Tonight, Jaybird and Jason Tank handle the duties of recapping The Kindly Ones chapters eight and nine.
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.
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. Jason Tank recapped parts four and five here. Mike Schilling recapped issues six and seven 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!
We begin with the perfect moment of a thread and a pair of scissors, the scissors open and the thread centered between the blades just so… and start.
We’re using the variant names for the days of the week (some you’ll recognize, some you won’t). Moonday. We see a day’s work. Dream holds audiences and entertains, he wanders the dreaming to make sure that things are shipshape, and speaks with the gods who make requests of him. In a little sad paragraph, we see him give a dream to a tortoise… a dream of the tortoise’s centuries’ gone love. It doesn’t mention whether the tortoise was grateful upon awaking.
Truesday. Much like the day before… audiences, wandering around kicking tires, a visit to nightmare…
Wodensday. He’s at the Castle in the Heart of The Dreaming and we see that Odin Himself stops by but no more details than that they speak. We see him talk to the help and we get a hint of what is behind the colored glass in the throne room: “the raw stuff, untamed, that is central to The Dreaming.”
Thirstsday. He chooses to wander the waking world, listens to a song here, check some vandalism there, watches Shakespeare in the Park, checks on his real estate… you know, I’m kinda getting the feeling that we’re getting a look into the window of “A Normal Week For Dream”.
Fire’s Day. Hey, there’s Delirium. She, apparently, lost her dog. She also is having pronoun problems switching who “he” refers to mid-breath… we hammer out that she visited Destiny and she saw that Dream’s statue was all “sadly”. She asks if he (Dream) would like to go look for the dog and, it turns out, he doesn’t. He gives a short speech about responsibility and Delirium gives us an example of one of the things that she knows that the others do not. You can be out one day and be entranced by a bolt of lightning… and, from that point, people will stop at that place and stare up at the sky and not know what they were looking for… but others will see the ghost lightning. Still others will be killed by it. “Our existence deforms the universe. That’s Responsibility.”
And so, of course, Dream sends a nightmare who is, presumably, good at this sort of thing off with Delirium to find the dog.
Flash over to Rose who is writing about her Friday… she met with her solicitor and had a lovely meal and a lovely walk and a lovely drink and decided to solicit him. “Bring a condom. Bring a pack.” (Oh, the 90’s!)
The Corinthian and Matthew are having a Friday as well. They’re in a morgue and the nightmare flashes back to the Oran Otan from Dream’s meeting with Destruction back at the Royal Society (lavender’s blue, dilly dilly) and they bond for a moment over the thought that “it is strange not being the first of your kind”. From there we discover that some of the theories of the last moments of murder victims are, in fact, true. The last thing you see before you die is recorded on your eyes… you just need to figure out how to develop the images. The Corinthian has brought his darkroom.
He sees who killed Carla. He knows who stole Daniel.
Back in the dreaming, at the end of the day, we see that “a number of ravens” have arrived. (A group of ravens is called an unkindness or a conspiracy, for the record.) The ravens are waiting.
Satyrday. The Kindly Ones arrive at the castle and we get a glimpse of what they are capable of when they are inclined to be capable. The Nice Ladies say that they wish to meet with Dream. The Gryphon, the Wyvern, and the Pegasus stand watch and tell the Kindly Ones to go away and warn of what will happen if they do not.
The Nice Ladies do not leave.
The Gryphon leaps and, with a sentence, the Gryphon surrenders “to Time and to the Grave”.
The Nice Ladies repeat that they want to see Dream. The Wyvern asks (almost begs) to fight the Kindly Ones himself but Dream tells him to let them through. After a warning to not stray from the path, the Wyvern adds “You killed my friend, Woman. Stray from your path.” (Though I cannot help but wonder if we wouldn’t just as quickly have a second skeleton on the steps.)
Dream offers a greeting to Lyta Hall and she sets him straight: “We are the Kindly Ones.” The Erinyes, vengeance, hatred unending. “We are your Doom.”
When asked why they are here, they say that they are there to give advice… but the advice is more of the “We are going to kill you” form than the “here’s what you need to do to not die” form. Dream explains that they won’t, not in The Dreaming, anyway. They ask about the Gryphon and leave.
Dream then gets on the phone and calls the Corinthian and Matthew for a status report. “You’re not in the waking world.” “The child is not in the waking world.” The call concludes and we find that, wherever these guys are, wolves are there. Wolves with tasty, tasty eyes.
We see how others spend their Saturday Night. The Lightbringer sings some Cole Porter and realizes that he’s sort of lost his taste for the whole piano bar thing. (Personally, I’m surprised it lasted as long as it did.) Thessaly (now Larissa) is enjoying a bowl of stew and, as it turns out, she is still pretty good at the whole auguration thing and she sees that someone worth being concerned about is coming tomorrow. Nuala spends her day sitting in the garden and trying to remember what she used to do for fun.
And Rose, it turns out, has a serious crush on her solicitor who is, as it turns out, spoken for.
Son’s Day. Dream (and many of the others we recognize) have the first funeral. That’s the phrase they use “The First Funeral”.
Scissors. Almost time to cut that thread.
It’s the same Sunday as the funeral of the gryphon. We can tell, because Rose is singing “Sunday Morning”, most likely by The Velvet Underground. It’s about waking up in the aftermath of depression and bad decisions, but it feels like things may get better. Poor Rose. She’s visiting the home of Alex Burgess, still in the grip of the endless awakenings Morhpeus cursed him with. She is shown around by Paul McGuire, Alex’s old lover, until he is too tired to continue. She obtains a rose from a garden, then discovers the secret room where Morpheus was held for decades. And who else should be there but her grandfather Desire, who says that s/he was the one who sent for her. But at his/her prompting, Rose begins to rant about love. Hearing this, Desire tells her that she was more likeable when she claimed not to feel anything. Moments later, Mr. McGuire finds Rose asleep, alone. She feels as if the conversation was a dream, but Paul finds Desire’s heart-shaped lighter…
Matthew and the Corninthian are at Swartalfheim, the Norse home of the creatures called (depending on translation) either Black Elves or Dwarves. Matthew feels a tug to return to the Dreaming. An eye-mouth tells him to fight it. They come across a silver cord, and then… Morpheus? Matthew buys right into the deception, but the Corninthian sees through it and strangles him. The being transforms into a werewolf, a copy of the Corninthian (“credit me with at least the wit to know which one of us I am”), fire, Daniel, and finally Loki himself. Loki tries to bribe his way out, but then gives way to truth: kill me and the curse of a god will follow you. The Corninthian agrees not to kill him, but to make him beg for death. He snaps Loki’s neck, paralyizing him. An eye-mouth speaks: “Have you never wondered… what it must be like to see the world through the eyes of a god?”
First person view: The Furies. They analyze Cain. No, old, well-gaurded, more than what he seems. Eve? No, she is one of us. Unwise. Fiddler’s Green? YES. HERE. They kill a bear and an eagle, summoning Gilbert, who polishes his glasses and politely tells them they’re being a disturbance. They stab him through the chest. He has enough time and enough sense of style to give us a death scene, lamenting at the end that he’s dying for no apparent reason… “Hoom.”
Matthew finally succumbs to the calling, despite his wishes. Matthew informs Morhpeus of Loki’s involvement, and Morpheus tells him that Gilbert is dead. This is the last straw, if you will, so Morpheus goes to the waking world to find Lyta. Thessaly is having a nightmare, but it fades as he comes in. He discovers that she has protected Lyta within a circle he cannot cross. Thessaly says she made a deal with The Three, and this is essentially how she’s fulfilling it. Morpheus admits he could kill her without breaking the circle, but it would mean breaking the rules, and he just can’t do that. So, he leaves. But not without throwing a small tantrum and smashing all her windows as he goes.
Matthew meets Noah’s first raven, simply called Raven, on the corpse of Gilbert. Matthew declines to eat the eyes, leaving them for Raven. He has enough humanity in him to respect Gilbert’s body. But he has realized why they have all been drawn back here: a huge battle is coming, and there will be more than enough bodies to go around.
The Corinthian pulls on the silver cord, discovering Daniel at the end.