Top Ten Songs for Game of Thrones (Part 2)

There are a ton of songs that could fit the theme of the HBO hit series, Game of Thrones, depending on your perspective. Thus, it was hard to narrow this list down to ten more songs, but I hope fans of the show will like my choices. Here is part two of my unofficial soundtrack for the show (for part one, click here.) Also, there are possible spoilers ahead (but nothing too major.)

Number Ten: “Feather” by Little Dragon. “Feather” is a song by Little Dragon, off of her 2009 album, Machine Dreams. The song begins, “rather be a bandit than a lover / rather be a man with the other / to run the mountain down, run it down / rather be a whisper in heaven / than a daughter locked in your prison / so run the mountain down, run it down.” The song continues, “grip the crown like a winner / pretending like a beginner.” The chorus goes, “you are airborne / you’ve got silver rays / will it ever float, will it ever soar along.” Supposedly this song is centered on the psychology-based idea that men are more likely to take risks than women; in this way, the song is about empowerment for women, and the narrator is asking (women) if they are willing and ready to make the grand leap. In regards to the show, I think of Daenerys when I hear this song. From the start, she never wanted to be thought of as a vulnerable young girl; she also didn’t want to be defined by her family’s history. Slowly, she is learning how to “grip the crown,” in that if she continues to make wise decisions, she easily could end up as queen, sitting on the Iron Throne. When the song says, “will it ever float / will it ever soar,” it reminds me both of the fans of the show and of Khaleesi’s followers in the show, in that both parties are wondering if she will succumb to the hardships facing her, or if she will overcome her obstacles (and “soar” like her dragons.)

Number Nine: “Rocket Skates” by Deftones. “Rocket Skates” is a song by Deftones, off of their 2010 release, Diamond Eyes. The lyrics begin, “you’re red, soaking wet / I’m right next to you / you’re red, soaking wet / let’s writhe, let me see you trip / one move that will keep you wet / let’s fall in a long sadistic trance / put the keys in our hands.” The song continues, “let’s sail in this sea of charms / let’s drown underneath the stars / let’s drink with our weapons in our hands.” Then the chorus is repeated: “Guns, razors, knives (f*** with me).” Yes, we don’t see many guns or razors in Game of Thrones, but there are plenty of knives. When I hear this song, I think of the Red Woman, aka Melisandre, and her relationship to Stannis. Stannis won’t leave her side, and treats her like an ally, while the reference to “red” describes her name and her relation to the Lord of Light (represented by fire.) In regards to the “sadistic trance,” Melisandre comes on like she uses white magic, but she almost always uses her sexuality in order to get what she wants (and in most scenes, we see her in the dark.) Most recently, she tried to seduce Jon Snow (although I’m sure most fans were pleased that he turned her down.)

Number Eight: “Muscle Memory” by Lights. “Muscle Memory” is a song by Lights, off of her 2014 release, Little Machines. Personally, I prefer this live version to the original. The song begins, “after having spent the fast year / waiting for the next time I can get you close / I grew used to being back here / like a chorus and rhyme, soldier at his post / you call and I respond, the sparrow and the song / I miss you when you’re gone.” The song continues, “again, off into the next fall / I am on the back steps trying to let you in / see you standing in the front hall / maybe this is madness underneath my skin / guess love is the response of the body it haunts / and we do what it wants” and “when you feel the chains of a thousand words / and I speak your name like I know you heard / I can feel you there, I can hear you move / and it moves me too / and I’m playing games and I’m drinking wine / and I see your glass sitting next to mine / I can feel you there when you’re not at home / like I’m not alone.” The chorus is the following: “When I am alone, I see you in the dark / I talk into the empty like you were with me / started on a cold night, felt you in the low light / noticing a reflex taking over me / I see you when I reach / muscle memory.” Muscle memory is basically how something can be programmed in your brain subconsciously with practice (like sword-fighting,) while on the other hand, if you do something poorly, your brain can program itself to make the same mistakes over and over (like deceiving others out of hatred or greed.) In essence, I feel this song could describe several relationships in the show; Jaime and Brienne, Jaime and Cersei, Cersei and her children, Jon and Ygritte, Tyrion and Shae, Bran and the Heart Tree, etc. In particular, I think of Arya when I hear this song, especially in all the scenes where she uses her sword, Needle, and when she repeats the names of her enemies she wants to kill; by repeating the names of her enemies, she’s essentially keeping alive the memory of her deceased family members.

Number Seven: “Knights” by Minus the Bear. “Knights” is a song by Minus the Bear, off of their 2007 album, Planet of Ice. The song begins, “I owe you, don’t I? / a little light today / but tomorrow, oh tomorrow / I owe you, don’t I? / I know it ain’t the money girl / there never was money.” The song continues, “this usury so typical / a piece of you for a piece of me / it’s hard coded / a piece of you for a piece of me.” The song ends, “is it really a sin / if we both come out even?” I feel this song perfectly applies to Jaime and Cersei’s relationship. First, Jaime is a knight; secondly, the Lannister family, who once was rich, has come into financial troubles; thirdly, I feel the song describes Jaime and Cersei’s incestuous relationship, and how Cersei often holds the upper hand in regards to the decisions Jaime must make (like recently in season five, she convinced him to go rescue their daughter, Myrcella.) However, Jaime is no fool, and knows Cersei’s motives; he doesn’t always follow her wishes, such as when he set Tyrion free. “It’s hard coded” because they share the same DNA (not to mention they’re twins,) yet they also have three children together; “a piece of you for a piece of me” describes Jaime’s back and forth relationship with Cersei, in that he does love her, yet he is unsure of how much he’s willing to sacrifice or bend for her in regards to her often harsh demands.

Number Six: “Don’t Let it Bring You Down” by Neil Young. “Don’t Let it Bring You Down” is a song by Neil Young, off of his 1970 album, After the Gold Rush. The first verse goes, “old man lying by the side of the road / with the lorries rolling by / blue moon sinking from the weight of the load / and the buildings scrape the sky / cold wind ripping down the alley at dawn / and the morning paper flies / dead man lying by the side of the road / with the daylight in his eyes.” Some lines from the second verse include, “blind man running through the light of the night / with an answer in his hand / come on down to the river of sight / and you can really understand.” And, of course, the chorus goes, “don’t let it bring you down / it’s only castles burning / find someone who’s turning / and you will come around.” In essence, no matter how desolate and desperate times may be, and no matter how many times the throne is overturned and families are torn apart, the redemptive characters in the show need to remember that there’s still hope.

Number Five: “Sweet Disaster” by Whitehorse. “Sweet Disaster” is a song by Whitehorse, off of their 2015 release, Leave No Bridge Unburned. The song begins, “Galileo was bluffing / it’s just a mess out here / there’s no compass to guide us / through the flashes of violence and fear.” This pretty much describes the show’s overall theme of upheaval and chaos, while one could argue that Galileo existed before the time period the show is set in, as many characters sail as their means of travel and use the stars to guide them. Another verse goes, “birthmark on a crow’s foot / Kilimanjaro or bust / there are no mountains to move here / you just do what you say what you must.” The first line in particular reminds me of the three-eyed crow that appears to Bran Stark in his dreams (although in the show, it’s portrayed as a raven.) The last verse goes, “light years and a pocket watch / you can’t get close enough / to the rhythm of solitude / ashes to ashes to dust.” This last line could describe, again, the show’s general theme of death, while the part about “solitude” could refer to how some of the characters make better decisions on their own then when they’re surrounded by others. Of course, the chorus is what sums up this show the best, in that it portrays the eventual clashing of all the seven kingdoms and the key players in it: “You will get the best of me / worlds collide it’s a recipe for disaster / sweet disaster.”

Number Four: “Children’s Work” by Dessa. “Children’s Work” is a song by Dessa, off of her 2010 album, A Badly Broken Code. The lyrics begin, “my father was a paper plane, my mother was a windswept train / my little brother is nearly twice my age, he taught me how to meditate, I taught him how to read / I grew up with a book in my hand, I got these dark circles before I turned ten / heard my mother with her friends worry it was something she did, to get such a serious kid.” And then the chorus: “But I’ve learned how to paint my face / how to earn my keep / how to clean my kill / some nights I still can’t sleep / the past rolls back, I can see us still / you’ve learned how to hold your own / how to stack your stones, but the history’s thick / children aren’t as simple as we like to think.” I feel this song perfectly embodies the Stark children, especially Sansa, Bran and Arya. They’ve all had to grow up fast as a result of what happened to their parents, and “the history’s thick” when it comes to their family name. “Children aren’t as simple as we like to think” describes how complicated the lives of the Stark children are, now that they are virtually all on their own; due to everything they’ve had to endure and will have to endure in the future, viewers may often forget that they are, in fact, still children.

Number Three: “Fire and Ice” by Pat Benatar. “Fire and Ice” is a song by Pat Benatar, off of her 1981 album, Precious Time. Besides the title referring to the George R. R. Martin book, A Song of Ice and Fire, I feel the lyrics apply to the show as well. Lyrics include, “movin’ in for the kill tonight / you got every advantage when they put out the lights / it’s not so pretty when it fades away / cause it’s just an illusion in this passion play / I’ve seen you burn ‘em before” and “so you think you got it all figured out / you’re an expert in the field without a doubt / but I know your methods inside and out / I won’t be taken in by fire and ice.” The chorus is the following: “Fire and ice, you come on like a flame / then you turn a cold shoulder / fire and ice, I wanna give you my love / you’ll just take a little piece of my heart / please tear it apart.” This song essentially describes a relationship that’s passionate one minute, then cold the next. In context of the show, however, I feel it describes many characters that easily deceive others in their quest for power; they play games, being warm and friendly at first, and then just as quickly they “turn a cold shoulder.” In particular, Sansa and Littlefinger’s relationship comes to mind when I look at these lyrics. Hopefully, in time, she, along with all of the remaining Starks, won’t be “taken in by fire and ice”- aka , the game of thrones itself (however, I’m sure fans would love to see Jon Snow sitting on the Iron Throne at the show’s conclusion.)

Number Two: “Up On the Ladder” by Radiohead. “Up On the Ladder” is a song by Radiohead, and it is featured on the bonus disc to 2007’s In Rainbows. Although the lyrics seem to vary depending on who’s listening, these are the lyrics I hear when I listen to the song: “I’m stuck in the tardis / trapped in hyperspace / one minute snake charming / the next in a motorcade / all the right moves / and in the right places / watch me dance, I’m a puppet / you can almost see the strings.” While these lines could be the band’s way of describing people in power, like politicians or even the Illuminati (which I firmly believe Thom Yorke is aware of,) in regards to Game of Thrones, I feel these lyrics could be describing anyone in a position of power who isn’t aware that their power is fleeting. The references to “snake charming” and “motorcade” could be describing those in power who, in private, tell themselves they have control over their demons, yet, in public, they have to be protected by others because, as the song says, they “let the people down.” In the show, the reference to being a “puppet” follows this same idea, in that people like Littlefinger and the Spider are really pulling the “strings” behind prominent families like the Lannisters and the Starks (at least for now.) The most telling line of the song is, “up on the ladder / you’re all the fucking same.” The “ladder” could be portraying the people on top, the people in charge or even the faceless people who run things behind the scenes. In the end, all of these people are the same, in that their quest for power, or even wisdom, is futile when this quest is done in vain (and this ties into the idea of “tardis” and “hyperspace,” in that leaders of the past, like Hitler, had a god-complex, while in the show, past rulers like the “Mad King” are often used as examples of how power can corrupt.)

Number One: “The Funeral” by Band of Horses. “The Funeral” is a song by Band of Horses, off of their 2006 debut album, Everything All the Time. The lyrics begin, “I’m coming up only to hold you under / coming up only to show you’re wrong / and to know you is hard, we wonder / to know you all wrong, we were.” The lyrics continue, “really too late to call, so we wait for / morning to wake you, is all we got / to know me as hardly golden / is to know me all wrong, they were.” And then the memorable chorus: “At every occasion I’ll be ready for the funeral / at every occasion, once more, it’s called a funeral / at every occasion, oh, I’m ready for the funeral / at every occasion, oh, one billion day funeral.” The band has stated that this song is about dreading holidays like Christmas and birthdays, and pretty much the band is comparing these events to funerals. In context of the show, I feel like the lyrics describe both the characters and fans of the show, in that, in every scenario the characters find themselves in, and in every moment that fans watch the show, both the characters and the fans know that death can come at any moment (especially as the show differs somewhat from the book in regards to keeping alive or killing off certain characters.) Another somewhat poetic line from the song is, “to the outside, the dead leaves, they’re on the lawn / before they died, had trees to hang their hope.” I feel like the “trees” in this lyric could refer to all the “family trees” in the show, and how before certain characters died (like Ned Stark for example,) they had their family name and legacy to “hang their hope.”