The Fellowship theme, after forming then breaking, must draw itself to a newfound level of heroic focus as the Company reaches Mount Doom. The Elves’ themes must bestow their final melodic gifts upon Middle-earth before receding into the West. Isengard’s metallic fury must meet its wrenching demise, but not before scraps of its rhythmic and melodic gestures migrate to Sauron’s domain and join with Mordor’s twisted themes, which are consolidating into their own terrible apotheosis.

Combating Mordor’s rise, the two kingdoms of Men summon their might—Rohan by aligning itself with Nature’s Reclamation, Gondor by calling upon the two grand themes established in The Fellowship of the Ring, the Realm of Gondor and Minas Tirith. These two lines, heretofore heard in isolated statements, are brought to the fore in The Return of the King, assuming lead roles in the breaking war.

And yet it is the Ring itself, that slim band of gold that has become the focal point for all Middle-earth, that undergoes the most profound and disturbing musical fusion. The Ring’s long journey to Mordor is nearing completion. Heeding its master’s call, the Ring has united its characteristics: Shore’s three principle Ring themes—History, Seduction and Evil—now impact each other directly, intertwining contrapuntally or pulling at melodic contours to form new lines, exposing the Ring at the dangerous height of its wicked promise.

In the end, Middle-earth survives the War of the Ring to enter its Fourth Age. Ushering in a new dawn of peace and unity, Shore grants the surviving cultures Fourth Age themes that maintain the aesthetics of each society, but which cultivate newly enlightened ideals. Men are granted respite; the Elves, peace; hobbits, wisdom—and the Ring is granted its just fate: destruction.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King


  • Roots and Beginnings
  • Journey to the Cross-roads
  • Return to Edoras
  • The Chalice Passed
  • Gollum’s Villany
  • The Palantír
  • The Grace of Undómiel
  • The Eyes of the White Tower
  • A Coronal of Silver and Gold
  • The Lighting of the Beacons
  • The Stairs of Cirith Ungol
  • Allegiance to Denethor
  • The Parting of Sam and Frodo
  • The Sacrifice of Faramir
  • Marshalling at Dunharrow
  • Andúril–Flame of the West
  • The Paths of the Dead



  • The Siege of Gondor
  • Shelob’s Lair
  • Grond–The Hammer of the Underworld
  • Shelob the Great
  • The Tomb of the Stewards
  • The Battle of the Pelennor Fields
  • “A Far Green Country”
  • Shieldmaiden of Rohan
  • The Passing of Théoden
  • The Tower of Cirith Ungol
  • The Last Debate
  • The Mouth of Sauron
  • For Frodo
  • Mount Doom
  • The Crack of Doom
  • The Eagles
  • The Fellowship Reunited
  • The Journey to the Grey Havens
  • Days of the Ring