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The Sandman's Dream Of The Endless: All You Need To Know About Morpheus

The Sandman's Dream Of The Endless: All You Need To Know About Morpheus Image
  • Posted on 05th Aug, 2022 16:14 PM
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The protagonist of The Sandman, known as Dream of the Endless and Morpheus, is a man of many mysteries, despite not being a man at all!

style="text-align: center">Warning: The following contains SPOILERS for The Sandman season 1.

Morpheus, the title character of The Sandman, is known by many names and titles, including Lord Shaper and Dream of the Endless. A being of vast power, he is also a man of mystery in so far as he can be said to be a man at all, being a living avatar of imagination and all that might be and is not. This makes Morpheus an interesting character, though difficult to describe.

The same might be said of the original The Sandman comics, which ran for 75 issues and one special from 1988 to 1996. Even the series' author Neil Gaiman struggled to think of a succinct description of The Sandman's story, once summarizing it with the sentence "The Lord of Dreams learns that one must change or die, and makes his decision." While this does sum up the plot of The Sandman and how Morpheus' character changes as he learns empathy, it does little to convey the wild journey the series takes through classical mythology, world history and the universe of DC Comics.

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Related: Everything We Know About Netflix's Sandman

Netflix's adaptation of The Sandman is one of the most highly anticipated comic book shows of all time. Hopes are high among fans of the series given Neil Gaiman's involvement, though it is still unclear if The Sandman can attract a mainstream audience with a main character who is an aloof god-like being. Yet in appraising the series' titular protagonist, it's important to consider Morpheus' background as one of the Endless and the world of pure imagination he rules over, in addition to his powers, weaknesses and backstory heading into The Sandman episode 1.

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What Are The Endless?

Born of a short-lived romance between Night and Time, the Endless family are seven siblings, including Dream, who act as living personifications of various universal forces. The Endless are, from oldest to youngest, Destiny, Death, Dream, Destruction, Desire, Despair and Delirium. The Endless, it should be noted, are not gods or deities, whose powers are dependent upon the belief and worship of sentient beings. The Endless exist without being worshipped, yet exist because, on some level, all sentient life believes that things like Fate and Death and Madness need to have someone in charge of them. It is Dream's role among the Endless to act as the creative spirit that brings about all new things.

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The Dreaming Explained

Morpheus' kingdom is known as the Dreaming, and it is a realm of pure imagination and endless possibilities, populated by dreams and nightmares of Morpheus' design. The Dreaming stands apart from the Waking World, which is what Morpheus calls the material planes where all sentient beings spend two-thirds of their lives when they are not enjoying his hospitality. The Dreaming is a part of Morpheus and will slowly decay without his attention or power to refresh it, much like the lands of the Fisher King in Arthurian legend.

What Are Morpheus' Powers?

Morpheus has a number of powers relating to sleep and dreams. He can put any being to sleep with his magical sand and inspire all manner of dreams and nightmares within a sleeping subject. He can also fashion illusions and dispel the illusions created by others.

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Related: The Sandman Star Teases Conflict Between Dream & Lucienne In Season 1

Within the Dreaming, Morpheus is nearly all-powerful and all-knowing, though he is still far less powerful than The Sandman series' Lucifer, played by Gwendoline Christie. Morpheus has some ability to see a person's history by looking at them, as shown with Lushing Lou in The Sandman episode 6. Beyond that, Morpheus can learn nearly anything he needs to know using the library at the heart of his castle, which contains every story ever written and the dream journals of every being in existence. Morpheus can teleport between the Dreaming and the Waking World at will and travel to other dimensions, such as Hell. He can also conjure objects into existence and create independent entities to serve his whims, like Lucienne the Librarian and the nightmarish Corinthian (Boyd Holbrook) who has teeth for eyes.

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What Are Morpheus' Weaknesses?

Morpheus' chief weakness is that his powers are limited by a complex set of rules and customs that qualify how he is allowed to interfere with the running of the universe. One of these rules is that he is not allowed to take a mortal life except to protect the Dreaming and other mortals under his protection. He is also prohibited from spilling the blood of a member of his family and cannot fall in love with a mortal.

Why Lord Morpheus Has So Many Different Names In The Sandman

It is said in The Sandman: Season of Mists that Dream of the Endless has more names and titles than he does true friends. This statement is no exaggeration, reflecting both how taciturn Dream is in his dealings with others and how seriously he takes his responsibilities. While he is not a god, Dream does play the role in multiple pantheons across the universe. The list of names and titles Dream utilizes include Morpheus (the Ancient Greek god of dreams), Lord Shaper, Kai'ckul (an African dream deity), Monarch of the Sleeping Marches and Lord L'Zoril, the Martian god of dreams.

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Why Dream Needs His Tools

The first major story arc of The Sandman season 1 centers around how Dream of the Endless was accidentally captured by the warlock Roderick Burgess during an attempt to capture and bind Death. This sets the story of The Sandman into motion, starting with Dream's quest to recover three objects that were stolen from him by Burgess and his followers. These objects are the pouch of sand that allows Dream to put people to sleep, a ruby that can make dreams into reality and a helmet forged from the bones of a vanquished enemy, which Dream adopted as his standard and sigil. While Dream technically has no need for tools, the sand, ruby and helm contain his powers and help him to better focus his abilities externally. It speaks to Dream of the Endless' nature as a creative spirit that he would fashion such showy instruments as a frightening helm and a flashy ruby to convey his power when presenting himself to other beings. After all, who would value drama more in the world of The Sandman than the Prince of Stories and King of the Nightmare Realms?

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The Sandman season 1 is now streaming on Netflix.

More: Why Sandman Didn't Cast James McAvoy As Dream (Despite Being Perfect)

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