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Treebeard carries the dejected Merry and Pippin through Fangorn, but Pippin has an idea. He suggests that they alter their route, requesting that the Ent take them South towards Isengard. Shore’s score picks up four chords (E♭-minor, A-minor, E♭-minor, F♯-minor) which, melodically recreate the “small stones” chords, but harmonically echo a minor setting of the tritone chords heard when the hobbits first entered the forest. Merry and Pippin, the “small stones” in hobbit form, are about to start the avalanche that will shock Treebeard just as he shocked them. The trio heads South, accompanied by a long-lined melody drawn from the Shire theme’s opening pitches.

A stretched Evil Times motive updates Frodo’s progress. Faramir leads him, Sam and Gollum to the outskirts of Gondor, where they watch Osgiliath burn in the distance. Frodo again pleads for his release, but is refused.

Still chatting genially with Merry and Pippin, Treebeard reaches Isengard. A deep roll of the tam-tam brings him to the forest’s edge earlier than he expected. Where many of Treebeard’s friends once grew there only remains a grove of splintered stumps. Mournful strings quickly grow bitter as Treebeard is enraged. “A wizard should know better!” Brass adds a harsh pedal tone to the string line and Treebeard howls to the air.

The music heard when Treebeard surveys Fangorn’s ruined tree line is not heard in the film.

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

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