The Talon & the Blade went through three distinct versions, and the playlist evolved as well. But some songs stuck, even though the original inspiration disappeared. Sweater Weather, by The Neighbourhood, was one of those.
I had such a clear image in my mind of Gregor following Ana reluctantly down a beach in his suit. I tried it out as their first “date” but I just couldn’t make it work. Turned out the restaurant fit better with the goal for the scene. Even though the scene changed, the song stuck and became part of Gregor’s character.
It took me a while to find Ana’s voice. Eventually, the key came in her past loss and relationship with Raymond Nightfeather, her boss. When the book opens, Ana is negotiating the understanding that she and Raymond will never be closer than they are now, trust, friendship is not something he’s able to give. After a century, that isn’t enough, even if she once felt she owed Raymond her life. The contrast between how she relates to Raymond versus how Gregor and Azrael form a stark contrast. She’s not gone yet but she’s leaving, was a perfect theme song for Ana as we meet her.
I feel like every time Gregor walks into the room, the Johnny Cash version of God’s Gonna Cut You Down should play in the background. Something about the gravel in Johnny’s voice just does it. Plus, vengeance and past wrongs play large in the plot and the song alludes perfectly to the inescapability of both. Both Ana and Gregor struggle to reconcile their mortal pasts with the immortality they’ve chosen.
I learned quickly while writing a monster hunt road trip with two immortal killers that finding moments of quiet and reflection would take more work than swordfights, gun battles, and sinking ferries combined. Thank goodness for Florence and the Machine for emotional yet unsentimental songs about companionship.
And when the companionship turns to something more intimate, is there anything hotter than a cover song done by the opposite sex? Eli Leib’s version of Good for You, laid me low the first time I heard it.
Water plays a huge part in the Talon & the Blade, and that was reflected in the playlist: Water by Bishop Briggs conjured the fractured relationship between Ana and Raymond, Jack Garratt’s Water was Gregor’s getting in over his head, literally. Plus, Sea Song by Apocalyptica, Ocean by Martin Garix…lol. Kind of a theme, eh?
I listen to instrumental/semi-instrumental music, and a few favorites kept me company frequently while revising the Talon & the Blade: Zoë Keating Possible, All of the Lights (as arranged by the Portland Cello Project) and the Assassin’s Creed Liberation soundtrack.
As I was finishing what would be the final version of the ending, I was listening to a lot of Twenty One Pilots. ‘My Blood’ perfectly defined the depth and commitment of Gregor’s loyalty. Once given, there was no going back.
And that concludes our little trip through the Talon & the Blade playlist. As always, the full list is available on Spotify:
And I’ll leave you with the lyrics to the song that, if I had to choose just one, suited The Talon & the Blade.