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Gimli, Legolas and Aragorn are silenced by the carnage around them while Frodo, overwhelmed, stands frozen at the bank of the river, pondering his fate. A deflated Fellowship theme meets the group’s uncertainty with subdued tones. Tears stream down Frodo’s face, but in his mind he hears Gandalf’s sage words and resolves to continue the quest. This turning point earns the emotional peak of the Shire themes, as the Hymn chords begin and a profound setting of the Hobbit’s Understanding soars above. The innate goodness of hobbits prevails, and Samwise appears, trudging his way through the water to reach his friend. Shore allows the score a momentary dalliance with counterpoint to underline the moment. “The counterpoint seemed right for the complexity. I didn’t use it too much in the film. It’s a little modern and quite different than anything else you’ve heard up until this point.” Frodo pulls Sam into the boat—the two friends will take this journey together. Again the Hymn chords and the Understanding melody sing out, but with yet another old friend: the whistle. “The whistle works well because it doesn’t overdo it. It’s so simple but has all the emotion.”

After committing Boromir’s body to the Falls of Rauros, Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas determine to track Merry and Pippin’s captors, and the score summons one last muscular statement of the Fellowship theme, still weakened, still partial, but undefeated. It is, after all, a dark time for the Fellowship. Two members have perished, two have been captured and two have set out on their own. But the three hunters will not be deterred. Despite the Fellowship’s painful losses, they will see their quest through.

On the opposite shore, another Hobbit’s Understanding variation meets Frodo and Sam with a renewed determination and a willingness to accept what fate insists. Shire variations trail away into the darkness, and the stage is set for the adventures of The Two Towers.

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

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