*Chapter 21 is one of my favorites. We find out that Sam is still alive, that Sebastian is much scarier than originally anticipated, and that the same nightmares that have haunted Bryn have also been haunting Anso. The story so far has set up Bryn as the hero but even though this is her story the other Dreamers still have a powerful role to play. Bryn’s character may end up controlling how the story ends but the other Dreamers are going to help get her there, making sacrifices alongside her, exhibiting a strength that mirrors her own. At this point, Bryn’s abilities become defined less by how much more powerful she is than the other Dreamers and more by the infinite possibilities that exist within that power. Sebastian, in particular, is a very real and very frightening mirror for Bryn. Essentially all the Dreamers serve as revelations when it comes to what Bryn can do. But Sebastian is the most terrifying because he’s not just like Bryn, he’s also like Anso. Bryn starts to see Dreamers on this continuum and the more power they have the more haunted they are; the more darkness they carry. She felt it every time she touched Sebastian and every time Anso touched her. But the worst part is that she senses it inside herself too.
*As Bryn’s abilities evolve throughout the story there’s this strong and totally unintentional (in the beginning) focus on connection. I’ve already talked about how I eventually fleshed out this aspect of Bryn’s character in order to keep her from being your typical isolated hero but her ability to make strong things stronger and strange things stranger is so much more poignant now that there are so many other Dreamers involved. Her connection with them is really a metaphor for humanity. We all have different strengths and weaknesses; different fears and those things are intensified through connection. Some connections are toxic and make us weak but some connections are pure magic and make us great. Sometimes’ Bryn’s connection with the other Dreamers causes her pain…eventually they all do as she absorbs their memories. Connections in the real world can be just as painful and just as scary. But connection is also necessary. It’s the only way Bryn can save the other Dreamers, and running the risk of sounding way too cliche, it’s also the only way that the rest of us can save each other.
*I love how Roman once burned macaroni and cheese and Felix blames it on his own illiteracy.
*Just realized how much the running-through-collapsing-cave/guard-made-of-beetles scene is reminiscent of The Mummy movies #90sKid