Friday, October 24, 2014

Episode 10 - The Wake

1 comment:

  1. I guess I had a lot to say about this. I didn't comment on The Kindly Ones like I'd planned, so bear with me.

    What I've come to learn about The Sandman in particular, and Neil Gaiman in general, is that there will often be stories that appear deceptively ordinary or conventional, but will also contain something, be it a scene, a line of dialogue, or a plot point that may occupy a single panel, that has far grander implications than one might see at first glance. A lot of that seems to be going on in Overture currently, but there's evidence of it throughout: Some of it is intentional foreshadowing, such as Lucifer vowing to destroy Morpheus in the very first story arc, or seeing the bottled city of Baghdad in Morpheus's trunk during Season of Mists, the story for which we would later see in Ramadan.

    Some of it is more subtle, and sometimes a bit chilling.

    As was mentioned in the podcast, In the Exiles story, the exiled man meets both versions of Dream, and they are two different experiences. When he meets Morpheus, the tone of their meeting seems more to do with the inevitability of duty, the subtext pertaining to both of their respective situations (we could assume, without being certain, that this is pre-imprisonment Morpheus we're dealing with, though long after his denial of his son).

    When he meets Dream/Daniel, the tone of their meeting is much more about the inevitability of choice and change. This is where Daniel delivers the single line that is most telling moment of clarity about where Gaiman sees his character going beyond his telling of it's story:

    "I know one day I must smash the emerald."

    For me, that's reminiscent in it's implications for the future on the level of Doctor Manhattan declaring his intent to create human life at the end of Watchmen.

    You've said that Endless Nights will be covered on the next episode. There's actually an interesting part of Neil Gaiman's introduction in that volume where someone asked him to summarize The Sandman in a single sentence, and, being Neil Gaiman, does exactly that:

    "The lord of dreams must decide whether to change or die, and he decides."

    Looking back on the series, I've come to the conclusion that really, Dream had to do both - that being imprisoned for eighty years involuntarily, irrevocably changed him, as it would change anyone, and that he couldn't continue to exist in the incarnation he had in the same way.

    With the knowledge that Gaiman is also a lifelong Doctor Who fan (now having even written a few episodes), it also puts Abel's response to Hob Gadling during The Wake in perfect perspective:

    "What died? What are we mourning?"
    "A point of view."

    If that doesn't also describe a Doctor regeneration, I don't know what does.

    Finally, as we come full circle, the same can apply to Daniel's quoting the riders at the end of the Exiles story:
    "Everything changes, but nothing is truly lost."

    Not bad at all, really.