One of the hardest things to follow when looking The Sandman is Dream itself. Not necessarily where it is; that’s pretty easy. what can doinstead, it is not. During the first half of season 1, Dream is rebuilding herself, gathering her favorite tools to get her powers back. Just what those powers are, though, is never really clear. As disconcerting as it may be, this is not really what The Sandman it’s all about, and being a little lost is fine, because it leads to a more interesting story.
Hearing someone tell you that an annoying thing doesn’t matter isn’t a very satisfying response, so let’s see why. As a personified abstraction, Dream controls and it is the collective dreams and nightmares of mankind, giving him a broad mandate to effectively do whatever he wishes, as long as logic can be linked to the dreams in some way. Essentially, if you’re asleep, or even sleepy, you’re at their mercy.
Nevertheless. Dreams are not just things that happen when you sleep. They are also stories, ambitions, hopes. Dream is also arguably free to use them as he sees fit. Its powers are rooted in the way we make sense of what we don’t understand, and it is inherently undefinable. Basically: one of the Endless can do whatever he wants, as long as he can argue with it. Unless, of course, they can’t.
This is what I mean when I say Dream’s powers don’t matter. The Sandman It is not a show with a traditional conflict. Antagonists like the Corinthian may come and go and endanger humans, but the real conflict, the current existential threat to the Dream, it is obligation. Being one of the Endless comes with a lot of rules, because it turns out that the beings that have the power to manipulate the cosmos are also responsible for keeping it stable. (The SandmanThe first episode of shows what happens when they don’t, as Dreaming’s world falls apart when Dream is captured, and many who slept at the time he was captured never wake up.) So, as feudal lords, they must figure out how to satisfy their grievances indirectly without risking open war.
The first season of The Sandman it only states these rules obliquely: in the decorum to be observed when Dream summons Lucifer to Hell, in Dream’s cold and stubborn approach to enforcing his rule, and at the end of the season in a trap set for Dream by someone with an ax to grind.
These limits are not only good because they are interesting limitations; they are an important part of what you do The Sandman feel mythical The Endless are said to be ancient and more powerful than the gods because they simply are —belief has nothing to do with whether you dream, die or wish or not. Knowing that they are bound by an ancient and complicated web of customs and forced to keep their word: everybody of his word, it means that his existence is linked to all existence, part of the stellar matter that we still cannot explain includes our own bodies.
Dream and Endless are like gravity: they are always felt but never fully understood, commonplace and magical at the same time. Understanding how it works is not important; just knowing that it is there is enough.