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Prefiguring its functional debut, the Rohan Fanfare makes an early, restrained string appearance under The Two Towers’ title card, ushering in the official start of the saga’s next chapter. And a bleak chapter it will be. No sooner are Frodo and Sam seen scraping their way down a sheer wall of rock than Shore reintroduces the weary lines of the Evil Times motif, the Ring Quest theme associated with the suffering and strain the One Ring has wrought upon Middle-earth. Tellingly, Evil Times is the only Ring Quest theme that appears more than once in The Two Towers.

Frodo and Sam will bear the brunt of the suffering in this story as the Ring’s influence grows more powerful, its burden heavier. Here, at the chapter’s beginning, the hobbit duo is only beginning to feel this effect. Shore’s scoring alternates between hope and grimness, rotating through taxed, rundown readings of the Shire theme and the slightly cheerier hobbit sounds still available to the composer. However, the Ring has already begun to etch its scar upon Frodo. As the hobbit has a vision of Sauron’s great lidless eye, the looming harmonies of Mordor blot out the brightness with the same close-voiced chords used for the Ringwraiths.

In the finished film, the Shire theme that immediately follows the sprightly scoring of Sam’s impermanent knot is replaced with a version of Evil Times on cor anglais. Here on CD, the warm, albeit momentary respite of the Shire Theme has been restored.

© The Annotated Score (The Music of The Lord of the Rings Films)

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