Writer’s Music: Ramin Djawadi II

While I often use music to enter my hero’s head or work out a new voice, music also has its uses for entering the dark side, too.

In writing my Shield Maiden stories, Meredydd had a mix of antagonists: parents, fellow recruits, captain, and herself, too, but this was all due to her own ego and narrow-mindedness. Only the giant snake created by the Cat Man was a bona fide bad guy with a goal: poison everyone.

With the snake dead, though, I realized Beauty’s Price couldn’t follow the same formula. Wynne really is up against her family, who sees a marriage to the obscenely wealthy Prydwen as a win for everyone. No one seems to mind that Prydwen has more wealth than any law-abiding trader should have, hasn’t aged in over ten years, and insists on marrying all five sisters or else. Wynne’s family sees money and status, and therefore success.

Wynne, who already loves someone, sees no joy at all.

But I didn’t want this conflict to be like another Beauty and the Beast, where Gastan just looks great and wants Wynne and Co. simply because they’re pretty, too. There has to be a reason.

I needed to see what Prydwen sees when he looks at Wynne. That begins with getting him out into the open , to see him interact with Wynne.

His movements would be slow, smooth, calculating. One who moves about in plain sight with ease, whose true gifts are only discovered when it’s too late.


The music needed to stay fantastic and period, so I dug through the scores of Legend, Chronicles of Narnia, Cadfael–no luck. Nothing, not even the White Witch’s music, had that right touch of creeping, subtle menace. All I could hope was in a big enough mix of albums I’d stumble upon the right theme.

And wouldn’t you know it: on the last day of the boys’ school, I found it.

The rhythm slithers on the ground. The melody distracts, draws attention away from the percussion so we think nothing when it fades only to return, stronger, faster, surrounding us, defeating us.

One heartbeat later, and the horse jingled into view at full gallop. The rider pulled hard upon the belled reins, stopping it at the garden’s edge. Beast and master shone with golden hounds embroidered upon crimson cloak and covers. Rings of red and orange gems glittered round every gloved finger. Such wealth displayed with such ease and without a single guard felt wrong, very wrong.

I could feel his gaze upon us, unrelenting as the sun in the heat of summer. If not for the horse’s content chewing, I would have screamed but to break the silence. “Pray forgive me, but I feel as if I should know you both.” He clicked his tongue, and the horse closed the distance between us. I could see every thread of his hounds, down to the points of their teeth. He had approached me, so there was no choice: I had to look up at his clean, polished face. “Perhaps my business has brought me to this town in the past. My memories are not always my own.” His smile revealed teeth white enough to be pearls.

No lord looked so perfect, not in body or status.  …. “You, more than the boy, are far more familiar. I am now certain I have met you before.”

No, you are wrong! I wanted cry out, to leap into the Galene and beg sanctuary, but my mind, curse it, thought otherwise. “Perhaps you think of my sisters? They meet many who do business with my father, Master Adwr.” Surely he was thinking of them. Let him deal with their Sly Accidents before his horse, forcing him to carry them in all weak and wounded and be compelled to attend them. Let them coo and paw upon his chiseled jaw and ringed fingers. He can have their choice of them, for all I cared.

“Sisters?” He swallowed the word down. My own stomach burned. “How many?” The question came hard and fast. No smile, however warm and easy, covered the odd strike that came with such a question.

Yeah, why did Prydwen care about there being five sisters?

Middler's Pride (1)When I  initially brainstormed Beauty’s Price, I liked the idea of five sisters because it mirrored the Bennets of Pride and Prejudice. But when I met Prydwen, I could see he had a thing for five: five identical jewels on each hand. He later comes with five guards. He jumps at the knowledge of five sisters. There’s something about the number of a thing that suddenly makes that thing matter. Considering his wealth, that need is related to power: the number 5 is powerful to him somehow. The more collections of 5 he gathers, the stronger he gets…

…and I could see a moment where a collection is broken, and the rage that rises. He cannot afford to lose a set, any set. I could see a moment in the story, far and away, where Wynne steals a horse to escape. I can see him standing upon the hillside, watching as she gallops off in the rain, pounding rain, yet he can spot his crest upon the horse. His horse. The wretched girls who have clearly influenced her against him, terrible friends, and only three of them, not a good number, they made her take his horse and they’ll never give it back. He can see them stop on the other side of the valley. They can see him as he moves to another steed of the collection…and stabs it through the throat. One after another, until the remaining horses are dead.

Never. Ruin. A set.

Prydwen’s nature and motivations fascinate me. I’m determined to pull them out of hiding, but his inner self is like Gollum, a silent master of caves, impossible to find on purpose. Djawadi’s score tripped me into the right tunnel. Now we sit, he and I, with our riddles in the dark, watching the other, waiting for the words that betray a weakness. I will not let my villain beat me at this game.

Neither should yours.

Read on, share on, and write on, my friends!

31 thoughts on “Writer’s Music: Ramin Djawadi II

  1. Music does so much to bring to life the underlying themes of any book. I’ve been in love with Game of Thrones since the first drumbeat of the soundtrack and a lot has to do with the music. Once again, you’ve delivered to my inbox music that I can write to. Thanking you, Lady Jean. :0)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. WOW. Wow wow…I can’t wait to read this villain! I was excited to hear more about Wynne, but they way you describe your writing process and these tantalizing hints…pleeeeease tell me we get to read some of this soon??? (Because I’m sure you have nothing else going on…:) )

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’M TRYING!
      Actually, and this might be REALLY crazy, I might sign up for Camp NaNoWriMo in July to see if it can power me through drafting BP. Please go to nanowrimo.org so you can tell me if I’m crazy. 😉


      • You may be crazy 🙂 BUT, you’ve done it before, right? And it’s not like you don’t have your ideas for your story- maybe the motivation would be good? (Also, a good excuse- sorry, honey, I HAVE to write, it’s November! 😉 )

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I find it interesting that the writer writes better with musical prompts, yet the musician sometimes needs words to hunt down a melody. I guess it’s a it like putting your best clothes on when going out to some place special?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! I love that simile, only I can’t think of the last time I’ve dressed up…oh wait, I stood up in a wedding. Apart from THAT, though, I’m in my ever-faithful torn jeans and some random band/cinema tee-shirt Bo’s gotten me. You’re quite right, though–I DO write better with music. Only when I’m in a really, really deep groove can I see the story in silence, but that’s pretty rare.
      Honestly, I would have thought the melody comes to you first, and yet I can see that it would take the image, caught first in words, would be easier to track into the ether with music. Hmmm….

      Liked by 1 person

      • Melody should and mostly does come first. It’s when I’m stuck that words can save the day. Also, when words come first, they always have to change into new clothes to fit the final melody. From what you wrote, writing seems pretty much the same. I guess we all need something to trigger something else sometime. Creating things can be both joy and sorrow in one hit.

        Liked by 1 person

      • A good example of words triggering melody, then some of those words disappearing come the final song was the title track on the album, the Dream Rescuer song. I posted the potential lyric before I had a melody and that inspired the melody yet the words changed loads when I made them fit the music. If you want the music can be heard here and the original/potentially lyric lurks somewhere on my blog https://zoolon.bandcamp.com/track/dream-rescuer

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Please forgive me for not writing much here. I have mentioned on another post the state of my being presently. More than a little blurred eyesight right now is not conducive to reading anything other than newspaper headlines – even they hurt.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. First of all, I give you permission to make fun of what I’m about to admit to you and The World.

    I *just* realized that “slither” sounds exactly like “Slyther” which is in the word “Slytherin.”
    For the millions of people who don’t know what “Slytherin” is, well, it’s from some obscure book series that rhymes with “scary trotter.”

    I never made that connection before. Talk about freaky, eh?

    Anyway, on that note (pun intended 100%) here’s a little somethin’ somethin’ for you to hear.
    When I started playing it, Lucy jumped off the bed.


  6. p.s. By the way, I’m utterly exhausted, hence the wackadoodle comment above.
    I don’t want you to worry about me, so here’s a little 411:

    After a three-hour-long temper tantrum this morning (courtesy of you-know-who)
    and ten screaming fights between the sisters, I drove them and Craig to the
    San Jose Airport in Silicon Valley. They flew to L.A. to visit the Happiest Place to Blow All Your Money on Eary!

    (Last year he planned to take them to Disneyland this summer for 3 days. I happily declined because I wanted to stay home with my only well-behaved daughter: Miss Lucy the Scottish Collie. I’ve been there before with them enough times to last a while…)

    Spy Dy

    p.s. The “Harry in Winter” segment (approx. the 4:00 minute mark) on the Harry Potter link it’s very beautiful

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oooooh, I can’t wait! I envy you your time of peace. 😉 but you know, sometimes kids just need space and stuff to react to that isn’t each other. I know that can be my kids’ problems sometimes. With Blondie sick the past few days, we haven’t gone anywhere, and the cabin fever’s hit the boys HARD. She’s on the mend now, and will be going to her grandma’s fora few days. Time for her to be the center of a universe, and time for me to get the boys out to various parks to burn energy. Win win!
      Anyhoo, I can’t wait to hear the music tomorrow! It’s funny: I didn’t have the least bit of interest in Harry Potter until after the fifth book came out. I guess you could say I succumbed to peer pressure–Dad wouldn’t shut up about how awesome they were. 🙂 Revel in the peace, Lady of the Bean SpyDy! xxxxxxxxxx

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: When your old #writing experiment transforms into a series of #shortstories, you find yourself in #RiverVine. | Jean Lee's World

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