Literature / How The Marquis Got His Coat Back

A short story by Neil Gaiman, set in the Neverwhere universe, detailing... well, what the title says.

Tropes used in this work include:

  • Badass Longcoat: The coat in question. The Marquis doesn't feel psychologically armoured without it and is determined to get it back.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Lady Drusilla of the Raven's Court has a habit of turning people who upset her into birds of prey. Poor Vince.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Vince wanted to be together with the beautiful Drusilla. He does get to be by her side, but not as a lover. She turns him into an owl, angry at his attempt to infect her with mushroom spores.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Peregrine, twice, much to the Marquis' chagrin.
  • Brainwashing: Some form of this is how the Shepherds get workers.
  • Briar Patching: The Marquis would really like the Shepherd not to steal the letter that's in his shirt pocket and read it. Really.
  • Body Horror: What happens to people infected by the Mushroom. They begin growing small clusters of mushrooms on their skin and their tongues become lichenous. They always have a damp smell hanging over them and seem to be in a sort of eerie trance most of the time. And that's only what is visible on the surface.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The Marquis is accused of being sarcastic all the time, even while screaming.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: There are several in the story: the mushroom people lose their free will and become entranced worshippers of the Mushroom. It gets worse for Vince, as he not only is he already in the thralls of the Mushroom but is transformed into an owl by Drusilla, whom he tried to infect with the mushroom spores. Then we have the victims of the Shepherd, who are brainwashed and worked to death. Ironically, the Shepherd is neutralized by becoming one of the Mushroom people.
  • Fungus Humongous: The Mushroom.
  • Honorable Elephant: Mostly.
  • Sibling Rivalry: The Marquis and Peregrine.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Vince the Mushroom man trades information to the Marquis for delivery of a letter to the girl he likes, a lady of the Raven's Court. The letter is filled with Mushroom spores to infect her so she won't even think of refusing.
  • Symbiotic Possession: How the Mushroom gets and keeps its people, by means of spores.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: The Elephant thinks it's a good idea to chain the Marquis to a pole in a room filling with water and leave the room.
  • Wild Card: As ever, the Marquis. He personally tells Drusilla what Vince tried to do, and even shows her the letter, mostly so that then she'll owe him a favour.