As we come to the end of this list of music that influenced my first novel with publisher Booktrope, I wanted to take a moment to thank those who have followed along. Not just for bearing with me as I talk endlessly about my characters, but for giving proper due to the amazing artists who crafted these amazing pieces of music.
I’ve said before that music speaks to our souls, and every song I’ve shared over these past several weeks is magnificent in that regard. They are truly gifted, and deserving of recognition.
With that in mind, we now come to what I think of as the closing theme for War Witch: Rise.
One of the things about this song that really got to me was how perfectly in touches on where the characters are as the first book comes to a close. They have taken only the first step in a long journey, something they are now beginning to realize, and have endured terrible loss, grief, sorrow, and at times, cause for hope.
For Ramora, that sense of loss is now doubled, as Chara has moved on with another, and Leto has fallen in battle. Yet, she finds a glimmer of hope with Izra. For Chara, who struggles with the sharp divide between what she thinks and what she feels, she believes she has found her pale as a warrior against evil. For Esteban, it is his fear of the future, balanced against what he hopes is a love worth fighting for.
Each of them is a far different person than they were when this journey began. In some ways, they are less due to their suffering, and in others, they are more for knowing themselves better. All any of them can do is look to the future, and chose to believe that it will be brighter.
Which brings us to this song and all the ways it captures where the character stand as they set out from Lansing in search of the monster that is the source of all their loss and grief, Draco.
My hands are searching for you
My arms are outstretched towards you
I feel you on my fingertips
My tongue dances behind my lips for you
Yeah, that’s kinda self explanatory. Ramora, Chara, Esteban, and even Izra all can be found in those lyrics. Their dreams, their pain, their hope, all of it captured so eloquently. It dazzles me a little how perfectly it touches on each of their hearts, and can be interpreted differently from each characters point of view.
My hands float up above me
And you whisper you love me
And I begin to fade
Into our secret place
The music makes me sway
The angels singing say we are alone with you
I am alone and they are too with you
For each of them, there is that dream that the one they truly love feels the same for them. Yet, for Izra in particular, there is that knowledge that the one she truly loved is now beyond her, passed on to Paradise. She may find comfort and some semblance of peace, but she is alone, and she knows it.
I can feel you all around me
Thickening the air I’m breathing
Holding on to what I’m feeling
Savoring this heart that’s healed
It’s here, though, that the song best captures it all. The absence, not just of those that have died, but those who still live, just out of reach. How Ramora, Chara, and Esteban all feel, summed up so wonderfully. Each of them has known heartbreak, and is trying to heal, and as they depart Lansing, they try to at least savor that.
The road ahead of them remains long, and the outcome uncertain. In the end, all they have is one another. They can only hope now that it will be enough.
Rise is only the first book in the War Witch Saga, and as such, that journey is only just beginning. These hardships, painful though they have been, will be as nothing compared to what lies ahead. Each of these fragile hearts will be tested, pushed beyond their limits, broken, and reforged ever stronger.
To me, there can be no epic fantasy tale that does not focus on the characters. They are what make it live and breath, make the readers care, and what ultimately makes any story deserving of being called epic. Everything else is just set dressing.
The second book in the War Witch Saga is underway, and I hope you’ll join me for the next leg in the journey of these wonderful characters.