Somniloquy!

Tonight, Jason Tank recaps Parts Four and Five of The Kindly Ones.

Glyph’s introduction to Sandman, in three parts, here, here, and here.

Preludes and Nocturnes recaps here: Glyph and Patrick tackled the first four issues, Jaybird tackled the fifth, Glyph recapped six and seven. Mike Schilling recapped number eight.

A Doll’s House recaps here: KatherineMW took on the first two issues, then the next two issues. KatherineMW and Jason Tank then reviewed the fifth and sixth, respectively. Mike Schilling reviewed the final two issues.

Dream Country recaps here: Glyph reviewed Calliope then Jaybird and Maribou reviewed Dream of a Thousand Cats in the first review post for Dream Country. Alan Scott reviewed A Midsummer Night’s Dream then Mike Schilling reviewed Façade in the second.

Season of Mists recaps here: Jaybird reviewed the first two in this post. Jason Tank reviewed the next two here. Boegiboe reviewed the next two after that here and here. Ken reviewed the final two here.

A Game of You recaps here: Mike Schilling reviewed the first two in this post. Jason Tank and Mike Schilling tackled the next two issues here. Russell Saunders gave us the last two issues here.

Fables and Reflections recaps here: Ken and Jaybird reviewed the preview plus the first two issues here. Mike Schilling and Jaybird did the next two issues here. KatherineMW did the next issue here. Glyph, Ken, and Russell did the Sandman Special issues here.

Brief Lives recaps here: Jason Tank recapped Chapter 1 and Mike Schilling recapped Chapter 2 here. Reformed Republican recapped Chapter 3 and Jaybird recapped Chapter 4 here. Mike Schilling recapped Chapter 5 and Glyph recapped Chapter 6 here. Mike Schilling recapped Chapter 7 and Glyph recapped Chapter 8 here.

World’s End issues #51 (A Tale of Two Cities) and #52 (Cluracan’s Tale) reviewed here by Jason Tank and James K. Issues #53 (Hob’s Leviathan) and #54 (The Golden Boy) reviewed here by KatherineMW and Reformed Republican. Ken reviewed Issues #55 (Cerements) and #56 (“World’s End”) here.

The Kindly Ones recaps here: Mike Schilling recapped the Prologue to and Part One here. Glyph and Jaybird recapped parts two and three, respectively, here.

It’s very difficult to discuss this book without discussing the next one (or the one after that, or the one after that (if there were one after that, anyway.)) If you want to discuss something with a major plot point: please rot13 it. That’s a simple encryption that will allow the folks who want to avoid spoilers to avoid them and allow the people who want to argue them to argue them.

We good? We good! Everybody who has done the reading, see you below!

PART FOUR

We start as Remiel comes to visit Lucifer. Remiel has returned to the habit of floating, putting on airs that he’s still as pure as the day before he took over Hell. Mazikeen, in contrast, is scrubbing the floors. She directs him to Lucifer, where Remiel continues his sunniness and mentions how the early bird catches the worm, then gets biblical with reference to the “worm that dieth not”, itself a reference to the Old Testament.

Lucifer, typical night owl, hates this morning cheeriness and counters with sarcasm. He slowly tears into Remiel, first forcing him to admit that he wishes Lucifer to return (giving a classic “HAHAHA-no” answer), then following with a withering review of Remiel’s character, to the point where he even deduces that Duma had to take the key. This angers Remiel enough to spit on Lucifer, who makes a point of telling Remiel exactly how little he thinks of him: not even worth the trouble of killing. Remiel returns to Hell shaken, but still manages to lie (by implication) to Duma about why he never got around to asking “about the Dream King situation”…

Title page: Can we just stare at this one a while? I give the artist grief, but he’s excellent at surreal art like this. On one side, Lyta walks the waking world. On the other, she walks the lands of the Space Coyote (voiced by Johnny Cash). It’s gorgeous.

In the fantasy, she meets a woman in Robin Hood garb, speaking in a vaguely Scottish way. In reality, she’s a scantily-dressed woman who gives down-on-her-luck Lyta a coin. In fantasy, she warns Lyta not to refer to “them” as furies.

Next she finds a naked female cyclops bound to sevens (like Dream’s family, maybe). In reality, she’s either a bespectacled man or a crosswalk button. Again, she is warned not to call them furies.

A cat crosses Lyta’s path. In fantasy, it’s Bast with an eyepatch. She says to call them “the nice ladies” or “the kind ladies”, then leaves to fulfill her part in a story, one she can never leave. The transformation game echoes the one where Dream reclaimed his helm in Hell, way back in the first collection. Being stuck in a story one must fulfill… that’s right up Dream’s alley, too.

Meanwhile, Rose is having a sex dream that makes me jealous, because I never get any even halfway this good. She’s interrupted when she noticed Abel peeping at her, clutching a bucket of popcorn. This isn’t the timid, “nice” Abel I would have expected, but it makes sense.

Carla interrupts, waking her. Rose explains her dream, and mentions something about wanting Abel’s eyes to fall out. In the background, there’s a poster of a man wearing dark sunglasses. Foreshadowing. Get it?

Carla can’t find Lyta. Rose is in town for a dying friend. The cops never talked to Rose, and the card they gave Carla is now blank. Odd.

Meanwhile, Lyta has stumbled upon a house with two women inside. They appear to be wearing wedding dresses with veils, much like what Zelda and Chantal used to wear back in “A Game of You”, and their home is full of statues. They are Stheno and Euryale, and they miss their dead, mortal sister, and want to return to being a mystical trio.

Outside, Lyta comes across a three-headed serpent in an apple tree with the names Aegle, Erythia, and Arethusa. The apples give something like immortality, and Gaiman makes the biblical comparison bluntly. The snake also breaks down Hippolyta Hall’s name into its component parts: a Queen of the Amazons, a corridor connecting places, and “less dark”. It’s foreshadowing: Gur svefg vf ure, gur frpbaq ure dhrfg, naq gur guveq vf gur erfhyg bs gung dhrfg, Qnavry nf gur arj Qernz.

The snake warns her that eating the sisters’ food and sleeping in their house could change her, but she eats anyway. In reality, Lyta eats a rotten apple from a dumpster, a lizard of some sort watching her from above. We don’t see what form the two women have in the real world.

Meanwhile, Dream finds the Corninthian’s skull, duplicates it, and take the new one out into the Dreaming. Matthew and Lucius miss Nuala, and Mervyn is comic relief, as usual. Morpheus makes two comments find interesting. First: a half-wit may say the emperor has no clothes, but the emperor is still an emperor and the half-wit is still a half-wit. Second: he is as much an aspect of the Dreaming as the Dreaming is an aspect of him.

Dream places the skull within a newly re-created Corinthian, and he awakens. At this point, I’m going to point out something I read elsewhere: of all the major characters in this arc, most are drawn with hard, angular lines. The Corinthian and Daniel are the only two who aren’t. Make of that what you will.

PART FIVE

Lyta has slept in the sisters’ home. As promised, changes start to take place: she grows snakes in her hair. The missing sister is named: Medusa. Lyta finally realizes they are Gorgons and flatly rejects the offer to become their third. She has a powerful moment where she swears she will have her revenge… and quickly undercuts it by complaining that her hair drank most of her water.

Meanwhile, Rose meets her dying friend. It’s Zelda, and she still has spiders on display in her room. She looks awful, like a walking corpse, but she’s only 30 years old. Rose is paying her bills. Zelda has two things to say to Rose. First, dying makes you horny as fuck. Second, Rose’s dead grandma Unity wants her to visit the place where she slept.

Meanwhile, the Corinthian, Matthew and Dream discuss life, after a fashion. Everything has a purpose, a nature. Dream sends them off together to find a boy and bring him to the Dreaming….

Meanwhile, Titania and Nuala banter in Faerie. Nuala has changed much, and Titania is not pleased.

Meanwhile, Lyta has taken leave of the sisters. For a brief moment, we see that they have no real-world analogue. In a closeup, however, they have the gaunt face of Zelda and spiders aplenty.

Meanwhile, Carla discovers the police haven’t heard anything about a kidnapping, and Pinkerton and Fellowes don’t seem to exist on the force. As she gives up and leaves, a crazy man tells her that Lyta has people in her head and snakes in her hair….

Carla goes home and finds the picture of burned-up Daniel. It spontaneously unburns itself, and the image of Daniel gurgles out Carla’s name. Then it explodes into a minor inferno that scorches Carla from hand to elbow. Rose arrives, back from Zelda, and bandages her up.

Meanwhile, Lyta talks with two versions of herself in the mirror. They tell her that her task is doomed to fail.

Later, Pinkerton catches up with Carla. He does some Jedi mind tricks on Carla, forces her to sit paralyzed in a car, then incinerates them both. He reveals himself as Loki Skywalker and announces, “I will be under an obligation to no one.”

Regarding Loki’s actions: Guvf vf nobhg nf pybfr nf lbh trg gb na rkcynangvba sbe Ybxv’f npgvbaf. Vg’f abg rknpgyl pyrne jul ur jnagrq gb ohea Qnavry’f zbegnyvgl njnl, naq vg’f abg pyrne vs ur’f qbvat guvf ng nalbar ryfr’f ovqqvat, ohg vg’f pyrne ur jnagf gb qrfgebl Qernz, naq vg’f cbffvoyr, gubhtu abg irel cynhfvoyr, gung ur pbhyq sbefrr gung Qnavry jbhyq or gur arj nfcrpg bs Qernz (juvpu ur pbhyq cbffvoyl pbageby, be ng yrnfg abg unir n qrog gbjneqf) naq gung xvqanccvat uvz jbhyq yrnq gb Zbecurhf’f qbjasnyy.

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15 thoughts on “Somniloquy!

  1. The first of these issues did a very good job of making you wonder how much of Lyta’s Delirium (there’s that word!) is representative of her own personal experience and how much is actually happening behind the curtain that she, somehow, fought to get behind. (Those of you who remember American Gods, I flashed back to the scene where Laura asked for a glass of water.)

    I don’t know that Loki’s actions are attributable to what he might be foreseeing as much as he saw that Lyta was a gun, cocked and loaded. Loki pulled the trigger.

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    • V nyjnlf gubhtug ur jnf qbvat Qernz’f ovqqvat. Ur jnf cerccvat Qnavry gb gnxr uvf cynpr. Vg jnf nyy neenatrq ol Zbecurhf, jurgure Ybxv naq Chpx ernyvmrq vg pbzcyrgryl be abg. Obgu bs gurz ner va gur zbegny jbeyq jvgubhg crezvffvba, ohg Qernz ranoyrq gurz gb fgnl. Gurl bjr uvz n snibe. V guvax guvf vf Qernz pnfuvat va nf ur pbzzvg fhvpvqr va gur zbfg qenzngvp jnl cbffvoyr.

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      • V qba’g xabj vs V oryvrir gung. Qernz znxrf naq fvpf gur Pbevaguvna ba gurz, juvpu vf n fuvggl guvat gb qb gb n thl va lbhe rzcybl. Naq Ybxv’f “V jvyy or haqre na boyvtngvba gb ab bar” frrzf yvxr fbzrbar gelvat gb trg bhg bs na boyvtngvba engure guna shysvyyvat bar. V fhccbfr Qernz pbhyq unir nfxrq Ybxv gb srgpu Qnavry, naq Ybxv vafgrnq whfg znqr bss jvgu gur xvq… ohg gura gurer’f gur ceboyrz bs Qernz nggrzcgvat gb xvyy Ylgn yngre. Naq V guvax vg jbhyq or jrveq sbe gur fgbel gb abg rire zragvba gung Ybxv jnf nfxrq ol Qernz gb qb nalguvat. V fhccbfr guvf pbhyq nyy or n Ongzna Tnzovg ur frg hc hapbafpvbhfyl, naq frg hc fb jryy gung vg rira nssrpgrq uvz, ohg V whfg qba’g oryvrir vg.

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      • – ohg Qernz bayl fraqf gur Pbevaguvna nsgre Ybxv oernxf pbagenpg naq tbrf ebthr (juvpu Qernz xarj, be ng yrnfg ubcrq, ur jbhyq). Erzrzore gung Qernz rkcyvpvgyl pbagenpgrq sbe na boyvtngvba sebz Ybxv, sbe ercynpvat Ybxv va uvf cevfba jvgu n “ubybtenz”, naq jr’ir arire frra jung gung boyvtngvba vf.

        V guvax Ybxv GUVAXF ur’f pnhfvat Qernz gebhoyr ol oernxvat uvf boyvtngvba, naq uvf oheavat Pneyn gb qrngu jnf nyzbfg pregnvayl abg cneg bs Qernz’f cyna; ohg V guvax Zbecurhf ratvarrerq guvf jubyr guvat.

        I’m sure we’ll talk about all this again later :-)

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      • Vs Qernz frag Ybxv gb qb nal bs guvf… jul abg gryy gur Pbevaguvna? “Url, V arrq lbh gb svaq guvf obl. Ur yvirf ng guvf cynpr. Tb gurer. Bu, naq V gbyq guvf bgure thl gb qb fbzrguvat gb uvz, svefg. Lbh cebonoyl qba’g arrq gb xabj gung. Pbhyqa’g cbffvoyl uryc.”

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      • – Bar, Qernz qbrfa’g xabj jurer Ybxv/Qnavry vf abj. Jura Ybxv jrag bss-erfreingvba, ur cerfhznoyl jnf fzneg rabhtu gb YVGRENYYL tb bss-erfreingvba. Gjb, Qernz znl or gelvat gb xrrc uvf bja vaibyirzrag n frperg. Naq guvf vf yrnivat nfvqr gur cbffvovyvgl ur’f fnvq fghss gb gur Pbevaguvna “bss-fperra”.

        Like I said, I am sure we’ll discuss this again further down the road.

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      • V xabj jr pbhyq xrrc nethvat guvf sberire, uru. Urer’f zl gubhtug cebprff va fhzznel:

        Zbecurhf fraqf Znggurj naq Gur Pbevaguvna gb Rnegu gb trg Qnavry, naq gur ynggre fgehttyrf jvgu Pneyn’f ynfg ivfvbaf orsber svanyyl vqragvslvat Ybxv. Zbecurhf vf yngre fhecevfrq gung gur gjb unir yrsg gur jnxvat jbeyq jura gurl jrer fhccbfrq gb or trggvat Qnavry. Guvf znxrf zr guvax gung Qernz qvqa’g xabj Ybxv unq Qnavry, rvgure.

        Bqva gryyf Zbecurhf ubj Ybxv punsrf gb or orubyqra. Xvyyvat Pneyn, Ybxv snveyl naabhaprf gung guvf vf uvf jnl bs trggvat bhg bs na boyvtngvba. Naq ng gur raq, va n zbzrag bs pynevgl, Ybxv ernyvmrf ur unq orra znavchyngrq. Guvf znxrf zr guvax gung Ybxv jnfa’g npgvat ng Qernz’f cebzcgvat.

        Abar bs guvf nqqf hc gb Ybxv naq Qernz xabjvatyl jbexvat gbtrgure gbjneqf na raq. Vg cbvagf zber gb n fhopbafpvbhf npgvba ba Qernz’f cneg nyy gur jnl onpx va Frnfba bs Zvfgf. (Be cbffvoyl rira sebz Yhpvsre’f qrfver gb qrfgebl uvz.) Juvpu oevatf zr onpx gb gur dhrfgvba: jung qvq Ybxv guvax ur jbhyq tnva ol znxvat Qnavry vzzbegny?

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  2. I am not sure if this has been pointed out in a previous week, but the first panel of each of the issues in this arc has some sort of thread running across it, along with dialogue that could come from one of The Ladies. In the first issue, it actually is the ladies with their actual thread of fate. There are a couple issues in the middle that do not have the image (I am not sure why), but it is apparent in most of the issues. It is a really nice touch in this arc.

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  3. Being stuck in a story one must fulfill… that’s right up Dream’s alley, too. – There was an AVClub article on Breaking Bad the other day, talking about the concept of The Clockwork Universe, but as dramatic setting rather than philosophical or scientific worldview:

    http://www.avclub.com/articles/how-breaking-bad-broke-free-of-the-clockworkuniver,101278/

    One thing that I think makes Sandman so satisfying as story, and I talked about this way back in my series introduction without using those exact words, is that it is set in exactly such a clockwork universe, in which a limited number of parts and players keep intersecting, inexorably, to move the plot forward. In my writeup of a couple issues ago, I didn’t point out that Rose Walker was Daniel’s babysitter “Rose” – but OF COURSE she would be. It couldn’t be anybody else.

    Titania is not pleased. Once again, we get the implication that Titania and Morpheus are (or were) more than friends. Titania seems more than a bit jealous.

    Regarding Loki’s actions: V crefbanyyl fhofpevor gb gur gurbel gung Zbecurhf, creuncf vaqverpgyl, vf Ybxv’f rzcyblre urer – naq gung Zbecurhf unq Ybxv xvqanc Qnavry cerpvfryl ORPNHFR ur xarj Ybxv, tbq bs sver naq jvg naq ungr, jbhyq varivgnoyl “orgenl” uvz naq ohea Qnavry, juvpu vf jung Zbecurhf hygvzngryl arrqrq gb unccra.

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    • Ybxv’f ernpgvba ng gur raq bs guvf nep ornef gung bhg. Ur jnf hfrq ohg jnfa’g njner ur jnf orvat hfrq hagvy gur irel raq. Gur bayl cneg V’z crefbanyyl hapyrne ba vf vs Qernz jnf pbafpvbhfyl frggvat guvf hc be hapbafpvbhfyl qbvat fb.

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  4. In the fantasy, … In reality, …

    I’m not so sure there’s a difference; or if there is, which is more important.

    I’m also in complete agreement with RR’s and Glyph’s interpretations. Wheels within wheels…

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    • I pointed out the fantasy/reality thing because it shows a difference between some of the things she encounters. Some are trying to help her, and they have real-world analogues. Others are trying to hurt her, and they are, as the homeless guy said, only in her head.

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