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Soundtrack Review

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Game of Thrones
Music from Season 3


Composer: Ramin Djawadi
Label: Silva Screen Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 08 July 2013

German born Ramin Djawadi has had a good career as a composer of music for film and television. Having scored prestigious projects like Iron Man (2008) and the upcoming Pacific Rim (2013), he is probably best known, on the small screen, for his work on Game of Thrones.

Game of Thrones: Music from Season 3 has nineteen tracks of music from the show. Djawadi usually likes to play thematically with a single instrument for his scores and in GOT, the cello is the instrument of choice.

Appropriately, the album opens with the iconic theme tune; the 'Main Title' (1 min, 44 sec) is a combination of the strident cello which plays against a background of soaring strings, creating a sound which promises both threat and adventure. For the most part it repeats the same simple theme, adding more instruments and building to an impressive crescendo, before tapering off.

The themes which the title track sets up are repeated throughout the show's music and on the disc, though often it appears as only snippets or changed as in the choral version in 'Mhysa' (3 min, 54 sec) which mixes it with a full orchestra to give Daenerys Targaryen her own theme of conflict and untapped possibilities. 'For The Realm' (1 min, 31 sec) is a simple guitar version of the theme music, sounding more Spanish than the original track and 'Dark Wings, Dark Words' (2 min, 47 sec) is another choral rendition of the theme tune.

While most of the characters in the show have their own themes, the mass of characters measured against the time available means that not all of them are represented. The more important themes still appear like 'The Rains of Castamere' but this time the theme has been reworked from its sombre origins to the more epic feeling imbued in 'A Lannister Always Pays his Debts' (2 min, 50 sec). 'The Rains of Castamere' was introduced a number of times during the story so that when Robb is chowing down at the wedding feast and the band start playing the song the observant audience can pick up on what is about to happen before the characters.

'Dracarys' (2 min, 53 sec) mixes oriental music with a martial drum beat, a good representation of Daenerys Targaryen’s growing power both through her army and the dragons she wields. 'I Paid the Iron Price' (3 min, 15 sec) is another sombre piece which relies heavily on the cello, befitting of the scene when Theon’s father receives his togger in a box, probably not the best Father’s Day present anyone has ever sent. The melancholy tone of the piece is also mixed with an amount of threat, a threat which will have to wait until next season.

The majority of the rest of the tracks relate to particular figures in the show, for fans the titles give you a massive clue to their identity with 'Chaos is a Ladder' (2 min, 58 sec), 'You Know Nothing' (3 min, 19 sec), 'Kingslayer' (2 min, 11 sec), 'I Have To Go North' (1 min, 23 sec), 'White Walkers' (3 min, 20 sec), 'Reek' (2 min, 41 sec) and 'Heir To Winterfell' (2 min, 14 sec). There are also two pieces which are meant to be evocative of a place or situation, with 'Wall Of Ice' (3 min, 19 sec) and 'The Night Is Dark' (2 min, 56 sec).

As well as the choral tracks the album contains two songs. Performed by Kerry Ingram, 'It’s Always Summer Under the Sea', Shireen’s song (1 min, 17 sec) this is a short unaccompanied song and 'The Bear and the Maiden Fair' (2 min, 56 sec), performed by The Hold Steady, is a raucous guitar version of the song.

As befits the third season which was easily the most sombre, the music reflects this mood in most of the pieces. Taken as a whole this is another wonderful score from Ramin Djawadi.


Charles Packer

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