I’m re-reading the Raven Cycle by Maggie Steifvater right now. For a long time, I’ve had this comparison in my head between the second book, The Dream Thieves, and this scene from Inception. In The Dream Thieves, Ronan has the ability to pull objects and creatures out of his dreams and give them form in the real world. He thought he was alone until he realizes a classmate, Kavinsky, also has the power. The two of them go on a dreaming spree, pushing one another to the limits of their abilities, until Kavinsky goes too far and their game culminates in a battle between the stuff of nightmares.
In Inception, Arthur and Eames (pictured) are involved with heists that extract information from the dreams of unwary sleepers. They are recruited as part of a dream-team (pun fully intended) by the main character who is trying to do one last job that will set him up for life and clear him of the unjust charges that made him turn to this life of morally dubious work. Only this time, the game has changed: they are tasked with instilling an idea in a dreaming subconscious mind. It’s fast, it’s fun, it’s visually dazzling and mentally bending. It also has a killer emotional punch that is set up perfectly by the character development.
I think what’s great about this comparison between Arthur and Eames in Inception and Ronan and Kavinsky in The Dream Thieves is that both pairs have a similar dynamic: reluctant allies with comparable skills who are more often than not openly antagonistic. Neither Arthur nor Ronan make their loathing for their respective partner’s more freewheeling, devil-may-care attitude a secret, and both Eames and Kavinsky are aware of this feeling on the other party’s part, gleefully doing everything they can to exacerbate it. This type of dynamic is so much fun to read and write, with all the best banter and quips. And to anyone who has read The Raven Boys, it’s pretty ironic that Ronan gets aligned with tight-laced Arthur in this scenario: to anyone but Kavinsky, Ronan is the Eames personality, pushing buttons and being outrageous.