Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Review of “Game Of Thrones: Season 2” Soundtrack by Ramin Djawadi

Ramin Djawadi is back to score the second season of the heavy fantasy show, Game Of Thrones. I enjoyed his work on the last season, but thought there was plenty that could be improved on this second time around. One thing's for sure though, we’re going dark places!


Even though it’s copied over from Season 1, the beautiful “Main Title” is back and worth mentioning. Easily the most epic piece of the soundtrack, its energetic drums and deep strings paint the scale and beauty of this huge fantasy story. “The Throne Is Mine” is familiar too - a rehash of some themes in the first season - but brilliantly portrays the dark and majestic world of this medieval upper-class society.
“What Is Dead May Never Day” is a fairly enjoyable atmospheric piece. It feels oddly constrained, but builds patiently into a rather rousing cacophony of strings.



Our theme for the character of Stannis and his journey to claim the throne is first heard in “Warrior Of Light”, which is - again - a very dark and brooding melody. This theme is built into its pure height of strength in one of the album’s few action pieces - “Don’t Die With A Clean Sword”, a heavy track which also features an anxious variation on the “Main Title” theme. Speaking of that main theme, “Mother Of Dragons” plays around with it in a gorgeous manner reminiscent of the “Finale” piece from Season 1.
Magic and mystery is squeezed into the mix through “Valar Morghulis”. The iconic mixture of sounds in this piece certainly achieves an eerie air.

“Winterfell” has a very slow and melancholy opening, but halfway through we are greeted by what I think of as “The Stark Theme”, which has also returned from Season 1. Stoic and sad, but also filled with hope - an emotion that contrasts with the majority of this fantasy universe.



Across the narrow sea, Daenerys still has a more barren and ethnic soundscape as a backdrop for her journey. “Qarth” is one of the less interesting tracks of the album.

If you’ve seen the show you know this piece is for a very dramatic sequence of the show. “Wildfire” is really just a mix of what we’ve heard before: some of “The Throne Is Mine”, and a dash of “Warrior Of Light”.

Certainly one of my favourite tracks is the romantic “I Am Hers, She Is Mine”. One of the (very) few moments of joy in the show, this is an absolutely beautiful piece. The sounds are still heavy like the whole album, but just that little bit brighter and smoother. It’s exquisite.
“Stand And Fight” is a fairly exciting action cue, reminiscent of something you might find in a medieval Ridley Scott film.
Though I’ve expressed delight in many of these fine pieces, overall I am disappointed by most of this soundtrack. “Pyat Pree” is a generic attempt at horror. “We Are The Watchers On The Wall” and “House Of The Undying” are more examples of non-noteworthy soundscapes. “Pay The Iron Price” wastes half its run time before it progresses into a decent blend of uncomfortable moods which reflect tragic events on screen.


With Ramin Djawadi returning to this second chapter in the series, I had hoped he would take his previous material to all-new heights. Unfortunately, though there are a few standout pieces, this score seems to me to be simply satisfactory. This can possibly be blamed on the content of the show which, while entertaining, never grew into much more than a brooding medieval drama with foreshadowing, promising exciting events in the future. Maybe next season the fun will truly begin?

My scores for the soundtrack are below.

Yours scrumptiously,
Thoroughmas

Track No. Track Name Score (out of 5)
1 Main Title
4.5
2 The Throne is Mine
4
3 What Is Dead May Never Die
3.5
4 Warrior Of Light
2.5
5 Valar Morghulis
2
6 Winterfell
4
7 Qarth
1.5
8 Wildfire
3
9 I Am Hers, She Is Mine
4
10 Pyat Pree
3
11 Don't Die With A Clean Sword
4
12 We Are The Watchers On The Wall 
2.5
13 Pay The Iron Price
4
14 One More Drink Before The War
3
15 House Of The Undying
2
16 Stand And Fight
3
17 The Old Gods And The New
2.5
18 Mother Of Dragons
4
19 I Will Keep You Safe
2
20 The Rains Of Castomere
3.5
21 Three Blasts
1.5

Overall Score: 3 out of 5