When the Game of Thrones Season 6 finale literally opened with a bang…a rather large bang, it was composer Ramin Djawadi’s awe-inspiring score “Light of the Seven” that really helped to bring it home. That exquisite piece of music alone, should have put the composer in the driver’s seat to win an Emmy for Best Series Music Composition. Sadly, or rather, tragically, Djawadi’s work wasn’t nominated.
There is an explanation, however, as website Gold Derby explains, and it has to do with the odd process by which the the Television Academy’s music branch decides the nominations. It’s a rather long and drawn-out process, and Gold Derby explains it quite nicely:
Unlike all other categories, in which producers, public relations or awards representatives may submit on others’ behalf, it is up to the eligible composers, lyricists and musical directors to submit themselves for consideration in the music categories.
The site goes on to explain that, unlike most other Emmy categories, no ballots are issued, because musical nominations are not decided by popular vote. As for Ramin Djawadi’s part, Game of Thrones isn’t his only gig. The composer currently scores Person of Interest on CBS, and The Strain on FX. As Gold Derby points out, each composer is only eligible for two submissions, per category. There’s also another piece to the puzzle of this convoluted process:
And while submission costs in other categories are normally absorbed by the campaigning studio, the music branch only allows musicians themselves to submit so Djawadi would have had to pay the entry fee of $225, beyond the first free submission, out of his own pocket.
That hardly seems fair, seeing as how a show like Game of Thrones is so universally well-known and popular, in part, because of its now iconic opening theme. Gold Derby also notes here, that Djawadi is eligible this year, for his opening sequence theme for The Strain, so that also narrows the chances that a piece of music from Thrones would get nominated. The site also listed this year’s nominations for Best Series Music Composition, and as you can see, Game of Thrones is not among them:
“Bates Motel” (one other nomination): Chris Bacon, “Forever”
“Chef’s Table” (two other nominations): Duncan Thum, “Grant Achatz”
“Limitless” (no other nominations): Paul Leonard-Morgan, “Pilot”
“Minority Report” (no other nominations): Sean Callery, “Pilot”
“Mr. Robot” (five other nominations): Mac Quayle, “eps1.0_ hellofriend.mov”
“Penny Dreadful” (five other nominations): Abel Korzeniowski, “And They Were Enemies”
Moving on from the mess that is Emmy nominations for musical scores, Djawadi did sit down with Vulture, to discuss what went into composing “Light of the Seven,” as well as his other Game of Thrones scores. The composer told Vulture that he is stunned by the response his music is receiving, saying: “I never would have thought that would happen. It’s so exciting because it’s such a special finale.”
While hauntingly beautiful, and quite memorable, “Light of the Seven” isn’t the only famous Game of Thrones musical score that Djawadi has received praise for. The composer talked about his theme for the White Walkers: “Winter is Coming.”
Djawadi sat down with Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss, and discussed how the White Walkers should sound. What they came up with was: Ice. According to Vulture, Djawadi used a glass harmonica for that “really high, eerie, icy sound,” at first, but when the Season 2 finale showed the White Walkers controlling an army of the dead, the composer turned to an orchestra.
Djawadi also talked about several other scores from the show, Jon Snow’s murder at the hands of his brothers in the Night’s Watch, in the Season 5 finale, being one.
It was a toned down, slower version of the main title. And then it went to silence. Silence can be a very powerful tool. Sometimes it’s more powerful to leave you with nothing.
Vulture goes on to discuss, in-depth, many other of Djawadi’s Game of Thrones musical scores, and you should definitely read that piece in its entirety, but the topic of “Light of the Seven” was talked about, toward the end. Here’s what Vulture had to say in that regard:
Listen closely to the church organ playing in The Godfather and you’ll hear an arrangement of a passacaglia. As it turns out, when Djawadi was composing “Light of the Seven,” he originally thought about making it a passacaglia.
Apparently, Djawadi’s use of a piano for the piece, is the first time piano has been introduced as part of the music of Game of Thrones. Interesting note, that. I could listen to this particular score, all day. Which Ramin Djawadi Game of Thrones musical score is your favorite? Let’s discuss.