Tuesday, 17 December 2013

The Parliament Of Rooks

"The Parliament of Rooks" in Neil Gaiman's The Sandman, Volume 6, Fables And Reflections (New York, I cannot find a year of publication in my copy) is a story about stories that encapsulates a great deal of information of different kinds.

(i) It begins with Lyta Hall telling the story of Goldilocks to her son, Daniel, before putting him into his cot for an afternoon sleep.

(ii) Lyta phones a friend called Carla whom we will see in Volume 9. Rose Walker, who will babysit for Lyta in Volume 9, was phoned in Volume 1 and appeared in Volume 2.

(iii) As Lyta says that Daniel will soon learn how to get out of his crib, he gets out of it in a dream.

(iv) He walks into the Dreaming, passing the letters of the alphabet on his bedroom wall. In dreams, the letters continue beyond Z...

(v) He addresses the fearsome gargoyle, Gregory, as "Dog-gee." (p. 203) Volume 9 suggests that Gregory features in videos in the waking world.

(vi) Daniel, Matthew the Raven, Eve, Cain, the baby gargoyle Goldie and Abel have tea in Abel's House of Secrets which is a way-station to Nightmare although Daniel does not have a nightmare on this occasion.

(vii) Abel's house has something nasty in the basement but this was mentioned in Volume 2 and is taken for granted. It is appropriate on the way to Nightmare. In Volume 7, when Morpheus is so upset that he floods parts of the Dreaming, Abel mentions that the something nasty says that it does not mind being underwater and in fact quite likes it. Of course, we never see it.

(ix) Cain, whose nearby house is another way station, the House of Mysteries, points out that he and the other two members of Adam's family are three old story tellers now with an audience.

(x) Cain's story is the mystery of the Parliament of Rooks. He describes these gatherings of rooks (corvus frugilecus) accurately but I am not sure about the veracity of his ending: the parliament either flies away in unison or pecks to death the lone rook that has addressed it?

(xi) Interesting dialogue -

Eve: I'm not your mother, Cain.
Cain: You're everybody's mother.
Eve: That's a matter of opinion. (p. 212)

Yes, it is a matter of opinion whether the human race had a single mother called Eve. These characters of Gaiman's know that they are characters in stories. Why does Eve deny that she is Cain's mother? Is she disowning him or alternatively implying that there is more to the story than we realize? He falls back merely on the assertion that she is everybody's mother...

There is more but it is late.

No comments:

Post a Comment