Literary Music Buddies~ The Wingfeather Edition

Greetings, my friends!

As I mentioned in my last post, my relationship with the Wingfeather Saga is…confusing. I have a legion of complaints about it, but for today I am putting that aside and we’re going to geek out about these characters and the music that reminds me of them.

I may or may not have created a Spotify playlist of 60+ songs inspired by the characters in this story… However, for the sake of your sanity, I am going to limit myself to just a fraction of those songs for this post. I can at times be reasonable.

Songs for Janner

“One” by Sleeping at Last

Though I am by no means an expert in the Enneagram types, there is little doubt in my mind that Janner is a hardcore One. He’s a perfectionist, which tends to make him too hard on people, including himself. (Not to mention his siblings.)

No, I’m not saying perfect exists in this life
But we’ll only know for certain if we try

“Anger” by Sleeping at Last

Several times throughout the series, Janner lets his anger get the better of him, and he ends up rashly saying things that he regrets later. Words can be Janner’s greatest strength, but also his greatest weakness.

It all spills out,
reckless but honest words leave my mouth
like kerosene on the flame of doubt,
I couldn’t make it right

“Baptize My Mind” by Jon Foreman

This song is about acknowledging your own failings and crying out to the one who can see all of your flaws and loves you anyway. It’s about giving up the old self to become something new. It just makes me think of Janner. I’ll leave it at that.

“Baptize my mind,
For these seeds to give birth to life
First they must die

Songs for Kalmar

“Fake You Out” by Twenty-One Pilots

Kalmar can be kind of a goofball, but his carefree attitude is often just a mask for his angst. He dreads the weight of responsibility and he’s terrified of disappointing the people who love him.

I’ll never be what you see inside,
You say I’m not alone, but I am petrified

“Running with the Wolves” by Aurora

Kalmar makes some reckless (and terrible) decisions in the story. He comes to a place of despair more than once. To me this song feels like losing yourself, and not in a good way (even if the artist originally intended something different).

A gift, a curse
They track and hurt
Say can you dream
In nightmares seams?
A million voices, silent dreams
Where hope is left so incomplete

“Let Me Go” by NF

Haha, I just picked a bunch of angsty songs for Kalmar. This song particularly makes me think of him in the third book, when he is dealing a lot with his own mistakes as well as coping with the way other people view him.

“Everybody has a dark side,
I feel embarrassed when they see mine.”

Songs for Leeli

“Run” by Wildwood Kin

I see this as a song of encouragement for Leeli, as well as a song she would sing to encourage others. Despite the hardship in her life, Leeli remains strong and tenacious, and even with a twisted leg she keeps on running.

I’ll hold you close to me, I promise I won’t let go
Sometimes we break but never notice how far we’ve run

“Never Alone” by Wildwood Kin

Leeli is a very kind, attentive young girl. She also has a beautiful voice. I can see her singing this song to remind her family that they are not alone when they feel discouraged.

When your heart is grieving
Air is hard to breathe in
Let me show you a way to a place
Where you’ll know you’re never alone

“Hearing” by Sleeping at Last

This song doesn’t have lyrics, but the feel of it reminds me of Leeli’s special connection to music.

Songs for Nia

“Please Be My Strength” by Gungor

Nia is an undeniably strong person, but even she has her limits. The only way she can be strong for her children as things go from bad to worse is to rely on the strength of the Maker to pull them all through.

“Please be my strength
‘Cause I don’t have anymore.”

“Remember” by Future of Forestry

Nia is constantly telling her children to remember who they are. (Maybe to make up for all that time she was hiding it from them, but whatever.) She can always see their true potential even when they lose sight of it, which is a beautiful thing.

When the road you walk is rough
When you doubt if you’re enough
Just remember who you are

“Be Kind to Yourself” by Andrew Peterson

This is another song that I can see Nia singing to her children.

“So lay down your weapon, darling
Take a deep breath and believe that I love you.”

Songs for Podo

“Demons” by Imagine Dragons

Podo has a bit of a rocky past, and it still comes back to haunt him. He wants to protect his grandchildren from his mistakes, but he also needs their help and their love to hold him steady.

“I wanna hide the truth
I wanna shelter you
But with the beast inside
There’s nowhere we can hide.”

“Don’t Give Up On Me” by Andy Grammer

(I know, I know, this is a love song from an angsty teen romance movie, BUT it’s a great song and doesn’t have to be about a romantic relationship, okay?) Podo is never one to give up without a fight. He wants his family to rely on him to keep them safe, and he will do everything in his power to make sure they know he’s looking out for them.

“Even when nobody else believes
I’m not goin’ down that easily
So don’t give up on me.”

“Light” by Sleeping at Last

Podo loves his grandchildren to death, especially Leeli. I see this as Podo’s anthem- first when his own daughter was born, and later for each of his grandchildren. It’s his vow to put his old life behind him and dedicate himself to protecting his family.

“I will soften every edge
Hold the world to it’s best,
I promise I’ll do better.”

Songs for Artham

“Hold Me Now” by Red

Sometimes Artham’s past overwhelms him. There’s a panic and a madness that takes over. This song beautifully (and heartbreakingly) captures that feeling.

“Crying out
These tired wings are falling,
I need you to catch me.”

“Dear Wormwood” by The Oh Hellos

Artham is constantly struggling against his burden of shame. He is tormented by a decision that has defined who he is, but he doesn’t want to let it continue to define him.

“And in my hour of weakness
You were there to see my courage fail.”

“Two” by Sleeping at Last

(Another song that is technically a love song, but shh.) Artham loves his nephews and niece fiercely and will do anything within his power for them. His focus on protecting them is the only thing that keeps him sane, since he is unable to deal with his own mental anguish.

“I just want to build you up, build you up
‘Til you’re good as new
And maybe one day I will get around to fixing myself too.”

“Neptune” by Sleeping at Last

This song just fits SO PERFECTLY for a man who wants desperately to love his family but feels too damaged to do it right and it kind of breaks my heart a little.

“I’m only honest when it rains,
An open book, with a torn out page
And my ink’s run out
I wanna love you but I don’t know how.”


I guess that was still quite a few songs, wasn’t it? Oh well. They are all excellent songs, though. You should go listen to them.

Have you read The Wingfeather Saga? Do you agree/disagree with my song choices for these characters? Do you like to associate songs with story characters? Do you have any songs that you associate with any Wingfeather characters that you would like to share with me? What music have you been listening to recently?

15 thoughts on “Literary Music Buddies~ The Wingfeather Edition

      1. Well, when I think of characters and songs, musical theatre comes to mind

        Well, when it comes to characters, one of mine can easily come to mind- Misty, who is naturally gifted in singing, writes her own songs

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yup, musical theatre has a plethora of character driven songs.

        That’s cool that you have a character who writes her own songs! As much as I love music, I’m surprised I don’t have a character like that yet.


  1. I agree with some of your pairings. Not familiar with most of the songs, though. I especially love your section on Artham. However, I don’t completely agree on your assessment of Janner. I do love that you included an Andrew Peterson song in your list! It seems perfectly matched, doesn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, I especially love my section on Artham as well. 🙂 I am curious though what it is that you disagree with about my assessment of Janner. I really want to hear other people’s impressions of him since I had such a hard time with him as a character. I would really love to hear anything you have to say about Janner! Haha, yeah, the Andrew Peterson song is perfectly matched indeed. I don’t listen to a lot of Andrew Peterson, but I love that song. Thanks for commenting!


  2. Yeah, it’s hard for me to pinpoint exactly how I disagree. Honestly, I think it’s more that I feel like you focused on some less significant things and left out important ones. I really relate to Janner because we are both oldest children with a similar personality and love for reading and writing. You definitely had a point in your last post when you said that his character arc could have been more consistent and realistic, but to a point it feels accurate and close to home to me.
    I think I would agree that he is perfectionistic toward himself, but I don’t really see that attitude toward his siblings, just maybe some over-protectiveness after everything they’ve been through. I also think that flaring up and saying things that shouldn’t be said, while it does happen to Janner occasionally, seems to be more in Kalmar’s realm. Janner tends to think (and overthink) everything he does before he goes into action, whereas Kalmar is the one who will just fly off into something by the seat of his pants, something which frustrates Janner every time he does it (something I relate to as well 😉). I have much more to say on this subject, but this is too long already and I haven’t given enough thought to it. Hope this comes across as my own perspective, not an argument. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for sharing these thoughts! I find this really interesting. I will readily admit that the things I focus on in regards to Janner’s character aren’t things that most people seem to focus on, which might be because I’m focusing on things that are less important- except that they are things that really stuck out and made an impression on me. Mostly because they bothered me.

      It’s kind of weird because in a lot of ways I actually relate to Janner- I am an oldest child, I love books and writing, and I struggle with a lot of the same things that he does. And yet, there was something in the way the character was portrayed that bothered me. I guess it was mostly a character arc issue, where I felt like he didn’t grow as a character as much as he could have, or the growth wasn’t properly shown through the story.

      Huh, I think it’s really interesting that you don’t see Janner as being hard on his siblings. For me, Janner’s relationship with Kalmar reflects Janner’s perfectionism in that he expects Kalmar to behave like a king and gets extremely frustrated with him when he doesn’t. In book two, Janner’s anger flares up at Kalmar quite a bit, which to me seemed like a significant factor in Kalmar’s decision to run away. It’s totally possible I’m misinterpreting, but that’s how I see it. In book three, Janner is very protective of Kalmar, but at the same time he still struggles with A LOT of anger towards him. And I’m not saying it’s not natural, but it just shows Janner’s propensity to have a judgmental attitude rather than one of grace.

      Janner has much less opportunity to get mad at Leeli, since she very rarely makes mistakes, but in the final book he flares up at her after they help Gnag open the door and he says some hurtful things. He has this standard for himself and for his siblings that is really high, I think. He has a hard time having grace for himself, but I think he also had a hard time having grace for his siblings. At least, that’s how it comes across to me.

      Anyway, that particular way that I interpret the story might be a big part of why Janner bothers me, and it might be because that wasn’t how the author meant for it to come across so he didn’t address it the way I would have liked. Janner never totally faced his harshness towards Kalmar, so I might have fabricated the whole thing in my mind, haha.

      I like that you bring up the contrast between Janner and Kalmar as far as impulsiveness goes. It’s true to Kalmar is generally more impulsive. In some ways the fact that Janner tends to think a lot about things makes his words more hurtful, you know? He tends to have outbursts after he’s been mulling over something and letting it fester for a while. So in the end his anger is deeper, because he’s been sitting on it for so long. That isn’t to say that he always means the things he says in the outbursts though, and he usually thinks about what he says and regrets it later. I think it’s an important part of his character. As for Kalmar, he doesn’t come out with as many cutting words as Janner does. He does rash and stupid things, jumping in without thinking as much as he should, but it shows more in his actions than in his words. That’s why I see anger in particular as being more of an issue for Janner, despite what you might expect.

      Again, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! You said you had more, and I would sincerely love to hear them. Bring on the novel-length comments!!! I love that we disagree about this honestly and I hope you take my comment as my own perspective not an argument either! I am not trying to convince you to change your mind on Janner, just trying to articulate my own thoughts. Thanks!


      1. Your post has given me a lot to think about. It’s been a while since I read those books, but I feel like I need to reread them now to give some thought to the issues you brought up. And I have so much appreciation for your willingness to have a reasonable, friendly disagreement over this. Yes, I definitely have a propensity for novel-length comments, and there are probably more coming, as this is a topic that interests me. Thanks for your response!

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I do not have a blog. I just happened to stumble across yours a few months ago and I’ve been reading your posts ever since. I want you to know that I read “The Napoleon of Notting Hill” at your recommendation. It was fascinating and very confusing, and I very much appreciated your mention of it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Okay, just wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing out. 🙂 I am happy to hear that you read The Napoleon of Notting Hill at my recommendation! It is indeed confusing, but also, as you say, fascinating.


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