Hello. I am Ramin. I'm a composer for films, television shows, and more - everything from Pacific Rim to Game of Thrones. Speaking of Game of Thrones, the soundtrack for Season 4 has just become available - you can purchase it here for Amazon or here for iTunes.

Victoria from reddit is helping me get started. Looking forward to taking your questions. AMA!


Thanks very much everybody. Really enjoyed all the questions and feedback. Hope to do this again soon. all the best. Ramin

Comments: 460 • Responses: 51  • Date: 

dcsportshero797 karma

Are you concerned that George R.R. Martin will kill you off?

rdjawadi489 karma

Hopefully not until I am able to finish off the very last episode of the show!

schneckix322 karma

Hello Mr. Djawadi, are there any plans to introduce more Westeros lore songs, like "The Dornisman's Wife" or "The Last of the Giants"? "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" and "The Rains of Castamere" were great, but now it seems like there are only two songs in Westeros.

Also, on the back cover of season 2 soundtrack, it says it was recorded in Prague by The Czech Film Orchestra and Choir. Were the other soundtracks also recorded in Prague?

Thanks for your work, the GoT main theme is the best thing ever!

rdjawadi248 karma

No comment at this time.

Yes, all those soundtracks are recorded in Prague.

And that's very sweet, thank you very much.

shivan2162 karma

Do you come to consult or supervise to Prague?

rdjawadi98 karma

Oh yes! I connect with them through the internet and am present during the entire session and give comments over the internet.

Aurora_15200 karma

Hi Mr. Djawadi, I'm a huge fan of the Pacific Rim soundtrack I could listen to whole CD everyday. I was wondering did you and Guillermo del Toro talk during development to discuss how he wanted the score of the movie to sound like or were you given free range?

rdjawadi195 karma

Guillermo was a huge influence during the whole process. He's super-creative and he had a very clear vision of how he wanted the score to sound. So everything was discussed, from guitars to big brass to the choirs, and he was very sophisticated with ideas. It was an amazing collaboration.

machinehuman142 karma

Beatles or Stones?

rdjawadi228 karma

Beatles! Love that question!

karmanaut139 karma

Has George R R Martin spoken to you or commented on your work at all? What does he think of the music? What did he say?

rdjawadi262 karma

I think he likes the music. We saw each other at the premiere for Season 4 in New York, and I actually thanked him for creating this amazing world of Game of Thrones that I can now paint with music.

theherron115 karma

Hi Ramin, I can't thank you enough for giving us the opportunity to interact with you in this AMA, and my question is ... what instrument in your orchestra do you feel best encapsulates the Game of Thrones aura?

Adore your work, and I cannot recommend enough listening to your sountrack while reading the books on long flights

rdjawadi219 karma

That would be the cello, because that's the instrument you hear in the beginning of the main title and it's very prominent throughout the score.

rdjawadi78 karma

And that's great!

JComposer843 karma

what sound library do you use for that cello sound most often?

rdjawadi36 karma

I don't, because it's a real cello. It's all live performances.

Kettlebot67 karma

Hey Ramin! I've been a huge fan of your work on Game of Thrones since before I even started watching the show. One night I was browsing reddit and found a video that used the main theme. I was entranced by it, so I went searching for the source. When I eventually found HBO's video of the Main Theme on their youtube channel, I was so intrigued that I decided right then and there that I must watch Game Of Thrones. Without your music, I may not have investigated the world of Westeros when I did, and for that I thank you!

Now, to the questions:

  1. Every character's musical theme seems to be in some way related to the main, overarching theme of Game of Thrones. How much work did that take to put together, and is each theme building up to something?

  2. Similarly, what is your process like for creating a character's theme, and how much research do you do for that process? For example, do you read a character's chapters, or do you read the scripts beforehand? Do Dan Weiss and Dave Benioff give you any direction in regards to a theme?

  3. In the first question, I asked you if any of the music would be building up to anything, so my final question here is (and I want you to skip it if you need to) are there any talks of actually hearing the Song of Ice and Fire?

Thanks again for the amazing music, Ramin!

EDIT: Maybe this isn't the place but this AMA has reminded me of another cooler moment with Ramin's music. Those of you who have finished Game Of Thrones Season 3 know of the final scene with Daenerys where the song named "Mhysa" is used? Only a few days before that last episode aired, the soundtrack for Season 3 was released. I love the music so I bought it immediately. I was also in the process of my first readthrough of the books. Well, I was very excited to catch up to the show in the books, so I read and read and read until finally I started reading new material. One of the first new moments I read was the scene where people were calling "Mhysa" out to Daenerys. I thought it was a touching moment and read on.

Fast forward to the Sunday of the finale of Season 3. I was in my car, bored, waiting for the person who I was with to run their errands, so I put on the new soundtrack! I go from song to song, listening for ones I had already heard, as well as finding ones that I hadn't, trying to "spoil" the music in the last episode for myself essentially. Finally I came across this very moving, beautiful track. I didn't know it's name and I hadn't heard it before in the show, but I loved it immediately. Curious, I looked at the track name and it was named "Mhysa", that chapter I'd only just read! Having just read the chapter, the music gave me a major sense of how the scene would play out, and that realization honestly almost moved me to tears. When I finally saw the "Mhysa" scene later that day, the frisson was overwhelming, and I couldn't help but cry.

rdjawadi76 karma

1) The main theme was always intended to be used on its own, or in combination with other themes on the show. It usually makes an appearance towards the end of the season, to help build up to the climax. It's always a lot of work to put a theme together! Definitely took some time to come up with a theme that was someways comparable with other themes. It took a while. What inspired me, actually, was the picture that was provided to me, that was when I had the visuals in front of me, that provided a lot of inspiration, and then talking to the creators and what they envisioned for the show. It's really interesting, because the idea was not to be medieval but to enhance this fantasy world where Game of Thrones is, so it had to be something beyond medieval. It took some time to find the tone of something that captures that fantasy world, I guess.

2) That's kind of reading off what we were talking about before, Dan and Dave definitely discuss every part of the show with me - characters and plots and everything. We meet before every episode and discuss what we want to do with the scenes and discuss how we want to portray a certain character. That's where I get my inspiration of how to write it, not by listening to music but by talking to them.

3) No comment at this time.

ningrim57 karma

Did you know anything about Game of Thrones before you were asked to create the theme? What sort of guidance/information were you given by the showrunners?

rdjawadi132 karma

I was approached while the show was still in production. They actually showed me the first two episodes, which were ready, and explained to me the overall approach of the show. And for the main title, they said "make it like a journey." That was really the overall comment that they wanted for the main title, just because you see all the locations. So they said it needed to be like a journey. I saw the first 2 episodes, and they just spoke for themselves, I just saw how great this show was and was very excited to be asked to be part of the show.

Fratboy3752 karma

Hi Ramin!  Big fan of your work ever since "Prison break" - those exciting music snippets before the commercial breaks always amped me up!  And IRON MAN soundtrack is awesome!

2 questions:

  • What's the music-making process like in general for GoT?  How collaborative is it?  I mean, do you just watch the raw material and score based off that, or have D+D sat down and outlines specific things they want to hear or do with the music?

  • Love the S4 soundtrack.  What is the last song we will be hearing before the credits roll?

Thanks again and congratulations on all your successes!

rdjawadi80 karma

We get together before very episode. We watch it through, then discuss where the music should start and where it should end. Then we discuss what the music should do in every scene. And then I go off and write all the music, and then we meet back again, I play them everything that I've got, and then they give me notes and we make tweaks and then that's it!

That one I can't answer...

ReducedToRubble40 karma

Hi Ramin.

How much of a character's story do you know when you write their themes? Theon's theme in early S2 (What Is Dead May Never Die) is absolutely perfect, especially when it comes back as disjointed near the end of the series (Pay The Iron Price).

I've noticed the same thing with how much of the main theme you incorporate into individual character themes.

rdjawadi113 karma

All of the character's story get discussed with me beforehand, so I can set up a scene accordingly. Because I don't know if people have noticed, but for example the Lannister theme was set up in season 2 when Tyrion enters and whistles the theme. That's like a bit of trivia actually, because I don't know if people noticed that he whistled the theme.

shivan2134 karma

What is your usual inspiration for your music?

rdjawadi99 karma

Silence. I wake up in the morning, and when it's completely quiet, that's when I usually have my ideas. Because there is no other external influence.

Macejko199334 karma

Hello Mr. Djawadi! Is there a chance we’ll ever hear your unreleased music from GoT? Is it possible you’d release it on your webpage or some other place?

rdjawadi47 karma

I don't know if there is any? There is not, really. Obviously as I write them things get changed, and I talk with the producers and have to make changes, but it's generally pretty much intact based on what's been written. I'm trying to think if I have anything laying around unused and I don't really.

rdjawadi34 karma

It's a collaboration with Dan and David, they are just so good at giving guidance and that's a huge part of it.

seismicor31 karma

Is it harder for you to compose music for disturbing scenes?

rdjawadi67 karma

Definitely. I mean, because I have to play the scenes over and over again, there's definitely been scenes where it makes it harder if you have to look at the same scenes over and over.

macrowive29 karma

Huge fan of the parts of the season 4 soundtrack I've heard so far! We've seen you combine themes and mix and match them such as with the track 'Two Swords'. What two themes would you like to see come together in the future?

rdjawadi63 karma

That's a good one. That's tough. The main theme has been combined with so many of these other themes... How about Arya's theme with the Lannister's theme, that could be very interesting. We haven't seen that yet and it would be an interesting "payback time," right?

ningrim27 karma

Do you have any favorite arrangements/covers of the Game of Thrones theme?

rdjawadi62 karma

There's a couple actually.

One of the original rock versions still sticks in my head, the person who played the drums and the bass and the guitar. That was one of the very very first ones that I heard. That I liked a lot. Then there were a couple of very creative ones, there was one where somebody had the theme playing with computer hard-drives, I have no idea how they did that, but that was incredible when I saw that.

TheReaver8824 karma

Ramin! How did you go about composing for such a heavy emotional scene as the Red Wedding? I really felt like you brought us up and down throughout the scene right along with the characters and the dialogue. Is it difficult to compose music for the deaths of such major characters?

rdjawadi42 karma

Definitely. Especially throughout the show I've gotten attached to a lot of these characters, and then to see them go, and having to underscore the drama of that is definitely hard. Especially because I have to watch the scene over and over again.

Silthn23 karma

Have you heard, and did you have a reaction/opinion to the South Park parody of the GOT theme song?

rdjawadi36 karma

Yes I've heard of it and it made me laugh, a lot. It's very cool.

ladygagafan123722 karma

What was your favorite piece of music that you composed for Game of Thrones?

rdjawadi59 karma

It might have to be the main title, I will say. The visuals were just so inspiring, when I saw an early version of the visuals of the main title, that's when I sat down and wrote the theme. I wish I could take credit for the metal-shine sound on the sun in the introduction, but the mixers did it, it's not part of the music, unfortunately I can't take credit for that. But the rest of the music is all me.

jonemillard22 karma

What are some of your favorite film and television scores? I am a big fan of your work.

rdjawadi48 karma

Magnificent 7, Star Wars is very important, Back to the Future, all those classics. I liked Magnum (the show from the 80s), the A-Team.

guyfromphilly22 karma

Hey Ramin, your score on Game of Thrones & the soundtracks are one of the reasons why I love the show so much.

I know you most likely don't pick what songs go on the soundtracks but there's some cues that are left off of them (most notably Oberyn's theme this year), will we ever see them get released in Suites? (ie Stark suite, Lannister suite, etc) or perhaps a complete soundtrack when the series concludes?

Also, what do we have to do to get mp3s of the music played at all three wedding receptions(most notably The Rains of Castamere played at the Twins) Granted they're all the same songs just variants but they're so wonderful & it's a shame we haven't gotten a full, clean release yet.

Thanks for doing this & continued success!

rdjawadi29 karma

Definitely. Obviously we can only put so much on the soundtrack, and I am definitely listening with open ears to people's comments of what music was left out and I will do my best to include in the next round.

Similar answer - we are listening to people's feedback.

seismicor22 karma

What are the main differences between composing music for TV series, movies and videogames?

rdjawadi43 karma

I approach them all the same way in terms of how I start writing my themes and picking my instrumentation. The big difference in video games is that most of the time the music has to play in the loop, so you have to pick pieces that after a while will repeat themselves. I guess that affects things like my TV scores.

seismicor20 karma

What software did you use for composing the wonderful System Shock 2 score? Are you a fan of videogames? If so do you have any favourites?

rdjawadi28 karma

I love video games. The whole thing was done on a Korg keyboard

mrgrjspunk18 karma

One of my favorite songs you composed was 'For the Realm' in the Season 3 soundtrack. Was that used in the show?

rdjawadi29 karma

No, it was not in the show. I thought it would be a nice rendition of theme for the soundtrack

WebHobo18 karma

How did you come up with the Pacific Rim soundtrack, I'm listening to it right now? Also what inspires you to compose the music and how did you start composing? Thanks

rdjawadi34 karma

On Pac Rim my big inspiration came from Guillermo. Talking with him about his idea and his vision and just what he wanted to do with the film. I met him on-set when he was still shooting the film, and just seeing those big sets, I remember one set was just the HEAD of one of those robots, and seeing just the scale of it was inspiring to me to come up with an equally sizable score.

GeezerMuldoon18 karma

How much do you love the Ukulele?

rdjawadi37 karma

i love the ukulele! I own one and I play it all the time!

AsexualWeirdo15 karma

Who is your favorite GOT character and why?

rdjawadi25 karma

Well, it sort of switches from season to season. It's really hard actually because I try not to favor any of them, even though I sometimes tend to like Daenarys because her story is so very compelling and I think the dragons are cool.

gaschu13 karma

Hello fellow Duisburger!

I never knew you were born in Germany until I recently read it on Wikipedia. I'm big fan of what you've done with Game of Thrones and Iron Man. My father and I listen to IM on repeat in our cars, also "Merchant of Death" is my "go kick some ass"-song of choice. And Game of Thrones... how does one not like Game of Thrones.

So my questions are: * How are you? * What was the process of leaving Germany and going to the US? I kinda want to follow your footsteps.. although not with artistic goals.

Thanks for doing the AMA!

rdjawadi22 karma

It's always hard to leave a country and start a new life in another, especially when you are apart from your family, I miss mine very much. I went to college in the U.S. after high school, I moved to the US to go to college and then I found work here and stayed. And I am fantastic and enjoying answering these questions!

seismicor12 karma

I know that learning music theory is quite painful. Is there a way how to learn it painlessly?

rdjawadi26 karma

Unfortunately not. It's like learning anything else, it just takes time and a lot of hard work.

alexnmt12 karma

Hi Ramin,

What was your experience of moving to LA to pursue writing music for film and TV?

Also, favourite movie/soundtrack?

rdjawadi32 karma

I was fortunate to find a mentor in composers Klaus Badelt and Hans Zimmer. Basically I ended up working for them and that's where I got my experience in writing for film & TV. It's a lot of hard work and long hours but it was a great experience.

And my favorite soundtrack? The Magnificent 7 by Elmer Bernstein. That movie score, actually, triggered me to want to write music as a kid. That was a big, big point for me.

Auren9112 karma

Hello Mr. Djawadi! Just curious here, in which language the choir sings "Mhysa" and "The Children"? Is valyrian? And where is possible to find the lyrics (and translation)?

rdjawadi24 karma

They are Valyrian-influenced.

kmja11 karma

Composing music for films is often about capturing a certain emotion. Is there any emotion that you feel music can't convey?

rdjawadi28 karma

In general music should be able to capture any sort of emotion. But in certain instances, it really depends on the context of what's before or after a certain scene. Sometimes silence is the better choice.

luisbaugusto9 karma

Which form of media do you enjoy composing for the most, film, TV, or video games?

Also, as a Berklee grad myself, congrats on your success! You are a huge inspiration for me.

rdjawadi15 karma

I actually like all media. The fun thing about being a film composer is actually switching between those different forms of media.

beernerd9 karma

So I used to sit in my room and listen to classical music and movie scores while pretending to conduct them (I didn't get out much when I was a teen). Anyway, do you ever do this or am I just a dork?

rdjawadi18 karma

I definitely used to do that a lot as a kid, for sure. And it's a lot of fun.

apadden9 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA, Mr. Djawadi!

I recall you doing the OST for the Medal of Honor game. My question is, how does composing for a video game differ from major film/TV projects such as Game of Thrones?

rdjawadi16 karma

Sort of what we just answered? The big difference is that a lot of pieces have to be created that don't 100% match the picture but overall capture a mood, like tension, or action, or emotional states overall, rather than being precise because you can't anticipate where the player is going to be at what point in time.

TheDorkKnightReturns9 karma

Thanks for the AMA, Ramin! How was collaborating with Tom Morello on the Pacific Rim score?

rdjawadi17 karma

Tom is such a gifted and talented musician. He added so much to the tone of the score. He is a super nice guy and good friend.

speminalium9 karma

Hey Ramin!

I had to create an account just for this! I wish more composers would do AMA's!!

I love your work, and love all the leitmotif you use throughout the GoT, I love it when I hear the winterfell theme subtly played, especially during Sansa's snowcastle moment.

My questions are:

How much are you integrating the themes during the show? Or will they integrate in the future? For example, when I hear the 'You Know Nothing' theme for Jon Snow, I can hear the possibility for the 'Winterfell' theme being played over it, we know that Jon has Stark blood, is stuff like that a conscious choice? Are you working to integrate themes together (I'm pretty sure I read somewhere you have read the books so you kinda know where the story is going?)

Also, will we ever hear the complete actual main theme in during the show? We hear variations of it, like the recent episode 'Watchers on the Wall' where we hear a minored rhythmic version of it. Are you saving the main theme for pivotal moments when GoT draws to the final few series?

EDIT: Word

rdjawadi19 karma

The exciting thing about the show is that the themes have to be created in a way that they can be combined with others. We never know where the story is taking us.

We use the main themes ( parts of it) only in special moments. That's why it usually plays towards the later episodes at the end of each season. Let's see if we will play it in full at some point.

Keep-reefer-illegal9 karma

What do you think of George RR Martin?

rdjawadi28 karma


Joncort958 karma

Dear Mr. Djawadi I am working on my music composition major and I would like to know if you ever get stumped when writing music because sometimes I find it difficult thinking of music. It actually worries me because I love my major and questioning it actually scares me. I still write but I would just like to hear from a professional like yourself if this ever has or had happened to you? I hope you can answer my question Thank you and have a wonderful day sir.

rdjawadi19 karma

sitting in front of that empty paper ( or computer sequencer these days) is a scary thing every single time. The important thing is not to give up.

theArnoldFans18 karma

Would you consider doing the soundtrack to Schwarzenegger's "King Conan" which will be shot later this year? Are you a Conan fan?

rdjawadi16 karma

Never say never!

Macejko19938 karma

Would you return to score Pacific Rim 2, if the movie got into production?

rdjawadi14 karma

absolutely. Loved working with Guillermo.

Trenchyjj7 karma

Sweet Jesus, I actually made to one on time.

Ramin, is there a possibillity that any character's themes from GOT will change and darken as the series progresses and Stannis gets more epic, while others begin to show signs of insanity?

FYI; you are my favourite composer at the moment, I love Await the King's Justice from season 1.

rdjawadi16 karma

Anything can happen on the show. The themes need to be able to change accordingly...

JComposer846 karma

Dear Mr Djawadi, Can you give some advice for people trying to make it as composers in hollywood? Do you have interns and assistants? If not, are you looking for one ;) I can make a mean pot of coffee

rdjawadi14 karma

Keep creating your work and look for opportunities on online job boards.

TheJayChew6 karma

Hi Ramin,

wie oft bist du heutzutage noch in Deutschland?

rdjawadi13 karma

nicht oft genug. vielleicht 1mal im Jahr

iLqcs6 karma

Hi Ramin. Thank you so much for your wonderful work on the show. The music makes half the show for me. Especially the main theme, the Stark theme and Mhysa.

My questions:

Do you have a particular 'theme' in the music that you have composed for GoT that you especially like?

What are your thoughts about Sigur Ros's performance of Rains of Castamere? Is there a chance that you will collaborate again with established artists like this in the future?

The book has many songs not featured on the show like 'The Dornishman's Wife' and others. Will we see any of the other songs from the book other than The Bear and Maiden Fair and Rains of Castamere on the show?

Again thanks for your wonderful art and taking time off to do the AMA.

rdjawadi24 karma

I think I would pick the main title theme.

I'm a huge fan of Sigur Ros and I think their version of Rains of Castamere is amazing. I hope that there are more opportunities to collaborate with other artists.

bloodmark4 karma


I love the OST for Game of Thrones. It really adds a dimension to the wonderful world GRRM has created. If you could elaborate on your influences and and inspirations for the various House themes, that'd be be great. Examples such as: Stark, Lannister, Baratheon, Greyjoy, Targaryen and also the theme for the Old Gods and the Lord of Light.

All of them are great, I particularly love Theon, Stannis, and the Wall themes.

If you had to pick one track from the entire GoT library as your favorite, which one would it be?

Also, how much leeway do you have in your compositions? Do D&D give you specific instructions on what should sound like when or do they leave you to your own devices more or less?

rdjawadi16 karma

The difficult task in creating a theme for each character is to enhance their behavior, or their essence. The themes always enhance their actions and behaviors. So in that sense, the theme is an extension of their character. It's just looking at what I see on the screen, what they go through emotionally and that's what I have to express with music.

Besides the season 4 Soundtrack, and also the main title, I would say it is Mhysa.

A little bit of both, we have in-depth discussions and then I have room to be creative and interpret that, and then I'll get their feedback on what I have created.

shivan213 karma

How did you come to work on Prison Break?

rdjawadi14 karma

My agent called me and said that the producers were interested in working with me. And we had a creative meeting and then we went from there!

Macejko19933 karma

Which contemporary director would you like to work with the most?

rdjawadi12 karma

Clint Eastwood, actually.