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The agitated quiver of Gollum’s Menace traipses across the cimbalom’s stings as the Ring’s former owner tosses the hobbits’ remaining lembas bread over the mountain’s edge, framing Sam as an unchecked glutton. The hobbits awake to find the last of their food gone. Sam accuses Gollum of having taken the bread, and the orchestra begins the same static build of Mordor’s Skip Beat that quaked behind Fellowship’s Prologue. Though the Battle of Dagorlad may have involved thousands, make no mistake: the drama of three diminutive creatures wandering the western mountains of Mordor is every bit the War of the Ring. The stakes are no less.

Gollum tells his lie, revealing that Sam’s cloak is littered with crumbs. With a brassy turn, the Evil of the Ring (the will of which Gollum has just acted upon) sounds in a four-note reduction. “He took it! He took it!” Sam throws Gollum to the ground, beating him until, with a slice of violins, Frodo pulls him off. As the figure fades, its intent clarifies… we’ve just heard a sharply warped reading of the Pity of Gollum. Frodo has again saved the despicable wretch. Exhausted by the effort, he collapses. Sam offers to help his friend. He knows the Ring is a terrible burden. Innocently, he offers to carry it for Frodo. But in Frodo’s ears, Sam’s words recall Gollum’s. “He wants it!” Two elongated violin pitches evoke the shape of the History Theme, but the theme doesn’t materialize. They’re the wrong pitches, and yet Frodo would seem to have heard the theme in his head, his perception bruised by paranoia. He thinks Sam wants his precious Ring. Wrongfully suspicious, his mind corroded by the Ring’s influence, Frodo tells Sam to leave him and go home. The stepwise motion of the Shire theme modulates through a series of dark chords, unwilling to find its way back home. Finally the line lands in clarinet, but it expands tragically through the strings reaching past the Shire’s simple music, and Frodo and Gollum continue their trek without Sam. Sam is crushed, and falls, sobbing, to his knees.

Frodo and Gollum climb higher and higher and Dangerous Passes arcs before them, the cruel glow of Sauron’s lair still looming on the horizon.

The very end of this composition, which features Dangerous Passes and the Mordor theme, does not appear in the film. The shots for which it was composed were cut from the film.

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

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