December 2021 – A New Look

Welcome to the last of this year’s updates! As I announced last month I started the process of creating a new format for the website where every single piece of music will get a video with a detailed breakdown of the music and a text description to better understand the reasoning behind it.

I really was hoping to have them all finished by now but there seemed to be a hiccup at every corner that needed to be ironed out and so the only video uploaded is Ned Stark’s theme. The good news is that with the format pretty much running smoothly I’m confident (but not absolutely certain) that most of the videos will bee uploaded before the end of January.

For now I leave you with the breakdown “The Quiet Wolf of the North” in video format to wet your appetite.

See you in 2022!

Maester Ludwig

November 2021 – Books and Maps

Welcome to November’s update which itself is an update of last month’s update (riveting, I know). Jokes aside, I had wanted to work on music for the past couple of months but the thought of finding a neat way of displaying the material is taking up all my energy. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at books and maps!

The Book

In last month’s update I showed a clip of an early-stage book presentation. As I explained then, I liked the idea so much that I started to think of migrating the entire website to that format using PowerPoint presentations but the idea died a quick death soon after. The idea of using the book-format presentation wasn’t dead, though. It just needed some rethinking.

Instead of uploading the PowerPoint presentation I came to the conclusion that videos where the way to go, trying to preserve as much of the experience at the expense of the freedom to explore the book non-linearly. The videos will be uploaded to the Music of Ice and Fire’s Youtube channel, which means that instead of uploading videos of single themes everything will be compiled by region, and these will get updated when enough there is enough new material to warrant it. The website will remain pretty much the same but with the addition of a book presentation in video format.

So what’s so great about this book-format if I don’t care about how cool it looks compared to a my dull white-background website? Well, there are countless videos of score analysis using the color-coding technique that I find really neat, and that had always been my goal: to present the music in real time with a break-down of each leitmotif as it comes and goes, revealing all the intricacies of the music, and the book presentation is the closest I have come to that. (But also, I like that it looks neat)

Here is the current state of the book:

“Music of Ice and Fire: Noble Houses of the North, by Maester Ludwig.”

All the text describing each theme and character in detail is still missing but it’s on my to do list for this coming holidays. The rest is pretty much there, though: A house list with a map, a genealogy tree of each house to find any character, a description of the character with all the themes of said character, and a detailed breakdown of each theme. The book is very easy to navigate, full of links to click and move around, to explore the music as one pleases. Perhaps in the future there will be a chance to have the presentation uploaded but for now the videos will have to do.

The Map

Of course, at the Winterfell library you can find not only books but also maps! I decided that the best way to show music from places wasn’t a book but a map so I took what I had learned about the book presentation make a presentation that uses a zoom-in/zoom-out system. There are some kinks that need straightening but I find it very enjoyable to zoom into a region of the map and listen to that music. In this video below you can hear the themes of The Wall and the Dornish desert.

That’s been all for this month. Now I’m looking at my list to-do list for this year and realize that there is a lot of stuff to do in only one month. So, I better get back to it. I hope to see you in the next diary entry to tell you all about it!

Maester Ludwig

October 2021 – The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Welcome to this month’s update where I talk about webiste improvements and Shireen Baratheon’s new theme! For the past couple of weeks I have been embroiled in a fight against the software gods to come up with a nicer way of displaying content on the website. The results?

The Good

So for the longest time my idea of the website had always been an interactive book where the reader the reader can flip through pages and click on the music they want to hear, with animations, sound effects and overall a sense of discovery. This month I finally decided that I needed to get cracking on it and see how to possibly implement it on the website.

I rely on Excel and PowerPoint to keep all my work organized, so the obvious idea was to work on a PowerPoint presentation to embed on the website. I work for days on end to create the textures and sounds from scratch; figure out the best layout to present the information; polish the animations; and last but not least create a master template that is streamline and easy to create hundreds of new files.

Here is a quick render of some slides with placeholder text and images.

The Bad

Where to start? PowerPoint embedding is far from what I had hoped. The sound and animations where missing. The navigation was terrible and not as flexible as I wanted. The control over what to display and how almost non-existant …. After days of going back and forth I ended giving up the idea of embedding the slides on the website. The closest they will be for now to make it onto the website will be in video form… and I’m not even sure about that since the whole point of the experience is to be able to move back and forth the slides and click wherever you want to interact with the pages.

So this is a very disappointing entry for me to write. I spent a lot of time and effort working on something that will not make it to the website (at least for the time being). At least I can make use of the nice textures and upload the new versions of the Family Lineages, as the previous ones where, to put it mildly, not particularly easy on the eyes.

The Ugly

And with that smooth segue here is the theme for Shireen Baratheon, known for being not only ugly, but also living a gloomy and sad existence.

I wish there had been new material for this upload (believe me, I really do) but sometimes things don’t work out the way we want. Hopefully next month will see a great deal more of new music. See you then!

Maester Ludwig

September 2021 – The end of Summer

Hello and welcome to another diary entry! This month I had to clear my backlog of pending issues which I couldn’t postpone any longer so I had to put Music of Ice and Fire on the back burner for a few weeks. Therefore, nothing too fancy for this month’s update, just the inclusion of House Clegane to the roster of Westerosi Houses featuring Gregor Clegane’s leitmotif (fig. a).

fig. a – Gregor Clegane’s leitmotif

This is a theme I wrote almost a couple of years ago and that I hadn’t find the right opportunity to upload, so what better time than now? All the basic leitmotifs one would expect are there, such as death leitmotif and knighthood leitmotif, and even the Lannister one well hidden in the chord progression, as the house was founded with a strong connection to Tytos Lannister.

That went by quickly! I hope to see you for the next diary entry for a (hopefully) more substantial update. See you then!

Maester Ludwig

August 2021 – The Lion is Stag’s Clothing

Summer is in full swing and Maester’s Ludwig’s diary comes hot from the press! This month I’m finally uploading the Joffrey leitmotif I had intended for a couple of months back plus some of more Iron Throne music. Let’s dig in!

The Lion in Stag’s Clothing

To start with a bang, here is Joffrey’s leitmotif titled the Lion in Stag’s Clothing (fig. a).

Fig. a – Joffrey Baratheon’s leitmotif

Joffrey is one of the most hated characters in the series, and for good reason. He is everything a villain should be and then some, so why did I make triumphant music for his leitmotif? Well, context.

This is not a villain’s leitmotif, I agree. And that’s because Joffrey is not a villain here. This is the first instance of a leitmotif that grows in time and exposes Joffrey’s true nature. It is meant to depict Joffrey as the reader first meets him in A Game of Thrones, through the eyes of Jon, Tyrion, and especially Sansa. No one can deny that he is a prince and he look the part. The reader is completely unaware of his true nature and so all we go by is that he is Robert’s son (right?) and that one day he will be king of Westeros. His leitmotif shouldn’t be too different from Robert’s and also include the Lannister leitmotif as well. For now, only the ending of the leitmotif gives the listener a closer look into his real nature, with a final minor chord accompanied by the death leitmotif.

The Iron Throne

The leitmotifs for the Iron Throne have been introduced before, but seeing how now we have Joffrey’s and Daenerys’ leitmotifs uploaded we can look at other versions of the Iron Throne. It might be categorized as an object, but the Iron Throne is closer to a character of sorts in some aspects, as it reflects the nature of the ruler in power at any point in time. Joffrey’s Iron Throne (fig. b) reflects his short reign as a tyrannical figure.

Fig. a – The Iron Throne of Joffrey I Baratheon

Then we turn to Daenerys’ Iron Throne (fig. c), albeit the idea of her as a ruler of Westeros, as she has a claim to the throne but she hasn’t sat upon it. The similarities with Aegon’s original Iron Throne leitmotif are very clear, but her version seems to hint at the question of what ruler might she be if she attains the throne for herself. She might be less idealistic than she once was when her journey began years ago, and closer to the Fire & Blood ways of the Targaryen. Only time will tell.

Fig. a – The Iron Throne of Daenerys Targaryen

That’s been all for this month. I hope to see you in the next diary!

Maester Ludwig

July 2021 – Direwolves

Welcome to July’s Diary entry! Summer is in full swing but the direwolves are doing just fine, as House Stark is getting a good update.

The Direwolves

While all main characters of House Stark have were uploaded a long time ago now it’s time for the secondary characters we didn’t get to meet on the page. Lyanna’s leitmotif (fig.a) has been

Fig. a – Lyanna Stark

Arya’s and Jon’s leitmotifs have also have gotten a small but necessary facelift, but Ned’s one has been substantially rearranged. This is because as part of the first batch of leitmotifs uploaded to the website, Ned’s was a medley of many Starks leitmotifs all combined into one. Now that almost all the Starks have their own leitmotifs it was about time that Ned had his arranged properly.

Fig. b – Eddard Stark

Wolfs Blood

“Ah, Arya. You have a wildness in you, child. ‘The wolf blood,’ my father used to call it. Lyanna had a touch of it, and my brother Brandon more than a touch. It brought them both to an early grave.” Arya heard sadness in his voice; he did not often speak of his father, or of the brother and sister who had died before she was born. “Lyanna might have carried a sword, if my lord father had allowed it. You remind me of her sometimes. You even look like her.”

ARYA II, A Game of Thrones

As Ned tells Arya, the Wolf Blood is a wilderness that some Stark have inside them and it is shared by Brandon, Lyanna, and Arya… and my intuition says that perhaps Jon as well, so I added him to the list. But first, in order to understand the Wolf Blood we need to understand how members of House Stark get their leitmotifs.

Every single member of House Stark uses a pentatonic scale build using thirds: there are 8 pentatonic scales in total, 4 major and 4 minor, and they form the basis of all the music played in the North. (more info on these scales in the Northmen music page). But there is something unique about the first 2 major pentatonic scales, as by looking at the diagram below (fig. c) we observe that the interval between the lowest and highest note of the scale is a major 7th, known in all of Westeros as the Wolf’s Howling (fig. d), a sound associated with House Stark since the Age of Heroes.

Fig. c – The Pentatonic Scales of the Northmen.
Fig. d – The Wolf’s Howling

While any member of House Stark can be recognized by this upwards jump there is further distinction to be made if we look again at the diagram of Northern Scales. Only one note is different between the two scales, but one note is all it takes, as Ned, Robb, Sansa, and Bran all make use of the 1st scale, while Brandon, Lyanna, Arya and Jon make use of the second scale. The Wolf Blood represented by this unique note (dark blue) plays a big role in the leitmotifs of these characters.

Fig. e – Lyanna Stark
Fig. f – Arya Stark
Fig. g – Jon Snow

That’s all for this month. I hope you enjoyed it and I hope to see you next month!

Maester Ludwig

June 2021 – Dragons

Welcome to June’s diary entry! This month’s update is quite significant for the website, as House Targaryen hadn’t seen an update since the release of the website. Without further ado, let’s talk about dragons.

The House of the Dragon

House Targaryen is the largest house in the A Song of Ice and Fire universe in terms of scope; boasting the largest cast of chacters the reader meets in the series. Also, their relevance in the story is unparalleled and thus, writing for the Targaryens is both the most fun and the most intimidating. This is one of the reasons why for the longest time House Targaryen’s page had remained barely fleshed with only Aegon I Targaryen’s leitmotif to show for.

But today I’m finally biting the bullet and forcing myself to upload more Targaryen content, starting with a simplified version of their lineage. This lineage includes all the Targaryen necessary to connect Aegon I to Daenerys and even in its simplified form it dwarfs any other house.

It also needed to include all the main dragons of the series ridden by those Targaryen in the lineage because as we will see, the bond between the Targaryen and their dragons cannot be overstated.

The Dragon’s Roar

At the top of the lineage is the leitmotif of House Targaryen, also known as the Dragon’s Roar (fig. a). This is indeed, the very first leitmotif I ever wrote many years ago (the second one being the Wof’s Howling), and it has remained the corner stone of every decision that came afterward.

Fig. a – The Dragon’s Roar

From the very beginning I made the decision that only members of House Targaryen could have the interval of a melodic fifth featured in their leitmotif, which was a watershed moment, as the fifth is one if not the most important interval in tonal music. Having all non-Targaryen characters banned from using the fifth created many limitations, but at the same time it gave all Targaryens a unique shared feature that made them easily stand out.

The only other leitmotif that comes close is House Baratheon’s Stag’s Bellows (fig. b), which is in fact an offshoot of the Dragon’s Roar as the Orys Baratheon was presumably a bastard of Aerion Targaryen; thus, the fifth gets inverted and becomes a fourth (more on inversion and bastards at a later time).

Fig. b – The Stag’s Bellows

Over time, the pieces started to fall into place and music was being written members of House Targaryen but one mystery remained unsolved, one that still plagues us to this day in 2021: the fate of Daenerys Targaryen and her dragons.

The First and Last Dragon

Approximately 99% of the pleasure of writing music for this series is creating connections and hiding them in plain sight. Listening to seemingly unconnected pieces of music and finding a link between them is the name of the game for me. And so, there most important connection to be made is the parallel between Aegon and Daenerys: One conqueror and three dragons for three dragon riders. Except that we don’t really know how Daenerys’ story ends. We know that she rides Drogon, but who will ride Rhaegal and Viserion? Or perhaps they will remain riderless? If Drogon is Balerion, who is Rhaegal; Meraxes or Vhagar? Will Drogon, like Balerion, be ridden by more than one rider? Will a non-Targaryen ride Rhaegal or Viserion?

For someone whose ideas comes directly from making these connections before sitting at the piano, it is incredibly difficult to move forward without any answers to these questions. In fact, when I started writing music for ASOIAF back in 2017 I had hoped to have at least some of these questions answered before I shared any of the music. Furthermore, ever since the launching of the website in February 2020 I had hoped to leave House Targaryen in a bare bones state until some of these questions get answers in the Winds of Winter. Nevertheless, the show must go on, and the time has come for House Targaryen to get more music.

After many, many, iterations I arrived to some musical conclusions that I am almost convinced will work regardless of how some of the questions are answered. Daenerys Stormborn is Aegon the Conqueror, and Balerion is Drogon. Everything else, including R+L=J and the Griffin’s Son spurs from that first building block. With that in mind I can start going down the path of associating the leitmotifs of dragons to their riders, and build from there. Balerion’s (fig. c) leitmotif is one of the very first leitmotifs I wrote and it has always been associated with Aegon the conqueror (fig. d).

But there is an interesting chicken and egg situation when a leitmotif is shared by two subjects. Is the leitmotif originally Balerion’s or Aegon’s? Well, in this case it is very simple to assume that since Balerion comes from old Valyria it was Aegon who was influenced by Balerion when he became his rider. Thusly, as one cannot conceive of Aegon conquest to have happened without Balerion, it is Balerion’s leitmotif that works as a springboard for Aegon’s leitmotif to come into being.

Fig. c – Balerion the Black Dread
Fig. d – Aegon the Conqueror Targaryen

The same is true of Drogon’s leitmotif (fig. e) and Daenerys’ leitmotif (fig. f) except that this time we move backwards. Daenerys is not only older than Drogon, she is Mother of Dragons for a reason, and she is the one who influences Drogon’s leitmotif. This relation might not be as strong as Balerion’s and Aegon’s one, but for now it is enough to have planted the seed and to let these two leitmotifs grow closer as the series progresses.

Fig. e – Drogon
Fig. f – Daenerys Stormborn Targaryen

I do have the leitmotifs for Vhagar, Meraxes, Rhaegal, and Viserion with the corresponding leitmotifs for their riders and presumed riders, but for now this is all I feel comfortable sharing, as the further one moves away from Daenerys the shakier it all gets. So, for now, this one very simple leitmotif of Daenerys as we meet her in her first POV chapter will have to do.

I hope you enjoyed this diary entry and to see you in the next one!

Maester Ludwig

May 2021 – Housekeeping

Hello and welcome to June’s diary entry! This month I made substantial progress advancing many of the musical fronts where progress had come to a halt a long time ago, but at the same time I also experienced technical difficulties that bogged me down and eventually stopped me in my tracks for many days. In the end I couldn’t finish the main objective I had for this month, which was in part a substantial update to House Baratheon (Lannister really). Still, that doesn’t mean there isn’t new music for this month as I have taken this chance to upload revised versions of Aegon’s and Robert’s Iron Throne leitmotifs. With a big update in the making for next month I have prepared some non-musical topics to talk about in this month’s entry.

Painting

At the beginning of the year I mentioned I wanted to add some imagery to the website and that I was taking up digital painting. It’s been a few months already and the website is still as barren as Dorne I want to give a quick update on that front.

I bought a Wacom 16 and I couldn’t be happier with it. However, the real deal was to find the right program to paint with. Corel Painter was the first one I tried and I really wanted to like it but I find it too fidgety and not at all straightforward. In the end, having to constantly fight the program takes me out of the flow too much so I gave up on it. Now, Photoshop might be wonderful for editing photos or drawing but it doesn’t have the features I look forward in a realistic painting program so I didn’t even bother with it. And finally, for the past couple of months I’ve been having more success with Rebelle 4 and Artrage 6. They are nowhere near as expensive as Corel Painter and still retain the main features I’m after while still being straightforward.

With that more or less out of the way then came the issue of style. At the beginning I thought I would simply draw some characters or settings in the ASOIAF universe and upload it to the website but I immediately realized that wasn’t going to work for me. I kept discarding whatever I drew as unsatisfactory because subconsciously I kind of knew it wasn’t what I really wanted. What I wanted was to render the ASOIAF universe in the style of the masters that I admire so much, such as Velazquez (Baroque) Leighton (Pre-Raphaelite) and Shiskin (Russian Realism). So, I quickly realized that drawing alone wasn’t going to cut it and I started trying my hand at oil painting studies of textures, color, values, etc. This study of a tree is a good example of the style I’m going for, although I’m sure it will change as I keep practicing and learning.

Overall, I’m finding my way into illustration slowly but also steadily and my plan is still to be able to upload some imagery to the website before the end of the year. Although we all know how deadlines work in the ASOIAF universe.

Piano Fixing

When I work on music most of my time is spent sitting at the Kawai piano I bought five years ago, and I really get distracted if the playing experience is not great. So, when the piano started to act up a few weeks ago everything came to a halt until I could get it fixed. The issue is a little plastic-like piece on the keys where the hammers rest, and it tends to slide over time. When this happens the glue under the plastic makes contact with the hammer and it makes the keys stiff and hard to play. I had noticed this problem last year but in a very, very minor degree. Cue the coming of warm temperatures and in the course of a few days I noticed so many keys getting stiffer. As the piano was no longer in warranty and I was feeling adventurous I took it upon myself to open it up and try to fix it on my own. After a visit to the hardware store to buy a sheet of polytetrafluoroethylene, also known as PTFE, (aka Teflon) I replaced every single plastic piece that wasn’t perfectly in place. I added grease to the parts that needed it; replaced some felt parts that had been smushed and were irregular and gave it a good clean up. Fixing 33 keys took almost the entire day and I felt that at least I wouldn’t have to worry about it again for a long time.

Alas, this long time was indeed only a week before my favorite key in the whole piano, D2, became completely useless almost overnight for the aforementioned reason. Keys that up until that point had never showed any problems before were getting stiff too. So, I had to open up the piano yet again and this time I replaced every single key that I hadn’t touched the first time, just for future proofing. 55 keys later and another day spent on it the piano has been playing great ever since for a week now. Here’s to hoping it my makeshift solution lasts for as long as possible.

Book reading

I have a decent size library of music books and scores I have acquired over many years, and while I would love to say I have read them all the reality is that my to read list always grows at a faster rate than I can cross books off it (mainly because I’m a fairly slow reader). Alas, paper seems to be a thing of the past and find myself less inclined to take a book or score from my library and take notes on it that I used to be (though I should have thought of that before I accrued over 200 scores and music books). So, in the hopes of increasing my reading habits I recently bought one of those tablets to start the slow transition to digital and simplify my workflow.

Given the amount of leitmotif talk I indulge in on this website I have been wanting to mention Understanding the Leitmotif  by Matthew Bribitzer-Stull for some time now. While it is true that I find it a bit a dry and overly philosophical at times it is still a very interesting book if you are into leitmotifs. Not so much about leitmotifs but still relevant is Hollywood Harmony by Frank Lehman, which I just started to digitally page through. I have high hopes for this one since most of the analysis is done through Riemannian theory, which I have only partial knowledge of, so I’m quite looking forward to it.

This has been all for this month. I hope to see you in the next one!

Maester Ludwig

April 2021 – Writing is Rewriting (Part 2)

Welcome to this month’s diary entry. I had planned to post this entry last Saturday but life got in the way somehow, and I even had to cut some material that was going to make it into this month’s diary. Still, there is some interesting I want to show you this month and it has to do with the process of rewriting material, so let’s get to it!

3rd Time’s The Charm

I have mentioned in past diaries that I try to avoid having to rewrite material I have uploaded as much as possible, simply because the cost of opening that door leads to infinitely readjusting old material, and as the project advances it just becomes unsustainable. And yet sometimes it is precisely what the doctor ordered. A good case is that of Renly’s leitmotif, which is now in it’s third iteration.

Renly’s original leitmotif had some things I liked a lot and somethings I was so thrilled about, but overall, I enjoyed the leitmotif in the context of the three Baratheon brothers. Renly’s main divergence from the Robert and Stannis was the fact that it was in A major instead of a minor, and there are some good reasons why I wanted it that way. The main reason is that it is much easier to create something welcoming and “shinny” in major than in minor. With Robert a seasoned warrior and Stannis a expert grinder of teeth, Renly is but a charming and dazzling young man, so the original theme was set in A major (fig. a).

Fig. a – Renly’s original leitmotif in A Major

But as it happens sometimes I made a mistake by not double checking the assumptions I had when I wrote the leitmotif. Somewhere in my mind it was obvious that all three Baratheon brothers are knights, when in fact, Renly is not a knight. This means that the knighthood motif (fig. b), represented by a triplet was very misplaced in the motif and needed to go.

Fig. b – Knighthood

I caught this mistake early this year and reworked the leitmotif to do away with the triplet while keeping as much as possible. The end result was a theme that kept the flashiness of Renly’s original theme at the expense of not sounding as close to Robert’s leitmotif (fig. c), which is something that bothered me a little, since Renly is supposed to look a lot like a young Robert Baratheon.

Fig. c – Renly’s modified leitmotif minus the knighthood leitmotif

But it wasn’t until I recently started to work on the Baratheon bastards seriously that I couldn’t justify anymore having Renly’s leitmotif in A Major and not a minor. A pivotal moment of “A Game of Thrones” comes with the reveal of the true fatherhood of Joffrey, Myrcella, and Tommen, whose leitmotifs are all in E Major. The dichotomy of the minor scale representing black hair and the major scale representing blonde hair is something I had in my mind for the longest time, but Renly’s A Major leitmotif kept throwing the whole idea off the rails. Eventually I bit the bullet and reworked Renly’s leitmotif in a minor, since consistency of Baratheon = a minor is more meaningful to me than Renly’s charming nature = A Major.

This third (and hopefully, final) version of Renly’s leitmotif (fig. d) relies more on orchestration to convey his dazzling but shallow persona, but it does for a more consistent and coherent set of leitmotifs, which takes precedence over pretty much anything else.

Fig. d – Renly’s final leitmotif now in a minor

Reweaving A Tapestry

So, why the fuzz over a simple rewrite?  Because when weaving a tapestry with leitmotif it is hard to replace one single thread without having to do a major rework of the whole thing. Renly’s leitmotif connects to other leitmotifs, most important of all Loras’ leitmotif, which is in C Major, and the amount of acrobatics I had worked on to fit them together meant that now I had to throw most of it away. This is a theme I had never finished, as every time I sat down to work on it new ideas came and went, but overall many hours had gone into tuning everything so that it came off nicely.

I want to clarify what this means in case you aren’t very familiar with music theory. Basically, all you need to know is that A Major is not harmonically close to C Major even though they can be connected using some cool tricks composers have used for centuries like pivot notes and secondary dominants. This use of the distant keys of A Major and C Major effect was something I was happy to have as to me it reflected Renly’s and Loras’ difficulties in sharing their love while keeping it a secret: their secret love was a fight that paid off for them in spite of its inherit challenges they faced. But now all of this was out the window and as such I needed to rework their love theme “The Rose Knight and the Stag” from the ground up. The good news is that a minor and C Major are basically the closest to tonalities could ever be, so I changed gears and reworked the idea from struggle to secrecy, which also works very well in context.

The new goal was to create a love theme from the point of view of Loras that hinted at a deep love for someone without it being too on the nose. Taking advantage of the fact that a minor and C Major share the exact same pitches, slipping in and out Loras’ leitmotif to insert a modified version of Renly’s leitmotif was the way to go. It took almost time to rework their love theme and have it finished in almost a personal record for myself; so at least I’m happy about that.

As Loras is the character from whom we see their relation, “The Rose Knight and the Stag” (fig. e) begins with Loras’ leitmotif (light blue notes) only to hear a version of Renly’s leitmotif (dark blue notes) in a rhythm that completely obscures its melody, but is still recognizable upon close listening.

I’m not alone in thinking that Loras has one of the most memorable moments in the whole series when he recalls Renly in A Storm of Swords – Tyrion II:

“When the sun has set, no candle can replace it.”

Loras Tyrell
Fig. e -The Rose Knight and the Stag

I hope you enjoyed this month’s entry! See you soon!

Maester Ludwig

March 2021 – The Ironborn

Welcome to the Diary entry for March 2021! The time has finally come for House Greyjoy to join the roster of noble Westerosi houses and for the Ironborn to be included as one of the musical cultures of Westeros!

What is dead may never die

House Greyjoy shouldn’t be too difficult to write music for. After all, it is not larger than most other houses and all their members can be seen as stereotypical raiding Vikings, so writing some pirate-like music should do the trick, right? The reality is that House Greyjoy is proving to be more difficult than most other houses. One reason for that could be that there are four Greyjoy POV characters thus making them and the Lannisters contend for the title of second largest house by number of POVs.

And let me tell you that POV characters are way more difficult to write music for than non POV characters, as knowing exactly the train of thought of a character means having to write both music that is coherent from both the outside and inside perspective one has as a reader. I love writing music for characters like Loras or Oberyn since whatever might happen inside their heads is unknown to us, thus making it far easier to simply write music that matches our outside perception of them (this being that both are awesome). However, writing music that matches whatever our outside perception of Theon is with his internal monologue is, at least for me, a daunting task. And therein lies the problem. Theon’s character arc is so extreme that in order to write the most fitting music to it I need to plan in detail his entire leitmotif development before I can even consider working on other Greyjoy characters. And of course, this is a huge drawback since I have had leitmotif ideas for Balon, Victarion and Euron for years but I have never wanted to commit to any of them for fear that I would need to change them eventually.

As of late I have been feeling more confident about my ideas regarding the Greyjoys, with some ideas being finally cemented while others have been discarded wholesale. And perhaps I’m finally feeling more confident about Theon’s leitmotif and its development than ever before, because today I decided to upload the Ironborn music page I had written a year ago and a leitmotif for Balon Greyjoy I had come up almost two years ago. Hopefully I get to fill out the Greyjoy family tree in a timely manner, although I suspect Theon will still be the last one to finally take shape. In the meantime, I leave you with the Balon Greyjoy, the King Kraken.

Balon Greyjoy – The King Kraken

That’s all for this month. See you again in April!

Maester Ludwig