This really just a bit of melody
heard twice. In each case, the first four bars are the same
but after that the melody diverts into its own tune. The
describes it as "the Shire’s sweet melodies ... laced with
hints of the Fellowship theme" (Doug Adams).
name, Fragrance of Ithilien, is used for the first scene on
the MusicNotes sheet music for The Return of the
King (Track 17 music). For the second scene, the music is
called A Toast in the Shire.
It is not labeled as a separate
theme or setting of the Shire theme in the CR-ROTK material
but I think it works to associate the music in the two
scenes and I like the name. So let's keep it here in Odds
and Ends... shall we?
Places this theme is
heard in ROTK:
When Frodo awakens in
Ithilien after the destruction of the Ring. Played on flute by
Sir James Galway.
When the four Hobbits
are in the Green Dragon after returning to the Shire. Played on
fiddle by Dermot Crehan.
"Fragrance of Ithilien" comes from the
book, although it is from Sam's perspective upon awakening, not
Frodo's... who is already awake in the story.
When Sam awoke, he
found that he was lying on some soft bed, but over him gently
swayed wide beechen boughs, and through their young leaves
sunlight glimmered, green and gold. All the air was full of a
sweet mingled scent.
He remembered that
smell: the fragrance of Ithilien.
(From ROTK, book 6, Chapter 4: The
Field of Cormallen)
Something I wrote a
long time ago about the 'fragrance of Ithilien' passage in the book:
This delight of the
senses is a stark contrast to their experience in Mordor. It's
like turning on a light in a room that has slowly grown dark
with the fall of night. It also is significant that the point of
view is Sam's. I went through the book from this point and
documented our view of Frodo. What I found was remarkable. We
are slowly being weaned from Frodo. (It began before this
moment, this was just the moment I chose to start at.) We don't
see things from Frodo's point of view very often anymore. When
people ask him questions others will answer. When he asks
questions he doesn't receive an answer. We even hear
descriptions of how others direct his actions. Just like the
slow darkening of the room, Frodo's place in this story is
fading. And it's so gradual it's not readily apparent. So on one
hand, the expected progression of the story would be towards
happiness because the evil is conquered. And we are happy. But
there's this melancholy hanging over the celebrations that is
hard to put our finger on. I think it has a lot to do with the
crafting of the story... this gradual fading of Frodo.
Something I'm writing now:
music works well to underline this. It sounds happy. Well, at
least happier than all that Mount Doom music. And both the
waking scene and the Green Dragon scene are moments when we are
'happy'. But the music is also just a wee bit sad and
there is a tinge of something on both of those scenes such that
we "begin to understand... there is no going back."