The Lord Of The Rings Movies Made A Certain Rings Of Power Theme More Challenging To Compose [Exclusive]

Bear McCreary was tasked with creating the score for Amazon Studio's "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power," a project that would send lesser composers running for the hills. Howard Shore left incredibly big shoes to fill with his work on the original films, for starters, but there's another issue here. The show legally can't reproduce any of the iconic music, which is a bit like saying "Hey, go ahead and make a new 'Indiana Jones' movie but you can't use the Raiders March or any of John Williams' cues." 

But McCreary was up to the challenge. In an interview with our own Rafael Motamayor, McCreary revealed the theme that was the hardest for him to come up with, and, as the annoying headlines you sometimes read will tell you, the answer may surprise you.

McCreary made an early list of themes he'd have to come up with and he said the hardest one to execute was Elrond's theme. That's not because Shore had an iconic theme for Elrond that he had to live up to, but the original Peter Jackson films did weigh on his mind, particularly how stoic, wise, and strong Elrond was as portrayed by the great Hugo Weaving.

In the original Tolkien text and the Jackson films, Elrond is in a position of great power and knowledge. At the beginning of "The Rings of Power," he has yet to attain this level of confidence and respect, so the trick for McCreary was to reflect that in the character's theme.

One score to rule them all

McCreary had to look deeply into who Elrond was at this point in his story to find the right musical notes to put down on paper.

"I had to let all that other stuff go and focus on who he is in the beginning of the story of 'Rings of Power' and create something that was a little more idealistic, and optimistic, and youthful, but a melody that turned around on itself. And it moves from major to minor in such a way that it itself is a little lost. It's looking for its place."

Pretty cool that he's pulling so deeply from a character place, right? McCreary also promises that Elrond's theme will grow and expand as the character progresses through the series and becomes the authority figure we know from the movies. 

For reference, McCreary also said that the easiest theme for him was for the dwarves of Khazad-dum. The composer admitted he might relate to the dwarves the most and maybe that's why he came up with their theme so quickly, but the striking of anvils and chorus singing the patriotic dwarf song Khuzdul was a no-brainer for him and the final version which we hear in episode 2 of the show is almost unchanged from McCreary's rough draft.

"The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" is available to stream on Prime Video with new episodes debuting every Friday.