Music of Game of Thrones

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The cover of the first soundtrack album, depicting the first season's DVD cover art: Ned Stark (Sean Bean) seated on the Iron Throne.

The music for the fantasy TV series Game of Thrones by the U.S. cable channel HBO is composed by Ramin Djawadi and published by Varèse Sarabande. The soundtrack is instrumental and features one major theme, the Main Title, which accompanies the series' title sequence.

The music is noted for its popular main theme, which has been covered many times, and for its use of decidedly non-medieval renditions of songs from the series's source novels by noted indie bands. These adaptations, according to Wired, create attention for the series in media that wouldn't normally cover it, but are also notable for their musical merits independent of the series.[1]

Season 1[edit]

Game of Thrones
Soundtrack album by Ramin Djawadi
Released June 14, 2011 (2011-06-14)
Genre Soundtrack
Length 66:00
Label Varèse Sarabande
Producer Ramin Djawadi
Audio sample
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Game of Thrones, the soundtrack album for the series' first season, was published in June 2011.

Production and release[edit]

The soundtrack to Game of Thrones was originally to be composed by Stephen Warbeck. On 2 February 2011, only ten weeks prior to the show's premiere, it was reported that Warbeck had left the project and Ramin Djawadi had been commissioned to write the music instead.[2]

To give the series its own distinctive musical identity, according to Djawadi, the producers asked him not to use musical elements such as blues or solo vocals that had already been successfully used by other major fantasy productions. He mentioned that a challenge in scoring the series was its reliance on dialogue and its sprawling cast: on several occasions already-scored music had to be omitted so as not to get in the way of dialogue.[3]

Djawadi said that he was inspired to write the main title music by an early version of the series's computer-animated title sequence. The title music is reprised as a global theme in the rest of the soundtrack, initially infrequently and as part of the theme of individual characters, then in full towards the end of season 1 during particularly important scenes.[3]

The album was made available for download on iTunes on 14 June 2011, together with a "digital booklet". It was released on CD on 28 June 2011, 41 days after the show's premiere.

Reception[edit]

Richard Buxton of Tracksounds wrote an ambivalent review, calling the album a "valiant effort" and Djawadi's "most consistently satisfying work to date", but criticized the main theme as falling short of the expectations raised by the opening credits' animated sequence, and the score as a whole as "never quite reaching what it could have been".[4]

Track listing[edit]

All music composed by Ramin Djawadi.

No. Title Length
1. "Main Title"   1:46
2. "North of the Wall"   3:48
3. "Goodbye Brother"   3:07
4. "The Kingsroad"   2:06
5. "The King's Arrival"   3:34
6. "Love in the Eyes"   4:00
7. "A Raven from King's Landing"   1:16
8. "The Wall"   1:59
9. "Things I Do for Love"   1:52
10. "A Golden Crown"   1:38
11. "Winter Is Coming"   2:42
12. "A Bird Without Feathers"   2:02
13. "Await the King's Justice"   2:00
14. "You'll Be Queen One Day"   1:36
15. "The Assassin's Dagger"   1:19
16. "To Vaes Dothrak"   1:29
17. "Jon's Honor"   2:35
18. "Black of Hair"   1:40
19. "You Win or You Die"   1:57
20. "Small Pack of Wolves"   1:57
21. "Game of Thrones"   1:18
22. "Kill Them All"   2:35
23. "The Pointy End"   3:16
24. "Victory Does Not Make Us Conquerors"   1:35
25. "When the Sun Rises in the West"   2:40
26. "King of the North"   1:28
27. "The Night's Watch"   1:44
28. "Fire and Blood"   4:30
29. "Finale"   2:31
Total length:
66 min

Season 2[edit]

Game of Thrones: Season 2
Soundtrack album by Ramin Djawadi
Released June 19, 2012 (2012-06-19)
Length 56:46
Label Varèse Sarabande
Producer Ramin Djawadi

The soundtrack album for the second season, titled Game of Thrones: Season 2, was published on June 19, 2012. The instrumental music by Ramin Djawadi was performed by the Czech Film Orchestra and Choir and recorded at the Rudolfinum concert hall in Prague.

The Rains of Castamere[edit]

A sample of The National's rendition of The Rains of Castamere.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

The album contains a rendition of the song "The Rains of Castamere" by the indie rock band The National, sung by their vocalist Matt Berninger.[5] On the published tracklist, the title is spelled "The Rains of Castomere" rather than "Castamere" as in the novels. The spelling is corrected on the printed listing on the liner notes that come with the disc.[6] In the series, the song was played over the end credits of the ninth episode, "Blackwater". An instrumental version can be heard during Tyrion's speech right after King Joffrey abandons the battlefield in the same episode. Tyrion Lannister can be heard whistling the melody in some earlier episodes. In season 3, an instrumental version of "The Rains of Castamere" plays over the end credits in episode 7, "The Bear and the Maiden Fair".[7] In episode 9 of season 3, an instrumental version of "The Rains of Castamere" is played by the musicians at the Tully-Frey wedding.

The song's lyrics are taken from the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, in which "The Rains of Castamere" is sung or mentioned several times.[8] It remembers Tywin Lannister's victory over his rebellious vassals Reyne ("the Reynes of Castamere") and Tarbeck, about 40 years before the events of the novels. The stanza of the song that is reproduced in the novels and adapted for the series tells of the vassals' defiance – "And who are you, the proud lord said / That I must bow so low?" – and the subsequent obliteration of their houses: "But now the rains weep o'er his hall / With no one there to hear."

On June 10, 2014, Jackie Evancho released a cover of the song.[9] Evancho's video for the song can be viewed on YouTube.[10]

Reception[edit]

Tracksounds's review was again mixed, describing the score as little more than adequate. Noting a lack of thematic development or dramatic momentum, the reviewer nonetheless appreciated the score's more subdued moments which he considered less forced than the rest of the track.[11]

Track listing[edit]

All music composed by Ramin Djawadi.

No. Title Length
1. "Main Title"   1:46
2. "The Throne Is Mine"   3:15
3. "What Is Dead May Never Die"   2:06
4. "Warrior of Light"   3:03
5. "Valar Morghulis"   2:59
6. "Winterfell"   2:42
7. "Qarth"   2:11
8. "Wildfire"   3:39
9. "I Am Hers, She Is Mine"   2:17
10. "Pyat Pree"   2:12
11. "Don't Die with a Clean Sword"   3:22
12. "We Are the Watchers on the Wall"   2:37
13. "Pay the Iron Price"   2:32
14. "One More Drink Before the War"   2:05
15. "House of the Undying"   5:02
16. "Stand and Fight"   2:04
17. "The Old Gods and the New"   2:38
18. "Mother of Dragons"   2:34
19. "I Will Keep You Safe"   2:17
20. "The Rains of Castamere" (Written by Ramin Djawadi and George R. R. Martin, performed by The National) 2:23
21. "Three Blasts"   2:40
Total length:
56:46

Season 3[edit]

Game of Thrones: Season 3
Soundtrack album by Ramin Djawadi
Released June 4, 2013 (2013-06-04)
Genre Soundtrack
Length 53:12
Label Varèse Sarabande
Producer Ramin Djawadi

The Season 3 soundtrack album was released digitally on June 4, 2013, and on CD on July 2, 2013.

The Bear and the Maiden Fair[edit]

The U.S. indie rock band The Hold Steady recorded "The Bear and the Maiden Fair", a folk song from Martin's novels, for season three. The recording is played over the end credits of episode three, and the song is sung in the same episode by Brienne's and Jaime's captors, which include musician Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol in a cameo appearance.[12] Set to music by series composer Ramin Djawadi and arranged by Tad Kubler, the recording was released on a seven-inch record on 20 April 2013.[13]

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" is a traditional song popular among people of all social classes throughout Westeros. It recounts the story of a bear, "All black and brown / And covered with hair", who traveled to a summer fair, and smelled "on the summer air ... The maid with honey / In her hair!" Although she vowed that she'll "never dance / With a hairy bear", he "lifted her high / Into the air", and "licked the honey / From her hair", until she "sighed and squealed / And kicked the air", eventually agreeing to go off with her "bear so fair".

Track listing[edit]

All music composed by Ramin Djawadi.

No. Title Length
1. "Main Title"   1:44
2. "A Lannister Always Pays His Debts"   2:50
3. "Dracarys"   2:53
4. "I Paid The Iron Price"   3:15
5. "Chaos Is A Ladder"   2:58
6. "Dark Wings, Dark Words"   2:47
7. "You Know Nothing"   3:19
8. "Wall Of Ice"   3:19
9. "Kingslayer"   2:11
10. "I Have To Go North"   1:23
11. "White Walkers"   3:20
12. "It's Always Summer Under the Sea" (Performed by Kerry Ingram) 1:17
13. "Reek"   2:41
14. "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" (Performed by The Hold Steady) 2:56
15. "The Night Is Dark"   2:56
16. "The Lannisters Send Their Regards"   5:44
17. "Heir To Winterfell"   2:14
18. "Mhysa"   3:54
19. "For The Realm"   1:31
Total length:
53:12

Season 4[edit]

Game of Thrones: Season 4
Soundtrack album by Ramin Djawadi
Released June 10, 2014 (2014-06-10)
Genre Soundtrack
Label WaterTower Music
Producer Ramin Djawadi

The Season 4 soundtrack album was released digitally on June 10, 2014, and on CD on July 1, 2014.

The Rains of Castamere[edit]

Season 4 of Game of Thrones saw the Icelandic band Sigur Rós perform their rendition of The Rains of Castamere in a cameo appearance at King Joffrey's wedding in the second episode, "The Lion and the Rose".[14]

Track listing[edit]

All music composed by Ramin Djawadi.

No. Title Length
1. "Main Title"   1:43
2. "The Rains of Castamere" (Performed by Sigur Rós) 2:42
3. "Breaker of Chains"   4:05
4. "Watchers on the Wall"   2:11
5. "I’m Sorry for Today"   2:09
6. "Thenns"   1:43
7. "Mereen"   2:53
8. "First of His Name"   3:52
9. "The Biggest Fire the North Has Ever Seen"   1:56
10. "Three Eyed Raven"   3:58
11. "Two Swords"   1:49
12. "Oathkeeper"   4:31
13. "You Are No Son of Mine"   4:29
14. "The North Remembers"   2:33
15. "Let’s Kill Some Crows"   3:36
16. "Craster’s Keep"   2:06
17. "The Real North"   2:03
18. "Forgive Me"   2:31
19. "He Is Lost"   3:37
20. "I Only See What Matters"   1:25
21. "Take Charge of Your Life"   2:05
22. "The Children"   2:41

Catch the Throne[edit]

To help promote the series to a broader audience including multicultural urban youth, HBO commissioned an album of rap songs dedicated to Game of Thrones.[15] Entitled Catch the Throne, it was published for free on SoundCloud on 7 March 2014.[16]

No. Title Music Length
1. "Mother of Dragons"   Big Boi 2:09
2. "Iron Throne"   Magazeen 2:26
3. "Win or Die"   Bodega Bamz 2:21
4. "Magical Reality"   Kilo Kish 2:32
5. "Born to Rule"   Daddy Yankee 2:34
6. "Arya's Prayer"   Dominik Omega 3:20
7. "The Parallel"   Dee Goodz 3:12
8. "Fire"   Snow tha Product 1:54
9. "The Ladder"   Common 2:41
10. "King Slayer"   Wale 2:24

Cover versions[edit]

The main theme of Game of Thrones has inspired many tributes and cover versions.[17]

Some of the cover versions mentioned particularly by news media include:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Watercutter, Angela (15 April 2013). "Why HBO Turned to Indie Bands for the Medieval Tunes of Game of Thrones". Wired. Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  2. ^ Ryan, Maureen (2 February 2011). "'Game of Thrones' Changes Its Tune, Hires New Composer". TV Squad. Retrieved 20 July 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "Composer Interview: Ramin Djawadi". Filmmusicmedia.com. 22 December 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  4. ^ Buxton, Richard. "Game of Thrones by Ramin Djawadi". Tracksounds. Retrieved 20 July 2011. 
  5. ^ "‘Game of Thrones’ Season 2 Soundtrack Details". Film Music Reporter. 24 May 2012. Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  6. ^ Elio, García (23 May 2012). "Season 2 Soundtrack Details". Westeros.org. Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  7. ^ Carp, Jesse (24 May 2012). "Listen to the National Recording of the rains of Castamere for Game of Thrones". cinemablend. Retrieved 1 Jun 2012. 
  8. ^ "Listen to The National’s new Lannister-happy song from The Game of Thrones soundtrack". io9. 24 May 2012. Retrieved 25 May 2012. 
  9. ^ "Jackie Evancho Releases Cover 'The Rains of Castamere' from HBO's Game of Thrones", BroadwayWorld.com, June 10, 2014; "'The Rains of Castamere' – Single", iTunes, June 10, 2014; "The Rains of Castamere", Amazon.com, June 10, 2014
  10. ^ JackieEvanchoVEVO. "Jackie Evancho – The Rains of Castamere", Sony Music Entertainment (on YouTube), July 9, 2014
  11. ^ Buxton, Richard. "Game of Thrones (Season 2) by Ramin Djawadi". Tracksounds. Retrieved 24 September 2012. 
  12. ^ Power, Rob (April 16, 2013). "Game Of Thrones 3.03 “Walk Of Punishment” REVIEW". SFX. Retrieved April 16, 2013. 
  13. ^ Hibberd, James (March 5, 2013). "'Game of Thrones' and the Hold Steady team for season 3 song". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 5, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Listen: Sigur Rós’ cover of “The Rains of Castamere” for Game of Thrones". Consequence of Sound. 13 April 2014. Retrieved 14 April 2014. 
  15. ^ Whelan, Robbie (4 March 2014). "Unlikely Mix: Rappers, Dragons and Fantasy: HBO Hires Hip-Hop, Latin-Music Artists to Promote 'Game of Thrones'". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 7 March 2014. 
  16. ^ "Catch the Throne". SoundCloud. Retrieved 7 March 2014. 
  17. ^ Abramovitch, Seth (14 July 2011). "Emmys 2011: The Forgotten Categories". TV.com. Retrieved 20 July 2011. 
  18. ^ Dooling, Annemarie (6 July 2011). ""Game of Thrones" Gets A Violin Cover". Huffington Post. Retrieved 20 July 2011. 
  19. ^ Bricken, Rob. "Game of Thrones Opening - Metal Edition". Topless Robot. Retrieved 9 March 2012. 
  20. ^ Rao, Malika (15 May 2012). "The Harp Twins' 'Game Of Thrones' Intro: Camille And Kennerly Kitt Serenade The 7 Kingdoms (VIDEO)". Huffington Post. Retrieved 22 August 2012. 
  21. ^ Harrison, Josh (18 June 2011). "'Game of Thrones' Theme, 8-Bit Style". Ology. Retrieved 20 July 2011. 
  22. ^ "Super-geeky 'Game of Thrones' theme played on hard drives". 
  23. ^ "'Game Of Thrones' Theme Song Covered By Lindsey Stirling And Peter Hollens". Forbes. 5 September 2012. Retrieved 6 September 2012. 
  24. ^ ""Game of Thrones" gets an awesome cello tribute". CBS News. 8 April 2013. Retrieved 9 April 2013. 
  25. ^ Lough, Chris (20 June 2013). "Dance it Up to This Slick Ska Version of the Game of Thrones Theme". Tor.com. Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  26. ^ Cooper, Nathanael (31 March 2014). "Classic music ensemble Aston post tribute to Game of Thrones". Courier Mail. Retrieved 6 April 2014.