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So, THIS is now a thing... (Anime Lord of the Rings prequel)


Chen G.

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16 minutes ago, Nick1Ø66 said:

any rumours on if PJ is dipping his toe in water on this at all? And on who's playing Haleth & Hama?

 

I mean, Philippa lives literally across the lawn from Jackson and Walsh. She did say she uses them as a springboard for ideas: the name for Helms' daughter, Héra, was appearantly Walsh's idea. She also says they were "hugely supportive" of the project, and certainly Jackson reacted extremly enthusiastically over his Facebook account. Of course, a lot of "his" people are working on it: I hear Weta has scoured their archive for the models and any artwork - used or not - of Edoras and the other settings.

 

Demosthenes from TORn had what I think is a very intriguing and illuminating talk with Philippa a while back. I'm especially taken by these passages:

 

Quote

“In order to understand the use of those [ideas],” Boyens says, “you need to understand the character of Wulf and the position that Wulf is in — and had found himself in. And who he would be turning to.” At this point she pulls in another fact, mentioning the great wealth of Wulf’s father, Freca. “His father was not an insignificant Lord of Rohan. He had indeed grown fat and prospered,” she says, referencing Helm’s comment in Appendix A about Freca’s large waistline.

 

[...]  For Helm, there’s madness born of grief from the loss of the child. With Wulf, there’s his relationship with his father, and with Héra. “He is his father’s son, but he has a different character. So he does actually offer [to wed] her and the writers asked: ‘Why?’ What was driving him? Was it just his father demanding that he do this? Was it his ambition? What was at play there?”

 

Even the historical grievances of the Dunlendings — that the lords of Gondor gave what the Dunlendings felt was their land to the Rohirrim — should come through in the film. She says that all those things are in the Helm tale. “When I talked to Kamiyama about it, it resonated with him. So that was the genesis,” she says. “And there’s a moment in the film, which is incredibly gut-wrenching and powerful where Wulf commits himself to a course of action he cannot turn away from. And once he does that, the story darkens.”

 

You know, we hadn't REALLY had a major human antagonist in these stories before. So I'm very curious and very taken with the idea of Wulf as potentially a sympathetic, Hagen-like figure.

 

Also, even though I typically believe a film series should have the same conflict driving it all throughout, it is encouraging - at least in terms of focusing a 120-minute film - that, both according to this interview AND interviews from later at Annecy, Philippa insists they didn't try to sandwich Sauron into the story of the film.

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8 minutes ago, Chen G. said:

the name for Helms' daughter, Héra, was appearantly Walsh's idea.

 

Wait...who? As far as I recall, Tolkien was so unconcerned with Helm's daughter that he didn't even bother to give her a name, or anything to do. Where's Haleth & Hama?

 

I don't like where this is going.

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Just now, Nick1Ø66 said:

As far as I recall, Tolkien was so unconcerned with Helm's daughter that he didn't even bother to give her a name, or anything to do.

 

Right. They beefed up that role some. But we know Haleth and Hama ARE in this, so she's not taking their place.

 

I personally was always intrigued by Helm's daughter: its her wedding that Helm botches, so...

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OK. I don't mind them "beefing up" her role (ala Arwen & Eowyn). That's appropriate and perhaps even beneficial to that story, used the right way. Though my suspicion is, they'll make her a shield-maiden ("the women of this country learned long ago, those without swords can still die upon them"). 

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On 30/11/2023 at 1:37 PM, Nick1Ø66 said:

Though my suspicion is, they'll make her a shield-maiden ("the women of this country learned long ago, those without swords can still die upon them"). 

Ok, Boomer (sorry, I had to XD).

I think the problem of women's representation in LotR (at least in the modern sense where it tends to be more about being independent than having a meaningful impact on the story) is that Éowyn is among the most memorable "badass female characters" in both film and literature, but she only works as a character if she's a rare exception. If you try to make Middle-earth more progressive (as in TRoP and the original draft of the PJ trilogy), it at best diminishes her accomplishments, and at worst makes it seem as if Middle-earth is socially regressing.

Sure, give me more interesting and memorable female characters, but don't just give me Éowyn 2.0.

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4 hours ago, Monoverantus said:

but she only works as a character if she's a rare exception.

 

I would agree, but I think there are ways to dance around it some: I never felt that Tauriel diminished Eowyn, because we can accept Elves being more progressive than Men, certainly the very Dark Ages Rohan. AND in the case of Héra, the fact that Eowyn is narrating her escapedes, is (or could be) a pretty clever way to present her as something of a projection of Eowyn's.

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Aye. Its this instrument: has a very medieval, but quite nasal, sound:

 

Moderne_Krummhoerner.jpg

 

It seems to be mostly chords moving: the melody part doesn't start until circa bar 10 and we can't really tell where the melody goes.

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I'm interested to see what Gallagher will do with this. It seems to me rather a unique situation where, across the seven films now, while Howard is clearly not scoring this film, someone whose contributions can be heard sandwiched into Howard's score, did. You could say all seven films - and ancillary projects like Hobbiton or whatever contributions they provided for The Rings of Power - was all done by "Howard Shore and co", encompassing what I think are very erstwhile conributions from Plan 9, Gallagher, etc...

 

And we know Gallagher knows Howard's technique, having been a music editor on his scores and having - Doug tells on the score commentaries - read Doug's book in preparation for The Hobbit, and audiences at Annecy saw footage from this film with what’s almost certainly a Howard Shore temp track. Whether and how much he'll channel the Howard "sound" remains, therefore, to be seen. He’s obviously in his right to use as much or as little of Howard’s sound as he pleases.

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I like those a lot!


But I think that was someone else whose name currently escapes me. Mark Governor, I think.

 

Also, Gallagher has continued to post. While the sheet music suggests there's recordings with a full orchestra taking place, Gallagher and Wilsher are also recording a chamber orchestra (featuring some NZSO Lord of the Rings luminaries) in Our Lady Star of the Sea Convent Chapel in Wellington. A venue owned, funnily enough, by Jackson and Walsh.

 

IMG_6735.png?ex=65ee70b1&is=65dbfbb1&hm=

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On 25/2/2024 at 5:57 PM, Faleel said:

He also wrote the medieval arrangements of Shore's themes for the Hobbit appendices IRRC.

Is there any place to listen to those?

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Contraforte spotted!

 

 
Its nice that they got some of the "OG" crew back: Mark Wilsher was music editor and mixer for all six films. As far as I can tell even many of the musicians in this chamber group are veterans of both The Hobbit and, in many cases, the original Moria recording.
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Well I made the mistake of venturing to TORN and listening to an interview with the "fresh-faced" writers of this film and....well I'm not filled with hope. Looks like we're going to get another project that's 95% fan fiction written by two people with very little life experience and almost zero significant writing experience, especially at this level. One of which is a nepo baby.  But we're told not to worry because they grew up loving anime. Oh, and because Alan Lee and John Howe are involved. 

 

One can only hope Boyens is actually writing this thing herself and just helping get her daughter a major screen credit (which has been known to happen). But I'm starting to get the same feeling I had early on about Rings of Power.

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Really? I don't really get any major alarm noises going off from what we know of the project. Yes, the writers are very green but they're working on the basis of a previous screenplay by Jeffrey Addiss and Will Matthews, and while I don't want to insinuate that "Boyens is actually writing this thing herself", it is clear she was very involved with the shaping of the story.

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2 hours ago, Chen G. said:

Yes, the writers are very green but they're working on the basis of a previous screenplay by Jeffrey Addiss and Will Matthews

 

So why are Addiss and Matthews no longer on the project?

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Philippa said in Annecy that they weren't well-versed in Middle Earth. I have to say, some of the points that Philippa et al touches on in the latest interview - when Helm will have recieved his moniker "Hammerhand", why was Frealaf named "Hildeson" after his mother rather than his father - do seem to betray a pretty good study of what little text there is for this story: these things never occured to me while reading it.

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I don't doubt for a moment mother Boyens in-depth knowledge and insight into Middle-Earth. But having that expertise alone doesn't for a good screenplay, or film, make. The show runners of Rings of Power seem to know and love their Tolkien fairly well, and even if they didn't, they had plenty of experts to call upon. They said all the right things and made all the right references before the show aired to calm people down. And that show is a disaster. I mean, I like to think I know Middle-Earth pretty well, but I wouldn't write fan-fiction and call it Tolkien. 

 

And frankly, I didn't see anything in that interview that leads me to believe that the two kids actually writing the film share Philippa's knowledge of Tolkien. They listed as their credentials liking anime, growing up around the corner WETA and watching the movies once a year. And if Boyens can lend her expertise to her kid, why couldn't she do it for the original screenwriters? Obviously, that's a rhetorical question, but you'll forgive me if I'm sceptical. 

 

To adapt something, you must first have something to adapt. When you strip it down, what we're getting is basically an original animated film, written by two green screenwriters, set in Middle-Earth, using a few names and an event Tolkien once referenced. At best, the film, like the series, is "Inspired by characters and situations created by J.R.R. Tolkien". 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Nick1Ø66 said:

To adapt something, you must first have something to adapt. When you strip it down, what we're getting is basically an original animated film, written by two green screenwriters, set in a Middle-Earth, using a few names and an event Tolkien once referenced.

 

Yeah, I know that's a kind of reservation that many people have about pulling from the appendices. They're not stories cast in scenes and with dialogue: they're more like a chronicle. Actually, a lot of Tolkien is like that, including practically all of The Silmarillion and most of Unfinished Tales.

 

My own view of it is a little more simple: Do I find the story of Helm Hammerhand interesting and worth my while? Yes, I do. Therefore I have qualms about seeing it adapted, even if in this case we're talking about a very different concept of "adaptation" compared to previous forays into this series.

 

Also, I do think the story of Helm is a little different than some of the other vignettes to be found in the appendices, certainly then the ones that The Rings of Power is at least ostensibly based on. For one thing, the story of Helm is contained entirely within the appendices, so its not going to chafe against material from other Tolkien publications, as is the case with The Rings of Power.

 

While, strictly speaking,The Rings of Power is based on a lot more material by way of page count (then again, its also incomprably longer, being that Rohirrim is said to be no longer than 130 minutes) but while those pages do give us a rudimentary chronicle of events, they don't really tell us much if anything about who was involved in those events and in what capacity. Whereas here, the role of characters like Helm and Wulf in the events is much more clearly drawn.

 

And, really, I think the filmmakers approach here is profoundly different. If one were surveying the appendices for material that would fulfill, as I call it, The Full Middle-Earth ExperienceTM - "Is it really Middle Earth if we don't have Hobbits, Wizards, Orcs, Elves, Dwarves AND Men?", to paraphrase McPayne - one could find better candidates than the Helm story: it has no Hobbits, no Dwarves, no Elves, no overt connection to the war of the Ring, and a pretty downer ending. That they chose it to begin with suggests they had a different set of priorities.

 

What's more, if the Amazon approach was applied to this film, it wouldn't JUST be The War of the Rohirrim, it would be a film intercutting the war in Rohan, in Gondor AND the fell Winter in the Shire, the better to have Gandalf and the Hobbits in there, something we're told is not the case and indeed would be nigh impossible to cram into the piece at that length. They did add a cursory role for Orcs, a Mumak - both reasonable within the Tolkien context - and there's obviously a small role for Saruman in the thing.

 

And the other advantage it has - on a more audiovisual level - is it won't have that "lookalike" syndrome, and in this regard bringing back much of the original team is very significant indeed!

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Nothing can dampen your spirits Chen. I admire your hope (even if it remains a fool's hope). ;)

 

BTW, what's this I read about Fellowship of Fans getting played with disinformation?

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18 minutes ago, Nick1Ø66 said:

BTW, what's this I read about Fellowship of Fans getting played with disinformation?

 

Season Two is proving much more impervious to leaks: the damn British crews seem much more professional as far as secrecy is concerned than the Kiwi crews, ergo its easier to fall into false rumours and inaccurate information. Expect probably one or two of our biggest scoops to turn out false in the near future.

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Indeed. My sources tell me that Helm Hammerhand's hammer will

Spoiler

actually be Mjölnir, in a surprise MCU/MECU crossover.

 

Feel free to post (anonymously, of course).

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Sadly, at the moment The War of the Rohirrim is a glorified side-project for Fellowship of Fans... The channel had cultivated a following based on a Rings of Power fandom (I call it North KoROPea) for whom the New Line films are old hat, and the Amazon show is the new thing that's "down with the kids"... Philistines.

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Ironically, the fact that there could be plot-based "spoilers" to leak about RoP and WotR at all just underscores how much fan-fiction they really are. If it were truly an adaptation (like Lord of the Rings), we'd already pretty much know the whole plot, who the characters are, what they do and when, etc. I mean, just the "Premise" section of the WotR Wiki entry pretty much sums up everything Tolkien wrote about it (kidding of course, but not by much).

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Well, in the case of Rohirrim I see it more as an aesthetic discussion and getting to know more of the approach the filmmakers are bringing to the story. Within this story outline, there are still questions like: How much of Wulf's base of power in Dunland will we see? How much of Gondor's tribulations with the Corsairs will be shown? What Saruman will be like in this? What will Eowyn's narration be like?

 

Its not like The Rings of Power where huge swathes of plot are total unknowns.

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Sure. And if you're talking about "leaks/spoilers", you had some of that with Lord of the Rings. What will Aragorn be like? How will Faramir be portrayed? 

 

Turns out, Aragorn was portrayed as a reluctant heir to the throne and Faramir was human after all and tempted by the Ring. Merry and Pippin were comic relief, and Arwen's role was expanded. So, sure, those would have been spoilers had they leaked early (and some did). Here's the thing though...since Lord of the Rings ended up being a mostly faithful adaptation, that more or less followed the novel beat by beat (and very effectively) it was easy once the film came out, to forgive things like that which are necessary in adaptation. Jackson & Co. (especially in LOTR) established a lot of credibility early on with their faithfulness to the books, which allowed them to deviate when necessary. And aside from a few grumpy purists, most Tolkien fans not only accepted by embraced many of the changes.

 

So I guess in one way WotR has an advantage in that they can pretty much make up anything they wish since we know almost nothing about these characters, and they're at a disadvantage in that they can pretty much make up anything they wish since we know almost nothing about these characters.

 

1 hour ago, Chen G. said:

What Saruman will be like in this? What will Eowyn's narration be like?

 

Since I haven't followed the leaks on this film closely, the only one I think I can safely speculate is the portrayal of Saruman, which I think will be much like he was portrayed in The Hobbit...more or less on the "right" side of things and wanting to preserve a certain sense peace and order in Middle-Earth, but with Machiavellian tendencies and a hint of darkness. Do we know which voice actor will be doing an impression of Christopher Lee?

 

As for Eowyn, given the scant material regarding the battle itself, my guess is we'll be hearing the voice of an older Eowyn, after she's settled in Ithilien and had a son, so, via her narration, they can hint at some of what audiences don't know about her, Faramir and Rohan post-ROTK.  Meaning, I don't think it will be an impersonal narration, rather I think they'll almost try to make her an omniscient character in her own right throughout. The one thing I can guarantee is that the "Women of this kingdom..." bit will be in there somewhere, if not among her opening lines.

 

 

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18 minutes ago, Nick1Ø66 said:

Do we know which voice actor will be doing an impression of Christopher Lee?

 

We do not! I think they're keeping Saruman as a bit of a secret ace coming up to a teaser. I mean, we who know the appendices know that Saruman is indeed supposed to show up at the end and take Isengard...

 

I guess listening to the speaking voice of the cast members and seeing who has a Lee-like timber would work, but my attempts to do so proved inconclusive.

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Yeah. Last time around one could see the beginning of a melodic line, but it mostly fell outside the picture area. All the same, I feel like I can't complain too bad: if this was an Amazon Prime project, he'd probably be hung from his own intestines...ROTFLMAO

 

What's not entirely clear to me is the scoring situation: STROMA is a chamber group, but the partitura seems to suggest a full symphony orchestra with triple winds and at least four horns.

 

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4 hours ago, Chen G. said:

What's not entirely clear to me is the scoring situation: STROMA is a chamber group, but the partitura seems to suggest a full symphony orchestra with triple winds and at least four horns.

Their own website doesn't give that impression: https://www.stroma.co.nz/home/uncategorised/about-stroma-filmworks

image.png

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Huh.

 

The only thing I will say to that is that the seating setup for the recording suggests a chamber-sized ensemble (or a "striped" recording?). I'm not even sure the space would fit an 70 or 80-piece orchestra.

 

IMG_6735.png?ex=65ee70b1&is=65dbfbb1&hm=

 

Films had been recorded with a combination of a symphony orchestra and a smaller chamber ensemble, e.g. Kingdom of Heaven. So who's to tell?

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3 minutes ago, Chen G. said:

Huh.

 

The only thing I will say to that is that the seating setup for the recording suggests a chamber-sized ensemble.

 

IMG_6735.png?ex=65ee70b1&is=65dbfbb1&hm=

 

Films had been recorded with a combination of a symphony orchestra and a smaller chamber ensemble, e.g. Kingdom of Heaven. So who's to tell?

 

The remainder of the instruments are MIDI. Spared no expense. 

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Gallagher had previous checked recording venues that could host a sizable orchestra: I doubt he'd do that if he intended to mock-up many of the parts. At least, that's what I tell myself. :lol:

 

I mean, if we look at Gallagher's previous work, you can see the effort he went to to create certain sounds rather than just turn to midi files: for the "Blunt the Knives" gigue, he wanted a Hardinfelle (ironic) and since there wasn't one in New Zealand, he didn't go the synth route: instead, he layered a bowed banjo with a violin. For the Goblintown diableries he and the sound team engineered all sorts of weird horn sounds and metal percussion, instead of just synthisizing the whole thing.

 

Gallagher was a music editor on the scores and Doug relays that he had read his book. I assume he's aware of how much Howard prized not having the score "plugged-in" and will hopefully want to continue in that direction.

 

 

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Yeah, I just saw.

 

Did they just...finish recording? I'm not sure they had because he mentions only winds and strings, and the score also specified brass (unless that page was from a different score OR if he counts the horns are woodwinds, as one would a woodwind quartet, or if its a dreaded midi which I don't think). Wilsher said he's in New Zealand for a couple of weeks' worth of scoring.

https://www.instagram.com/stephengallaghermusic/p/C4FjVATr3tl/

 

Quote

About 82 minutes of winds and strings recorded this week with the amazing @stroma.ensemble featuring orchestrations by the excellent @hammckeich and @harrybrokensha , engineered by the one and only @soundjohn69 , produced by the best of the best @pin3hot , we have the splendid @janet.grab and #alanajanssen handling edits and programming as well as our wonderful intern @caoimhesadventures . We had it all super co-ordinated by the brilliant @katemulls with the lovely @_robyn_bryant_ .
Looking out for us all were the incomparable @musicgirl44 and @pbroucek , @joeyg3 , @clarknova @phobear @artypapageorgiou
It was a privilege to work with these amazing people to bring the score to life for #kenjikamiyama ‘s extraordinary film.
Surround yourself with a great team and anything is possible.
#wotr #lotr #waroftherohirrim #composerlife #filmscore #soundtrack #musicteam #dreamteam #aotearoanz🇳🇿

 

Names that I can pick from here are John Neill (Head of Sound at Park Road Post), Mark Wilsher (Sound Mixer), Kate Mulligan (New Zealand Scoring Coordinator) and Paul Broucek (Warners music branch executive).

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Yep. Also Tibetan singing bowls (a Smaug-y sound!), wooden fish and the now-mandatory taikos. Gallagher also told someone in his notices that there are more medieval instruments yet to come!

 

I kind of did a roundup of the orchestrations from what I could tell from the pictures and partitura:

 

Strings: 10 Violins I, 8 Violins II, 6 Viola, 4 Violoncelli, 2 Contrabasses.

 

Woodwinds: 2 Flutes and 1 Piccolo, 2 Oboes and 1 Cor Anglais, 2 Clarinets and 1 Bass Clarinet, 2 Basoons and 1 Contraforte; at least two Crumhorns, doubling multiple registers, seemingly bass, tenor and soprano; at least two shawms also doubling several registers and on Rauschpfeife and Dulcian.


Brass: 6 horns, 2 Trumpets, 2 Trombones and 1 Bass Trombone.

 

Keyboards: 1 Grand Piano

 

Percussion: At least 2 percussionists on Taiko (O-Daiko, Chu-Daiko, Hira-Daiko and Shime-Daiko), gong, fish temple blocks, tibetan singing bowls, possibly vibraphone.

 

 

Interesting to imagine what some of these colours are for: Even not bearing the Shore scores in mind, I'm having a hard time imagining Helm striding into Meduseld and hearing singing bowls, and somehow it also doesn't strike me as a Dunlending sound: Maybe for the Southrons?

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15 hours ago, Chen G. said:

Interesting to imagine what some of these colours are for: Even not bearing the Shore scores in mind, I'm having a hard time imagining Helm striding into Meduseld and hearing singing bowls, and somehow it also doesn't strike me as a Dunlending sound: Maybe for the Southrons?

Not improbable, but tbf they don't necessarily have to be center-stage instruments to define a specific culture.

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Yeah. Its all striped anyway (which does make one wonder: are they not done with the editing?) and they're clearly going to manipulate the sound significantly in the mixing, if they want 18 violins to withstanding playing with six horns and a Rauschpfeife, which sounds like a cousin of our old friend the rhaita. So they could definitely cast some of these sounds to the background of the texture.

 

But I do assume at least some of these colours were concieved of as cultural, so we should expect to hear some of them with some characters more than others. And since the film does have quite a few such factions - Rohirrim, Dunlendings, Wizards (Saruman), Orcs, Haradrim and presumably Gondorians - its interesting to speculate. Certainly, the first bit of music Gallagher shared sounds to me more like something to be expected of a scene with Wulf than anything else.

 

I will say, the absence of, ahem, a certain instrument is as of yet quite glaring: I know that when Gallagher was doing "Blunt the Knives" he couldn't find a Hardinfelle in New Zealand, so you gotta wonder... Maybe in the coming days, though!

 

And the really interesting thing? Some of these Medieval instruments tend to come tuned to the Dorian mode... :whistle:

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