Fantasy Playlist – Torn (Rowenna Miller)
Novel Playlists from Fantasy Novelists treats each fantasy novel like a feature film and encourages the author to put together their own dream soundtrack. Debuting her first in The Unraveled Trilogy, Rowenna Miller dares us to enter the world of Sophie, a dressmaker able to weave charms into her creations with this eclectic aural mix.
In a time of revolution, everyone must take a side.
Revolution is brewing. As Sophie’s brother, Kristos, rises to prominence in the growing anti-monarchist movement, it is only a matter of time before their fortunes collide.
When the unrest erupts into violence, she and Kristos are drawn into a deadly magical plot. Sophie is torn — between her family and her future.
Listen to the playlist in Spotify here.
Winter from the Four Seasons – Vivaldi
Introit. Wintry cityscape. Refinement with a dusky undercurrent.
Myllargutens bruremarsj – Oslo Kammerkor
OK, I listened to a lot of Scandinavian choral music while writing Torn…because that’s normal…but this piece is gentle and delicate and a bit melancholy. Gets you in the mood for near-guaranteed personal heartache on the part of the main character, eh?
White Winter Hymnal – Fleet Foxes
The effect of a round at the opening, the cadence of the song itself—it’s a working person’s song. Sing while you sew…or haul crates down at the docks.
I Ain’t Got No Home In This World Anymore – Woody Guthrie
When it comes to proletariat-revolt-fueling music, I keep coming back to Woody Guthrie. “Rich man took my home and drove me from my door, and I ain’t got no home in this world anymore.” This land is your land, indeed.
Queen Jane – Tim Eriksen
Ballads are a huge part of eighteenth century culture, and, as popular music, were copied and shared—instead of recorded music, lyrics were printed and sold. This makes it into the story a little, but mostly I Have To Have a ballad because they’re just so ubiquitous to common folks’ life in that historical world…and this one has a perfect haunting melody to accompany the story’s general foreboding. (Also, content warning for rape, incest, and suicide in this song. Ballads were not kidding around on the content.)
Do You Hear the People Sing – Les Miserables
I mean, this one is pretty self-explanatory, right? It’s the voice of an uprising in song form.
Empty Chairs at Empty Tables – Les Miserables
In contrast to the previous selection, this fear—of loss, of failure—is at the heart of a lot of the conflict in Torn. It’s almost too easy to get high on the voice of uprising, but that crash, if uprising fails, could be devastating.
La Serenissima – Loreena McKennitt
Sophie is pulled into the refined, mannered, beautiful world of the nobility; with eyes unaccustomed to these kinds of elaborate riches, she appreciates yet also feels guilt for enjoying the splendors they share with her. This piece is lovely but also wistful and distant, while sounding a bit like chamber music with a twist.
Moths – Jethro Tull
I have now lost all playlist credibility, following musicals with world music with Tull, but the metaphorical imagery in this song of being pulled into something destructive is too apt…and applies to pretty much every character in Torn.
The Rising of the Moon – The High Kings
The Irish do an uprising song well (“Death to every foe and traitor, whistle out the marching tune…” is so cheery, eh?), and this one has the word-of-mouth-fueled rapid escalation of the revolutionaries in Torn.
January Hymn – The Decembrists
There’s a moment of quiet, somber, wintry reflection before the final action goes down, and this quiet, somber, wintry piece has those feels: resignation and the peaceful calm that goes along with feeling like you’re screwed but at least you know now just how screwed you are.
Your Protector – Fleet Foxes
Crescendo and broken connections and lost things.
Wintertide – Ola Gjeilo
Pale shades of gray. Nostalgia. Still winter. Exuent.
Rowenna Miller grew up in a log cabin in Indiana and still lives in the Midwest with her husband and daughters, where she teaches English composition, trespasses while hiking, and spends too much time researching and recreating historical textiles.