In the sixty-second issue of The Sandman, Rose Walker visits the home in England where Unity Kincaid once slept for years, and my god, this is strange. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Sandman.
I’m not quite sure how Rose Walker’s story fits in with the larger narrative yet, but I don’t really need it to. There are so many intriguing themes overlapping in this volume, and while it’s a bit of a mess at times, the complex story is working for me. At this point, I do feel like there are forty different story lines all running at the same time, but thematically, they all relate to each other. It’s helps me to not only keep track of what’s going on, but it gives The Kindly Ones a nice sense of symmetry. At the heart of this volume are a set of women trying to find their place in the world. It’s almost like this is a companion story arc to A Game of You in this sense, except these characters are motivated by the jarring experience that comes with mortality. Hippolyta’s son is dead; Rose must visit the home of her dead grandmother; the three elderly women in this issue are all approaching the end of their lives; Carla dies because of her pursuit of the truth.
I admit that I initially thought that the three women that Rose speaks with in the middle of “Part Six” were the actual Furies. Instead, I think they’re meant to represent the same idea. The story Magda tells illuminated that theme to me. Time and time again, Gaiman has refused to place the blame on the horrible events in this series on the women. (Generally speaking, of course.) If anything, he makes it clear that it is the men who fuck things up, and we’re given stories about how women cope, how they achieve peace, how they seek revenge, and how their lives are constantly shaped by the actions of the men around them. He often chooses to center entire narratives around them in lieu of using his main protagonist, and I simply don’t see that. It’s fascinating to me because now I see that Charlene’s complaints at the end of Worlds’ End have been addressed repeatedly throughout the series itself. There are more stories told about women in The Sandman than there are men.
So it’s easy for me to see the parallel between Hippolyta and the unnamed wife in Magda’s story. Both believe that they’ve been wronged by men in their life, and they get revenge in response. It’s interesting to me that Rose is the one told this story, not Hippolyta, and it’s ultimately why I discarded the theory that the three women here were the Furies. Rose’s story isn’t about revenge. She’s looking for peace. To be fair, I do think Hippolyta is looking for peace as well, but she’s doing it in a completely different way.
Also, I must praise the brilliant line illustration for the story Magda tells. GOD, IT IS SO GREAT.
This issue also ends on a strange note. It’s revealed that the nursing home’s owner, Paul, has watched over his lover for nearly five years. He’s been asleep since the very day Unity Kincaid woke up. What the fuck? Why? How is that even possible? Did I forget who these characters were? Either way, I can’t see what this has to do with the story at all. Will Alex wake up now that Rose gave over Unity’s ring? I’m lost. help.
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