selenak: (Illyria by Kathyh)
[personal profile] selenak
Which combines in an ingenious way one of the book's "Coming to America" stories with another character's tv tale and a much-later-in-the-book reveal.



Okay, so it turns out the tv show didn't keep Mad Sweeney alive post book delivered fate just for comic relief and to give Laura someone to spar with. I dove my hat to you, Fuller & Co., that was clever.

Here's what they took and remixed:

1.) Essie's "Coming to America" story from the novel, which in AG the book had nothing to do with Mad Sweeney as Essie there was a Cornishwoman, not an Irishwoman, and the supernatural being who in the end came for her and with whom she''s got the almost identical dialogue with is thus a creature of Cornish legend. At first I thought by making Essie Irish and Mad Sweeney the being she brought to America with her belief, the show simply provided an origin story for him, and only was surprised that they gave this one so much narrative space; this had to be the longest "Coming to America" story so far, taking up two thirds of the episode, with the present day Laura-Mad Sweeney (and in the beginning Salim) interaction taking up only a brief time by comparison. Given Emily Browning was playing Essie as well as Laura, I was even prepared for an inevitable "past love reincarnated" twist which I'm not that fond of save for a few exceptions. But no. No such twist. Instead, the reason why Mad Sweeney does what he does in the last scene is found in the present, which brings me to the second remix.

2.) The reveal that Wednesday was behind Laura's original death, which in the novel comes much, much later, when Shadow figures out what Wednesday had actually meant by "If there'd been any other way..." The tv show reveals it here along with the fact Mad Sweeney had been the driver of the other car. (Which, btw, is entirely possible that in the novel he was. In the novel, we never find out how Wednesday arranged this, because the how is not relevant anymore at that point, but it might have been via Mad Sweeney, just as he arranged for Mad Sweeney to show up and pick a fight with Shadow.) This gives Mad Sweeney and Laura a thematic connection which changes her being Undead due to his coin, the one which originally brought him to life aided by Essie's belief, from a sheer coincidence to a mythical point. He owes her, and so the decision not to take the coin and run when he could have but give it back to her changes his story from random misfortune to choice and redemption.

Basically, I loved all of this. Some additional remarks:

- the 18th century costumes for Essie's story were all gorgeous, and the balance of satire (inherent in the songs) and genuine emotion (Essie herself) worked for me.

- LOL on the hare. I'm no expert in Irish mythology, and even I know that one

- Laura getting the location of the big Gods meeting out of Mad Sweeney and telling it to Salim immediately so he can go there and find his djinn directly as opposed to making the detour with them was perhaps the first kind thing we've ever seen Laura do; Salim's own kindness must have moved her.
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