Into the West

Track 19 - ROTK


(5:35) The credits of Return of the King.


some thoughts about this song below

(This music starts about 40 seconds into the credits.)



A guitar plucks out an intro to the singing.



Annie Lennox sings (HS COMMENT) with the same melody of the Grey Havens Theme.



Lay down your sweet and weary head

Night is falling. You have come to journey's end.

Sleep now. Dream of the ones who came before.

They are calling from across a distant shore.

Why do you weep? What are these tears upon your face?

Soon you will see all of your fears will pass away.

Safe in my arms, you're only sleeping.


What can you see on the horizon?

Why do the white gulls call?

Across the sea, a pale moon rises.

The ships have come to carry you home.

And all will turn to silver glass.

A light on the water, all souls pass.


Hope fades into the world of night

Through shadows falling out of memory and time.

Don't say we have come now to the end.

White shores are calling. You and I will meet again.

And you'll be here in my arms, just sleeping.


What can you see on the horizon?

Why do the white gulls call?

Across the sea, a pale moon rises.

The ships have come to carry you home.

And all will turn to silver glass

A light on the water, grey ships pass
Into the West



A guitar plucks out the intro music again as an finale to the singing.

(After the singing in the movie, the credit music reprises a number of pieces from the movie.)



After a slight pause (on the cd), the orchestra plays a slow melody that comes to a quiet end. The music heard from 4:34 - to about 5:28 is heard at the end of the Theatrical Edition credits. But in the last few seconds, the music on the cd just fades away quietly. In the movie, the credit music continues its increase in scale and volume into a much more dynamic finale. 



Lyrics 0:11 - 4:23 from “Into the West”`


Written to soundtrack buddies after the early online release of Into the West (on 11/17/2003) and before watching the movie.

I don't know what I think of the Annie Lennox song. I'm sure I'll love singing it. But I'm not sure it transports me out of our world into Middle-earth. For all of the 'singing' on the soundtrack, I've felt like I wouldn't hear the music anywhere else but in Middle-earth. I struggled a little with Enya, possibly because I am such a fan and have, at times, listened to her obsessively. So she was very tied in to this (real life) reality for me. But on Anνron she sang in Elvish and she has that high lovely voice, so it was okay. And the boy's choir in "In Dreams" worked okay because of the boy's choir aspect. It's familiar but not 'pop'. I liked Gollum's piece better. It was in English and could be considered 'pop' (in fact, I think that's the idea... that it be considered 'pop' enough to get air play. But the odd quavery quality of the singer's voice made it 'Gollum' for me. I could hear him singing this song. But Annie is 'pop' through and through. And the rendition sounds straight forward and at the moment, the most I can say is that by making it something that fits fairly well into contemporary society, it will insure a shove back into the real world and out of Middle-earth. Perhaps we'll all need that shove or we'll just be found clutching our wet hankies in the theater seats, not sure what to do now that it's all over.


Written (12/17/2003) after listening to the ROTK OST for three weeks  (but before watching the movie)

I will see the movie in 5 hours and 40 minutes... so this is all pre-movie contemplation.
After listening to the soundtrack for about a week I found myself having an interesting reaction to the track "Into the West". Now it may help first to know something about me and Tolkien. I had read the books in high school (way before any of you young ones were born) and loved them... bought the Swann Song Cycle (didn't play piano) .. drew mountains on the blackboard in math... and bought them for my own children as they grew old enough to possible read them. But I never reread them. I don't usually reread books. I don't even keep them. So when I saw Fellowship of the Ring and realized that I was missing stuff (my kids filled me in) I decided to reread FOTR only (I really liked that I didn't know what was going to happen in the movie and I wanted the same element of surprise for the other two movies.. I skimmed FOTR looking for all the 'changes' and then decided to go back and really read it. I had to make myself slow down, I'm a speed reader who will gloss over stuff I'm not interested in. By the end of the book something had changed. This was no longer about the movies at all. I was owned by this story and I started TTT. Lots of variables came together to make 2002 an amazing summer and I became consumed by the books. I started ROTK and two things were immediately apparent. One: The book wasn't very long, the appendices made it seem 'normal' length but it was going to be over way too soon and I didn't want any of this to end. AND Two: The story was sad beyond belief. I started to cry half way through ROTK and I continued to cry on and off for a couple of weeks. I went on a quest to understand what had happened to me, that has led me down many paths and into many friendships. And although the books are now the focus of my attention (cough-obsession-cough), the movies are quite tied up in it and happily so. I like them for all their 'faults'. And loving music and singing, the soundtracks are tied up in it too.
Back to ROTK (what can I say, I'm an Ent), I liked the song "Into the West" better almost immediately after hearing the full version, and I liked it more each time I heard it. (Definitely good for singing and I sing constantly.. in the shower, in the school halls, in the car) And then I started to notice how the music after "Into the West" just faded away. In FOTR we have the melancholy "In Dreams" and foreboding but reassuring "May It Be" that is followed by a grand reprise of the Shire and Fellowship theme. The music ends on a positive note that make me anticipate the next installment.
In TTT, we get the snaky Gollum's Theme. Ohh... I grew to appreciate this song, the way Emiliana Torrini's voice changed from Slinker to Stinker... and that echo when she sings the line, "And you will weep, when you face the end alone." It's menacing in such a subtle way. The menace of something that may look pathetic and pitiable but contains hidden resentment and resolve. Then the music moves into a heroic version of the Rohan theme. Men will prevail! Even through threat and darkness. And then one last sweet phrase with a ba-bum of conclusion. We will return...(to the movies.)
But ROTK... ah -- something was different. I was worried that "Into the West" would be too pop. And it is pop in the sense that it resembles contemporary music and will be/is accessible to listeners outside the realm of Tolkien obsession. But it was rather straightforward. I wasn't getting strong senses of melancholy, pathos, heroism, grandness... It was just sweet. (In a pleasurable way for me) And then the singing ends and the music just.. drifts.... away.......
AHH, I couldn't bear it. I knew that I would soon hear that music played over the ending credits and it would be over. And although I love the books, the movies have given me great pleasure in many ways. Facing the end of these films was a revisit to the emotions I felt at the end of that summer read. The end of this track evokes the end of the movie evokes the end of the story and all the emotions that engenders.
For a long time I couldn't listen to the end of the track. Annie would finish singing and the orchestra would start and I would jab at the next track button (which bumped it back to track 1, of course). I can listen to it now, but it hurts.
The story is no longer melancholy or heroic or grand. It is over. The ship has slipped through the curtain and Sam will hold his child and although life goes on, the story is over. The music finishes the story in the same vein as Tolkien finishes the book and I thank Howard Shore for 'feeling' the story as well as scoring it.






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