Tonight, Mike starts off The Wake with chapters 1 and 2.
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. Jaybird and Jason Tank tackled issues eight and nine here. Jaybird recapped ten and eleven here. Mike recapped twelve and thirteen 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!
Since the title of these issues is The Wake, and one of the most (in)famous books in (more or less) the English language is often called The Wake, and Neil Gaiman is a
giant nerd noted bibliophile, I was expecting to find many references to the latter in the text. Nope. Not even one, at least that I could spot. No HCEs, no ALPs, no Shems, no Shauns, no hundred-letter thunder-words (bababadalgharaghtakamminarronnkonnbronntonnerronntuonnthunntrovarrhounawnskawntoohoohoordenenthurnuk!) Drat.
What we do have is this:
Each of the Endless receives a messenger bird: Destiny a dove, Death a giant eagle, Despair a bat, Desire a pair of lovebirds. We don’t see Delirium’s, but it’s probably a fish. Destruction either doesn’t get a message or doesn’t heed it, because he’s absent from the resulting gathering. We learn that the family has been through this before when Despair died. They consults with a necrope, who will perform the rituals. For unexplained reasons, none of the family can accompany him into the catacombs, so all of them except Death create a man from mud, Death breathes life into him, and they name him Eblis O’Shaughnessy. (‘Tis a fine name for a wake.) Since neither Dream nor Destruction contributed to his making, he will be able to neither dream nor destroy. But he’s a good envoy, and finds what he needs in the catacombs right away.
Cain tries to bully the new Dream into creating Abel, but Daniel reacts just as the other one would have. He relents a bit when Cain says the magic word (“please”), and asks Cain to describe Abel. What follows is this lovely bit of Pratchett-speak:
There are things crusted on his sink that have not simply developed intelligent life but have in all probability by now evolved their own political systems.
Daniel is not amused, but he does bring back Abel. When Cain thanks him as “Lord Morpheus” he denies any right to the name. He is simply Dream of the Endless.
Matthew is in a mood. Eve (whose age changes from panel to panel so swiftly that she’s Maiden, Mother, and Crone all together) tries to get him to talk, but he’s too wracked with guilt over Morpheus’s death. Nor does he accept Daniel as the new boss (not the same as the old boss.)
Meanwhile, characters we’ve met before start to dream: Nuala, Rose, Richard Madoc (who had imprisoned the Muse), Lyta, Alex Burgess, Hob Gadling.
Daniel resurrects Mervyn Pumpkinhead, as insolent as ever. He starts to do the same for Gilbert, who is quite clear that his death was part of a life that was, overall, quite satisfying, and he doesn’t want it changed. It feels to me exactly like an argument Chesterton would have made (and it’s quite similar to one C.S. Lewis made in the Space Trilogy against using rocket ships to escape the dying Earth.)
Titiana, Duma, and Bast come to the Dreaming for the wake, and meet the dreamers also headed that way. Hob is angry to have lost his friend. “It’s only a dream” he insists. But Bast reminds him where he is and how foolish it is to say “only”. And now all the mourners see, in far more than life-size, Morpheus’s family, the Endless.
The giant-sized versions of The Family are building a house of remembrance for Morpheus as the mourners (including all beings who dream or are dreamt) watch and wait. Daniel is not allowed to attend. Eblis is confused: if Daniel is Dream then who died? Abel answers “A point of view”, for which Cain is going to kill him, but Lucien points out that you shouldn’t kill someone at a wake, just like you can’t fight in the War Room. Calliope recalls how things went wrong between her and Morpheus after Orpheus was born.
Mathew encounters the resurrected Mervyn, but is angered by his complete acceptance of the new Dream. He flies to the castle and meets Daniel, and now the tables are turned: Daniel calls Matthew a friend, which Matthew denies. Mad Hettie recalls her encounters with Morpheus, which were quite pleasant, given the differences in their stations. Clurucan meets his nemesis, and, bravado notwithstanding, is terrified. Titiana high-hats Calliope and Thessaly that her memories of Morpheus somehow surpass theirs.
Daniel reveals that he saved Matthew’s life by influencing the Corinthian. Matthew relents, and accepts Daniel as the new Dream, and asks to be sent on to where ravens go. Daniel agress, but not until after the funeral. Matthew flies off to visit the guardians, including the new gryphon.
Rose and her brother Jed meet Lyta, who looks like death warmed over. They talk at cross-purposes, Lyta not wanting to discuss what happened to Carla or Daniel.
Matthew has a conversation with Lucien and one of the immortals. Lucien tells him that Morpheus chose to die.
Thessaly confirms what we suspected, that she was the last lover who left Morpheus. She tells her story, which sounds like all the rest; they shared a passionate love but, eventually, he tired of her. Being Thessaly, rather than accept it, she fought with him and then left.
Various dreamers share their dreams, including Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne. Hob chats with a centaur.
Matthew spots The Family, and they talk. They ask him to say a few words about Morpheus at the funeral. Matthew imagines death showing up at this own funeral like Tom Sawyer, but knows it’s foolish. He and Barnabas head off for the ceremony.