There's this text in Quirke's Comprehensive Grammar:
The author later states that when the content of the dream is narrated, the past tenses 'was threatening','had' relate not to 'breakfast time', but to an earlier point (namely just before the girl's awakening).
If these actions happened before some other explicit time point, why do they have the past tense without perfective? I'm guessing it's because the past-in-the-past time is being identified by 'In my sister's dream', so there's no real need for the perfective to do it - but I'm not sure if that's the right interpretation.
A similar example from another book:
I rolled to my hands and knees, shook myself all over and then came to my feet. A dream, I told myself. Only a dream. Fear and shame washed over me, dirtying me in their passage. In my dream I had pleaded for mercy as I had not in reality.
What's the difference? Any help? Thanks.