Before watching Netflix's The Sandman, here's everything you need to know

Before watching Netflix's The Sandman, here's everything you need to know ...

The Sandman, a fantasy series on Netflix, opens with a small section of information about its protagonist, Morpheus, the King of Dreams, which is significantly greater than comics readers got when the Neil Gaiman Sandman series was launched in 1988. Both versions leave a lot for the audience to learn over time, especially as the scope changes from the personal to the cosmic.

People who like the kind of narrative that hooks a hook in episode 1 and locks it in until episode 10 should just watch The Sandman without explanation. Given that the first season of The Sandman only covers the first two graphic novels out of ten (not counting later series spinoffs and sequels), it may take years for Netflix to complete all of the mysteries laid out in the opening season.

For those who find this form of storytelling dissatisfying, this handy guide to the Sandman cosmos and its most essential concepts and characters might be useful.

Who is Dream?

Dream, the title character in Sandman's Netflix adaptation, is a conceptual concept and a fundamental force of the universe. Dream is a universal entity that broadly embodies and manages the world of dreams, as well as many other names by many other races, species, and cultures throughout the Sandman series. Dream has the ability to create and modify dreams and nightmares, also known as the Dreaming.

Mortals include not only humans, but as shown in the comics series, animals, aliens, and anything else sentient may visit the Dreaming when they dream, or they may remain at home and have dreams visit them. It is the Dreams' responsibility to keep the world of dreams in check and in balance.

What are Dreams powers?

He can do anything that is within his competence as long as it fits into the narrative. He can create independent, sapient beings from scratch, modify them however he wants, and destroy them at will. He can navigate anyones thoughts, and add items to them. In a narrative that's fundamentally about storytelling, that is pretty powerful.

Who are Dreams siblings?

Lucienne (Vivienne Acheampong) asks whether or not he could refer his siblings for assistance in a present crisis, and she dismisses them completely, saying, "They have their own realms to look to." (Which is true, but also, Dream is extraordinarily proud and stubborn, and he does not want to admit he needs help."

Destiny, Death, Desire, Delirium, and a sixth of the Dreams siblings are all incredibly different personalities, often indicating their own identities. Delirium, who isn't mentioned in season 1, is the least human of the siblings, because he doesn't perceive fate as being created or controlled.

Each of the Endless have their own realms that they represent, and each of them has broad powers over their name concept, whether that means becoming able to wander through the minds of the insane, or carrying the responsibility of taking the dead on to whatever comes next for them. Different Endless feel differently about their relationship with the beings that fall under their portfolio, with Dream acting more like an impartial god over dreamers, while Death treats the dead as an alter ego between old friends and young children who need help.

Who is the Prodigal, the seventh Endless?

The Sandman's Gaiman version has kept this mystery going for a long time, so consider this a spoiler for season 3 or 4 or 5, depending on whether the series continues or whether it skips Sandmans many minor side stories to focus on Dreams' journey. Destruction is eventually revealed to be an Endless who eventually went on a happy walkabout wandering the universe, which raises the question whether the Endless are truly necessary as conscious, active entities.

The Destructions arc certainly raises questions about how significant the Endless are and whether they really are worth the effort, but the comics series never fully investigates these questions, because it's so focused on Dream, and Dream himself has much more immediate issues than existentialist self-exploration.

Who gave Dream his powers?Whos his boss?

The Endless, according to the comics, came into being the first time a sentient creature had a destiny, or dreamed, or desired, or died, and so on. Again, Dream and his family are fundamental forces as much as they are people, so they dont appear to have been created by anyone, and they dont answer to anyone. They have a great deal of power in their anthropomorphized form, but they arent part of anyone elses hierarchy, which is vital in a cosmos this

Then why does Dream have magical powers?Where did he obtain them?

Dream invested a lot of his own energy into constructing tools that would more effectively guide and shape the Dreaming. When he's weak after being shut off from his realm and his duties for the majority of a century, he wants them back in order to regain their investment. However, you may also see the whole thing as a symbolic attempt to reassert his power and declare his presence to a wide spectrum of interested parties.

Is there a God in the Sandman mythos?

The Sandman world is understood to include various pantheons, including the Greco-Roman and Egyptian gods, who have died on difficult occasions since mortals largely abandoned their worshipping them in the Dreams realm. Thats because theyve passed into myth and legend, and their actions are part of the Sandman kingdom. Devil is also real (played by Gwendoline Christie), with a significant role to play in Season 1.

Is it true that Lucifer was thrown out of the Judeo-Christian heaven by the Judeo-Christian God? It's up to interpretation. In the Sandman comics series, there are certainly traditional angels who serve and worship a God who's overtly present and powerful, but they don't have much to do with the Dreams story, and they're much more an over-there-somewhere idea and ideal than a significant part of this particular story.

Who else is a significant power in Sandman?

One of the key principles of the Sandman universe is that everything is true and correct, to some degree or another in the Dreaming, if not in reality, and in the mind, if not in mortal history. This is why the Sandman comic also (very marginally) includes DC characters like Matthew the Raven (originally a human villain in Alan Moore's Swamp Thing, though the Netflix series removes that backstory), and the hero Wesley Dodds, the Golden Age Sandman.

Sandman is a multi-layered pan-mythic crossover narrative that includes mythic figures such as the Fates (who Dream seeks for information about his lost equipment), the muse Calliope, and the mythical hero Orpheus. They all share the page with real people, including William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Robespierre, and Americas last Emperor, Joshua Norton.

But there are quite a few more than that, including the gods, the Faerie Court (as seen in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Nights Dream, with Titania, Oberon, and Puck), and anthropomorphic representations of Order and Chaos. Again, expect anyone who plays prominently in myth to be welcome in a Sandman story.

Who is the Corinthian?

The Corinthian is a rogue nightmare who saw the Sandman story as an opportunity to enjoy himself in the mortal world. He is a useful example of how Morpheus creates dreams and nightmares who are also humans, but who aren't allowed to be created because of their purpose. The Corinthian is a useful example of how Morpheus takes his responsibilities seriously, which means keeping the dreams he makes focused on their intended purposes.

Doesn't that make Dream a jerk, right?

Sandman is a fascinating character. He can be maudlin and mopey, vain and stuffy, remote and superior, or just indifferent to others' suffering. His motives are sometimes difficult to discern because hes so inhuman; that is by design. Its OK to dislike him when hes being huffy or bossy.

In Sandman season 1, he's just off a long, agonizing trauma, during which he was as helpless as he was ever. They aren't his peers, they're his creations, so he cant trust them. His only relatives are at his disadvantage, and they're a tense situation at best. He doesn't have anyone to talk to about going off his stride and having to re-identify who he is.

What else do I need to know?

When you read or watch Sandman, youre in the realm of the mythic. Most myths are more about expressing a feeling or illustrating a principle. Enjoy the ride.