April 24th, 2016 was a big deal for me as a Game of Thrones fan. Not only was the show premiering its sixth season, but the Game of Thrones concept album SEVEN became available. Finally!
Haley Bowery, the frontmonster for The Manimals (Nerd party Rock/Post-Glam/Punk/Powerpop from NYC) announced on her blog last year that she was planning on writing a concept album based on Game of Thrones. The album would be called SEVEN, and would feature the point of view of seven characters from the series. (As a special bonus, each character could be examined as one of the archetypes of the Seven, the multi-faceted deity/deities worshipped by some of the faithful of Westeros. This is excellent Game of Thrones Geek stuff.)
If anyone is interested in reading about Haley’s creative process in writing the songs for SEVEN, I recommend that you visit her blog F*cked Up & Pretty and start reading around July 2015 (where I found the first reference to her considering a concept album.)
I was delighted with SEVEN, and even though I’m not officially (as if it was ever official) writing about Game of Thrones until the new season has ended, I really really really wanted to write about this album. Like right now. And so I get to write about Game of Thrones some more.
SEVEN features seven tracks: Mother, Teeth, Lone, Talk, Half, Good, and Summer. As I discuss each song (over a series of posts) I’ll talk about each song in this fashion:
Song: Its name, duh.
Whoozit?: The character whose point of view/thoughts the song represents.
My Thoughts: I understand if you skip this section, but I’ll probably mostly be showcasing lyrics that speak to me. I won’t list the song in its entirely. Go buy the album! (Or check out the annotated lyrics on Genius.com)
One Seventh: The archetype that the character is mapped to. Haley has talked a little bit about this, and she tweeted her listing of characters to archetypes, some of whom are chose because they fit well, some of whom because of a twist. I’ll be talking a bit about that.
(I reserve the right to play fast-and-loose with this format, throw in random final thoughts sections, etc.)
I am not a music critic, nor am I necessarily good at talking about music (even though that hasn’t stopped me in the past, Gabba Gabba Hey!) But I hope that my talking about SEVEN will intrigue people enough to check out their album.
Haley has wonderful notes for each song, annotated on Genius.com, and even if you have no interest in what I have to say about the songs, I hope you’ll check out her thoughts.
MOTHER (Track #1)
(Check out the full and annotated lyrics on Genius.com)
Whoozit?: Daenerys Targaryen, Stormborn, Unburnt, Breaker of Chains, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, and Mother of Dragons (among other titles.)
My Thoughts: Dany is not only the Mother of Dragons, but as she went rampaging around the Slaver’s Bay region of Essos, she picked up the nickname Mhysa (mother) as she was breaking chains and toppling cities. So it’s clear that a Game of Thrones song called Mother would be about her.
Will I ever be a mother?
Every girl is bound to wonder
Or will you pull me the other way?
Motherhood is a theme of that follows Daenerys throughout the books, even before she hatched her dragon eggs. The song is not so much focused on motherhood or the role of being a mother, but in Dany’s fears that her creations, the dragons for whom she is responsible, represent uncontrollable forces of destruction.
Still I feel as though I made ya
You were just a hand grenade, but
Soon you could be an atom bomb
Creation is an aspect of motherhood, and for creation and destruction to be linked is an interesting examination.
The song Mother clearly has references that would speak to any Game of Thrones fan, but it’s ambiguous enough that someone not familiar with the source material would not only get a lot out of the song, but would probably have some great interpretations.
One Seventh: What archetype of the Faith of the Seven does Mother/Daenerys get linked to? Well, uh, the Mother. That aspect of the Seven represents one of the two creative forces (the Smith being another) and also is associated with the attribute of mercy. Mercy is something that Dany strives for, but unfortunately, her Targaryen inclination does not tend to bend in that direction. Dany does tend to fall back on “they will die screaming” as a negotiating phrase.
I was the dragon’s daughter
My blood’s still got that fire
I’ll turn back just to watch them burn
If I take the song literally, as Daenerys’ actual thoughts (hey, she might think in verse, who am I to judge) this kind of places her at a time when she’s gotten the word that Drogon has been eating more than just goats as he’s been soaring over the countryside outside of Meereen, but before she feels that she has no choice but to chain Viserion and Rhaegal down in the catacombs. (She’d chain Drogon if she could.)
A final thought: the song states that she’s the dragon’s daughter, referring to the Mad King Aerys. But it’s in the past tense: I was the dragon’s daughter. Dany starts out the series as a piece of property being exchanged by her brother Viserys to Khal Drogo, in hopes that the Khal would provide an army. An army seems a large price for a bride, but the daughter of a king would command a higher price. Dany was initially defined by her state of being the dragon’s daughter. The song acknowledges that, but the past tense makes it clear that she’s moved beyond that.
Next post, I’ll talk about the tracks Teeth and Lone, which correspond to Arya Stark and her family member Jon Snow.
Should you not be interested in reading what I have to say, that is totally cool, but check out the lyrics, and consider checking out the album.
(Comments are always welcome. Super welcome! But if you want to talk spoilery Game of Thrones talk with me (also welcome) I’d invite you to visit my Safe Spoilers page on my backup blog. That way my non-book-reading friends won’t be shocked with foreknowledge.)
Daenerys images from HBO’s Game of Thrones (obviously.) Artwork of the red comet (A Clash of Kings reference, yo!) is cover art from the album Seven, and is property of Haley Bowery. Respect her art.
I make no claims to the artwork and only claims to the text that excludes Haley’s lyrics from Seven. So there. (Oh, the phrase that described the band: “Nerd party Rock/Post-Glam/Punk/Powerpop from NYC” – that came from their website. I make no claims to that amazing and fun phrase.)
If you liked this article, thank you! I have all of my Game of Thrones related articles on my handy-dandy Game of Thrones page should you want to read more but don’t want to navigate around my site.
© Patrick Sponaugle 2016 Some Rights Reserved