Tonight, Mike is all at sixes and sevens recapping 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. Glyph and Jaybird recapped parts two and three, respectively, here. Jayson Tank recapped parts four and five 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 below!
This is the only issue of The Kindly Ones so far that stays with a single character’s POV. (Other than the interpolated story.) Rose, flying to the UK, dreams of the old days we saw in The Doll’s House. And once again she wakes uncomfortably and meets a lawyer at the airport. This time, it’s young Mr. Holdaway, the previous one’s nephew. He amuses us (and, I suspect himself) by talking like a stage Englishman: “dicky heart”, “a good innings”, and so on. He drives Rose to the nursing home where her grandmother had slept her life away, and then leaves to check her into the White Hart (which is where Arthur C. Clarke set his hi-tech tall tales, though the reference seems to be just a throwaway), first introducing her to Paul McGuire, the owner/manager/chief attorney (it’s unclear which), and the duty nurse. Rose tells them that she wants just to look around, and proceeds to do so.
She goes to her grandmother’s old room, but it’s empty, and there’s nothing to see. Next door is the janitor’s closet, again nothing, but she attracts the attention of one of the residents, a chatty woman named Amelia. By the time they go down to the day room, we’ve heard much of her life story: during WWII, she had an child with a black GI, and gave him up for adoption. She introduces Rose to two other women: a very old one named Magda, and the mysterious Helena, whose last name is hard to pronounce. Again, three women, and we know Amelia is a mother and Magda a crone. They’re playing a very odd game of checkers where the black and white pieces are on opposite colors, and so could never be captured.
Now Magda tells a story that seems like one of Grimm’s fairy tales before it was prettified. A man seduces a woman, promising to marry her, saying that if doesn’t, may the worms will eat him and their children grow wings and fly away. He then kills an old woman for her home, and moves himself and the woman in. He continues to treat her badly, eventually murdering her. At which point, of course, the children fly back to see what he’s done, and kill him with their beaks and talons. Then the dead woman, now a giant worm, proceeds to eat him.
Helena volunteers that revenge is sacred; she herself had spent decades pursuing a man who had killed someone she loved, to at last ruin his life and then kill him. When Rose asks if she’s joking, She says “Yes, of course.” Uh-huh. (Needless to say, it’s a good description of what Lyta intends for Dream.) All three agree that it was a tragedy for Unity to have slept her life away, since being a woman is an important job: as a mother, says Amelia; and a maiden, adds Helena; and at the end of their lives, finishes Magda.
Roses says good-bye, to wander off. Playing with her grandmother’s ring, she sees a cat (inside) and an owl (outside, in the lightning.) Paul McGuire comes by, and tells Rose that the Hundred Acre Wood is nearby; as a boy he had spent time there looking for the lost, original Piglet doll. He takes her downstairs to see another sleeper, Alex Burgess (the son of the magician who had captured Dream), who holds what looks for all the world like Piglet. Rose leaves him her grandmother’s ring and goes, as McGuire holds Burgess’s hand and reflects on the sins of the father.
Thessaly takes a cab to the (pretty awful) part of town where Lyta has wandered to. Lyta is sleeping. A homeless man had tried to touch her, but she dissuaded him by breaking his arm. Thessaly speaks to Lyta, calling herself Larissa, which is a town in Thessaly. Lyta sees her as a white bird and follows her. They leave in the taxi. The homeless men invent a story to explain what they’ve just seen, involving robots, space aliens, and the CIA, little knowing that its real flaw is not being weird enough.
Meanwhile, back in the Dreaming, Dream has a caller, fella name of Odin, who is none too happy with him for freeing Loki. Doesn’t he know that Loki is incapable of gratitude, and will repay good with evil? The ravens will soon be coming to the Dreaming, whatever that means. (It sounds bad. At least Matthew will have some company. and maybe get his questions answered.) Odin asks the big question: Is Dream behind everything that’s happening, or its victim? He gets no answer, and leaves more in sorrow than in anger.
Delirium, whom we last saw as fish (not a euphemism), is concerned that Barnabas the dog is missing. She has come to Destiny’s realm to ask about him, and he warns her that if she finds the dog, she’ll also find troubles. They are standing in front of a set of statues of their family. Dream still looks as devastated as he did after Orpheus’s death. Delirium asks if she should help him, and Destiny duplicates himself to say both yes and no. Then he disappears, and Del must choose which one to listen to.
Back at Thessaly’s house, Lyta still sees her as a bird. Thessaly gives her magical protections, first a potion of honey and leaves, then she sacrifices a lamb, and, a bit bloody, sits down with a good book. (One about Richard Dadd, a 19th Century painter known for fairies and other supernatural subjects.) Lyta now dreams than she is climbing down a steep cliff, She finds a vanity, where she sees herself at various ages, none of whom are happy with her. She smashes the mirror (like Tommy?) and finds a small cottage where she has at last found the Furies.
We now intercut between stories quickly:
Dream visits Fiddler’s Green, in a snippy mood. He and Gilbert quibble.
The Furies offer Lyta a fortune cookie, with a suitably dark and portentous fortune.
Gilbert tries to be kind to Dream, but he talks only of his responsibilities.
The Furies suggest that they are the Furies but also much more.
The Raven who attends the goddess of war joins a passing flock of ravens. (Even though ravens do not flock.)
The Furies do not like that name. It’s sexist.
Matthew and The Corinthian come to Lyta’s apartment, clearly much too late.
Lyta announces that she wants to destroy Dream.
Ravens are flying from everywhere, even Hell. Also London, where the old belief is that if the ravens ever leave the Tower, the kingdom will fall.
The Furies tell Lyta that they can’t avenge her husband and son. They could hound and destroy Dream only if he had a blood debt, that is, had killed his own family. She is in such despair that she claws her own arm bloody. Only then do they let her know — Dream did just that.