We’ve all been ready since the finale last year, but the time has finally come to immerse ourselves in Westeros once more. We’ve been reading the books, consulting psychics, rewatching seasons 1-4 on repeat, and most importantly, listening to the tracks from last season. It was good, it was bad, it was ugly. **No spoilers for anything going forward, but I can’t guarantee your sanity if you haven’t seen season 4 yet**
As a die hard fan, I’ve done yearly reviews of Game of Thrones season soundtracks for the past few seasons. I find the music engaging, innovative, and strikingly appropriate for an underdeveloped society with dragons. Though the producers have made some choices that I vehemently and angrily disagree with, I just can’t quit this show — the production value is too amazing. Let’s take a look at some of the standout tracks from Game of Thrones, season 4.
“The Watchers on the Wall” – Track 04
Okay, so most of the scenes at The Wall are nothing more than painfully boring (sorry, I’m not sorry), but this track is exciting. The heart-pounding percussion and low strings are fantastic, and almost enough to get me to care about Jon Snow (who totally should have just stayed with Ygritte, duh).
(An oldie but a goodie from season 3.)
“Mereen” – Track 07
Aside from being a Daenerys Targaryen (Mother of Dragons, the Unburnt, Breaker of Chains, Of Old Valyria, etc) fangirl, this track is fabulous. It creates tension, but never gets boring, injecting the track with percussion and snippets of melody bouncing from section to section.
Khaleesi for President in 2016, am I right?
“Two Swords” – Track 11
Even though this includes the tired “Rains of Castamere,” it’s subtle and meshed with the gorgeous Stark theme which has been sadly absent from this season, likely due to the absence of Starks. (Moment of silence, if you please.)
Underscoring the plot point of Dead Ned’s sword being melted down into 2 Lannister swords, this medley is perfect and definitely overshadows the subsequent track, “Oathkeeper.”
The owner of Oathkeeper in action in season 3. Hopefully we’ll see a lot more of Brienne this season (or I might stage a protest)!
The Bad (or rather, just forgettable):
“Three Eyed Raven” – Track 10
A vaguely interesting atmospheric track, but it just fails to really grab me. (Yes, obviously the goal of television and film scoring is to be unobtrusive, but every single moment of Ramin Djawadi’s score for Pacific Rim was thrilling! Not a dull moment on that album.) Maybe it’s because the writers have focused on Bran too much, leaving him with nowhere to go in this season, and I’m kind of bored of him when Osha isn’t around. Nothing livens up a scene like some snarky lines from Tonks!
“You Are No Son of Mine” – Track 13
For such an intense scene, this track is harmonically interesting, but feels like a retelling of the same story. Rains of Castamere! The Lannisters are assholes! Morally suspect! Yes, we know. But when a fan favorite is murdering his dad on the can, you’d think the score would be a bit more bombastic.
Accused of murder since birth, it took him a few seasons to live up to his own legend. Now he’s murdering everyone up in here.
“The Rains of Castamere,” featuring Icelandic group Sigur Ros. Aside from the screechy sounds over the top that remind me of nails on a chalkboard, I am just bored of this song. We’ve heard it too much, and now it’s boring. This is the only time I would ever share a point of view such a vile little tyrant, but when the late King Joffrey complained that everyone plays that song, and only that song, to honor the Lannisters, I felt compelled to agree.
(Side note: I totally saw the actor, Jack Gleeson, a couple times at a coffee shop down the street when I lived in Dublin. I didn’t approach him though, because he’s been pretty vocal about wanting to have a quiet life.)
There are 22 tracks on this album, but an unscientific survey done in my living room last night (sample size: 2) proves that many of these tracks sound similar to each other. This survey also shows that the season 3 soundtrack was more exciting and engaging — but then, season three as a whole was better than last year’s, With that said, Ramin Djawadi is a fantastic composer who works to tight deadlines with an incredible result — I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next!
Which track from season 4 was your favorite?
**This was originally posted on my blog, Musically Notable, where I write about social inequalities in music, music past and present, and fangirl about stuff I like.