movie, "The Song of the Lonely Mountain", is a variation on the Dwarves' theme. It has slightly different lyrics and melody, but is no less awesome.
    • When the Dwarves attack the three trolls we get this epic rendition of the Dwarves' theme.
    • The first official trailer for An Unexpected Journey included the Dwarves singing this in Bilbo's house. The comments on YouTube were full of joy and awe at its spine-chilling perfection and hope that the whole film was going to be like that.
    • And if you remember the Fellowship novel, it's also the tune for "Farewell we call/To hearth and hall."
  • Radagast the Brown's theme starts with a lovely boys' choir and transitions into an energetic and chaotic tune.
  • "My Dear Frodo". You have this sweeping orchestral opening, brand spanking new graphics for New Line Cinema, the promise of a true epic...and then the music segues into "Concerning Hobbits". Especially notable during the film itself, as opposed to the soundtrack. If that's not a warm welcome back to Middle Earth, nothing is.
  • The Extended Edition has the Goblin King sing a remix of the Rankin/Bass song which is even better than the original, Down Down Down in Goblin Town.
  • The music that plays during the Goblin Chase is a mix of deep sounding drums and heavy chanting that rivals the Bridge of Khazad-dûm scene in Fellowship of the Ring. The music during the Orcs pursuit of Thorin and company earlier in the film is also exciting.
  • The first appearance of the Ring in The Hobbit is heralded by the Lord of the Rings theme, played on a few wavering strings. Not a super bombastic part of the score, but an absolutely perfect moment that sends chills down your spine.
  • The ethereal piece when the Eagles rescue the Dwarves from Azog's forces, the choir is simply gorgeous. Sadly, this was not used in the film.

The Desolation of Smaug

  • The catchy theme of Laketown.
  • In The Desolation of Smaug, witness the awesomeness of Tauriel's exhilarating new theme dueling with Legolas' theme (a reworking of the classic elven themes heard in LOTR) as they race to the rescue of the dwarves during the barrel-riding scene. The love theme between Tauriel and Kili titled: "Feast of Starlight" is a heavenly piece that carries a lovely choir and, in the commentary, is praised as Howard Shore's greatest work by Phillipa Boyens.
  • The majestic music that plays during the scene where Thorin and company are led into the Woodland Realm.
  • The somber yet glorious theme of Erebor that plays when Thorin and company finally reach the Lonely Mountain.

The Battle of the Five Armies

  • Billy Boyd (Pippin) getting the credits song, "The Last Goodbye" from The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. It plays over a similar credit sequence that ended The Lord of the Rings trilogy with each character getting a sketch. Listen closely and you hear that it clearly samples "Into the West" from the end of The Return of the King. But whereas "Into the West" had a definite feeling of "This is the end" about it, "The Last Goodbye" somehow conveys the notion of "This was just the beginning" and just makes you want to pull down The Fellowship of the Ring and start watching even if you've just gone through nine hours of The Hobbit.
  • The inspirational and heroic theme of Ironfoot from Battle of the Five Armies.
  • Sons of Durin from Battle of the Five Armies, as Thorin and company charge into battle, and then part of them set off for a wild ride to reach the orc commanders at Ravenhill.
  • The brief but glorious reprise of the "Last March of the Ents" that is used when the eagles arrive in the Final Battle.
  • "Guardians of the Three" is an excellent track that weaves together the themes of Mordor and the Elves, the best part of the track is the heroic portrayal of the Rivendell theme that plays when Elrond joins the fight.
  • The music during the final battle of Erebor is filled with many epic moments such as when Ironfoot joins the battle, the badass chants during the men of Laketown and the dwarves Lock-and-Load Montage, and the powerful rendition of Thorin's theme as he leads the charge out of the Erebor.
  • The music used when Bard confronts Smaug in the opening battle expertly weaves together Bard's theme, Laketown's theme, and some truly awe-inspiring vocals that almost sounds like the Eldar - or even the Maiar - praying to Eru to guide Bard's last shot.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

  • Howard Shore returns once again in the world of Tolkien's Legendarium to compose the epic intro for the show starting with the second episode.
  • Númenor starts out slow and mysterious as Halbrand and Galadriel, as well the audience, are yet to be introduced to Númenor, then it builds itself slowly but steadily to an epic climax, highlighting the grandiosity of Númenor with a wide shot of Armenelos. Even Sauron seems to be genuinely impressed to see the most advanced civilization in Arda.
  • A plea to the rocks sounds so ancient and somewhat melancholic in the beginning with all the Ominous Latin Chanting. Than the second part changes in tone and style, with Disa chanting a haunting One-Woman Wail to the mountain to let the miners get out alive.
  • Nori Brandyfoot starts so small, and becomes heartwarming, bringing in mind "Concerning Hobbits". The soundtrack expresses both Nori's curiosity and the Harfoots' naivete, being separated from the rest of the world, never concerning themselves with what happens outside of their little piece of heaven.
  • This Wandering Day, sung by Poppy, is a clear tribute to the other songs sung by hobbits from PJ's trilogy.


Alternative Title(s): The Lord Of The Rings The Fellowship Of The Ring, The Lord Of The Rings The Two Towers, The Lord Of The Rings The Return Of The King, The Hobbit, The Lord Of The Rings The Rings Of Power