Tonight, Glyph recaps Part Two and Jaybird Part Three of The Kindly Ones.
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.
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.[/efn_note] 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 after the cut!
The Kindly Ones – Part Two
We open in Lyta’s apartment – Carla on the phone with police dispatch to report Daniel’s abduction, Lyta catatonic, and the TV news confirming that Vonda and Harvey’s night out did not end happily, as The Lightbringer had predicted.
Two or more hours later, two comically-mismatched LA detectives from Central Casting show up – the tall thin one is Lieutenant Luke Pinkerton (like the detective agency, he says) and the short fat one is Gordy Fellowes.
Lyta gives her report to the detectives – she went out for a job interview at Lux’s, got a bad feeling, came home to find the babysitter asleep on the floor (“like a dead thing”) and Daniel gone. The doors were locked, though Lyta broke the locks in her haste to enter.
The detectives leave, after tactfully inquiring to Carla about Lyta’s sanity (obliquely confirmed by Carla as precarious, so long as her son is missing) and giving her the old “don’t call us, we’ll call you” speech.
Cut to: The Dreaming, where Cluracan is being admitted to Morpheus’ castle; he says he comes as a private individual wishing to visit his sister, rather than as an envoy of Faerie.
He is admitted, and told to keep to the path to get to his sister; but Cluracan being a feckless faerie, he immediately gets distracted and wanders from the path, and in a pretty disturbing sequence, vomits up a life-size and apparently very angry stag.
Before he can get impaled by said stag, his sister Nuala shows up and rescues him, chewing him out for leaving the path and creating his Nemesis (man, I HATE it when that happens), also known as The Wild Hart.
They return to her quarters and chat – Cluracan tells her that news of the events at The Inn At The End Of All Worlds has caused their Queen to send him (unofficially) to request that Nuala return home to Faerie.
She’s not too happy about that, and opines that Morpheus won’t release her from his service. But off they go to ask.
Back on Earth, Lyta had a nightmare, and is telling Carla about it.
In Lyta’s dream, she wakes up and goes downstairs to find three witches. Yep, them again. They are their usual prickly, passive-aggressive, helpfully-unhelpful oracular selves, and give her the following pieces of information:
1.) Lyta has already met Daniel’s abductors.
2.) Those abductors are going to put Daniel “in the fire”.
3.) The Weird Sisters want to help Lyta, and this is the first of three times.
Lyta doesn’t trust dreams (“Dreams lie”), nor the detectives.
Back in The Dreaming, Cluracan and Nuala are wandering through Morpheus’ palace, wondering how to find him so they can make their request. Nobody really seems to know how to seek an audience with Morpheus, confirming again that he’s a “don’t call me, I’ll call you” kind of boss.
(Side note: Lord Ruthven is a vampire, though why he’s also a rabbit in The Dreaming is anybody’s guess. Maybe he’s a vampire dreaming he’s a rabbit.)
Anyway, Cluracan’s drunk, so he proposes they just go to the Throne Room, bang on the door and announce themselves.
Morpheus admits them, and after some impertinent banter from Cluracan in which he stresses again that the request for Nuala’s return is not an official one from the Fae Queen (but unofficially she’d be most pleased with Nuala’s return to Faerie), Morpheus agrees to the proposition.
Morpheus makes a parting gift to Nuala; he enchants her pendant (the same one that his ex- gave her) so that it can be used to summon him for a single boon.
This doesn’t make her happy; she’s hurt that he let her go so easily.
But go they do.
The Kindly Ones – Part Three
A fire is being stoked. Perhaps it’s a metaphor.
Two of our friends are here: Loki and… am I mistaken or is that Puck? Puck is reeling in a particular fish at the end of a silver cord and, for a second, it reminded me of the three fates playing with their bit of string… and with that particular framing, we hear Loki tell a story about the time he made Thor think he was pregnant. (I tried to google this but found a lot… I mean, a LOT a lot… of homemade slashfic stories on this same theme and, as such, I gave up looking for whether Gaiman is retelling a Thor/Loki story or if he was making up a Thor/Loki story that would fit right in to the other stories where stuff kinda like that happened.)
Anyway, the story explores a fair amount of scatology as these stories are surprisingly wont to do and we end up with Ratatosk, the squirrel who lives in The World Tree, pulling a cork out of Thor’s butt and causing a commotion resulting in Thor affirming his motherly affection for the now scat-spattered sciurida.
And I’m stuck wondering if I should say “those wacky Norse!” or “that wacky Gaiman!”
Anyway, after a moment where Puck seems to be glaring at Loki (defensive on the part of the poor Ratatosk?), Puck cracks up… and we see what he has been reeling in. It’s little Daniel who has arrived holding a phoenix feather. (“They’re lucky.” “For whom?”)
And in a surprisingly disturbing scene, we see Loki, the son of Fárbauti and Laufey, the brother of Helblindi and Býleistr, the father of Hel, the wolf Fenrir, and the world serpent Jörmungandr, place Daniel in the now-roaring fire.
Off to the cemetery, then. Off to visit Hob Gadling who is visiting yet another of his friends who died before he did. Hob gives a lovely speech on the meaning of life, wand’ring through such territory as whether she’s listening, what she smelled like, what it’s like (and how) to not die, and what the point of sex eventually seems to be. “It never gets any easier. People you love not being there anymore.”
Yeah, I imagine that it wouldn’t.
Hob has forgotten what she smelled like.
Leaving the cemetery, we encounter Dream and he and Hob shuffle off to a pub for a drink…
Just in time for us to visit Destiny in his garden as he sees himself.
Just in time for us to visit Desire as s/he proverbially takes the phone off the hook.
Just in time for us to visit Despair as she notices Desire’s “Do Not Disturb” and takes a moment to go inward.
Just in time for us to visit Delirium as she pulls herself together long enough to remember that she had a dog.
And Hob and Dream are discussing Hob’s visit to the graveyard and what is in Dream’s power to do… “I could make it so that you would dream of her each night but you would not thank me for that.”
Yeah… I imagine that he wouldn’t.
Hob and Dream talk some more and Dream advises Hob away from revenge (“It tends to have repercussions”) and Hob decides on the drunk driver who killed his dear one to know who he killed and why the world is now poorer for what he did… and it is done.
Dream says goodbye with a “I should not have come” and a “There is nothing wrong” (which would have counted as foreshadowing back in the Everyman days) and Hob then chases after Dream to tell him something he should know… Death has a smell. You smell it on a guy and two weeks later he ends up with his throat cut in an alley… and Dream *STINKS* of it.
(Perhaps that’s why he’s forgotten what his love smelled like…)
And there is Lyta.
She is taking Daniel’s disappearance as well as can be expected. She seems to be sleepwalking through her day and in a scary page, we see her go to the grocery store and see exactly how thin the thread of her sanity is. She repeats that she must be strong for Daniel like it is her mantra and we see that she’s this close to snapping. She’s not sleepwalking. She’s holding herself back.
We see Eric come over to visit and Lyta barely notices and he makes the bad (like, Biblically bad) decision to attempt to hit on her and she casually, barely thinking about it, breaks his arm for his trouble. Carla responds to this as good friends do and Lyta, again, barely notices. Carla leaves and, again…
We see that Lyta is avoiding sleep (to avoid dreaming) and avoiding food (but not really noticing) and the morning comes and so do some detectives to tell her that they have found a body and the body has been badly burned and the footprints of the body check out to be Daniel’s and they have a photograph. It’s a child. It’s badly burned.
And we see Lyta remembering Dream’s promise to her that he will, one day, come to take Daniel back.
And we see Lyta let herself go.