- Review by Kaya Savas - July 1, 2018
The final season, it has come and gone, and everyone has had time to digest and reflect. Unfortunately, that terrible aftertaste is hard to get rid off. It’s impossible to ignore the outright terrible storytelling that unfolded in season 8, taking 7 seasons of momentum and then deflating it like a child letting air out of a balloon to make fart noises. Unfortunately, Ramin’s score for season 8 inherits much of the mess that the season had on a narrative level. Instead of a rousing finale to one of the most engaging and most-watched series of modern times, we limp to the finish line and sort of want to forget the whole thing.
Momentum and flow, something the writers forgot about. Even by shortening the episode orders and beefing up the episodes to feature-length statuses, they couldn’t get a rhythm going. We were just plodding along, and then ALL OF A SUDDEN it’s “The Long Night”! Then quietly plodding along and then ALL OF A SUDDEN Daenerys loses it and murders everyone to become the villain of the series. Then she gets stabbed in the worst cliche of all-time, the gunshot/stab fake out. All the characters we care about are essentially farted out of existence with plot holes and water bottles aplenty.
I’m glazing over some parts, but you get the idea. Now as a composer, what choice do you have but to match that piss-poor narrative structure? Ramin’s music for season 8 is deflated for the most part. We get some exciting moments and some thematic reprisals, but that’s about it. The most notable episode of the season was “The Long Night”, and sadly the score took a backseat for that episode. The music was uncharacteristically very modern and different from the sound of the show thus far. I even wondered if it was temped with some Dunkirk or any other Hans/Nolan scores, because that’s what it felt like. It just felt out of place.
And then that brings us to “The Night King”, the standout piece of music that everyone loved in the same way as “Light Of The Seven” kinda blew up. While it’s another beautiful piece of music, it just doesn’t mesh with the show. It’s so different stylistically and aesthetically that it almost feels like a needle drop. I said the same thing about “Light Of The Seven”, it almost sounds like a Ludovico Einaudi knockoff.
By the time we get to the final moments, all the characters we truly cared about are dead with no true musical sendoffs. And then Ramin has to wrap up the series with an expected reprisal of his main theme. Now, the Game Of Thrones main title theme will go down as one of the best TV themes ever composed, without a doubt. However, I’m curious if the show will have a life in the future or will it fade into the past? Will people be talking about Game Of Thrones 10, 15, 20 years from now?
One can honestly say that Ramin’s score elevated the series to what it was during the height of the show’s popularity. The music was such an integral piece of the storytelling, and it truly started to blossom in a lot of great ways starting with season 4 and into season 5. As the series caught up to the books, it lost the nuance that made it so great. The music lost its nuance as well. So, it’s sad to see such a great score get denied the canvas it deserved to have. It's also a shame to have an epic fantasy show like Game Of Thrones, and essentially no great memorable musical moments that stood out in the final season.
Season 8 is frustrating from start to end, it was plagued with issues that saw the internet complaining after each episode. And for once, the majority on the internet were right to complain. The shortcoming of Season 8's score are directly tied to the showrunner's creative decisions. Ramin did the best he could to service their vision, not his. Unfortunately, that left the music dull, empty, and not representative of what Ramin has accomplished across the show's whole run for the better part of a decade.