The Sandman Vol 2: The Doll's House


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The Sandman Vol 2: The Doll's House

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jan 14, 2013, 12:50 pm

The Sandman Vol 2: The Doll's House Discussion Thread

I've just started Vol 2: The Doll's House and thought I would set up a discussion thread for it.

As in the Discussion thread for Vol 1, please mark SPOILERS clearly.

This volume is comprised of:

Tales In the Sand
The Doll's House - Part 1
The Doll's House - Part 2: Moving In
The Doll's House - Part 3: Playing House
The Doll's House - Part 4: Men of Good Fortune
The Doll's House - Part 5
The Doll's House - Part 6
The Doll's House - Part 7


jan 14, 2013, 12:53 pm

As I said above, I have just barely started. So far, I have read the introduction by Clive Barker wherein he praises Neil Gaiman and his work. The second part of the introduction is written by Gaiman as he recaps what has happened so far ...

jan 15, 2013, 11:13 am

This volume is one of my favorite parts of the Sandman series. I can't wait for you all to read it.

jan 15, 2013, 8:42 pm

I hope to start reading volume 2 sometime next week!

jan 16, 2013, 10:25 am

the beginning of February seems so far away...

jan 16, 2013, 9:50 pm

I did see on Gingerbreadman's 2013 category thread that Gilbert is a Gaiman nod to G.K. Chesterton, and that The Corinthian is a Gaiman original.

jan 18, 2013, 10:37 pm

I finished The Doll's House. I won't post my review here, but it is posted on my category thread Here or you can see it by clicking on the book and going to the book's main page.

I will say here that I loved this book, I am awestruck at the talent of Mr. Gaiman, and I also didn't comment on the artwork in this volume, because frankly I really didn't notice it, the story totally absorbed me. I think though that it was an improvement from the first volume.

Redigeret: jan 19, 2013, 5:23 am

Just finished this, no review yet. So much to talk about, so many stories that stand out, I cant choose a favourite. I really want to move onto the next book too :)

My edition has episode 8 at the front and a story recap with some extra tidbits from Vol 1. Apparently it was printed before volume 1 ....

Oh & Neil mentions the name Corinthian came from a 17th century slang word for a licentious rake.

I am interested to know did anyone remember the Nada ref in Volume 1?

Redigeret: jan 20, 2013, 1:04 pm

I have my review up too now over here.

And, yes, I too want to go on to the next, but I've promised myself to at least try to have some patience. :)

I did notice Nada in Volume 1 - I remember thinking the first time I read it that it would be interesting to know what horrific thing she could have done that an Endless couldn't forgive her for 10,000 years!! Turns out to be a bit of an overreaction on his part, wouldn't you say?

Does anyone have any idea of how the women's version of the Nada story would have differed from the male's?

jan 20, 2013, 8:00 pm

I don't know how it would have varied, Eva, but I did like the idea that there was a men's version and woman's version. It made it more realistic, more like actual tribal folklore.

jan 21, 2013, 7:57 am

good point Judith didn't think of that :)

I don't either, Gaiman has never said I reckon it's intentionally left to unsettle you and enhance the unreliableness of it. Just as you can tell its changed over centuries by the pure myth i.e. stories how the weaver bird went brown. If I have to guess I would go with gender stereotyping to say it may put Morpheus in a worse light or (thinking about girls nights out) perhaps its just dirtier ;-)

jan 21, 2013, 2:30 pm

It is very close to how oral narratives sound - he did very well on the tone. I liked the answer on that FAQ! :)

jan 23, 2013, 2:49 pm

#9 - Eva, I loved how you pointed out some of the little things in The Doll's House that are there for the observant reader. I found the name "Cereal" convention amusing for the gathering of the Serial Killers. I also picked up on the poster, but I missed "The Sanity Clause". I can see that re-reading these books would probably give the reader many new things to think about!

Redigeret: jan 23, 2013, 4:34 pm

That's why this group read is ao much fun! Normally I would just steam through each volume, but now that I'm reading them closer, I'm extra amused by those little "extras."

jan 24, 2013, 5:48 pm

Working my way through vol 2 - yes, I couldn't wait and the library hold came through faster than I expected. Love the recap Gaiman did of vol 1 at the start of this volume..... does he do that at the start of every volume? Just curious.

> 6 - I did see on Gingerbreadman's 2013 category thread that Gilbert is a Gaiman nod to G.K. Chesterton, and that The Corinthian is a Gaiman original.
I don't know much about Chesterton but Gilbert really does come across as being based on someone (fictional or otherwise), so I have made a note to look into Chesterton further.

> 8 - did anyone remember the Nada ref in Volume 1?
I didn't, and I am having trouble making the connection even knowing that Nada cropped up in vol 1.

> 9 - Does anyone have any idea of how the women's version of the Nada story would have differed from the male's?
I thought this was a teaser to alert us that it will crop up later.... maybe I am wrong on that assumption?

> 12 - Many thanks for posting the link to the FAQ, Claire! I won't look at it until after I finish the stories in this volume, but it is nice to know I can then go there and see if it answers any of my questions! In the meantime......

I am about to start Part Five (have been home sick from work for most of this week and have discovered that graphic novels are easier pick up and put down). I do have some questions that I have made a note of so far:

Part Two: Moving In what is up with the 'verbal gerbils'? Is that a nod to Star Trek and the Trouble with Tribbles? 'cause that this what came to my mind as I was reading this.

Part Four: Men of Good Fortune Does anyone know why Kit Marlowe has a broken leg/cast in this one? I think this cropped up in another book I read but I just cannot remember it right now, and yes, I am being lazy and not looking it up for myself.

So far, Part Four is my favorite of the stories in this volume, but I am looking forward to seeing what else Gaiman has added to his story and where it goes from here.

Off to start Part Five.

Redigeret: jan 24, 2013, 10:26 pm

This is the only volume with the Gaiman-synopsis. It's there because the publisher had decided to start publishing the collections at this time and wanted a catching-up text for those who hadn't been reading the first separate comic magazines (per The Sandman Companion.

No, I'm afraid the "women's story" is just a nod to how oral tradition stories work and we won't find out for sure - it makes sense that the male narrator wouldn't know exactly how the women's tale goes. I do like the answer that is in the FAQ Claire linked to! :)

I assumed the verbal gerbils were part of the Little Nemo story (of which I know very little), but it's very possible they have links to Star Trek (of which I know even less!). :)

I've heard about Marlowe's broken leg before too - fell off the stage? - but I've attributed his appearance as such in Sandman to be a hint to his "brawly" nature.

jan 25, 2013, 3:23 am

I have to say the wiki page on Little Nemo is interesting and King Morpheus.

Minor spoiler
Looks like they switched the plot so I instead of terrible dream danger that wakes Nemo up to be comforted it's the other way round. There was me thinking it was just a very good bit of juxtaposition.

jan 25, 2013, 11:50 am

OK I've cracked, started reading it early...

Redigeret: jan 25, 2013, 4:03 pm

->18 clfisha:
I liked that part too, especially since the dream part in both is near identical - it's purely the difference in awake life that makes one scary and one comforting. He is quite clever that Gaiman bloke. :)

->19 psutto:
Resistance is futile. :)

jan 25, 2013, 2:26 pm

As usual I loved it, the Cereal Convention is such a cool idea, think I'm grasping a little more of the overall plot this time round too thanks to the companion. Will digest over weekend and review next week, since I'm still several reviews behind....

jan 28, 2013, 8:10 am

I will get round to writing my review (honest) but I was reminded by Pete's review that we get more of a glimpse of the Endless and I am intrigued what people to new to Sandman think? I never came to this fresh reading Sandman: World's End

Minor Spoiler
So this would be Desire's story, in her gallery when she calls Despair.

And leading on from there has anyone read the spin off short story collection The Sandman: Book of Dreams?

jan 28, 2013, 2:42 pm

Finished The Doll's House and completely forgot to come back here! Full review can be found here

To paraphrase from my review, overall, I am still not a big fan of the artwork or the colours, but it is an improvement over vol. 1. I am also not sold on some of the new characters - still don't understand the Corinthian - but the plot was easier to follow this time.

My favorite part was Part Four: Men of Good Fortune followed by Part Seven: Lost Hearts - Gaiman really seems to know how to wind up a story!

> 17 - Thanks, Eva! I was hoping Gaiman would present the woman's story at some point so I will just have to come up with my own in my head!

> 18 - I know nothing about Little Nemo but it sounds like that was a minor literary allusion for me to worry about.

> 22 - I want to see more of the Endless so happy that is happening. I haven't read the short story collection The Sandman: Book of Dreams. My local library has that one so it may be added to my reading for this year..... trying to pace myself and keep my 2013 reading from becoming the year of Sandman and finding that rather difficult to contain..... ;-)

Yes, I am very curious to find out what happens next but I will contain myself and not place my hold for volume 3 The Sandman: Dream Country until the second half of February.

jan 28, 2013, 3:34 pm

I wonder if its a series that needs to be read twice to appreciate it? It's very packed.

Also I am wondering if some chapter titles reference something.. probably not but it's fun to wonder. So The Collectors is a John Fowles novel which fits and I am guessing Lost Hearts probably references the Heart theme more then anything else. Any ideas?

jan 29, 2013, 2:15 am

->23 lkernagh:
I'm not sure if there's more to the Corinthian than is right there in the text - he was created to be the worst of nightmares, the one to force humans to see their innermost darkness - all the nasty stuff we refuse to acknowledge. Instead, he has spent his time meandering around in the guise of a "bogstandard" serial killer and just murdered people. No scary insight into your own self to be had by that. :)

->24 clfisha:
I'm on reread #? and am still finding stuff. I think you're right to wonder about potential references - the Gaiman brain could have added little details pretty much anywhere!

jan 29, 2013, 10:52 am

I've finished! Review over at my thread!

One cool thing about re-reading something for, like the fourth time (this is also one of the volumes I’ve read the most), is how new stuff kind of rises to the top. Kind of like when you buy an album and have listened to it enough times, the hit singles aren’t the ones you like best anymore, but rather that weird mid-tempo track 11, you know? I still love the journey through time in “Men of good fortune”, or the scary humor of the Cereal convention. But with this re-read I found myself adoring Chantal and Zelda, and the gentle, simple love they seem to share behind all that goth weirdness. Or Rose’s diary at the end.

I also love how We can already see how well planned this whole series is. The core story of A game of you is glimpsed in a few panels. And Lyta's baby is introduced ever so casually.

One allusion I'm pondering right now is the story Zelda tels Chantal in a dream. We only get to hear the beginning of it, but it's about a boy ringing the bell on a door Aswarby hall in Lincolnshire. Does anyone know anything about this?

I looked up Gilbert's somewhat sour line to Matthew by Jed's sick bed today: "But that was in another country, and besides, the wench is dead." It's Marlowe, from The Jew of Malta. Eva, you had some background on Matthew, didn't you? Care to share?

>24 clfisha: "Men of good fortune" is a Lou Reed song, which has lyrics somewhat fitting: I especially like the line "The rich son waits for his father to die / the poor just drink and cry", which seems to sum up a few of Hob's centuries nicely :)

jan 29, 2013, 1:34 pm

Of course it is, thanks!. I now need to go out listen to Lou Reed..

I had to google (yes inknow cheating) Aswarby hall story Anders, it's a M R James ghost story called, guess what? Yep Lost Hearts.

jan 29, 2013, 10:27 pm

I had missed the Aswarby hall story completely - more stuff to add to the list. :)

Matthew comes from Swamp Thing - he's Matthew Cable, a rather unsavory character who ends his days in a coma - it's a looong story - in a rather unscrupulous hospital where he has a few of his organs stolen(!) so his wife takes pity on him and pulls the plug. So, he's in the Dreamtime when he dies, which makes it possible for Dream to offer him resurrection as a raven. It also explains why he really, really doesn't like hospitals. :)

jan 30, 2013, 4:16 am

So many nods to other works, once again in awe of Mr. Gaiman doing that in the days before the Internet!

feb 3, 2013, 4:33 pm

Finished The Doll's House this weekend. Lots of references, great stories. I expect that by the end of February I will have requested Dream Country from the library as I definitely want to read more.

feb 12, 2013, 1:55 pm

My Volume 2 through 4 came in from the library. I had to request via ILL. Better get cracking. Be back to read the above posts when I finished with Vol 2.

feb 16, 2013, 5:02 pm

Finished The Doll's House last night. It was really good. You can see that the team is getting better at working together in this volume. Little things from the first volume are rolling along here in the second volume. I can't wait for the third.

Thank you GingerbreadMan and Eva for all the backstory and tidbits. Also, thanks to Lori for those great questions and furthering the discussion. It was really helpful to me.

feb 26, 2013, 10:08 pm

I loved this volume! I have a slightly fully review on my 2013 Category thread. My favourite story was "Men of Good Fortune" and my least favourite was "Collectors" (great satire but very disturbing). I really liked some of the new characters, especially Fiddler's Green.

I'm now looking forward to starting Volume 3, particularly since a coworker lent me his copies of the Absolute Sandman. They look gorgeous.

mar 5, 2013, 5:03 pm

RE: The women's story discussion:

Just finished the chapter on Seasons of Mists in Sandman Companion and Hy Bender points out that there is actually a mention of what the "women's story" could be. In the epilogue to Seasons of Mists, page 8, panel 4, there is a question mentioned that isn't shown in the men's story in The Doll's House. The idea is that the women's story tells of what would have happened if he had said yes. Sounds possible, right?

mar 7, 2013, 10:56 pm

> 34 - Interesting! Thanks Eva, I will keep my eye out for that when I get to Seasons of Mists!

Redigeret: sep 28, 2013, 1:54 pm

I am continually amazed by the way Gaiman weaves stories together. I would love to know to what extent he had this series planned out. I suspect in part he just likes revisiting past volumes and adding to each character's story as he goes on.

The Sandman has always appealed to me because of my fascination with dreams. Gaiman really seems to know how to depict the strange random nature of dreams, a reality where things can be both one thing and another, where the law of non-contradiction does not apply.

I can't believe I didn't catch Gilbert's identity before. The first time I read these I had never read Chesterton. For those of you who haven't, Chesterton was a popular Catholic apologist and a well-known novelist. He was known as a popular wit, with a touch of bombastic rhetoric; I think of him as the Catholic Christopher Hitchens. His Father Brown mystery stories, some of his most popular fiction, work in theological riddles.

As an example: in one story the main character, Father Brown, is in a park talking to the villain who is disguised as a Catholic priest. After a casual philosophical dialogue, Brown unmasks the villain, who has done a good job of keep his cover. The villain asks how Brown knew he was not really a priest. Brown responds: "You attacked reason. It's bad theology." This embodies Brown's quiet, deductive way to catching onto small details, in a very scholastic manner.

So the scene where Rose is telling Gilbert to stop puzzling her with theological paradoxes - it's very apt, and very funny if you've read any Chesterton. :)

Okay, here's one. Is it possible that Hob, the man who will not die, is John Constantine who helped the Sandman retrieve his bag of sand in volume 1? It seemed off that Constantine immediately knew who the Sandman was. Also there's the mention of Madd Hattie, one of the other immortals Hob knows, who is the crazy woman yelling on the sidewalk in the first volume.

Last but not least, I could immediately tell who Desire is based on. When I was a child my aunt and uncle had several prints of Patrick Nagel. Nagel is most famous for doing a Duran Duran album cover, but his depictions of women all have this style:

sep 30, 2013, 6:26 pm

Interesting idea, but Hob and John Constantine are definitely different characters. If you like John, you can check out Alan Moore's Swamp Thing where he was "born" or, even better, his own series, Hellblazer.

Isn't Gilbert just fantastic!!

okt 1, 2013, 6:21 am

okt 1, 2013, 11:24 am

Very cool and convincing with the Nagel inspiration! Has he been playing with androgyni in his work at all?

okt 1, 2013, 12:30 pm

> 38

I think Desire is intentionally androynous.

There was the mention of a Jack Constantine, whom Hob knew, a man who got himself killed. Is there a connection between that and John Constantine? It made me think that maybe Hob liked the name and took it. I have learned that there are no coincidences in Sandman.

okt 1, 2013, 12:41 pm

Yes, two of John Constantine's ancestors are in Sandman - Jack gets a mention and Johanna Constantine figures a lot. I don't think it's ever decided exactly how they are related.

"no coincidences in Sandman"
Very true! Although I have come across things that I thought meant one thing and then when I read something else (usually by Alan Moore) understood it meant something completely different. :)

okt 5, 2013, 9:12 pm

Just finished this volume . . . still have mixed feelings about the portrayals of women as sleepwalking beautiful oblivious creatures/objects . . . will take a break and think about whether I can stomach another volume . . .

Some aspects of the world he is creating are rather compelling, but I can't help feeling this is a world created by and for boys . . . (yes, I know there's a large contingent of female fans) . . .

A friend gave me a copy of Strangers in Paradise . . . may try that instead . . .

Redigeret: okt 6, 2013, 2:33 am

> 42

I've had the same unsettling feeling. For me, the sheer awesomeness of Death as a kick-ass female character helps. But the graphic novel ("comic book") genre does have a traditional readership.