“Game Of Thrones” and (from episode 2) also “House Of The Dragon” have shown it, of course “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” cannot play second fiddle: Even with the Amazon fantasy series There is an intro sequence introducing the crew of The Rings of Power. But the images for the title theme of “The Lord of the Rings” composer Howard Shore seem rather strange: What is it about the little stones and patterns that we see there?
With “Game Of Thrones” and “House Of The Dragon” the importance of the intros is quite obvious: we see the most important locations of the upcoming episode, which are shown in a tracking shot over the map (in “Game Of Thrones”), respectively central symbols and sigils forming a kind of Targaryen family tree (in “House Of The Dragon”).
But in “The Rings of Power”? The X-Ray function provides a first indication when viewing via the desktop or smartphone app. It says: “Music is found throughout Middle-earth […] Song pervades all cultures of the world and even the country itself”.
The real explanation is provided by a statement by Plains Of Yonderthe studio behind the opening credits: “We wanted to show a universe that is both primal and timeless. JRR Tolkien’s Ainur, immortal angelic beings singing such beautiful music that the world is made of sound, inspired us and gave us the idea for a main title sequence that ‘is made of the world of sound’.“
In JRR Tolkien’s The Silmarillion, the Ainur are the first beings created by the creator Eru Ilúvatar. These include the powerful Valar (one of whom is Morgoth mentioned in The Rings of Power) and the less powerful Maiar (including Sauron and wizards like Gandalf). Their singing creates Eä (Tolkien’s cosmos) and Arda – the world on which Middle-earth and the other lands lie.
But what exactly do we see in the intro? This is what it says in the statement Plains Of Yonder: “Cymatics is a natural phenomenon that makes sound visible to the eye. Vibrations from fine particles on a flat surface show remarkable symmetrical patterns reflecting the audio frequencies […] To us mere mortals, cymatics is like magic.”
“The sequence summons an ancient and invisible force struggling to be seen […] The unfathomable realms of sound create fleeting visions of conflict and harmonywhich evolve to match Howard Shore’s cover theme.”
That somehow fits Tolkien quite well – and “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power”. We’ll next see the main title sequence on September 16, 2022 in episode 4.