JohnSolo

The History of the One Ring vs. Hedwig's Theme

The History of the One Ring vs. Hedwig's Theme  

33 members have voted

  1. 1. Which theme do you prefer?

    • The History of the One Ring (composed by Howard Shore)
      13
    • Hedwig's Theme (composed by John Williams)
      20


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Both cues serve as main themes to easily the two most influential and popular fantasy series of all time; The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, respectively.

 

Which musical theme do you prefer, "The History of the One Ring" or "Hedwig's Theme"?

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Voted for Hedwig.  I could sit down and listen to a presentation of Hedwig's theme.  The History of the Ring theme is great, and adds essential color and a feeling of history to the movie, but I don't think there's a good, satisfying theme-only presentation that could be made out of it.

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5 hours ago, mstrox said:

Voted for Hedwig.  I could sit down and listen to a presentation of Hedwig's theme.  The History of the Ring theme is great, and adds essential color and a feeling of history to the movie, but I don't think there's a good, satisfying theme-only presentation that could be made out of it.

I'm not sure if that's the comparison to make.  The "Hedwig's Theme" track contains more than just the primary "Hedwig's Theme" motif, but a number of different related melodies; it would be more comparable if there were a "Ring Suite" composed of Sauron's theme and the Seduction theme in addition to the History motif.

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What is The History of the Ring? A quick Google search turned up a Leonard Rosenman track that reminds me of Star Trek IV. I'm not a Hobbit fan, so I'll need a YouTube link if this isn't correct. The only Lord of the Rings track I've ever listened to is the one on Erick Kunzel's Epics, which also contains an awesome version of Hedwig's Theme. That being said, I'm not a fan of that piece.

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I always thought the use of the "History of the One Ring" as presented in the beginning of The Two Towers was the full musical presentation of the theme, with the extension of the theme that plays until the film puts its focus on the Gandalf/Balrog flashback in Moria. Is that correct?

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Since that particular bit of music is never used again anywhere else, its kind of impossible to say if its a Ring theme extension or just incidental music.

 

Wait a minute, what does Doug's book say about it?

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1 minute ago, Jay said:

Since that particular bit of music is never used again anywhere else, its kind of impossible to say if its a Ring theme extension or just incidental music.

 

Wait a minute, what does Doug's book say about it?

 

If no one's replied by the time I'm home in 45 minutes or so I'll take a look.

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29 minutes ago, Disco Stu said:

 

If no one's replied by the time I'm home in 45 minutes or so I'll take a look.

 

Nevermind, I got home and remembered all my books are packed away in boxes at the moment.

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7 minutes ago, Richard said:

Thank you for that, Jay.

Stu, I hope that you settle in, soon.

 

Not immediately.  We're renting a house until we find one to buy so the plan is to have only essentials unpacked til we have a "permanent" home.

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Surprised by the number of people who are unfamiliar with the Lord Of Rings scores (or at least the name of the title card theme).

 

Not sure I see the point in finding out which of these themes people prefer. I find both deeply evocative pieces of music, but they serve very different purposes in their respective scores and are incomparable.

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On 9/12/2017 at 10:23 AM, mstrox said:

Voted for Hedwig.  I could sit down and listen to a presentation of Hedwig's theme.  The History of the Ring theme is great, and adds essential color and a feeling of history to the movie, but I don't think there's a good, satisfying theme-only presentation that could be made out of it.

 

16 hours ago, Display Name said:

THotOR is more just a motif. HT is a real theme.

 

What a superfluous poll!

 

The One Ring motif is NOT a theme. So the comparison isn't really fair. Even if it were longer, Hedwig's Theme is far far superior - in conception and specially in orchestration. It is also far more memorable and can be played at length and can have many variations and such. Basically it is real theme and not a motif.

 

Unpopular opinion - but isn't LOTR basically just motifs more or less? Such a massive work of music and literally not a theme concert suite to show for it. How about pull out some of the best themes and give them concert presentation? But no - they are almost all motifs rather than themes. 

 

Also I would dispute the One Ring theme as the main theme. Infact I would  call the Shire theme the main theme (if not the fellowship theme). The defacto heroes of the tale are technically Frodo and Sam and it's the Shire theme associated with them. If you want to extend the leads to the entire 9 members of the fellowship then the fellowship theme is the main franchise theme. They are both played more often and to greater effect than the one ring theme. Just my two cents.

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4 minutes ago, TheUlyssesian said:

Also I would dispute the One Ring theme as the main theme. Infact I would  call the Shire theme the main theme (if not the fellowship theme). The defacto heroes of the tale are technically Frodo and Sam and it's the Shire theme associated with them. If you want to extend the leads to the entire 9 members of the fellowship then the fellowship theme is the main franchise theme. They are both played more often and to greater effect than the one ring theme. Just my two cents.

 

To me, at least, it is clear that the "History of the Ring" theme is the main theme of the trilogy; if not, why would the cue be played over the main titles of all three films? The Shire theme is also typically associated with Frodo as his own theme, as well as the Shire's, and Sam, I believe, has his own theme as well.

 

Also, I would say the Shire theme is rather the main theme of the Hobbit trilogy, as it is played over the main titles of the first two Hobbit movies, with the exception of BOTFA.

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16 minutes ago, TheUlyssesian said:

 

 

The One Ring motif is NOT a theme. So the comparison isn't really fair. Even if it were longer, Hedwig's Theme is far far superior - in conception and specially in orchestration. It is also far more memorable and can be played at length and can have many variations and such. Basically it is real theme and not a motif.

 

Unpopular opinion - but isn't LOTR basically just motifs more or less? Such a massive work of music and literally not a theme concert suite to show for it. How about pull out some of the best themes and give them concert presentation? But no - they are almost all motifs rather than themes. 

 

Also I would dispute the One Ring theme as the main theme. Infact I would  call the Shire theme the main theme (if not the fellowship theme). The defacto heroes of the tale are technically Frodo and Sam and it's the Shire theme associated with them. If you want to extend the leads to the entire 9 members of the fellowship then the fellowship theme is the main franchise theme. They are both played more often and to greater effect than the one ring theme. Just my two cents.

Lord of the Rings has not one absolute main theme, I would say. It has tons of motifs for each character, location and object. It's more the connection of all these motifs that makes the music so rich, but there is not a big main theme like Hedwig's Theme.

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2 minutes ago, Jay said:

Yea, its the entire palette that makes LOTR the rich and rewarding experience it is, but the HOTR theme is still the main theme of the score!

At the one hand, it occurs in all main titles, but on the other hand it does not really sum up the richness and awe if the Lord of the Rings-universe, like Hedwig's Theme does. I think, it's still discussable whether it's the main theme or not.

I mean, Luke's theme was first intended to be just the Luke's theme, but it has somehow become the Main Theme. Maybe Howard Shore wanted the One Ring Theme to be the main theme, but he diverged from his original idea.

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I don't think Howard Shore considers this work to have a "main theme", and the HOTR in particular wasn't even written until FOTR was almost done.  It only appears in the film so much because the version he wrote for Frodo pondering the ring before Boromir bumps into him was tracked into earlier scenes by Jackson

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20 minutes ago, JohnSolo said:

 

To me, at least, it is clear that the "History of the Ring" theme is the main theme of the trilogy; if not, why would the cue be played over the main titles of all three films? The Shire theme is also typically associated with Frodo as his own theme, as well as the Shire's, and Sam, I believe, has his own theme as well.

 

Also, I would say the Shire theme is rather the main theme of the Hobbit trilogy, as it is played over the main titles of the first two Hobbit movies, with the exception of BOTFA.

 

I dunno how much leverage Clemensen has with you but he in his review of LOTR3 (http://www.filmtracks.com/titles/lord_rings03.html) designates the Fellowship theme as the Main theme of the franchise and it does make sense because it is the theme of the main heroes as I say above. It has the widest and broadest application of all the motifs in LOTR because it can be applied to multiple characters and situations, most other motifs are narrower in their scope and application and are more specific.

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I heard somewhere that Shore originally intended for the "History of the Ring" to be the theme for Gondor, as that is the reason the cue plays during the

scene when the Fellowship passes the Argonath in FOTR, but then was later designated the theme for the One Ring itself, as well as the trilogy.

 

 

 

 

4 minutes ago, TheUlyssesian said:

I dunno how much leverage Clemensen has with you but he in his review of LOTR3 (http://www.filmtracks.com/titles/lord_rings03.html) designates the Fellowship theme as the Main theme of the franchise and it does make sense because it is the theme of the main heroes as I say above. It has the widest and broadest application of all the motifs in LOTR because it can be applied to multiple characters and situations, most other motifs are narrower in their scope and application and are more specific.

 

But the title of the trilogy isn't "The Fellowship of the Ring". It's "The Lord of the Rings", thus the reason why it's more likely that the HOTOR cue is the main theme of the trilogy. I dunno, perhaps Doug Adams has something to say about it in his book?

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The LOTR scores are a stupendous achievement in the history of film-scoring, don't get me wrong, I absolutely think so - but as a major artistic work, it is not without weaknesses. Nothing is perfect. And as Clemensen points out, the lack of a primary identity for the franchise is one such weakness, not a fatal weakness, because the work is too great, but it does have a diminishing effect.

 

Think about it if 50 years later, someone is doing a summary of the great scores of this era, there could be a "Theme from Harry Potter" track and there is no dispute of what that theme would be. But if there is to be a track called "Theme from LOTR", we even among ourselves cannot agree what it should be and what is an appropriate representation of the entire work.

 

7 minutes ago, JohnSolo said:

But the title of the trilogy isn't "The Fellowship of the Ring". It's "The Lord of the Rings", thus the reason why it's more likely that the HOTOR cue is the main theme of the trilogy. I dunno, perhaps Doug Adams has something to say about it in his book?

 

Titles don't decide narrative importance, the thrust of the narrative does. Forget the titles themselves, the story as a whole, the overarching narrative is the tale of a band of heroes (mismatched and awkwardly assembled and all) but a band of heroes who finally defeat the forces of evil through various means. This story takes place over the three books and films. And the theme of this band of heroes is the fellowship theme.

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