Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Movie Score Selections for the Top 10 Moments in Any Book

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's theme was Books and Music.

I love movie scores. (And TV scores. I'm not picky.) I listen to them pretty much all the time, because I can't focus on songs with lyrics when I'm doing homework or reading. And even when I'm not doing those things, it's pretty awesome to walk down the street while listening to epic movie music.

So when I saw that this week's theme for Top Ten Tuesday was Books and Music, I knew I wanted to do something with scores. But what? And then I started thinking - what if books had scores? I didn't have the patience to carefully craft a score for one existing book (because I'd spend WAY too long agonizing over it to make it PERFECT - although I do want to do that someday), but there are some plot points that happen in LOTS of books. I picked 10 of those plot points and selected one part of a movie score for each of them. And because I couldn't help myself, I made a list of three or four other good selections for each one. I picked a selection from a different movie for each top choice, but there is quite a bit of repetition in the lists.

I also put together a Spotify playlist of the top 10 tracks here, if you want to listen. And as long as I'm linking playlists, I keep a playlist of ALL my favorite parts of scores here.
To me, a lot of these seem to fit best with fantasy, sci-fi, and other books in which there is a definite evil to be vanquished, usually by fighting. But they can apply to things like contemporaries, too! Maybe the final battle isn't an actual battle involving swords and the like, but just a Difficult Thing That Has to be Done. Use your imagination!

1. A Very Good Place to Start

At this point, things are still pretty normal. Of course, not every book starts in a very good place. Especially not when you're talking about sequels. Actually, I can't think of a lot of books that start in places that are really happy. But here, we're going to be optimistic and go with Opening Titles from The Fault in Our Stars by Mike Mogis & Nathaniel Walcott. Things are calm, but we're definitely moving forward.

Also recommended: Pooh Greets the Day from Winnie the Pooh by Henry Jackman; Married Life from Up by Michael Giacchino; Concerning Hobbits from Lord of the Rings by Howard Shore

2. Things Start to Happen

The action starts! Nothing too serious yet, hopefully, but there's definitely some kind of problem now. To accompany the rising excitement, try West Wing from Beauty and the Beast by Alan Menken. The ending is a bit more dramatic than most book beginnings are, but most of it has a very good balance of calmness and intrigue.

Also recommended: Souped Up from Ratatouille by Michael Giacchino; Study Up on History from Night at the Museum by Alan Silvestri; Foreign Visitors Arrive from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by Patrick Doyle

3. The Point of No Return

Every book has that part where there's no more backing out. Up to a certain point, even the most dedicated post-apocalyptic rebel leader can say "Actually, you know what, guys?" No more. Something has changed. For this moment, I chose Forgot the Password from Marvel's Agent Carter: Season 1 by Christopher Lennertz. I had some great options here, but I eventually settled on this one because it's constantly driving forward, but keeps that broad, clear melody too.

Also recommended: The Beast Lets Belle Go from Beauty and the Beast by Alan Menken; Buckbeak's Flight from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by John Williams; Night at the Museum from Night at the Museum by Alan Silvestri; The Hologram/Binary Sunset from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope by John Williams

4. Tests, Challenges, and Other Ordeals

This one probably takes up the bulk of the book. It's also the one with the most flexibility, so no music will cover everything perfectly, but I think that Taking a Stand from Captain America: The Winter Soldier by Henry Jackman does a pretty good job. And I know I said I'd only be including 3 or 4 additional tracks for each plot point, but I just couldn't resist with this one.

Also recommended: I Am the Doctor from Doctor Who Series 5 by Murray Gold; Jack and Sally Montage from The Nightmare Before Christmas by Danny Elfman; Alarm! from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade by John Williams; Check the Rooftops, Interrogating Peggy, and Roxxon Plant Implosion from Marvel's Agent Carter: Season 1 by Christopher Lennertz; The Asteroid Field from Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back by John Williams; The Witch's Cottage from Brave by Patrick Doyle


You didn't just read that, right? Because there's no way that that could have happened. For all the unpredictable moments in books (but especially the massive ones), I recommend Kronos Unveiled from The Incredibles by Michael Giacchino. It perfectly captures that growing feeling of dread when you realize how much things are going to change.

Also recommended: Choose That One from Cinderella by Patrick Doyle; Dottie and Doctor Plot from Marvel's Agent Carter: Season 1 by Christopher Lennertz; Building the Towers from Tinker Bell and the Legend of the Never Beast by Joel McNeely

6. The Death No One Wanted

And you just immediately thought of a specific fictional character whose end came too soon. For my score selection for this one, I need to give a spoiler warning for the approximately two people in the world who haven't read Harry Potter yet: THE FOLLOWING SELECTION CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR GOBLET OF FIRE. My duty is done. Because for this, my mind went immediately to Death of Cedric from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by Patrick Doyle. I'll leave it at that and let the music do the work.

Also recommended: "One Small Fact" from The Book Thief by John Williams; Martha's Theme from Doctor Who Series 3 by Murray Gold; Goodbye from Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian by Alan Silvestri; Saying Goodnight from Tinker Bell and the Legend of the Never Beast by Joel McNeely

7. The Calm Before the Storm

Finally, a break from the action, even though we all know it's too good to last. It's a place to actually breathe for once. For this one, I had to go with Across the Stars from Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones by John Williams. It's so pretty! But you know there's only bad things ahead, even without the movie plot.

Also recommended: A Starry Night from Tinker Bell and the Legend of the Never Beast by Joel McNeely; Bring Him Home from Marvel's Agent Carter: Season 1 by Christopher Lennertz; Ella and Kit from Cinderella by Patrick Doyle

8. The Final Battle

And here we have the inspiration for this entire post: Duel of the Fates from Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace by John Williams. (And no, using 2 different Star Wars movies does NOT count as a repeat). Is this not the most epic fight theme song ever created? If you haven't heard it already, just do yourself a favor and listen.

Also recommended: He's a Pirate from Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl by Klaus Badelt; Hydra Train from Captain America: The First Avenger by Alan Silvestri; Collecting Lightning from Tinker Bell and the Legend of the Never Beast by Joel McNeely

9. Triumph!

Ah, the sweet sound of victory. Evil, in some small or large form, has been vanquished, and our heroes have lived to see another day. (Hopefully. If not, and you're still sad, go back to #6.) For this, I instantly thought of Heroes Return from Night at the Museum by Alan Silvestri. Stately, dramatic, and everything a good victory should be.

Also recommended: Triumphant Return from Captain America: The First Avenger by Alan Silvestri; Into the Sunlight from The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Alan Menken; Raiders March from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull by John Williams; The Throne Room/End Title from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope by John Williams

10. Happily Ever After

After getting through so much, we're finally here! But, especially for books with sequels, we don't always get a happily ever after. Depending on what kind of book it is, at the end, you can go back to #2, #4, or #5. Assuming your book does have a happy ending, I'd recommend Courage and Kindness from Cinderella by Patrick Doyle, especially the last minute and a half or so. After all, is there a better happily ever after than one from a fairy tale?

Also recommended: Leaving Hogwarts from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by John Williams; Ratatouille Main Theme from Ratatouille by Michael Giacchino; Life's Incredible Again from The Incredibles by Michael Giacchino; The Blue Fairy from Pinocchio by Leigh Harline

Do you listen to music while you read? If you do, what do you listen to? And SUPER-importantly, what are your favorite movie scores? I need more recommendations! Tell me in the comments! 


  1. OMG this is such a creative and fun idea! Love the way you've spun this week's TTT. I really love movie scores - I listen to them while writing and sometimes it just meshes PERFECTLY. I particularly love anything John Williams or Alexandre Desplat or Hans Zimmer <3

    1. Thank you! I listen to a lot of John Williams already, but I haven't tried a lot from Alexandre Desplat, and I don't think I've listened to ANY Hans Zimmer. I'll be sure to check those out - thanks for the recommendations!

  2. Very creative list!
    My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2016/02/16/top-ten-tuesday-44/

  3. HOW DO I LIKE THIS POST?! Your writing is on point and like, seriously, way to think outside the box.

    1. Thank you so much! I knew I had to find SOME way to make it about movie scores :)