Nov 6, 2013

Posted by in News, Videos | 43 Comments

“I See Fire” Music Video

This just in from Peter Jackson: “We have a tradition in our Tolkien films of having a song over the closing credits. It’s very important that the song feels right for the world of the movie – and also carries the emotional resonance of the end of that particular film.

The Desolation of Smaug is no different. The ending of this film requires a voice and sensibility that will allow an viewer to process what they have just experienced.

It’s always tricky to think of the right person to create and performance these songs. Someone who shares our passion for Tolkien, and somebody who is prepared to respect the film.

This year we are thrilled to have Ed Sheeran write and perform our closing song, “I See Fire”…

My daughter Katie, deserves total credit for bringing Ed to our movie. He was touring New Zealand earlier this year, and Katie introduced me to his music. Beautiful haunting songs, full of passion and coming from a very genuine place in his heart.

We heard that Ed was a fan of our movies, so while he was playing in Wellington, we invited him around for a tour.

He then headed off to join Taylor Swift on a concert tour. But we had exchanged e-mail addresses.

A few weeks ago, we were puzzling about who to approach about the song that had to be written and recorded very quickly. We now had a strong feeling about the tone of the song, but we needed to find the right voice.

Katie reminded us about how great Ed’s voice was, and how right it would be. Fran and I got it the second she mentioned it.

And I had his e-mail address.

I wrote to him on a Sunday morning, and asked if he was interested. He would need to fly down to NZ to see the movie, because it was critical he write from the perspective of the audience.

Within 48hrs he was in Wellington, having immediately jumped on a plane from London with his manager Stuart Camp, who was instantly supportive and helpful.

Ed watched the movie at Park Road Post, immediately went into a room, and started writing and singing. Much of what you will hear on this song was recorded that same day, with a few overdubs and tweaks the following day.

Despite having never played the violin in his life, Ed thought he might try overdubbing one himself, and Katie raced out to borrow a rather battered one from a school friend.

Pete Cobbin from Abbey Road was at Park Road mixing Howard’s musical score, and was able to mix the song with Ed.

It was a great experience, and what you will see in this video are moments captured by our behind the scenes team during the creation of the song.

But the images are only supporting Ed’s wonderful song. This is his direct emotional response to seeing The Desolation of Smaug, written and performed on the same day he saw the movie.

I am very proud to present “I See Fire”.”

[Available for pre-order on iTunes at:]

  1. Soren Olsson says:

    Too simple, too neutral and way too “boyish” and childish. The soundtrack of LOTR and the Hobbit is the primary factor that, according to me, make these films unique! But this shallow piece of music makes the film resemble Eragon instead of the mighty Middleearth. Where is the feeling? And since when did PJ start competing; “..written and performed on the same day he saw the movie” does not necessarily mean something positive.

    If it takes less than one day to write a song worth representing a PJ-movie, there is still time to change it!!

    • I can’t agree more. I feel the same when i listen

      • Bill Sheikh says:

        This song has such emotion and hear in it, two things that The Hobbit and the LOTR series both have in abundance. The fact that it took such short time to create such a moving piece shows how much of an impact the film must have.

        • william mobley says:

          I loved this song, it chilled my very heart hearing it. Such an ominous sound to it, I couldn’t shake it.I look forward to hearing more from this young musician. i have to agree with bill, It was a very good addition to the movie. Very moving.

          • kayleigh says:

            i agree with william mobley and bill sheikh
            this is a great song …this and the fact that martin freeman was in the movies made me read the books (amazing books+ the movies) love the song

    • Jacy Larson says:

      If you don’t like it then I guess you can just stand up and leave before the credits start rolling. Peter Jackson has done a fantastic job directing these movies and I’d like to see you do a better job than him.

    • There is passion in the song. Right at the end of the movie they unleashed an unstoppable force. The song shares a sort of hopelessness that the situation gives you. I talks about a sort of small shapeless hope that they can service what is to come. Plus I think he used some words of Tolkien; that makes it even more authentic. What the group had just done was too much for words, and this song relays that in a way that is simple yet ingenious.

  2. chills. well done.

  3. I have to say, not being the biggest Ed Sheeran fan myself, I was slightly sceptical when I saw this post. However, upon listening to it, I think that it really is very good. I don’t think it captures the essence of Tolkien in quite the same way as the songs from the LOTR trilogy, or indeed in quite the same way as the song from the last film did, but not having actually seen the film, I am only judging this from the book. I should mention now that while I said that it didn’t capture Tolkien’s essence in the same way as, for example,’Into the West,’ that does not mean that it doesn’t capture it at all. I think that this song is absolutely beautiful. I haven’t heard a lot of Ed Sheeran’s music, but this completely goes against the image that I have of him in my head (in a good way.)I’m assuming that it’s referring to the destruction of Lake-Town, and I think that the opening, in particular, is very chilling. I think that it captures Tolkien in it’s own way, but at the same time, I can hear Ed Sheeran’s own style, which, I think, is very important. Also, to those who say that if it takes a day to write, it’s probably going to be bad, I write songs in my spare time, and the song that everyone says is my best is one that I wrote in less than an hour.
    On a related but colossally unimportant note, in the hype to the first film, I wrote a song inspired by the end of the book. Much worse than this, though.

  4. NamelessMonk! (kidding) says:

    I like the song, it conveys a very real horror and sadness regarding the destruction of Lake-town, and gets me every time.

    However, I agree with Soren Olsson…written and recorded in the same day it not necessarily a good thing…although in saying that, I feel that his emotions regarding the movie and Lake-towns destruction are transferred better into the song because of that.

    Don’t misunderstand me, I love the song. It’s just that if it had been written performed and recorded over a week, it would have been even more chilling, the lyrics more haunting and poetic, and the song musically more layered and complex.

  5. TolkienFan says:

    I hope this song is going to get some more work. It’s too modern (for lack of a better word) for Tolkien as is. Definitely needs some middle earth styling. Vocals are nice, but it’s pretty run of the mill, and NOT yet up to the standard expected for these fantastic movies.

  6. Please check out world-wide known Folk-Metal heroes Eluveitie from Switzerland and consider them for the theme song for the 3rd movie.

  7. The lyrics aren’t bad, but the song has this very modern day “singer/songwriter” feel to it.
    I think it’s a shame, since that is probably one of the most generic types of music.
    This is one of those songs you hear in an elevator, or in a supermarket.
    I don’t think it is going to fit the overall moviescore to be honest.

  8. I liked the song!! It was good. I don’t know if it will work well with the movie. As some one up there said, it’s too modern.

  9. David Gillam says:

    This song has grown/is growing on me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a solid piece of music in its own terms…but I was initially tepid about it with regards to the film…I like adventurous songs like The Song of the Lonely Mountain’….but I imagine it will suit the tone of the second film….much like Gollum’s Song did The Two Towers. ‘I See Fire’ is quite mellow but poignant and the lyrics are brilliant. All in all, a comfortable number which will undoubtably improve with age.

    • David Gillam says:

      After repeat playings I now feel the song is brilliant for the film (although I haven’t seen the film yet…but the singer has). I now wish the song carried on its last part for longer. Wonderful stuff…I think I get what the mood is.

  10. The guitar is great in this song;brilliant!! I can only imagine how sick PJ is of hearing, over and over again, references and comparison to the old movies – BUT! Agree with me here please. The soundtracks of the old movies were played during the entire films; a piece of Howard Shore music that was repeated over and over again during the plot (of course with some variation depending on the situation/location of the plot) and finally, in the end together with the soundtrack, wrapped everything together in a powerful and emotional song with deep and unpredictable lyrics performed by artists with unique voices. Will it be the same in this film?

  11. nevertheless what people are writing – this song is great to me, touching, melodious, powerful and emotive voice. thank you PJ and ED!

  12. To all the people with negative comments I feel I have to remind you that this song is going in the credits of the movie. Yes I agree it may not be “Tolkien enough” to put in the movie, but it is a calm and nice song to put in the credits to sum up the feeling you have when you’ve watched it. The lyrics have plenty of reference to the plot, and the beat and rythm in the song does remind me of LOTR. For those of you saying they should have used more time to make it, I say NAY. They were supposed to capture the first impression he got when he watched the movie. If they were to sit and think for a week, they would not get an emotional first response to what it was like to see the movie for the first time. I’m pleased with the results they made.

  13. Wow. Didnt like the first 20 seconds, had second thoughts… But damn, the song really grows in you. Very nice lyrics, and catchy, too.

    Every time you listen to it, the song gets better. Looking forward for hearing this after the thrill of the movie ending.

  14. I love this song so much, I think he’s done a really good job at writing it. I gets me every time I listen to it. 🙂

  15. Esta cancion hace honor a la desolación de Smaug y a toda la saga de El señor de los anillos.
    Escepcional , mi enhorabuena a Ed Sheeran…..

  16. Great, simple, emotive song. Great credit watching experience, it builds and builds without frills. Nailed it I say.

  17. Um… I am truly baffled by all of the negative comments. This song is extremely emotional and a far better choice than just using more sweeping, intense, orchestral music. Not that I don’t LOVE the LOTR score, I do, with all my heart, but this is a better idea. It definitely deepened the feelings I already had at the the end of the movie, and brought new feelings of nostalgia and friendship and true glory. Even listening to it now, without the full effect of the movie right behind it, it gives me chills and almost brings me to tears.

    Excellent choice, PJ. Keep it up.

  18. Absolutely love it!!

  19. Scott Earnest says:

    I just saw the movie and was generally impressed. As the credits began to roll and I heard, “I see fire,” I sat back down to listen. Wonderful music. I came home to hunt up the artist. Beautiful work!

    • Mark Marino says:

      I saw the movie yesterday with my oldest son and loved it! Having read The Hobbit a long time ago, it was great to see it on the big screen (loved the barrel scene) and although I must admit the movie was not 100% faithful to the book I still enjoyed it immensely. The song at the end was enchanting to the point that I stayed for the credits and used the app Shazam to find out the name (I see fire) and the artist (Ed Sheeran). I not only think the song is terrific, I thought it fit the movie quite well and I pray that God will bless Ed Sheeran abundantly!

  20. I just saw the movie today. Loved both it and this song which captured me. The song left such an impression I came home to look it and the singer up. Thank you Peter and Ed.

    • Sue Mackie says:

      Just wanted to write and say thank you, I saw your movie today and absolutely loved it… So much so that I left the theatre feeling quite ill – knowing that there will only be one more instalment before it is all over. Such a great movie well done Mr Jackson. And Ed I loved your song and just like the lady above I came straight home to download it too. It’s a fantastic addition to your album in my library.
      Cheers from Australia

  21. We just saw the movie – and loved the choice for the song at the end. Very impressive way to end the movie. Very chilling, yes – with I SEE FIRE. Well done all around. Really great story for the song. We are sad too – we will need to wait a full year now for the third movie. Best movie ever, as our son said! And best song!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!!

  22. Gita Patel says:

    Hobbit lovers…Dwarf lovers… Middle Earth Masters….
    I have heard the most AMAZING song being passed around the web by invitation/login only…
    entitled, “The Promise” (There and Back Again) by 13 HANDS.

    It’s a 9 minute epic song with extended finale that brilliantly and spiritually brings the deeper human themes of the story to the forefront and brings closure to the story in this huge majestic and massive buildup and crescendo. It brought me to tears – it’s a masterpiece.

    Tolkien scholars, Grammy nominated film composers and select fans all feel it really hits the mark lyrically and builds musically with SUCH amazing dynamics approaching the story from the metaphor of There and Back Again being more than just a book Bilbo is writing. It’s a spiritual metaphor for the personal transformations all the characters go through in the story… it’s about Thorin’s redemption, the bonds of brotherhood, etc….all tied to honoring your word, (The Promise) standing up for what’s right and acting from integrity in the world. The book or the movies have never been about just Bilbo’s story or his book – only on a literal level…. its symbolically representing much deeper human and spiritual issues in the story and in the characters journey individually and as a company. 13 HANDS has completely channeled that understanding.

    From what I read and what’s amazing is he didn’t plan to write the song… he channeled it from something magical.. perhaps it was just something as simple as love… gotta ask him I guess…
    He has wrote this with out seeing the 3rd movie and it’s getting an amazing buzz all over from the fans as people think he MIGHT have seen the 3rd movie and is somehow in cahoots with Peter.

    I say this, if we can get them together to connect so Peter can hear what he did and what’s he’s demonstrated himself musically capable of……HOLY DEAR MOTHER OF GOD is all I have to say.

    I can’t even imagine what this artist could write if he actually saw a cut of the final film and tried to channel even more inspiration to honor Peter, Fran and Philipa’s vision!

    I hope you all get an invite….don’t how that’s being done…but if anyone in New Zealand is reading this.. leave no stone unturned, I’m telling you…
    connect with him online and get your invite!!!

    Sincerely,… and Hobbits Rock the World!

  23. This is a very cool song. There was planting that such a song could be this much fun.

  24. Chris boggs says:

    What a rip off this music was audren darkstone song with different lyrics

  25. Tom Roberts says:

    I watch few movies, but I do like these. This song moved me deeply, as a soldier, I have been in truly desperate circumstances with the gravest of consequences for many if we failed. We prevailed, but at an almost unbearable cost. It was battle and many of us perished or were mortally wounded by weapons and by fire. Only 3 of us survived the ordeal. For us the wounds have never healed and we wished often that they were mortal.

    I have seen fire. Both figurative and literally. I carry the scars on my body and flames still burn in my soul. This song and its performance dredges up memories and strikes a chord deep within me. It”s all about helplessness and desperation after fighting the good fight.

  26. Donna Fugitt says:

    I was never a big fan of the LOTR or the Hobbit until recently, and I feel I need to give credit where it is due since I feel they have breathed new life into a long living masterpiece of written work. I have read the book but the movies I feel are the best and give me an amazing visual to my memory of the books. I especially love the music which to be honest is very very moving. It doesn’t matter how long it took to write the song, because to put it frank that just shows how amazing of an artist he is to put all that feeling into a song in such a short time. So hands off to you Peter J. and Ed S. WELL DONE… I love it and you have given LOTR and the Hobbit a new fan.

  27. the song is a perfect piece of art! magical!

  28. Thamsanqa Mbanje says:

    Great song, absolutely brilliant,love it!!!

  29. I love this song! The movie was so-so, but the song realyy touched my heart! I kept listening to it again and again. One of the best fantasy songs for me.


  1. Ed Sheeran – I See Fire | ART FELICIS - [...] “It’s very important that the song feels right for the world of the movie – and also carries the…
  2. Ed Sheeran - I See Fire | art felicis - [...] “It’s very important that the song feels right for the world of the movie – and also carries the…

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