The Fellowship Theme

A Theme for the Fellowship of the Ring


THE FELLOWSHIP THEME, in the category of the same name, is heard tentatively as Frodo and Sam's set out from the Shire. It develops gradually into it's full heroic version at the Council of Elrond. After Gandalf's fall in Moria, it begins degrading and is rarely heard in its full heroic manner again until those of the Fellowship left rush the Black Gate "For Frodo". It is referred to simply as the Fellowship Theme on this site.

HS COMMENT (FOTR Appendices)
HS COMMENT (HS Interview 11-20-01)

Historically, this theme has also been called The Fellowship of the Ring theme.

A short but significant similarity can be heard between a piece of the Fellowship Theme and a phrase in Sibelius' 3rd Symphony.

Go HERE to read more.


Places this theme is heard in FOTR:

  • A quiet version as Bilbo starts writing his book, “There and Back Again”. It immediately follows the Shire theme

  • Just after Frodo encourages a reluctant Sam to leave the Shire. “You know what Bilbo used to say, ‘It’s a dangerous business, Frodo.

  • Going out your door.’”

  • An urgent version as Gandalf rides to Isengard to research the Ring.

  • An ‘arduous’ version as Strider sets out from Bree with the Hobbits HS COMMENT

  • A quick phrase in the Midgewater Marshes (FOTR EE)

  • The Fellowship theme is mixed with the Ringwraiths' Theme when Aragorn fights the Ringwraiths on Weathertop. HS COMMENT

  • As Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli each pledge themselves to Frodo on his quest (interesting side note: The Shire Theme plays as the Hobbits insist on joining. Boromir’s reluctant joining in the Fellowship is not accompanied by music.)

  • As soon as the Hobbits join (to the Shire Theme) and the Fellowship is complete, the music switches a ‘fully formed version’ of the Fellowship theme HS COMMENT

  • As the Fellowship prepares to leave Rivendell, Elrond gives his blessing. (FOTR EE)

  • The well known scene of the Fellowship walking up over a pass (after leaving Rivendell and traveling through numerous landscapes). HS COMMENT

  • Another full version of the Fellowship theme as they run from Balin’s tomb and make for the Bridge of Khazad-dûm.

  • After Aragorn and Frodo successfully make it over the gap in the stairs. ‘the very last time you hear that very heroic version of the theme because it’s the most glorious moment, really, for the Fellowship.’ HS COMMENT

  • A soft, melancholy version as the Fellowship paddles away from Lórien. (FOTR EE)

  • A ‘mournful version’ as the Fellowship moves down the Anduin.

  • A measure is played as Aragorn draws Frodo’s attention to the Argonath. HS COMMENT

  • A ‘funereal, processional version’ immediately after Boromir’s death. HS COMMENT

  • A tentative, resurrected version of the heroic version as the Three Hunters decide to follow Merry and Pippin.

Places this theme is heard in TTT:

  • The opening notes of the theme are heard as each of the Three Hunters, Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas, are introduced into TTT. Then it moves into the full version as they begin running after the Uruk-hai and Merry and Pippin. It gives way to a melody played on the oboe as Aragorn discovers Pippin's brooch, then moves back into the Fellowship Theme as the three begin running again.

  • A quick phrase of the Fellowship Theme is overlaid on the 5/4 beat of the Isengard Theme and then it blends into the Isengard melody as the Uruks and the Three Hunters continue their running.

  • As Legolas says (while running after the Uruks), "They run as if the very whips of their masters were behind them."

  • A slow, sad phrase is played as Éomer says, "We piled the carcasses and burned them."

  • Another slow version on horn as the Three Hunters, joined by Gandalf, ride to the top of a rise in Rohan. (At the top of the rise, they will spot Edoras and we'll hear the Rohan theme.)

  • When Théoden says, at the scene of the Warg battle, "Leave the dead."

  • When Gimli greets the 'returned from the dead' Aragorn at Helm's Deep.

  • When Legolas apologies to Aragorn. "I was wrong to despair." All these versions are slow, unlike the earlier bombastic version while they were running.

  • A bright version is played as Aragorn hugs Haldir who has brought the Elves to Helm's Deep.

  • Back to a bombastic version as Legolas surfs down stairs in Helm's Deep and wrecks Elven havoc on the Uruks. Aragorn pulls Gimli out of a puddle and the battle continues.

  • An opening phrase plays as Gimli is tossed the distance into the Uruks on the causeway. Then a high note as Aragorn jumps. Then the theme as they fight the hordes.

  • A solemn, heroic version is heard as Gandalf, at the top of the rise outside of Helm's Deep finds Théoden fighting overwhelming odds. But neither Théoden or Gandalf are alone. Éomer has come.

  • As Legolas smugly boasts to Gimli, post battle, "Final count: 42". (EE version only)

  • The Battle for Helm's Deep is over. "All our hopes lie with two little Hobbits.", Gandalf says. And the Fellowship Theme is heard for the last time in TTT.

Places this theme is heard in ROTK:

  • The up-down-up first three notes of the Fellowship Theme are heard as we see Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli picking their way through the trees (Huorns?) as they make their way with the Rohirrim to Isengard.

  • A blend of the Shire Theme and the Fellowship Theme is heard as Merry and Pippin sit on the ruined wall of Isengard enjoying the spoils of war only to be joined, in time, by Gandalf and the Three Hunters.

  • A soft, brief version as Pippin is beginning to realize that, in preparing to ride with Gandalf, he is being parted from Merry. A moment later, as Merry gives Pip the last of the Longbottom, clarinet plays the Shire Theme while strings play the Fellowship underneath.

  • As Merry and Aragorn climb to the top of the guard tower in Edoras to watch Gandalf and Pippin ride away on Shadowfax. In the Extended Edition, Merry talks to Aragorn about Pippin and being left behind.

  • A brash, urgent version is heard as Gandalf, Pippin and Shadowfax gallop through the trees toward Minas Tirith.

  • When Sam reassures Frodo that they will return, they will go 'there and back again', first the Shire Theme then the first notes of the Fellowship is heard. (EE scene - At the Crossroads near the fallen King)

  • As Aragorn tells Gimli and Legolas he will go alone to the Paths of the Dead and they 'beg' to differ. As the Three Hunters leave the encampment at Dunharrow, a disconcerting version is heard. (see comment below)

  • A brief version is heard when Gimli realizes that Legolas, with no fear of the Dead, has entered the Paths of the Dead leaving him alone to muster his courage.

  • An urgent but courageous version is heard as Gandalf intercedes on Pippin's behalf when the Halfling finds himself out of his element amongst the fighting in Minas Tirith. "This is no place for a Hobbit!" But in the end, Pippin finds his courage and his knife and intercedes on Gandalf's behalf.

  • A horn blends the Rohan Theme with the first notes of the Fellowship Theme when Éomer reports, "The scouts report Minas Tirith is surrounded. The lower level's in flames. Everywhere legions of the enemy advance." (EE version only)

  • The opening notes are heard as Sam confronts Shelob. "Let him go you filth."

  • A brief opening phrase as the Three Hunters disembark from the Corsairs ship. Gimli brags, "There's plenty for the both of us. May the best Dwarf win." (EE scene)

  • The opening three notes are are heard when Legolas cuts the howdah of the Mûmakil and then again, triumphantly, when he kills the beast.

  • A tentative version is heard during the Last Debate when Aragorn reveals a plan... a diversion.

  • As Aragorn address those assembled at the Black Gate, "Men of Gondor... of Rohan... my brothers" the orchestra plays around with the Fellowship Theme and then takes up full strength as he says, "But it is not this day. This day we fight... I bid you stand. Men of the West."

  • The ultimate triumphant choral version is heard as the Men of the West charge the Black Gate.

  • Three notes are heard as the Eagles engage the Winged Beasts in aerial combat that sound like a variant on those opening three notes of the Fellowship Theme.

  • The first three chords of the Fellowship Theme can be heard on track 16, "The End of All Things" @ 3:36. This music in not in the movie but would correspond with the moment after the Ring's destruction, just after the large troll runs away, that we see first Gandalf, then Legolas, and then Aragorn getting up from the ground.

  • The opening three notes are hummed by a choir as Frodo and Sam lie prostrate near the destructing Mount Doom and the camera fades to black.

  • The Fragrance of Ithilien is heard as Frodo awakens in his light filled room in Ithilien. The CR-ROTK liner notes state the melodies and instrumentation of the Shire are mixed here with hints of the Fellowship Theme. The Fellowship references are too subtle for me to pick out.

  • A short phrase is heard as Aragorn steps through the door of Frodo's room in Ithilien, and Gandalf, Gimli, and Legolas watch Pippin and Merry cavort on Frodo's bed.

  • As we see Prince Legolas leading a contingent of Elves at King Elessar's coronation.

  • That exquisitely beautiful fiddle reprises Fragrance of Ithilien as the four Hobbits share quiet thoughts, company and drinks at the Green Dragon.

  • A three note iteration of the Fellowship prelude plays as the last grouping of the Fellowship: Gandalf, Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin, walk onto the docks of the Grey Havens with Bilbo.

Regarding the disconcerting version of the Fellowship that is heard as the Three Hunters set out on the Dimholt Road:

NeoVoyager asked:

Does anyone know/remember why Shore referenced the Army of the Dead theme in the end of the track "The Palantír"? I'm befuddled!

Doug answered (on's old forums):

Ah, that’s an easy one. This is the scene where Gandalf advises Aragorn to look towards the Paths of the Dead. Shore, in his characteristic brilliance, quotes just a wisp of his ghostly Army of the Dead theme.

I love that moment; that kind of ultra-subtle thematic usage / development always thrills me in the LOTR scores, and I’ve had no qualms about saying so to Howard! In fact… you know that twisted version of the Fellowship theme that plays while Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas are on the Dimholt Road—the one that begins with a half-step in the horns rather than a whole-step? I was in the booth with Peter Jackson and Howard Shore at the recording sessions, and arrived one day just as they were reviewing this scene. Howard leaned over to Jackson with a grin and said, “Watch this, Doug’s really going to like this one!”