The Hold Steady Cover George R.R. Martin for Game of Thrones

Slate's Culture Blog
April 15 2013 2:11 PM

The Hold Steady Cover George R.R. Martin

gameofthrones_song2
Noah Taylor and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.

Helen Sloan/HBO.

If you’ve been watching Game of Thrones, you were most likely pleasantly surprised by last night’s smash-cut to the end credits (emphasis on cut), when a rousing, punky, thoroughly electric rendition of “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” crashed out of your television like Gregor Clegane getting thrown out of a tavern after one too many flagons of mead. The track came courtesy of beloved Brooklyn outfit the Hold Steady, a band whose own boozy, lyrically dense storytelling style and indie-bar-rock sound perfectly suit George R.R. Martin’s silly folk song of a hairy bear saving a maiden who was hoping for a knight. 

The song itself is a great sing-along foot stomper, and the track’s unexpected placement capping a shocking moment in a particularly excellent episode has been getting nods of approval from fans and critics alike. The AV Club’s Todd VanDerWerff tweeted that it was “the greatest cut to credits IN AMERICAN HISTORY.”  Yeah, that sounds about right.

Advertisement

Game of Thrones has broken out of its old-timey-sounding strings-and-war-drums score before, enlisting the National to record an appropriately somber take on the George R.R. Martin song “The Rains of Castamere” for Season 2. But this is the first time GoT went electric. And they picked the right guys for the job: Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn may very well identify with that bear, stumbling through a fancy party where he’s pretty sure he doesn’t belong.

The song will be available on a special 7-inch release for Record Store Day, April 20.

Chris Wade is a video and podcast producer for Slate and occasional contributor to Brow Beat. Follow him on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

Why Do Some People See the Virgin Mary in Grilled Cheese?

The science that explains the human need to find meaning in coincidences.

Jurisprudence

Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

What to Do if You Literally Get a Bug in Your Ear

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 17 2014 8:15 AM Ted Cruz Will Not Join a Protest of "The Death of Klinghoffer" After All
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 8:43 PM This 17-Minute Tribute to David Fincher Is the Perfect Preparation for Gone Girl
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 8:27 AM Only Science Fiction Can Save Us! What sci-fi gets wrong about income inequality.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 17 2014 7:30 AM Ring Around the Rainbow
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.