ByLauren Brinton, writer at Creators.co

In December, 2001, J. R. R. Tolkien’s first installment of The Lord of the Rings made its debut, with fans across the world swarming theaters to see Peter Jackson’s inspired version of the film. In the film, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Jackson wanted Tolkien’s writing to come to life. This was accomplished not only by means of the cinematography, special effects, and computer generated-imagery (CGI), but by means of an epic film score, which, according to Estelle R. Jorgensen, “assists the moviegoer to make connections between times and travel imaginatively through time, thereby bringing alive the past and imagined future in the present moment.” (45).

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Written by J. R. R. Tolkien and directed by Peter Jackson, The Lord of the Rings is a trilogy that carries its audience to a different time and place, starting in the Shire. A young hobbit, Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) is given a tremendous gift by his uncle, Bilbo Baggins, only to find out that it is a dark weapon forged by the darkest of souls, the Dark Lord Sauron, who, when creating this dreadful ring, “he poured all his cruelty, his malice and his will to dominate all life." Given guidance by an elderly and wise friend, Gandalf (Ian McKellen), Frodo seeks to rid himself of his enormous burden by returning the ring to the “fiery depths from which it came," and thence beginning the Fellowship. Frodo sets off with his closest of friends, Samwise Gamgee (Sean Astin) and joins with two more along the way, Merry and Pippin. They begin the journey at a running pace, barely escaping the evils that are sent to dissuade their progress, and retrieve the ring. Encountering many dangerous foes, such as the Nazgul, Gollum, and the greatest evil of all, Sauron, Frodo must overcome the dark temptations of the ring before he is apt to destroy it. Nearly losing their lives, the hobbits must rely on new friendships and allies in order to aid Frodo in his journey to destroy the “one ring to rule them all." After overcoming many horrendous obstacles, including death, Frodo and Sam reach Mount Doom, where the ring was forged, and after a final battle are able to return it to where it belongs; out of the reach of all men.

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In the opening scene of The Fellowship of the Ring, the audience first hears the sound of the Elf Queen, Galadriel’s voice, followed by the faintest sounds of violins. They start out slow and melodic, gradually building in sound, being joined by other orchestral instruments and becoming darker as the Queen’s voice intensifies. The audience can hear the sound of drums pounding at a tempo that delivers stress to the words she is saying, bringing the audience to the edge of their seats as they watch the history of the forging of the Ring and how Middle Earth came to be in its current quandary. While the introduction to the film provides background, as well as foreshadowing, giving the audience a glimpse at what the hobbits will encounter throughout their journey across Middle Earth, it is the soundtrack in these opening moments that draws the audience into the film, bringing them closer to Middle Earth than ever before.


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The audience is thrown from battle scene to battle scene riding on the back of Howard Shore’s melodies; finally able to catch their breath as Shore’s concluding score ends the first installment of The Lord of the Rings. Howard Shore created a masterpiece that was able to alternate completely between the pastoral, the romantic, the fight, and the epic.

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