I don’t have much time on my hands today and I really couldn’t schedule this post beforehand, so I was looking to write a short post this time around. This gave me a sudden inspiration. Although I’d originally conceived this series to be a book discussion (and fangirl feels outlet), I decided to include the movies as well. After all, why not? The movies introduced me to the books and The Lord of the Rings is the highest Oscar-winning movie series till date. Purists might discard the films as crass commercialization and call it but a shadow of the published works, but the movies did get a lot of things right. The first thing that comes to my mind is the soundtrack.
Anybody who has ever watched a movie will know how important the movie score is. It is one of the greatest advantages of cinema that it can set the tone of any scene with music, which is the envy of every author. A happy, light tune readies the audience for an upcoming cheerful scene and a heavy one punctuated with harsh sounds forebodes evil. A subtle change in the music can alter the perception of the viewer. I don’t watch a lot of movies – mostly mainstream ones that are released to the Indian market – and my knowledge of music is extremely basic, so I’m not going to pretend to be a critic and discuss the nuances of the background score here. But over the years, two artists have been my absolute favourites for their sheer genius – Howard Shore and Hans Zimmer.
When my cousin in New York told me that she had been to a screening of The Lord of the Rings with the live orchestra playing, I envied her immediately. That is exactly the sort of fangirl dream I’d proverbially sell my soul to the devil (or beg of a fairy godmother) to fulfill. The land of the elves wouldn’t be as magical nor the orcs so frightening if not for the efforts of the brilliant Howard Shore. After maybe my fifth re-watch (I’ve honestly lost count now), I was possessed by this fancy to get my hands on the OST (I already have the extended edition of all the films), and I come back to it again and again. It’s my favourite novelling music. When I can’t relate to any of the songs I have on my phone, the beautiful music without lyrics soothes me. I also believe that if not for Howard Shore, I’d have liked The Hobbit series a lot less.
But don’t take my word for it. I will leave you with the links to the OST as well as a discussion of the score by Nerdwriter1 (if you’re a fan and haven’t yet watched this video yet, correct that now) and you can get back to me with your thoughts in the comments section. If you’re already familiar with Shore’s work, what is your favourite track? Can you guess mine? (No tricks, believe me, for I’m neither Bilbo nor Gollum.)
Special thanks to my friend Jini, who gave me the Nerdwriter1 link, and to Surabhi Rao, my fangirl friend, who both moved to the UK recently for their masters. I love you guys!