10 Times Game Of Thrones And Rock Collided

As Game Of Thrones enters into its final season, we chart its long history with rock and metal…

10 Times Game Of Thrones And Rock Collided
Paul Travers

The final season of Game Of Thrones is upon us and many of us here at K! Towers are more excited than a dire wolf in a butcher’s shop. Others don’t really care, but they’re wronger than the delicious pie Arya Stark entered into the Great Seven Kingdoms Bake Off.

We’re not sure what will happen, but it’s a safe bet that there will contain more bloodshed than the Cannibal Corpse back catalogue, more dragonfire than Dio’s old doodling pad and at least one major character death that will have fans howling.

So to celebrate the return of the none-more-epic show, here we present 10 moments where Game Of Thrones and rock have collided…

Mastodon Star As Undead Wildlings

Over the years, Game Of Thrones has become known for its muso cameos. But who wants to watch Ed Sheeran or That Bloke From Coldplay Who Isn’t Chris Martin, when the most metal cameo by far featured ready-made berserkers Mastodon? They played Wildlings, who are killed and then reanimated by White Walkers. Drummer Brann Dailor said at the time: “I watched my best friends, Brent and Bill, murdered right in front of me as I myself was stabbed in the stomach and had my throat slit multiple times, and I didn’t mind at all. It made me love being in Mastodon even more. We are more than privileged and honoured to have been a part of one of the greatest stories ever told on film – and the catering wasn’t bad either.”

Anthrax And Killswitch Appear On HBO’s Catch The Throne Mixtape

We’ll stick with Mastodon for the moment, as they also contributed to the Catch The Throne Volume II mixtape with the original track White Walkers. The first volume featured hip-hop acts exclusively while the second also included a fistful of metal bands. As well as Mastodon, Anthrax, Killswitch Engage and Mushroomhead joined the likes of Method Man and Snoop Dogg on Volume II, which was released in 2015 prior to Season 5.

The Cast Plays ‘Game Of Thrones Sword Or ’80s Metal Band?’

As part of an effort to raise awareness of the IRC and the plight of Syrian refugees, the cast played a trivia game called ‘Game Of Thrones Sword or '80s Metal Band’. Could you identify the likes of Heart Eater, Crimson Death or Dark Sister? Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister) plays a blinder, as well as correctly throwing the metal horns. So does Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark), who can also match sword to character. “It was Joffrey’s and he made Sansa kiss it,” she says at one point. “That was weird…”

Peter Dinklage’s Punk Band Whizzy

You might have think Peter Dinklage, who plays Tyrion Lannister in the show, could get no more awesome. There’s no faulting a character whose job description is, ‘I drink and I know things,’ but real-life Peter has even more strings to his bow. In the '90s he fronted a band who have been described as a heady mix of punk, rap and funk… which does indeed sound very '90s. Unfortunately, no footage appears to have survived, but there is plenty of photographic evidence. The actor also showed off his vocal talents in a Game Of Thrones: The Musical for Red Nose Day.

Kit Harrington’s Version Of Wild Thing

On the subject of all things Game Of Thrones and musical, the absolute best bit of the skit sees Kit Harrington (Jon Snow) serenading Rose Leslie (Ygritte) to the tune of The Troggs’ garage rock classic Wild Thing… with a few revisions. ‘Wild-ling I think I love you, but I wanna know for sure / I wanna take you into that cave and kiss you baby, down there / ‘Cause I’ve never done it before’. Genius.

Sigur Ros Play At Joffrey’s Wedding Day Feast

Another noteworthy cameo came when Icelandic post-rock luminaries Sigur Rós were typecast as musicians playing at Joffrey’s ill-fated wedding. They’re forced to flee after the soon-to-be-purple prince hurls a handful of coins at them, but you can’t keep a good avant-garde experimental collective down. They later released a recorded version of The Rains Of Castamere, the lyrics to which are referenced several times by George R.R. Martin in the books.

Heavy Playlist Gives Hints To How The Series Ends

As the anticipation ramps up, the TV show’s co-creators have curated a Spotify playlist and, they say: “The answer to the ending is one hundred per cent hidden in the playlist choices”. The playlist is suitably titled Game Of Thrones: The End Is Coming and it features some excellent punk, rock and metal choices, from Black Flag to Biffy Clyro and Black Sabbath to Slayer. “We were looking for songs that made us feel the way the show made us feel,” the creators told Spotify’s For The Record blog. “There’s variety in there - Rage is not Johnny Cash. But they both have a deep inherent power.”

Pub Rocker Becomes Public Executioner

Wilko Johnson played Ilyn Payne, the mute and sinister executioner who lops off Ned Stark’s head. He was also the guitarist in pub rock band Dr Feelgood, who had hits with songs like Roxette and Milk And Alcohol and had a big influence on the UK punk scene to come. He told the Echo: “They said they wanted somebody really sinister who went around looking daggers at people before killing them. That made it easy. Looking daggers at people is what I do all the time, it’s like second nature to me.” He added: “Everyone is working so intensely and so hard. It’s so different from rock’n’roll, where the main action is a load of lazy bums finally managing to get themselves out of bed.”

Metal Bands Get Icy And Fiery

As you might expect, the literary series A Song Of Ice And Fire and the Game Of Thrones TV show that sprang from it have inspired a number of metal bands. As well as those on the Catch The Throne mixtape you’ve got the likes of stoner rock riff-lords The Sword with To Take The Black. Defunct progsters Winterfell chipped in with Winter Is Coming and Irish post-rock brother and sister duo Greywind are named after a dire wolf. Nocternity represent black metal with Valyrian Steel (Blood Of The Dragon), but if there’s one metallic subgenre that’s perfectly suited to steel and dragons it is, of course, power metal. Enter the likes of Hammerfall (Take The Black), Morning Starlett (Mother Of Dragons) and Blind Guardian (A Voice In The Dark). Horns aloft!

Hodor Jams With Megadeth

The lovable, tragic Hodor was played by 6’10” hulk of an actor Kristian Nairn. Game Of Thrones was actually his first major acting role. The Northern Irish giant was more renowned as a house DJ, but is also a (literally) huge metal fan. “I was always very into heavy metal, and heavy metal is full of emotion and extremes, and I think that’s the same in dance music,” he told the Dallas Observer. He was therefore thrilled when he got the chance to jam with thrash masters Megadeth on Holy Wars…The Punishment Due. Wait a minute…Hodor…Hold the door …Holy Wars – it’s all starting to make sense!

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