1. The first time show creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss showed Djawadi the opening credit footage, he was so inspired he started composing the opening song in his car right after he left.
“The initial melody came to me [and] I hummed it in the car,” Djawadi said, “and I fleshed it out later. I rushed back and started writing it.”
2. Benioff and Weiss wanted the theme to capture the overall mood of the show. Since so many of the characters travel so much, Djawadi wanted it to “sound like a journey.”
3. He decided to use the cello in the main theme because he’d already started composing for the first two episodes of Season 1 when he wrote it, so “the sound of the show was already kind of established.”
“The cello was kind of the dominant instrument already. I wanted to represent that in the main title.”
4. As characters progress and change on the show, so do their musical themes. Some characters progress so much, Djawadi writes them an entirely new theme.
5. For example, the Stark theme used to be associated with Arya Stark. But now her character has changed so much, she has an entirely new theme that has nothing to do with the signature Stark sound.
“As she’s developed, there’s a whole new theme with her now that has nothing to do with the Stark theme anymore.”
6. The most challenging piece Djawadi’s composed for the show is Season 6’s nearly 10-minute-long song, “Light of the Seven,” aka that creepy/gorgeous song that plays under the “Oh shit, run, Cersei’s gonna blow up the Sept of Baelor” sequence.
7. It was such an undertaking that he began composing it at the very beginning of the season.
“I normally compose in chronological order, but that one I started on Episode 1. It took a while to write. It’s a very long piece. It was one of the first songs I started composing for Season 6.”
8. That song was the first time he used piano instrumentals in the show, to signal to the viewer that something wasn’t right.
9. Certain instruments are associated with different characters, and perhaps the most unexpected is the instrument associated with the Wildlings: the didgeridoo.
“It’s an instrument I’ve always wanted to use, and we tend to use instruments in the show you might not expect. It has that raw sound that just fits the Wildlings really well.”
10. Djawadi is primarily inspired by visuals, and hasn’t read any of the A Song of Ice and Fire books — but he’s going to once Season 8 ends.
“At the time I was brought onto the show there was not enough time for me to read them,” he explained. “Now I’ve decided to just wait until everything is finished and go back and read all of them. I like to be led by how David and Dan are adapting the books for the show, that’s my guide right now.”
11. Speaking of Season 8, no, tragically, he hasn’t seen any scripts. He has no idea what’s going to happen.
“I don’t know any plot, nothing. I’m completely in the dark, just like everybody else.”
12. But once he does, he’ll go through the same composing process as previous seasons. He’ll get an early cut of an episode and watch it with Benioff and Weiss. They’ll discuss music timing and creative direction.
Then, Djawadi will go and compose the music for the episode, come back, and then watch it again with Benioff and Weiss for tweaks and suggestions. Djawadi calls it "a constant process" and a "close collaboration."
Then, Djawadi will go and compose the music for the episode, come back, and then watch it again with Benioff and Weiss for tweaks and suggestions. Djawadi calls it “a constant process” and a “close collaboration.”
13. And even though he doesn’t know what Season 8 will bring, if he had to choose a way to end the series musically, it would be the same way it all began: with that iconic theme song.
“The main title is a theme for everybody. Maybe the final piece could incorporate the main title. I hope to incorporate the main title in Season 8 somehow.”