After somehow managing to get the fictional song, “Color of Trust” stuck in my head the other day, I decided it would be fun to go through all of the songs in Wheel of Time and just say which ones are the best.
A few things first: I know a lot of people are reading the series for the first time, what with the TV show coming up, and I considering the subject of this post, I will make it spoiler-free. If I give any of these songs any context, I will make it super vague so that it doesn’t give away any character or plot details.
Additionally: to be as thorough as possible, I used the Wheel of Time wiki page for the various songs (Can we just take a moment to appreciate how much time and effort must have gone into this entire wiki to make it as useful as it’s been? The statistical analyses alone have been a life saver for me). There are 57 songs on that page, but many of the songs in the series are merely passing mentions, and by cutting out all of the songs that have no lyrics, just titles, I got the list down to 18.
Well, that’s still quite a few, and some of the lyrics listed are just very small snippets, maybe two or three lines, so I just decided to take off any songs that were less than six lines. Honestly, even that’s being generous, because what song is that short? That only took a few off, but it got the list down to 13, which seems appropriate, considering the role that 13 plays in the story.
These are the songs that, even reading the lyrics and locating them in their respective books, I could not actually remember them. They played little to no role in the overall narrative. I think they are also some of the shorter ones. If there are ellipses (…) on either end, or both, of the quoted text, then there’s more to it, but to keep the blog post short, I’m paring many of the longish ones down, so you can still get the essence and feel of the song without making this post super lengthy.
13. A Lugard Girl
This is one of those “boisterous,” “inappropriate” songs that our characters might hear in a grimy tavern, and I just… the ankle. How scandalous.
A Lugard girl, she came to town,
to see what she could see.
With a wink of her eye, and a smile on her lip,
she snagged a boy or three, or three.
With an ankle slim, and skin so pale,
she caught the owner of a ship, a ship.
With a soft little sigh, and a gay little laugh,
she made her way so free.
I’ll wear no shift at all.
At all.Dragon Reborn, chapter 42
12. What He Said to Me
I mean, at least we’re not talking about ankles…
I’ll dance with a girl with eyes of brown,Dragon Reborn, chapter 30
or a girl with eyes of green,
I’ll dance with a girl with any color eyes,
but yours are the prettiest I’ve seen.
I’ll kiss a girl with hair of black,
or a girl with hair of gold,
I’ll kiss a girl with any color hair,
but it’s you I want to hold.
11. Midean’s Ford
Finally, a song not about girls! And we’re talking about a really sad battle from olden times. Don’t let the lyrics fool you.
Soft, the winds, like springtime’s fingers.Shadow Rising, chapter 37
Soft, the rains, like heaven’s tears.
Soft, the years roll by in gladness,
never hinting storms to come,
never hinting whirlwinds’ ravage,
rain of steel and battle thunder,
war to tear the heart asunder…
10. Life is a Dream
Songs, like architecture, fashion, hair styles, and so forth, can really define a culture. This particular song defines the Aiel’s way of thinking, and if it wasn’t for another song on the list, this one would probably be higher up.
Life is a dream — that knows no shade.A Crown of Swords, chapter 2
Life is a dream — of pain and woe.
A dream from which — we pray to wake.
A dream from which — we wake and go…
9. Coming Home From Tarwin’s Gap
Any song that is a ballad of an ancient battle… I’m here for it.
…Oh, I have seen stark Tarwin’s Gap,Shadow Rising, chapter 42
and the Trollocs’ raving horde.
I have stood ‘fore the Halfman’s charge,
and walked on death’s cold borde.
But a winsome lass, she waits for me,
for a dance, and a kiss ‘neath the apple tree
These are songs that, once I saw their names, or looked at the lyrics, I immediately remembered having read them before. Maybe they aren’t the kind that get stuck in your head, but they’re not forgettable, either.
8. Wind that Shakes the Willow
This is another slow, sad song. I remember the title of it, but drew a blank at the lyrics, which is why it’s still relatively low on the list.
My love is gone, carried away,Eye of the World, chapter 17)
by the wind that shakes the willow,
and all the land is beaten hard,
by the wind that shakes the willow…
7. My Loves Are So Many
Talk about a rowdy song. I have no idea why this one stuck out to me, but as soon as I looked at the lyrics, I remember viscerally having read it in the text. What’s happening when the characters hear the song? I don’t know. I couldn’t tell you. But I definitely remember the singer’s many loves.
Now Jac gets an hour when the sky is clear,Knife of Dreams, chapter 11
and Willi gets an hour when my father’s not near.
It’s the hayloft with Moril for he shows no fear,
and Keilin comes at midday: he’s oh so bold! …
6. Wash the Spears
Another Aiel song, this is more of a battle cry than an actual tune, but it does have more verses than many other songs on this list. Again, the lyrics are reflective of Aiel culture, and that just makes me appreciate the song, even if it’s a bit repetitive.
Wash the spears — while the sun climbs high.Shadow Rising, chapter 57
Wash the spears — while the sun falls low.
Wash the spears — Who fears to die?
Wash the spears — No one I know! …
5. Sweet Whispers of Tomorrow
The music is supposed to offer our character some amount of protection, but at this point, everyone’s given up, and the song is what it is: a lament. It’s also, in a way, a rallying cry. One last bout of defiance in the face of death.
…I will walk this broken road,Towers of Midnight, chapter 55)
and I will carry a heavy load!
So come at me with your awful lies,
I’m a man of truth and I’ll meet your eyes!
4. Shaido Taunt
Not only is Aiel culture reflected in the word choices and the phrases, but an Aiel literally came up with this on the spot. Talk about talented.
I once met a man who was far from home.Crossroads of Twilight, chapter 27
His eyes were yellow and his wits were stone.
He asked me to hold smoke in my hand,
and said he could show me a watery land…
I’m going to remember these songs for a long time even after finishing the series, and if they don’t make it into the TV show, I will be incredibly sad. I’m going to link the songs to a WoT fan YouTube account, because these are ones I’ve listened to several times and loved how they were brought to life.
What I absolutely love about this song is the fact that it is so horrific and frightening that you’d think it’d be an anti-war, anti-soldier song, but it’s actually the opposite. The song is used to recruit more soldiers, and one character in particular is absolutely dumbfounded why anyone would hear the lyrics and still want to join. The additional lyrics on the YouTube video give reason, true, but the original song didn’t, and it was almost funny.
You’ll feed on beans and on rotten hay,Lord of Chaos, chapter 5
and a horse’s hoof come your naming day.
You’ll sweat and bleed till you grow old,
and your only gold will be dreams of gold,
if you go to be a soldier.
If you go to be a soldier.
Talk about a catchy song. What I really love about it is that it resurfaces occasionally throughout the narrative, and the characters are actively taking an old song and adding new lyrics to it so that it becomes something of a theme song for this particular group of soldiers. *Also, the Youtube link is the full version that’s in A Memory of Light, and the last minute or so might spoil a character’s arc in the narrative, so just be warned.
We’ll drink the wine till the cup is dry,Fires of Heaven, chapter 45
And kiss the girls so they’ll not cry,
And toss the dice until we fly,
To dance with Jak o’ the Shadows.
You had to know this was going to be my favorite. It’s just so catchy. The actual tune is a little darker than Jak o’ the Shadows, somehow. It doesn’t play much of a role in the actual story. I think our character only mentions it once. But the fact that it still stands above Jak o’ the Shadows, well… I mean, it’s just good.
Give me your trust, said the Aes Sedai.Lord of Chaos, chapter 44
On my shoulders I support the sky.
Trust me to know and to do what is best,
And I will take care of the rest.
But trust is the color of a dark seed growing.
Trust is the color of a heart’s blood flowing.
Trust is the color of a soul’s last breath.
Trust is the color of death.
WoT wiki song list: https://wot.fandom.com/wiki/Category:Songs
Reflections of Sound Music (Youtuber videos):https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKKaogu_iDEvJ6h4wkFeGYQ