- This article is about the song, for the episode named after it see The Rains of Castamere (episode)
- "And now the rains weep o'er his hall and not a soul to hear."
- ―Queen Cersei Lannister
The Rains of Castamere immortalized the destruction of House Reyne by Tywin Lannister. House Reyne was obliterated after they rebelled against their liege lord, Tytos Lannister, who was perceived as weak by his own vassals. To restore Lannister dominance, Tytos' son, Tywin, marched against the upstart Lord Reyne. By the end of the rebellion, Castamere had been put to the torch and all members of House Reyne executed. The title is thus a play on words, as the "rains" fall over the empty halls of the "Reynes" who have been killed to the last man.
The lyrics heavily reference the fact that the sigil of House Reyne was also a lion, but a red one instead of the golden lion used as the sigil of House Lannister. The rebellion of the Reynes against the Lannisters was thus seen as a clash of lions.
In the decades since young Tywin reasserted House Lannister's dominance by crushing the Reynes, The Rains of Castemere went on to become very popular with soldiers of the Westerlands, becoming an "anthem" of sorts for House Lannister. This extends to the point that even Western soldiers sometimes refer to it simply as, "the Lannister song".
Tyrion whistles the tune to the song when he arrives at the Small Council in King's Landing for the first time. He does it again while on his way to visit Shae, when he is surprised to find that Varys is there with her.
Bronn and a number of Lannister men-at-arms sing the song while drinking and whoring prior to the Battle of the Blackwater. When they ask how he came to know "the Lannister song" he simply replies, "Drunk Lannisters."
The musicians - actually assassins - hired by Lothar Frey for the wedding feast of Edmure Tully and Roslin Frey begin playing the song after the bedding of the newlyweds. The song is the signal for the forces of House Frey and House Bolton to turn on the Starks and Tullys and slaughter them. Catelyn Stark is the only one present who recognizes the tune, but by the time she realizes what is happening, it is already far too late.
While examining prostitutes at a brothel owned by Petyr Baelish, currently managed by Olyver, Prince Oberyn Martell and his paramour Ellaria Sand overhear two Lannister soldiers singing the Rains of Castamere. A haunting version of the song is played at the Purple Wedding. This is stopped by King Joffrey Baratheon who throws money at the musicians.
- And who are you, the proud lord said,
- that I must bow so low?
- Only a cat of a different coat,
- that's all the truth I know.
- In a coat of gold or a coat of red,
- a lion still has claws,
- And mine are long and sharp, my lord,
- as long and sharp as yours.
- And so he spoke, and so he spoke,
- that Lord of Castamere,
- But now the rains weep o'er his hall,
- with no one there to hear.
- Yes now the rains weep o'er his hall,
- and not a soul to hear.
Behind the scenes
The version used in the TV series' soundtrack was recorded by the American indie rock band The National, and appears on the Game of Thrones Season 2 Soundtrack, as well as over the closing credits for the episode "Blackwater." Originally producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss wanted British band Florence and the Machine to perform the song, but they were busy. The National were their second choice.
The song is the basis of the Lannisters' leitmotif in the TV series's musical score.
In the books
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, The Rains of Castamere was composed after Tywin Lannister's victory over their rebellious bannermen: House Reyne of Castamere and the ancient House Tarbeck of Tarbeck Hall. Lord Tytos Lannister, Tywin's father, had been a kind but weak ruler. He loaned money to lords who never bothered to repay him and his vassals openly ignored his orders and mocked him in court. When Lord Reyne, known as the Red Lion of Castamere, and Lady Ellyn Tarbeck rose in rebellion, Tywin took it upon himself to deal with the rebellion and wiped out both of the upstart lords, their families and households and put their seats of power to the torch.
Later when another lord and Tywin Lannister had a disagreement over a matter, Tywin Lannister's reply was a minstrel sent with a harp to play the song to this lord who immediately changed his mind and complied.
In the novels, the full lyrics of The Rains of Castamere are first provided in Chapter 39 in Volume 3, A Storm of Swords; and the TV show uses that without alternation. Of course there is no tune provided in the books.
- The Rains of Castamere on A Wiki of Ice and Fire (MAJOR SPOILERS from the books)
- The official recording by The National