Bring On the Dragons: Composer Spotlight on Jeremy Soule

Gamer Grooves

As always, a friendly reminder that this post may contain spoilers.

Today’s post isn’t going to be very long at all, but it’s one I’ve wanted to do since I started this project. Jeremy Soule composed the soundtracks to the Elder Scrolls games (starting with Morrowind), games by Humungous Entertainment (Putt-Putt, Spy Fox, Pajama Sam, etc), Icewind Dale, Guild Wars, and tons of other individual games you’ve probably played. His compositions are legendary, and he has been hailed as one of the greatest western video game composers of all time.

The reason why this post won’t be long is that there are only two songs that I want to look at today. Well, more accurately I want to talk about five songs, but three of them are variations on the others. Remixes are all well and good, but often they can be criticized for a lack of originality. The way Jeremy Soule does remixes stands apart, however. They make me nostalgic for true fantasy, and when I say fantasy, I mean like classic D&D goblins and wizards kind of fantasy. Let’s get to it, shall we?

Songs

Guild Wars Main Theme / Guild Wars 2 Main theme

When Guild Wars was in beta, I was lucky enough to get in and play with my friends. This was just the login theme, but I was completely captivated. This song transports me back to a time of wonder, and was probably one of the first of Jeremy’s amazing fantasy themes that I had heard. While I didn’t play Guild Wars for long, I always had that theme stuck in my head. For better or worse, I can’t say (it’s for better) (But you just said… GAH! – EDITOR FRANK).

Now, on the matter of Guild Wars 2, I can say that I’ve never played it before. The fact that I didn’t play it shouldn’t be a commentary on its quality. That said, at some point I heard that Jeremy Soule wrote the music for this sequel, and my number one hope was that he had done the theme again. Ask and you shall receive, because it’s even bigger and better than it was before. I got that nostalgic rush, but also the feeling that the adventure was grander than it was before. The more pronounced choir and brass section makes it seem like the game realizes how awesome it is and sings its own praises. That’s okay. I don’t blame you Guild Wars because you are awesome.

Call of Magic/ Reign of the Septims/ Dragonborn


These three songs are the main themes of their respective games: Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim. They have the same theme buried within each of them, but they are all unique in the message that they are sending. Let’s do a little break down of each.

Call of Magic is a song about Morrowind as a whole. It’s slow, and like the title says, has a real air of magic about it. Morrowind is a land of amazing and wondrous creatures, people, and environments. You are invited to explore this mystical land, which took in everyone I knew that played it. It’s also a theme that is the start of an adventure.

Oblivion was the first Elder Scrolls game that I ever played. I got it on my newly purchased Xbox 360 and played on a tiny TV in the corner of my room. After the first few days, I was always at that TV, face pressed against the screen, and engaging in a new quest in the land of Cyrodil. Reign of the Septims definitely helped that. In fact, as soon as I heard it for the first time, I put it on my iPod. This song represents the regal and important nature of Cyrodil. In fact, it sounds like the kind of song that would be played by an orchestra performing for the royal family.

Dragonborn is probably the song that the people reading this are most familiar with. I would argue that this song is more epic than that of its two predecessors. Fighting demons and gods are all fine and dandy, but there’s something about doing battle with a dragon that gets nerds like me super psyched up. The clearly Norse inspired theme raises the courage within all of us to do battle with the huge winged beasts. It’s aided by the male chorus, which gives me serious goosebumps at 2:05. Initially, I wasn’t going to buy Skyrim when it came out, event though I had heard the pieces of the theme throughout the trailers. It wasn’t until the game leaked early on the internet that the full song of Dragonborn was released. Jeremy Soule changed my mind, because as soon as I finished listening to it, I pre-ordered Skyrim.

Afterthoughts

I’m not going to stand here and tell you that Jeremy Soule is one of the most brilliant minds to compose music for video games, and that’s because I’m currently sitting down. Like a great movie composer, Jeremy Soule has a knack for telling you all about the experience you’re in for without you having seen anything yet. It’s so good because it only serves to hype you up for what’s to come. His music is akin to a bowl of chips: you listen to one and you just can’t help listening to more.

That’s all for today, so comment down below on your favorite Jeremy Soule song or on the post itself. Either way, I’ll see you all tomorrow.

FUS-RO-JeremySouleIsAwesome

Source: Artistry Entertainment and Julian Soule -- Wikipedia
Source: Artistry Entertainment and Julian Soule — Wikipedia
Alex McVeigh
About Alex McVeigh 28 Articles
Alex has been a nerd for as long as he can remember. Every normal conversation he has had could be matched 1 for 1 with a conversation about why Scrooge McDuck is obviously richer than Edward Cullens' Dad and here's why. He can talk about and play video games for hours only to conclude with "anyone wanna play some magic?

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