“There must be a Hell, for without Hell, Heaven has no meaning.”–Remiel
Season of Mists is one of my favorite story arcs in Sandman. It brings us back to the main arc, continuing on from events portrayed in The Doll’s House.
In this arc, Destiny receives a visit from the Fates. Destiny is the eldest of the Endless and carries a book with him–a book that tells him every single event: past, present, and future. This volume also introduces Delirium, the youngest of the Endless. Delirium was once known as Delight, but she soon turned insane, turning her into what she is now. Gaiman has said that he based Delirium on Tori Amos. Because I’ve listened to (and enjoyed) her music, I cannot think of a better model. Tori Amos is insane!
Desire once again attempts to twist the knife in Dream, reminding him of how Nada spurned his affections, causing him to condemn her to Hell. Surprisingly, even Death agrees that Dream should go to Hell to undo this great wrong.
When Dream arrives in Hell, he’s in for a shock. Lucifer has decided to abdicate the throne and hand it over to him. This will kill two birds with one stone. He is still rebelling against God’s plan and he will also gain revenge against Dream for humiliating him in the first volume. He doesn’t need to kill Dream; those who wish to own Hell in Lucifer’s place will do that for him, or so he thinks. Dream does not wish to rule over Hell. To make matters worse, with no ruler, the damned are rising. Death is too busy trying to keep her realm in check to help her brother.
Fortunately, God finds a new way. He appoints Remiel, one of his angels, as the new ruler of Hell. Remiel decides this will be a new order. “That was a place of mindless torture and purposeless pain. There will be no more wanton violence; no further suffering inflicted without reason or explanation. We will hurt you and we are not sorry. But we do it to redeem you. Because afterward, you’ll be a better person.” But as one of the damned cries out “That makes it so much worse.” Even with this new order, the damned are still fixed in their hatred of God and will never accept His love.
Dream redeems Nada. I love the way he frees her. He challenges Azazel, who agrees to let him enter his mouth to retrieve both her and Chronozon, the demon who dared to challenge Dream in the first volume. Of course, Azazel lies. Azazel has no idea who he’s messing with. Dream can bend reality itself to his whim. He does not let Azazel devour him once he’s retrieved what he came for. Instead, he warps reality, creating a jar and encasing Azazel within it for all eternity.
Nada is then reincarnated. The new life bestowed upon her allows her to visit Dream’s realm when she sleeps.
Next month, I will continue my retrospective with A Game of You. The title alone sounds great.