Rory Landon

Rory is a powerhouse with a lot of emotion, so the songs that represent her feature powerhouse vocalists, loud percussion, and emotional lyrics. For me, Bastille’s “Laura Palmer” and Florence + the Machine’s “Heartlines” are all about following your instincts in spite of external pressure. Joy Formidable’s “Whirring” and Paramore’s “Careful” capture Rory’s efforts to protect her friends and family, whether it is from her own emotions or her own destiny. “Hero,” by Regina Spektor, has to get special mention—at almost 900 listens, it is the most-listened track on my iPod: it helped me find Rory’s emotional core throughout the series. I love the lines “I’m the hero of this story/don’t need to be saved” and the way Spektor sings them—wavering between sadness and determination.

Lena Lamarelle

Disclaimer: Although I tried to make sure all songs in this post would meet with approval from Lena’s strict grandmother, the last one in this playlist doesn’t. Skip “That’s Alright” for those of you who want to avoid (mild) cursing.

Lena’s music starts off lighter and more pop-oriented than Rory’s. “One Step at a Time” represents Lena’s longing to be a magical inventor like her famous ancestor, Madame Benne. With Lenka’s “The Show,” Lena is starting to feel torn between putting in the hours she needs to become an inventor and keeping up with Rory and Chase, who don’t seem to need her as much as she hoped they would. “Be OK,” by Ingrid Michaelson, has a frantic positivity that totally nails Lena when she is panicking but trying hard not to. The Laura Mvula tunes represent Lena as she is later in the series—“Can’t Live with the World” is how supportive Lena can be to her friends, and “That’s Alright,” which is totally my favorite, shows Lena realizing that she is in control of her own talents and her own life.

Chase Turnleaf

At the beginning of The Ever Afters, Chase could really “Use Somebody,” as the song goes. He needs good friends even more than Rory and Lena, who live with extremely loving (though sometimes overbearing) families. The line that captures Chase in OneRepublic’s “Secrets” is “I need another story.” (If you’ve read Of Witches and Wind, you know why.) “New Low” captures how much Chase feels trapped by the lies he tells. “Changing” and “Demons” capture a lot of the things Chase wishes he could tell Rory, especially after she finds out about his past.

Rapunzel

Sometimes, a certain artist completely meshes with my take on a Character. For Rapunzel , that is definitely Imogen Heap—her songs have a lot of eerie, beautiful harmonies, and her lyrics are definitely hard to understand, much like Rapunzel’s dialogue. Actually, you could say that about all these songs. Mirah’s “Generosity” captures Rapunzel’s frustration about EAS judging her by her family’s actions, and “Silhouettes” reminds me of Rapunzel when she makes peace with her role in Rory’s life.

The Snow Queen

The Snow Queen, a.k.a. Solange, is both sinister and lovely, and the songs that represent her also share those qualities. However, “Possibility,” with all its lost and haunted hope, represents Solange in her youth, before she became immortal and started calling herself “The Snow Queen.” Note: “Après Moi”—with its big chords and its bloodthirsty self-preservation—helped me define the Snow Queen, much like “Hero” helped me with Rory. Actually, they’re by the same artist. That’s kind of on purpose. It helps me remember how much my hero and villain have in common.

Chatty

Chatty, Rory’s mysterious new friend in Of Witches and Wind, doesn’t talk much (you’ll have to read the book to find out why). A lot of my characterization usually comes through dialogue though, so I had to work extra hard with Chatty. The music helped. “Expression” reminded me that you don’t have to use words to express longing. “Epicy,” “Something in the Water,” and “Salt Water” both have a hyper, bouncy quality that Chatty gives off—like she is just about to pull a prank on someone.