The King's Arrival, the music heralding the arrival of King Robert Baratheon and his court to Winterfell, helps highlight not only the (presumed) majesty of the King of the Seven Kingdoms, but also the weight of history that came before it.
Pretty much every piece from the Season 1 denouement, Catelyn's ultimatum, Robb's crowning, Daenerys smothering her comatose husband, Jon's honour, the Night's Watch heading out in force to North of the Wall and the burning of Mirri Maz Dur on Drogo's funeral pyre.
The Finale of Season 1 (carrying into the end credits), featuring Dany and the return of dragons to the world. The strains of the opening theme for the show at different points just makes it more awesome.
How do you end the first episode of Season 2? With this.
"Pay the Iron Price." Should you ever hear this music start playing, you can be certain that whatever character is the focus of the scene at the time has just made the absolute worst mistake of his life.
The Lannisters' anthem, The Rains of Castamere, by the National. It's heard throughout the second season from Tyrion whistling it to Lannister soldiers singing it in bars 'til it's finally heard in all its glory in the closing credits of Blackwater.
"Reek, Reek... It rhymes with weak..." A chaotic, frantic dark reprise of the Greyjoy leitmotif, it signifies Theon's desperate attempts to cling to his former persona despite his horrific torture. Halfway through the song, the Greyjoy leitmotif completely breaks to give way to a nightmarish, eerie riff that signifies Reek's broken state.
The Hold Steady's version of "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" had polarizing views. Not so with Ms. Reynolds version!
Littlefinger's Breaking Speech music. "Chaos is a Ladder." Made infinitely more awesome when you realise that it's a Dark Reprise of Joffrey's "The Throne Is Mine", the Dark Reprise of "Robert Baratheon's theme". Which means that Littlefinger just somehow made a villain song even more villainous!
A small but heart-rending piece that plays as Robb and Catelyn arrive back at the Twins.
The instrumental version of "The Rains of Castamere" - iconic enough that it became Season 3's semi-official theme song (as in it plays on the Menu for the Blu-ray release). The version that's played during Jaime's rescue of Brienne is called "A Lannister Always Pays His Debts". Who'd think a song about the Lannisters butchering an entire family could actually be made to sound so oddly heroic?
Ramin Djawadi's score returns in force for the season's first episode, "Two Swords". In the opening the audience is treated to a melancholic rendition of the Stark leitmotif that gradually shifts into a strong orchestral variation of "The Rains of Castamere" as House Stark's ancestral greatsword 'Ice' is melted down and reforged into two Lannister swords by Tywin, which then neatly transitions into the series' Main Theme and the opening title sequence.
From the credits of "The Lion and the Rose", Sigur Rós' eerie cover of The Rains of Castamere. In comparison to the proud, victorious cover by The National, this version would be more apt for a funeral—perfectly symbolizing the Lannisters' new fate. It's tragic, badass, and chilling all at once - especially with the nightmarish wheezing at the end that sounds an awful lot like the tortured gaspsof someone struggling to breathe. Rome may not have fallen in a day, but the Lannisters did in a wedding. Even more awesome? The beginning sounds chillingly like wolves howling.
Daenerys' conquest of Meereen. With special mention to the second half of the song, which plays over the slave masters being crucified.
The instrumental rendition of Rains of Castamere that plays during the credits of "The Laws of Gods and Men" after Tyrion's epic"The Reason You Suck" Speech and demand for a trial by combat, in an upbeat tone suggesting that Tyrion hasn't been defeated yet and still has hope; doubly awesome because it plays after Tyrion finally outright defies his father, symbolically claiming the leitmotif as his own.
"Winterfell theme" makes a heartwarming return when Sansa plays in the snow.
"Chaos is a Ladder", more chilling than ever, shines during the final credits right after Littlefinger makes Lysa fly.
In "The Mountain and The Viper", the "Winterfell Theme" and "Chaos is a Ladder" are mixed to create the truly chilling "Take Charge of Your Life" to portray Sansa willingly becoming Littlefinger's Dragon.
While things in Meereen yet again take a turn for the worse, the return of Drogon marks a glimmer of hope for Daenerys. And if the music playing over their reunion didn't tug at your heartstrings enough, the credits top this with the most triumphant rendition of Daenerys' theme we've heard yet. It gets played again over the credits of episode 9.
"Kill the Boy" can be heard when Jon channels Ned, Theon and Robb by beheading Janos Slynt. Not only is it a variation of "Pay the Iron Price", it contains hints of the Targaryen theme. Let that sink in.
"Dance of Dragons" kicks in when Drogon arrives in Daznak's Pit to save Daenerys, kills the Sons of the Harpy and then takes off with her on his back. Bonus points for including two of the best House Targaryen themes ("Dracarys" and "Breaker of Chains").
The rendition of "The Rains of Castamere" played in Episode 10 as Cersei climbs the steps of the Red Keep after her walk of shame. After spending the entire walk only able to push onward with the thought of her home and her son, the song shows at its end that a Lannister's pride is not an easy thing to break.
Melisandre's theme music, "The Red Woman", which plays at the end of the premiere episode, is a slightly different remix which highlights the shocking reveal of her true form. It manages to capture her loss of faith and yet its upbeat tone in the credits shows that this is not the end for her.
"Lord of Light", the credits music that plays at the end of Episode 2, shortly after the return of a certain heroic bastard from death. It's a call back to the music that plays during the resurrection of Beric Dondarion in season 3.
"The Tower", the music that plays at the Tower of Joy flashback where Ned found his dying sister, Lyanna, and was given her baby which he was promised to protect him. It's even more amazing while this piece is playing the Stark theme, we get a close-up on the baby's face and then, it cuts to the close-up of Jon Snow, which confirms the "R+L=J" theory.
At the end of episode 4, Daenerys gets brand-new renditions of her kickass "Dracarys" and "Finale" themes. The latter can be found on the official soundtrack and is aptly titled "Khaleesi".
"Service of the Gods", which includes the House Baratheon theme. It plays as Tommen announces the holy alliance between the crown and the faith to restore glory to the Seven Kingdoms and shows how he has been purged of his Lannister roots, and that House Baratheon is reborn with him. It also effectively signifies the High Sparrow triumph against the Lannister-Tyrell alliance.
"Blood of My Blood", aka the glorious new version of "Breaker of Chains" that plays as Daenerys rallies the Dothraki in episode 6.
The conclusion of the siege of Riverrun gives us a triumphant rendition of "The Rains of Castamere", played along with the formidable display of Lannister army marching through the fallen castle.
Meanwhile in Essos, Daenerys declares the beginning of her Reign and, with the combined firepower of her three dragons, makes short work of the Masters' armada.
Trust Each Other, an epic, triumphant composition played when the Knights of the Vale ride in. Sansa is shown with a rendition of the Stark theme played in the fluted style of the Eyrie's music.
"Light of the Seven", a gorgeous and haunting funeral dirge that plays over the lead-up to Cersei's destruction of Baelor's Sept with wildfire. Notably, it starts with and emphasizes the piano, an unusual choice for a song in the series, thus making the viewer unnerved, sensing immediately that something's off.
"Hear Me Roar" combines both "The Rains of Castamere" and "Light of the Seven" to perfectly illustrate that the new ruler has come to rule Westeros: Cersei of House Lannister, the First of Her Name.
"The Winds of Winter", the song that plays as Daenerys and her massive fleet set sail for Westeros. It combines the obligatory Game of Thrones main theme with the themes of House Targaryen and House Greyjoy.
"Hands of Gold", the song Symon Silver Tongue wrote in A Storm of Swords, is wonderful as expected from Ed Sheeran. Even Arya likes it.
Dragonstone, used in part of Daenerys's return to her long sought-after birthplace of Dragonstone. The themes used throughout make it perfectly clear that a Targaryen has come home.
The crown jewel of the whole Season 7 soundtrack: "Truth", the Targaryen-Stark love theme, from Episode 7.
Ironborn easily helps with Theon's redemption come the end of the season, first beginning with a simple reprise of the Greyjoy theme before going all out with drums. What is dead may never die.
You have to give it to the Lannisters. They may be the most pompous, ponderous cunts the gods ever suffered to walk the world but they do have the best victory theme as heard in the Lion's Legacy.
The Queen's Justice from the episode bearing the same name brings a suitably awesome conclusion to an episode proving Cersei is far from out of the fight yet with a uniquely powerful interpretation of "The Rains of Castamere", as well as serving a grim funeral dirge for Houses Tyrell and Martell. "Now the rains weep o'er their halls and not a soul to hear".
"Army of the Dead" is a great track to end the season and it is played when the White Walkers finally destroy Eastwatch and at the same time, one portion of the wall with the use of the undead dragon and the wight army marches towards the Seven Kingdoms. The sinister rendition of the main theme coupled with the chant would make Master Hans Zimmer proud.
"Winter Is Here", a beautiful, haunting rendition of the main theme that plays when Jaime leaves King's Landing after Cersei dishonours the truce with Daenerys while snow begins to fall, indicating that winter has reached the Crownlands. The end isn't quite here, but it's close, and this encapsulates that fact perfectly. Some people have expressed their desire for this to be the opening theme for Season 8.
Episode 2 gives us "Jenny of Oldstones" sung by Daniel Portman on the eve of the Great Battle of Winterfell. This was a song partly featured in A Storm of Swords where only the opening couplet was featured because George R. R. Martin couldn't complete the lyrics to communicate the haunting and melancholy mood he wanted, often citing that as one of his regrets. Here the show finally finishes it, with the most beautiful song in the series, which summarizes both the mood and the sentiment of the entire show. The end credits version by Florence + the Machine is equally beautiful and particularly haunting when paired with clips from the preceding seasons in the official video.
Episode 3's "The Night King." Musically, it's reminiscent of Season 6's "Light of the Seven", with the plaintive piano notes conveying the same undertones of imminent catastrophe. Things have definitively gone bad once it starts playing and only get worse as it continues: several named characters are dead or dying, the wights are inside Winterfell, the White Walkers are closing in on Bran in the Godswood after overwhelming Theon and the Ironborn, civilians are being slaughtered in the supposedly-safe crypts, Jon is eventually cornered by the undead Viserion, Jorah and Daenerys are stranded on the battlefield and completely surrounded, both of her living dragons are out of commission, and the surviving defenders are facing certain doom after the Night King raised their fallen comrades against them. The situation for the living deteriorates as the music intensifies, then goes silent right as the Night King reaches for his sword to kill Bran... and then Arya Stark lunges out of the darkness, Valyrian steel dagger in hand. The haunting One-Woman Wail from "Light of the Seven" note the part that sounds like Arya's name matches up perfectly with the end of "The Night King", Arya's awesome moment.
The Battle of Winterfell, in particular the sections that play during the Dothraki charge, and where Melisandre ignites the Dothraki's weapons, is stunning, managing to convey a Hope Spot just through the power of the music alone.
Episode 3 also modifies the White Walker themeto incorporate very sinister low pitched instrumentation, giving it an almost Terminator-esque vibe. Considering the near-unstoppable inhuman opposition who feels nothing and will never give up, this is a surprisingly apt comparison.
After "The Long Night", "Last of the Starks" opens with the hauntingly beautiful "Farewell", which plays as the people of the North are burning the fallen from the previous episode's battle, and manages to convey the heartbreak and sadness of every character that died in the battle.
"Master of War", the haunting melody that plays in the finale when Daenerys finally lays her eyes on the Iron Throne.
"The Iron Throne", a somber combination of Daenerys's theme and the main theme that plays during Drogon's final scene.
The finale gives us "The Last of the Starks", a fully-realized arrangement of the main theme mixed with the Stark theme and Arya's leitmotif plays during the end montage, where Jon, Sansa, and Arya are shown beginning their new lives, having survived the overwhelming odds against each of them and heading in their own directions, each suited to their character.
And finally, for the first time and for the last time, "A Song of Ice and Fire", a reprise of the main theme, but this time, with an Ethereal Choir added in. No doubt some may take this as symbolically representing everyone involved as well as everyone who watched and enjoyed the show and story joining together for one final send-off and to wish all of their favorite characters good luck in whatever paths their lives will lead them on now.
HBO is great at finding true alternative pop music gems for the season trailers:
A little known TV spot for Season Five used the epic Dark Doo Wop by a familiar artist to scoring Thrones' trailers, MS MR. The world's gonna burn in dragon-fire.
Apparently it's cover versions now: for Season Six, they decided for a light acoustic guitar cover of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game", performed by Vincent McMorrow with a shot interlude of epic battle music for the fighting snippets. The second trailer was even better, with tribal like war music that is ready to pump viewers for the epicness to come in the new season.
The season's teaser is set to "Sit Down" by James, appropriately setting up the mood for the showdown to come as the major rulers left (Jon, Daenerys, and Cersei) walk towards their respective seat of power and sit.
The first trailer of Season 7 uses The Hit House's "Propellant" which is sort of a bombastic successor to the House Targaryen theme, "Dracarys".
The second trailer of Season 7 reuses the beautiful and haunting "Light of the Seven" from the last episode of Season 6.
HBO commissioned a hip-hop mixtape for the Season 4 premiere featuring the likes of Wale, Common, and Big Boi, and it is glorious!