As Christmas carols go, “We Three Kings” is weird, sad, and slow. Though widely believed to be the work of one John Henry Hopkins, Jr., who supposedly wrote it for a Christmas pageant in 1857, Max Gladstone and his musical compatriot Dan Jordan have dug deep into the darkness of this traditional song to find the truth. The roots of this decidedly dour tune lie beneath the Misty Mountains themselves, because it turns out that it’s an adaptation of an old Dwarven folk ballad! Maybe you’ve heard of it?
To test their theory that “We Three Kings” is an updating of “The Misty Mountains,” (originally published in the Red Book of Westmarch, but quoted at length In There, and Back Again, by Mr. Bilbo Baggins) the duo tries the lyrics against the tune of “We Three Kings,” and ably prove that their idea is totally, inarguably correct.
They also prove our own theory that every Christmas carol can be improved with the addition of dragons. Listen below!