The Grey Havens Theme

A Theme for Middle-earth: Another Path


GREY HAVENS is a theme for Middle-earth in the subcategory of Another Path. This theme, strongly recognizable as the melody for "Into the West", represents in turn: hope, sacrifice, and blessing. I suspect the theme's name comes from its association with the departure scene at the harbor of the same name.



Places this theme is heard in ROTK:

  • During Gandalf and Pippins discussion of death. Gandalf says that death is a journey an at the end is, "White shores... and beyond. The far green country under a swift sunrise." (This seems to be a setup for where Frodo is headed at the end but isn't an accurate explanation of death in terms of the book. But either you know that and don't need me to tell you so, or you don't and it would bore you to have a lecture. Regardless, in the movie, this seems to be a reference to the Blessed Realm.)

  • When Sam picks up Frodo and carries him up the Mountain. see HS Comment below

  • After Frodo says goodbye to the Hobbits at the Grey Haven and boards the ship to the West. As the theme starts, he turns toward the others and gives the smile we saw at the Long Expected Party... maybe a little more solemn, but a happy smile. The theme continues as the ship sails into the sun. see HS Comment below

  • The song, "Into the West," sung during the credits of ROTK. see HS Comment below

Howard Shore Comments - both from Music form the Movies, Issue 42:

Regarding 'The Black Gate Opens': ...Sam picks Frodo up in his arms and you hear 'The Grey Havens Theme'. This music evokes the courage of these two little Hobbits, putting both of their lives at stake for the greater good of Middle-earth. The music has an uplifting quality to it; it builds around the strength of these characters.
page 75

'The Grey Havens' (referring to the track) is about the great parting of Frodo from The Shire. The melody here is played by ten cellos. The theme for 'The Grey Havens' was specifically created for the ships sailing away from Middle-earth. I wrote this theme while we were working on 'Into the West' and then the decision was made to use that melody as part of the song. That's why 'The Grey Havens' and 'Into the West' are related.
page 78








Hidden text:

c. A Familiar Sight [1:16]
Start time: 02:57:48.
Film action: Covers Frodo’s narration of the beginning of the Fourth Age and the hobbits’ arriving back in the Shire to see a familiar grumpy sight.
Released material: ROTK, 17, 6:44-7:20 (edited down very inelegantly for the film by about 11 seconds – the cut is obvious when you watch it), 7:21-8:11.
Music featured: Secondary West motif makes its first appearance in this film, having previously appeared at Shadowfax’s introduction in TTT. The hobbit orchestration appears again as the heroes move around the Shire – Shire A theme referenced for flute.  (can't find a michael reference to TTT secondary west.)


Bilbo’s Last Journey [0:49]
Start time: 03:02:48.
Film action: Frodo sets out with Bilbo, Gandalf and the other three hobbits for the Grey Havens.
Released material: ROTK, 18, 0:01-0:51.
Music featured: Flute plays a variation on the Shire A theme, with orchestra joining for the rest of the cue in a mix of the Shire A and Secondary west motifs.

d. The Grey Raincurtain of This World is Drawn Back** [2:08]
Start time: 03:08:32.
Film action: Frodo moves towards his ship, and departs from life in Middle Earth.
Released material: ROTK, 18, 4:40-5:53. Partially Unreleased. The statement of the West theme as Frodo’s ship sets sail into the west is truncated on the album. The film edit goes on for another 47 seconds or so, building the West theme as the ship sets out, and the theme is given resolution only in the final seconds of the cue.
Music featured: West theme, Secondary West theme, also the lyrics The Grey


End Credits** [8:33]

a. End Title [0:42]
Start time: 03:12:07.
Film action: End credits (title-cards).
Released material: ROTK, 17, 6:43-7:21?
Music featured: Secondary West theme.

b. Into the West [4:31]
Start time: 03:12:49.
Film action: End credits (title-cards and scrolling).
Released material: ROTK, 19, 0:01-4:34.
Music featured: West theme, secondary West theme, lyrics of ‘Into the West’.

e. Coda – Wagner Pastiche** [1:09]
Start time: 03:19:31.
Film action: End Credits (scrolling).
Released material: ROTK, 19, 4:35-5:37. Partially Unreleased. Builds up to an homage to the Ring Cycle. The last 7 seconds where the music truly swells to a powerful conclusion are left of the CD, which fades out on a more dreamlike note. Both film and album versions are lovely.
Music featured: Secondary West theme, Wagner’s Ring Cycle – can anyone name a specific part of the Ring Cycle that is being referenced here?