EVIL TIMES, a theme for
Middle-earth in the
subcategory of the Ring Quest, "is the
only Ring Quest theme applied to any character suffering
towards the destruction of the Ring" (Doug Adams,
CR-FOTR liner notes, page 34) The others are
only used for members of the Fellowship. The first iteration
of this music is heard as Gandalf slumps down in the rain
atop of Orthanc and the music reflects this mood well. It
speaks of hardship and hopelessness. The music continues to
reflect this mood throughout FOTR and TTT but it has moments
in ROTK when it starts to lighten until finally, after the
destruction of the Ring, it shifts from 'suffering and
anguish' to 'triumph'. (Doug Adams, CR-ROTK liner notes,
There are four notes that
comprise the Evil Times Theme. There are also four notes in
Gandalf's Farewells. In the first two movies, the keys are
enough to differentiate them even if the content of the
scene didn't. But once the Ring is destroyed and the key
shifts from minor to major, the two themes sound very
Places this theme is
heard in FOTR:
Just after we hear the Orc tell
Saruman that the trees are strong and their roots are deep. The
camera cuts to Gandalf atop Orthanc. He slumps down to the tower
As Boromir examines the shards of
Narsil in Rivendell.
Places this theme is
heard in TTT:
As Sam says, 'Mordor. The one place
in Middle-earth we don't want to see any closer.' (This is not
on the CR-TTT)
According to the
AS-TTT, the choir's
melody during the burning of the Westfold is Evil Times.
As Gríma rides into Isengard, brass
plays staccato notes of the Evil Times motif.
As they prepare to empty Edoras and
Théoden tells Gamling that they will return.
High string play a variant as Gríma
tells Saruman how the Rohirrim will take the road through the
mountains as they flee to Helm's Deep.
The music heard as Faramir tells
Frodo of Boromir's death uses snippets of the Evil Times motif.
Soft brass plays a variant as
Legolas says, (in Elvish), "They are all going to die."
A grating version is played as
Aragorn and Gimli survey the Uruks at the Gate. Gimli is
confident they can take them but he needs tossing.
A variant is heard as Faramir & Co
approach and find Osgiliath burning.
theme is heard in ROTK:
As Pippin lets his curiosity get the
better of him and he finagles the palantír from the sleeping
Gandalf. He just wants 'to look at it'.
As the Three Hunters exit the Paths
of the Dead to see the Black Sails of the Corsairs.
As the sobbing Sam descends the
stairs of Cirith Ungol after being sent home by Frodo.
A braver version sounds as Théoden
begins giving orders to the captains of the Rohirrim at the rise
above Minas Tirith. "Éomer, take your Éored down the left flank.
Gamling, follow the King's banner down the center. Grimbold,
take your company right, after you pass the wall. Forth, and
fear no darkness! Arise! Arise, Riders of Théoden!"
A sneaky version sounds as Sam spies
the tower of Cirith Ungol, approaches it and enters through the
doorway guarded by the Two Watchers. As he enters the Tower and
begins making his way to the top, Evil Times becomes more
A brief, weak version plays as
Frodo, unaware that Sam is on his way, struggles with his bonds.
Two more notes play stridently as Sam sticks the Orc with Sting
but the phrase doesn't finish. Evil does not triumph. Then the
two notes echo a few times, more softly and in a milder key as
Frodo apologizes to Sam.
As Sam, gazing up at Mordor's dark
sky, sees a star. (EE scene)
The pulsing music heard when the
Black Gates open in front of the Army of the West is guided by
Evil Times. (This is after Aragorn calls forth the Dark Lord and
after the EE confrontation with the Mouth of Sauron.)
After the destruction of the Ring,
as Frodo and Sam run from Sammath Naur and the destructing
mountain, four hymn like notes play multiple times. In the
AS-ROTK, Adams identifies this as Evil Times but connects it to
Gandalf's Farewells. To my ears, I can hear no difference
between this iteration of Evil Times and the version of
Gandalf's Farewells heard outside of Moria
although the difference may lay in the key signature, which I
can't 'hear' by ear. I'm curious if there
was some intention (from the beginning) to have the two themes
converge or it happened unintentionally (unconsciously).