Neverland- down the rabbit hole

Hi!
Just finished Neverland! It was so long, so took me a while, but it was worth it! I just need to get out my thoughts on the story, and was wondering what other people think, too- btw I do like the story overall but I’m going to be a bit critcal of stuff so if you really love the story and hate to see it criticised (I know I’m like that with my favourites), maybe skip ahead. Also, be warned- spoilers!

So, first off, obsessed. The arc has finally come to a close, only… the story’s just begun??? Hello Zagreus!Eight??? Like, I knew it happened At Some Point because I’ve seen fanart, but I didn’t know that was this story, so, wow. Amazing ending. I know it’s a bit weird, starting with the ending, but seriously, it terrified me. I’m scared to go to sleep. It shook me deeply, and has truly left me awestruck. Mcgann is so talented ngl, such range on that man.

Goign backwards now- I almost wish that this was the end of Who, because it was such a perfect ending story! The way people were talking about 8 near the end (mainly Rassy and Romana), like they were giving eulogies. The way they sort of tied back into and summed up all the key themes: Hope, kindness, all those things that make Who, well, Who. Only to have it turned on it’s head and the rug pulled out from under itself by 8’s survival, as Zagreus represents the antithesis to those themes. Zagreus is the end of time, so quashes all hope, and is anything but kind. (Meme: 1: Dude, why are you crying? 2: The themes got to me. 1: Alright)

The other thing I absolutely loved was the music. It just, it was perfect in every way. I think the story would have been unrecognisable and would not have had that effect without the strong music throughout. I’m tone deaf, so I’m really not a music person, but it still felt very powerful, I suppose would be the word? Really forceful and dramatic.

And, of course, as a Deca fan I can’t not mention Vansell! I knew he died in this one but it still hit me hard. “I do this… gladly” sniffs don’t talk to me for a week akjsdfhasjdkf I miss my awful evil horrible little traitor already. Can’t help but wonder if all the Oublietting was the anti-time’s influence, to help grow their numbers, or if it was just Vansell being a little s!!t (censoring because I’m scared of the censorship bot, although I say the word with love). Although the story heavily implied it to be the former, it is honestly pretty fitting with his character and I hope that it was at least partially the latter, too. Like, maybe the Anti-Time couldn’t have had such a hold if he hadn’t already been willing/inclined to act like that? Something about innate potential being exploited and brought to the surface by forces beyond your comprehension.

Now, characterisation. Here’s where I get a bit salty- I feel like Charley was a bit of a damsel in distress, I have to admit. She definitely seemed more sort of whimpery and ‘crying out for help’ than in her other stories? That being said, she was whimsical and full of joy/enjoyed annoying Levith and Kurst when she ran off to the forest (either just out of an abundance of joy/curiosity or to p!ss off her captors), which was very fun. And there were definitely times where her damsel-y reaction made sense. I just wish we’d seen more of her being brave throughout the story, as I feel like that is an important aspect of her character that was sorely missed until right at the end. Her acceptance of death was really interesting (really long but like, as I said earlier, the audio Feels like a last hurrah, like a goodbye, so it makes total sense for it to be long. As I was listening, I was aware that it was way longer than it would be if this was Just Some Random Story, but because it feels so much more climactic than that, it’s allowed a little drama. As a treat).

Liked the characterisation of 8- felt consistent with earlier audios. Vansell as well was every bit the snivelling traitor I know and love him as, until right at the end… Part of me wonders if he was putting on a brave/loyal face so he’d be well remembered. Seems like the sort of manipulation he’d pull. I love him so much my scrunkly

Romana. Her banter with the Doctor was fun and very in-character, and I think she should have been cold some of the time, but I feel like in emphasising the way the Job had made her cold/insensitive, they overdid it? She felt a little, well, flat, I suppose. Kind of like Charley- she wasn’t one dimensional, but I feel like they’d forgotten at least one key dimension of her character, so she had about one less than she should have.

Thought the struff with Rorvan and Taris was interesting, and Sentris’ character intruiged me, as does Zagreus’. Oh, and, one final characterisation point- Rassilon. On one hand, Rassilon isn’t like that smh. He’s calculating and imperialistic and on his own side, not this caring/watching omnibenevolent figure. One could chalk it up to ‘oh, well, this is the Matrix Rassilon, with all his best qualities/ the way people idealise him as’, but I think that should have been made clear in the text and discussed/played on a bit, not something the listeners have to figure out to make characterisation work. Then again, I suppose by that time we hadn’t had much of a view of his imperialistic tendencies, and he hadn’t been through the War, so it’s not a fault with the writing I’m finding here- more a retrospective “with what we know now, it would have made more sense if his character was more X”.

However, this leads me into my first real critcism: What the hell was Rassy doing in that story. He was just kind of… there??? It really made no sense. He just popped in and had the Doctor explain his adventures to him, then popped off again? I know he appeared earlier throughout the story, and later, too- he was well threaded in- but he very much felt superfluous. I liked his parts of the Zagreus myth, but very much felt that he shouldn’t have been in the audio. Aside from maybe as the hologram early on, to help with the misleading as to what was in the casket (which was a really fun slight of hand).

My other real issue with the story is that problems kept cropping up, only to be immediately solved. Things like “oh no, I can’t open this door! Nevermind, it’s fine, I have the sonic”. Generally, there was a lot of that back and forth that made the story feel a bit slow and clunky, and I think should have just been removed, as it would have tidied it all up better, in my opinion.

I think that’s pretty much it- great themes, great music, great Vansell, great ending, some qualms with the characterisation of the gals, and Rassilon and the constant ‘immediate solves’ felt unnecessary.
Overall, I’m giving it a 4.5, because it was a brilliant and gripping story that has wormed it’s way into my heart, despite a few minor flaws. The gravity- sorry, mavity. Wait no, sorry, gevity- of the story overrides my issues with it.

I’d love to hear other people’s thoughts! Sorry, I know this got super long. I ramble a lot (:

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Don’t apologise for rambling - good to have some passion.

I can’t contibute much in response though as it’s been far too long since I listened to this story. I do remember enjoying it but that whole Divergent arc needs a relisten for me.

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Great thoughts. You’ll definitely have to join the discussion when the Audio Club hits Neverland in September.

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