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Game of Thrones (Season 2) by Ramin Djawadi

Game of Thrones (Season 2)

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Game of Thrones (Season 2) (Soundtrack) by Ramin Djawadi
Game of Thrones (Season 2) (Soundtrack) by Ramin Djawadi
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Game of Thrones (Season 2) (Soundtrack) by Ramin Djawadi

Game of Thrones (Season 2)
Composed by Ramin Djawadi
Lakeshore Records (2012)

Rating: 6/10

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“It’s a wonder how DJAWADI has failed to noticeably progress beyond the standard he set in season one of the fantasy series. ”

A Static Kingdom
Review by Richard Buxton

 

The second season of any major television series brings with it a mixture of raised expectations and fervent anticipation. Yet it is not rare for a show to suffer from something of a second season syndrome. Given the almost universal praise for the show in its second offering, GAME OF THRONES is seemingly suffering from no such ailment.

Heightened expectations not only concern story development and drama, but also musical development. Television presents a composer with the unique opportunity to really delve into the universe of the show, to flesh out the characters that dwell within. As a result, the weight of expectation bears down upon RAMIN DJAWADI and his score for GAME OF THRONES SEASON 2

The score begins in familiar territory, opening with “Main Title” (2). The advent of a new season occasionally brings with it a transformed main theme in the cases of some TV shows, a somewhat recent and appropriate example being the differences between DJAWADI’S themes for PRISON BREAK SEASONS 1/2 and 3. DJAWADI’S theme for GAME OF THRONES undergoes no such changes here, and remains the solid. If a little uninspiring, fantasy theme of the previous season. The theme arises here and there throughout the score, an example being in one of the more standout action cues “Don’t Die With A Clean Sword” (11). This track is by no means a stellar example of action scoring, and is an example of DJAWADI’S score excelling in areas elsewhere, particularly those other than the more testosterone-fuelled sequences. A lack of momentum in the action is apparent throughout the entire track, expression instead coming through evolving repetition, a technique better demonstrated in other areas of the score. “Wildfire” (8) and “The Throne is Mine” (2) both suffer from the same fate, the latter using the churning eight-note pattern to greater effect than the former, before the entrance of a more regally imposing brass theme towards the end.

The only moments where DJAWADI’S score really manages to stand out are in the more subdued ones, moments that allow subtlety to reign more freely and as a result the cues tend to sound a little more organic and less forced. The first noticeably successful track of this kind is “Valar Morghulis” (5), an evocatively ethnic piece that adds a much needed air of mystique to the score with its percussion and plucked strings. This sense of fragility within the score is all too rare and only appears again in the final stages of the score in “Mother of Dragons” (18), a slowed and more emotional take on the main theme of the series.

The rest of DJAWADI’S score is largely adequate, but little more. The three successive tracks “We Are The Watchers On The Wall” (12), “Pay The Iron Price” (13), and “One More Drink Before The War” (14) all provide ample atmosphere but little in the way of memorable music. “Pyat Pree” (10) is perhaps the only example on the soundtrack of DJAWADI being able to combine a mixture of atmosphere and action with any great success. The build in tension is palpable before percussion and taut dissonant strings bring the cue to a crashing end.

It’s a wonder how DJAWADI has failed to noticeably progress beyond the standard he set in season one of the fantasy series. The foundations for a memorable fantasy score are all there, but any opportunities for thematic development have clearly gone unnoticed. GAME OF THRONES SEASON 2 is an aggravatingly average score that is more memorable for being thus than for anything else.


Rating: 6/10

Read Richard's review for the GAME OF THRONES (Season One) Soundtrack

 


Track

Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 Main Title 1:47  ****
2 The Throne is Mine 3:17  ****
3 What is Dead May Never Die 2:08  ****
4 Warrior of Light 3:04  ***
5 Valar Morghulis 3:00  ****
6 Winterfell 2:44  ***
7 Qarth 2:13  ***
8 Wildfire 3:40  ***
9 I Am Hers, She Is Mine 2:18  ***
10 Pyat Pree 2:13  ****
11 Don't Die with a Clean Sword 3:24  ****
12 We are the Watchers on the Wall 2:38  ***
13 Pay the Iron Price 2:34  ***
14 One More Drink Before The War 2:07  ***
15 House of the Undying 5:04  ***
16 Stand and Fight 2:06  ***
17 The Old Gods and the New 2:40  ***
18 Mother of Dragons 2:36  ****
19 I Will Keep You Safe 2:19  ***
20 The Rains of Castomere 2:24  **
21 Three Blasts 2:41  **
  Total Running Time (approx) 57 minutes  

 

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