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The defeated strains of the clarinet return once again. Sam tells Frodo he’s rationed their food to properly provide for the journey home. Frodo pauses, pondering the likelihood of a return trip. But the strains of the fully-formed Journey There remind us that the hobbits have not yet even reached their destination. With this slow-rising theme, the trio sets back to the road.

Elsewhere another troupe is likewise traversing Middle-earth. Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli, accompanied by a compliment of Rohan’s finest riders, make their way through the woods as the score’s first statement of the Fellowship theme sings out. As the camera tilts back and The Return of the King title card appears, the theme shifts and French horn intones the opening of the Realm of Gondor, the de facto central theme of the third film.

But Gondor will have to wait, for once again the score shifts, now overtaken by the puckish sounds of hobbits. Clarinet jumps to its high tessitura where it is met by pizzicato strings and the tin whistle. It can be none other than Merry and Pippin, discovered assembling a feast from the wreckage of Isengard. Yet for the all the music’s playfulness, it seems to be suggesting something more profound. Merry and Pippin’s whimsical tones are infused with something sterner. In mixing thematic bits from the Shire and Fellowship themes, Shore suggests that these two hobbits are about to lend themselves to Middle-earth’s needs in a significantly more meaningful way.

Returning / Debuting:
Listening Example: Disc One | Track Three| 1:32
The Irish whistle (also known as the penny whistle, vertical flute, flagolet, stáin or feadóg) may be the oldest instrument in Celtic music. Originally carved from bone, today’s whistles are generally made of wood or metal.

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

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