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‘The Sandman’s Endless: A Guide to the Whole Family of Anthropomorphic Personifications

5 Minute Read
Nov 28 2023
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The first season of Sandman introduced us to four of the seven Endless, a family as old as all life in the universe. Who are the Endless?

Netflix’s adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s beloved comic book The Sandman has exceeded the expectations of even the pickiest fan. With its excellent casting choices and active promotional campaign, the show was a quick hit for both old and new fans alike. Welcome to the family! And speaking of families—

Who are the Endless?

The Endless are a family of ancient beings that personify concepts associated with life. They’re “anthropomorphic personifications”, as Death frustratedly tells Dream in the middle of his mopefest. If you’re caught up on the show, you’ve met four of the Endless so far. So we’ll start with them.

Sandman Endless

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Dream

Sandman Endless

Dream is the main protagonist in the story if such a concept can be applied to Sandman. Morpheus, Lord of the Dreaming, is responsible for all of humanity’s dreams and nightmares. When we go to sleep, we enter the realm of Lord Morpheus and are tended to by the various members of his kingdom. The Dreaming is also where every book, written or unwritten, sits on the shelves of his library. The Dreaming is always shifting and changing, just like the nature of dreams.

Morpheus was born after Death, making him the third-born of the Endless. His sigil is his very fashionable helm.

Death

Sandman Endless

I don’t have to tell you who Death is. It’s her job to guide people to Whatever Is Next. Unlike some other Deaths you’ve seen in pop culture, this Death sees it as her duty to comfort and empathize with the mortals whose souls she shepherds. What most mortals don’t fathom is that when they die, it’s not the first but the second time they’re meeting Death. She’s also there to usher them into the world as they’re born. It’s understood that, of the Endless, she’s the most feared by mortals, though she’s likely the kindest of them. Death is also the oldest sibling save for Destiny.

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Death also has a very large floppy hat collection, which I deeply admire. If you’re going to be immortal, you should collect cool hats from every era. They also go great with her signature ankh necklace, which is also her sigil.

Desire

Is there anything you want? Need? Long for? Then you, my friend, have visited the heart of Desire. Their home is called the Threshold, and it’s a gigantic manifestation of themself. Desire is fluid in gender, and while their image may change, their eyes remain continuously gold.

Of the Endless, Desire is the most inclined to meddle in the affairs of their fellows. And as expected, Desire is deliberately the cruelest of them all. They seemingly have no care for the consequences of their actions, particularly those they take against Dream, with whom they have created a rivalry. They are as capricious as the inclination for which they are named. Their sigil is a shimmering red heart of cut glass. They’re also the twin of Despair, both second-to-youngest siblings.

Despair

Sandman Endless

The twin of Desire and often their co-conspirator, Despair is naked in the source material but understandably clothed in the live-action adaptation. Her domain is filled with gray mist. It’s home to only her, her rats, and mirrors through which she watches people in the depths of, well, her.

When the story begins, Despair is also the only of the Endless to die and be replaced by another aspect of herself. Her sigil is a hooked ring that she uses to tear at her flesh.

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For those of you who want to be surprised by upcoming Endless appearances in Netflix’s ‘Sandman’, you’ll find spoilers past this point. Feel free to wander off into the mists now.

Destiny

Sandman Endless

The oldest of the siblings, Destiny is hooded and cloaked. He is blind and carries a book containing (almost) everything that’s ever happened and events before or even as they unfold. His realm is a hedge maze called the Garden, and it can be reached through any maze.

As you can imagine, Destiny isn’t big with the personality or outbursts of emotion. When the Endless get together, it’s often in the realm of their eldest brother, who is rarely involved in the actual doings of the universe.

Delerium

Delerium, the youngest of the Endless, used to be Delight. It’s unknown exactly why she stopped being Delight – even Destiny does not know what happened. Delerium is the smallest of the Endless, and her appearance changes very frequently. She’s often changing her hair and outfit styles and colors based on her ever-changing mood. She’s likely to create little manifestations of fish or butterflies or bubbles, depending on what’s happening around her. You may think she’s speaking nonsense, but she also has her own understanding of reality.

She was known as Mania to the ancient Greeks, and her whims can be brutal. She responds to negative stimuli pretty rashly, so if you’re rude to her, she’s going to boop you on the nose with a drastic case of mentally ill. Her ability to identify emotions and sensations across all spectrums of her senses is peak neurodivergence, in my personal opinion. And I will forever associate her character with ripped fishnet stockings.

Her sigil is just, you know, a pretty swirly thing. But when she was Delight, it was a flower.

Destruction

Sandman Endless

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Often referred to as The Prodigal, Destruction was the peacekeeper among his siblings. His role, he figured out, was to cause the destruction that would force the creation of new things. In his own self-reflection, Destruction would come to understand that he was an avatar for change – and the realization caused him to abandon his realm sometime in the 17th century.

When we meet him, he’s living a simple life making mediocre art and sitting subject to a comedy roast by his beloved talking dog Barnabus. Destruction’s abdication and his outlook on the roles of the Endless is one of the many cosmic-level dominoes that ultimately lead Dream of the Endless to his own fate.

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Author: Danni Danger
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