Now that we’ve had more than a week to recover from the epic Game of Thrones season six finale, the hangover starts to kick in. Arguably, the most thoroughly satisfying season in GoT history is over and there’s only so many times we can yell out “King of the North!” Winter is finally here, but Season Seven probably won’t be coming until Spring 2017. Until then all we can do is relive the past seasons. True GoT fans know that the show is not all battles, breasts, and beheadings.
The music soundtrack is straight fire and I’m not referring to Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons. Emmy winner and Grammy nominated Ramin Djawadi is the man behind the GoT score. The German-Iranian composer goes purposely non-medieval on us, opting to use indie bands, synthesizers, and world music to set the epic tone of a truly epic show. To satisfy your fix, we’ve come up with a list of Game of Throne‘s songs that will help you relive some of the show’s most memorable moments.
A good television show theme never leaves you alone, like a disgraced knight who’s thirsty for you. Yes, I’m talking to you Jorah Mormont. The slap bass from Seinfeld, Danny Elfman’s zany Simpson’s theme and the hauntingly cool Mad Men opener are instantly familiar and famously iconic. None of them, however, make the hair on my Dothraki-like chest stand up like when I hear the Game of Thrones opening theme. Masterfully orchestrated, the heroic song feels transportive, swirling with emotions from soft strings and a battle-marching tempo that takes us across the seven kingdoms.
“The Rains of Castamere”
The most famous song from the GoT catalogue has been played more than Jon Snow. The music was written by Djawadi and the lyrics by George R. R. Martin himself (so that’s why the books aren’t done). “The Rains of Castamere” first appeared in episode one of season two, “The North Remembers,” when Tyrion Lannister whistles the refrain as he enters the small (pun not intended) council. It has been covered by The National during the end credits of the “Blackwater” episode and by Sigur Rós, who even made a cameo as bards at King Joffrey’s wedding to Margaery (RIP). Joffrey even goes Joffrey on them by throwing coins at them. Of course, it’s most memorable performance is at that other marriage ceremony, The Red Wedding, which most of us still haven’t gotten over.
“Light of the Seven”
The season six finale, “Winds of Winter” started off with a very un-GoT score which set the tone for a very GoT conventional ending that sets up the final two seasons. First off, in a show that has more talking heads than a CNN presidential debate, there was utter silence. The piano-heavy score over a montage of “day in the life” images reminded me of Francis Ford Coppola’s baptism sequence in The Godfather. The slow burn of the “Light of Seven” rises and falls with the chilling piano keys, low hum organs, frenetic strings and an ominous childlike chorus (a hint of what’s to come when those baby-faced assassins do their thing), setting the stage for one of the best directed sequences in the show’s history.
“Lord Of The Light” by Talib Kweli
In what only could be an HBO executive’s idea, the cable channel commissioned not one, but two compilation albums of hip-hop songs inspired by the show. The “Catch the Throne” concept was obviously to promote the series to a broader audience (“we need the urban youth!”). GoT purists would probably send the nameless corporate suit behind these mixtapes to the same fate as Ramsey Bolton, but there a couple songs that are worth a listen. Talib Kweli’s “Lord of Light” starts off with a heated monologue by Davos Seaworth before a battle (hey, it worked for Jay-Z when he used Maximus from Gladiator in “What More Can I Say”). At least the well-respected Kweli, an admitted Game of Thrones fan, knows what he’s rapping about when he calls out the Red Witch, Melisandre, “See the vision when you’re starin’ in the flame. In this game of thrones, when you win you still lose. Cause your ego get insane when they cheerin’ your name.”
The title song to the tenth and final episode of the third season is one of its most uplifting and therefore shocking in a show where sweet little girls get burned at the stake. The chorus of harmonic voices singing their hearts content over a tribal world music beat sounds like something from Disney’s The Jungle Book. It’s uncharacteristically hopeful and when paired with sweeping visuals of The Mother of Dragons being embraced by the former slaves which she’s just freed it looks and feels like an early ’90s Madonna music video.