Monday, May 9, 2011

The Sandman: Season of Mists - Adam Borgia

1. Analyze: Character - Primary
Both Character and Event seem to be almost equally persistent in vying for attention. Without spoiling too much (and robbing the next reader from their own analysis), there is an actual event that is "foretold" in the beginning, realized halfway through, and then dealt with as the story reaches its conclusion--but I really felt that the whole event (and sub-events) existed as a means for the main character to show his true character. I viewed much of this story as one about growing up, albeit in a very different way from the typical adolescent perspective we're used to seeing. The protagonist, Dream, is actually more of an idea or power or force that is eternal, and less like your average conflicted hero. We as the reader wonder as he does himself throughout the story whether someone like him is to be held to the same standards as mortals or other persons. Isn't he beyond that? Or are there certain traits and qualities that themselves are eternal in nature and ought to be upheld by everyone and everything? Deep stuff.

Amidst all the bizarre and fascinating things happening here, I was intrigued, and actually invested the most in witnessing the personal development--and in some ways, penance--of Dream. Someone so inhuman in so many ways becoming more human is a great transformation. And I suspect there is much more to be seen.

2. Rating: PG-13.
There are a lot of heavy thematic things going on in the story. Some range from the common trials and disappointment we all deal with to several "What the Heck?!?" themes (I apologize, but that is honestly the best way for me to describe certain parts). There are some gruesome scenes depicting torture in Hell, and the dialogue, while relatively clean from a profanity point of view, contains a handful of instances of amorality and debauchery (pg. 11 of episode 2, pg. 10 of episode 4, pg. 1 of episode 6), as well as a few suggestive visuals here and there. I can't recall anything outright explicit. However, if the artists or writer had wanted to expand any of these to a more graphic level (which wouldn't have done anything for the story, in my opinion), then this rating could be R.

3. Springboard
Mythology runs throughout this story, and I expect throughout the entire series. Neil Gaiman is not exclusive in his preference however, as he seems to be comfortable combining Norse, Greek, Japanese, Egyptian, Faerie and Christian theology and mythos. I would expect that he had done substantial research into each of these fields in preparation for this work. His take on some major characters are both faithful to other depictions while unique in their own right. I went back to look into some apocryphal sources regarding angels, the fall and the domain of Hell to see where Gaiman drew particular bits of inspiration. I learned somewhat of the heiarchy of archangels (Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel) and their roles, but in Gaiman's treatment, Lucifer is the one listed as the greatest of the archangels, second in power only to God (by the way, Satan is not at all what I expected here, and that's a good thing. I found him to be a very original take on a very, very old figure).


  1. Do you think reading and analyzing this story helped in the development of your own story? Or do you think it might have derailed you? I know for sure that some authors prefer to stay away from stories written in the same genre in order to keep ideas original. What say you?

  2. I think I prefer to explore other stories within my own genre. If anything, reading The Sandman has given me more ideas about how I can add dimension to my own characters, and provides an example of how to incorporate pre-existing stories into your own.

  3. Interesting analysis, though admittedly I felt differently regarding character progression. To me Dream, despite his journey, remained the same; self-possessed, overly confident of his own power, though at times prescient of his lack of ability. Dream didn't return to Hell because he was wrong, but because Death reaffirmed Desire's accusation.