It's been nearly a decade since Middle Earth was last on the silver screen, and just as long since we've experienced ASCAP composer Howard Shore's Oscar, Golden Globe and Critics' Choice Award-winning musical backdrops for the Lord of the Rings franchise. All that's about to change this week, when The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - the first installment of The Hobbit trilogy - gallops into theaters.
To celebrate, we've compiled a playlist of Shore's most inspired, epic cues from the Lord of the Rings films, plus assorted musical Hobbitiana we found underneath an oaken shield, wrapped in a sheet of mithril.
Keep this playlist secret. Keep it safe. And listen to it on your way to see The Hobbit - there and back again.
Click here to read our 2004 interview with Howard Shore about his music to The Lord of the Rings series.