Roy Orbison once wrote about about seeing someone he loved in dreams, and then waking to find her gone. I can’t say I’ve ever found myself in the same position, because I spend so much time sleeping alone that I never expect to find anyone but my little ol’ lonesome in bed when I wake up. Oh, sure, I’ve had moment when I was half-asleep and imagined someone there, but that’s the exception and not the rule.
Last night, however, was a strange one for me. One, I had difficulty falling asleep, which probably had something to do with that nap I took during the afternoon. Two, when I fell asleep, I was treated to a dream where The Burg became Westeros, and I was hearing tales of woe from various characters. It seemed that downtown Harrisburg was Lannisport, up by the Appalachia Trail was The Wall, and people were always running off to King’s Landing and Oldtown. I know that one of the characters I spoke to ended up being murdered violently–but that could be anyone, right? At least I wasn’t slapped by any Imps.
What made it so unusual a dream is that I woke up about four-thirty, something normal for me, then when I fell back into sleep, the dream restarted. This is something that, as far as I can remember, has never happened with me. One dream stops, another starts. But this was a restart, picking up where I’d left off when I returned to the Land of Normal.
Talk about your unusual state of affairs. I know not what, if anything, was going on, for A Song of Ice and Fire was nowhere near me yesterday, save when I saw a Mother of Dragons wig for sale and asked a sales woman if they had any Mother of Dragons dragons. (She wasn’t happy with the question, by the way. Obviously she’d heard it way too many times.) I was thinking about my upcoming story for NaNo last night before bedtime, and that’s about as far away from Westeros as once could ever hope to get, as none of my characters are out to murder each other, or are in control of an army of eunuchs.
Dreams are straight outta Subconscious Territory, so understanding where this was coming from is puzzling. Then again, it is possible that I was telling me of something else. Maybe it was reminding me that my upcoming novel is not so much science fiction as it is fantasy, and the story began in a lead-in novel with lots of people dying. But, perhaps, there is something else afoot here:
I was being reminded that I need to make readers care about the characters.
The well-known joke is that George R. R. Martin is a disgruntled gamer who gets readers to become so attached to a character than when he kills that character off the reader is filled with black emptiness. Since I’ve had some experience gaming, I know a little bit about killing off characters of which we’ve grown fond, so maybe this is what I should do–make lovely, interesting characters, then have them die in horrific bleach conflagrations.
I need me some dragons. Life is always better with dragons . . .