Nameless Fear

A Theme for Middle-earth: All Shall Come to Darkness


NAMELESS FEAR, a theme for Middle-earth in the subcategory of All Shall Come to Darkness, represents, "Sauron's rising power as a direct threat to the natural order of Middle-earth" (Doug Adams, CR-TTT liner notes, page 35)

See my notes below for some history of this theme on my site.


One place this theme is used in FOTR:

  • As Galadriel, in the prologue, talks about the history of the Ring.

    (in the gloom of Gollum's cave...) waited. (dark screen)
    Darkness crept back in the forest of the world. (moon in night sky)
    Rumour grew of a shadow in the East, whispers of a nameless fear.  (a ripple in water)
    And the Ring of Power perceived its time had now come. (red sun setting - signifying darkness descending?)
    It abandoned Gollum. But something happened then, the Ring did not intend.  (the Ring tumbling down a rocky incline)

  • The music heard as Frodo begs Gandalf to take the Ring is very similar to Nameless Fear. It has the same up/down motion to it but the notes are not the same and the rocking phrase goes on longer. There is a similarity to the scenes' content, however. Frodo is attempting to pass the Ring and the Ring is certainly presented as being seductive and dangerous to Gandalf. Doug Adams does not list this as an instance of Nameless Fear in any of his writings but I think it's worth mentioning in this context.

One place this theme is used in TTT:

(In his heart, Frodo begins to understand. The quest will claim his life.)
You know this. You have foreseen it. (Elrond's face)
It is the risk we all took. (fade out on Elrond)
(Ring tumbling in the air)
In the gathering dark, the will of the Ring grows strong. (Ring tumbling in the air)
It works hard now to find its way back into the hands of men. (blindfolded Hobbits)
Men, who are so easily seduced by its power.

"The Will of the Ring" becomes "A Nameless Fear"

I identified this as a possible theme back in 2003 but it was dismissed as 'connecting material' by Doug Adams at that time. I was stubborn. Not only was it the same phrase, but the content of the scenes was very similar. In both instances, the Ring is described as having it's own 'consciousness': it 'perceived' and 'the will of the Ring'. In both cases, Galadriel is talking in a voice over and we see the Ring, close up and tumbling. In both cases, the opportunity for it exchanging its bearer is discussed. The first time 'it abandoned Gollum'. The second time 'it works hard to find its way back into the hands of men.'  I used a phrase from the dialog and called it, 'The Will of the Ring.' 

When another soundtrack fan also tried to present this as a theme, after DA had shot me down with his 'connecting material' comment, someone reiterated, "This is just connecting material. I know Doug is the authority here for a fact, because he asked Howard himself." But like I said, I was stubborn. I kept it on my website in spite of what the voices of authority were saying.

Two years later brought the release of the CR-FOTR. Its liner notes mentioned a theme identified as Nameless Fear but delayed further discussion for the CR-TTT. Sure enough, with specific time stamps for Nameless Fear, it revealed itself to be none other than, "The Will of the Ring." The name, Nameless Fear, is just another phrase used during the dialog. DA places the focus on Sauron, however, instead of the Ring saying it represents, "Sauron's rising power as a direct threat to the natural order of Middle-earth" (Doug Adams, CR-TTT liner notes, page 35)

And that is why I don't always listen to my elders.