Sandman #64-66: A Murder of Ravens

It’s a feast for corvids this week on Vertiguys as the Kindly Ones declare war on the Dreaming. Meanwhile, Rose receives a message, the Corinthian shares a vision, and Nuala makes a choice with the best of intentions.

No show next week – we’ll be back in two with Hellblazer.


Show Notes

1:13 – We’re talking about Zeno’s paradoxes of motion. We meant to say Achilles, not Archimedes.

4:16 – Harun al-Raschid passed through a door of fire in his vault in Sandman #50, “Ramadan.”

5:10 – This reminded Sean of a key speech from Sheriff of Babylon (which we reviewed here) comparing America to a new God. Also, it’s unclear if the narration refers to South Africa or just southern Africa, but it could also be the white guy we see is the god of white South Africans, who has his own interest in whether the country is unified. Apartheid officially ended in South Africa on June 17, 1991, not long before the publication of this issue.

6:14 – More on skerries and shifting places in A Game of You and “Soft Places.”

6:26 – Narration in Sandman #2 mentioned that Cain and Abel’s Houses of Mystery and Secrets are “old way stations on the frontiers of Nightmare.”

7:41 – Sean, for one, actually liked Mass Effect 3’s controversial ending, as discussed here.

8:07 – The stuff that makes The Dreaming work should not be confused with the stuff that makes the dream work (teamwork).

9:31 – “Parklife” is a song by Blur, from their 1994 album of the same name, which is the best of their records. The sign that we see is in Hungarian. Perhaps Neil Gaiman made use of a Hungarian phrasebook?

24:02 – Richard Scarry was an incredibly prolific children’s author, best known for the Busytown books.

24:21 – The Vikings is a 1958 historical action comedy starring Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis and directed by Richard Fleischer. We can tell you firsthand, the accents are terrible.

25:47 – Many cultures, including Thessaly’s own ancient Greeks, went on to feast on the remains of sacrificial animals. Although the ancient Hebrews were known for burning animal sacrifices whole (I always thought the point had been to deprive yourself of a useful animal), Jewish tradition also offers strictly prescribed ritual for slaughtering animals for food. Jewish doctrine has prohibited animal sacrifice since the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, but the ritual method is still used today in the preparation of kosher meat.

30:25 – Sean said Norns here, but although the Norns are three female figures that reign over destiny and weave the threads of fate, they’re the Norse version. It’s the Greek Moirai or Fates that are clearly delineated as Clotho, the spinner, Lachesis, the measurer, and Atropos, the cutter.

30:43 – Actually, the song is probably “Sunday Morning” from the Velvet Underground’s 1967 debut album The Velvet Underground & Nico. (Thanks to David Goldfarb and Ralf Hildebrandt at The Annotated Sandman for this one.) “I’ve got a feeling I don’t want to know” might be the lyric that resonates with Rose right now. Note also that, continuing the week motif of the previous issue, Rose is singing this on Sunday morning.

32:26 – William Butler Yeats was an Irish poet and Nobel laureate who was active from 1889 until his death in 1939. His best known poems include The Second Coming and Easter, 1916.

36:27 – The song we’re referring to is “Cupid’s Victim” from 2001’s Tiger Army II: Power of Moonlite.

36:39 – Florence Welch is an English singer-songwriter best known for the four albums she recorded with Florence + the Machine.

37:17 – The phrase “sanctum sanctorum,” of course, made me think of known douchebag Dr. Stephen Strange. Also, it’s important that every mage’s sanctum has a big oval-shaped window.

37:48 – “You only like the beginnings of things” is, perhaps coincidentally, a line from the fourth season finale of Mad Men.

42:23 – All of Gilbert’s dying speech is good. We skipped a part where he mentioned particularly treasured memories, especially “a kiss… once… on the cheek… from a friend.” We think this is referring to something that happened between him and Rose in Doll’s House, but we couldn’t find it.

49:10 – Raven “Mystique” Darkholme was terribly embarrassed to be there and insists that she does not eat carrion.

49:35 – Matthew literally splits his time between Eve and Dream. For example, they showed up at Abel’s house together in “Parliament of Rooks,” and Dream banished Matthew to Eve’s cave while he was being solitary and despondent after the breakup in Brief Lives.

54:09 – According Norse myth and Marvel comics, Bor is the father of Odin. I don’t recall if he’s mentioned in Gaiman’s volume on the subject, however.

1:05:20 – That’s a quote from Firefly.

1:10:00 – Sean was thinking about this David Mazuchelli page from Daredevil #227:

1:13:04 – And here I’m quoting the first Resident Evil game.

1:13:14 – Sean was thinking of the word “empowered.” The Furies are empowered by their responsibility to punish the guilty in a similar way to Morpheus.

1:13:20 – Another random quote, this one from Guy Ritchie’s 2001 film Snatch.

1:13:55 – If there wasn’t already one in the series, you could almost say the Furies are the living manifestation of destiny.

1:14:47 – Interestingly, in The Doll’s House, Gilbert said that terminating a dream vortex was the only time Morpheus was “empowered to take human life,” which could be read as saying it’s against the rules, or that he physically can’t do it in any other circumstances. The latter reading seems to be contradicted by his attempt to kill Lyta here, as well as his killing Orpheus (who was immortal, but probably still human, if he ever was) at the end of Brief Lives.