An Analysis of Five of Game of Thrones’ Most Iconic Scores
Game of Thrones as a series is the perhaps one of, if not, the most complex and artistically developed series of our generations. The complexity of the plot and characters barely even begin to scratch the surface of the intricacy of JRR Martin’s entire body of work and it is no secret that the production of the TV series brings a whole new dimension to the Game of Thrones Universe. With it’s last season having come on air this past Sunday, here is a list of the top five most iconic musical scores of the entire series. There are spoilers in this list and some of the content in the embedded videos are graphic, so read and watch with discretion.
Main Title Theme
Of course, the main title theme of the show is the most iconic pieces and the first score that anybody recognizes. This score sets the stage for the show you’re about to watch and encapsulates the era in which the series takes place. The intense and rhythmic theme of score excites fans and gives them a melody they come back to over and over again.
Rains of Castamere
This song was first heard before the battle of Blackwater and signifies the Lannister victory against the Reyne family of Castamere. The song is played at the Red Wedding, when Robb Stark is killed and signifies yet another Lannister victory and again at the Purple Wedding right before Joffrey dies. The instrumental score for the credits after Joffrey dies is meant to be ironic. Now Rains of Castamere is a symbol of Lannister arrogance and is a reminder that if they continue in their arrogance they will also die.
The style of the song has more of an eastern flare with the drums and sitar and thus makes it one of the most recognizable scores of the series. The strings also add an air of suspense, which is nothing out of the ordinary for a score from this series. The use of classical western string instruments, that would most likely be found in Westeros and the eastern string instruments that would be found in Essos tie the two regions of the Game of Thrones universe together.
Myhsa is a very important and emotional song and marks the first moments Daenerys knew she resonated with common people. The song starts with women doing what is known as the Gregorian chant, a style of music performed in medieval times to worship God. The use of Gregorian chant in Mhysa not only sounds beautiful but also is a symbol of how revered Daenerys is in those moments.
Light of the Seven
Light of the Seven is the composition that sticks out among the rest. The use of Piano in this composition alone makes it unlike any other piece in the series. While most scores use strings or even harpsichords, the composer, Ramin Djawadi, wanted an instrument that encapsulated the feeling of the scene playing out in the season finale. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Djiwali says “The piano has a huge dynamic range that almost no other instruments have. It can play very low and it can play very high. It has the attack of the note and the long decay of this haunting feel. It all felt like a perfect fit. What’s great about the scene, too, is there’s hardly any dialogue. It’s nine minutes long. I knew I had to start minimal and give it space. Let notes ring, then give it space, and build up the anticipation from there, without tipping in either direction. You want to watch the scene and slowly realize, “Wait, what are these kids doing here? And what’s this?” And you see the wildfire dripping. You start putting things together, like, “Wait, what’s going on?” It was very fun to build. We have an organ in this, we have a cello, we have a solo violin. The big orchestra, the strings, don’t even come in until the very last minute or so of the piece. It was so tempting to start earlier and make it blow up earlier, but I felt like it would be nice to wait until you see the visual of the wildfire and you realize what’s going on.” It is the piano’s ability to play quietly and then crescendo seamlessly that helped the wildfire scene in the season finale become as large and emotional as it was. Towards the end, as Cersei awaits the fall of the Sept, the organs come booming in along with the rest of the orchestra to set the stage for the explosion that comes right after the score.