The Season 6 finale of Game of Thrones was completely bonkers in the best way. A shocking number of key players were permanently dispatched in one fell swoop when Cersei Lannister managed to blow up the entire Sept of Baelor along with everybody inside. House Tyrell has been almost entirely obliterated, the Faith is without a High Sparrow, the realm lost its beautiful young queen, and Tommen jumped out of a window because he couldn't deal with the reality that pretty much everybody he knew except for his mom was dead. The build to the final explosion lasted for almost ten minutes and was helped by the music the show ultimately opted to use. Composer Ramin Djawadi used every single second to ramp up the suspense in a way that he's never done before by using elements that viewers might not have expected. According to Djawadi, the goal was to mix things up for the big scene. Here's what he had to say:
It seems that with Game of Thrones, whenever you think you've fallen into a pattern, it takes you somewhere else. I feel we did the same with the music. People maybe thought, 'What's the band this season?' Well, we don't have a band, but there's a new piece of music with new instrumentation that we've never had before. It took people by surprise, and I love that.
Ramin Djawadi talked about his role in the Game of Thrones Season 6 finale in a chat with THR. The score was fittingly titled "Light of the Seven," and its incorporation of the piano set it apart from all of the other songs previously composed for Thrones. The piano was able to strike soft notes at certain moments to give a false sense of security that maybe Margaery and Co. would make it to safety. The crescendoes and increasingly frenzied notes as the minutes ticked by made it clearer and clearer that something big was definitely going to happen. Lancel's discovery of the wildfire wasn't a huge surprise considering the foreshadowing earlier in Season 6 via Tyrion's story of Aerys' caches under the Sept; Djawadi's score turned the reveal into one of the biggest "Holy crap!" moments of the series.
Game of Thrones has always had fabulous music to amp up the drama for its big scenes. Never before have strings sounded more foreboding than when Ramin Djawadi composed "A Lannister Always Pays His Debts," instrumental version of "Rains of Castamere," for the Red Wedding. Although a reprise of that song might have been fitting for Cersei's big triumph, it definitely would have given the game away that a big Lannister plot was in the works. Djawadi's decision to use an original composition built the suspense without spoiling who was going to do what to win the day in King's Landing.
The vocals in "Light of the Seven" helped make the song truly haunting, but they weren't quite so bombastic as to take over the score. Game of Thrones has done well with using bands to contribute vocals - i.e., The National with "The Rains of Castamere" and The Hold Steady for "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" - in the past; Ramin Djawadi's restraint with vocals definitely worked for "Light of the Seven."
It should be interesting to see if Ramin Djawadi can possibly surpass himself with future compositions. Game of Thrones is only going to last for another two seasons with lower episode counts, so he won't have many more chances for grand finale songs. Check out our breakdown of what we know so far of Game of Thrones Season 7 for a peek ahead.