Writer of words. Builder of worlds.

Every Heart a Doorway Analysis, Chapter 11: You Can Never Go Home

Warning: contains spoilers.
In Chapter 11, the truth is explained, and the team deal with Jill before she can do anymore harm.


Why isn’t Jack the protagonist? This is a question I promised to revisit, and this chapter asks it again. After all, Jack was the one who brought down the antagonist. Why isn’t she at the centre? 

One reason is fairly obvious. If we saw more of Jack’s inner thoughts, we’d know more about her past, and that would likely make the Jill the obvious suspect of the piece. Might make for a very interesting story, but not a very mysterious one.

Another reason is that Jack and Jill really aren’t that similar, oddly enough. Jack chose to return to this world. Ultimately she still wants to go back, but she is already in control of her own story. However, Nancy and Jill do have the same goals. Neither of them chose to be here, both of them want to return, and are sure that they’ll return somehow. Neither of them were fully in control of their own story. Jill chooses to take that control by seizing it from others. Nancy could make the same choice – she doesn’t have other options available to her.

Instead, Nancy uses the tools of story to help. She talks of the dead not being able to move on, of the dead being angry with Jill. She takes control of the story, not by stealing from others, but by putting her own spin on events. It is her story that distracts Jill for long enough for Jack to step in and deliver the final blow. 


“You’re stealing things that make them important because you want a skeleton key … why is your happy-ever-after the only one that matters?”

Again we see how the serial murder plot ties into the themes of story and who controls the story. Jill hasn’t just been killing people, she’s been stealing the things that make them special, the things that make them them. She’s been taking their happy-ever-afters. She clings to social power as she points out that her word – her story – would be believed over Nancy and Nancy’s ‘weird’ friends.

We also see the fundamental difference between Jill and Nancy, the difference that prevents Nancy from making Jill’s choices. Nancy cares about the dead. Nancy cares about others. Jill cares about nobody but herself. Perhaps this is what leads to her downfall – she’s alone and friendless, with even her sister against her. As a group, the others can work against her and distract her. Alone, she can’t stand against them.

So perhaps if the outcasts come together and work together and move past all their differences, they can stand against those who would steal the most important part of their identities. We can but hope.


Not much mystery left now. We do get an abbreviated ‘detective explains all’ scene, courtesy of Jack. Of course, Jack had key information the others didn’t, but she also wasn’t being objective about the situation until now. 

This is the climax done with. We just have some loose ends to tie up … and maybe one last twist.


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1 Comment

  1. Interesting wrap up of this chapter. I’ve been following your blog:-)

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