The Talisman, Part 2

The Talisman, Part 2
August 21, 2013 Constant Readers

None of this will make any sense if you haven’t read part one of our Talisman discussion.

When we last saw Jack Sawyer, he was on a mission to cross the country in search of a magical bit of knickknackery called the Talisman, which has the power to cure his mother’s cancer, as well as whatever’s wrong with Queen Laura, his mother’s twin in a parallel world, which Jack can travel to and from at his leisure. His evil Uncle Morgan is after him, though, because Jack’s mom and the queen surviving will Fuck Up His Chances To Rule, and Jack and his new best friend, Wolf, are on the run.

Wolf Goes To The Movies/Jack In The Box

Wolf is freaked out by our world because: everything stinks. The air sucks, cars smell like awful, places are small and closed and have crappy artificial lights. Also, fake butter flavoring on popcorn.

Pat: You didn’t even have any sympathy for Wolf when he flipped out at the movie theater?
Andrea: I had sympathy, yeah. Because that part was so AWKWARD
What a bunch of jerks they were. But the thing was, I thought it was kind of bad writing because I could never put my finger on exactly what Wolf was supposed to look like or why it was so shocking.
Pat: He looked like a tall, gawky kid with John Lennon glasses.
Andrea: Maybe that’s just because we now live in a society where lots of dudes are unfathomably beardy.
Pat: I can put my finger on it because I read where Stephen King describes what he looks like in our world.
Andrea: Yeah exactly, so what was the big deal at the movie theater?
Pat: He doesn’t get unfathomably beardy until he nears the Change, which I kept reading as menopause. The big deal is he was flipping the fuck out because he’d never seen a movie before, and the smell of the theater itself was gross and smelled like popcorn butter/pee.
And I believe he howled. So that Midwestern mom thought he was the devil-spawn.
Andrea: Oh yeah. I think everyone in the world just acts like that now. Cause everyone sucks.
Pat: Everyone acts like they’re oppressed by the smells of a movie theater and then howls like wolves?
Andrea: No, everyone acts like a bunch of animals.
Pat: You didn’t even like that he helps sharpen the comparison between the worlds? Like, augmenting the whole thing about Jack realizing how awful our world smells with the processed foods and the car exhaust and whatnot.
Andrea: Yeah, that was cool. I mean, it is an overstatement to say I hated him. I just found his speech patterns and his similarity to Tom Cullen annoying
The magical dummy is second only to the magical black person in SK lit.
Pat: When they flip back and Wolf is just apologizing and apologizing for making Jack leave, it’s kind of heartbreaking.
Andrea: Yeah, I don’t like that. It’s too sad and childlike.
STOP MAKING ME FEEL FEELINGS, BOOKS

Jack notices there’s way more hair on Wolf’s body. There’s a bad moon on the rise! Instead of Jack locking Wolf up in a shed during the Change, Wolf locks Jack up for three days.

Pat: So Wolf’s first transformation, with the shed and all.
It’s kind of odd that it doesn’t occur to Jack that a padlock isn’t going to hold a werewolf.
Andrea: Why the damn hell he didn’t just bring food and water in with him?
Pat: There was no time. Wolf just sprung the idea on him.
Andrea: Okay, I liked the tension in that part and the idea that as gentle as wolf was, he was also a ticking time bomb.
Pat: Say what you will about our dim-witted friend, he’s got a very developed and innate sense of what’s right.
Andrea: That’s part of the problem. SK is always endowing idiots with magical sensitivity and kindness. Some people are just dumb and that’s it.
Pat: In this case, I think you’re wrong. He’s part animal. These are instincts. It’s no more magical than a dog or cat acting protective around a newborn.
Andrea: Maple was terrified of Avery when she was tiny.
Pat: Well, Maple’s stupid. She makes Wolf look like Harold Lauder.
But to the point: Wolf brings Jack food. And he knows enough not to try to blast through the shed to get at him.
“DO NOT HURT THE HERD.” The Book Of Good Farming strikes again.

Wolf doesn’t kill any humans, but the rabbit population is SERIOUSLY COMPROMISED.

Andrea: So Jack survives. The creepiest was when he could see Wolf looking at him like he was food.
Pat: The idea of “running with the moon” gave the whole werewolf thing this tone you don’t get from werewolf stories. Granted, you’re rarely in the werewolf’s shoes. Except, uh, the American Werewolf series, and probably, Twilight?
Although I assume that if the vampire glitter in Twilight, then the werewolves must all have poodle tails.
Andrea: I didn’t even know there were werewolves in Twilight.
Pat: The love triangle is the girl, a vampire, and a werewolf.
Andrea: I also didn’t know there was a love triangle.
Pat: Even Wolf would have thought Twilight was retarded.

Part III: A Collision Of Worlds

Taken By The Law/The Sunlight Home/The Sermon/Ferd Janklow

Safely on the other side of the Change, Wolf and Jack set off again across these purple mountains majesty or whatever. Then they get picked up by the cops and dropped into a state-subsidized, Christian house for wayward boys run by a dude named Sunlight Gardener (yeah, sure) who is convinced he’s seen Jack somewhere before. HE hasn’t, oh no, not exactly him.

Pat: Anyway, Sunlight Gardener’s Home for What The Fuck Is Up, You Are Actually Osmond!
Andrea: OH MAN THAT PLACE
When they got arrested my heart just dropped. Also kinda felt like Jack needed a better backstory.
Pat: He’s a fucking kid. Of course his stories weren’t iron-clad.
Andrea: Rehearse that shit, fool! HE’S A KID WHO IS HITCHHIKING ACROSS THE COUNTRY. He needs a story.
Pat: Yeah, but he just acquired a HUMONGOUSLY TALL NEW BEST FRIEND WHO IS ALSO A WOLF
Andrea: Oh right. “Oh hey, this is my cousin from Omaha.”
Pat: The whole situation is intensely unlikely, long-term imprisonment in a religious house for wayward bros. Even for a story about werewolves and parallel universes and magical lightning rods. I guess in the 80s, that kind of shit could happen, and now it can’t, because: the internet.
Andrea: You mean the arrest? Or the Sunlight Home?
Pat: The collusion between the police and the Home, the kickbacks and the state funding. I mean, this place sounds fucking HUGE.
Andrea: Oh yeah. I mean, it’s not that different than what went on at Penn State or in the archdiocese of Philadelphia.
Pat: I suppose, but we’re not just talking about diddling little boys. In fact, there wasn’t any mention of boy-diddling, which may be the first time there was opportunity for that in an SK book and he DIDN’T use it.
We’re talking about a fucking Christian home for wayward boys funded by the state. And there are kickbacks going around, totally corrupt, and kids are dying and no parent seems to be much bothered by it.
Andrea: It was the 80s. These things happened.
Pat: OH BUT DID THEY REALLY
Andrea: I guess. No. There was that whole daycare Satan sex ring thing and then it turned out the kids were coerced into testifying.
Pat: I don’t even want to know.

Pat: Right around here, K & S start slipping bits of Gardener-speak into the prose, which makes me think it’s King doing it. Because it’s so King it’s nearly a chess piece.
Andrea: Gardener-speak?
Pat: When they end a sentence of exposition with something like, “can you say hallelujah.” All flat-like. The “All boys are bad, it’s axiomatic” thing was creepy as fuck. And it was like that one line from Osmond was the thesis statement for all of Sunlight Gardener.
Andrea: I know. It sort of reminded me of that really bad Kevin Bacon movie Sleepers. Which was based on a memoir that was later found out to be largely fabricated.
Pat: Whatever, that movie didn’t even have Billy Crudup in it.

Trouble looms because Sunlight is fucking loony tunes, and his favored cadre of Home inmates are just a bunch of homicidal bozos.

Pat: So we’ve basically got Buddy from Christine‘s gang here in the Sunlight house. Who we will also meet again in It as Henry Bowers.
Andrea: SK loves his 50s greaser motif.
Pat: But these are greasers… FOR CHRIST
Andrea: This again begs the question of whether there is such a thing.

There’s enforced confession and obligatory-attendance sermons, all of which reek of the batshit Bible Belt getting a little too tight and cutting off circulation to the brain. Worse than that: this place has some mysterious shit going on. Ferd Janklow, whose name makes Sunlight Gardener’s sound like “Michael Smith” by comparison, was the Home snark-bucket, a real chuckle-giver and defier of authority, and he hips Jack to the Shawshank reality that this place is a money machine for ol’ Gardener. Then his ass just disappears.

Pat: Oh hey, check it out, I found my Literary Hat. With it firmly poised on my head, thoughts come to me. Like this one that is so deep it’s in the Marianis Trench: is there some play between the way these kids act at the school and the larger world?
SO LIKE the microcosm would be Sunlight having this totalitarian police state in the Gardener Home, and the shitheads thrive because they are in with the Big Guy. Which is sort of what Sunlight is in the macrocosm. Sunlight and people like him, which I guess is to say religious fanatics?
Did I just blow your fucking MIND?
Andrea: Wait. So.
What is the macrocosm? The regular world and the territories?
Pat: You know, the United States, the world itself. That people can get power in corrupt systems by being corrupt. And that essentially people like Sunlight Gardener are just children acting out.
Corruption runs straight down to the bonnnnneee.
Andrea: Yes. I agree. I think that is kind of a given though. Power corrupts.
Pat: Yeah, but like, yeah.
Where’s my Pulitzer?

Wolf gets into a fight and gets put into the Box, a solitary confinement sort of metal shack out in the yard.

Pat: So Wolf goes in the box. I can’t remember why.
Andrea: I think cause he fights back against the gang?
We should call this Alzheimer’s readers.
Pat: Does he break Singer’s fingers?
Andrea: Yup.
Pat: So he’s in there until Jack tells Sunlight where he knows him from. And Jack doesn’t want to be all, “WELL SIR I MET YOUR PSYCHOTIC TWINNER IN A MAGICAL OTHER WORLD WHERE MY FRIEND IN THE BOX IS ACTUALLY A HUMANOID HUSKY WITH A MILD CASE OF DOWNS.”
Kudos to King and Straub for writing like three characters in this book who you actually want to PUNCH THROUGH THE SPINE and throttle by the fucking throat.
None moreso than Sunlight Gardener though. I think his religious sanctimony makes him more hateable than Osmond.
Andrea: Yeah, he was infuriating. But then when he got his comeuppance—oh man. I got up and did a karate kick.
Pat: DID YOU ACTUALLY?
Andrea: Yup.
I like to do karate kicks
They just burst out of me

Jack Names The Planets/Jack And Wolf Go To Hell

Gardener, who is by now Tired Of This Shit, interrogates Jack about Where The Hell He Knows Jack From.. It is clearly time to get out. So when Wolf comes back from solitary, he and Jack go to the bathroom and FLIP. Except they flip to the edge of a FUCKING HELLPIT where PRETTY MUCH DEMONS are whipping the fuck out of people. One of those people is Ferd Fucking Janklow, and one of those demons is Osmond the Infernally Nutso.

Pat: I like the symmetry of them trying to flip over, without any of Speedy’s magic juice, and going from the bathroom of the home to the edge of one of Morgan of Orris’s fucked-up slag pits.
Andrea: That was one of my favorite parts of the whole book. OMG the slag pits. WTF SK you sicko!
Pat: Did you get that these are basically mines where they’re digging for radioactive material?
Andrea: No, not really.
Pat: It ties in with the wasteland. Or whatever they call it. The Blasted Lands.
Andrea: Does that tie in with the wasteland that comes later in the Dark Tower series? Isn’t one of the books called that?
Pat: Yeah, but keep in mind that in all likelihood, there was no connection when they wrote this.
Because even if SK had written most of Drawing Of The Three, he hadn’t written The Wastelands yet. Although he may have thought that far ahead.
Andrea: Oh, true.
Pat: But it seems more likely that the Blasted Lands in Talisman might have inspired the wastelands in The Wastelands. There’s no real direct connection, which I guess I had imagined before rereading it. I think in Black House, it’s basically like, “Uh, yeah, look, all of this shit is Crimson King stuff.”
I mean, it’s about two worlds where the barrier between them is paper thin. And the Talisman is a perfect analogue to the rose later in the Dark Tower series.
Andrea: I like the name “Blasted Lands” better.
Pat: It sounds like something a prospector would say. “THESE DAGGONE BLASTED LANDS.”
Andrea: People keep stopping by my desk. Don’t they know I am busy with important things??
Pat: Oh fuck. And they see Ferd Janklow in the Pit. Poor Ferd Janklow. It’s rough being an intensely likable secondary character in a Stephen King book, what with the COMPLETE CERTAINTY that you will die.
FERD. FERDY. I WILL MISS YOU AND YOUR STUPID FUCKING NAME.
Andrea: That was awful. Possibly one of the most affecting scenes he has written.

They flip back in time for the Sonny Singer Boys’ Choir And Beatings Brigade to catch them in the same bathroom stall, where they were Clearly Probably Doing Homo Stuff, and decide to beat them. Wolf decides otherwise.

Pat: Wolf and Jack have been spotted in a bathroom stall, possibly blowing each other but totally not.
Andrea: But everyone thinks they are so they might as well have been.
I liked that they were constantly getting in situations like that. It was suspenseful as hell.
Pat: In situations where they get called gayboys?
Andrea: In situations where they were suddenly in danger
Pat: Don’t tell me you didn’t warm to Wolf when they came back to their room and the gang had pissed all over their mattresses, and Jack forced Wolf off his bed so he wouldn’t sleep in it, and they huddled together on the floor.
Andrea: I GUESS IT WAS FINE. I was not all like bro-down sobfest like you.

Wolf In The Box

Wolf goes back in the box, and Jack is taken unconscious to some basement garage, where Sunlight has finally Figured It The Fuck Out and sent for Morgan Sloat. The interrogation runs concurrently with Wolf freaking out in the box. Fun WOLF fact: stress can bring the Change on early, motherfuckers.

Pat: IIIIII’MMMMMMMM THE WOLFFFFFFFF IN THE BOX
You’d think SK would’ve been tired of werewolves right after Cycle.
Andrea: True, but Cycle was basically a graphic novel. It probably took him two hours to write it.
Pat: The whole sequence of Wolf breaking out of the box and murdering the whole school is basically Cycle but way, way better.
Andrea: I LOVED that sequence. And would love to see it on film. There isn’t enough good werewolf stuff.
Pat: I don’t know if it’s been used anywhere else, but I definitely have seen it done that I can remember: the deal with Wolf being pushed towards the change is really clever.
There’s that gradation throughout the month in Cycle, but as far as we know, in that world, stress and the like don’t bring it on faster like it does in Talisman.
Andrea: Yeah. I like the motif of the change as an illness, and he’s getting worse and worse.
Pat: It’s a little weird that in the Territories, Wolf is a humanoid husky, but when he changes into a werewolf in the real world, he’s just your standard werewolf.
Andrea: What do you mean? He isn’t the same kind of werewolf in each world?
Pat: Well, he isn’t a werewolf in that world anyway. He’s a Wolf. No were about it.
Hell, he isn’t even a wolf Wolf, he’s a husky Wolf.
Andrea: Right. Maybe there are no werewolves in the Territories?
Pat: It’s sort of like Jack’s world forces a way starker dichotomy on the character. He’s a Wolf in the Territories, changes into a hungry Wolf during the Change, and it’s not clear how drastic the change is over there.
But in our world, he’s a tall gawky doofus of a kid and a snarling, monstrous bipedal wolf killing machine.
Andrea: Right. And that’s reflected when Jack thinks of himself as Jason, too.
Pat: It doesn’t seem like there’d be as much of a difference in the Territories. He’d just be SUPER HUNGRY WOLF. The difference is kinda similar to the difference between Sloat and Morgan of Orris. Or Sunlight and Osmond.
Like, Sloat is bad, but Morgan of Orris is pure fucking evil. Ditto Sunlight/Osmond.
Andrea: Right. What SK should have included is some kind of diagram to keep this all straight, especially the rules of changing over and such. Although I’m sure some nerd out there has done it. Probably you.

Wolf breaks out of the box and goes on one of the coolest Werewolf Rampages ever.

Pat: So whilst Wolf is wolfhandling all the shitheads in the Home, Sunlight Gardener is trying to burn Jack’s balls.
Andrea: There was a lot of freaking torture in this book. So while that’s happening, they start to hear a chaos from above or whatev. Does Jack realize that it’s Wolf and he is saved?
Pat: Oh, he knows. He can hear Wolf in his head, remember?
Andrea: Can you imagine how freaking glorious he must have felt when those dudes are trying to burn his balls and he knows they are about to get chomped by a fucking werewolf?
Pat: I can, but, you know, he can’t have complete confidence in Wolf’s ability to discern the herd from the prey.
Andrea: MMM GOOD point. Still, I’d rather have my throat ripped out by a werewolf than have my balls burned.
Assuming I had balls.
Pat: Well, you’d live in one, and die gurgling your own blood in the other case.
At some point, the nerve endings in your balls would fry and you wouldn’t feel anything.
Andrea: You think so? I never thought of that before.
Pat: That’s what Science tells me.
Pat: And then Wolf gets shot to death, although he gets to give them all a bit of the ol’ death before he dies. And Sunlight Gardener bolts.
Andrea: Right. And Jack escapes thank Christ.
Although I was worried about him out in the world without Wolf, it was also good that he can now travel unfettered.
Pat: I love that the police show up and are more surprised at the conditions in the home than that a hundred kids were torn into tiny fleshy pieces.

Wolf kills fucking everybody, including the Sonny Singer Interrogation Ball-Burners, and ends up with a gut full of bullets while Sunlight gets away. Wolf dies. FUCK.

Pat: On a scale of one to ten, how wrong were you about not liking Wolf?
Andrea: I appreciate him as a character, but he annoyed me.
I don’t dislike him as a person—I just am annoyed with him as written with the verbal quirks.
Pat: Right here and now?
Andrea: I liked Wolf’s brother better.
Pat: THEY’RE INDISTINGUISHABLE FROM EACH OTHER
Andrea: No, Wolf’s brother liked rock music. That is why I liked him better. Also he only said “Wolf” for no reason a couple times.
Pat: That is a fucking patently idiotic reason to like him better. He says wolf less because he’s only around for twenty pages. And I don’t know if you know this, but Wolf’s brother didn’t DIE TO SAVE JACK, HIS BEST FRIEND EVER.
Andrea: OMG I GOT THAT
That doesn’t mean I have to love him as a character!
Do you love every book character that ever did something heroic?
Pat: Do you love every character that likes rock music, the way nearly every character written in the last seventy years does?
Andrea: No. I just enjoyed him more than Wolf.
Pat: He doesn’t even like good music.
Andrea: This is the dumbest argument ever, which for this blog is saying a lot.
Pat: You are Morgan Sloat to my Phil Sawyer.

The police arrive, and eventually, some digging is done. What do they find? THE BODIES EVERY KID THAT DISAPPEARED BUT DIDN’T GO TO THE ORE-PITS!

Andrea: They start excavating, and the shit hits the fan.
In a spectacular way.
Pat: I would say the shit and the fan had already met and parted ways by then.

Jack Lights Out Again/Jack’s Dream/Richard At Thayer/Thayer Gets Weird/Thayer Goes To Hell/’Send Out Your Passenger’/Richard In The Dark

Jack glooms his way west again without Wolf. It is kind of heartbreaking. He’s still on his way to see Richard Sloat, his Best Friend and the Son Of Morgan “Shitbag” Sloat, noted pursuer of Jack’s White Ass.

Pat: And so, after a brief interlude at a Burger King with a guy that buys Jack food and gives him a coat and then says, OH SHIT I’M NOT HUNGRY BECAUSE I’M A PEDOPHILE and bolts, Jack reaches Thayer School, where Morgan Sloat’s super-logical son, Richard, boards.
Andrea: Richard is a pussy. If there’s a worse name than Richard, I don’t know what it is.

We learn that Richard doesn’t not brook any magical, illogical shit, and so Jack’s story is discounted out-of-hand, at least until the school starts to SUBTLY SHIFT INTO THE TERRITORIES, and BAD WOLFS (not to be confused with Doctor Who’s Bad Wolf) prowl the suddenly empty campus, telling Richard to give up his passenger.

Pat: The whole “give up your passenger” thing was weird. Why passenger?
Andrea: I just assumed it was because they are traveling together? Because Jack was carrying Richard on a journey?
Pat: They were still in his ROOM.
Andrea: The metaphorical journey you wonk-ham.
Pat: That’s stretching it. Even for this book.

Richard does not oblige, although he does LOSE HIS FUCKING GRIP. Which, good on you, Rich, this whole campus is going bonkers.

Pat: There’s something inherently spooky and macabre and cultish about boarding schools anyway. They always seem like the kind of place where a nice aspiring actor like Robert Sean Leonard would off himself with his disapproving father’s gun.
Andrea: We all get your jokes. MOVING ON
Pat: This is easily the weirdest fucking part of the book, and the least comprehensible.
Andrea: Are you serious, I thought this was the most comprehensible. I also dug how it was like, boarding school gone mad.
Pat: Yeah, but the school going mad seemed to break most of the rules. I WILL HOWEVER GRANT YOU that in a Dark Tower, there-are-places-where-the-membranes-between-worlds-is-thin sense, I guess it jives.
Andrea: That’s why I liked this part so much. cause the rules can suck my left one. TM Bikini Kill
Pat: The implication is what, that the Thayer School is being pulled INTO the Territories? Because the fucking Bad Wolfs shouldn’t be Wolfs if they’re still in our world. And the weird maggot thing. That sticks with the story until the bitter fucking end, unfortunately.
Andrea: Ugh that grossed me out so much but when the school started deteriorating? SO FUCKING AWESOME

We learn that Richard once saw his dad disappear into a wardrobe for hours, only to come back home in his own car and through the front door later. This is about when Richard stopped being at all cool about weird shit.

Andrea: Man, Richard was such a wiener with the stupid fever.
Pat: This is it, though. This is another tent pole of the story’s symbolism—Richard’s denial and uber-logic. I have a hard time believing anyone would react that way, but then, that’s because I’m not a closed-off person who shies away from “Seabrook Island stuff.”
Andrea: Me either. He seemed just willfully obtuse. I was so frustrated and annoyed the whole time. Good thing Jack is a more patient man than me cause I prob would have left him
Pat: It was really frustrating, but in a way, I eventually sympathized with him.

They’ve got to get out of this place, Jack realizes, and they make a run for the Depot, where the headmaster of Thayer, now a shaggy wolf-dog, tries to eat their faces.

Pat: SURPRISE your headmaster is a Wolf.
Andrea: That was when they were switching back and forth to wherever happened to be safest, right?
Pat: They hadn’t even tried it yet. They were getting to that one building and about to be attacked by the headmaster Wolf or whoever, and THEN Jack flipped them both over. And Richard proceeds to freak out even more.
Because WOLFS
Andrea: Right. That headmaster wolf was fucking gnarly.

But before Dean Greywolf can get to them, Jack flips!

Sloat In This World/Orris In The Territories (III)

A big problem for Morgan Sloat is this: when he flips to the Territories, he’s bound to wherever, geographically, Morgan of Orris is, and vice versa. It makes chasing Jack sort of a bitch. This was, however, super handy when, for example, Sloat needed to murder someone—Orris would just slip into Sloat’s body and do the crime, including such #1 hits as Phil Sawyer’s Death In Utah and Attempt Pillow-Smothering Of Jack Sawyer In D Minor.

Pat: This is also around the time we learn that small things happening in the Territories have exponentially larger effects on the real world. Sort of like the geography of the Territories is a fraction of what it is here.
Andrea: We learn that early on, when the hotel where Jack changes over explodes.
Pat: That’s a different thing. I’m talking about when Jack Sawyer is killed. Or Jack Phillipsowhatshisname. It causes like a small war in the Territories, and World War II breaks out in the real world.
Andrea: Oh right. That is an important distinction.
Pat: Although the Blasted Lands are completely irradiated, which means either it would’ve had to have been a huge, world-destroying nuclear Armageddon to cause that much damage in the Territories, or the use of that big a nuclear bomb would have wiped out the real world.
Andrea: Right. Or it is just a natural part of the Territories?
Pat: A naturally irradiated wasteland?
Andrea: YES WHY NOT
Pat: BECAUSE THAT SHIT IS NOT NATURALLY OCCURRING.
Andrea: I WILL ACCEPT ANYTHING SK INTRODUCES TO ME
EXCEPT FOR LISEY’S STORY
Pat: NOW YOU’RE JUMPING WAY AHEAD
Andrea: WHICH OMG HE SAID WAS HIS FAVORITE BOOK OF HIS WTFFFFFF
Pat: Okay, so we also learn about Phillip Sawtelle getting the ol’ death by Morgan of Orris’s hand. Which is also the death of Jack Sawyer.

Pat: Coming off of Christine and Pet Sematary, I have to say, the rules in this book are way more clear than fucking LeBay and the useless Victor Pascow.
Andrea: I disagree. Maybe because PS only has like 5 characters and this has a million
Pat: But the RULES are clear. There’s really nothing that isn’t explained at some point. Although for the longest time, I thought Jason was the Territories’ Jesus, which I guess he is, but it made it confusing when it was revealed that A. Queen Laura’s kid was named Jason, B. that even though he’s dead, Jason is who Jack turns into when he flips to the Territories, except that it isn’t like Sloat and Morgan of Orris, where only one consciousness can be in control at a time, and they have to flip over to where the other person is instead of just flipping to the geographical analog of where they are.
Andrea: Yeah. I would never have figured out any of this if you hadn’t outline it for me. Not that it’s critical to my enjoyment of the book, but you know.
Pat: Wait, you didn’t figure out the Jason/Jack/Jesus thing?
I mean, he isn’t JESUS, but he’s supposed to be some sort of savior, some messiah that is supposed to come back and save everyone from something. It’s like, “Hey, something bad will eventually happen, dunno what, but then a kid will return from the dead and fix everything. So, uh, basically when he shows up, it’s all going to start going to hell.”
Andrea: No, that I got. I meant the rules about switching over and others and what not.
Pat: It’s all explained!
Andrea: Yeah, but it’s not consistent.
Pat: In one of the Sloat in this World interludes, he’s remembering when Morgan of Orris popped over for a visit WHILE HE WAS DRIVING.
Speaking of which, the way Sloat is described when he comes through the barrier between the worlds is bone-chilling. Especially near the rest stop, when it’s basically described as the fabric of the universe being raped violently.
Andrea: Yeah, I sort of got a chill of dread whenever he bounced back into the story.
Pat: But it also kind of broke the rules. Because Morgan of Orris would have had to be there already for Sloat to come through.
Andrea: Right. That’s what I mean when I say it’s not consistent
Pat: That’s the only time I can think of though, and when he does that, the violence of it makes me think that it’s because he’s breaking the rules. And it seems like every time he does it, he doesn’t come through, he just stands in the doorway and yells, while slowly pulsing back and forth between his own features and Orris’s.
Andrea: That makes sense, that the world-raping is because he is breaking the rules, not that he is an exception to the rules.
Pat: WHICH IS COOL.
I’M COOL WITH IT.
THAT COUNTS AS A RULE.
Andrea: I AGREE WITH YOUR COOLNESS
Andrea: WE ARE IN CONSENSUS

Continue to The Talisman, Part 3.