Secrets Behind the Chapter Titles - Watari Pt 2: Wammy's House
by MRS Jeevas

Why 'Watari Part 2: Wammy's House'?

'Watari Pt 1' and 'Watari Pt 2' should really be read as one very long story. Watari, in this sense, is the Watari Network as a whole rather than Quillsh Wammy, Roger Ruvie, who whomever holds the named position. It's about the orphanage; its current children and its alumni; the communication network and the cases; the infrastructure and policies; and the over-arcing influence that it has in the lives of those raised at Wammy's House.

Part two focuses on the administrative side of the Watari Network, in particular Wammy's House and its policies.

Watari Pt 2: Wammy's House: Chapter 01 - Confession

Roger Ruvie makes his confession over the Watari Network communication grid.

Watari Pt 2: Wammy's House: Chapter 02 - Cracking

If you know your cyberpunk words, then the title was a spoiler. 'Cracking' involves breaking through the security system.

Watari Pt 2: Wammy's House: Chapter 03 - L's Successor

The most coveted title of all is to be L. In this chapter, the identity of L's successor isn't so clear cut as it previously was.

Watari Pt 2: Wammy's House: Chapter 04 - Ann's Boys

Ann is the housekeeper at Wammy's House, but is described as being the closest thing to a mother that the orphans there have.

The chapter title is a paraphrasing of 'Jo's Boys', a book by Louisa May Alcott, which is about an orphanage run by Jo.

Watari Pt 2: Wammy's House: Chapter 05 - Chesspieces

Near uses chesspieces to work out what is happening and what all of their positions might be.

Watari Pt 2: Wammy's House: Chapter 06 - Game Over

'Game Over' is what flashes up on the screen when you have lost in your electronic/video game. There's also a piece of artwork that I had in mind. In this picture, Matt leans against the wall, his head bowed. The corridor behind him is the oracle's hallway from 'The Matrix'. He's written 'Game Over' on the wall in his own blood. It's this picture which really named this chapter, as I think it sums up Matt's state of mind at the moment.

If anyone knows the artwork and the artist, please let me know and I'll approach him/her about letting me reproduce it here. Alegria and A-Pseudonym both knew exactly what picture I was talking about and pointed me in the right direction. It was Matt by Morgen-von-Shiffer. A quick note later and the artist has graciously agreed to let me reproduce the artwork here.

Matt by Morgen von Shiffer
© Morgen-von-Shiffer

Watari Pt 2: Wammy's House: Chapter 07 - The Tower

The Tower is a Major Arcana tarot card. Taken in isolation, without influence from the other cards, it means total destruction. The picture often shows people falling from a tower, as lightning strikes, destroying the tower itself. Nothing will be the same after the Tower.

For those who do survive this destruction, then a new life will have to be forged. There will be nothing left, but rubble, from the old life.

Watari Pt 2: Wammy's House: Chapter 09 - A Design for Life

This chapter is named after the Manic Street Preachers' song, 'A Design for Life'. Unfortunately, all the YouTube videos with it on have disabled embedding. :(

'To wear the scars, to show from where I came'. The scars of Wammy's House and their past aren't always as visible as the burns on Mello's face and body.

Watari Pt 2: Wammy's House: Chapter 10 - Time Out

Time out means to take a break from your life, sit, have some quiet time, calm down. It can also be a time for reflection, evaluation and working out where you are going with your life.

Watari Pt 2: Wammy's House: Chapter 11 - Dirty Numb Angel Boy

This chapter title is a lyric from 'Born Slippy' by Underworld.

Watari Pt 2: Wammy's House: Chapter 12 - Watari

Watari in this sense is the position previously held by Quillsh Wammy and Roger Ruvie.

Watari Pt 2: Wammy's House: Chapter 13 - A New Song

'A new song' is a lyric from Abba's 'Chiquitita'. Mello shouts it (rather than sings, yes crack versions of this chapter do exist... *smirk*) at Matt in this chapter. He actually does that bit in Spanish.

Chiquitita (English version):

Chiquitita (Spanish version):

Watari Pt 2: Wammy's House: Chapter 14 - Fracture Lines

The fracture lines are both in Matt's mental health and in his relationship with Mello.

Watari Pt 2: Wammy's House: Chapter 15 - Changes

The chapter title is from 'Change (in the House of Flies' by Deftones. LoonyLoonyLaura mentioned it in connection with a scene from 'Poisoned Rationality' and so I went to listen. I was listening to it while I wrote this chapter.

Watari Pt 2: Wammy's House: Chapter 16 - Ghosts

Ghosts from Matt's past are haunting him. You don't have to be dead to leave a ghost in the energy field of a person or location.

Watari Pt 2: Wammy's House: Chapter 17 - Project Planning

I was writing this book as, in real life, my whole department was being made redundant. As I filled in half a million application forms, my boss kept on, 'don't forget to mention that you're good at project planning'. The comment just stuck in my head as I had to think of a title for this.

Matt's engaging in project planning, as he seeks to reconstitute the running of Wammy's House.

Watari Pt 2: Wammy's House: Chapter 18 - Setting an Example

Mello and Matt are role models for the children living in Wammy's House. Ann sometimes wishes that they weren't.

Watari Pt 2: Wammy's House: Chapter 19 - Birthright

Birthright consists of those rights which are claimed by sheer dint of being born. The 'Convention on the Rights of the Child' are the inalienable rights which every Wammy's House child possesses and, indeed, every other child too in the states that ratified the treaty.

This resolution may be read at the website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, at the United Nations.

Though Matt stated that it was the birthright of everyone there, he was incorrect in this statement. It was the birthright of Mello (ratified by both Yugoslavia and later Croatia); Matt (ratified by Spain); Deontic (ratified by Malaysia); Nathalie (ratified by the USSR and later the Russian Federation); Luigi (ratified by Liechtenstein); Fenian (ratified by the Republic of Ireland); Linda (ratified by Israel); Salvo (ratified by Zaire and later the Democratic Republic of Congo); Century (ratified by the United Kingdom); Chrissie (ratified by Canada); Lamond (ratified by Greece); and Mairoo (ratified by Japan). The positions of Hollow and Jonny are very slightly shakier, while Near cannot claim protection under the Convention at all.

The Convention was not supported by the United States or Somalia, therefore Near, as an American, was not covered by it. The objection by the United States was because the Convention made illegal the right to sentence children to death. America is one of four countries in the world that still allows the death penalty to be applied to children (a fifth country currently has a moratorium on it) and, at the time of writing, in 2009, the USA is responsible for all but one child execution in the past five years. Most of those executed were in the state of Texas.

That said, this story is set in 2010. In October 2008, President Obama stated that he was 'embarrassed' by the status of the United States and has promised to review the ratification of the 'Convention of the Rights of the Child' in his country. If he is successful, then Matt's statement that it was the birthright of them all would apply to future Wammy's House children born in the USA. As Near was born in 1991, it still would not have been his birthright. The Convention applies to those until the age of 18. Unless President Obama can abolish child execution and ratify the Convention before August 24th 2009, Near will be too old for it to ever have protected him.

Other exceptions:

  • Hollow was born in 1986, but Azerbaijan did not join the United Nations until 1992. It then ratified the Convention, thus she would have been covered by it in 2001, when she arrived at Wammy's House.
  • Jonny was born in March 1991, but Estonia did not join the United Nations until September 1991. It then ratified the Convention, thus he would have been covered by it in 2001, when he arrived at Wammy's House.

However, both Azerbaijan and Estonia were previously parts of the USSR, which was a member of the United Nations at the time and did ratify the Convention. They could both therefore make a legal case for the Convention being their birthright.

Watari Pt 2: Wammy's House: Chapter 20 - Administration of the House

The administration of the house refers to those running Wammy's House. However, it's also a term used, in Britain, for the government of a country.

Watari Pt 2: Wammy's House: Chapter 21 - Hiraeth

Hiraeth is a Welsh word, which does not easily translate into English. It means an intense longing for home that's a bit deeper than mere homesickness. You tend to feel hiraeth when you know that you're never going to see that place or people again.

In this chapter, it's Mello who is feeling hiraeth about his family and Yugoslav home.

Watari Pt 2: Wammy's House: Chapter 22 - Almost a History

Matt's lack of identity and unknown geneaological history have caused him distress for years. His anger at Roger has escalated into anger at Wammy's House and the Watari Network in general, which have caused him to really become upset about his origins recently.

In this chapter, he gains enough clues to piece together part of his history. The chapter title refers to this.

Watari Pt 2: Wammy's House: Chapter 23 - On Your Side

In this chapter, Mello reassures Matt that he's on his side. Matt's deteriating mental well-bring has led him recently to feeling extremely isolated.

Watari Pt 2: Wammy's House: Chapter 24 - Lifeline

Mello is Matt's lifeline. In this chapter, Mello manages to get through to his husband and to save him from himself.

Watari Pt 2: Wammy's House: Chapter 25 - Breaking and Entering

Mello and Matt test the security of Wammy's House by breaking into it.

Watari Pt 2: Wammy's House: Chapter 26 - The Great Love of my Life

I nicked this from an essay that I was reading about 'Wuthering Heights'. The original context was Cathy saying that Heathcliff was the great love of her life, but it's not a direct quotation from the book.

Matt is the great love of Mello's life.

Watari Pt 2: Wammy's House: Chapter 27 - Innocent Voices

This chapter title is named after the film, 'Innocent Voices', which is about child soldiers during the civil war in Salvador.


Full movie in Spanish with English subtitles - absolutely worth watching, if you ask me:

Another version of the above is here, if necessary.

Watari Pt 2: Wammy's House: Chapter 28 - The New Watari

This chapter title mostly refers to the position, previously held by Quillsh Wammy, Roger Ruvie and Matt. However, it also refers to the new resolution that they are working to write.

Watari Pt 2: Wammy's House: Chapter 29 - Alumni Aftercare

Article 16 of the new resolution being drafted as policy at Wammy's House states: 'The Institution has a duty of care for all of its alumni. The Board of Directors is responsible for ensuring that all civil and human rights are actioned in-house, if the nature of the Watari Network means that the individual cannot enjoy the full protection of the law of the land wherein they are resident.'

This is the alumni aftercare which is referenced by this chapter title.

Watari Pt 2: Wammy's House: Chapter 30 - Healing

After all of the recent, and not so recent, events, Mello is reeling, but has finally reached a plateau where he can stop for breath and heal emotionally from it all. Matt is also physically ill and can now safely go to bed until he's better. For both of them, the healing can begin.

Watari Pt 2: Wammy's House: Chapter 31 - Resolution

This chapter is the resolution that the alumni have been working to write.

Watari Pt 2: Wammy's House: Chapter 32 - Epilogue

This one is self-explanatory.