Game of Thrones Takes Over Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center



Calista Huang Staff Writer

Are you re-watching every episode of Game of Thrones because you can’t handle waiting until the next season? Are you coming up with new theories about the future of the Seven Kingdoms? Are you having a hard time getting over the death of your favorite character? If your answer to any of these questions is yes, then you are officially diagnosed with “Game of Thrones Syndrome.” Here’s something to alleviate your symptoms while waiting for the acclaimed series to return. 

Recent Emmy-winner Ramin Djawadi, along with several talented musicians and a choir, brought “Game of Thrones Live Experience” to Philadelphia on Oct. 2. For just one night, the Wells Fargo Center was transformed, so that the story of the Seven Kingdoms could unravel in Philadelphia. The Iron Throne which sat at the very center of the stage and the Night King’s face on the screen suggested the unknown future of the Seven Kingdoms.

The show officially started with Cersei Lannister’s warning that “those who violate the rules will be boiled alive in the blood of their children.” As the golden light shed on the orchestra, the melody of the opening title brought the audience back to the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. The montage on the screen chronicled the seven seasons, not only presenting various characters to the audience, but also summarizing their own storylines from the beginning of the season to the most recent episode. Cheers broke out from the audience whenever their favorite characters made his or her appearance in the highlights from the show displayed on the screen: Jon Snow, Tyrion, Little Finger, Daenerys, take your pick. Thundering applause echoed through the arena as Arya Stark said, “A girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell, and I’m going home.” The audience exploded when Jon Snow came back to life, hailing him as the “King of the North!” The highlights brought the audience back to where the characters started. The images told many tales: how Arya witnessed her father’s beheading, but never lost courage and strived to become a warrior, and how Daenerys’s true self awakened and set out to take back her right as the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. 

The crowning touch of the show came from the use of various ethnic instruments, as well as the synchronized stage effects that accompanied the montage on the screen. Music became a part of the story, with a sorrowful violin melody shadowing the tragic death of Ned Stark, depressing notes from cellos and French horns overshadowing the brutality of the Battle of Bastards, with victorious yet mournful choruses conveying the triumph that came at the cost of such great casualties. Instruments that are unusual in an orchestra, along with the lightings and special effects on stage, bestowed life on the highlights of the show. Instead of just watching Daenerys’s dragons soar through the sky, pyrotechnics burst from the corners of the stage. Djawadi’s performance on the organ was the climax of the second half of the show, with ominous green smoke licking the edges of the stage and the Sept of Baelor exploding on the screen. The steady, resounding chant of the soloist and choir expended the sensory experience. The Red Wedding seemed even more heartbreaking with the symbolic song of the show “Rains of Castamere,” building on the sorrowful and tragic flavor of the story. 

As the last note echoed in the arena, the audience paid Djawadi and his orchestra their highest respect with a standing ovation. The applause lasted for minutes before Djawadi offered one more piece on the condition that the audience sing along with the orchestra. Thousands of spectators all at once became the performers, expressing their love for the show as they sang along. The experience was definitely something that filled the hollowness of our hearts while waiting for the finale of the great show.

You don’t have to be a diehard Game of Thrones fan to have had a good time at the concert. Although not a Game of Thrones fan myself, I still enjoyed the concert and was deeply attracted by the epic music that pulled me into the story. For those who have followed the show since the beginning, this was an incredible opportunity to review the whole show before the last season. For those who are planning to watch the show, the concert would be a great recap, offering a brief summary of the show that would take your hand and guide you through the intricate storylines of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros.