(Sorry I didn’t have the time to post yesterday. Work, of course, and I also had a busy weekend with my brother’s birthday and buying a couple of new book cases which of course led to re shelfing of books.)
I had decided that in lieu of specific questions this week, we would culminate this group read with each individual taking their own direction with what they wanted to share. I did suggest that I would be most curious to know how readers thoughts and feelings about particular characters were affected by the events in this final section of the book. Beyond that, let’s just chat about Neverwhere.
Now I want to watch the miniseries and happily it’s available on Play.com for just a few euros.
Lots of people in Neverwhere are not what or who their appear to be at first glance. Obviously, Door turns expectations; she first appears hurt and homeless and probably helpless but turns out to be a member a very influential family (albeit in the London Below) and far from helpless. She’s also not the innocent girl Richard assumes she is but can use politics to her advantage quite deftly. Then there’s Hunter whose loyalties turn out to be different than Richard expects. Most readers probably didn’t expect her to go as far as she did to get what she wanted. I didn’t the first I read Neverwhere and I was really shocked and betrayed. And of course Islington. It was described as such pure and good creature that the truth was again shocking. Of course, it has been imprisoned for a long time; anyone’s sanity would have cracked after that.
Interestingly, Vandemar and Croup turn out to be pretty much what they appear to be: villains who enjoy torturing others. However, they aren’t human and we don’t find out what they are. Did Islington make them that way? I doubt it. It seemed to disapprove their work except when it was “necessary” for Islington’s own ends. Maybe they are demons or some old gods? Or bogymen under the bed come to life? I’m pretty certain they didn’t die in the end. They’ll appear again somewhere.
Lamia also appeared different at first but I remember of being suspicious of her even during the first read and thought Richard was pretty gullible to fall for her act. Or maybe I’ve already grown suspicious of every character at that point. Lady Serpentine was also a very interesting character and I would have liked to know more about her.
The Marquis remains a mysterious character. I’m still not sure if he’s loyal to Door or just looking for that big favor from her (=more power to him). Maybe he can get both in the same package. His ability to return from the dead was great! He asks Hunter if she keeps her life somewhere else so it seems that this is something the Marquis has bought or traded for instead of unique to him. Also, the fact that Old Bailey knew what the small box was and how to use it, means that the Marquis trusts Old Bailey literally with his life. They must have some interesting history.
I also very much enjoyed the way that the London place names became people or more literal places, such as Knightsbridge > Nightsbridge, Old Bailey, or Blackfriars.
Lots of things are left open at the end: Door’s sister being alive and lots of unanswered questions about the characters. Richard is also clearly heading for more adventures.
Even though Ricard complained and was scared most of his time in London Below, he found out that he didn’t fit anymore Above. He got a promotion, a nice new flat, but didn’t have any friends and didn’t seem interested in making any new ones. He grew and changed in Below but didn’t have anyone to share those experiences with in Above. I understand his decision to return but I would have take a couple of bags full of stuff to trade with.