What This House of Dreams can tell us about Alan Wake 2
It’s all true, “It will happen again, in another town, a town called Ordinary.” It’s happening now.
When Remedy’s Sam Lake sent out a tweet warning of impending doom for the residents of the town called Ordinary, Alan Wake fans perked up their ears. The tweet linked to a website – a Blogger page: This House of Dreams. Anyone who’s read through the blog and played Alan Wake will pick up on all the references dropped around from Remedy’s game. Even though the link isn’t explicitly stated on the site, there are so many inferences and references that you can’t not associate the two.
The basic premise of This House of Dreams is that Samantha, has purchased an old fixer-upper. The blog details her progress renovating it into her house of dreams. She’s going about this alone – no contractors, no help from friends (jerks) and is chronicling her progress through photographs and blog posts. Honestly, it sounds like the most boring blog ever. Were it not directly tied to Alan Wake, we’d want the time back we spent reading through it. However what’s written in This House of Dreams may be able to tell us a lot about what we can expect in Alan Wake 2.
First Night in the House
I spent the night in my future home for the first time. It was almost like camping indoors, I had a sleeping bag. There was a weird flapping noise that kept me awake at night. I found a dead wren in the attic earlier (there is a broken window), and I imagined that there’s a bird trapped somewhere inside the walls (not a nice image to think about, sorry).
The Taken Birds in the first game were some of the most annoying enemies we ever had to face. Not to mention the fact that as the game progressed, they turned into copies of his book. Perhaps this is a subtle inference that the birds will make a re-appearance? Or perhaps this is an allusion to the next book finally being finished?
Toys in the Attic
As I mentioned earlier, the previous owner left all kinds of stuff in the attic. Her daughter told me that they have no use for them; I can do what I want with them! I’ve always been fascinated by attics. As a child, I used to sneak up to my grandparents’ attic to explore. It always felt like a magical, mysterious place, slightly scary but not too much so, filled with forgotten treasures waiting to be discovered. I’ve felt the same way in the past few weeks, climbing into my own attic. … The most wonderful discovery I’ve made so far is an old shoebox filled with typewritten sheets of poems and black and white photographs. Photos and scans of those soon!
A little backstory; Alan Wake has a thing with boxes that had once contained shoes. A shoebox was actually an important piece of the the first game. When Alan was a boy, his mother gave him a shoe box full of items that she said were from his father. Among them was a clicker (a light switch), in which she had told him if she ever became afraid of the dark (which he was) just to turn on the light. Maybe it’s juts us, but it seems odd that different people would store valuable items in a shoebox. Why not a safe? Perhaps this is Alan Wake’s shoebox? Sans the clicker?
When Zane wrote himself out of existence, presumably to protect the world against The Dark Presence, he knew it might still come back. So he wrote himself a loophole – anything that was in the shoebox would still remain. Inside the box are photographs of a man and a woman getting ready to go diving. Zane was an avid diver – he often appears to Alan in the first game wearing a diver’s suit. Is this Thomas Zane’s shoebox?
If whatever was in the shoebox would still remain after Zane wrote them all out of existence, could these photographs imply that Zane and Barbara Jagger are still alive? That they still exist? Or could the significance of the black ink covering their faces indicate that they had been taken by The Dark Presence? Could Alan Wake 2 be a bit of a prequel? Or show further backstory of the doomed couple?
OK, I’m freaking out just a little bit here. I saw a really bizarre nightmare last night. I know this is supposed to be a blog about my new house, but the dream is related to that, and on the otherhand, look at the name of the blog. This isn’t what I meant when I came up with the name, but now it feels strangely appropriate, don’t you think?
In the dream, I heard the doorbell ring and went to open the door. There was a man there, he said he was a federal agent. He showed me his badge and all, just like the FBI agents do in the movies. Here comes the scary part: there was something wrong with his face; it was leaking inky smoke so that I couldn’t see what he looked like. When I woke up, I realized this image totally came from the ink-covered faces in the photos, of course (see the previous post). The man asked me about the shoebox. He said that it contains top-secret information and that I need to give it to him. I got scared that he’ll put me in jail and went to get the shoebox, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. I searched the whole house but it was nowhere. Then when I went to the bathroom to look for it, I saw myself in the mirror: my face was covered with inky smoke as well! And that’s when I woke up. When I think back to the dream, it didn’t say “FBI” on his badge; it said “AWE.”
This is the weirdest thing of all: now I can’t find the shoebox anywhere. I have looked everywhere I can think of. I’m sure that it will turn up somewhere, there is so much junk lying around in the house at the moment, but kind of creepy in any case….
It seems like Agent Nightengale is still after Alan Wake. At the end of the first game, a quick flash of the Oh Deer Diner shows Rose Marigold taking up Cynthia Weaver’s old position as the Lady of the Light. In the background, you can see Nightengale shrouded in darkness, much like Barbara Jagger had been. It just may be that the noble FBI agent (seriously, he’s just misunderstood) will be the main antagonist of Alan Wake 2. Nightengale may be spreading the dark presence with him as he goes however, turning each new person into a Taken, as Samantha’s face in the dream turned to inky smoke just like his.
Additionally, considering the shoebox had disappeared after Samantha awoke, it may indicate that The Dark Place isn’t so much another realm, but a dream. A dream world where Alan Wake has the power to make things happen in the waking world, by writing…in the dream.
As for “AWE?” Um, Alan Wake Exterminator? Epilogue? Your guess is as good as ours on that one.
I’ve been really busy and stressed at work lately, but in spite of that, the shoebox and its contents are never far from my thoughts. You might say that I’m getting a bit obsessed about them. I’ve been trying to find out who the poet is, or the couple in the photos, but no luck. I asked the daughter of the previous owner about it (her mother is in a nursing home and suffers from advanced Alzheimer’s disease, so she wouldn’t be able to help me). She was certain that no one in her family was a poet, and she doubted that the people in the photos were anyone from her family. She told me that her mom liked to buy stuff from yard sales, and her guess was that the shoebox was something her mom had picked up from one of those.
I’ve tried to find the shoebox after it went missing, but I can’t find it. I’m so glad I took photos of the poems before I lost them. Here they are:
Wow. Where do we even begin with these poems? (that are in no particular order) Some of these appear to be written by Thomas Zane, with commentary from Barbara Jagger. There’s a crude drawing of The Dark Place – did Thomas Zane ever come back from there? Or is he forever trapped there? Is it something that he created? Were Thomas Zane and Barbara Jagger wiped out of existence? If so, why would Zane keep pictures like that if he hoped to banish the two of them? Are they still alive?
It would almost appear that the woman was lying to Samantha about who the shoebox belonged to. That her mother probably picked up the box at a yard sale, but one of the poems almost seemed to corroborate her story. No one will miss us, our faces inked black. They’ll sell our things at the flea market. They’ll never call us back. The mother’s state gives us a theory about The Dark Place, as well.
If The Dark Place is an actual place, even if only in a dream world, it may be possible to come back. What if the house’s previous owner is actually Barbara Jagger? Her memory has been wiped clean, or corrupted (sorry for the crude analogy) and she wouldn’t be able to remember anything about her experience? It does give us a little bit of hope that Alan Wake is still alive somewhere – but will his wife, having been in The Dark Place, remember him at all?
Shoebox Dream 2
I had another dream last night, and when I woke up, a real scare. In the dream, I was visiting the previous owner of my house at the nursing home, only in the dream, the owner wasn’t a sweet old lady, he was a man, and he wasn’t old, he was a young man with a dark hair – very good looking in fact. I remember that he was wearing a funny jacket with old-fashioned elbow patches. I was there to find out about the shoebox, but he was very agitated and didn’t listen to me. The place was brightly lit, it was sunny outside, but he was still very anxious and wanted me to turn all the lights on. He kept going on about the place being too dark. I remember being certain that all the lights were on already, but that didn’t calm him down. In the end he was screaming for me to turn the lights on. I was also starting to freak out, starting to think that something horrible was coming to take us away, and that’s when I woke up. I was really thirsty, I got up from bed and went to get a glass of water. In the hallway, coming back, I suddenly saw a dark silhouette of a man outside the window. I must have screamed aloud. My heart stopped for a moment. I dropped the glass (luckily it didn’t break, it’s one of my favourites). I was really frightened. I rushed through the house, turning on all the lights. My first impulse was to dial 911, but after a moment that felt silly. I told myself I must have imagined the whole thing, seen my own reflection in the window. Of course, with all the lights on inside, I couldn’t see anything outside anymore. I ended up calling a friend of mine, Joss, who lives nearby, waking him up. He was kind enough to come over and check the place. Bless him, Joss’s a real angel. There was no sign of anyone outside.
Today I’m definitely going to buy some yard lights. I’ve been meaning to do that for some time already.
Hey, good news is, Alan’s still around, in his anachronistic tweed jacket with the elbow patches. Bad news is, it almost appears like he’s gone completely insane. Like Cynthia Weaver levels of insane, preaching about the light. But Alan Wake fans know how important the light is.
More importantly, Alan is trying to convey his message about the importance of light to Samantha through her dreams. Maybe Alan is trying to protect the rest of the world from the Dark Presence? It worked – when Samantha turned on the lights, the dark figure disappeared. This is also indicative of the return of The Taken as the primary enemy in the game. It’s as clear an indication as any.
No Light, No Light
I’ve been very busy at work and too exhausted to post here for a while (apart from the nightmare the other night, which I had to get off my chest immediately, and it still gives me the creeps). On a more positive note, the house is slowly starting to look really good and I’ve been living here for a while.
I got the yard lights, now I only need to get them installed.
To be honest, I’m playing for time here, writing this, not looking forward to going to bed. I was listening to the beautiful and brilliant Florence + The Machine earlier and the song No LIght, No Light made me think about the nightmare again.
Well, at least Samantha is trying to pay heed to Alan Wake’s warning. She’s already paranoid about being in the dark and going to sleep – this could be a further indication that The Dark Place is more of a dream world than anything else. Is Samantha being sucked further and further in, like Alan was?
Additionally, this tells us that Alan Wake 2 will have another stellar soundtrack. Mere mention of Gloria + The Machine has our interest piqued. You can’t just throw a name like that out and expect people not to notice. No Light, No Light seems pretty fitting for the Alan Wake universe, doesn’t it?
Called 911. Men outside shadows darkcominghelpmoreligh
Bloggers are really dedicated folks. When danger lurks nearby, instead of hiding, or running away, they update their fans (unfortunately, there are relatively few – we told you, the blog’s premise was pretty boring). Samantha really should have had their installed those lights. How hard is it to install yard lights?
The men outside shadows – the Taken, returning in full force. We didn’t expect any other kind of enemy to really return. Fighting the darkness with light is part of what makes Alan Wake so endearing. Fighting shadows and darkness that surround poltergeist objects, dodging hatchets and dispensing of bird books – we look forward to that kind of game play again.
Admittedly, this isn’t a whole lot of information and some of it might be just ‘well duh’ type exposition. Is there something we’ve missed? Do you have anything to add? Sound off in the comments section!