We all know that Led Zeppelin were the first ones to make medieval fantasy themes a cool subject for rock songs ("Ramble On," "Battle of Evermore," and "Misty Mountain Hop" are literally about The Lord of the Rings
, and "Immigrant Song" is about heroic Viking battle, to name just a few). Aside from the hellfire-obsessed Iron Maiden types and Celtic/New Age pagan rockers, though, there hasn't really been an outlet in music for the language of fairy tales and epic sagas in decades.
Enter Game of Thrones
. It seems that these Dungeons and Dragons-worthy themes are making a comeback, spearheaded by the staggering popularity of the HBO series based on the books by George R. R. Martin. The show (which has been described by members of our office staff as "Lord of the Rings
with boobs") has also been serving as a sort of platform for current bands to experiment with these themes, resulting in some of our favorite indie outfits recording songs we'd expect to hear at our local Renaissance Fair, not our local music blog. The National recorded their haunting rendition of "The Rains of Castemere" (an ode from the book) for Season 2, and yesterday The Hold Steady released their punked-out version of the GOT
tavern jig "The Bear and the Maiden Fair."
Additionally, the grand trailers for the series have featured music from the likes of MS MR and Florence + The Machine, not written for the show but all too fitting. Popular culture (especially television and movies) often inspires waves of pop music (remember when Doctor Who
was on the rise, and all of a sudden it was "Starships," "E.T.," and the alien-embryo "Born This Way" video?), and with the additional support of current shows like Once Upon A Time
and recent movies like Snow White and the Huntsman
and The Hobbit
, this is a trend that we can get behind. Bring on the dragons, crows, wolves, and castles!
: "Rabbit Heart" by Florence + The Machine
Sansa goes through a lot of shit because of the Lannisters (house sigil: lion), but through it all, her will to survive is stronger than any suffering they can put her through. "I must become the lion-hearted girl," is the perfect motto for Sansa, who takes the pain and makes it her bravery.
: "Cry, Cry Crow" by The Pines
Those who "take the black," or vow to guard the Wall for the rest of their lives, are known colloquially (and sometimes derisively) as "crows." This trembling folk song may as well be a heartbreaking ballad for Jon Snow, the bastard son who tries to find a life for himself in the frigid North, where family names don't matter.
: "Supremacy" by Muse
Like "Seven Devils," this song has the theme of overthrowing a ruler, destroying a kingdom, albeit with a graceless hair metal bombast that we can't help but headbang to. Imagine Tyrion singing it to his sister, Cersei, whose greed and ambition caused her to raise a monster, Joffrey, who in turn is endangering the entire realm.
: "If I Had A Heart" by Fever Ray
This song is a portrait of someone so damaged by loss that they cannot love, and only find solace in ambition. Perhaps it's the cello that reminds us of the series, but we still think it's a pretty fitting theme for Daeny (that is, until we find a better song about dragons).
: "Glass" by Bat for Lashes
Bat For Lashes has spoken in interviews about the importance of fairy tales and escapism in her songs, and this is a perfect example: "Sew a cape of red and gold, stifle up the beam / With the perfect armor, with a perfect dream / To be made of glass / When two suns are shining, the battle becomes blinding / To be made of glass / But we ride tonight, tonight, tonight, we ride!" To us, it could be Cersei steeling herself before the Battle of Blackwater Bay, or perhaps a confession of her thoughts as she realizes just how tenuous her grip on power really is.
Watch Bat For Lashes Sultry Baeble Session
And here's a taste of the official "soundtrack" that HBO is constructing around The Game of Thrones
"The Rains of Castamere" by The National
"The Bear and the Maiden Fair" by The Hold Steady
Trailer for Season 2, featuring "Seven Devils" by Florence + The Machine