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thematic analysis
• Posted by: kurt   <Send E-Mail>
• Date: Thursday, October 2, 2003, at 7:54 a.m.
• IP Address:

this is an analysis of all of the themes i could identify within the body of the first lord of the rings movie. i don't claim this to be complete, as there are so many themes i could easily have missed some or misidentified some.

Thematic Analysis Of The Fellowship of the Ring

The Lothlorien Theme
An exotic, choral theme, used to represent Galadriel and the Woods Of Lothlórien
The lyrics are an elvish poem called “A Elbereth Gilthoniel” The General lyrics are as follows:
Chorus in Sindarin
A Elbereth Gilthoniel,
silivren penna miriel
o menel aglar elenath,
na-chaered palan diriel
o galadhremmin ennorath
nef aear, sķ aearon,
Fanluilos, le linnathon
Nef aear, sķ aearon!
'O Elbereth Star-kindler,
(white) glittering slants-down sparkling-like-jewels
from firmament glory [of] the star-host,
to-remote-distance after-having-gazed
from tree-tangled middle-lands,
on-this-side [of] ocean, here [on this side of] the Great Ocean,
Fanuilos, to thee I will chant
on-this-side [of] ocean, here [on this side of] the Great Ocean!'

The One Ring Theme
A mysterious, sad theme, often played in the movie to track the journey of the Ring and it affects if Sauron ever were to reclaim it.

Danger motif
An alternating, high-low two-note motif, played when the forces of good are endangered.

The Mordor theme
An evil, devilish theme, played on high strings, very threatening. Used thrice in the movie.

Ringwraith (Nazgūl) theme
A Gothic Choral theme, sung in an ancient tongue of man, full of terror and fear, and complemented by bold brass and tense under-strings, occasionally used as a theme for the rings power, and accompanied by a secondary motif similar to the danger motif. General lyrics are as follows:
Chorus in Adūnaic:
Nźbābītham Magānanź
Nźtabdam dāurad
Nźpām nźd abārat-aglar
īdō Nidir nźnākham
Bārī 'n Katharād
'We deny our maker.
We cling to the darkness.
We grasp for ourselves power and glory.
Now we come, the Nine,
Lords of Eternal Life.

Gollum’s theme
An evil, slithering string theme, but while also sounding evil, also sounds pitiable and sad.
Used to represent Gollum when he is discussed or on screen.

Journey motif
A short simple, traveling theme, used whenever The quest is discussed or foreshadowed, or when a group is traveling

The Shire theme
A slightly Celtic theme, often played on wood flutes, other times on string and horn, used to represent the hobbits and the Shire.

Frodo’s theme
Extremely similar to the Shire theme, nearly indistinguishable, so much so that I assign it according to it’s use in the movie.

The Ring Seduction Theme
A mysterious, seductive, choral theme, used to represent the temptation of the power of the Ring

The Fellowship theme
A Grand, heroic theme, often played on brass, used in it’s fragmentary form when the fellowship begins to form: when Sam leaves the cornfield, when Merry and Pippin show up and roll down a hill, and when Strider (Aragorn) joins the group. As the Fellowship forms at the council of Elrond, it is used in a brassy, grand statement, and similarly when the leave Rivendell, are seen on a mountain trail, as they run for the bridge after defeating the cave troll, and after Aragorn and Frodo leap onto the edge of the stairs as the section behind them falls. After Gandalf falls, you only hear it in its fragmentary form again, this time saddened by the loss, and is heard on the great river and after Boromir dies.

Isengard theme
A large, threatening evil theme, off-kilter, played on trombone and hammer, used to represent Saruman, his fortified Isengard, his Uruk-hai, and his forest killing “development”

Nature theme
A high choral motif, played when the moth finds Gandalf on top of the tower of Orthanc.
General lyrics are as follows:
Chorus in Sindarin
Rithannen i geven
thangen i harn
na fennas i daur
ōl dūr ristannen
eryn echuiannen
i ngelaidh dagrar
ristar thynd, cśa tawar
dambedir enyd i ganed
si linna i 'waew trin 'ylf
Isto i dur i chuiyl
i ngelaidh dagrar
'Earth shakes
Stone breaks
The forest [is] at [your] door
The dark sleep is broken
The woods have awoken
The trees have gone to war
Roots rend, wood bends
The Ents have answered the call
Through branches now the wind sings
Feel the power of living things
The trees have gone to war'

Arwen’s theme
A high, slow, beautiful theme, used twice in the movie to represent the Arwen. General lyrics are as follows:
Chorus in Sindarin
Tinśviel elvanui
Elleth alfirin edhelhael
O hon ring finnil fuinui
A renc gelebrin thiliol...
'Tinśviel [the] elven-fair,
Immortal maiden elven-wise,
About him cast [her] night-dark hair,
And arms [like] silver glimmering...'

Rivendell theme
A beautiful choral motif, played twice in the movie, both times within rivendell. The same lyrics as Lothlórien.

Mt Doom
A very loud, harsh theme, mostly two high-lower notes with low brass and under-strings, used once in the movie when Isildur refuses to give up the Ring.

A noble French horn theme, played when boromir speaks at the council, and when he speaks to araorn of the white tower in lothlorien.

Misty Mountain theme
A weary, 3-2-3 note theme, used to represent the mightiest mountain range in middle-earth

Dwarrowdelf theme
A loud, Khuzdūl chorus theme, with brass and strings, used for the mightiest stronghold of the dwarves
Used thrice in the movie, when Gandalf shows them the city with "more light",when gimli runs into the chamber of mazarbul and sees balin's tomb, and after the cave troll stabs Frodo

Balrog theme
A evil, threatening, foreboding theme, played on drums and brass, 5-5-4-4-4-1 notes, played when Gandalf stops on the bridge, and when the Balrog drags him down into the Abyss with him. Used to represent the Balrog or Morgoth and its power.

Aragorn’s theme
A noble brass motif, used thrice, (as far as i can tell) ,when Aragorn saves Boromir for a few seconds when he jumps out of the woods and kills Lurtz, when he jumps in to save frodo from the witchking, and when he jumps in to save him from the cave troll.

Narsil theme
another noble brass motif, sad, played when the sword gets broken in the prologue, and when boromir sees it and aragorn picks it up.

The Ring Verse:
Not really a true theme, but sung whenever the Ring is shown to have power away from Sauron, and when Saruman and Gandalf fight (because Saruman wants the Ring.) Also chanted by the ring itself occassionally General lyrics are as follows:
Chorus in Black Speech :
Shre nazg golugranu kilmi-nudu
Ombi kuzddurbagu gundum-ishi
Nugu gurunkilu bard gurutu
Ash Burz-Durbagu burzum-ishi [2:55-3:51]
Daghburz-ishi makha gulshu darulu.
[Ash nazg durbatulūk, ash nazg gimbatul,
ash nazg thrakatulūk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul]
Daghburz-ishi makha gulshu darulu.
Gū kībum kelkum-ishi, burzum-ishi. Akha - gūm-ishi ashi gurum.
Nubin sherkuk, rakhizinash, matizinashūk, matizin Umbrūk.

'Three rings for-Elven-kings under-sky
Seven for-dwarf-lords in-halls
Nine for-mortals doomed to-die
One for-Dark-Lord in-darkness
in-Mordor where shadows lie.
[One Ring to-rule-them-all, One Ring to-find-them,
One Ring to-bring-them-all and in-the-Darkness bind-them]
in-Mordor where shadows lie.'
'There-is-no life in-the-cold, in-the-dark. Here - in-the-void only death.
I-smell your-blood. I-shall-devour-it, eat-it-all - eat-all the-world.'

Lord of the Rings Board for LOTR Fans

Comments in this Thread:     Expand >>
  •   thematic analysis  (7640 views)    We're Here
       kurt - Thursday, October 2, 2003, at 7:54 a.m.

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