Behind the scenes
Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss wanted a "full, memorable version" of "The Rains of Castamere" that would act as "memorable ending" to the "Blackwater" episode. Hence, they "tossed around the names of a bunch of artists and bands that we liked and whom we thought would fit the tone of the song." When Florence + The Machine declined owing to another soundtrack commitment, they landed on the National.
Composer Ramin Djawadi commented: "When we started doing this, it was not known we would do such a thing. It was us saying internally, 'Hey, it would be cool if we took this theme and had a band do it.' We asked them, 'This is what we're thinking — would you guys be into it?'"
The band agreed and since Djawadi had already composed the melody for "The Rains of Castamere" earlier in the season, the National was tasked with fleshing out a full arrangement during a session at his studio."I had done my demo mock-up minus the vocal," said Djawadi. "And then we shaped it a bit, took the instruments out, and the band did their treatment, with a cool vibe to it." The showrunners were pleased, to say the least. "The rich mournfulness of Matt Berninger's voice and Aaron Dessner's understated arrangements fit perfectly with the haunting song Ramin had written," said Benioff and Weiss. "It's impossible to imitate Matt's voice. Go ahead and try it — you'll just sound silly when you drop into that register. But he sounds perfect. Every time we hear him sing 'Rains,' it makes us happy — in a foreboding, melancholy way."
- Matt Berninger - vocals
- Aaron Dessner - rhythm guitar, keyboards, harmonica, vibraphone
- Bryce Dessner - lead guitar, keyboards, e-bow, orchestration
- Bryan Devendorf - drums, percussion
- Scott Devendorf - bass guitar
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