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Soundtrack review: Game of thrones (season 5) (Ramin Djawadi – 2015)

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Each year I wait with equal impatience for April and June to come. As exciting as the “Game of thrones” show is, the music of each season has been equally impressive and addictive. Ramin Djawadi crafter a world as varied and complex as the one in the books and the main title is still, five years later one of the best opening in TV history for me. The “Game of thrones” theme has become synonym with the emotions of the show and I listen to it very often. It sometimes explodes in my head and makes me miss that world and those characters. With each season the music got better and I am expecting big things from season 5. On screen, this was the most cruel and brutal season yet and there were some moments when the music made me hold my breath.

I am happy to rediscover the Daeneris sound in all the dragon related cues. That haunting choir and the goose bump inducing rhythms are present this season as well. “Blood of the dragon” is the first cue and already the first moment to mark on the shortlist of best cues of 2015. We get veiled and addictive new themes for the land of Dorne, or for “House of Black and White”. There’s so much mystery, so many questions in a cue like this that shows just how much Ramid Djwadi has grown as a composer together with the music of this show. The music is much more complex now than it was in the beginning. The world was barely discovered back then and now almost all the “Game of thrones” universe has been revealed. The music keeps up with that. The quiet moments are just as exciting as the emotional ones and it’s hard for me to choose which I like best.

I could never easily pass by a cue like “Jaws of the Viper”; it’s the kind of piece that leaves a lasting impression. It’s tender and determined in the same time and it tells me a story. It’s among the few surprises of the album, motifs I didn’t notice in the TV show. Then there are the cues for the power scenes of this season. The two “Hardhome” tracks which depict the most awesome, spectacular and scary battle scene in the history of television give me chills and remind me of those powerful minutes. The urgency and brutality of the music and the constant menace in the sound do a job reminding me of the images, although I think they could have been even more intense.

There are some underwhelming cues as well, such as “Mother’s mercy” which reminds me of the more forgettable pieces from the first two seasons. Seasons 3 and 4 for example didn’t have a lot of moments like this, “Kneel for no man” or even “Kill the boy”. They seem like a step back in the evolution of the music.

Then there are great moments like “Atonement” and a magnificent theme like “Dance of dragons” which can sit right up there with the most memorable “Game of thrones” musical moments. It has the build-up, the emotions and the epic factor I need from a cue to keep it for good on my playlist. It’s also helped by the scene it completes. It is my favorite piece from this score.

In a way the music from season 5 of “Game of thrones” breaks the ascending trend these scores had over the last couple of years. But even so, there is hardly any doubt it will end up, as always, among my favorite TV scores of the year. Even the fifth book of the saga wasn’t as good as the one before and I still read it twice.

Cue rating: 86 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 18 / 59

Album excellence: 31%

Highlights:

Main Titles

Blood Of The Dragon

House Of Black And White

Dance Of Dragons

Atonement

I Dreamt I Was Old

Throne For The Game (feat. Bradley Hanan Carter)

 

 

About the author

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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