Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Wake

The King is Dead! Long Live the King! The death of Morpheus is, ultimately, a costume change as Daniel Hall assumes the mantle (and dialog font) of the departed Dream.

Having, at this point in its run, amassed an ensemble cast of characters, it's time for the curtain call and final bows. Among the break-out stars are Nuala, Rob Gadling, Lyta Hall, Rose Walker, et al. Everybody really. Even you.

And so it's Whatever Happened to King of Dreams, before that style of wake became a thing--a precursor to the notion of a wake as a celebration not of life but rather as a celebration of the surrounding mythology. Goodnight Dreaming, Goodnight Matthew the raven, Goodnight, Goodbye, Goodnight.

Having exhausted mythic Greek tragedy, the final act had to bend the knee to Shakespeare--covering both ends of how a British man forges the links between his epic and what we might think of as The Epics. Of course, the Shakespearean reference in the denouement has to be to The Tempest; if you fancy that you've written something lasting, you must also fancy yourself to be a (if not the) Prospero. You don't go into this business if you haven't enslaved Ariel only to set him free, if you aren't a bit afraid that Caliban is your reflection in the glass, and if you don't have a deep and abiding need to set things to right and be seen as the real hero for doing so.

Also, you want the privilege of being the one to tidy things up in the end, I reckon. Sometimes that cleaning of one's own doll house means killing off your protagonist, your proxy, your shadow-self in the shadow box you built with your own two hands.

Death is not the end, we're told. And it isn't. It's exile from life and from dreams. But never an exile from stories, no, never that. For that is the kingdom and key, even after you have abjured your rough magic, broken your staff, and drowned your book.

Stories end, and go on.

* * *

Previous installments in this series:

Preludes and Nocturnes
The Doll's House
Dream Country
Season of Mists (part 1)
Season of Mists (part 2)
A Game of You (part 1)
A Game of You (part 2)
Fables and Recollections
Brief Lives
Worlds' End
The Kindly Ones