“If you don’t silence your cellphone, you will be boiled alive in the blood of your children” boomed the voice of Cersei Lannister at the beginning of last night’s Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience, an once-in-a-lifetime experience for both mega-fans of the medieval fantasy series and the uninitiated. Based on writer George R. R. Martin’s epic heptalogy A Song of Ice and Fire, the HBO adaptation transported fantasy junkies into the world of the Seven Kingdoms, where death and brutality, much like our own reality, is commonplace.
The stage was divided up in seven uniquely shaped platforms, symbolizing the seven kingdoms, and jumbo screens played significant scenes of Game of Thrones as a local Texas orchestra conducted by Ramin Djawadi, award-winning composer and mastermind behind the arena-touring concert, accompanied it with complete scores.
Sometimes the characters' voices echoed over the music, but the concert placed complete emphasis on the sweeping and grand music that played a hand in the show’s most emotive moments, intense drama, and bloody battles.
The spoiler-heavy concert that was like a Game of Thrones Cliffs Note for those who haven’t yet caught up on the latest seasons or, the God of Seven forbid, never seen one episode. Grab your weapon of choice, protect yourself with armor, and hold on to your dragon, you’re about to journey through Westeros, Essos, and beyond the Wall.
To begin the musical extravaganza, a single white raven illuminated the dark AT&T Center, as it flew from one side of the stage to the other, playing the role of a messenger to bring music to the night.
Out of the darkness, fire erupted and sparks flew from the center stage as the sounds of welding swords played, to reveal one of the show’s icons, a rotating Iron Throne. The crowd cheered as the swords on the replica glistened in the spotlight.
After the fog machine died down, Djawadi gave an obligatory speech, but before the show truly began, he asked the audience to raise their hands if they’ve never watched Game of Thrones. After a few embarrassed admitters, he told the fans to “show those people what it’s like to watch Game of Thrones.”
A video montage of all the houses boomed on screen, as the favorited familiar faces brought applause, the most enthusiastic cheers were reserved for Mother of Dragons Daenerys Targaryen and all-around good guy Jon Snow.
The show’s formula was somewhat simple, the main players – costumed violinist, cellist, drummer, singer, etc. – walked freely on the seven platforms as footage from the TV show played above. But, in Game of Thrones’ tradition, there were surprises aplenty.
Snow – pieces of white confetti – descended from the sky in the thousands as Jon Snow’s theme played, green wildfire roared and erupted from a furious organ, and pyrotechnics exploded across the stage during the Targaryen scenes, simulating the crowd’s favorite mythical creature: the dragon.
The most striking effect was when the lead violinist was lifted into what resembled a symbolic weirwood tree, while striking blood-red leaves fell, contrasting like rose petals in a snowstorm, as the Stark theme played.
One of the most anticipated moments of the night was the showing of the newly unveiled teaser for Season 7. In the teaser, the combined house sigils - dragons, lions, direwolves, stags – are destroyed as Jon Snow’s disembodied voice is heard saying, "There's only one war that matters—the Great War. And it is here."
The intensity hit its peak as the Battle of the Bastards played in its entirety, as Jon Snow has his final confrontation with tortious bad boy Ramsay Bolton. The strings screeched, the drums were primal, and the fever was running high with the thrilling capture of hell-raiser Bolton.
The experience was rounded off by a less-bloody and more-catchy rendition of “The Bear and the Maiden Fair,” a traditional song that is enjoyed across the lands, in both the Known World and the real world, showing that despite the onslaught of tragedies in the series, there is a sense of humor.
The Battle of the Bastards can be watched in full below: