“It was raining when Lem returned to the brewhouse, muttering curses as water ran off his yellow cloak to puddle on the floor,” writes Game of Thrones series creator George R.R. Martin in his 2000 fantasy novel A Storm of Swords. “Anguy and Jack-Be-Lucky sat by the door rolling dice, but no matter which game they played one-eyed Jack had no luck at all.” At this point a character named Tom Sevenstrings switches out a string on his “woodharp” and regales his motley audience with a few tunes, one of which has now been set to music by the National.
The lyrics to “The Rains of Castamere,” the Brooklyn rockers’ contribution to the June 19 Games of Thrones: Season Two soundtrack, originally appeared in the book and were written by Martin. Accordingly, the song is a curious entity, its fictively anachronistic lyrics calling to mind Led Zeppelin’s more Gandalf-inspired moments, while Matt Berninger’s baritone murmur, backed by a somber orchestral swell, addresses the obscure-to-noobs subject matter with utmost gravity. (The recording below appears to repeat itself at the end, so don’t mind those last four seconds.)
Now if we could only get Sufjan Stevens to cover The Lord of the Rings‘ “The Road Goes Ever On,” we’d be as merry as Tom Bombadil.