Composer Ramin Djawadi and a cast of roughly 65 musicians bring the HBO series to life in concert
The “Game of Thrones” Live Concert Experience should come tagged with one massive spoiler alert, according to composer Ramin Djawadi, since the event will draw upon every season of the HBO fantasy series.
“It was tricky to condense it down and take the audience through this material, but I want to take them through all six seasons,” said Djawadi, who has crafted music for the show since its 2011 debut.
While the concert, which takes place at Nationwide Arena on Thursday, Feb. 23, will incorporate a strong visual element (giant screens will broadcast scenes from the series, as well as visuals created solely for the live experience), the music will take center stage here, with Djawadi leading a crew of roughly 65 players, including full string and brass sections, various soloists and a 20-person choir.
Expect Djawadi to take full advantage of this massive crew during battle scenes and in recreating the show's now-ubiquitous theme song, which crescendos with a force that could reduce the towering wall dividing the seven kingdoms from the wild northern realm to rubble.
Live, as with the series, the music will shift drastically as it takes concertgoers from north to south. When venturing beyond the wall, the music tends to be similarly icy — “There's this wind and this ambience that gives you the chills,” Djawadi said — with a thaw creeping in as travelers progress through Winterfell (expect more violin and cello) to the sunnier, more exotic regions lorded over by Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, Mother of Dragons and the Character with the Longest Name on TV.
“With Daenerys, there are these warmer sounds and ethnic instruments … like the duduk, which is this Middle Eastern flute,” said Djawadi, who dreamed of composing movie music from childhood after becoming hooked on scores to films like “Star Wars” and “The Magnificent Seven.” “The important thing is the different locations, and to help clarify them with music or enhance them with music. There are all these colors that are so nicely contrasting.”
Like the show, which mixes elements of fantasy, history, magic and more, Djawadi said he takes care to make the music impossible to place in a specific era, genre or locale. “I'm using instruments that are old or ancient kinds of instruments, but then I'm also using synthesizers. And sometimes I manipulate instruments so you can't even tell what it really was,” he said. “That's what's really fun about the show: Musically speaking, there are no limits. There are no boundaries.”