Game of Thrones is a show that continues to go from strength to strength. A combination of great writing, a brilliant cast and stunning cinematography has guaranteed a season 3, and hopefully many more to follow. One of the shows many strengths is the brilliant musical score by Ramin Djawadi who returns from Season 1. The score/soundtrack plays an important role in shows like Game of Thrones, but unlike many TV series or films in Game of Thrones it is used sparingly, and in my opinion I think it gives the emotive and action scenes more impact. But enough preamble. Djawadi builds on his previous themes and introducing some new ones, I can say that this is a worthy successor to Season 1.
I won't go into detail on all 21 tracks, but will mention some of my favourites and those that will probably be of most interest to those buying the album. Mother of Dragons (Track 18) reprises the stunning music as heard in the climax to Season 1 (as Daenerys Targaryen emerges from the fire with the dragons). I don't think the Season 2 version is better - it doesn't flow quite as well in my view, but that said, I do think the theme is great. A special mention has to go to Wintefell (Track 6) which contains the House Stark theme. This is an absolute stunner and contains a section for the solo cellist just after the 70 second mark that is spine tingling. This for me was the highlight of the album (and is a must have if you are downloading individual tracks).
One theme that is more prominent on this album than the former is the 4 note rising motif as heard in the opening title sequence. It appears in various guises across the album, but the one of note is towards the end of I Will Keep You Safe (Track 19), which plays over the scene after Kings Landing has been held, and Tywin Lannister rides in and says "The battle is over. We have Won"! A great but pretty dark moment that was reflected perfectly in the music.
One final point to mention is the larger number of action tracks on this album compared to Season 1. The most obvious examples are "Don't Die With a Clean Sword" (Track 11) and "Stand and Fight" (Track 16), but the pace of many of the tracks is faster with a sense of urgency that the music for Season 1 didn't really have.
The album is very well produced and was recorded using the Czech Film Orchestra and Choir. Although cheaper than musicians in the USA or UK, there is no drop in quality over either the standard of the orchestra, or where it is recorded. They recorded the score in the Rudolfinum (which is the Czech National Concert Hall) and the sound quality is brilliant. Although that won't be of interest to everyone, I think it's nice to know that the music isn't just high quality samples and synths.
The album runs for just over 56 minutes and this is a decent length to present all the best tracks across the series. Of course, there will be sections of music missing on this release that were present in the show, and if in doubt, check the track samples. The only thing that I would have liked to have been included were the short sections of music that played over the end credits of each episode. These were different for each episode with shorter orchestrations of of the main themes and I rather liked them. A track of these themes could have functioned as a great overall Game of Thrones suite would have made a nice final track, although this is just my opinion!
Overall, this release has a different feel to Season 1 but Djawadi continues to capture the essence of the scenes he is required to score perfectly. I think the music works brilliantly within the show, but it also makes for a great stand alone listen. I cannot wait for Season 3, but until then, if you are a fan of the Game of Thrones music, you can't go wrong in getting this album!