The pilot episode of House of the Dragon struck a few intimate chords, including using the iconic Game of Thrones theme song. Season 1, episode 1, “The Heirs of the Dragon” features several iterations of prominent Game of Thrones tunes. The familiar fanfare was sparingly incorporated throughout the House of the Dragon premiere episode, with a fitting culmination at the end credits. Given that both shows operate in the realm of Westeros, certain commonalities can be expected. However, the evident prevalence of music from Game of Thrones in the House of the Dragon pilot may be a bit too much.
Showrunners Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik elected to open House of the Dragon with a flashback scene exploring the history of Targaryen succession, rather than a title card sequence with a rendition of the Game of Thrones theme. However, an iteration of composer Ramin Djawadi’s iconic Game of Thrones main title can be heard in the end credits of House of the Dragon. Additionally, another twist on a second well-known Djawadi tune, “Blood of My Blood,” can be heard in House of the Dragon when audiences are first introduced to Rhaenyra Targaryen and her dragon Syrax. In a scene that draws unquestionable parallels to Rhaenyra’s later ancestor Daenerys Targaryen, powerful and triumphant fanfare accompanies striking dragon’s-eye views of King’s Landing.
There are elements that audiences would certainly like to forget from Game of Thrones, but the music is not one of them. In addition to the main theme, the series had other memorable entries, including “The Rains of Castamere” and “Light of the Seven.” It would be surprising to hear versions of these songs in House of the Dragon, though. Instead, audiences have been treated to musical themes that evoke feelings of nostalgia and appreciation for the series that was, while still adding value to the series that is.
Does House Of The Dragon Overuse The Game Of Thrones Theme?
Although multiple variations of themes from Game of Thrones have been carried over to House of the Dragon, this does not render them overused. Other than the main theme and “Blood of My Blood,” the score for the premiere episode is mostly original. The reappearance of music from a near-unskippable intro and a song that became synonymous with Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons hardly qualify as derivative. While the argument can be made that other references throughout the premiere are too echoic of Game of Thrones, ultimately these musical inclusions should be viewed in a positive light.
The House of the Dragon timeline establishes it as a distant prequel to Game of Thrones. It has been marketed as such, with promotional material depicting both shows in association with each other. It’s fitting for memorable elements from the original series to appear in the new show, especially given Ramin Djwadi’s return as composer and Miguel Sapochnik’s return to the creative team. Considering the divisive reception to the later seasons of Game of Thrones, being too heavy-handed with references and callbacks could alienate some audiences. But the choice to allude to House of the Dragon‘s predecessor mostly through musical cues rather than story elements is an apt one. This choice allows House of the Dragon to capture the essence and spirit of Game of Thrones through sound. But more importantly, it enables showrunners the creative freedom to craft a Westerosi story of succession that is not only auditorily stunning but narratively sound.