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Faramir tells the hobbits that Boromir, his brother, is dead. Cloven excerpts of Evil Times litter the scene, select pitches chipped off the figure entirely, others raising an upsetting half-step, bending the line closer to Mordor’s chromatic tones. With a compassionate swell of strings, Faramir recalls finding his brother’s boat. He turns Boromir’s ruined horn in his hands, contemplative, and for just a moment the score trembles. Celli and basses, first in A♭ minor then G minor, peruse the first five notes of the Seduction of the Ring theme. Boromir tried to take the Ring. Does Faramir share his weakness?

The younger brother remembers happier times, envisioning Boromir retaking the city of Osgiliath. A sterling trumpet solo awakens, flexing its strong limbs and sounding The Realm of Gondor. Boromir proudly announces, “This city of Osgiliath has been reclaimed for Gondor!” Cymbals crash and a company of brass sings Gondor’s theme as proudly as it has yet been heard. But for all its dignity, it is still The Realm of Gondor (in Decline), the melody line pulling downwards at the theme’s tail end.

Faramir and Boromir share a drink under the shelter of the victorious score, but the calm is unmade by their father’s entrance. Denethor, the Steward of Gondor, has another task for his eldest. Word of Elrond’s upcoming Council has reached his ears, and he has guessed its purpose. The One Ring has been found. The History of the Ring theme plays, but ducks away at the last instant, concealing itself from view. At the same time, a new more sinister motive reveals itself. A purely rhythmic variation on the Mordor Skip Beat percolates through the string writing, each statement bracketed into three identical pitches that neither rise nor shift. The utterances become more pronounced until the line breaks to the forefront of the score in a near quote of a passage from The Fellowship of the Ring’s Prologue. War with Sauron has bent Denethor’s fragile mind. His voice is but a whisper, yet Shore’s score builds so intently that each word assumes a maddening weight. “Bring me back this mighty gift,” he tells Boromir.

Despite his misgivings Boromir accepts this charge, and cor anglais and French horn join over a string pedal in The Two Towers’ final muted statement of The Realm of Gondor. Strings finish the line, accentuating its conclusion—the Decline phrase.

The choral writing in this composition, which features The Two Towers’ only use of “The Death of Boromir” text, does not appear in the film.

Text by J. R. R. Tolkien
Sindarin Translation by David Salo
First Heard: Disc Two | Track Thirteen
Ú-velin i vegil an eigas | I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness
Egor i bilin a linnas | Nor the arrow for its swiftness
Egor i vaethor an aglar | Nor the Warrior for his glory
Melin i mar i beriar. | I love the homeland which they defend.

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

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