WARNING, SPOILERS BELOW
This is it: After eight years of bloodshed, tears, and many drunken nights binging wine along with Tyrion and Cersei, the critically-acclaimed drama Game of Thrones is coming to an end. With the finale airing next Monday, there are only so few people left that will eventually sit on the Iron Throne. But instead of Daenerys Targaryen or Jon Snow, our pick for the supreme ruler of the Seven Kingdoms is not any of George R. R. Martin’s characters, but one German composer who has undoubtedly created some of Thrones’ most iconic moments.
Enter Ramin Djawadi, the maestro behind the epic score accompanying every episode of Thrones.
Given that this man was scouted by the inimitable Hans Zimmer for Batman Begins, he has been poised for greatness for a long time coming. The instantly-recognisable tune of the main theme song? That was Djawadi. The surreal, spine-chilling melodies of Light of the Seven that built up to the destruction of the Baelor of Sept for Season 6’s finale? That was also Djawadi’s genius, using the haunting rings of the piano for the first time in Thrones’ history.
“It’ll be a big surprise, and it’s what we want to achieve. And there’s really nothing like it,” he said on the introduction of the piano to score in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “The piano has this decay and attack at the same time. We even experimented with the harp, but the harp was not as haunting as the piano.”
Even in the mess that was Season 8, Djawadi still somewhat saved the night with the almost nine-minute-long composition titled The Night King for Episode 3’s epic battle. The melancholic melody delivered a sense of desperation that merely dialogue could not have conveyed during the penultimate moments of the Battle of Winterfell. Again, there was the prominent use of the piano here with some cues of Light of the Seven. If that wasn’t an indication that some serious shit was about to go down, you’d probably need to check your ears. Remember, Q-tips are bad.
Aside from his scores that accompany a major event, each prominent house in the Westerosi universe also has its own unmistakable leitmotif. Whenever the Starks are around, you’ll definitely hear a variation of their theme Goodbye Brother playing in the background with its slow cello echoing the slower pace of life up in the North. The Lannisters too have their iconic Rains of Castamere cemented as their theme. Because, let’s be honest here, who could forget the brutality that was the Red Wedding?
Plus, for what it’s worth now, every scene with Daenerys, her Dothraki horde, Unsullied army, and (formerly) three dragons comes an organised yet tribal theme interjected with hints of Valyrian, the fictional language. That’s the hallmark of a great composer: When your tunes complement the visual storytelling so effortlessly that audio cues alone are enough to give the audience just an inkling of what’s to come.
Too often shows get credited for their acting, cinematography, and most importantly writing. But for Game of Thrones, Djawadi’s soundtrack has been, beyond a shadow of a doubt, imbued into its DNA and is vital to the soul of the show. It’s hard to imagine a Thrones without his flair for grandiose and penchant for minutiae.
So what say you? Doesn’t King Ramin of House Djawadi, the First of His Name, the Conductor of Orchestras, Knight of Organs and Prince of Pianos sound slightly better than Daenerys’ title after the mayhem she wrecked unto Kings Landing? Drogon has nothing on the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, Ramin Djawadi.