Mount Doom Theme

A Theme for Mordor


Mount Doom, a theme for Mordor, is described in the liner notes of the CR-ROTK as a 'blistering pair of chords' drawn from the opening harmonies of the Pity of Gollum. (Doug Adams, CR--ROTK liner notes, page 32). But the musical notation shown as an example indicates that the theme is probably more than just those two chords. All iterations are sung by a pounding choir singing either up/down chords or driving triplets. (It's interesting to note that the opening three notes of the Pity of Gollum also are played as triplets.) All iterations are also paired with the Mordor Outline Figure.


Places this theme is heard in ROTK:

  • A choir sings/shouts the opening harmonies of the Pity of Gollum in the debut of the Mount Doom theme as Gollum jumps on the back Sam whose trying to carry Frodo up the slopes of the mountain. It's hard to tell, with these themes that only occur a few times, what 'exactly' makes up the theme and when the music wanders into non-thematic material. But this whole section... as Gollum knocks Frodo off Sam and wrestles with him to get the Ring, up until Frodo reminds him that 'Sméagol promised' and Gollum replies, 'Sméagol lied'... uses alternating up and down chords.

  • The alternating chords resume, still sung by a choir, as Sam steps in to attack Gollum. The action cuts to the Fellowship and friends waging their own battle at the Black Gates. We catch a quick glimpse of the winged steeds of the Nazgul before getting back to Sam whose getting the worst of it from Gollum. But a quick slice from Sting puts him off and Sam turns to see Frodo stumble up the mountain alone. The choir winds down as we go back to the Black Gate. Again, I'm not sure how much of this is considered the Mount Doom theme but I suspect it either all is or is related to it.

  • The choir sings the chords over the Mordor Outline as Frodo snaps his newly claimed Ring off its chain and puts it on. Sam screams as do the Nazgûl as they wing their way back to the Mountain. Gollum knocks out Sam then goes after Frodo. The action at the Black Gate isn't going that well and then a troll shows up. Back at the Mountain, Gollum bites off the finger that holds the Ring. The now visible Frodo screams in pain. Aragorn is knocked to the ground by the troll. Legolas is frantic, trying to get to him. Gollum plucks the Ring off the severed finger and the choir winds down as he holds it up.

  • After a short, sweet respite of sound (as soloist Renee Fleming sings the sound of the Ring's triumph), the pounding choir resumes, again over the Mordor Outline, as Frodo, mad as hell, advances on Gollum and the two wrestle. The troll knocks down Aragorn again and steps on him. Gandalf looks exhausted and worn and then, at the Crack of Doom, Frodo and Gollum tumble over the edge.