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Fellowship of Fans > Opinion  > Why Bear McCreary deserves the Emmy for The Rings of Power
Bear McCreary The Rings of Power

Why Bear McCreary deserves the Emmy for The Rings of Power

Ever since The Rings of Power saw the light on last September, one of the most beautiful and fascinating aspects of the show has undoubtedly been the music of Bear McCreary. The American composer had upon him the arduous burden of being Howard Shore’s “successor” in creating the Middle-earth themes, and the result was, in our opinion, a perfect balance between the historic tones heard in the trilogies of Jackson and McCreary’s innovative style. It is particularly striking the passion and dedication that the composer – already famous for his works in Outlander, God of War, Battlestar Galactica, The Walking Dead, Black Sails and Da Vinci’s Demons – has poured into his journey in Middle Earth, which allowed him to create a soundtrack as epic and with an ancient flavor as exotic and modern in its nuances.



The importance of Music in Tolkien’s World

Arda was born from music, and this alone would be enough to underline how important this aspect was for Tolkien. The “Ainulindalë”, that means “The Great Music” in Quenya, is in fact the highest and purest form of creation that Middle-earth has ever exhibited, as well as the very first way by which Eru communicated with his Ainur. Music for Tolkien not only represented the noblest of the arts, but also an instrument of union and communication, able, more than anything else, to make people understand the emotions that the characters of his world feel. Tom Bombadil, for example, spends most of his time singing, not only for pleasure, but also to communicate with nature. Thorin Oakenshield’s company often sing during the adventures of The Hobbit, and the elves fill the Third Age with their beautiful celestial voices on their way to the Gray Havens.

These examples are useful to understand how much music is fundamental in every stratification of Middle-earth, and how important it is for every people of Arda, from the less noble hobbits to the greatest among the lords of the Noldor. This aspect is therefore very delicate and complex to transpose into a television show, since, being a different media than a book, it needs a less abstract and more direct interpretation, while maintaining an almost sacred value for every race of the Middle Earth. Was Bear McCreary able to do this? In my opinion yes, and very, very well.



What makes McCreary’s work so special

One of the most essential elements that can be seen in McCreary’s work is the great importance of the musical impact on each scene of the series. Ever since the show takes us to the banks of the Túna, in front of the magnificent Tirion, it is impossible not to get chills for the ascent of the soundtrack, as well as, for example, when we enter, together with Elrond, the majestic kingdom of Khazad -Dum. The care with which every musical nuance has been crafted manages to amaze even after several rewatches of the series, and this is an aspect that shows the meticulousness of the composer. However, what represents the real highlight of this work is undoubtedly the musical diversification for each people of Middle-earth. The themes of each race are made with different instruments, so that each of them can give different feels and emotions according to the characters we see on the screen. The tracks of the elves are elegant, noble and deeply melancholy, while those of the dwarves, for example, are powerful, solemn and full of pride. In the case of Sauron we have a soundtrack that is very reminiscent of Shore’s themes in “Lord of the Rings”, but the Dark Lord’s music in this series is constantly evolving and it is full of very interesting elements, such as words in black speech that are heard in the choirs. How not to be Amazed by Nampat, the theme of the orcs played with tribal instruments and full of primitive and ancient sounds, able to take center stage in Episode 6 of the first season. Furthermore, it is impossible not to notice also the beauty of the harfoorts music, clearly inspired by Irish and Scottish rural culture. And finally, what about Numenor? McCreary has managed to give a strong mediterranean style to the music of the “Land of Gift”, maintaining the power and royalty that have always distinguished this very important kingdom of Middle-earth.

All the elements of this series are accompanied by a perfectly fitting musical theme, which not only further characterizes and distinguishes each place and character, but also manages to give the feeling of being inside Middle-earth. Bear McCreary has perfectly grasped the importance of music in Tolkien’s works and has tried, through his compositions, to embellish every second of the 8 hours that the show has given us so far, and this intention is totally perceived when listening. The study that the composer made on Howard Shore’s past works also appears evident, taking him as a fundamental starting point for being able to create his musical version of Middle-earth. The world of television is full of wonders and well written and produced products, but if anyone deserves an award for his work, it has to be Bear McCreary.

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Francesco - Role: Chief Editor Hi i'm Francesco, and i'm a proud member of FoF team since last year. My passion for Tolkien books started since i was 9, when my elder cousin gives me a DVD of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. It was love at first sight, and then i read the books, and i fallen in love with Middle Earth much more. That tales of elves, dwarves, hobbits, human and orcs became, throug the years, a lifestyle to me, and have changed deep my life. To be part of this team is such an honor for me, and, as a journalist, im very proud to write about Tolkien for our fans and followers.

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