was asked to do a television series for the BBC. Lenny Henry
helped, too. Unfortunately, they fiddled with it
, and while the end result was good, it was not entirely true to Gaiman's vision. So he went home, and used his days off to write the story he wanted to tell.
It was later adapted by Mike Carey and Glenn Fabry as a miniseries for Vertigo Comics
. The series was explicitly based on Gaiman's novel, rather than the BBC's televised version. It was fairly well-received by critics, but fans took issue with the artwork's radically different depiction of several characters, particularly the Marquis de Carabas.
A movie version has been in development hell for a while now.
Lancaster University Theatre Group recently performed the first stage adaptation, adapted for stage by Peter Slaney.
In March 2013, BBC Radio 4 aired a radio play version, adapted and directed by Dirk Maggs, and starring an astounding who's-who of British actors, led by James McAvoy
as Richard and Natalie Dormer as Door. The radio play can be heard here
There is also now a short story in the same universe, How The Marquis Got His Coat Back
Tropes used in this work include:
- Action Survivor: Richard by the end of the story, to the point where the Marquis would like to keep one of his bones after he dies as a good luck charm.
- A God Am I: Islington has issues.
- Afterlife Express: An especially gruesome variant in the form of a subway car filled with the rotting corpses of suicides.
- All-Star Cast: In the 2013 BBC Radio production.
- Amazing Technicolor Population: For no real reason, the comics show Anaesthesia (an otherwise normal human, mind you) as being blue. An otherwise normal human who was born in London Above. In that same comic, the Marquis, described as having very dark skin, has solid, pitch black skin. Like Papa Lazarou.
- Ambiguous Gender: Islington, being an angel, has no biological sex.
- And the Adventure Continues: Assuming Richard didn't just go nuts at the end.
- Animal Stereotypes: Croup and Vandemar are described as giving very clear impressions of "a fox and a wolf". The Ratspeakers are sneaky and live in the sewers with the rats they serve. Lady Serpentine is, well, serpentine. Hunter is often compared to a lioness. The Marquis de Carabas is generally described in catlike terms, even being compared to a panther at one point. And, of course, his name comes from Puss in Boots. And he has more than one life, in a fashion.
- Animalistic Abomination: The Beast of London, which is based off the legend of the Black Sewer swine.
- Apothecary Alligator: In Lord Portico's study.
The stuffed crocodile hanging from the ceiling; the leather-bound books, an astrolabe, convex and concave mirrors, odd scientific instruments
- Arc Words: Sometimes, there's nothing you can do.
- Badass: Hunter is generally recognized to be the most badass London Belower around.
- Badass Boast:
- Hunter has slain the great alligator who lives in the sewers of New York, the bear that lurks beneath Berlin, and several others before going after the Beast of London.
- Croup and Vandemar also never tire of telling people how many, and how painfully, they've killed.
Mr. Croup: We have assassinated a dozen kings, five popes, half a hundred heroes and two accredited gods. We are utterly professional. My point? My point is that we are assassins. We are cutthroats. We are not scarecrows.
- Batman Gambit: Three of them.
- One by the Marquis. He goes to see Croup and Vandemar for information, knowing they'll kill him and gloat. However, he has arranged the means for his revival, meaning he got potentially valuable information from them.
- A second by Islington. This began by killing Door's family, thus making her on the run, keeping pressure on her so she'll be desperate and planting evidence showing him as trustworthy.
- Anticipating the second, there's a third by Door, with help from Hammersmith. She hides the real key on Richard so that she only has a duplicate, which lets her open the door to as far away as she can in case of Islington's betrayal.
- Belly of the Whale: The Ordeal. May overlap with Journey to the Center of the Mind.
- The Blacksmith: Hammersmith
- Big Bad: Islington, with Croup and Vandemar as a collective Heavy.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Well, as I live, breathe, and defecate, good old Hammersmith fits this trope! Har har har!
- Bodyguard Betrayal: Croup and Vandemar approach Varney and order him to become Door's bodyguard for this express purpose. Fortunately for Door, he loses the spot to Hunter. Who it turns out does the same anyway, as she was also in their employ.
- Brains and Brawn: Croup is a sesquipedalian schemer, Vandemar is The Brute. Both of them are very skilled assassins, though.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: The Black Friars. In both versions.
- Bury Your Gays: The subtlety of Hunter's sexuality wasn't enough to save her from this trope, apparently.
- Butt Monkey: Richard.
- The Cameo: Neil Gaiman plays the Fop With No Name and Mr. Figgis the security guard in the BBC radio production.
- Captain Obvious : Richard Mayhew, when Door awakes. Lampshaded: he thinks about how much he hates saying obvious things, but can't help it.
- Character Name Alias: 'The Marquis de Carabas' isn't his real title - he says he got it from a "lie in a fairy tale", a reference to Puss in Boots.
- Chekhov's Gun: The quartz crystal.
- Chekhov's Gunmen: Old Bailey and Hammersmith. That's all we're sayin'.
- Comically Missing the Point: Vandemar's response to Croup's knife-throwing practice. "What's so clever about that, then? You didn't even hit one finger."
- Cool Key: The key kept by the Black Friars.
- Cool Gate: The door that the key opens. And the Angelus.
- Crazy-Prepared: The Marquis always seems to have something handy available. Including, oddly, a large piece of fruitcake.
- Cryptic Background Reference: Shepherd's Bush and Raven's Court, among many other things.
- Crystal Dragon Jesus: All the people of London Below swear by "Temple and Arch". It's never quite explained what this refers to, but it is thematically appropriate, given the deeper meanings of the other place names.
- Darkness Equals Death: Night's Bridge. The darkness there isn't the absence of light, but a darkness that can (and does) take people away.
- Dark-Skinned Redhead: Hunter, in the book.
- Dark World: Right after Richard notices and saves Door and thus involves himself in the mess of Neverwhere, he suddenly finds that his ATM card no longer functions and people in his life act as if he was missing or never existed at all. And while a good deal of Neverwhere does take place underground, there are moments where it's clear that aboveground London has activity that's unseen by the average human being in the 'real world', especially on rooftops. Near the end, once Richard returns to the 'real world,' his ATM card is shown to function normally once more and those same people who forgot about him at the beginning recognize him and welcome him back from vacation.
- Debt Detester: The Marquis de Carabas. He prefers it when people owe him things.
- Delusions of Eloquence: Croup and Vandemar. Croup lampshades it.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Lord Portico laughed at Islington when the angel asked him to release it. Islington responded by hiring Croup and Vandemar to kill Portico and most of his family.
- Dissonant Serenity: Islington, most of the time.
- Dragged Off to Hell: The final fate of Islington, Croup and Vandemar.
- Dramatic Necklace Removal: Inevitably, Islington rips off the key Door had on a chain. She winces, but seems fine for all that it was made by a master blacksmith.
- Dreaming of Things to Come
- Driven to Suicide: How the Ordeal of the Key works.
- Egomaniac Hunter: Hunter. Her only real purpose is stalking the beasts of cities.
- Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: Hunter is exactly what you might expect.
- Evil Gloating: Invoked by the Marquis, who lets himself be (temporarily) killed because he has no doubt that someone like Croup would tell him their entire plan before killing him.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin:
- There really is a Knight's Bridge, there really is an Earl's Court, there really is an Angel Islington, etc. This is all a lot more potent if you know the station map, i.e., live in London.
- Also, guess what Hunter does for a living.
- Door opens doors. And sometimes chests.
- Exact Words:
- In the comic, the Marquis gets Croup and Vandemar to give him an hour's Mercy Lead - except they only promise not to touch him for an hour. This doesn't mean they can't follow him, or tear a ladder off a wall while he's climbing it.
- "When the city of Atlantis sank beneath the waves, there was nothing I could do to prevent it." ...because you deliberately caused it to do so.
- Gaiman has said that creating the Marquis de Carabas was his opportunity to write a pseudo-Doctor character.
- Readers can also sense a bit of the Marquis in the cat from Gaiman's later book, Coraline.
- The Faceless: The Marquis de Carabas in the comics is an odd example: he has eyes and lips, but no other features, as the rest of his body is just a silhouette. He was described in the book as having extremely dark skin, and it is to be assumed the artist took it literally and gave him ink-black skin.
- Although after he gets killed and brought back to life, the ink-black is streaked in places, revealing skin of a lighter shade underneath, so it may be some kind of costume or disguise.
- Fallen Angel: Reference is made to Lucifer being a fallen angel. Islington doesn't think highly of him. Specifically, he thinks he's a thug and it's unfair that Islington is treated similarly.
- False Innocence Trick: The Angel Islington seems to be a trusted ally to the heroes and informs them that he is tasked with protecting London Below due to his previous failure to adequately defend his previous city, Atlantis. They should have asked more detail about that before helping to free him. He destroyed Atlantis because he wasn't satisfied with their worship, and he's basically a Fallen Angel in the tradition of Satan with A God Am I pretensions, aiming to storm Heaven and declare himself God.
- Fantasy Kitchen Sink: The world of London Below appears to be this, consisting of angels, giant beasts, ice vampires, people who can talk to rats, rats who can talk to people, ancient Roman legions, and all kinds of crazy stuff.
- Fate Worse Than Death:
- What will happen if you violate the truce of the floating market.
- Also if you fail the test of the Black Friars. The test itself is no fun, either.
- Implied to be the case for those taken by the Night's Bridge.
- Faux Affably Evil:
- Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar. Mr. Croup even Lampshades that they may be quirky and amusing, but that doesn't stop them from being dangerous and terrifying.
- Also Islington after the reveal before his Villainous Breakdown. "I didn't kill your family, Door. I had them killed...
- Five-Finger Fillet: Mr Croup places his hand against a wall and throws several razor blades at it, landing in the spaces in between his fingers. Mr Vandemar is unimpressed with the fact that he missed all of them.
- Fridge Logic: In-universe - Door wonders, in a dream, who put away her father's journal after he was killed, but forgets this by the time she wakes. The answer turns out to be significant.
- Full Boar Action: The Beast of London. Other cities are stated to have had similar giant animals (a bear in Berlin, an alligator in New York). Note the "had" - they're mostly mentioned in the context of Hunter having killed them.
- Gave Up Too Soon: Door agreed to meet up with the Marquis at the floating market. They could have touched him, had they known where he was. Dead. By the time he got better, they had already left.
- Glamour Failure: Islington, when asked about Atlantis.
- Grand Vizier: Richard describes the Marquis as one, as the page quote demonstrates. He's not evil, but this was definitely trope invocation.
- Hand Of Glory
...a man thrust what appeared to be a child's severed hand clutching a candle toward him as he passed, muttering, "Hand of Glory, sir? Send 'em up the wooden hill to Bedfordshire. Guaranteed to work." Richard hurried past, not wishing to find out what a Hand of Glory was, nor how it worked;...
- Harbinger of Impending Doom: At the beginning, Door drops onto the sidewalk in front of Richard, out of nowhere and half-dead. His life abruptly gets a lot weirder.
- Heart Is an Awesome Power: Opening things. To anywhere, whether there was a door there or not. And the first way we see Door use her power is to open up an assassin's chest.
- Heel-Face Turn: Hunter makes one near the end in the labyrinth.
- Heroic Sacrifice:
- Hunter distracts the Beast in order to give Richard the opportunity to kill it. Although it's implied that she was essentially dying anyway before doing so, so this may be more of a Dying Moment of Awesome.
- Also, the Marquis. He gets better.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: In a weird villain example, Croup and Vandemar. Richard isn't even particularly surprised at the end when Vandemar allows himself to be sucked into the vortex at the end because Croup has already fallen in.
It made some sort of sense, Richard thought: they were a team, after all.
- Homeless Pigeon Person: Old Bailey. He constantly talks to his birds.
- Humanoid Abomination: Croup and Vandemar. Whatever they are, they only look human, and have the ability to cross space and time.
- I'm a Humanitarian: The exact fate of the hired thug Varney is probably best not examined too closely. Then again, Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar both seem to have some Extreme Omnivore tendencies.
- Inelegant Blubbering: Door recalls someone doing this in flashback. And poor, poor Richard.
- "It" Is Dehumanizing: Averted. The narration, and most of the characters, use "it" to refer to the sexless Islington, and nobody objects.
- Jedi Truth: Mr. Croup's claim that he, Mr. Vandemar, and Door are siblings. "All men are brothers."
- Large Ham: "Mr. Croup likes words," the narration tells us. Does he ever. This also extends to the audiobook, where Neil Gaiman is clearly having a hell of a time reading his lines.
- Light Is Not Good: Islington
- Literal-Minded: Mr. Vandemar. Given the setting, he's right half the time.
- Living MacGuffin: Door, due to her status as The President's Daughter and abilities.
- Living Legend: Hunter has hunted and will hunt anything.
- MacGuffin: The Black Friars' Key.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: A few hints are laid down that all of Richard's experiences in London Below might really be a huge psychotic delusion, most especially the Ordeal, but this is not given special credence. The ending implies that it's real after all.
- Meaningful Name:
- During the Victorian era, Henry Mayhew did an in-depth study of the darker side of "London Above". Also, the Marquis de Carabas is the fake title given by Puss in Boots to the miller's son he assists, although the character in Neverwhere has more in common with the cat than with his master, in both de Carabas' scheming and his multiple lives. The Marquis is stated to have picked his name deliberately. Realizing that the world runs on lies, he decided to become a lie, taking the name of a character whose life ran on a lie.
- "Anaesthesia" is suspiciously similar to "Anastasia", especially considering that she disappears. But she might be coming back some time after the book is over.
- Door's family, in line with their inherited ability as "Openers", all have names that suggest a door or entrance: her mother and father the Lord Portico and Lady Portia, her sister Ingress, her brother Arch.
- Lamia is named after Greek Demons which have a lot in common with vampires.
- All of the Black Friars have names related to the color black, shadows, or darkness.
- And Hunter. Guess what she does for a living.
- Mind Screw: Richard is subjected to this during their visit to the Black Friars. Arguably, he's subjected to this for most of the book.
- Mister X and Mister Y: Mister Croup and Mister Vandemar.
- The Mole: Hunter.
- Murder, Inc.: "Croup and Vandemar, the Old Firm, obstacles obliterated, nuisances eradicated, bothersome limbs removed and tutelary dentistry."note In the comic adaptation, this tends to get abbreviated to "Croup and Vandemar, bespoke violence."
- My God, What Have I Done?: Hunter experiences this after the Beast mows her down, leading to her Heel-Face Turn.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast:
- He trusted Lamia?
- Hunter seems to have this sort of reputation in-universe - at one point the characters are each being made fun of in turn by a jester as they introduce themselves. When Hunter professes her name, everybody gets really quiet.
- Also, Serpentine. The moment Door realizes they're in her house, she goes nuts.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: This is how Richard gets unpersonned.
- Odd Couple: Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar are pretty much opposites, apart from their fashion sense, powers, and love of killing things.
- Oh, Crap: The first indication we get that freeing Islington is not a good idea. After the trio leave the Black Friars upon winning the ordeal and the MacGuffin: 'We have lost the key. God help us, we have lost the key.'
- Only Mostly Dead: Did we mention what an awesomely Magnificent Bastard the Marquis de Carabas was? After conning the villains into killing him, gaining vital info in the process, it turns out he'd hidden his life in a box and left it with one of the supporting characters all along.
- The Only One I Trust: Old Bailey would appear to be this for the Marquis. The Marquis quite literally trusts him with his life, and rather touchingly when you consider he'd probably be better off if he didn't, Old Bailey earns it.
- Although it should be pointed out that the Marquis trusts Old Bailey not for any reason of comradeship or sentimentality, but because Old Bailey has no choice but to return the Marquis's favour. "I was a fool..."
- Only the Worthy May Pass: The only way to get the key is to go through the Ordeal.
- Our Angels Are Different: Islington.
- Our Doors Are Different: The doors are more or less mundane, but when opened by members of the Arch family, they can do anywhere. The Door trapping Islington, however...
- Our Werewolves Are Different: Possibly. Mr Croup and Mr Vandemar are described as merely "human shaped, two arms, two legs, one head," by Door, are functionally unkillable, and run on Animal Stereotypes so strongly that "the Fox and the Wolf" may not be mere nicknames. They are also not above making accomplices who fail them disappear in a flurry of teeth, claws and small knives. Borders on Our Ghouls Are Creepier and Our Demons Are Different. What they are is never made clear. Whatever they are, it ain't human.
- Our Vampires Are Different: They're called Velvets, they dress like elegant Gothic aristocrats, are apparently all women, and suck the heat out of the body of whoever's dumb enough to kiss them. The Velvets actually have a good bit in common with the Japanese folk monster yuki-onna (snow woman), down to the freezing kiss.
- Perception Filter: Normal people are unable to notice those from London Below except in very extreme cases.
- Pluralses: Old Bailey asks for "shoeses and gloveses"
- Portal Door: The Portico family's power.
- Portal Network: The "associative house" of the Portico family.
- The President's Daughter: Everyone wants a piece of Door.
- Psychic Dreams for Everyone:
- Richard has nightmares about the Beast of London long before he ever hears of it.
- In the novel, he also at one point dreams of a figure falling as its wings burn; this, in hindsight, must have been Islington's expulsion from Heaven.
- Psycho for Hire: Croup and Vandemar.
- Rage Against the Heavens: Islington is pissed at Heaven for expelling him.
- Reality Subtext: It is unknown if this was intentional, but the bits of the book that take part in Angel tube station can have this impact due to Angel being home to Slimelight, a long running alternative nightclub. It is not uncommon for ordinary commuters to be accompanied by club patrons with some interesting ideas about fashion.
- Red Pill, Blue Pill: Richard spends most of the story striving to find the way to get back to his old life. When he does, he regrets it.
- Red Baron: Richard gains the nickname The Warrior after killing the Beast. It's implied that Hunter's moniker may be an example of this, as well.
- Red Herring: The end of one chapter makes it look like the Marquis will be revealed as Croup and Vandemar's employer.
- Redemption Equals Death: Hunter.
- Rescue Introduction: How Richard meets Door when he takes her home after finding her lying and bleeding on a cold London Above street.
- Rhetorical Question Blunder: Mr. Vandemar, repeatedly.
Croup: What do you want?!
The Marquis: What does anyone want?
- Rich Bitch: Jessica is a downplayed example, being merely self-centred and wrapped up in her own privileged problems rather than cruel or malicious. Her introductory Kick the Dog moment essentially involves her ignoring a homeless person in need, and how many readers haven't been guilty of that at some point?
- Rhetorical Question Blunder: "Oh, Mr Vandemar, if you cut us do we not bleed?" "...No."
- Room 101: The room the Black Friars put Richard in for "the ordeal."
- Rule of Three: Getting the key from the Black Friars requires passing three tests - and coincidentally, there are just three people in Door's party by then. Also the requirements for Islington to be freed from its prison; as Islington describes it, "A key. A door. An opener of the door. There must be the three, you see: a particularly refined sort of joke."
- Rummage Sale Reject: Door's wardrobe is described as follows:
She was dressed in a variety of clothes thrown over each other: odd clothes, dirty velvets, muddy lace, rips and holes through which other layers and styles could be seen. She looked, Richard thought, as if she'd done a midnight raid on the History of Fashion section of the Victoria and Albert museum, and was still wearing everything she'd taken.
- Somewhat averted in the comic; Door's clothing is still somewhat hodgepodge, but it's at least in some sort of noble style.
- Sacrificial Lamb: Anaesthesia's death serves to show how high the stakes are, and serves to motivate Richard.
- Scenery Porn/Scenery Gorn: The TV adaptation uses London's hidden and grimy underside practically as an extra character, and has some spectacular shots of the Royal Mail tunnels, the Greathead Shield, Down Street Station, St. Pancras/Midland Grand Hotel and Bazalgette's sewers.
Mr. Croup: It is saddening to reflect that there are folk walking the streets above who will never know the beauty of these sewers, Mister Vandemar.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Okay, so it's more like "Sealed Evil in a room full of candles."
- Senseless Sacrifice: The Marquis allows himself to be tortured to death (temporarily) by Croup and Vandemar, so that they will let slip info on their employer and purpose, but by the time he gets back to the rest of the characters, that particular cat is already out of the bag.
- Sequel Hook: Door's sister, who Islington left alive. Though Gaiman says he "doesn't do sequels", another book in the same universe is entirely possible - see American Gods and Anansi Boys.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Mr Croup. To a lesser extent, the Marquis.
- Sewer Gator: Hunter in a Badass Boast says that she killed the biggest of the New York sewer gators.
- Ship Tease: Richard and Door. If they do ever get together, it happens after the book is over.
- "Sometimes they come back."
- "The sky was the perfect blue of a television, turned to a dead channel." And played with, since the quote in the original work was meant to evoke a grainy grey colour, but then TV Technology Marched On.
- Tons to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. Notable instances include Richard noting that he is believing many impossible things and he hasn't even had breakfast yet (the White Queen tells Alice, "Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast") and sarcastically asking "Jam tomorrow?" to convince Messrs. Croup and Vandemar that Islington is never actually going to pay them (a reference to the same White Queen telling Alice, "The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday – but never jam to-day").
- Shout-Out to Shakespeare:
- Mr. Croup asks Mr. Vandemar, "if you cut us, do we not bleed?", paraphrasing Shylock's famous quote from William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice. To which Mr. Vandemar answers, "No."
- Richard says "Lead on, Macduff", a common misquotation from Macbeth, at the end of chapter eleven. After he leaves, Brother Fulginous notes that it's actually "Lay on, Macduff", but he "hadn't the heart to correct him. He sounded like such a nice man."
- Single-Stroke Battle: Hunter vs. the Beast of London. She lost.
- Sinister Subway: London Below.
- Arguably a case of Truth in Television in the BBC series, as a large number of scenes were actually shot in out-of-use sections of the London Underground.
- Soul Jar: The box that the Marquis de Carabas gives to Old Bailey.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: What emotions do you associate with "Cheek to Cheek" by Irving Berlin? Utter, quivering terror? You do now.
- Spot of Tea: The Ordeal of the Key is preceded by the Nice Cup of Tea. Richard ultimately declines, preferring to get it over with. After he survives, he decides he'd like some.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: Mr. Croup has this as a supernatural ability in the miniseries.
- Steam Punk: The way Door's father's journal works is extremely Steam Punk. Other technology of London Below seems to tend toward it as well.
- Stock Unsolved Mysteries: Atlantis was destroyed by a vengeful angel, and some lost Roman legionnaires fell into a time pocket.
- Stripperific: In Neil Gaiman's audio commentary on the DVD release of the miniseries, one of his complaints is that Hunter was meant to be stripperific and she didn't turn out that way due to the aforementioned Executive Meddling.
- Straight Gay: Hunter.
- Stranger in a Familiar Land Richard realises that his old job and fiancée mean nothing to him and returns below
- Thanatos Gambit: The Marquis arranges his own death at the hands of Croup and Vandemar, in order to profit from the inevitable Evil Gloating. He had also arranged to return from the dead afterward.
- Theme Naming: Door's family are all named after entrances to buildings (Ingress, Arch, Lord Portico and Lady Portia), the Black Friars are named after synonyms for black, and most of the other characters (including the Black Friars' order itself) are named after buildings or neighbourhoods in London - or rather, buildings or neighborhoods in London have been named after most of the other characters.
- Those Two Bad Guys: Croup and Vandemar. Never seen apart from each other.
- Time Abyss: The Labyrinth of the Beast of London is said to have lain there under the site on the Thames before the legendary King Lud himself founded the first village. It was built to keep a Sealed Evil in a Can. Though the Beast only arrived in the 17th century.
- Older still are Islington and Croup and Vandemar, although in the latter's case this might be due to their possible ability to move through time.
- Ultimate Evil: Not a big part of the plot, but it's still pretty creepy.
Richard: There are no shepherds in Shepherd's Bush. I've been there. It's just houses and stores and roads and the BBC. That's all.
Hunter: There are shepherds. Pray you never meet them.
- Knightsbridge. It's stationary night in the middle of a bridge - a place of utter darkness it's unwise to pass through.
- Unfazed Everyman: Richard. Even down to being given an Arthur Dent shout out with "Richardrichardmayhewdick."
- Unperson: Richard, who unwittingly causes his own disappearance through an act of kindness.
- Unspoken Plan Guarantee:
- We see Croup and Vandemar's plan to get Varney installed as Door's bodyguard fail. However, they offscreen made a plan to have Hunter become the bodyguard, which succeeded.
- The marquis' plan to get info from Croup and Vandemar went exactly as planned, right down to being killed. However, to the audience it looks like it went horribly wrong.
- Villainous Breakdown: Spectacularly, Islington, when asked about the fate of Atlantis:
They deserved it!
- Wacky Wayside Tribe:
- London Below is apparently inhabited totally by these; the ones who fish through the sewers and have the smell to match, the various bodyguards, the "Shepherds of Shepherd's Bush", the Renfair nuts who live on the Earl's Court train...
- Meanwhile, Door herself apparently is the sole survivor of the massacre of her family because she ran into a Wacky Wayside Tribe of timelost Roman legionnaires. In fact, the clannishness and disparity of the different cultures of London Below was a pressing concern of Door's late father — he wanted to find a way to unite the people so they would stop warring.
- Whack A Mole: "You have a cuckoo in your nest!"
- Wham Line: The Abbot saying "We have lost the key. God help us, we have lost the key." is the first indication that Islington isn't as great as he seems. In fact, the next chapter shows that he's the one who hired Croup and Vandemar.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Richard's fears are heights, blood, and rats. All of which play rather important parts in the story.
- Wicked Cultured: Mr. Croup's efforts to acquire an exquisite porcelain statuette look like this at first. And then he eats it with terrifying glee. He simply loves to destroy precious and beautiful things.
- Word of Gay: Or rather, word of Gaiman. Gaiman has stated that there are two gay characters among the principal cast, but has not elaborated further. Hunter is generally considered to be one of them. Hunter's dream is about her hunting a giant weasel to give the pelt to a girl who had caught her eye, and the girl is mentioned as having been "appropriately grateful". This is stated to have actually happened - it's only the particulars of the dream that differ. She also has subtext with Serpentine. The other one is harder to tell, but given process of elimination, presumably the Marquis.
- You Never Asked: When asked why he never warned them that freeing Islington was a horrible idea, the Abbot only said it wasn't his responsibility (even though he dreaded the possibility).