A Game of Thrones soundtrack is here…
And with it, lyrics alluding to all the drama, angst and tension of the HBO smash-hit series. On Friday, Columbia Records and HBO released For The Throne (Music Inspired by the HBO Series Game of Thrones) in celebration of the highly-anticipated final season of the epic series, featuring brand new songs from artists like Travis Scott, SZA, The Weeknd, Ellie Goulding, Mumford & Sons, and The Lumineers, among many more.
The album, which is available with nine different covers representing each house sigil, boasts an abundance of references to ice, fire, heartbreak, and even wolves and ravens, as well as plenty of moody musings on the quest for power and the folly of ambition.
So if you really want to get in the zone for
the most devastating event in the history of television Sunday’s 82-minute long episode, take a listen and read on for some (speculated) insight into the lyrics. Just be warned, the soundtrack is dark and full of terrors (in places).
Listen to the songs here and read on for our analysis of each one:
“Kingdom of One” by Maren Morris
Significant lyrics and references: “Would you sell your soul, burn it all everything that you love, finally become second to none in a Kingdom of One.” Eek, in Dany’s darkest moments this could very well be the soundtrack to her blind ambition to rule Westeros. “Feed the crows,” could be related to Dany helping out the Northerners as of late, though feeding everyone has fallen to Sansa and her grain gathering. “Hell’s fire keeps you warm” — yup, we’ve all seen the Mother of Dragons step out of flames unscathed on at least two memorable occasions.
Where/when to listen to it: In the crypts of Winterfell alone, while contemplating your eventual, destined rule of the seven kingdoms.
Westerosi House Maren Morris belongs in: From her flowing locks and Southern roots, she seems like she’d fit in in Highgarden. House Tyrell it is!
“Power Is Power” by SZA feat. The Weeknd and Travis Scott
Significant lyrics and references: “I was born of the ice and snow, the wildest night I became the one and you’ll know you’re mine when the silence comes/ Heavy is the throne only for the weak.” Oh, damnnn. If this isn’t the Night King’s pre-battle, hype song we don’t know what is. Just check out the next line: “A knife in my heart couldn’t slow me down because power is power, now watch me burn it down” coupled with “nothing hurts me now” sounds like a reference to when the Children of the Forest first created the Night King out of a poor unsuspecting First Man and in doing so doomed them all to hell or, um, the icy equivalent.
Where/when to listen to it: On the approach to Winterfell, when you’re ready to end the living once and for all. But first! A quick, tree-side confrontation with the Three-Eyed Raven.
Westerosi House SZA belongs in:With her tranquil vibes and fashion-forward looks, SZA would fit in great across the Narrow Sea with the peaceful people of Missandei’s homeland, Naath.
“Nightshade” by The Lumineers
Significant lyrics and references: “Some of us like to think of life as a game, others are born into royalty and can never behave” Oh, hello there, Lannister theme song — after all, Cersei did coin the phrase, “When you play a game of thrones you win or you die.” The song goes on to allude to other Kings Landing goings-on like: “Some find their freedom locking men in a cage” and “Some priests insisted it’s a test of the faith and only holy devotion can keep the devils away” which sounds a lot like the High Sparrow’s prattling from season 6 — also, Nightshade (the song’s title) is Cersei’s poison of choice. But the Thrones references aren’t contained to the south with lines like: “I saw the footprints in the white of the snow,” and “We built a wall to keep the devils at bay, a distant army was marching through the night and the day” being far more fitting for a Castle Black setting. Then there’s, “I sweared an oath and with my life I will pay…” which has definite Night’s Watch vibes, though the kicker, “but it was all, it was all for the throne” is the furthest thing from Jon Snow’s reasoning.
Where/when to listen to it: Down in the Winterfell crypts, when you’re nursing your Nightshade waiting for the dead to arrive.
Westerosi House The Lumineers belongs in: Tully of Riverrun — couldn’t you just see them sitting around eating some fish, donning hats, and playing tunes?
“Hollow Crown” by Ellie Goulding
Significant lyrics and references: “You know you’re fighting in a losing battle” could pretty much apply to any of the forces gathered at Winterfell right now. “Is there anyone you trust round here?” and “I hold a match out to your paper castle,” sound vaguely threatening, however, and therefore reminiscent of Cersei’s attitude towards her brother-lover Jaime.
Where/when to listen to it: Sipping wine at King’s Landing while plotting your two brothers’ pitiful deaths.
Westerosi House Ellie Goulding belongs in: There’s a blonde, ethereal quality to Goulding that makes you think she could get by in House Targrayen, but for some reason we’re seeing her more at home in Horn Hill with the Tarly family — well, what’s left of them.
“Baptize Me” by X Ambassadors and Jacob Banks
Significant lyrics and references: “Been praying for redemption…I’m cutting all ties won’t you baptize me.” With lyrics like those, we’re going to go ahead and assign this one to poor old Jaime “Kingslayer” Lannister. He’s totally eager to break loose of Cersei’s hold over him. As the songs says: “Been praying for redemption, learnt my lesson” and later: “Wash me clean, set me free” which could harken back to that deep, bathtub chat Jamie and Brienne had all those seasons ago when we first starting seeing the softer side to the Lannister knight. “Life sometimes got me on my knees,” could that be a reference to bending the knee to various kings and queens over the years?
Where/when to listen to it: On the King’s Road to Winterfell, contemplating your past transgressions *cough* sleeping with your sister *cough* and knowing that there’s no turning back.
Westerosi House X Ambassadors belongs in: These guys look like they could handle inclement temperatures, let’s give them House Greyjoy of Pyke and let them do all the baptizing they like on those stormy shores.
“Too Many Gods” by ASAP Rocky and Joey Bada$$
Significant lyrics and references: This one references a bunch of the significant animals of Westeros: “Flying ravens with a message ’bout me” and “Dire wolves with me, these ain’t no Siberians” but the song centers around the questions of the necessity of violence and death, with the rappers imploring, “Tell me why we go to war, too many gods” and finding no answers in any of the gods, old, new, or the one true god, the Lord of Light — somebody get Melisandre, she’ll make believers out of them in no time. The best line though? “Playing with fire, but I’m no Targaryen.” Honestly, it’s so applicable to a multitude of everyday conversations.
Where/when to listen to it: After seeing your king burn pretty much everyone alive — including his own daughter — in the name of the Lord and feeling quite disillusioned with the role of religion in general.
Westerosi House ASAP Rocky belongs in: House Stark because ASAP Mob is totally the brood of Stark kids.
“Turn on Me” by The National
Significant lyrics and references: The National’s moody and dramatic beat really evokes our Queen at times — Daenerys, not Cersei. Although this one also seems kind of like it could be directed to Tyrion with lyrics like “And your mother’s angst the day you were born, the day you cut her down,” but overall, it really depicts a sense of deep distrust which, as we well know, is rife throughout the Seven Kingdoms — just look at this damning question: “Will I see you when you turn, when you turn on me?” On a show where betrayal is as frequent as nudity, this line is pretty perfect.
Where/when to listen to it: When you finally realize the “family friend” has been punk-ing you all along and you have plotted and executed his downfall with your little sister.
Westerosi House The National belongs in: Baratheon of Storm’s End; this band has grit and seem like they’d suffer no fools.
“From the Grave” by James Arthur
Significant lyrics and references: Arthur’s ditty really sounds like a love letter from a beyond-the-grave Jon Snow to his aunt/lover Daenerys: “I never meant to leave you there, a crown of roses in your hair,” — although the crown of roses references is admittedly confusing, since the rose is the sigil of house Tyrell. Still, with lines like, “Don’t give up even when I’m gone,” it does seem like a rallying speech Jon would make on his deathbed. Also there’s a reference to walking through fire, which we all know Jon Snow can do since he’s actually a Targaryen. “From the grave I crawl,” is a little more troubling since we all know what’s dead may never die A.K.A the Night King will zombify all who fall come Sunday.
Where/when to listen to it: Post-battle, when you need a pick-me-up before the next fight for the throne.
Westerosi House James Arthur belongs in: Karstark of Karhold, almost a Stark but not quite.
“Me Traicionaste” by Rosalia feat. A.Chal
Significant lyrics and references: This slow seductive beat would’ve fit nicely alongside Arya’s skillful seduction of Gendry atop the grain in last week’s episode, yet the title, which translates to “You Betrayed Me,” could speak to so many other relationships on this show — romantic or otherwise.
Where/when to listen to it: When you’re seducing your former childhood friend in the granary.
Westerosi House Rosalia belongs in: She’s from Catalonia, Spain, and since they used Seville for Dorne on the show, maybe she’d feel most at home in House Martell of Sunspear?
“When I Lie” by Lil Peep feat. Ty Dolla $ign
Significant lyrics and references: The track’s title makes this entry seem almost like an ode to Cersei and her ruthless nature. Just take a look at these lyrics: “Many men have tried to save her but all they do is try” and “I saw it on her face, she wanna make those f—ers cry.” Then there’s: “Stick that needle in my eye.” We all know Arya’s sword is named needle and Cersei is at the top of her kill list.
Where/when to listen to it: Standing on a balcony, overlooking King’s Landing while stroking your pregnant belly and plotting revenge that’ll take down literally everyone around you, but who even cares?
Westerosi House Lil Peep and Ty Dolla $ign belong in: The hair? The badass attitude? It’s House Targaryen for these two.
“Love Can Kill” by Lennon Stella
Significant lyrics and references: While there are no super-specific Thrones references in this one, the lyrics do touch on the consequences of love, which — while we all know there are a LOT of things Jaime does for love — seems quite applicable to the Jon/Dany coupling with lines like, “It’s hard for me to say what needs to be said” ie. “I’m you’re relative and rightful heir to the throne” maybe? Also, “I need you to go, don’t fight me/ Even though I wanna hold on tightly” sounds like something Jon could wind up telling Daenerys, since incest isn’t really his jam.
Where/when to listen to it: On the ramparts of Winterfell, after sending your lover away.
Westerosi House Lennon Stella belong in: Lannister. Hey, someone has to and her character on Nashville still bugs us.
“Wolf At Your Door” by Chloe x Halle
Significant lyrics and references: This song seems to be all about the Stark sisters. “For she is now a stranger,” kinda sums up the vibe between the two estranged siblings when they were reunited at Winterfell last season. And take a look at this line, if it isn’t about Sansa’s attitude towards Littlefinger, we don’t know what is: “You preyed on my innocence, tried to bury my name/ But now there’s ice in my veins.” While, “There’s a wolf at your door/ There’s a hound at your heels” also sounds like the elder Stark sister’s savage (but appropriate) revenge on Ramsay Bolton. Then there’s “The monsters that made us, they wrote down their names/ One by one, I’m gonna dig your grave.” Get it, Arya!
Where/when to listen to it: After a meeting with your “queen” in which you stand up for the North.
Westerosi House Chloe x Halle belong in: House Mormont; these sisters flaunt some serious Lady Lyanna ‘tude .
“Devil In Your Eye” by Mumford & Sons
Significant lyrics and references: Again this isn’t one with blatant ice and fire references, but the underlying theme of trying to hold onto love, fear of losing and blaming others…eek, we don’t wanna point at Dany again, but could this song speak to her (at times blind) ambition? There’s also the line “She was dark and bright-headed in a dream,” and no one has a brighter head of hair than the Mother of Dragons.
Where/when to listen to it: When you’re mad at your Hand and trying to ignore your worst most impulsive tendencies like burning some disobedient dudes alive.
Westerosi House Mumford & Sons belong in: Arryn — We bet the acoustics around the Moon Door in the High Hall are great.
“Pray (High Valyrian)” by Matthew Bellamy
Significant lyrics and references: With as frantic a feeling as any of the Muse frontman’s hits with his band, this song feels like the perfect soundtrack for the build up to Sunday’s episode. It’s super anxiety-inducing and goes uses quotes in High Valyrian about darkness and light. It actually samples the prayer Melisandre mutters over Jon Snow’s lifeless body when she’s trying to resurrect him: “Hen sȳndrorro, ōños/ Hen ñuqīr, perzys/ Hen morghot, glaeson” or, for those of us who don’t speak Daenery’s mother tongue: “From darkness, light/ From ashes, fire/ From death, life.” Let’s hope that whole “from death, life” part applies to this week’s episode too.
Where/when to listen to it: Outside the walls of Winterfell waiting for the army of the dead to approach, knowing you’re most certainly about to die.
Westerosi House Matthew Bellamy belongs in: We’re putting him in the Night’s Watch for feeding our dread that everyone is doomed come Sunday.
For The Throne is out now. Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO.
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