A Singer’s Work

Singers in Westeros travel from one castle or holdfast to another, singing ballads of heroes and wars both old and new. The ASOIAF books include some songs in their entirety.

The Rains of Castamere

And who are you, the proud lord said,
that I must bow so low?
Only a cat of a different coat,
that’s all the truth I know.
In a coat of gold or a coat of red,
a lion still has claws,
And mine are long and sharp, my lord,
as long and sharp as yours.

And so he spoke, and so he spoke,
that Lord of Castamere,
But now the rains weep o’er his hall,
with no one there to hear.
Yes now the rains weep o’er his hall,
and not a soul to hear.


The Dornishman’s Wife

The Dornishman’s wife was as fair as the sun,
and her kisses were warmer than spring.
But the Dornishman’s blade was made of black steel,
and its kiss was a terrible thing.
The Dornishman’s wife would sing as she bathed,
in a voice that was sweet as a peach,
But the Dornishman’s blade had a song of its own,
and a bite sharp and cold as a leech.
As he lay on the ground with the darkness around,
and the taste of his blood on his tongue,
His brothers knelt by him and prayed him a prayer,
and he smiled and he laughed and he sung,
“Brothers, oh brothers, my days here are done,
the Dornishman’s taken my life,
But what does it matter, for all men must die,
and I’ve tasted the Dornishman’s wife!”


The Bear and the Maiden Fair

A bear there was, a bear, a bear!
all black and brown, and covered with hair.
The bear! The bear!
Oh come they said, oh come to the fair!
The fair? Said he, but I’m a bear!
All black and brown, and covered with hair!
And down the road from here to there.
From here! To there!
Three boys, a goat and a dancing bear!
They danced and spun, all the way to the fair!
The fair! The fair!
Oh, sweet she was, and pure and fair!
The maid with honey in her hair!
Her hair! Her hair!
The maid with honey in her hair!
The bear smelled the scent on the summer air.
The bear! The bear!
All black and brown and covered with hair!
He smelled the scent on the summer air!
He sniffed and roared and smelled it there!
Honey on the summer air!
Oh, I’m a maid, and I’m pure and fair!
I’ll never dance with a hairy bear!
A bear! A bear!
I’ll never dance with a hairy bear!
The bear, the bear!
Lifted her high into the air!
The bear! The bear!
I called for a knight, but you’re a bear!
A bear, a bear!
All black and brown and covered with hair
She kicked and wailed, the maid so fair,
But he licked the honey from her hair.
Her hair! Her hair!
He licked the honey from her hair!
Then she sighed and squealed and kicked the air!
My bear! She sang. My bear so fair!
And off they went, from here to there,
The bear, the bear, and the maiden fair.


Note: “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” featured above is a cover by the band Tall Like Tyrion comprising Chris Simmonds and Glenn McAndrew, who, in their own words, “make songs from the ASOIAF series in [their] spare time”. This playlist contains their adaptations, though the “Bear” is undoubtedly their best and most medieval-sounding.

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