Sandman Re-blog Issue #23: Season of Mists Chapter 2

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First things first, how gorgeous is that opening shot of Hell? I'm trying to figure out whether it's one giant dead thing or a pastiche of many dead things. Or if it's constructed like the prison in Jonathan Lethem's short story The Hardened Criminals, where all the prisoners with life sentences are molded into bricks and made part of the prison wall.

Anyhow, it's up to Morpheus to figure that out. He's just been handed the keys to the kingdom. I wonder how he'll deal with ruling over actual beings instead of just their imaginations?


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First, let's talk about Breschau of Livonia, who actually cries at the thought of being forced out of Hell. Breschau, and all the other lingerers, tell us something interesting: could it be that some beings actually want to remain in Hell? In some ways Breschau seems like the serial killer who wants to be caught, for only once he is caught and punished does his crime actually go recognized as his own. Breschau has had 1100 years of undivided attention as he brags about his misdeeds. He's about to lose it all, to lose his central sense of self: that he is an evil being, therefore he finds belonging in a domain to house evil beings. Where will he go next? Where can he go next? As Lucifer says, no one remembers Breschau. Livonia is gone. He is powerless and now he is alone.

The three strange demons are funny: we are shown that the closest friendships are forged in Hell. In this case, quite literally.

Mazikeen teaches us that love exists, even in Hell.

So where will they actually go?

It's interesting that it almost seems as though Lucifer was placed in charge of some deranged cult. Anyone of them could leave at any time, but they are sustained in their belief that they belong there, that Lucifer is their jailer. As they're all slaves to trangressing what they believe to be morality, will that morality change? Will they return to what they were before they came to Hell? One would certainly imagine not, as everything changes over time. How many will find that the sins they are self-flagellating for are no longer sins (sodomites, abortionists, etc)?

The only universal truth is the passage of time. And time changes everything.


Pay attention to Lucifer's list of possible occupations. If memory serves, he does in fact do all of them in subsequent issues.

Look at the image below. Doesn't that look a bit like Morpheus with his head is chopped off? Methinks Gaiman doth foreshadow:

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Very Silly Things

1. In which Sandman indulges in a particularly silly sci-fi cliché:

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2. In which we observe Dream go through the many stages of constipation:

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2 Responses to “ Sandman Re-blog Issue #23: Season of Mists Chapter 2 ”

  1. The rules we choose to live by.

    Morpheus is gobsmacked, dumbfounded, well and truly thunderstruck, that Lucifer could give up the keys to Hell. And the thing is, he ought to know better. As we learn in the course of this issue, he knew him in the very beginning. 'Twas not ever thus; he's seen people change, even immortal ones. But Morpheus defines everyone in terms of their role, their responsibility. He can't conceive of Lucifer setting aside his crown because it conflicts with his entire world-view. Being king of Hell isn't what he does, it's what he is. But Morpheus is wrong.

    The only surprising thing is that it hasn't happened sooner. Lucifer is dangerously intelligent, extremely powerful and easily bored. Why should he bother with squabbling demons and masochistic souls? He isn't his job, he's himself, and he gets to decide what that means. (It helps that he's a moral vacuum and has nobody who can tell him what to do.)

    Reading this series from the beginning it feels like Gaiman is danging all these things in front of me; I never saw the pattern until after I'd finished the story. How do you deal with change? Do you change with it? Then to what extent are you still you? Aye, there's the rub...

  2. I agree, it does seem amazing that Lucifer hadn't left already. Although there are hints in this issue that he did enjoy his power for a long time.

    Is he really a moral vacuum though? There are strong hints that his actions are guided by kindness and sympathy. He provides the punishments the dead mortals ask for because in their eyes, they feel feel they deserve it, and can only find peace through that punishment. I think that point is emphasized by Mazikeen. He is a kind person, and perhaps some of the more blusterous aspects of being King of Hell got in the way of his personality (I'm not saying he's a nice guy, just that he is merciful, albeit in a most peculiar way).

    Great point about change. I hadn't picked up on it, but it does seem the central theme of Sandman is Dream vs. Change.


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