*Bryn and Roman’s reunion is not fireworks or some big dramatic moment. Instead, it’s quiet and close and sad. They hardly speak and spend what feels like a lifetime just holding each other. I wanted their reunion to be emotional but I didn’t want there to be a false sense of hope or safety. Bryn can already see how their time apart has created this tangible distance between them. Her initial thoughts upon seeing his body are proof that she’s been traumatized in a way that won’t be healed by a single kiss. And Roman has his own awful secret, one
that if revealed, would only confirm Bryn’s worst fears about him. So while finally bringing them together was a relief it was also heart breaking because I know the worst is still yet to come.
*The First Dreamer isn’t just Bryn’s alter ego, she’s also Bryn’s sanity…or, rather, insanity. I knew what kind of difficult choices were in store for Bryn in the final book so I wanted to give her a physical manifestation of the darkness inside her just like Roman has with the shadows. The shadows haunt Bryn too but because she only sees them as such, their attacks on her aren’t as personal. In the final book I needed her to be tormented by something more personal. Something that would really scare her. Bryn’s biggest fears have less to do with her illness and more to do with the way her illness keeps her from being herself and doing the things she wants to do. She values the kind of intense freedom that one can only experience when they are wholly and truly awake and her illness was constantly threatening that, not only because it caused her to sleep but also because it made her vulnerable psychologically. In this novel the First Dreamer just seems like some kind of mad messenger but eventually Bryn begins to sense that the same power that creates the dreams can also destroy and not just her conscious mind but the world.
*Bryn and Roman’s matching wounds were a really poignant coincidence. Their reunion in the real world is one of my favorite scenes in this novel, not only because it’s slightly more hopeful than the last time they saw each other but also because it confirms for Bryn that they were both hurt by their time a part. During the previous scene in the dream-state she made the assumption that he would never understand what she’d been through and that she’d suffered in a way he hadn’t. After seeing the jagged wound along his hand she realizes that maybe pain is relative and that maybe it doesn’t matter who was hurt more. Even though Bryn went through something traumatic, and even though in some ways she still is, the sight of Roman hurt forces her guard down just a little and reminds her that she’s not the only person Anso hurt; she’s not the only person whose been broken; she’s not the only person who needs mending.