Florence + the Machine recorded this song for the soundtrack to the Hollywood film Snow White And The Huntsman. After frontwoman Florence Welch was given the opportunity to watch a few scenes from the movie, she drew inspiration from the character of the evil Queen Ravenna, played by Charlize Theron. The song is sung from the perspective of the Queen herself and Welch told MTV News: "The Queen is just this incredible character; so hungry for life but so dead inside. She's sort of eternal, but inside there's nothing. She's kind of like charcoal or something. She has this thirst for youth and for life, but for what kind of life? This darkness, but she's so beautiful, so it's this kind of juxtaposition between beauty and, ultimately, death."
The orchestra and choir heavy track was recorded at London's Abbey Road studio, under the stewardship of American film composer James Newton Howard. Welch told MTV News that she "almost cried" during the making of the tune. "We went in and demoed the track, these big, clattering drums, huge bass sounds and everything was very intense and then we sent that to the guys in LA who composed it. And it was amazing to see the music we played being turned into this amazing orchestral thing," she said.Welch continued: "You feel in a bit of a way like you're kind of making it up as you go along, and then when you see it done, laid out before you in such a beautiful, orchestral fashion, it's really incredible... I love choirs and I love choral music, and there was a 60-piece choir singing the vocal parts that I had written. When the baritones came in, I nearly wept, it was so emotional."