The Wake: Part 1 by Neil Gaiman | Sandman Meditations

Sometimes, the English language plays along. A god-like king of dreams has died, and so there is a wake. Dreams, in the literal sense at least, die upon the dreamer’s waking, and so, too, in The Sandman when Morpheus is no more: the dreamers wake. There is a sense of quiet throughout this chapter, a quietude. And […]

The Kindly Ones: Part 13 | Sandman Meditations

The King is dead. Long live the King. Those sentences have been rattling around in my mind’s ears ever since I finished reading the thirteenth, and final, chapter of The Kindly Ones. They’re traditionally said at ceremonies of monarchical accession, but mostly they remind me of E.M. Forster’s distinction between a story and a plot. In Aspects […]

The Kindly Ones part 12 | Sandman Meditations

“Because there are rules.” That is Dream’s reply to Matthew, who wonders why one of the most powerful creatures in the universe has to give in to the demands of the Kindly Ones and risk his entire existence. My immediate response, perhaps because I share a name with the raven, was to whine to myself: […]

The Kindly Ones: Part 11 | Sandman Meditations

You will be relieved to learn, I know, that I survived the suspense of the cliffhanger at the end of Part 10. And as with so many of the surprises (and suspenses) of The Sandman, it was less and more than it appeared. We might have expected Nuala’s luring of Morpheus at the end of the […]

The Kindly Ones: Part 10 | Sandman Meditations

Dear Reader, see me squirm. After watching Nuala insist that Dream come to her to grant her boon, and after reading Dream say, “As long as I remain in the Dreaming, no real harm can occur,” and after then reading Nuala say, “My Lord … you are no longer in the Dreaming,” and Dream reply, […]

The Kindly Ones Part 9 | Sandman Meditations

By the end of the ninth chapter of The Kindly Ones, some characters may have found things they were looking for: Rose Walker may have found her heart, and the Corinthian may have found Lyta Hall’s son, Daniel. I say “may have found” because only a fool proclaims certainties about a Sandman story before it is finished (if […]

The Kindly Ones: Part 8 | Sandman Meditations

Travels and transgressions. Emigrations and imbrications. Diffusion and osmosis. The eighth part of The Kindly Ones suggests that borders are breaking down, that walls once seemingly sturdy may be more rickety than we supposed, that to be Endless is not to be free of the threat of an end. The first page gives us five […]

The Kindly Ones: Part 7 | Sandman Meditations

In the seventh part of The Kindly Ones, the growing sense we’ve had that Lyta’s story and Dream’s will intersect climactically is solidified by this chapter’s many parallels and apparent omens. Ominous parallels and forboding omens. Forced to find a simile for this chapter’s structure, I’d hem and haw a while, then, reluctantly (because of impossibility, […]

The Kindly Ones Part 6 | Sandman Meditations

We have reached a sort of middle: the sixth part of The Kindly One’s thirteen parts. Thirteen, of course, being an odd number does not split evenly in two. Fans of Part 7 might find it more comfortably middle-ish, being for all intents and purposes the beginning of the second half, while fans of Part 6 might […]

The Kindly Ones: Part 5 | Sandman Meditations

Given how complex the narrative of The Kindly Ones is revealing itself to be, I would be a fool to pretend to be able to come to any conclusions about it yet, or even to pretend to any knowledge of quite what is happening beyond the immediate events of each chapter. This is by far the most […]

The Kindly Ones Part 4 | Sandman Meditations

When Carla comes to visit Rose in the fourth chapter of The Kindly Ones, Rose is getting ready to videotape an episode of the sitcom Roseanne. She tells Carla that she is hoping to write something about three sitcoms in particular: Roseanne, The Addams Family, and Bewitched This information comes as she and Carla discuss, among other things, the […]

The Kindly Ones Part 3 | Sandman Meditations

The sadness of Hob Gadling is, for me, among the most poignant recurring elements of The Sandman. In the third part of The Kindly Ones, Hob’s sadness stands in counterpoint to Lyta’s growing anxiety and, then, horror and hatred. Previously, we have learned that all lives are brief, but what we learn now is that the pain […]

The Kindly Ones: Part 2 | Sandman Meditations

The second chapter of The Kindly Ones develops two stories: the story of Lyta, who has now called the police because of her missing son, and the story of Cluracan and Nuala, who have gained Dream’s permission for Nuala to leave the Dreaming and return to Faerie. But I’m not going to write about any of that. […]

The Kindly Ones: Prologue & Part 1 | Sandman Meditations

The prologue to The Kindly Ones contains an image that is pure pornography for someone like me: an endless library. A library of books not written, of books that authors and readers have only dreamed. We’ve seen it before in The Sandman, and come to recognize the librarian, Lucien, but it is here in Kevin Nowlan’s art that […]