10 Times Ramin Djawadi Made ‘Westworld’ & ‘Game of Thrones’ Better (VIDEO)
Westworld returns for Season 3 on Sunday, March 15, and with it comes the promise of more great musical cover compositions by Ramin Djawadi.
The composer, who has scored the series since its first season premiered in 2016, is known for another beloved HBO series — a little show known as Game of Thrones. If you weren’t aware of the fact before, listening to the scores for both shows should certainly reveal some similarities in sound with their own original twists.
Unlike Thrones though, which featured various tunes specific to the series, Djawadi has taken a different approach when it comes to the future-set Westworld. Transforming popular songs from days present and past, Djawadi has breathed new life into tunes originally done by the likes of the Rolling Stones and Nirvana all the way to Kanye West.
Below, we’re taking a look at a few of the musical moments presented by Djawadi that have made both Westworld and Game of Thrones even better.
“Paint It, Black”
One of the most buzzed about covers done by Djawadi for Westworld is the Rolling Stones’ “Paint It, Black.” The tune appears more than once throughout the series — initially in Season 1, and again with a slight variation in Season 2. The song played over a scene in which Westworld‘s small-town hub Sweetwater was subject to a robbery by host Hector (Rodrigo Santoro) and his fellow bandits as they overtake Maeve’s (Thandie Newton) brothel, the Mariposa Saloon.
In a full-circle moment in Season 2, Maeve, Hector and a few others make their way into neighboring Shogun World, where writer Lee Sizemore (Simon Quarterman) admits he “may have cribbed a bit from Westworld,” in terms of stories for the hosts. Essentially a mirror image from the first season, “Paint It, Black” is reinvented with hosts specific to Shogun World, but complete doppelgängers for those we first met in 2016. In the video above, you can see the scenes side-by-side as the re-imagined versions of “Paint It, Black” plays over them.
“Light of the Seven”
In one of Djawadi’s longer original compositions, the music takes center stage in the opening moments of Game of Thrones‘ Season 6 finale episode “The Winds of Winter.” — famously known as the scene where Cersei (Lena Headey) has the Sept of King’s Landing blown up in an explosion of wildfire. The gorgeous music hints at an ominous occurrence about to happen and includes the use of string instruments as well as piano.
A cover of Kanye West’s “Runaway,” this Westworld tune from Djawadi serves as a segue into a flashback in which Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) recalls visiting the real world before she was “awake” as a host. The upbeat tone suggests a promise of hope and excitement as we escape the parameters of Delos’ parks. Launching into a scene featuring Delos’ son Logan (Ben Barnes), we see his first introduction into Westworld’s concept as he receives a demonstration from various hosts.
“The Night King”
Probably one of Season 8’s most cheer-worthy moments, Game of Thrones‘ sequence featuring Djawadi’s “The Night King” wouldn’t be the same without the music as Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) strikes from nowhere, taking the Night King (Vladimir Furdik) by surprise with her Valerian steel blade. Although the song ends on a triumphant note for the humans, it begins somber as viewers see Theon (Alfie Allen) killed at the hands of the Night King while he defends the “three-eyed raven” Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright).
Featured in Westworld‘s Season 2 episode “Kiksuya,” viewers listen to Djawadi’s Nirvana cover of “Heart-Shaped Box” as ghost nation host Akecheta (Zahn McClarnon) searches for his soulmate Kohana (Julia Jones). Drifting to the underbelly of Westworld, Aketcheta encounters her body, but as a host Kohana has been decommissioned, leaving him distraught. The tune is especially significant in this scene because of the line “take my heart when you go,” which was repeated various times throughout the episode, connecting to the song’s title as well.
“Jenny of Oldstones”
Composed by Djawadi, this song — which was performed by Podrick (Daniel Portman) in the show and Florence + the Machine in a digitally released version — served as the ominous precursor for things to come in Game of Thrones‘ “Battle of Winterfell” episode. Played in the final moments of Season 8’s second episode “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” “Jenny of Oldstones” includes some Thrones history for fans of the books by George R.R. Martin.
“Back to Black”
Djawadi covers Amy Winehouse’s song in one of Westworld‘s most pivotal scenes when Maeve realizes she can control the hosts around her. Played on the saloon piano, the composition packs a powerful punch, just like Maeve’s growing confidence in herself.
“Rains of Castamere”
Nobody that’s seen Game of Thrones can forget the memorable Red Wedding scene in which Robb Stark (Richard Madden), mother Catelyn (Michelle Fairley) and his bride Talisa (Oona Chaplin) were slayed by the Freys. But it’s the song that tips Catelyn off to the suspicious shift in their gathering’s tone that will be equally remembered. A signature of the Lannisters, “Rains of Castamere” plays right before the Starks are ambushed, and it was with that song Djawadi gave viewers chills for life.
“Take My Heart When You Go”
Also from Westworld‘s “Kiksuya,” this tune concludes the episode as Maeve communicates telepathically with Aketcheta. The dramatic original from Djawadi builds as the ghost nation host promises to protect her daughter until she can find them, and if she can’t, he wishes that she “die well.” In return, she utters the line he would say to Kohana when they’d part and meet — “take my heart when you go.”
“Main Title” (Game of Thrones)
Undoubtedly one of today’s best-known TV themes, Djawadi’s Game of Thrones “Main Title” has inspired many viewer humming sessions. Concluding the series’ run, the song plays over Jon Snow’s (Kit Harington) entrance into the freefolk’s land of the North in a nostalgic moment.
These are just some of the many musical moments that Djawadi’s created with these shows. Let us know which tunes are your personal favorites and don’t miss the new music that’s set to arrive when Westworld returns.
Westworld, Season 3 Premiere, Sunday, March 15, 9/8c, HBO