Ramin Djawadi talks composing ‘big new themes’ for Season 7

The Dany and Jon ship sets sail in Season 7.

Season 7 of Game of Thrones didn’t lack for moments of shock and drama (as the penultimate season of the world’s most popular TV series, it would have been a letdown if it had) but the genius behind the show’s musical score, recent Emmy winner Ramin Djawadi, once again took those moments to new heights with his compositions.

Djawadi recently sat down with AV Club and talked about creating “two big new themes” to accompany what were arguably two of the biggest plot points in Season 7: Jon and Dany gettin’ together on a ship, and the Wall coming down thanks to an undead Viserion (*sob*).

The “Jon and Dany love theme was an interesting one to write,” Djawadi said, because he had to plant it in the show earlier in the season without giving away how their relationship would end up. To do that, he started from that song and worked backward, he said, writing the music for that scene first and then went back to earlier episodes of the season and “planted little elements of it throughout.” In episode 6, for example (“Beyond the Wall”) when Dany takes Jon’s hand as he recovers from the disastrous wight-catching trip, “you can hear it with strings and cello playing the melody,” Djawadi said.

Djawadi used the same approach in crafting a new Night King/White Walker theme, which he “knew would peak at the very end [of the season] when the Wall comes down.”

“The theme starts earlier in the season and kind of creeps up on, and it builds and builds until the big finale,” he said. Played on piano alone, the music is what Djawadi calls “a simple riff” until elements of the main title theme for the show start to trickle in. The full arrangement — the version playing as the army of the dead begins their slow march through the ruins of the Wall — employs and orchestra and choir, and evokes the sense of dread that Djawadi was going for.

“It feels like this machine that’s just coming for you, pushing forward, very dark and powerful and unstoppable,” he said.

Will they be stopped, though? We won’t know for sure until Season 8 premieres — which will be in the first half of 2019, or maybe not — but we do know that Djawadi will have some truly amazing musical compositions up his sleeve for the final season.

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  1. If Sapochnik tries butting in again on Djawadi’s score, I’m going to freak out. You guys will definitely be hearing from me on that in the comments. Oh and first.

  2. It is about damn time that Djawadi got the Emmy for GoT. The score he created (and continues to create) is beautiful and moving and fantastical and just plain BRILLIANT!

  3. LatrineDiggerBrian:
    If Sapochnik tries butting in again on Djawadi’s score, I’m going to freak out. You guys will definitely be hearing from me on that in the comments. Oh and first.

    What do you mean by this comment?

  4. mau:
    Truth, Light of the Seven and Rains of Castamere are his best scores. And Stark theme as well.

    The Targaryan theme makes me feel pure joy.

  5. Young Dragon,

    Undead Elephant,

    LDB usually comes here to repeat the same handful of comments over and over again. It’s either a complaint about how he hates seasons 7 and 8 and that it’s too “disney” now. Or it’s a complaint about how much he hated that score from the Winds of Winter. Same old stuff, different day.

  6. Undead Elephant,

    He likes to troll with unpopular opinions just for attention. I mean, I can accept that someone has some unpopular opinions, but if every statement of yours is contrarian I can’t take that seriously.

  7. Young Dragon,

    Pfft, Brian doesn’t know anything 😛 Fine, maybe he’s good at latrine digging!

    Clearly, Light of the Seven is one of the best pieces he’s done on GoT. And he’s done some pretty outstanding work.

  8. Mr Derp,

    For the big final boss battle with the Night King there should totally be dueling electric guitars in the score. Siiiiiiiick!

  9. Ser Brocolli McBrocolliface,

    I think dueling banjos would be a more interesting way to go. Jon vs. the Night King, the best banjo solo takes the Iron Throne.

    Hoedown bowl!

    Then again, I do think GoT has more of a heavy metal feel to it, so maybe dueling guitars it is. Jon Snow could be Slash and the Night King could be one of the guitar players from Slipknot for a crunchy groove fest for the ages.

  10. I’ve collected film soundtracks for decades. IMO Djawadi’s GoT is as good as TV music gets. So relieved Emma finally saw that.More new themes–a bloomin’ treasure.

  11. Ramin’s score deserves so much more than it gets. I still can’t believe the epic score from Season 6 got snubbed because that was some of his best work! I liked the Jon/Dany theme although I didn’t feel it creeped up, it was kind of obvious from the start.

  12. He’s done a great job on GoT but I am just desperate for something focused on the final season now. Perhaps time for a few posters given we likely won’t see a trailer for a couple more months at least.

  13. LatrineDiggerBrian:
    If Sapochnik tries butting in again on Djawadi’s score, I’m going to freak out. You guys will definitely be hearing from me on that in the comments. Oh and first.

    LDB! It’s good to see you back. I’d hoped you’d been able to enjoy an extended period of equanimity after that patch of turbulence a while back. Please don’t freak out! Besides, Sapochnik is the ace of the GoT pitching staff. We’re talking 3 out of the all time 5 best episodes. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt, shall we?

    PS For what it’s worth – and ignore it you think it’s intrusive – I’ve adopted a little mental trick when I find myself dwelling on disappointments or overwhelmed with anxiety. I replay in my mind the voices during this exchange in S2e3:

    A: “How do you sleep?”

    Y: “Same as most men, I think.”

    A: “But you’ve seen things, horrible things.”

    Y: “Aye. I’ve seen some pretty things, too, but not nearly so many.”

    Then I picture five pretty things I’ve seen in my life and dwell on those images for a while. (If it involves someone in particular, I’ll write a quick postcard to thank her for the indelible visual memory.)

    Pleasant feedback loops are harder to trigger than crappy ones. Still, it’s worth a try. Telling myself “I’ve seen some pretty things too”, is better than getting bummed out by all the horrible things.

    (Geez. Sorry for the faux Dr. Phil detour.)

  14. Jon Snowed,

    I want to watch Jon Snow scenes in season 8 with Targaryen themed songs playing during the scene…. or maybe a combination of Targayen an Stark themed music mixed together

  15. I love anything discussed about Djawidi and his music. I’m sure everyone here knows it, but did you know he wrote the music for Person of Interest and for the movie the Mountain Between Us? I guess I could look him up on IMDB, but it’s so much more fun to recognize a composer’s work. Although I’ll admit, he’s not that easy to recognize. Usually I like the music and then find out it’s his.

    Musicians on the Web who write their own piano covers of the GoT and WW themes are very generous in that you can DL them for free. Most of them are too complex for me, although Radiohead theme at the end of S1 of WW is fun to play. And I can play a few pages of Light of the Seven. Nowhere near as rich as with all the nuances he pulls from an orchestra, but you know…

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