Macall B. Polay/HBO; Inset: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic
Shirley Li
August 29, 2017 AT 12:30 PM EDT

Game of Thrones composer Ramin Djawadi ended season 6 with a show-stopping score: “Light of the Seven,” a piano-driven tune that crescendoed into a multi-layered piece, which perfectly accompanied Cersei’s destruction of the Sept of Baelor.

For the season 7 finale, Djawadi worked on something much more subtle. Knowing that Jon Snow and Daenerys would eventually fall in love just as the series revealed Jon’s true parentage, Djawadi tried to hint at his final theme, “Truth,” that would play during the pivotal finale scene.

“I was so hush-hush about it because I didn’t want people paying attention to the scene even more, but the first time we hear a little bit of [‘Truth’] is in episode 3, when Daenerys gives Jon permission to mine the dragonglass,” he tells EW. “That’s something we planted in the beginning. The next time we hear it is when they go into the cave… It develops slowly over that episode, but it’s fully played in that scene Sunday night.”

Musically, Djawadi didn’t rely on his previous themes for the Starks and Targaryens. (The former plays over Winterfell scenes, the latter has capped several season finales in support of Daenerys.) Instead, he tried to add some mystery to his score. “It’s supposed to be its own thing,” Djawadi explains. “The trick with this theme is that it really had to be a love theme but when we played it in earlier episodes, you don’t want to give away the love too soon. So it had to be a theme that could be a little bit mysterious, a little moody, and you could play it darker at times. I know everybody was expecting [them to get together] but we really had to be able to do this slowly. That was the most important thing for me.”

Similarly, the season 7 finale marked the first time Djawadi’s new score for the Army of the Dead was fully played. “We really expanded the White Walker theme this season,” he says. “That was also something slowly planted underneath the existing White Walker theme. We hear it the first time in episode 1 when you see them walking, and then you hear it again and again and you start to hear it more in episode 6, when the Night King takes down the dragon.” In other words, the tune gathered strength bit by bit through the season, just like the Army of the Dead.

The Game of Thrones season 7 soundtrack is streaming on Spotify.

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