perfect score TV

Soundtrack review: Game of thrones (season 6) (Ramin Djawadi – 2016)

got6
Either way, rush to get this one. For me, halfway through 2016, it’s the score of the year.

Season 6 of “Game of thrones” has been my favorite so far. I am an avid reader of the books so the first five seasons, great as they were a constant comparison with the books and questions about what is missing. Free from the shackles of the book the show runners delivered the most spectacular outing yet this year. Everything worked for this season, even the awesome art work.  The music in context was amazing as well and I couldn’t wait to hear it properly. Ramin Djawadi has created over the years a splendid musical identity for the show, starting from one of the best main TV themes ever. So far my favorite album is still the music of season 1 but I’m expecting great things from this one.

Naturally I am looking for my favorite moments from the season in the score. Ramin wastes no time and right after the main theme he hits us with “Blood of my blood”, the epic and magnificent theme that played when Daenerys has her big moment and (spoiler alert) burns down all her enemies. I remember the power of that scene, rivaled only by the game changing finale of season 1 and I still get shivers. This is one of those rare cues that get an extra star from me besides the maximum of 5 which means it will feature on my list of best cues of the year. Dany gets some of the most affecting themes, as usual, as “Khaleesi” and “Reign” are also goose bump feasts for me.

The music of season 6 is a game changer in itself for the franchise. If until now 60% of the album was covered by quieter or tense cues this time the composer unleashes the epic and owns specific scenes. We also get massively long cues, something that didn’t happen until now. “Light of the seven” is an almost 10 minutes long piano and string duo delight that sets itself apart from the general atmosphere of the show by being more of a sad lullaby than anything else. This might be one of the most emotional pieces Ramin Djawadi has written. It’s minimalistic but oh so poignant and it sounds like someone playing the piano from a dungeon where she is forever trapped. The music slowly builds up into a painful revolt with the organ sound and a desperate cry with choirs and strings. Sublime TV writing right here. It plays over one of the most fantastic and important scenes in the history of the show, the stunning opening of the last episode.

By this time a lot of the characters from the show have gone through so much that it changed them, it made them more harsh, more serious, sadder and more mature. The music has evolved with them and gone is the hope in cues like “King of the North” from the first season. I can hear in Ramin Djawadi’s composition the shadow and weight of the past that affects everyone. Darkness rules this score and even moments that should be happy are treated with the same acknowledgement that joy is still far away.

I relieve favorite scenes when I hear cues like “My watch has ended” or “Needle”. When the dark cello comes in and silences everything around it just reminds me of the emotional abyss in which characters like Jon, Arya or Sansa plunge almost every time. And these are just the starters as the truly waterworks moment comes with “Hold the door”. Ramin Djawadi took his time with the most emotional scene of the season for me and wrote a 7 minutes long theme for it. From the suffocating darkness and fright of the while walker attack to the thrill of running away to the quiet, searing moment when we are taken to the past and the heartbreaking conclusion, the composer makes me relieve the pain with one of his most masterful themes.

My favorite episode probably from the entire series is “The battle of the bastards”. We get two spectacular cues from it “Let’s play a game” and “Bastard” which showcase how much Ramin can do for epic action scenes. Just like the show is a storm of emotions so the score for season 6 makes sure we are drenched to the bone. Nothing is missing here for one of the most compelling and exceptional albums I’ve heard this year. I say that this is my favorite Ramin Djawadi score to date just to make you understand how good it is. By now every character of house has its well established theme and the way the composer waves those motifs in the cues is just perfect.

Regardless if your poison is epic action, heartbreaking emotion or stoic desperation, “Game of thrones season 6” has it all. If you are a fan of the show this one will make your hearts tremble; if you are not, it will make you a fan of Ramin Djawadi. Either way, rush to get this one. For me, halfway through 2016, it’s the score of the year.

Cue rating: 100 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 91 / 91

Album excellence: 100%

Highlights:

Main Titles

Blood of My Blood

Light of the Seven

Needle

Coronation

Feed the Hounds

My Watch Has Ended

The Red Woman

Hold the Door

Khaleesi

Maester

A Painless Death

Reign

Let’s Play a Game

Bastard

Trust Each Other

Winter Has Come

Hear Me Roar

The Winds of Winter

BONUS TRACKS: Lord of Light

Service of the Gods

I Need You by My Side

The Tower

Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

I Choose Violence

Hodor

 

 

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).

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment