A Lannister Always Pays His Debts
I Paid the Iron Price
Chaos Is a Ladder
Dark Wings, Dark Words
You Know Nothing
Wall of Ice
I Have to Go North
It’s Always Summer Under the Sea
The Bear and the Maiden Fair
The Night Is Dark
The Lannisters Send Their Regards
Heir to Winterfell
For the Realm
Much like the show itself, the soundtrack for the third season reflects a change of pace and an intensity lacking from the previous season. Whilst the soundtrack continues to utilize various themes throughout the soundtrack, there’s a much more consistent feel to this one; an eclectic collection of different cultural clashes that makes this such an enthralling listen.
Once again, the soundtrack opens with the main title theme song before opening with one of the best tracks on the album. A Lannister Always Pays His Debts is subtle, sneaking up on you through a clever use of audio range. Beginning in the right channel, the violins slowly ooze their way into the left before exploding into a flurry of string segments that fill the empty space. It’s a track that shows great musical intelligence that’s best experienced through headphones to experience the full effect.
From here, the third season’s soundtrack follows the same trend as the first two, chronologically following the events of the series across its predominant storylines of the season. Much like the series, there’s a consistency at work here and the various character themes really begin to become much more defined and recognisable. A lot of this is thanks to some unusual and interesting instrument choices. Dracarys sees the beginning of Armenian duduk flutes being used to define Daenerys while Arya’s theme uses a much more simple harp structure.
Despite featuring some really memorable tracks, with my personal favourites including Dracarys and The Lannisters Send Their Regards, the inclusion of a fast-paced rock track, The Bear and the Maiden Fair, is one of the oddest and most jarring inclusions here. It’s tonally inconsistent with what’s come before and really offsets the pacing and mood of the entire score up to that point.
Still, Ramin Djawadi shows a return to form here with one of the best soundtracks of the series. The consistent moods and themes really stand out and there’s an intelligence at work here to really show off a diverse musical range of instruments and ideas for each character. Much like the TV show (and the book), the third season’s soundtrack is one of the best and well worth listening to.