Tuesday, February 10, 2009

How can the Sandman stories work?

How the heck can Neil Gaiman's Sandman stories possibly work? The limits on the characters are really vague. And it seems like he could pull stuff out of his buttocks at any point.

What's going on here? What do the characters have to lose?

Well, the characters DO care about some things, and so they do have things to lose. Those things are often surprising. I think that might be it.

I reread Season of Mists in October. It revolves around Dream going to Hell to get back a former lover. She scorned him, he doomed her to hell for 10,000 years, his siblings told him he was a jerk, and he decided he had to go get her; same old story. But in the meantime he'd offended Lucifer, so it was dangerous for him to do it. Lucifer seems able to harm Dream. So that's something.

What bothered me is that these characters are immortal archetypes; they don't seem to have much to lose. But there you go: I guess all that is needed is for a character to want something he can't have.

1 comment:

  1. It always seems to me that it's the suffering and vulnerability of the characters around Dream that adds tension to the stories.