The day after Game of Thrones’ first episode, in 2011, creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss were already forwarding composer Ramin Djawadi YouTube videos of heavy metal and techno cover versions of his portentous theme.
“I couldn’t believe it,” says Djawadi, 42. The show’s music has only gained pop culture cred since then, and, starting in February, Djawadi will take six seasons’ worth of his compositions on a 28-city North American arena tour (tagline: “Music is coming”). From wacky instruments to onstage snowstorms, here’s how Djawadi and his collaborators will wow hardcore Gamers (and the friends who humor them).
BRING BACK THE GREATEST HITS
“I took all my soundtracks and asked, ‘Which pieces are must-plays?’ ” says Djawadi. The main theme and “The Rains of Castamere” (performed before season three’s infamous Red Wedding) were obvious choices, but Djawadi also selected pieces that would benefit from standing apart from the visual scenes they originally accompanied — like “Mhysa,” which plays as the newly liberated slaves of Meereen bow to their liberator Daenerys.
ADD MORE DUDUK!
“We’re going to have a lot of soloists,” says Djawadi, including unconventional instruments like the duduk, a Middle Eastern woodwind used for Dothraki scenes. “Since I’m not bound by picture, I’ll be able to give the audience a little more duduk.” Other pieces, like the Stark family theme, could get new arrangements for the 60 plus performers on the tour (strings, brass and choir).
SEVEN STAGES ARE BETTER THAN ONE
The twisting seven-stage set represents the cities stylized in the show’s opening credits. The main stage is King’s Landing, separated by a 30-foot walkway from Winterfell; soloists will perform on several smaller stages standing in for Meereen, Pike, Dorne and Braavos.
LET IT SNOW
Gargantuan digital projection screens will back the performers. Two that are multitiered, translucent and octagonal float above King’s Landing and Winterfell, at one point creating the image of a blizzard around the orchestra.
PLAYING WITH FIRE (AND FOG)
Three kinds of fog (including “Tsunami” dry ice) will be used, and pyrotechnics will accompany six songs: rockets mimicking burning arrows, flame jets timed to match footage of dragons spitting fire and green explosives to call to mind the “wildfire” that ripped through King’s Landing at the end of the last season.