Sunday, 15 December 2013

Character Continuity

The Kindly Ones (New York, 1996), which is Volume 9 of Neil Gaiman's 10-volume The Sandman series, re-introduces continuing characters so understatedly that we do not recognize them at first.

When, in Chapter 1, Lyta meets Eric in Lux, we recognize the waitress as Mazikeen of the Lilim because of her half-face mask but do not recognize the pianist as the proprietor, Lucifer Morningstar, until a few pages later.

When, in Chapter 2, p. 3, Lyta tells one of the detective duo that her kidnapped son had called the babysitter "Wosie," we probably do not realize that this is our beloved Rose Walker come back to us. Rose first appears quite matter of factly in Chapter 4, p. 11, but initially must be recognized by her multi-colored hair. Carla addresses her as "Rose" on p. 12. (Someone who borrowed this Volume from me asked, "Is Rose in this one?" Gaiman knows how to stimulate, then satisfy, reader interest.)

We meet the detective duo in Chapter 2. Having already known that Loki and Puck were loose in the world, we see them together and learn that they are the kidnappers in Chapter 3. We realize that the detectives supposedly investigating the kidnapping were in fact the disguised Loki and Puck in Chapter 5.

In Chapter 4, p. 14:

Carla reveals that Eric, whom she had introduced to Lyta, is her cousin;
Carla and Rose see Vixen LaBitch on TV but we do not yet know that this is Rose's former landlord, Hal;
Rose has a sick old friend but we do not yet know that this is her former fellow lodger, Zelda.

Thus, the already established characters reappearing understatedly here are:


There seems to be a seventh - Carla's grandmother, Carmilla Bristol:

"...played, like, every black ladies' maid in every crappy Hollywood film made between 1925 and 1950. "Now dere, Missy, you hush up wid yo' cryin'." (Chapter 4, p. 15)

This sounds familiar, as if we know her, but I have not found a Carmilla Bristol on google.

In Chapter 3, we see Morpheus meeting Hob Gadling and then are the told what is happening at that same time in Destiny's realm. But a previous volume has told us that that realm exists in its own space and time, not in ours. So this is inconsistent.

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