If you’re like me and the millions of other fanboys who tune in on Sunday nights at 9 pm to watch HBO, then you’re well aware of the epic fantasy television series, Game of Thrones. Besides the show having in-depth family issues, brutal medieval violence, and glorified pornographic sex, it also has one of the greatest theme songs in soundtrack history. Show creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss made the bold, but the finest decision when they cast Ramin Djawadi to compose all their scores. Djawadi is known for creating several film and video game soundtracks. He was most notably known for the Iron Man (2008) score which he garnered a Grammy nomination. The half Iranian and half German composer also received two Emmy nominations for television series scores, Prison Break, and FlashForward. Djwadi came into the spotlight with the help of Hans Zimmer, who is the magnum opus composer of today, rivaling older talents like John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, and Danny Elfman.
Djawad’s Game of Thrones “Main Title,” is seated with both string and brass instruments. However, there is something so magical that comes from the sound of a wailing cello. That cello is what power kegs the opening hymn to fuel viewers into the world of Westeros and Essos. There are several effects of the score that impale viewers and listeners to gain a feeling of mysticism. Within the first few moments of the drum bells playing, you’re taken to another world. Another personal favorite tune of mine from the Game of Thrones soundtrack is, “The King’s Arrival.” “The King’s Arrival,” is conquered by horns to give a feeling of endless pride.
To start on ‘Main Title,” the introduction sounds are propelled by deep bass drums, claps, cellos, and symbols. This gives a feeling that something is being unearthed beneath the rubble of dirt, sand, and fire. Dungeons and castles can be seen in the distance. The intro is an image of strips moving across the screen with pictures of different animals, dragons, priests, and burning castles until the camera pans below to the land of Westeros, where King’s Landing opens up into a three-dimensional map. This is where the cast names are listed along with the houses they represent. The camera pans to other areas of the globe as distinguished places protrude out into solid and cylinder landscapes, like a pop-up book. Some of these cities are called, Winterfell, The Wall, The Eyrie, Pyke, Harrenhal, Riverrun, The Twins, The Dreadfort, Dragonstone, and Dorne.
Next, it gets people excited for the show. I know when I hear the constant changes of tempo in the cellos and drums, blood in my veins boil as it pumps the heart toward ecstasy. The melody is very catchy and danceable. I can picture myself raving at a Dothraki wedding. The intro unveils areas in Essos such as Pentos, Qarth, Astapor, Yunkia, Meereen, and Braavos.
About midway of the song, the score’s melody becomes more celebratory as other instruments add to the fold. There is evidence of a piano and violins being performed. The chorus is epic and pounds into the sound barrier like gunfire blowing, swords clashing, and fire burning. This is to establish to viewers that they’re getting involved in a fantasy story.
Lastly, the instrumental comes to a soft close as the Game of Thrones banner spreads across the screen which includes four different animals to represent the main houses: a wolf, a deer, a lion, and a dragon. The pitch from every instrument rises as if the sound is being carried to the summit of a mountain until falling short with wind chimes. The writers and director are then credited. The final piece of the intro and musical significance is to show people that Game of Thrones is not a show for kids, but a dark story full of war, terror, and death. Catch Season 5 episode 7 titled, “The Gift” on HBO this Sunday at 9pm.
FDRMX Eyes: With heavenly lighting and pearls under her eyes, Roxanna Wakitzki’s video for “When I am Laid in Earth” is an enchanting and aesthetically interesting visual piece for this contemporary version of a traditional Opera song. Check out the music video here.