Have you ever experienced the overwhelming feeling of excitement, joy, pride, anger, sorrow, vengefulness, relief, laughter, and hope all in 2 hours? Well, that feeling could be described as simply “watching Game of Thrones”. Before I go any further, it’s no secret that spoilers may lie ahead.
On Sunday night in Denver, Colorado, the Pepsi Center fills up with the biggest nerds to roam the Seven Kingdoms. Fans wait in long lines to take their photos in front of Meereen, The Wall, and even Kings Landing on a fun green screen PhotoBooth provided by HBO. As we head toward our seats, the lights begin to dim and the voice of Cersei Lannister (actress Lena Headey) projects throughout the arena. "Should you not silence your phones, I will burn cities to the ground and the blood of your children will pay for your crimes for generations to come”. This receives a huge round of laughter and applause from the audience.
A moment later, the German-Iranian composer, Ramin Djawadi, who has written all of the music for series, starts the show by conducting an 80-piece orchestra and choir on a 360-degree stage. (Most of the choir being a local Denver choir group). Their voices sound like indescribable angelic instruments accompanied by the band of traveling talented musicians. The violinist and all of the percussion members all dressed head to toe in Westeros attire.
The beginning of the musical journey opens up with the extremely iconic “Main Title” theme from the show which immediately gives me goosebumps. During which, the imagery on the screens captures every house one by one. Cheers are heard throughout the entire arena as audience members begin to shout for their favorite characters as they see the Stark family, the Targaryens and finally the Lannisters appear on the gigantic screen above us. The house banners appear at the end of the song, showcasing every family and their Sigil with their iconic words. Then suddenly, there are fire sparks and sword sharpening sounds as the Iron Throne rises from the middle of the stage. This is a mic drop moment.
Every single piece of music is timed flawlessly to the video montage clips on the screen. Only a very few times were words spoken from the clips, because the music and imagery said enough for the fans. The entire show chronicles the journey of various individual characters as well as family story lines. One of the first being The Starks. A violinist heads to the very front of the stage and plays a lullaby song as the iconic red and white Weirword trees forms around her. The leaves eventually fall off of the tree and into the audience, symbolizing the start of Winter and the major deaths of those in the Stark House.
The rest of the experience portrays all of the major story lines of the fight to the Iron Throne. They begin with Stannis Baratheon, then the Greyjoys, the Lannisters, the Boltons, and of course follows Dany’s epic journey to become Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons.
As Dany’s story is told, the crowd cheers “Mhysa!” in support of her claim to the Throne. When her dragons appear, actual fire shoots out from the stage at the exact moment that they spit fire on the screen. Directly after this, the concert cuts to Jon Snow being brought back to life- and the audience screams together in solidarity. Actual snow (white pieces of paper) begins to fall from the sky as the orchestra plays along to Jon’s battle against the White Walkers. I think everyone had chills.
The show ends with the beautiful standout piece that plays during the final episode of season 6 (the most recent season) as Cersei Lannister prepares to send the High Septon and the Tyrells to their deaths. No words were spoken during this scene in the show, making it a very memorable composition that the audience immediately recognized with a collaborative sigh insinuating “Oh no… we know what’s coming next”. The piece is beautifully arranged to the images on screen, the editing of these montages to the music is so precise.
If you don’t already know, Cersei lights Wildfire underneath the building holding the religious fanatics who plan to put her on trial for her incestuous relationship with her brother Jaime. As the fire lights up, hundreds in Kings Landing are blown up, and actual green fire shoots from the stage as the music rises.
We have to say, this show is correctly labeled an “Experience”. It truly pulls you into the world that George R.R. Martin has created. After a standing ovation from the entire arena, the level of appreciation for Ramin Djawadi and his vision greatly increased. The new season starts July 16th, and although it has been unseasonable warm in Denver lately and definitely will be in July, Winter is Coming!
Words and Images- Stephanie Mathena