Gandalf at the Door to Moria

lyrics source text








not in movie?



Text by Philippa Boyens

Music by Howard Shore

Sindarin translation by David Salo

The AS-FOTR presented this source text, indicating that it was heard at the Doors of Moria. I've been 'collecting' the songs of this move for some time now. My original site listed all the songs with unknown lyrics in the FOTR. I made up gifts for my friends of all the songs with a lyric booklet. Even if they aren't all on this site, I thought I at least knew where they were. This one flew right past me. The music and singing combine for a shimmering sound when the moon hits the Gates of Moria to reveal the decoration and writing crafted with ithildin on the door. The text would have refered to the imagery found on the door. The 'light of FŽanor' is the 'Star of the House of FŽanor'. 'Two peoples' refers to the 'emblems of Durin' (Dwarves) and the 'Tree of the High Elves'.


However, none of us could determine what was being sung. When the choral sheet music for the FOTR Live symphony was made available, we realized why. The lyrics sung there were from Footsteps of Doom. Doug Adams was asked about this and he replied:

Well, I know that this composition was assembled using the Gandalf at the Door lyric... and I believe (doing this of the top of my head) that you still hear a very jumbled version of this on the CD. My guess is that the lyric was so jumbled that, for the live performance, they went back and reset a more straightforward lyric (apparently Footsteps) just to maintain some semblance of coherence. I don't know that for a fact, of course, but it certainly seems to be the case.

I have to say, however, that the lyrics as provided by the choral sheet music match what I'm hearing on the CR-FOTR in multiple places. However, I'm not so sure they match the singing heard in the movie. There is dialog and sound effects over the singing, which complicates things. But there isn't a strong sense of hearing even the same syllables, the same number of syllables, or the same timing of syllables. (Danijel Legin thinks they are the same.) Perhaps the movie uses this 'jumbled' version of the Gandalf at the Door to Moria lyrics. But since the CR-FOTR tracks are assembled from material recorded prior to FOTR Live, the switch of source material - if one was made - would not have been prompted by the concert. Not being sure if the CR-FOTR and the movie use the same singing, one is left with two questions.

Why would two tracks be prepared - one being used for the movie and one being assembled into the CR-FOTR?

If there was a quest for 'more straightforward lyric just to maintain some semblance of coherence', why not use a more coherent version of Gandalf at the Door to Moria? Why use Footsteps of Doom? The subject matter of the first seems considerably more appropriate for the scene at Moria's door.


Original English


Text in blue indicates language used

Text in green indicates lyrics used

Text in brown indicates lyrics not used

Text in black indicates English translation

Galad FŽanor

The light of FŽanor

danna or th‚d gwaith

Falls on two peoples

beinas sin goeol

Such terrible beauty

Ūrith sin bara

Such burning desire

FOTR, Book 2, Chapter IV, Journey in the Dark

At the top, as high as Gandalf could reach, was an arch of interlacing letters in an Elvish character. Below, though the threads were in places blurred or broken, the outline could be seen of an anvil and a hammer surmounted by a crown with seven stars. Beneath these again were two trees, each bearing crescent moons. More clearly than all else there shone forth in the middle of the door a single star with many rays.

`There are the emblems of Durin!' cried Gimli.

`And there is the Tree of the High Elves!' said Legolas.

`And the Star of the House of FŽanor,' said Gandalf. `They are wrought of ithildin that mirrors only starlight and moonlight, and sleeps until it is touched by one who speaks words now long forgotten in Middle-earth. It is long since I heard them, and I thought deeply before I could recall them to my mind.