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Why The Game of Thrones Theme Song is So Iconic and Good

Game of Thrones/HBO

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Game of Thrones ‘ theme song rules. 

I didn’t even watch the show, but when I hear this song, even I’m thinking, “Oh yeah time for some epic s***!” Ramin Djawadi is an awesome composer (obligatory Person of Interest shout out), and the Game of Thrones theme song is another excellent piece by him.

It follows a standard “epic music” formula to a T.

This isn’t a criticism. Something normally becomes standard because it works, after all, so there is nothing wrong with using patterns that have historically worked to assist you in crafting the mood you’re trying to set.

If you wanted to write a Christmas song, for example, you could throw in some jingle bells. We identify jingle bells with the season, so that’s an easy way to get the spirit of your music across (We purposely saved this article for after Christmas so you wouldn’t go insane suddenly hearing jingle bells in every single song). When it comes to scoring, a clear depiction of the tone you’re trying to set is key.

So how do you write an epic theme song like Game of Thrones? Let’s write one together!

Step 1: Pick three or four standard chords to use, normally starting on a minor chord and moving to major chords before returning to base.

I picked D minor, Bb Major, F Major, and C Major (or i, VI, III, and VII)

 

Step 2: Create an energetic riff outlining the first chord of whatever key your piece will be in, or just play the root of your chord in an energetic syncopated manner ala “He’s a Pirate” from Pirates of the Caribbean

 

Step 3: Write a melody that also outlines your chords, often with quick steps leading into your next chord to give the melody energy, and simply have your bass line play the root of each of your chords. Have a lowkey drum keeping the beat.

 

Step 4: Repeat your melody either an octave higher or by moving upwards to a new key and emphasize the drums.

 

BOOM you have an epic theme song. 

Of course, you can add other supporting melodies and instruments to make it sound even more epic!

 

On top of this basic formula, however, Game of Thrones’  theme does some excellent work to achieve its primary goal in setting the tone.

The decision to leave out brass instruments contributes to the solemness of the series, as brass instruments in pieces like these are often naturally heroic sounding. The chamber choir lends an air of old school medieval church times, giving the song a Godly presence. The mix up of the major chord in the beginning riff also prepares the viewer for unexpected twists in the upcoming narrative. This is excellent storytelling through music all around.

The way it builds on its initial riff (as the melody is basically just the riff at a slower pace) is also smart writing and a brilliant way to make the tune as memorable as possible.

Related: How the Strengths and Flaws of Lost Changed Television

These are the decisions that turn a piece from “generic epic” into “actually epic.” Care and thought matter in a score, and it’s what separates Djawadi from other composers while also allowing Game of Thrones’ theme song to stand out even amongst similar pieces.

The beating drums, the shifts up an octave or into a different key, the orchestration; all these facets contribute to the feel that you’re moving forward and into an epic battle, which is why we feel like something big is about to go down when Game of Thrones starts up.

Game of Thrones’ theme does a particularly great job of conveying that epic feeling. Now if only I had enjoyed the show as much as I do the music.

For other examples of epic songs that follow this kind of formula, check out the pieces below!

  • “He’s A Pirate” Pirates of the Caribbean – Klaus Badelt and Hans Zimmer
  • “Arrival to Earth” Transformers – Steve Jablonsky
  • “Iron Man 3” Iron Man 3 – Brian Tyler
  • “The Avengers” Avengers – Alan Silvestri
  • “Titans Spirit” Remember the Titans – Trevor Rabin
  • “Ben” National Treasure – Trevor Rabin
  • “The Orange Man” Unbreakable – James Newton Howard


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What to Watch

9 TV Shows to Watch After Thanksgiving Dinner

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9 TV Shows to Watch After Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving brings together friends and family for a shared meal. 

But after all the turkey, sides, and pie is cleared off the plate, the only acceptable activity is binge-watching some feel-good TV shows. 

Here’s what you should watch post-Thanksgiving dinner! 

 

Virgin River

You’ll be just as surprised as Mel to fall in love with the picturesque town of Virgin River. Come for the views, stay for the Jack. 

 

Hart of Zoe

Dr. Zoe Hart arrives in Alabama looking for a fresh start and learns that the Southern way of living might actually be what’s best for her. 

 

Gilmore Girls

An unbreakable mother and daughter bond, a charming town that would make any Lifetime movie jealous, and an unspoken love for coffee? Say no more.

 

Selena + Chef

You might know her as a Disney Channel actress and pop star, but now, she’s adding chef to her resume. And since Thanksgiving is all about food, this is one show you don’t want to pass up. 

 

Ordinary Joe

There are only nine episodes available, but the NBC series has gripped audiences as it ponders how much impact one small choice can have on the rest of your life. 

 

Walker

The modern-day update to the Chuck Norris classic hones in on family over everything with a side of roundhouse kicks. 

 

A Million Little Things

A group from Boston bond under the unlikeliest of circumstances and get a much-needed wake-up call following the death of a close friend. 

 

La Brea

Though it falls into the “sci-fi mystery” category, La Brea hinges on a family determined to find their way back to each other despite all the obstacles standing in their way and all the sacrifices needed to be made.

 

Dream Home Makeover

If there’s ever a time to get inspired for a home makeover, it’s after the holidays (and during Black Friday when everything is on sale!) And the McGee family is the cherry on top! 

 

This Is Us

This is… a no-brainer. No show captures the essence of what it means to be a complicated, loving, flawed, and fulfilled family more than this NBC drama.

 

Angel the Series: Why The Series is The King of Found Family Shows

27 TV Characters Who Would Cook a Mean Thanksgiving Dinner


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Editorials

Ghosts Recap – Flower’s Article (1×07)

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Ghosts Review Flower's Article Season 1 Episode 7

Ghosts Season 1 Episode 7 dived into Flower’s groovy backstory. 

And though her bank robbery store hit a bit of a snag halfway through the episode, there was a happy ending for all.

Sam was hesitant about pitching Flower’s bank robbery story to her editor, but when he didn’t like any of her other pitches, she had no choice but to run with it.

And he loved it.  

Of course, this was “not groovy” with Flower because she explicitly forbid Sam from pursuing the story.

Alberta and Isaac found themselves particularly interested in what was fueling the pushback from Flower, who told the bank robbery story at least once a week. 

Further prodding revealed that Flower wasn’t proud of this big moment in her life because she always left out one little part — she stole the stolen money from the commune. 

Flower explained that she took the stolen cash along with her boyfriend Ira after the members of the commune took too long to figure out what to do with it. 

She wanted to open up a fair trade coffee shop, however, Ira wanted to buy a house. 

Before they could come to an understanding, she was mauled by a bear. 

Flower kept that part of the story a secret because she felt like a fraud for not donating the money to help people.

However, in an uplifting turn of events, Sam realized that Ira kept his promise to Flower and opened up a franchised coffee shop called Daisy’s (Flower’s nickname).

A note on the coffee cups even honored her by donating proceeds to underprivileged communities and towards bear safety. 

First Sam reunited Pete with his wife and family, and now, Sam was able to help another one of the ghosts find closure. 

Unfortunately, it didn’t matter with Flower because all that acid meant she was in and out of reality. 

And she forgot the feel-good vibes of the story almost immediately. 

During her meeting with the editor, Sam ran into two ghosts, including Shikin, a woman from the same tribe as Sass. 

Sass revealed that he was in love with Shikin once upon a time but she never returned his feelings. 

This got Jay really riled up as he attempted to help Sass get the girl by playing the game. 

Although Jay can’t see the ghosts, it’s fun that he’s so active in all the ghostly business through Sam. 

Also, how funny was it when the other two ghosts at the paper discovered that Sam could see them? That’s not something they ever expected. 

I’m surprised she didn’t get more strange look as she stood in the office essentially talking to herself.


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Editorials

Supergirl Series Finale Review – The Last Gauntlet and Kara (6×19 and 6×20)

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Supergirl Review The Last Gauntlet Season 6 Episode 19

A wedding, a funeral, a visit from some beloved familiar faces, and finally, and most importantly of all, the destruction of Lex and Nyxly.

Everything came full-circle on Supergirl’s series finale when the Super Squad — complete with an assistant from the Legion and the people of National City — banished Lex and Nyxly to the Phantom Zone.

Okay, fine. Technically the duo banished themselves after Lex unleashed the phantoms and they preyed on their fears and insecurities.

But I’ll admit, it was pretty satisfying to see them get swept up thanks to their own plan.

It only made sense that the final showdown would include Lex. He was the one true villain that caused this world too much harm over the years.

And the fact that he was “in love” didn’t change the fact that he was a ruthless sociopath that was willing to do whatever was necessary to become the all mighty and powerful.

The man was willing to sacrifice an innocent child for crying out loud.

Supergirl Review The Last Gauntlet Season 6 Episode 19

Supergirl — “The Last Gauntlet” — Image Number: SPG619fg_0042r — Pictured: Jon Cryer as Lex Luthor — Photo: The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

He deserved everything that came his way.

And at least he was banished to the Phantom Zone with the love of his life! They have all the time in the world to figure out their relationship.

Of course, I definitely felt a little bad for Nyxly as she was fueled by the desire to get revenge on those that wronged her.

Her need to get revenge took over her rational thinking, so she too got what was deserved, but it’s unfortunate that instead of moving on and finding peace, she’s now going back to the place that nightmares are made of. 

All of this could’ve turned out very differently for her, especially since she had potential. She could’ve joined the side of good, been a “friend” to Supergirl, and maintained that independent spirit that saw through Lex’s nonsense in the first place. 

To the two of them, I say, good riddance. 

Supergirl Review Kara Season 6 Episode 20

Supergirl — “Kara” — Image Number: SPG620b_0016r — Pictured (L-R): Jeremy Jordan as Winn and Melissa Benoist as Kara Danvers — Photo: Katie Yu/The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Good always prevails. And in the process, Supergirl was able to empower the rest of the world into believing in themselves and each other. 

The series has always been about hope and humanity, so the message was fitting. 

I’m also glad that the series acknowledge all that in the first place, including all the beloved characters that were a huge part of the show at one point. 

And I’m also happy that it spent the final 30 minutes dedicated to the future — we want to know that our characters will be okay — and Alex and Kelly’s happily ever after. 

Typically, shows tend to gloss over weddings, but this one got its deserved moment. 

Fans know just how long Alex’s journey to happily ever after has been. Not only has she struggled to live authentically, but she’s also had so much heartbreak. 

Supergirl Review Kara Season 6 Episode 20

Supergirl — “Kara” — Image Number: SPG620fg_0042r — Pictured (L-R): Azie Tesfai as Kelly Olsen, David Harewood as J’onn J’onzz and Chyler Leigh as Alex Danvers — Photo: The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

It was necessary to honor the life that she’s built with Kelly and Esme. 

Speaking of living authentic lives, Kara found herself struggling with her two identities. 

Leading a double life is hard work. Kara was tired of lying to everyone, and as she watched everyone around her step into their power, she felt weak.

After Cat Grant offered her the job of Editor-in-Chief at CatCo (which she bought back from Andrea Rojas!), Kara found herself even more torn about how to proceed and live authentically. 

Feeling like a fraud simply doesn’t vibe with the message that Supergirl inspires. 

While bringing back Cat Grant simply to appease fans would’ve been just fine, the series made her return purposeful. 

When “Keer-ah” didn’t accept the position, she reached out and admitted that she always knew that Kara Danvers was Supergirl. 

Honestly, I was more impressed with the fact that she knows Kara’s name and still chooses to call her Keer-ah. 

It was a sweet nod to the relationship Kara and Cat always had, but also, to the fact that nothing gets past Cat Grant!

And it’s fitting that Cat would be the one to inspire Kara to finally take off the glasses by suggesting that she could be so much more powerful if she became one integrated being.

Also, thank god that someone else called out the glasses for being a terrible cover. Someone had to say it!

Living your truth couldn’t have been a better theme for the series finale of Supergirl.

In the end, Kara accepted the gig as EIC and her first major story — introducing herself to National City as Supergirl. A Cat Grant exclusive! 

Supergirl Review Kara Season 6 Episode 20

Supergirl — “Kara” — Image Number: SPG620b_0493r — Pictured (L-R): Mehcad Brooks as Jimmy Olsen, Katie McGrath as Lena Luthor, Nicole Maines as Nia Nal and Jesse Rath as Brainiac-5 — Photo: Katie Yu/The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

We also had a little walk down memory lane as James Olsen and Wynn shared a scene with Kara and reminisced about their humble beginnings at CatCo. 

The original Super Friends carved a truly impressive path for themselves. 

Other Major Moments

  • Mon-El crashed the party to help the Super Squad defeat Lex and Nyxly. He was inspired by Supergirl’s speech to the people, which he said changed the course of history. I know that a relationship was never in the cards for these two, but it was nice to see Mon-El’s final visit to this timeline. 
  • Maybe the fact that Kara is owning her destiny means that she’ll finally make room for romance! 
  • Esme is the cutest and sweetest little kid ever. 
  • Game nights are a thing again, and I’m living for it! 
  • Papa J’onn! Wynn mentioned that J’onn and M’ghann have a son!
  • The DEO was reinstated as a place of peace, not violence. They are now civil servants instead of vigilantes! 
  • Lena Luthor finally embraced the life she wanted following Lillian’s confession on her deathbed. Lena might not have gotten a goodbye from her birth mother, but at least she found peace and closure with her adopted one. 
  • Wynn and Kara’s singing was perfection!
  • Brainy returned from the future to be with his one true love, Nia Nal! It’s unclear how that will impact the future, but I love that for them!

Overall, it was a perfect series finale. 

Supergirl has had some rocky seasons, but when all is said and done, it’s been an incredible journey with one of the best found family’s on television!


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