The first installment of The Lord of the Rings series hit theaters in 2001 with a bang...and a vast array of other sounds! The rich sounds of the trilogy—within the bang category alone, we have clashing, thumping, thuds, throbs, knocks, whops, and wallops—were key to the creative process of bringing the story from page to screen: Every decibel helps to translate the depth of the books’ characters and the fantasy realms they inhabit. In this video, we listen closely to the many ways sound helped bring this beloved saga to life, from the Shire to Mordor and back again.

Like what you hear? Don’t miss our other aural explorations into the sounds of directors Claire Denis, Andrei Tarkovsky, Agnès Varda, Guillermo del Toro, Clint Eastwood, and Wes Anderson!