“The Rains of Castamere” is a song appearing in the A Song of Ice and Fire novels and in the television series adaptation Game of Thrones. The song’s lyrics were written by George R. R. Martin in the original novel, and the tune was composed by Ramin Djawadi in 2011, upon request from the series creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss. The song appears multiple times throughout the books and show.
Tina’s version is played on Cello and the traditional Chinese Erhu.
The erhu is one of the most important Chinese instruments, with a history of over 4,000 years. Though it has only two strings, it can convey a wide range of emotions.
While the erhu has been called the “Chinese violin,” it differs from the western instrument in many ways. First, it is played vertically, often resting on the musician’s lap. It has no fingerboard, so the player’s fingers must hold and vibrate the strings by pressing only against the strings themselves. The erhu bow is already fixed between the two strings, and the bow hair is either pushed forward or backward to catch a string (more here).
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’s 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 (more here).