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Treebeard’s peers have reached their decision. The Ents will not help. Merry is crushed, but Pippin tries to lift his spirits by recalling the Shire. Strings accompany Pippin’s efforts, trying to bolster the score with the Shire’s theme, but the line comes out heavy, burdened, voiced lower in the orchestra than usual and unable to elicit anything other than a sad recollection of a faraway home. Merry tells Pippin that if this war isn’t stopped, not even the Shire will be immune.

The war at Helm’s Deep goes no better. The tide has turned in the Uruks’ favor, and the score pauses amidst the fury of battle to mourn what seems to be the Rohirrim’s inevitable defeat. “This is the despair of it all now,” Shore says. Théoden calls upon Aragorn to announce a retreat and the down-and-back-up figure that binds Aragorn’s emerging heroism to his valor is turned disenchantingly against him. His leadership has brought no lasting aid.

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

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