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Talking in Your Dreams
Or rather, teaching in your dreams.

"We bring the subject into the dream, and they populate it with their subconscious. You can even talk to my subconscious; that's one of the ways we extract information..."
Dom Cobb, Inception

You're asleep, you're dreaming — you're really talking with someone else. Or fighting them. Or —

Dreams that are secretly (or openly) a form of two-way interaction. (The other person may or may not be asleep.) Harm can only come to the dreamer through psycho-somatic effects, or as mental damage.

May shade into Dreaming of Things to Come, if the other person tells of or shows the future, or Dreaming of Times Gone By, for the past. Dream Spying is particularly likely to overlap, letting the dreamer see the present with the other as a guide. May be mistaken for Dreaming The Truth, or if a Dead Person Conversation, be indistinguishable.

Make take place in Dream Land. Supertrope of Your Worst Nightmare. Can be a form of Adventures in Comaland, if you are seriously out of it.

Not to be confused with Talking in Your Sleep, which may or may not share similarities with this trope.


Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • In several of CLAMP's works, dreamseeing and dreamseers are important elements of the plot and can speak with the dead, especially in X1999, ◊◊◊HOLiC and Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, in the latter two cases allowing people to communicate across dimensions.
  • The second Sound Stage of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's has Hayate falling asleep during her medical treatment and finding herself having a chat with her Book of Darkness in her dreams.
  • In Fruits Basket, the spirit of the God of the Zodiac speaks to all of the Juunishi in a dream on the night of Akito's conception, telling them that he'll see them soon.
  • Pictured above; Yusuke, the protagonist of YuYu Hakusho tries to get into his rival Kuwabara's dream to tell him he's Not Quite Dead so his mother doesn't bury/cremate his body, but Kuwabara interprets it as Yusuke giving him lessons for a test tomorrow.

Comic Books
  • In Iron Man # 20 "Haunted-part one", Tony talks to the then-dead Captain America in his dreams.
  • In Teen Titans, Raven formed the new team by appearing in the dreams of former members and some new young heroes to help her fight her father, after the Justice League wouldn't trust her.

Fairy Tales
  • In the first known version of "Beauty and the Beast", Beauty has repeated dreams of a handsome young man begging her to save him. Only after she agrees to marry the Beast does she realize that he and the man in her dreams are one and the same.

Fan Fiction
  • In the Jackie Chan Adventures fic Queen Of All Oni, Tarakudo has been using Jade's dreams to drudge up painful memories and drag her deeper into darkness. Later in an interlude Big Lipped Alligator Moment, he tries to contact her directly, but all that happens is a Crowning Moment of Funny.
  • In Death And Ker, Minako has recurring dream-conversations with several keres and people whose Personas are keres. The ones with Jin and Takaya could simply be normal dreams (considering that both of them are presumably dead), but the ones with Souji, Ryoji, and Ker herself fall under this trope - particularly the one with Souji, as a later chapter confirms.
  • In the Dangerverse by Anne Walsh aka Whodoyouneedtoknow aka the PAGE, a very long series of Harry Potter fics, the Pack and the Pride can do this. Develops as the stories progress so to do the ways in which various characters are able to meet up.
  • The Urusei Yatsura story "Just A Dream" used this to justify a Transplanted Character Fic; the series was explained as a dream shared by the AU Ataru and Lum, featuring "distorted" versions of themselves and their respective friends.
  • In With Strings Attached, the Fans (specifically Varx) first contact the four (though we only see his contact with Paul) through dreams, or ďhypnogogic telepathic contact.Ē Most of their subsequent interactions are plain old telepathy. However, much later, after Jeft leaves and the other Fans lose their easy computer access to the four, they manage to contact George and Ringo this way.
  • Becoming Ponies has the character stalking to their counterparts this way. Notably, this only happens after the counterparts become aware of the character's presence, and the examples shown thus far could easily also be Anxiety Dreams caused by The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body.
  • Eugenesis give this as the explanation for how Megatron came up with the idea of transforming. The Liege Maximo appeared to him in a dream and showed him the designs.

Film
  • The researchers in Dreamscape initially trained psychics to project themselves into others' dreams and help them confront their fears. Then the plot got hijacked by an assassinate-the-President-in-his-sleep scheme.
  • The Golden Child. The Big Bad communicates with Eddie Murphy's character in a dream. After he wakes up, his attractive female assistant informs him that while what the villain said was actually happening, the parts where she suggested they get together and "let nature take its course" actually was a dream.

Literature
  • In the Chronicles of the Kencyrath Jame and Torisen frequently interact and talk with each other in their dreams. This is especially the case when one of them is knocked out, or someone else interferes with their dreams. Some shanir have the ability to visit the dreams of others.
  • Warhammer 40,000 novels:
  • In Andre Norton's Sorceress of Witch World, Kaththea's first real communication with Hilarion is in her dreams. (When she had stumbled into his prison, he had tried to take over her mind first, but then, he was desperate.)
    • In fact, this trope happens fairly often in her works. The Key of the Keplian contains another example.
    • In Horn Crown the hero dreams of himselfat a long-ago banquet — where a woman talks with him and realizes he's from the future and gives him some aid.
    • In Storm over Warlock, the Back Story featured the first-in scout reporting dreams that drove him off planet. The events of the novel reveal that it was this trope.
  • In Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time, Tel'aran'rhiod is an alternate reality that people can access through their dreams. Most only enter it briefly and unconsciously without special help, but those with a talent for Dreamwalking can make the transition willingly and channellers can physically transport themselves there.
    • Dreamwalkers also have the ability to find a person's dreams and project messages into them, pull the dreamer into Tel'aran'rhiod, or project themselves into the dream. The third option carries the risk of being caught up and temporarily incorporated into the dream, as one Dreamwalker who entered her lover's dreams learned the hard way.
  • In a notable example from Mercedes Lackey's work, Kerowyn, the protagonist of By the Sword, spends ten years having dream-conversations with Eldan before finally learning that they'd actually been communicating telepathically the whole time.
  • Anne Bishop has used this.
  • In Terry Pratchett's Equal Rites, Esk dreams about the Things from the Dungeon Dimensions and interacts with them. They even tell her the word "psychosomatic" and assure her she can die because of her dreams.
  • Malta gets a shared-dream-in-a-box as a present from her fiancee in Robin Hobb's Liveship Traders trilogy.
    • And in the later Tawny Man trilogy, Nettle's Skill manifests itself as the ability to control dreams, and she and Fitz interact in dreams before they actually meet.
  • In John C. Wright's Chronicles of Chaos the children receive repeated dream messages from their parents, who can reach them no other way.
  • In Robin McKinley's Beauty, a retelling of "Beauty and the Beast", the Beast sends Beauty's father dreams of how she is faring in his castle.
  • In Terry Pratchett's Only You Can Save Mankind, Johnny's dreams let him talk with Kirsty — and find her afterward, when they are awake.
  • In Lois McMaster Bujold's The Paladin of Souls, a god appears to Ista in her dreams while looking like his priest, dy Cabon. After the god has finished speaking with her, he leaves and dy Cabon's awareness fills the dream body. Sadly, as soon as Ista figures out that this is a true dream, each the other's, she wakes up. Thus she learns that dy Cabon is alive, but not where he is or whether anyone else has survived.
  • This is how the cats of StarClan generally communicate with living cats in Warrior Cats, although the cat must believe that StarClan exists for them to be able to do it. Blind Seer Jayfeather can also do this, which is a huge deal because, well, he's still alive. Indeed, he often gets exasperated when the dreams he has frequently do not turn out to be his dreams at all.
    • Cats in the Place of No Stars can also communicate like this, but it is somewhat vague as to what the rules are for who they can and cannot speak to. The books have also shown that any injuries sustained in The Place of No Stars is inflicted on the cat in the real world too, possibly to the extent where you can be killed in a dream.
  • In Anne McCaffrey's Talents series, the Mrdini have a limited ability to manipulate human dreams. This works out quite well for first contact betweeen humanity and Mrdini: they're able to communicate through dreams until they learn enough of each other's language to do so verbally.
  • In Jim Butcher's Dresden Files, Harry does this repeatedly.
  • Jonathan Stroud's "The Leap" covers this trope in spades.
  • In C. S. Lewis's The Great Divorce, the narrator meets with George MacDonald — who solemnly warns him that it is All Just a Dream and he must make it clear when he tells the story in Real Life.
  • Angels in The Bible use dreams to communicate with humans: for example, an angel comes to Joseph in a dream to explain to him the circumstances of Mary's virginal conception, and later returns to warn Joseph that Herod wants to kill the child.
  • The Five in The Power of Five books can do this. They all meet in their dreams before any of them meet in real life.
  • Star Trek Novel Verse:
    • The Cardassian Fates communicate like this. Non-corporeal creatures inhabiting a mysterious dimensional plane that intersects with our own, they can telepathically influence mortals. In particular, with individuals of the right genetic makeup (or whose minds have been altered by particular artifacts), they can appear in dreams and hold "conversations" - or alternatively just plant images and desires. In the Terok Nor books, their apparent leader, Oralius, uses it to find the next Astraea so as to keep the Oralian Way religion and the compassionate, noble aspect of Cardassian society alive. Her Evil Counterpart Uramtali uses it to telepathically rape young boys.
    • Also the Lipul Dreamships from Star Trek: Gemworld.
  • In Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book, Nobody can do this with Dreamwalking to deal with bullies.
  • In Neil Gaiman's Stardust, Tristan is asked, in his dream, to keep down the noisiness of his dream.
  • In Patricia A. McKillip's The Book of Atrix Wolfe, the woman in the woods communicates with both Atrix Wolfe and Burne this way. Later, so does Talis.
  • In the Anita Blake series, Anita starts the process of becoming Jean-Claude's human servant in the first book (Guilty Pleasures), which means he can get in her dreams. At first, he shows up in a coffin overflowing with blood. In later books, this comes up again, and the dreams span from seduction to sex.
  • In Robert E. Howard's "The Phoenix on the Sword" Conan the Barbarian is warned in his dream, by the long-dead Epemitreus.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Kull / Bran Mak Morn story "Kings of the Night," Gonar claims to be visited in his dreams by the first Gonar.
  • In Josepha Sherman's The Shining Falcon, Finist appears in Alexi's dreams, posing as a Bad Dreams.
  • In Barbara Hambly's Those Who Hunt the Night and sequels, vampires can communicate with people's dreams.
  • In J. R. R. Tolkien's The Return Of The King, Frodo's dreams are filled with the Eye of Sauron, who fortunately has less ability to reach him than in most instances of this trope.
    • In The Fellowship of the Ring, all the hobbits except Sam felt the Old Forest trying to get into their dreams at Tom Bombadil's.
  • In Adrian Tchaikovsky's Empire In Black And Gold, how Acheous contacts Cheerwell.
  • In Jasper Fforde's Lost In A Good Book, the eradicated Landen talks with Thursday in her dream.
  • In Rick Riordan's The Throne of Fire, Carter realizes that Zia is getting this in her Faux Death.
  • In Eleanor Cameron's The Court of the Stone Children, Nina dreams of a time when her home is taken apart and sent to a museum. Her dead father appears to tell her something.
  • Solaris subverts this; while on the space station, the asleep protagonist is seemingly visited by a dead crewmember in his dreams. The visitor states that he's fine with being dead, then warns the protagonist about a secret plot perpetrated by the other people on the space station. It would suggest that there is an afterlife, unusually for Stanislaw Lem's atheistic views (and the atheistic setting.) But it all turns out to be just a dream, born from the protagonist's internal concerns; there's no secret plot at all.
  • In the Warrior Cats series, many dreams are Dead Person Conversations, but there are a couple times when living cats speak in dreams:
    • In the story about how the Moonstone was found, Wind appears in Mothflight's dream - the StarClan cats tell her to allow Mothflight back into the Clan, and she agrees.
    • Leafpool is guided by Feathertail, a StarClan cat, into Willowpaw's dream; they decide how to teach Willowpaw about StarClan, since her own mentor doesn't believe in them.
    • Jayfeather has the ability to walk in other cats' dreams. He puts it to use occasionally, once by walking in Ashfur's dream to speak privately to him (to persuade him not to reveal a secret), once to talk to Kestrelflight to figure out where there's some herbs (though Kestrelflight thought it was just an ordinary dream), and many times for Dream Spying, listening to conversations between the other medicine cats and their Clan's ancestors.
  • In Robin McKinley's Sunshine, after the final battle, her grandmother appears in Sunshine's dream to talk things over.
  • In Palimpsest, people will understand you regardless of what language you speak. Characters run into people they know on the other side frequently.
  • In John Milton's Paradise Lost, one attack Satan uses on Eve
    methought
    Close at mine ear one call'd me forth to walk
    With gentle voice, I thought it thine; it said,
    Why sleepst thou EVE? now is the pleasant time,
    The cool, the silent, save where silence yields
    To the night-warbling Bird, that now awake
    Tunes sweetest his love-labor'd song; now reignes
    Full Orb'd the Moon, and with more pleasing light
    Shadowie sets off the face of things; in vain,
    If none regard; Heav'n wakes with all his eyes,
    Whom to behold but thee, Natures desire,
    In whose sight all things joy, with ravishment
    Attracted by thy beauty still to gaze.
  • In Seanan McGuire's October Daye novel, Katie, as an oneiromancer, can do this to get information to Toby. Since she's a Dream Weaver, she can set the scene, too.
  • In Dorothy Gilman's The Clairvoyant Countess, after trying to contact a woman in a reading, she starts to get dream messages from her.
  • In Charles de Lint's The Cats of Tanglewood Forest, Lillian is assured that the Father of Cats can get into your dream and chase you there, and if he kills you, you die in reality.
  • In Laura Amy Schlitz's A Drowned Maiden's Hair, Victoria tells Maud that she used to be able to dream of dead people, and sometimes talk with them, until she lied about one telling her something. After that, Maud starts to dream of a dead girl.
  • In Roger Zelazny's Lord of Light, when Yama goes to assassinate Sam, he meets monks, who cast him into an immensely symbolic dream where he destroys the universe trying to kill him. He asks Sam after, who can not explicate it to him.

Live-Action TV
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy and Angel do this in "Amends", though it's more like "Screwing In Your Dreams".
    • In season eight "The Long Way Home" Buffy has a long talk with Ethan Rayne in her dreams, who gives her valuable clues into who's attacking her, and why.
    • Restless is an episode of this trope, with the primeval doing the communicating.
    • In "Graduation Day" after Buffy puts Faith in a coma, then ends up in hospital herself, she has a dream in which Faith appears to reconcile with her, giving a clue on how to defeat the Mayor.
    Buffy: (with a half smile) "Is this your mind or mine?"
    Faith (laugh) "Beats me."
    • In the Angel spin-off, Faith defeats Angelus by shooting up with a Fantastic Drug and letting him feed on her. They both fall into a coma and end up reliving Angel's life, with both providing appropriate snarks and jibes.
  • In Heroes, Angela wakes up Sylar through this while they're both comatose.
    • This is season 1 character Sanjog Iyer's power.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise. Trip Tucker and T'Pol find themselves communicating in a daydream, despite being on seperate starships, a sign that their brief "intimate relationship" has led to a somewhat more permanent connection. As they've just broken up with each other, neither are very happy about it.
    TíPol: Please leave.
    Trip: Exactly where am I supposed to go?
    TíPol: Away.
    Trip: This is my daydream. You go away.
  • The Star Trek: The Next Generation "Night Terrors" has the ship trapped in a Negative Space Wedgie, with most of the crew hallucinating and slowly going insane due to lack of REM sleep, while Troi, The Empath, is going just as mad from nightmares about twin moons and voices whispering "eyes in the dark, one moon circling". It turns out there's an alien ship trapped in the same wedgie, and they're using telepathy to try to communicate through the crew's dreams and suggest an escape plan.
  • Star Trek: Voyager. The Borg Queen communicates with Seven of Nine while she's dreaming in "Dark Frontier" and "Endgame."
  • As in The Bible, angels on Supernatural use dreams to communicate with humans. This turns out to be embarrassing in "The Song Remains The Same" when Dean is having an Erotic Dream involving two strippers in angel and devil costumes, and Anna turns up in his head.

Tabletop Games

Video Games
  • Cyan's haunted castle in Final Fantasy VI.
  • Talking to Planet in Sid Meierís Alpha Centauri is done like this.
  • Shiki has lots of dreams in Tsukihime but as you get into the farther routes, at one point SHIKI becomes aware he is being watched and starts screaming for Shiki to leave. Throughout lots of the dreams there's also a sort of not-quite communication going on. This is exclusive to these two characters (and maybe Akiha) apparently as the two of them each have one quarter the life of Akiha and therefore are linked, sharing energy, some traits, dreams and mental influence.
  • Aerith has a conversation with Cloud in his dream in Final Fantasy VII after she's left the party, to tell him about her plan to stop Sephiroth and to reassure him that everything will be okay. Unfortunately, Sephiroth was also in the dream and, after she's left, he pops in to remark to Cloud that that's interesting to know. Cloud immediately wakes up, and the race for the heroes to find her first is on.
  • Paula uses her psychic abilities to call Ness, and later Jeff in Earthbound.
  • In the Warden's Keep DLC for Dragon Age: Origins, the mage/Grey Warden Avernus reached out to Levi Dryden in his dreams, encouraging him to explore the haunted fortress that was the resting place of his great-great-grandmother, Sophia Dryden. Fearful of the danger (and rightfully so), Levi contacted the Grey Wardens to help him search the keep for evidence that would
    • In-game, viewing the dreams of others and actually entering them is stated to be one of the powers granted by Blood Magic.
      • While they don't exactly have a conversation with it, both the Warden and Alistair wake up from a nightmare involving the Archdemon with the feeling that it actually "saw" them somehow. It's a prelude to an attack by a squad of shrieks.
      • A Warden's dreams will always be filled with the whispers of the Old Gods after the Joining though he/she can eventually suppress them. The return of the dreams is the first sign that the Taint will soon overwhelm a Warden turning him/her into just another ghoul.
  • In Dragon Age II Feynriel is a somniari (dreamer), a very rare kind of mage who can manipulate the Fade and enter the dreams of others without resorting to Blood Magic or piles of lyrium. If Hawke helps him survive the demons constantly assaulting him (a dreamer is a very appealing target to demons), Feynriel will go to Tevinter and learn to control his powers. In Act III he saves a young noblewoman from a gang of rapists by entering their dreams and forcing them to kill each other, then comforts the girl by speaking to her in her dreams. The girl becomes smitten with Feynriel and looks forward to when she falls asleep again so she can be with him in her dreams.

Webcomics

WebOriginal

Western Animation
  • In Jackie Chan Adventures, Jade does this multiple times when using the astral projection of the sheep talisman.
  • In Adventure Time Jake gets a vision of his dead father, along with his brother Jermaine. Jake asks Jermaine if he's dead too, but no, it turns out he's just taking a nap at the time.
  • Rose and Jake on American Dragon Jake Long communicate via dream charms because it's too dangerous for them to be seen together due to Dating Catwoman and the fact that Rose's Heel-Face Turn is a secret from the Big Bad.
  • Ribbon the telepathic unicorn from My Little Pony could talk to people in their dreams.
  • The Powerpuff Girls discover they have the power to communicate with each other in their dreams.
  • In the Season 1 semi-finale of The Venture Bros., "The Trial of the Monarch", Phantom Limb utilizes this on Doctor Orpheus during the Guild raid on the courtroom, since the typical memory wipe doesn't work on magic users.


Surreal Symbolic HeadsDream TropesThat Was Not A Dream
Swiss Army SuperpowerStock SuperpowersTaken for Granite
Takes One to Kill OneSpeculative Fiction TropesTalking Lightbulb
Talking through TechniqueDialogueTalking to Plants
Something about a RoseImageSource/Anime & MangaZoids

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