Unlocking the Melody: Mirrorbright
The beauty of music is how far back in time it can transport you. How it can remind you of a smell, a kiss, or even endless bliss. Though, the pendulum of emotions swings both ways as it can haunt the very soul. Always reliving the moment most precious to the time first heard. No matter how far away time escapes, that moment will always be a note away. In addition, music does more than just bring back memories. Music can teach future generations an important lesson layered in it’s beauty. Such is the case in the lullaby “Mirrorbright.” It is a tale of remembrance from the planet Alderaan. Like the cave on Dagobah, I bring other music into my glimpse into unlocking the melody that is “Mirrorbright.”
**Spoilers to Bloodline by Claudia Gray and Ahsoka by E. K. Johnston**
Mirrorbright, shines the moon, its glow as soft as an ember
When the moon is mirrorbright, take this time to remember
Those you have loved but are gone
Those who kept you so safe and warm
The mirrorbright moon lets you see
Those who have ceased to be
Mirrorbright shines the moon, as fires die to their embers
Those you loved are with you still—
The moon will help you remember
(Written by Claudia Gray)
The lullaby “Mirrorbright” was introduced inside the novel Bloodline by Claudia Gray. When Lady Carise Sindian of Arkanis became the Governor of Birren (a title that was meant for Leia Organa, but she did not care to receive) a vast selection of treasures were given to Sindian. Of those treasures was a little music box. A box meant, for Organa’s ears only. You see, Bail Organa left a very special message, for his adoptive daughter. However, before the message played the lullaby “Mirrorbright.” Very curious of choice of song to leave, for his daughter. What did it sound like? What does the song mean?
In the novel Ahsoka by E. K. Johnston we learn that Bail Organa was haunted by the deaths that took place around Order 66. How the Clones slaughtered the Jedi. How Padmé Amidala died after giving birth to twins. How Anakin… There was no end to Bail’s suffering of that time in his life. He could only press forward and remember his purpose-- to raise Leia and protect the future generations. Now, the novel reveals that on nights Bail was haunted by his nightmares he would cradle little Leia in his arms. I assume he also sang to her the song “Mirrorbright” until Breha whisked them both back to bed. Sometimes singing can be a meditative exercise. A way to dance away the pain. The fear. The anger. Sorrow.
I like to think that the song “Mirrorbright” represents hope, forgiveness, and remembrance. In the darkest times the shine of the mirrorbright guides us to the light. That the light is of loved ones long lost, and their successes and failures built upon each other. That one could build upon the experience of others. That one could honor who came before them.
The curious thing about mirrorbright is the fact that there is no moon on Alderaan. In a way this could have been meant to signify or teach something intangible to a child. The only time there ever was anything resembling a moon, would have been the Death Star looming over Alderaan. This would have been many years after the lullaby was written. Breha and Bail Organa would have been at home waiting on their daughter to come home. Did they think their daughter was still alive after Darth Vader had it reported that there were no survivors on the Tantive IV? I like to think so. That both knew in their hearts that their daughter would find a way to get the Death Star plans to the Rebel Alliance. However, while waiting on a response from Leia, they might have heard outside their castle children gathering in the streets singing about the mirrorbright just shortly before the warning came. Bail and Breha witnessing the children in a circle, laughing about the impossible happening. Though, it was no laughing matter. Bail knew what it truly meant. The emerald glow in their eyes as they looked into each other’s soul one last time. “I would trust her with my life,” Bail had told Mon Mothma shortly before going home. Leia did complete her mission… But she could not save her parents or her homeworld.
After reading the lyrics to “Mirrorbright” I have been fascinated by what it sounds like. It has to have been something beautiful but haunting. I can only imagine what it must have sounded like echoing off the walls in the Senate Chambers, when Casterfo played the music box. Since there is no melody, I have had to bring together different songs from other movies that possibly fill in this answer. Not all of these will individually encapsulate the spirit of “Mirrorbright.”
Dancing bears, Painted wings, Things I almost remember, And a song someone sings, Once upon a December. Someone holds me safe and warm, Horses prance through a silver storm, Figures dancing gracefully across my memory
Someone holds me safe and warm, Horses prance through a silver storm, Figures dancing gracefully across my memory.
Songwriters: Lynn Ahrens / Stephen Flaherty
First is the song “Once Upon a December” from the movie Anastasia. Everything about this song is amazing. While reading Bloodline I kept humming this song, while thinking of “Mirrorbright.” The use of the music box was to remind Anastasia that her and the Duchess would be together again; however, after the fall of the Czar they were ripped apart. As Anastasia grew up, she forgot her past, but still clung to the faint memory once upon a December.
Toro I am humble, for tonight I understand, your royal blood was never meant to decorate this sand You suffered great injustice So have thousand before you I offer an apology, and one no over due I am sorry, dodo I am sorry Hear my song, I know I sing the truth Although we were breed to fight I reach for kindness in your heart tonight, and if you can forgive And if you can forgive, love can truly live And if you can forgive, and if you can forgive, love can truly live Dodo I am frighten, but I'll use my finale breath, to tell you that I'm sorry, let us end this dance of death Two centuries of agony, that fill your heart with sand Here and now with my immense This senseless giving ends I am sorry, dodo I am sorry Hear my song, I know I sing the truth Although we were breed to fight I reach for kindness in your heart tonight, and if you can forgive And if you can forgive, love can truly live And if you can forgive, and if you can forgive, love can truly live And if you can forgive, and if you can forgive Love, love will truly live
Songwriters: Gustavo Santaolalla / Paul Williams
Second is the song “The Apology Song” from the movie Book of Life. Manolo Sanchez was raised to never apologize, and was destined to become a famous bull fighter. Except neither was in his heart. His ancestors killed so many bulls. After being tricked by Xibalba, Manolo had to face all the bulls his ancestors murdered at once as his greatest fear. Only, his truly greatest fear was the repercussion of going against his family to do the right thing… And he concurred that fear, because he had learned from his ancestors. He would remember them always, and understand their actions to pave a new path forward.
All I have is a picture in my mind, How it would be If we were together. Let's pretend that you're far away. Let's say you write to me, And you promise in your letter That you'll come home, Come home to my heart. When you come home, We'll never be apart. If I keep Dreaming of you Start believing it's true, Soon you'll come home, Soon you'll come home, Soon you'll come home To my heart.
Soon you'll come home, Home to my heart. Soon you'll come home, Home to my heart If I believe.
Performed by Lana Beeson
Third is the song "Soon You'll Come Home" from the movie All Dog's Go to Heaven. The song is about longing as Anne-Marie imagines what it would be like to be with a family. Why I keep thinking of this song is because I imagine Leia Organa singing this song to herself on those painfully quiet nights, when memories flood in of her parents and homeworld. Maybe to her "Mirrorbright" might represent the same thoughts as this song, because she named her ship Mirrorbright. She does not want to forget.
How does a moment last forever? How can a story never die? It is love we must hold onto Never easy, but we try Sometimes our happiness is captured Somehow, a time and place stand still Love lives on inside our hearts and always will
Performed by Kevin Kline
Lastly is the song “How Does A Moment Last Forever (Music Box)” from the movie Beauty and the Beast. The context is Belle’s Father is putting together a music box that represents his memories of him and his wife in Paris before her death. The melody and lyrics bring me back to “Mirrorbright” and how the brightness of the moon makes a moment last forever as long as you remember.
In conclusion, music bridges so many memories and lessons from what we add to it. I hope these songs help at how I look at the lullaby “Mirrorbright.” Claudia wrote wonderful lyrics that are enhanced tremendously by how it was used in the story of Bloodline. Plus, the extra tidbits behind Bail Organa's past in the Ahsoka novel by E. K. Johnston were really helpful at spurring my imagination! What songs come to mind, when you read “Mirrorbright?” Comment below!