The Graveyard Book:
Date: August 7, 2011
Title: See Silas
See The Lady on the Grey,
The Lady on the Grey is not death; she does not bring death to the living. She brings the living to the dead death. Death itself is intangible, unnamable. It can be anything – the sharp thwack of a bowstring, the sour taste of a poisoned drink, the soft sigh of a man who, content, has just breathed his last exhale. She is not, of course, the original guide – there have been hundreds, thousands, of them over the years. A guide starts as one of the dead, one of the dead who have been incontent with their life and more so with their death. One of the dead who have seen many things, one of the dead who are wise. They are then apprenticed, and ride along with the current guide on the Grey, silent and unseen, until one day the old guide fades and only the apprentice is left…
See The Lady on the Grey dance the Macabre.
As one of the dead, the Lady dances with the living. She trades partners often – she is one of the few who knows that even death is impermanent, that even the dead fade, that each and every one of them will one day get tired and refuse to come up from their graves. And this includes herself. She has not yet taken an apprentice, but one day she shall. So she tries to dance with as many as she can, knowing all the while that one day she will see them again, and bring them to their resting place. The dead should have mercy, for neither life nor death is merciful.
Bod is something of an anomaly. He is not between the living and the dead as some are (the solitary types as Mrs. Lupescue would call them), but neither can he quite identify with either. He has some of the talents of the deceased and he has grown up with them, but he has not yet ridden the Grey. Bod is an anomaly, but he does not quite know this yet.
See Bod dance the Macabre.
Bod has done everything in his entire life - up until now – as one of the dead. It comes as a shock to dance as one of the living. In every persons life there are moments, turning points you might call them, where they have an epiphany, some monumental change in mindset, that alters their entire life. Bod's first Danse was one of these.
Silas was mortal once. His memories of that time are blurred, fuzzy, incoherent, but he can remember that much. That he was mortal once. All he can remember is a brief impression of a crime (he was the criminal) then the sound of chanting and hexes. After that his mind is blank for several years. When he awoke, he was in a tomb, his body had changed, become tall and thin, his skin paler than he remembered. Out of his chest was sticking a long, sharp knife. He reached up experimentally and pulled it out. There was no pain. Short experimentation shows him that he has been cursed to immortality, or something very similar. He has done only good since his change, an odd sort of penance. Perhaps he thinks that one day he will be able to die.
See Silas watch the Danse Macabre.
As neither living nor dead, Silas does not dance. He attempted it once, soon after his transformation. It … did not go well, to say the least. Since then he has never again tried again, though that is not to say he has not been tempted. He has heard what some of the denizens of the graveyard think – that he is half in love with the Lady on the Grey. He is not – at least, not in the way that they think – he has known the Lady for many years and her predecessor before that and the one before that. He is not in love with the guide, he knows that much. He is less certain that he is not in love with death.