Originally, Will was supposed to wake up in Boarsblemish after the fight on the road. But I felt there needed to be a more immediate resolution to that encounter, and thus “The Aftermath” came to be. Let’s unpack.
Will doesn’t know it, but when he confronted the Lawyers he was running a fever because he had been processing almost pure imagination. The ability to stop injunctions cold, and reach into the archetypal constructs of reality in order to rewrite them, is only the beginning to what Will might accomplish.
Unfortunately, wielding that much pure energy in The Realm is toxic. It’s just too much for the mind to process, which is why Will’s shut down after telling the fading poison to go away. He’ll likely grow a tolerance for its use over time, but until then his imagination could get him into trouble 1.
It Runs in the Family
Bug’s throw-away line, “The Prof thinks it might be a family trait” wasn’t in the first draft of this scene. When I went though it a second time to flesh out the dialog, however, this line kept popping into my head. So I included it.
Will’s family is, indeed, “Different.”
What’s with the toast line?
I’m glad you asked that question 2! The footnote about toast is actually an homage to one of my favorite authors, Jasper Fforde. In his Thursday Next novels the idea of a “Toast Marketing Board” keeps appearing out of nowhere, and you don’t find out why until the last book 3. When Barker mentioned toast, the footnote just sort of slipped in. I guess the marketing board is still active.
The Stories We’ll Tell
Will’s been fully enlisted into the service of narrative. So he’s not just going to save The Realm, he’s going to be part of a story, and help direct its outcome.
This is probably one of those points where my Christian faith seeps into the tale. Christianity sees itself as living out the story of Jesus, and humanity’s struggle with sin 4. A Christian is supposed to tell this “good news” story with their lives, and this is pretty much what the Narrator wants for Will.