The Sandman, a fantasy series on Netflix, opens with a small bit of information about its protagonist, Morpheus, the King of Dreams, which is significantly better than comics fans received when the Neil Gaiman Sandman series was first released in 1988. Both the comics version and the Netflix version of the story leave a lot for the listener to learn over time.
People who like the type of narrative that baits a hook in episode 1 and holds it in until episode 10, should just jump into the program without explanation. While Netflix may take years to complete all of the mysteries laid out in the opening season, they may find that it will be more effective.
For those who find this method of storytelling dissatisfying, these may be useful for those who are unfamiliar with the comics and who do not want to spend the first season trying to figure out who are these people, why do they exist, and what are they referencing.
Who is Dream?
Dream is a universal force that encompasses and manages the world of dreams. Known as Morpheus, Oneiros, and other names by many other races, species, and cultures throughout the Sandman series, Dream is also a powerful force that manifests itself as an immortal being.
Mortals aren't just humans; as the comics series shows, animals, aliens, and anything else sentient do visit the Dreaming when they dream, or they may stay at home and have dreams visit them. It's the Dreams' responsibility to keep the world of dreams in check and in balance, as we learn early in the series when hes unable to do so for a while and things fall apart.
What are Dreams powers?
As long as it is relevant to the narrative, he can make autonomous, sapient beings from scratch, modify them as he desire, and destroy them at will. He can navigate peoples desires, and add things to them. In a story that is fundamentally about storytelling, that's pretty powerful.
Who are Dreams siblings?
Lucienne (Vivienne Acheampong) asks whether he might contact his siblings for assistance in a current situation, and she dismisses them, saying they have their own realms to see to. (Which is true, but also, Dream is extremely proud and stubborn, and he doesnt want to admit he needs help.) Here's a quick rundown of all of the characters in the book.
Destiny, Death, Desire, Delirium, and a sixth of Dreams siblings are all unique, with their own personalities that vary significantly from season 1 to season 1, which ranges from cheerful and psychopathic. (She used to be Delight, when the universe was much younger, but she never learns much about how a Dreams being able to alter identities.) In the comics, Destiny is unbudging and ungiving, the least human of the siblings, because he sees himself as not creating
Each of the Endless have their own realms that they inhabit, and each of them has broad powers over their name concept, whether that be gaining power from peoples desire or despair, being able to wander through the minds of the insane, or carrying the burden of carrying 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 like old friends seeking guidance.
Who is the Prodigal, the seventh Endless?
This is a spoiler for season 3 or 4 or 5, depending on whether or not the series continues. Sandman is ultimately revealed to be Destruction, an Endless who eventually wanders the universe, which raises the question whether the Endless are really necessary as conscious, active entities.
The Destructions arc certainly raises doubts about how significant the Endless are, and whether or not they really have a purpose. However, the comics series never fully explores these concerns, because it is so focused on Dream, and Dream himself has much more immediate difficulties than existentialist self-exploration.
Who gave Dream his powers?Whos his boss?
The Endless simply became a living thing 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 crowded and over
What is the significance of Dream's magical powers?Where did he obtain them?
Dream invested a lot of his own time and energy into constructing tools that would more effectively allow him to channel and shape the Dreaming. When he is removed from his realm and his duties for the majority of a century, he wants them returned in order to reclaim their investment. However, the whole thing could also be seen as a symbolic attempt to reaffirm his authority and declare his presence to a variety of interested parties.
Is there a God in the Sandman mythos?
The Sandman world is seen to include various pantheons, including the Greco-Roman and Egyptian gods, who have died on hard times due to mortals generally ignoring them. Thats because theyve passed into myth and legend and are now part of the Sandman kingdom. Devil, according to Gwendoline Christie, is a real person with a significant part to play in season 1.
Is it true that Lucifer's judgment on the Judeo-Christian heaven was canceled by the Judeo-Christian God? That's up to interpretation. Angels are certainly traditional in the Sandman comics series, and they serve and worship a God who is open and powerful, but they don't have anything to do with the Dreams story at all.
Who else is a significant power in Sandman?
The Sandman universe's fundamental assumption is that all stories are true and true, to some degree or another in the Dreaming, if not in reality, and in the mind, if not in mortal history. That's why the Sandman comic includes revived DC characters like Matthew the Raven (originally a human villain in Alan Moore's Swamp Thing, though the Netflix series removes that backstory), and 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 legendary hero Orpheus. They are linked to real people, including William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Robespierre, and Americas last Emperor, Joshua Norton.
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 are some of the most common roles in a Sandman tale.
Who is the Corinthian?
The Corinthian is a rogue nightmare who saw the Sandman story as an opportunity to relax in the mortal world. He is a useful illustration of how Morpheus perceives dreams and nightmares as being individuals, but as they are, they are useless outside of their purpose. Morpheus isnt exactly sentimental or protective of humanity or other sentient life, but he takes his responsibilities seriously.
Doesn't that make Dream a jerk?
It does. One of the cool things about Sandman is that he isnt a particularly sympathetic character. He can be maudlin and mopey, vain and stuffy, distant and superior, or just indifferent to other peoples suffering. His motives are sometimes difficult to discern because he is so inhuman. Thats by design: He is, after all, the manifestation of stories as much as he is a person. Its OK to despise him when he is jo
Just remember that in Sandman season 1, he's just from a long, frustrating trauma, during which he was as helpless as he was ever in his existence. His dreams aren't his peers, they're his subjects and creations, so he can't confide in them. His family is a problematic group at best, and he doesn't have anyone to talk to about being off his stride and having to figure out who he is.
What else do I need to know?
When you read or watch Sandman, you'll be in the realm of the mythic. Most myths are more about describing a feeling or illustrating a principle than about ensuring that every last plot point comes together.