Turns out the Maurice Sendak illustrated version of E.T.A. Hoffman's original story we bought for our resident Nutcracker fanatic is actually only the second most confusing incarnation of that weird, dark story.
First place goes to this wacked out diagram from Marianne Thalmann's book, The Literary Sign Language of German Romanticism. No idea.
See more Romantic literature get the Thalmann treatment [a journey round my skull]