The Grey Havens

Track 18 - ROTK


(5:53) Farewells are said and the Last Ship to the West departs from Middle-earth, carrying the Ringbearers (minus one and plus one).

My thoughts on ending this chapter of my soundtrack work are here.



A tin whistle plays a variant of the Shire A melody as a covered buggy pulls up to the Green Dragon. Three Hobbits sit waiting on ponies.


Other instruments join in on the Shire A variant that moves into an alternating two-not figure as we cut to see that Gandalf is driving the buggy. The camera quickly cuts to a long shot. Two Hobbits on ponies are leading the third pony and we hear Bilbo and Frodo's voices. Bilbo is a little confused about where they're going and Frodo reminds him they are going to the Grey Havens where Bilbo will board the last ship to leave Middle-earth.


The music moves back into a variant of the Shire A. We can see the two Hobbits, Frodo and Bilbo, now. The music rises to a quiet but expectant note as Bilbo asks if he can see the Ring again. It pauses a minute as Frodo pauses, then answers, "I'm sorry Uncle. I'm afraid I lost it." (In the movie, the music goes completely silent as Bilbo says, "Oh. Pity. I should like to have held it one last time." He puts his head on Frodo's shoulder and Frodo lovingly puts his cheek on Bilbo's head. Two slow notes play as the camera pans from the heights of the city of the Grey Havens to the 5 Hobbits and Gandalf who are exiting from an archway. None of this is on the soundtrack CD.)


We hear a slow phrase of the three note (plus catch note) intro of the Fellowship Theme as this last group of Fellowship members walk with Bilbo toward the dock of the Grey Havens.


Slow sustained notes musically evoke the wonder we see on (some of) the Hobbits faces as look up and out toward the sea.


Bilbo is awakened from his stupor and gives a little exclamation. "Well, here's a sight I have never seen before." Sam, Merry and Pippin are captivated by what they see as well but Frodo has eyes only for Bilbo.


The alternating two-note figure is played quietly as we are finally shown what the Hobbits see. A ship stands ready in the harbor with figures standing nearby. The camera shows us Elrond, Celeborn and Galadriel. Galadriel says the time is over for the Elves... it is time for the dominion of Men.


In Elvish, Elrond says, "The sea calls us home." (Home being 'The West') He opens his arms in beckoning and...


The music becomes a looser variant of the alternating two-note figure as Bilbo perks up. "I think I'm...."


"...quite ready for another adventure." and, walking unassisted he moves toward the Elves. (Apparently the Elf off the side is Cirdan.)


Without looking back, Bilbo and Elrond board the ship. The music pauses as Galadriel eyes twinkle...


then boards herself. Frodo watches silently.


The orchestra and a humming choir reprises the Hymn for Gandalf melody (Gandalf's Farewells Theme) heard after Gandalf fell in Moria. Gandalf turns away from the ship and toward the Hobbits. Tears have replaced awe on the faces of Sam, Merry and Pippin and Gandalf begins his farewells. "Here as last, on the shores of the sea comes the end of our Fellowship."


The strings soar over the low humming, echoing Mabel Fatelou's voice on the Dimril Dale. The camera moves to Frodo who is the only Hobbit not crying.


The music turns melancholy. "I will not say, 'Do not weep. Not all tears are evil." Gandalf turns to move toward the ship. The camera cuts to Frodo then back to Gandalf who stops and turns.


"It is time, Frodo." The Gandalf's Farewells Theme reaches the end and holds it's final note. Sam is the first to realize what he's heard and turns to Frodo. Merry and Pippin quickly follow suit.


The humming choir returns. Sam asks, "What does he mean?" Frodo answers, "We set out to save the Shire, Sam."


A slight variant of the Shire B Theme in a Hymn Setting plays as he continues. "And it has been saved. But not for me." Sam protests. "You can't leave."


(In the movie, the Hymn Setting of the Shire theme continues as Frodo passes the Red Book to Sam then turns to farewell the openly weeping Merry and Pippin. This music is not on the soundtrack CD.)


A wider variant of the Shire B Theme in a Hymn Setting plays as Frodo turns one last time to Sam. They embrace emotionally.


With a caress, Frodo prepares Sam for the parting.


They separate and Frodo...


...tenderly kisses Sam on the head. The Shire B variant resolves with four notes of the Hobbit Outline Figure as Sam takes a breath.


The humming choir returns as Frodo turns from the Hobbits and toward the ship.


An English horn plays the alternating two-note figure as Gandalf beckons to him. The whistle continues the alternating two-note figure as Frodo walks toward him. The two board the ship. The camera cuts back to the remaining Hobbits.

(Frodo moves from behind a mast but his face is turned away. As it turns toward the Hobbits, he is smiling. He looks genuinely happy and this shot always makes me remember the big smile he gave at the Long Expected Party. He gives a little nod and moves onto the ship. The music in the movie for this scene is very similar to the music heard on this track 5:17-5:39. But it isn't quite. In the movie, the choir is still humming as strings play the Grey Havens Theme. Only three of the lines are played and instead of the forth line, sustained notes are held as Frodo turns away from the Hobbits for the last time.)


The choir continues humming as strings play the Grey Havens Theme. The camera has cut to a long shot of the harbor and we see the ship has left. The Western sky is golden.


We cut back to the three Hobbits. Merry and Pippin turn to go but Sam still watches.


Sam makes as if to leave but his eyes still look West. We cut back to the ship which is merges with the golden light on the horizon as the screen goes white.

(In the movie, Sam returns... not to Bag End, as in the book, but to Number 3 Bagshot Row, the Gaffer's house. Elanor runs to meet him. Rosie with little Frodo comes out the door to greet him with a kiss. "Well... I'm back". They enter the smial. The door closes. The screen goes black and the words "The End" come up.)


Music 3:14 - 3:22 see Hymn for Gandalf



October 30, 2005

So this is it. As I write these words, I'm not done. I haven't proofread this page, determined all thematic music used, formatted properly, or inserted the links. And Into the West still needs to be done - although that's essentially all formatting; no matching to the movie needs to be done.


But this is the last track where I will sit with headphones on and play the cd and movie in counterpoint to one another. The work that comes after this, as much as I can get done, will not have the emotional impact that these cue by cues have. Two years ago, with my first version of this site, I spoke of how deeply I was moved by listening carefully to the music while working on the images of the film. That work is now mostly done and I will never have that experience again. What's left now is the tidying up.


I cried a lot while working on this track. In the previous track, I talked about sensing the end. This is the end. And again, the movie and the book work in such concert for me. The passing of the last ship is emotional. When Rosie puts Elanor in Sam's arms, I love her and when he says, "Well, I'm back", I sob. In the movie, the door closes and the words "The End" come up and I know it's over and once again I have faced the 'end' and come out the other side. Just like Sam.


I will work to finish what I can and will make notes on my "What's New" page as I update. But I will not post another personal note like this until the final end. Thank you for indulging me. Tolkien and my friends-in-Tolkien have been blessings on my life.








1-A Storm is Coming ~ 2-Hope and Memory ~ 3-Minas Tirith ~ 4-The White Tree

5-The Steward of Gondor ~ 6-Minas Morgul ~ 7-The Ride of the Rohirrim ~ 8-Twilight and Shadow

9-Cirith Ungol ~ 10-Anduril ~ 11-Shelob's Lair ~ 12-Ash and Smoke ~ 13-Fields of the Pelennor

14-Hope Fails ~ 15-The Black Gate Opens ~ 16-End of All Things

17-Return of the King ~ 18-The Grey Havens ~ 19-Into the West

ROTK Closing Credits Music