Game of Thrones Theme

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"Game of Thrones Main Title Theme"
Game of Thrones Theme.jpg
Single by Ramin Djawadi
from the album Game of Thrones: Season 1
ReleasedJune 14, 2011
GenreTelevision soundtrack
LabelVarèse Sarabande
Songwriter(s)Ramin Djawadi
Producer(s)Ramin Djawadi
Audio sample
"Game of Throne's main title theme"

"Game of Thrones Theme", also referred to as "Game of Thrones Main Title Theme", is the theme music of HBO's fantasy television series Game of Thrones and its prequel House of the Dragon, and plays during the title sequences to both shows. It was composed by Ramin Djawadi in 2011, after series creator David Benioff and D. B. Weiss approached him requesting a theme.

Asked to avoid flutes and violins, which the producers felt were overused in fantasy themes, Djawadi used the cello as the lead instrument. The piece begins in a minor key, then switches between corresponding major and minor keys repeatedly. Djawadi was shown a preliminary rendering of the title sequence before composing this music to accompany it. Several artists have covered or parodied the music, sometimes adding lyrics to the originally instrumental work.

The Game of Thrones theme is used for House of the Dragon starting in the second episode.[1]


Ramin Djawadi began composing the music for the show after he had watched the first two episodes of the series that the showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss sent him, and discussed the concepts of the show with them.[2][3] According to Djawadi, the show creators wanted the main title theme to be about a journey as there are many locations and characters in the show and the narrative involves much traveling.[2] After Djawadi was shown a preliminary animated Game of Thrones title sequence that the visual effect artists were still working on, he was inspired to write the piece. He said that he started humming what would become the theme tune in the car after seeing the visuals for the title sequence, and conceived of the idea for the theme on the drive back to his studio.[4] The finished theme music was presented to the producer three days later.[5]

Djawadi said he intended to capture the overall impression of the show with the theme tune.[2] Cello is featured strongly as Benioff and Weiss wanted to avoid the flutes or solo vocals found in many other productions in the fantasy genre so as to give the show a distinctive sound,[6] and Djawadi chose cello as the main instrument for the music as he thought it has a "darker sound" that suited the show.[7]

Djawadi started with a riff and he built the title theme around the riff. The tune begins with the riff played on strings in a minor key, then changed to a major key after 2 bars, and back to minor again. Djawadi said that he wanted to reflect the "backstabbing and conspiracy" and the unpredictability of the show: "... I thought it would be cool to kinda do the same play with the music. So even though the majority of the piece is in minor, there's that little hint of major in there where it kinda switches and then it changes back again." The main melody is then introduced with the cello, joined later by a solo violin that may suggest an interplay between different characters. The melody is then repeated with the entire orchestra. The next section introduces a change in melody, described by Djawadi as giving "a sense of adventure", and continues with a repeat that involves a choir of twenty female voices - recorded in Prague, like the instrumental parts.[2] The title theme ends with a combination of dulcimer and kantele, producing a "shimmery quality" in its sound that Djawadi thought would give a sense of mystery and anticipation for the episode.[7]

The title music is reprised as a global theme in the soundtracks for the series. It may be played occasionally on its own in fragments, sometimes as part of the theme of individual characters or in combination with other pieces of music, and may also be played in large section during particularly important scenes.[6]

Cover versions and parodies

The main theme of Game of Thrones has inspired many tributes and cover versions,[8] including a rendition by the electropop band Chvrches.[9] Lyrics were added for the first time in April 2014 when Element Animation partnered with Mojang Studios for that year's Minecraft April Fools' Day Prank, adding an a cappella rendition of theme (from voice actor Dan Lloyd, in-character as NPC Villagers) to the sandbox game's title screen.[10][11][12] Later that August, "Weird Al" Yankovic performed a parody version of the song (with added lyrics) during the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards.[13][14] In March 2015, FORTE added lyrics based on High Valyrian text for an operatic performance and music video.[15] Some of the cover and parody versions mentioned by news media include:

Credits and personnel

Personnel adapted from the album liner notes.[34]

  • Ramin Djawadi – composer, primary artist, producer
  • David Benioff – liner notes
  • D. B. Weiss – liner notes

Chart positions

Weekly charts

Chart (2014) Peak
Belgium (Ultratop Back Catalogue Singles Wallonia)[35] 22
Chart (2015) Peak
French Singles Sales Chart (Pure Charts)[36] 131
Chart (2019) Peak
French Singles Sales Chart (Pure Charts)[36] 65
French Downloads (SNEP)[37] 65

See also


  1. ^ Romano, Nick (August 29, 2022). "Watch the new, bloodier House of the Dragon opening titles with original Game of Thrones theme". EW. Archived from the original on October 12, 2022. Retrieved August 30, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d Hirway, Hrishikesh. "Song Exploder 40: RAMIN DJAWADI ("Game of Thrones")". Soundcloud. Archived from the original on 2018-02-08. Retrieved 2017-09-25.
  3. ^ Renfro, Kim (July 7, 2016). "Meet the musical genius behind the Game of Thrones soundtrack who watches each season before anyone else". Tech Insider. Archived from the original on July 8, 2016.
  4. ^ "'Game Of Thrones' Composer Ramin Djawadi On Melodies That Stick". NPR. February 14, 2017. Archived from the original on March 21, 2018. Retrieved April 5, 2018.
  5. ^ C.A. Taylor (November 6, 2014). "Creating the Title Sequence". Inside HBO's Game of Thrones II: Seasons 3 & 4. Gollancz. ISBN 978-1473206182. Archived from the original on March 28, 2023. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
  6. ^ a b "Composer Interview: Ramin Djawadi". December 22, 2012. Archived from the original on August 17, 2016. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
  7. ^ a b Hirway, Hrishikesh; Djawadi, Ramin (June 11, 2015). "Here's Why Game of Thrones Theme Song Is as Treacherous as Westeros". The Creators Project / Song Exploder. Archived from the original on September 19, 2016. Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  8. ^ Abramovitch, Seth (July 14, 2011). "Emmys 2011: The Forgotten Categories". Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved July 20, 2011.
  9. ^ Watercutter, Angela (April 15, 2013). "Why HBO Turned to Indie Bands for the Medieval Tunes of Game of Thrones". Wired. Archived from the original on April 17, 2013. Retrieved April 17, 2013.
  10. ^ a b Lloyd, Dan (May 7, 2014). Door. Element Animation 2. Archived from the original on May 11, 2014. Retrieved May 7, 2014 – via YouTube.
  11. ^ a b Hvorp, Kurt; Paradis, Dan (June 29, 2017). "Top 10 Minecraft Facts". WatchMojo. Archived from the original on May 25, 2017. Retrieved June 29, 2017. #7: April Fools of Thrones — In the game of fools, you win or you laugh out loud. Possibly both, given how amusing Mojang's fake update for April Fools 2014 turned out to be. If you booted up Minecraft on April 1st, you were treated to an a cappella rendition of the opening theme from HBO's fantasy series Game of Thrones. Partially in honour of the show's then-impending fourth season and partially a nod to a resource pack by Element Animation, this was one all-around fun Easter egg. Element Pack also provided new sound effects for EVERYTHING in the game, courtesy of their own voices.
  12. ^ a b Landin, Per (August 4, 2021). "It takes a Village". Minecraft. Archived from the original on August 4, 2021. Retrieved August 4, 2021. I decided to substitute my voice in for animation," Dan [Lloyd] remembers, "then get a new voice actor to dub over my lines once we found one. The voice was really silly and monotone, and it was never meant to make it into the final [version]. We didn't manage to find a voice actor, so we released it with the placeholder voice.
  13. ^ a b Grow, Kory (August 25, 2014). ""Weird Al" Parodies Game of Thrones, Mad Men Themes at the Emmys". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on April 26, 2015. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  14. ^ a b "Emmys 2014: 'Weird Al' Yankovic parodies 'Game of Thrones,' 'Scandal' theme songs". New York Daily News. Archived from the original on 2016-01-21. Retrieved 2016-08-22.
  15. ^ "Giving a classical edge to Game of Thrones soundtrack". The Sunday Times. Sri Lanka. March 22, 2015. Archived from the original on March 26, 2015. Retrieved April 5, 2015.
  16. ^ Dooling, Annemarie (July 6, 2011). ""Game of Thrones" Gets A Violin Cover". Huffington Post. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved July 20, 2011.
  17. ^ Bricken, Rob. "Game of Thrones Opening - Metal Edition". Topless Robot. Archived from the original on May 10, 2012. Retrieved March 9, 2012.
  18. ^ Rao, Malika (May 15, 2012). "The Harp Twins' 'Game Of Thrones' Intro: Camille And Kennerly Kitt Serenade The 7 Kingdoms (VIDEO)". Huffington Post. Archived from the original on November 18, 2015. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
  19. ^ Harrison, Josh (June 18, 2011). "'Game of Thrones' Theme, 8-Bit Style". Ology. Archived from the original on January 30, 2013. Retrieved July 20, 2011.
  20. ^ "Super-geeky 'Game of Thrones' theme played on hard drives". Archived from the original on 2016-09-02. Retrieved 2016-08-22.
  21. ^ "'Game Of Thrones' Theme Song Covered By Lindsey Stirling And Peter Hollens". Forbes. September 5, 2012. Archived from the original on September 7, 2012. Retrieved September 6, 2012.
  22. ^ ""Game of Thrones" gets an awesome cello tribute". CBS News. April 8, 2013. Archived from the original on June 10, 2013. Retrieved April 9, 2013.
  23. ^ "2CELLOS Rock Out in King's Landing for GAME OF THRONES Medley | Nerdist". Nerdist. 2017-01-16. Archived from the original on 2018-07-11. Retrieved 2018-07-10.
  24. ^ Lough, Chris (June 20, 2013). "Dance it Up to This Slick Ska Version of the Game of Thrones Theme". Archived from the original on August 19, 2013. Retrieved June 20, 2013.
  25. ^ Cooper, Nathanael (March 31, 2014). "Classic music ensemble Aston post tribute to Game of Thrones". Courier Mail. Archived from the original on July 26, 2014. Retrieved April 6, 2014.
  26. ^ pianowithjonny (2015-04-08), Game of Thrones - Ragtime Piano Rendition by Jonny May, archived from the original on 2016-09-01, retrieved 2016-02-16
  27. ^ a b "Game of Thrones: Watch the top seven most amazing parodies from The Simpsons to the Romantic Comedy version". Daily Mirror. 7 April 2014. Archived from the original on 14 December 2017. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  28. ^ "Clip de "Game of Thrones" : Luc Arbogast sur les traces de la série phénomène". (in French). Archived from the original on 2019-04-23. Retrieved 2019-04-23.
  29. ^ " - Luc Arbogast - Game Of Thrones (Main Title Theme)". (in French). Archived from the original on 2019-01-12. Retrieved 2019-04-23.
  30. ^ Mariupol orchestra performs "Game of thrones theme" at metallurgical plant Archived 2016-11-23 at the Wayback Machine - video
  31. ^ "Game Of Thrones (KSHMR & The Golden Army Remix)". Archived from the original on 2017-07-18. Retrieved 2017-07-18.
  32. ^ "Hear Flatt Lonesome's Bluegrass Spin on the 'Game of Thrones' Theme". Rolling Stone. April 13, 2016. Archived from the original on December 5, 2018. Retrieved December 4, 2018.
  33. ^ "The Game Of Thrones Theme Song | Custom Shop | Fender". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2020-10-29. Retrieved 2020-10-24.
  34. ^ "Game of Thrones by Ramin Djawadi". AllMusic. Archived from the original on May 19, 2013. Retrieved July 20, 2011.
  35. ^ "Ramin Djawadi - Game Of Thrones". Archived from the original on 2019-05-03. Retrieved 2019-04-23.
  36. ^ a b "Ramin Djawadi - Main Title (single)". (in French). Archived from the original on 2019-04-23. Retrieved 2019-04-23.
  37. ^ "Le Top de la semaine du 19 avril 2019: Top Singles Téléchargés". SNEP - Syndicat Nation de l'Edition Phonographique (in French). 2019-04-19. Archived from the original on 2015-09-05. Retrieved 2019-04-23.

External links