Warning: Major spoilers ahead!
The year-long wait is over. "Game of Thrones" Season 6 premiere episode has aired. Jon Snow seems to be really dead. The deaths of Prince Doran and Trystane Martell came as a surprise. And Melisandre's transformation into an old lady has given us enough fodder to satisfy our speculative minds till the next episode airs.
With all the plot developments and surprises that came with the episode, what did not come as a surprise was its soundtrack. The TV show is known for its orchestral music and, like every other "Game of Thrones" episode, German composer Ramin Djawadi's score for this one does not disappoint at all. From epic swells and build-ups to cinematic drums and percussions to heavy synth usage that is sometimes mellow and sometimes sinister; the score has everything that can be expected from a Games of Thrones soundtrack by now.
One of the major uses of a film or TV show's instrumental score is to amplify the emotions conveyed in a particular scene. The sound designers of "Game of Thrones" have used this aspect of the show's score quite effectively throughout its five seasons. The premiere episode of Season 6 is no different.
A somber bass-heavy synth sound right at the beginning of the episode, with its ambient wind noises and other chilling sound effects, was perhaps the best way to establish the fact that Jon Snow is dead and the winter truly is coming. As his body is discovered by Ser Davors, the mellow instrumental track playing in the background progresses into a sinister epic drums-oriented orchestral sound that enhances the feeling of shock, anxiety and sorrow as portrayed in the scene.
Another scene that features an epic score like the opening scene is the time when Sansa Stark and Theon Greyjoy are chased by Ramsey Bolton's hounds. The usage of violins and cello sounds in this fast-paced background score conveys the absolute despair experienced by Stark and Greyjoy as they run for their lives.
Melisandre's transformation scene also has a remarkable background score. Beginning with a melancholic synth layer, the track slowly moves on to give out an ominous atmosphere, with minimalistic ambient synth layers, which leads on to the end credits track. The end credits track, like every other track featured at the end of each episode, conveys the overall atmosphere of the episode; despair, melancholy and sorrow in this case. It is also quite similar to the opening credits theme in the way cello and violin sounds are blended with epic cinematic percussion grooves.
Overall, this episode's soundtrack enhances the fantasy element in "Game of Thrones" quite effectively.