Tag Archives: The Fellowship of the Ring

The Fellowship of the Ring “The Bridge of Khazad-Dum” (2001)

“The Bridge of Khazad-Dum” begins in the depths of Moria, where the Fellowship has discovered what happened to Balin and his company of dwarves that tried to retake the former Dwarf kingdom. After repelling an attack by orcs (and one large cave troll), Gandalf hears more approaching and orders the group to run for the famed Bridge of Khazad-Dum, a bridge spanning an endless chasm (and also the only way to get out of the mines).

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The Fellowship of the Ring “Gandalf vs Balrog” (2001)

As the group begins to run, the music is a double-timed reprise of the “Fellowship Theme” (that will be covered when I discuss “The Ring Goes South”). Despite hearing this theme that represents unity among the 9 members of the fellowship, things don’t look good right now: thousands of orcs are literally swarming out of every corner, until the group is surrounded on all sides.

I like to think of this moment as a colossal fake-out: the music has been building in tension all this time, and it seems to be building to another fight between the Fellowship and orcs. But then, just as the strings and brass build up to the highest possible point…the music drops out, replaced by a guttural roar at the far end of the corridor.

The Fellowship of the Ring “The Bridge of Khazad-Dum” (Soundtrack only) (2001)

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Given how the orcs are now quivering in terror themselves (not to mention running away as fast as they can), it seems the actual enemy is something else, something much, MUCH worse than mere orcs. Just how much worse can be summed up by this exchange between Boromir and Gandalf:

“What is this new devilry?”

“A Balrog. A demon of the ancient world. This foe is beyond any of you, RUN!!”

Okay, when a powerful wizard tells you to run, that’s a bad sign (because Gandalf isn’t one to just run away for no reason). This begins the second stage of “The Bridge of Khazad-Dum” as now the Fellowship must get out of the mines before the Balrog catches up to them. The Bridge itself is very close, but they still have to get over a ruined staircase, and THAT is quickly crumbling apart as the group is also being fired on by Orc archers. To help create even more tension, Howard Shore employs a Polynesian choir (introduced at the same time the Balrog is named by Gandalf). They add an almost primal feel to the moment, which is fitting because Balrogs are a very ancient type of monster, created by the first Dark Lord (Sauron was just his lieutenant).

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One tense moment that I love is when Frodo and Aragorn are caught on the remaining part of the stairwell just as a large boulder is pushed down (by the quickly approaching Balrog) and crashed through last remaining support, turning their part of the staircase into a free-standing pillar (that isn’t very stable). The chanting here is just amazing (sometimes I listen to this part over and over again). Thankfully, Aragorn employs a little momentum and they are reunited with the rest of the Fellowship.

Now comes stage three, the final dash for the bridge. But as Gandalf urges them on, time runs out. The massive Balrog comes soaring out of a fiery chasm, an infernal nightmare of flames and shadow (the animated Balrog from the first Lord of the Rings movie has NOTHING on this creature).

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The rest of the Fellowship makes it safely across the bridge as the Balrog approaches. But Gandalf turns around in the middle of the bridge and forbids the monster from coming any closer (this is the famous “You shall not pass!” moment). The Balrog challenges the wizard, who responds by cracking down on the bridge with his staff, causing a rupture that drops the Balrog to what will presumably be his doom at the base of the mountain. But just as everyone breathes a sigh of relief, the Balrog’s flame-whip darts back up and grabs Gandalf by the legs. He tries to pull himself up, but too much damage has been done. With a last “Fly, you fools!” Gandalf is gone!!

I remember the first time I read this moment in the books, I literally shouted in horror because, in my mind, this is GANDALF we’re talking about, Gandalf can’t die, he’s a powerful wizard! This is definitely one of the biggest “shock moments” of the film.

The aftermath of this moment and the subsequent flight to Lothlorien will be covered in “Lothlorien.” I can’t wait to share something I discovered about the nature of Lothlorien’s main theme….

I have to apologize for something: though I was able to find the complete soundtrack for this part, I’m having trouble finding the corresponding film scenes for the entire sequence. For now I’ll leave you with the final section (Gandalf vs the Balrog) and as I find the rest I will upload it. Enjoy the terror and suspense of “The Bridge of Khazad-Dum.”

See also: Film Soundtracks A-W

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

See also:

The Fellowship of the Ring “The Shire” (2001)

The Fellowship of the Ring “The Wood Elves/Passing of the Elves” (2001)

The Fellowship of the Ring “Flight to the Ford” (2001)

The Fellowship of the Ring “Shadow of the Past” (2001)

The Fellowship of the Ring “A Knife in the Dark” (2001)

The Fellowship of the Ring “Lothlorien” (2001)

The Fellowship of the Ring “Many Meetings” (2001)

The Fellowship of the Ring “The Treason of Isengard” (2001)

The Fellowship of the Ring “The Ring Goes South/Fellowship Main Theme” (2001)

The Fellowship of the Ring “In Dreams” (2001)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

*all images are the property of New Line Cinema

The Fellowship of the Ring “The Wood Elves/Passing of the Elves” (2001)

Actually, if I’m totally honest, one of my favorite musical moments didn’t even make it into the theatrical cut of the film. “The Wood Elves/Passing of the Elves” is a brief scene that takes place during Frodo and Sam’s initial journey out of the Shire (before they meet up with Merry and Pippin). They’re making camp for the night when Frodo hears beautiful singing in the distance, and recognizes it as belonging to what he calls “wood elves.”

The Fellowship of the Ring “The Wood Elves/Passing of the Elves” (2001)

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Elves are my favorite fantasy race because of Tolkien (and these films)

The Fellowship of the Ring “Passing of the Elves” (Song only) (2001)

The song doesn’t even last a minute in the film, but the sound is downright haunting (as it is meant to be). The lyrics are from “A Elbereth Gilthoniel,” a song taken from the book and are in praise of one of the Valar (essentially a “god” of Middle Earth) named Varda, who is also called Elbereth by the Elves. The song has a mournful quality to it, which seems strange because all of the Elves are returning home to the Undying Lands, so you’d think it would be more happy. But I believe this moment is bittersweet (as Frodo and Sam see it) because while the Elves are going home, they’re also leaving Middle Earth, and they’re never coming back. And once the Elves are gone, the world will never quite be as ‘magical’ again.

I understand why this scene was initially cut (due to pacing and story reasons; in the theatrical cut, we go from Bilbo’s brief voice-over directly to Gandalf arriving at Isengard), but I feel the story is better with this detail re-inserted. It helps to emphasize that the time of Elves is ending (a point referenced more than once later on) and soon they will all be gone, one way or the other.

This is a little shorter piece today, but I wanted to share it because it’s so beautiful.

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

See also: Film Soundtracks A-W

See Also:

The Fellowship of the Ring “The Shire” (2001)

The Fellowship of the Ring “Flight to the Ford” (2001)

The Fellowship of the Ring “Shadow of the Past” (2001)

The Fellowship of the Ring “A Knife in the Dark” (2001)

The Fellowship of the Ring “Lothlorien” (2001)

The Fellowship of the Ring “Many Meetings” (2001)

The Fellowship of the Ring “The Treason of Isengard” (2001)

The Fellowship of the Ring “The Ring Goes South/Fellowship Main Theme” (2001)

The Fellowship of the Ring “The Bridge of Khazad-Dum” (2001)

The Fellowship of the Ring “In Dreams” (2001)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

*all images are the property of New Line Cinema

The Fellowship of the Ring “Flight to the Ford” (2001)

Having met up with “Strider” in Bree, Frodo and his friends had made it as far as the ancient tower of Amon Sul (also known as Weathertop). There, thanks to the thoughtlessness of those same friends, they’d been cornered by several Black Riders and Frodo had been stabbed by a Morgul blade (by none other than the Witch King of Angmar, but the hobbits won’t learn his name until the last film). It is imperative that they reach Rivendell quickly before the dark poison in the blade turns Frodo into a wraith.

The scene begins with the group making camp in the shadow of the three trolls that tried to eat Bilbo, Thorin and company in The Hobbit. Frodo is rapidly getting worse so Strider and Sam go to find some athelas to help slow the damage being done. And while doing so…Strider encounters a friend! It’s Arwen, Elrond’s daughter, who’s been out looking for them for several days. She tries to restore Frodo using her own Elven powers, but the damage is too great, only Elrond can help him now. Strider wants to be the one to ride with Frodo to Rivendell, but Arwen insists: SHE is the better rider, so she will go. Strider is clearly worried, but Arwen assures him that she has no fear of the Black Riders.

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The long ride begins, and it’s here that the music really picks up and comes into play. The jump cut takes us to (presumably) the following day/afternoon where Arwen and Frodo are racing to Rivendell on the white stallion Asfaloth. The music keeps a steady beat in the background, highlighting the urgency of the moment. But then the music begins to intensify by degrees as several Black Riders become visible through the foliage, galloping along behind her. They know that this is their last chance to grab Frodo, because Rivendell is a place they can’t enter due to Elrond’s powers.

 

The chase is on as at least eight wraiths appear and stalk their quarry. There is a dramatic longshot of the group in a V-formation, slowly gaining ground on the lone rider in front of them. In fact, as the music echoes with themes of Mordor, one of the wraiths nearly manages to grab Frodo, but Arwen spurs her horse on and they begin a game of cat and mouse in the pine trees. Finally, with the wraiths only seconds behind them, Arwen crosses the Ford of Bruinen.

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The wraiths won’t give up though: the leader demands that Frodo be turned over to them, to which Arwen replies “If you want him, come and claim him!” The wraiths draw their swords and advance, but it’s a trap! As they enter the river, Arwen begins a magical incantation that sparks a flood far upstream. The roaring flood is moving so fast that the riders have no time to escape before the floodwaters (in the shape of galloping horses) overtake them and send them far downriver (we’re led to believe they’re destroyed, but this will be proven otherwise in the next film).

Victory for the heroes! Frodo is safe…or is he? Just as all seems won, Frodo appears to succumb to his injuries at last and Arwen is moved to tears by his condition (it is here that she prays for Frodo to be allowed to journey across the sea in her place, even now she can see that that’s the only way Frodo will ever truly recover from this). Frodo is taken into Rivendell and after several days, he wakes up. He’s surprised to find Gandalf there with him, but that story will have to be picked up in “Many Meetings.”

“Flight to the Ford” is one of those soundtrack pieces that I love to listen to simply for its own sake. It’s full of tension, suspense, you can literally follow the chase simply by hearing the music. I love this scene so much, it’s actually a minor pet peeve of mine if someone starts talking during this scene, because I’m thinking “why aren’t you paying attention to this awesome moment??”

As far as Arwen being the rider that takes Frodo to Rivendell, I’m personally okay with that, even though I know the Arwen in the book does no such thing. I just wish they’d followed through with making her this badass Elven warrior/rider, instead of backtracking in the following films and removing her from the fighting (I do know that Arwen was supposed to sneak off to Helm’s Deep, but that was deemed one subplot too many and the scene was cut).

What do you think of “Flight to the Ford” ? Is it one of your favorite Lord of the Rings moments? Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂

See also: Film Soundtracks A-W

You can become a patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

See also:

The Fellowship of the Ring “The Shire” (2001)

The Fellowship of the Ring “Shadow of the Past” (2001)

The Fellowship of the Ring “The Wood Elves/Passing of the Elves” (2001)

The Fellowship of the Ring “A Knife in the Dark” (2001)

The Fellowship of the Ring “The Treason of Isengard” (2001)

The Fellowship of the Ring “Lothlorien” (2001)

The Fellowship of the Ring “Many Meetings” (2001)

The Fellowship of the Ring “The Ring Goes South/Fellowship Main Theme” (2001)

The Fellowship of the Ring “The Bridge of Khazad-Dum” (2001)

The Fellowship of the Ring “In Dreams” (2001)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

*all images are the property of New Line Cinema

The Fellowship of the Ring “The Shire” (2001)

Fellowship of the Ring “Concerning Hobbits” (Film Scene) (2001)

There are dozens of musical themes in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, but very few are quite so dear to me as “The Shire,” one of the earliest themes we hear in The Fellowship of the Ring.

After the Prologue establishes how the story came to this point, we meet Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood), who has been waiting for Gandalf (Ian McKellan) to arrive. Today is Bilbo Baggins’ 111th birthday and most of the Shire has been invited (with the rest turning up anyway).

 

Fellowship of the Ring- “The Shire” (Film Scene) (2001)

Most of this scene is a conversation between Frodo and Gandalf, talking about Bilbo’s party, how the reputation of the Baggins family never recovered after the “incident with the dragon” in which Gandalf was “barely involved”, and also how Bilbo has been acting more odd than usual in recent weeks.

Fellowship of the Ring “Concerning Hobbits/The Shire” (Soundtrack) (2001)

There’s a brief cut-scene here which shows Bilbo frantically searching Bag End for something (revealed to be the Ring, which had been sitting safe in Bilbo’s pocket the entire time). There is also a lovely moment when the Hobbit children come running up to Gandalf’s cart and beg for some fireworks. And just as they think they won’t get any, a small flurry of fireworks comes out of Gandalf’s cart, to the delight of the children.

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A lot of the finer details of this theme are lost in the dialogue and rumble of Gandalf’s cart, so I’ll highlight some of my favorite parts:

  1. Underlying most of the theme (Before the well-known flute solo) is what sounds like a harpsichord, a keyboard instrument that plucks the strings instead of beating them with a hammer (like a piano does). There is an inherent rustic quality to a harpsichord that puts one in mind of the countryside and is a perfect instrument for describing the Shire musically.
  2. As Bilbo describes the different qualities of Hobbits, the music takes a rather quirky turn, with short bursts from the flutes and strings. This symbolizes both Bilbo’s good humor in describing his fellow Hobbits and the general innocence of the Shire’s residents.
  3. The music takes a more soothing turn as Bilbo describes what Hobbits really love (and it’s not food): peace, quiet and good-tilled earth. The strings really take over here, with the harpsichord fading back.
  4. Lastly (and this is the part most people love best), after Frodo jumps off the cart, we hear the enchanting flute solo as Gandalf rides his cart up to the gate of Bag End. Though the entire piece symbolizes the Shire, it is this flute solo that really encapsulates the peacefulness that exists here. This is what everyone imagines the countryside to be like, and if the Shire really existed, people would go there and never come back.

I love watching this scene, it always makes me smile, no matter how bad a mood I’m in at first. Howard Shore does a great job of using the music complement the scene and it just sounds amazing. I hope you enjoy listening to “Concerning Hobbits/The Shire.”

See also: Film Soundtracks A-W

You can become a patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

See also:

The Fellowship of the Ring “Shadow of the Past” (2001)

The Fellowship of the Ring “The Ring Goes South/Fellowship Main Theme” (2001)

The Fellowship of the Ring “Many Meetings” (2001)

The Fellowship of the Ring “A Knife in the Dark” (2001)

The Fellowship of the Ring “Lothlorien” (2001)

The Fellowship of the Ring “The Treason of Isengard” (2001)

The Fellowship of the Ring “The Wood Elves/Passing of the Elves” (2001)

The Fellowship of the Ring “The Bridge of Khazad-Dum” (2001)

The Fellowship of the Ring “Flight to the Ford” (2001)

The Fellowship of the Ring “In Dreams” (2001)

Don’t forget to Like Film Music Central on Facebook  🙂

*all images are the property of New Line Cinema