Neverwhere Discussion [Part 2]

Wow, I’m late.

As part of Once Upon A Time, Carl over at Stainless Steel Droppings is hosting a Neverwhere Readalong. Here are his answers (which I haven’t read yet, I don’t want them to influence mine) and if you happen to be reading Neverwhere at the moment, feel free to join in!

You can find my spoiler-free review here, and Part 1 of the discussion here.

1. Chapter 6 begins with Richard chanting the mantra, “I want to go home”. How do you feel about Richard and his reactions at this point to the unexpected adventure he finds himself on?

I’m not a huge fan of Richard, if I have to be honest. The only time my feelings for him approach tolerance is when he’s around Door.

He’s in London Below. Where there’s awesomeness in abundance. I wouldn’t be going, “Pinch me, wake me up, when is this all going to end?”, I’d be prancing about like a pony who’s just been given a huge sack of sugar cubes. Quietly, of course, I wouldn’t want the Marquis annoyed with me.

On the other hand, I would be insane to embrace London Below as a wonderful place to be stuck in. Well, it is, but only if you’re snuggled up under a warm quilt hundreds of miles away. If I’d lost Anaesthesia, I’d probably bawl my eyes out.

So yes, I understand where Richard is coming from, and it adds to the whole keeping-it-real thing Gaiman has going on, but honestly Richard. Alice has got more pluck than you do.

2. The Marquis de Carabas was even more mysterious and cagey during the first part of this week’s reading. What were your reactions to him/thoughts about him as you followed his activities?

I loved-loved-LOVED not knowing what the Marquis had in store for us. Questions of what he gave Old Bailey were replaced by whether he could be trusted, whether he was going to betray Door, or if it was Richard he was out to get. And every time he said or did something, I was reminded of that Harry Potter quote – “You know, Minister, I disagree with Dumbledore on many counts…but you cannot deny he’s got style…”

3. How did you feel about the Ordeal of the Key?

Confused, at first. It took a while for the implications to sink in. And then awe – that Gaiman could come up with something like that – and then horror – that Gaiman could come up with something like that – and awe, again – that he could come up with something like that and write about it.

4.  This section of the book is filled with moments.  Small, sometimes quite significant, moments that pass within a few pages but stick with you.  What are one or two of these that you haven’t discussed yet that stood out to you, or that you particularly enjoyed?

The scene with Lear and the “reel so beguiling that it would charm the coins from the pockets of anyone who heard it”. Brilliant. I was shaking my head in amazement. Charming favours out of someone by getting them out of a favour? Marquis de Carabas, you sly lynx, you.

5.  Any other things/ideas that you want to talk about from this section of the book?

Have I mentioned just how quotable this book is?

“We have to get the… the thing I got… to the Angel. And then he’ll tell Door about her family, and he’ll tell me how to get home.”
Lamia looked at Hunter with delight. “And he can give you brains,” she said, cheerfully, “and me a heart.”


“Now me,” said Mr. Vandemar.
“What number am I thinking of?”
“I beg your pardon?”
“What number am I thinking of?” repeated Mr. Vandemar. “It’s between one and a lot,” he added, helpfully.

Right. That’s me done, then. Time to look at everyone else’s posts!

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2 responses to “Neverwhere Discussion [Part 2]”

  1. Grace says :

    Love the White Rabbit picture. When I first started reading Neverwhere, I didn’t immediately jump to the Alice in Wonderland connection, but the further I read the more apparent it is. I love the absurd and wondrous atmosphere, especially since Gaiman manages to give it just enough of a dark touch to make it seem like it isn’t the innocent Wonderland that we’re used to.

    • Tanya says :

      Yes! And while parts of Neverwhere are Tim Burton-esque, he still manages to make it his own even though he’s referring to a billion things at once. And you’re right – it’s a very soft kind of dark. Not one that will have you screaming, but a shadowy airy thing with tendrils you know are about to coil around you sneakily.

Let me know what you think!

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