As the battle of Helm’s Deep draws to a close, all seems lost for our heroes. The Uruk-Hai have overrun the outer defenses and what forces remain are holed up inside the great hall. Theoden seems almost suicidal in his despondency (“So much death. What can man do against such reckless hate?”) but even as the enemy begins breaking through, Aragorn remembers that this is the day Gandalf promised to return with help. With this in mind, he encourages Theoden to ride out and take the Uruk-Hai head on. Eager to go down fighting (that’s certainly how it appears to me), Theoden agrees, proclaiming that “the horn of Helm Hammerhand shall sound in the Deep. One last time.”
Interestingly, the music that starts this moment (beginning when Aragorn remembers Gandalf’s promise) is a soft rendition of the music heard in “The Last March of the Ents.” It might just be a coincidence, but it could also be a musical clue that the trees of Fangorn Forest have also arrived to take revenge on the Uruk-Hai for attacking them in the past.
As Theoden and the others get ready to charge out, Gimli runs up to a tower where a massive horn can be seen. If you haven’t read the books, this is the legendary horn of King Helm Hammerhand, a great king of Rohan who saved his people from destruction. He used to sound that horn every time he went into battle, and even after he died people would swear they could hear the horn sounding on certain nights. The sound of this horn was said to terrify all who heard it, so maybe Theoden is hoping to psych out the Uruk-Hai (even a little) when the moment comes.
I love the moment the charge begins. The music has remained relatively soft and steady all this time, even as Theoden utters these last lines and the doors threaten to give way:
Fell deeds awake. Now for wrath, now for ruin, and the red dawn!
At that moment, Gimli sounds the Horn of Helm and it’s this spine-tingling roar that instantly gives you goosebumps. In the next second, the door crashes down and Theoden leads a wild charge as the horn spurs them on. The music restarts as the king rides out into the morning light (a fanfare version of Rohan’s theme), but that glorious moment when all you hear is the horn is what sticks with me the most.
What do you think of this moment in “Forth Eorlingas”? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!
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