Isengard/Orc Theme

A Theme for Isengard and the Orcs


ISENGARD/ORC THEME, a theme for Isengard and the Orcs, is often used in conjunction with the Five Beat Pattern, but forming no particular rhythmic relationship with it. (That is, it can be heard starting on any beat of the 5 Beat Pattern).

In the FOTR, the theme is used for the first time as Saruman begins ripping down trees and is used every time that Isengard is shown after that. (Since it is used every time Isengard is shown I have not documented all those occurrences.) It is heard frequently throughout TTT but for the last time as Uruk-hai launch their final assault on Helm's Deep. In ROTK, the CR-ROTK liner notes state that the theme is never heard again after Saruman falls, but it's influences continue to be felt. (pg 28)

HS COMMENT (FOTR Audio Commentary)
HS COMMENT (FOTR Appendices Comment)
HS COMMENT (TTT Audio Commentary)


Places this theme is heard in FOTR:

  • When Saruman begins ripping down trees and every time we see Isengard after that

  • When the Uruk-hai are running on the trail in pursuit of the Fellowship paddling down the Anduin

  • Immediately after Boromir blows his horn while fighting Uruk-hai soldiers at Amon Hen

Places this theme is heard in TTT:

  • When the Uruks carrying Merry and Pippin smell 'man-flesh'

  • While Saruman is talking about the Two Towers - Barad-dûr and Orthanc, we see the trees of Fangorn being cut and burned in the fires of Isengard.

  • While the Three Hunters chase the Uruks, we hear a quick phrase of the Fellowship Theme played over the 5/4 beat, then we hear the Isengard melody as the beat continues

  • As Saruman orders the Forests of Fangorn burned

  • After the announcement is made that 'Meats back on the menu'... quarrelling Orcs and Uruks on the plains of Rohan

  • As Hama is trying to figure out 'what is wrong' with a Warg Rider lurking on a bluff above him

  • As Legolas shoots far-reaching arrows at the approaching Warg Riders

  • Some new keys are used for the Isengard Theme as Saruman address his troops before sending them out to annihilate men

  • Numerous times during the Battle of Helm's Deep

    • Just after the first ladders are raised and the battle becomes hand to hand

    • As Uruks swarm the walls of Helm's Deep, the 5/4 beat gets mixed with the Rohan Theme

    • As the very large ladders are raised, pulled up by large chains fired by ballistae.

Places this theme is heard in ROTK:

  • A quiet, half formed version plays seductively as Saruman tries to charm Théoden. "Can we not take counsel together as we once did, my old friend? Can we not have peace, you and I?" (EE Scene)

  • One last quiet version as Saruman menaces the gathering below with Sauron's impending attack. "His attack with come soon. You're all going to die." (EE Scene)

  • As Frodo and Sam, disguised as Orcs, get caught up in the Orc Army moving toward the Black Gate. Here, both the Five Beat Pattern and the Threat of Mordor function as ostinatos under a melodic line that wavers between the old Isengard Theme and its Fourth Age version, the Witch King / Orcs of Mordor Theme.  (EE Scene)

  • The same mix of Five Beat Pattern, Threat of Mordor, and Isengard/Orcs of Mordor Theme is heard as infighting (instigated by Sam and the weakened Frodo) breaks out among the Orc troops. (EE Scene)