Writing Playlist - Unexpected Inspiration Main Characters

I have a writing playlist on Spotify where I keep all the songs that remind me of this series. I decided to share the ones I most associate with my main characters; later I'll make other posts for other characters and other themes in the series. You can click the names of these five to go to their bio pages and the song titles go to the songs on Youtube.

Adair: "Wake Me Up" by Aloe Blacc
Adair does a lot of growing up in these books and I think this song describes that so well! He’s the youngest of the dorks and he doesn’t really know what the future holds for him. All he knows is that he doesn’t want the traditional life that his parents and most arcane artists have. He starts off on the journey of book 1 only thinking that it’s going to (hopefully) lead to his stolen art. Along the way he finds family and a path he didn’t know he was looking for. I especially love that particular verse because part of his growth involves becoming more confident and decisive. As the series progresses, he takes on more and more responsibility and while he often feels like he’s in over his head, his optimism and hopeful outlook never falter. He does get to see the world like he’s always dreamed!


Blythe: "Wandering Wolf" by Wave & Rome
This song is largely how Blythe feels about her father, but that’s so entwined with how she feels about herself, that I went with this instead of the usual song I use for her. ("Miss Independent" by Kelly Clarkson) A huge part of who she is comes from being the child of (her culture’s) soldiers. Protectorates guard art and artists, but this isn’t as safe as it sounds. She lost both her parents young, but before her father died she grew up surrounded by Protectorates and this shaped how she sees the world. I almost picked "Soldier’s Daughter" by Tonic for the lyrics about her father "poisoning her views" and giving her the uncertainty of what she wants to be. Her relationship with her father was better than in that song, though, so this one was a better fit. He was her world and she sees so much of him in herself. Her life, as much as she tries to say it’s what she herself wants, always has this ghost of her father’s memory hanging over her shoulder. It’s less what she thinks she should be and more what she thinks her father would want her to be. He didn’t want to be a sentinel (bodyguards/spouses to artists, a branch of the Protectorates), so she convinced herself for so long that she didn’t, either. Her growth means becoming more comfortable with her family’s past, but not letting it dictate her future.


Firedrake: "Live a Lie" by Default
This entire song is 100% how Firedrake thinks. They have no idea what they want out of life and I think this lack of direction adds to the angry "fight me" reaction they have to everything. Dray is so stubborn that they refuse to give up on the way they act, even when how they act is entirely a lie. That angry, uncaring face they show the world is a mask to hide how much they’ve been hurt. People tend to only see the lie and this keeps people away, which Dray thinks they want, but it also has kept many people from seeing what’s really inside Dray’s heart. Dray tries to pretend they don’t care what other people think about them and then their lie just becomes a lie to themself. I love the lines "It seems that I don’t belong / Push me further from this / Go on" because that’s exactly Dray’s reaction to feeling like they don’t fit in: it’s to loudly claim that they don’t want to. Dray’s growth comes from letting go of the lie and the mask and letting others in to see who they really are.


Etri: "Unwell" by Matchbox Twenty 
I always think of Etri whenever I hear this song because it fits so well with how his anxiety has shaped his life. His growth comes from being brave and facing his fears, even when he’s terrified and uncomfortable. He never grows out of his anxiety, but with the help of the others he learns how to better manage it. I love the shadow line because his magic does let him interact with shadow elementals and ghosts. He also tends to have insomnia because anxiety brain isn’t very conducive to getting good sleep. I like that this song has kind of a positive spin to it, though, of "see a different side of me" and that’s more where Etri is at this point in his life. He keeps the hope that things will someday be better. It’s like the quote I use on his moodboard: "Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness." Having his found family around helps him immensely.


Sol: "One of Us" by New Politics
And last is Sol with the most positive, uplifting song! He wants everyone to be happy and he’s going to darn well do what he can to make this happen. He’s the first one who opens up to anyone new and always makes them feel welcome. He’s why Adair so quickly felt at home with the carnival performers and why when everyone else was peeved at Dray for making poor choices, Sol stayed kind to Dray. Sol just wants to be friends with everyone. His growth is more subtle and I’m still trying to put my finger on what exactly it is. I think it’s something to do with the outlook of "Bring the sunshine in / The happy days / The hardship, too / We’ll find a way." Like he learns to recognize that bad things happen, but generally after they’re done, the good things will still be there and if they aren’t, that means better things will happen. I suppose this is the opposite of Etri in that Sol learns that there can be bad things sometimes and that’s okay, too. Basically, like Adair, I think he grows up but never loses his positive outlook. (I hope he grows up- or, that failing, remembers to wear pants more often. With Sol I’ll take what I can get.)

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