Be aware – if you are popping in on this post and not participating in the re-read, there are major spoilers to follow! Also, you should totally participate in the re-read.
So, who died?
Nobody died. How can you kill an idea? How can you kill the personification of an action?
Then, what died? Who are you mourning?
A puh-point of view.
And in the pages that follow, what we get as readers are several points of view about our departed Dream king. What is he like? Well, as has been stated before in the series as well as in these posts, that all depends on who’s looking. Or, in this case, who’s speaking. To Delirium, he was a slightly scary big brother. To Bast, he was someone who made her happy, with whom she could flirt and feel at ease. To Thessaly, he was as infuriating as he was captivating. Calliope loved him once, but finds herself now in that place we all know, in which former lovers seem like little more than strangers to us, be they benevolent or otherwise. Matthew knew him as a good boss and occasional friend. It is his perspective that makes me the most sad in this story.
We barely see Morpheus in this collection, and only his outline under the cerements in the chapters covering the wake. He never gets to speak for himself, except perhaps when Daniel is speaking. Or, I should say when the Dream King is speaking. Truthfully, Dream never did do much speaking for himself anyway. We have always had to know him far more through his actions and the reactions of those around him than his own exposition.
Still, some questions get answers of a sort in this collection. These answers, of course, only lead to more questions.
1. We know a bit about what happened to Daniel. His mortality burned away, his immortality transformed. We know that this new perspective of Dream is different in some ways that may very well come from that bit of human immortality in his system. Morpheus had certainly changed enough to surprise those around him from time to time, and had learned to put away his pride when it lead him to act in ways he considered unjust (i.e. freeing Nada, visiting Orpheus). Daniel-Dream seems to embody these changes naturally, rather than struggle with them. He is more tactile than Morpheus – scratching the hippogryph under the chin while talking to his palace guards, hugging Lyta close as he offers her protection. I get the feeling this Dream will be an easier anthropomorphic personification to know than our old Morpheus. Of course, that’s pure speculation, as we don’t get to know him any better from here on out.
What do you think? Is he nicer? Will he, unlike Morpheus, be able to have a long and happy relationship with a woman? I sense this Dream may be better able to fall in love. Or perhaps he won’t even be interested in such a thing. None of the other Endless seem to be. Why is that, do you think?
2. While it is hard for me to believe I didn’t know this for sure long before this point the first time I read the series, we do get the final confirmation that Thessaly was in fact the lady love who sent Dream into such a funk at the beginning of Brief Lives. Reading The Kindly Ones, I realize it is all but spelled out for us there, but I do remember that the first time I read the series, it wasn’t until The Wake that I made the connection. It’s interesting. I used to hate Thessaly so much. I feel for her a bit this time. Maybe it’s another change based more on my own life experiences than anything else. She and Dream are similar in that they are hard to know – cold even- to outsiders. Is she feeling real pain here, if not remorse? Is she less a villain now? What’s next for Thessaly, I wonder?
3. If we are to believe Lucien, we must believe that yes indeed, Dream played an active and deliberate role in his own demise. The implication is that free will exists and he used his to get to this point. There’s still plenty of questions about how conscious all of it was, however – he is the embodiment of the unconscious after all. Or am I jumping to too many conclusions based on that one little remark? Something tells me we could debate the role of free will in this series endlessly – and I bet Neil Gaiman could do the same. It seems to be a concept he loves to explore.
4. Small things are wrapped up too – Gilbert decides to move on, Matthew decides to stay. Lyta gets a new life. Cluracan a new adventure, as his nemesis shows up (does anyone else think this nemesis is a much nicer guy than Cluracan? He reminds me of Daniel in that he seems to be a softer version of the original). Hob Gadling decides to go on living for a bit. It’s not surprising, really. Dream had to die to change, but Hob clearly has managed to do it without such drastic measures. His guilt about his old days as a slave ship captain draw a fine point on it. We get the origins story for The Tempest as well. And a small wink and nod from Destruction – and perhaps a bit of an ominous one at that “I wouldn’t be surprised at all” he tells Daniel, about the prospects of meeting again – I love that bit.
Generally speaking, I wouldn’t say I’m girly-girl. I’m learning to pay more attention to my wardrobe as I get older, especially hand bags and shoes (this is thanks in no small part to Bex, who has always had a great sense of style), and I admit to squealing like a girl when I see a puppy. I’m still not a hugger, though. Being excited and bubbly and stuff doesn’t come naturally to me, nor does opening up and being vulnerable and emotional.
I cry my way through books and movies, though. No doubt about that. So, no surprise, I teared up about a dozen times while reading The Wake.
Here are a few examples. I’m really hoping you’ll share yours too. Misery loves company and all.
1. When Lucien stops Cain from killing Able. “Cain. Not today.”
2. When Matthew eulogizes Morpheus.
3. When Matthew agrees to stay on with Daniel
4. The moment after we see Daniel discussing how he has changed with his guards, Destruction can be seen emerging from the distance. Chills, I tell you. Chills! That entire section had me a little watery-eyed, not because it was sad but because it was just so cool. Destruction is what allowed for (forced?) Dream to evolve into something new. I hate that it meant the end of an old friend, but I love that it happened nonetheless.
5. The creation and naming of Eblis O’Shaughnessy. There’s something touching about that, especially the inclusion in Destiny’s speech of the fact that the man will neither be able to dream or destroy in his short life.
6. Orpheus, standing on a dock somewhere in time and space, watching his father’s “body” go by. Oy. that gets me every time.
7. Seeing Morpheus’ shape emerge under the cerements laid out by Eblis O’Shaughnessy. It’s all we get to see of him during the wake proper and it makes me sad.
I find myself less morose at the end of The Wake as I did at the end of The Kindly Ones, or even Worlds’ End. Like I have said before, the trauma is largely over at this point, and it is clear that life will progress without Morpheus. Plenty of folks we loved will keep living out their stories, and the ones who do not seem to have found peace. It is amazing to me, having been to funerals, having survived losses, how this book captures the feel of death so well. It is a bittersweet happening in our lives. When Gaiman says of Death’s speech “She gives you peace. She gives you meaning,” he isn’t just talking about her words, is he?
And here ends our re-read…sort of. I have heard from some of you that you have fallen behind, but know that we are always here, always ready to read what you have to say as you catch up. Take your time. Enjoy the journey. Then, if you’re like us, go back and enjoy it again.
Stuff we geek out about…
- A Little Something for the Fellas (2)
- A Little Something for the Ladies (9)
- Avengers Boot Camp (9)
- Before the Movie – Trailers (13)
- Editorials and Reviews (135)
- Interviews (19)
- Miscellaneous Geekery (48)
- Nostalgia (17)
- Sandman Re-Read (11)
- Three Favorite Things (4)
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- Deborah Harkness and A Discovery of Witches
- Syfy’s Defiance- Hope They Didn’t Blow the Budget on a Song
- Cover Reveal for the New Liz Long Novel Witch Hearts
- From Gen-X, To Chris Hardwick With Love
- Before the Movie: G.I. Joe Retaliation