Movies & Television

Meaning of 'On the Nature of Daylight' song in HBO's The Last of Us


HBO’s The Last of Us is jam-packed with meaningful songs and in episode 3, On the Nature of Daylight was played during the episode’s most memorable moment but what’s the meaning behind it?

Eager fans only have a few days until the arrival of HBO’s The Last of Us episode 4 arrives where we will finally meet Kathleen, a previously unknown character who is the leader of a revolutionary movement in Kansas City, Missouri. Although much anticipation can be found with fans as they get to explore deeper into the series, episode 3 still lingers in our hearts and will do for a long, long time.

Bill and Frank‘s poetic story was a spellbinding experience for viewers, especially those who have played the game and have longed for the backstory of Bill. Filled with joyous moments, we also saw heartbreak and sadness as the couple lived out their time together.

One of the most potent songs found in episode 3 of HBO’s The Last of Us was Max Richter’s On the Nature of Daylight. Let’s look at why it was used for that tragic scene.

On the Nature of Daylight meaning in HBO’s The Last of Us

Due to Frank’s illness which the show’s co-creator, Craig Mazin has recently said was either multiple sclerosis (MS) or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), he finally has had enough when he can’t do the things he loved, like painting Bill, and is wheelchair bound.

He tells Bill as he wakes up the next day, that it will be his final day alive. They both spend one last time around their town, getting suited and booted for their own special wedding ceremony. As they sit down to dinner together for the last time and Frank realizes that Bill too has taken an overdose, this is where Max Richter’s On the Nature of Daylight comes in.

The powerful composition, which has no words, beautifully wraps up every emotion and takes on a new meaning for the particular scene.

Originally, On the Nature of Daylight was written by Richter “to deal with his troubled feelings around the political and humanitarian circumstances of the Iraq war.” So Max wrote it as a protest song.

This can be easily translated into the world of The Last of Us and how powerless and paralyzed Frank and Bill felt, not only having to succumb to the post-apocalyptic world around them due to the violence that erupted from the Cordyceps infection outbreak and also not being able to access proper medical care due to the takeover of all hospitals but also by being under the cruel feet of the FEDRA who mindlessly kill people, including children, even if they aren’t infected.

The Last of Us continues on Sunday, February 5th on HBO and HBO Max. For UK viewers episode 3 will be available from 2 am on Sky and NOWTV the following day. 

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Rachael Fiddis

"Rachael Fiddis is a senior group editor for entertainment and gaming at GRV Media. Her day-to-day duties include training writers on article structure, editing, good SEO practices, and making sure all content is ready for publication across the board on The Focus, Reality Titbit, HITC gaming, and Forever Geek. Although her writing passion began much sooner, Rachael's career kicked off in 2016 by volunteering at a gaming site and gaining experience constructing news articles and reviews. She quickly moved on to become a full-time journalist at DualShockers, morphing into its head of culture and news editor. Rachael was promoted to HITC gaming's editor in chief which then turned into a border role across GRV Media in the form of a senior group editor where she liaisons with management and writers frequently. When not knee-deep in words, Rachael can be found up a mountain somewhere or being her best geeky self. "

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