Game of Thrones: Taking Back the Kingdom
Thank the old gods that HBO’s Game of Thrones returns on Sunday. The end of the third season left us – and a good chunk of the cast – for dead, but also with an undeniably catchy theme song during our break from the mythical world of Westeros.
Beyond the struggles between the series’ prodigious families – Baratheon, Stark, Targaryen, and Lannister – there’s no small amount of familial feuding. They hold their banners and mottos dear, so we’ve made playlists to unite them in their ultimate goal: To rule over the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros and take a seat at the Iron Throne.
And because every good dragon siege needs a playlist!
The ruling family remains mired in a lineage snafu after the death of King Robert. This drives a wedge further into a not-so-warm-and-fuzzy familial dynamic, dotted by manipulation and no short amount of scandal. Stannis has his eyes on the throne that his faux nephew Joffrey, the literal and figurative bastard king, currently occupies. A house just as evil as it is divided, we’ll split them between rap and classic rock:
Beastie Boys: “Fight for Your Right”
If there’s one thing the Baratheons do well, it’s take stuff that doesn’t necessarily belong to them, then claim it as their own. Robert took the crown after a war; Joffrey took the crown as a birth right – despite his not really being a Baratheon at all. Now, as the only one (in his mind) that has an actual claim to the throne, Uncle Stannis will FIGHT. FOR HIS RIGHT. TO RULE.
Electric Light Orchestra: “Evil Woman”
The Baratheons have a penchant for choosing the most wicked women in Westeros. Stannis is shacked up with the red priestess Melisandre, who birthed a shadow demon. Even with that brand of evil in mind, it’s King Robert’s widow and Joffrey’s mom, Cersei, who takes the crown for the the most vile.
Kanye West: “I Am a God”
Perhaps only Kanye, who actually credits God as a co-conspirator on this track, matches the unflinching ego of Joffrey Baratheon. As he breaks from peanut gallery leadership, his swagger becomes even more pronounced. And dangerous.
America: “Sister Golden Hair”
How did King Robert, one of a line of raven-haired Baratheons, never stop to wonder why his children Joffrey, Myrcella, and Tommen defy genetics and sport their mother’s (and Uncle Jaime’s) golden hair?
Money, power, and a taste for perverse sex. The Lannisters are one of the wealthiest family in the Seven Kingdoms, led by patriarch Tywin, who frequently uses his influence (gold) to clean up the knee-scrapes of his brood:
Wu-Tang Clan: “C.R.E.A.M.”
There’s no greater evidence that cash really does rule everything in the political landscape of Westeros. Tywin uses his wealth to position his children at King’s Landing, which has now won him the position of Hand of the King for his grandson. Giant hunks of gold, y’aaaaaaall.
Drake’s money-and-ego anthem could easily apply to any of the Lannisters, because those are perhaps the only two traits that can unite them. Jaime, Cersei, and Tywin all operate with Drizzy’s lush and unwavering confidence. Remember though, Lannister brood: “[Tywin] got the money, so [Tywin] gonna pay it.”
Prince: “I Wanna be Your Lover”
I was always confused by Prince’s desire to be someone’s lover, brother, and sister, all in one song. It’s weirdly appropriate, however, for Lannister sibs Jaime and Cersei’s “special” relationship.
The poor Starks. They’ve had a rough go of it, particularly toward the end of last season when a sizable chunk of the family was mercilessly slaughtered in maybe the only hour of television that many people had to talk through with their therapist. These songs give the chilly Northerners a chance to brood:
P. Diddy: “I’ll Be Missing You”
The list of casualties in the Stark household grows. Seriously, how much havoc can series writer George R.R. Martin wreak for the most likeable Game of Thrones family? This goes out to all the Stark homies.
Bob Dylan: “Girl From the North Country”
It’s been a while since either of the Stark daughters have been in the bitter cold of Winterfell. As Arya makes her way across the country as a sort of captive and Sansa suffers her unwillingly wedded bliss in King’s Landing, their home seems like it may never come back into view. Despite their Westeros wanderings, they’ll always be the outsiders from the north.
Omarion: “Ice Box”
This one goes to the newlyweds. Sansa was just matched with Tyrion Lannister, taking away the last glimmer of hope for normalcy. While she was never one of the most dynamic characters, her comportment seems to have taken an even more glacial turn with the nuptials. Hey, we’d have “an ice box where [our] heart used to be,” too.
Neko Case: “Deep Red Bells”
Is it too soon to remember the fateful red wedding? Too late.
The last of her family and newly widowed, Daenerys Targaryen gets her own playlist of conquering tunes. The Mother of Dragons is taking her babies to kick ass and take names, her eyes clearly set on the Iron Throne, which was taken from her family years before.
Female empowerment, a not-at-all helpless widow, a kingdom to conquer. Bey might’ve had Daenerys on the brain when penning this track. Bow down, bitches.
DragonForce: “Through the Fire and Flames”
Okay, so the name was too easy, but applicable. Daenerys stepped through fire to welcome her new fire-breathing babies into the world. Now, she’s got them harnessed and ready for battle, so she needs a battle tune with face-melting guitars to match face-melting dragons.
Gomez: “Moon and Sun”
A YouTube search doesn’t turn up any obsessive fan tribute videos to ill-fated Daenerys and her late husband Khal Drogo, and I find that shocking. In one of the only cracks in his tough, Dothraki exterior, Drogo called Dany the “moon of my life,” while she referred to him as her “sun and stars.” It would all be much more gross if they weren’t such a kick-ass power couple. RIP, Drogo.
Gwen Stefani: “What You Waiting For?”
We’ll let another platinum blonde urge Dany to take down the Baratheons. Stefani’s advice should be taken to heart, because the time for Dany might be right. She has her army. She has her dragons. She has charmed literally every person that lays eyes on her. It’s time to take back the kingdom.